- Make sure children are taken care of
- Put in place a system of equitable funding
- Encourage useful learning
- Improve teacher training so that they know how students learn and develop
- Redesign schools by rethinking the use of time, people and supports
There’s a pretty wide and deep basket of knowledge that teachers need to have. They need to understand how people learn, and how people learn differently — not everyone learns exactly in the same way. They need to know how people develop in social and emotional and academic and moral and physical ways, and all those areas of child development interact with each other. They need to understand the relationship, for example, between emotion and learning. You only really learn when you are excited or interested. There’s a set of positive emotions; it might just be that you like your teachers. If you’re fearful, if you think somebody is going to criticize you or stereotype you, you’re going to learn less. All of that has to be understood by teachers.source
Suggesting that there is a clear scientific or evidence-based approach that can overcome Australia’s vast geographic separations, considerable inequality and conflicting system stances on the purpose of education, is troubling. That is not to say that evidence cannot tell us useful things. Creating a sense of how we can move to overcome these burdens, achieve purposeful outcomes for students and create the conditions to support effective teacher working, requires consensus. The book notes a desire for coalition and networked knowledge sharing to achieve these things, but also solidarity with solidity, a commitment to overcome political and ideological motivations that hinder progress. Clarity and coherence sit at the core of this. When we are divided on key matters, it can create opportunities for constructive debate, but debate must lead somewhere.