22 SES 11 E, Popularism and Privatization
What are the outcomes for teachers and students when a project focused on improved teaching and school leadership is enacted through a strategic learning partnership with a University?
Sustainably improving the teaching performance of schools is a complex global business that is beyond the scope of the traditional ‘withdrawal from class’ based professional learning model (Lynch et al., 2014). The Southern Cross University (SCU) initiative, Project Readiness, brings to bear current research into effective teacher education and school improvement and ongoing research conducted by the SCU Team in ‘real schools’ over the past ten years that evidence transformational teaching and school leadership projects, both nationally and internationally, with outstanding results reported in terms of student learning outcomes and teacher capability building (Lynch et el., 2015). Project Readiness is about long term sustainable outcomes achieved by working in partnership with Education systems and or jurisdictions, to effect positive change through a prefigured set of learning mechanisms, inherent organisational arrangements, logics, and capability foci that create an ongoing legacy for continual system wide improvement and monitoring. Project Readiness is purpose-fit to individual school and jurisdiction needs and transferable to international education contexts.
Most unsuccessful improvement programs target teachers and school leaders through programs that are disconnected, one way or change agent centric and ‘one-offs’. They tend to be focused on a narrow ‘next best thing’ and give little or no consideration to ‘long term traction’. Put simply, they fail to engender and harness the fundamental elements of site alignment, proven field success, collaborative and explorative learning regimes, and inquiry. In summary, they tend to put a premium on ‘one-off’ content delivery sessions over site-based collaborative capability developments. In contrast, Project Readiness is our evidence based 21st Century solution, tested in real schools for the past decade and underpinned by six key and inter-related elements ‘effective teaching and schooling’ project creation. It is the strategic and deliberate process of collaboratively exploring, developing, and evaluating these elements that forms the basis of how the SCU team works with individual schools, within a system or jurisdiction, to ensure all students make the required learning gains. These six elements are used as the design premise for planned activity, and each purpose-fit project is planned and operationalised with key stakeholders through 3 key foci: Alignment, Capability and Engagement.
This paper presents a case study of a high school in the remote Northern Territory of Australia. The student population is 45% Indigenous Australian and includes students who attend the on-site boarding facility. There is a programme of teaching and learning called Liya Djambatj which aims to equip indigenous students with skills for continuous learning, aspiration and confidence that will transition them into mainstream schooling. The Liya Djambatj students are predominantly Yolngu students and an ancient tribal value system is the foundation of who they are – it is their dreaming, language, culture, songlines and totem. In this two-way learning context (Bat, Kilgariff and Doe, 2012), the complexities, tensions, paradoxes and contradictions embedded within the relationships between inclusion and exclusion are crucial considerations in ensuring equal opportunities for all students. This case study is about moving a teaching and learning paradigm from a focus on indigenous students as the included-as-excluded to the included, by establishing a multi-literate approach in an intercultural perspective for a global community.
This research engages a mixed methodology approach; both qualitative and quantitative data will be used to address the research question. Further, as the focus is on a contemporary phenomenon within a real-life context, case study methodology will be used to explore the topic. Initially qualitative data will be collected using a range of instruments comprising both formal (survey) and anecdotal feedback and structured observation. In the quantitative phase, personal interviews will be conducted to determine the views of stakeholders: both indigenous and non-indigenous students; teaching staff; regional education office staff; parents/care-givers and the community, with respect to the concept of both-ways learning and inclusion. These personal interviews will be framed as a face-to-face survey, a survey method utilized to record perceptions with the specific target population identified above. The purpose of conducting these personal interviews is to explore the responses of stakeholders in the both-ways learning paradigm to gather more and deeper information about what works best for improved indigenous student outcomes. The interviews will be semi-structured, with a set of questions that initiate an interview theme (structured) which are followed up by probing questions (unstructured) to elicit greater insight or clarity to the structured questions.
Southern Cross University and High School X have agreed to work together to improve the teaching performance of the school by collaborating on research and development activities which bring to bear and further, understandings about effective school-wide teaching and learning (pedagogical practice) and school community well-being with an emphasis on transition from feeder primary schools and Homelands schools (remote Indigenous community schools) to a mainstream High School. Project Readiness at School X has a focus on how teacher professional learning that incorporates contemporary research-based evidence of best teaching and learning practice effects the three focus pillars of pedagogy, student and staff wellbeing and transition. Ultimately the moral purpose (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2001) of this research is to create the capacity for all students, indigenous and non-indigenous to achieve at their maximum potential and demonstrate capabilities to contribute to their multi-cultural society in rich and purposeful ways and enjoy full and meaningful lives.
AITSL (2014) Global trends in professional learning and performance & development. Some implications and ideas for the Australian education system. http://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/defaultsource/default-document-library/horizon_scan_report.pdf Bat, M.; Kilgariff, C.; Doe, T. (2012). Indigenous tertiary education – we’re all learning: Both-ways pedagogy in the Northern Territory of Australia. Higher Education & Research Development. Doe, T. (2015) Networked Professional Learning. International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change. Volume 2/Issue 2, November, 2015. Good To Great Schools Australia. (2016). Submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs. March. Hargreaves, A. and Fullan, M. (2012), Professional capital: transforming teaching in every school, Teachers College Press, New York, NY. OECD (2010a). The high costs of low performance”, Paris: OECD Publishing Hattie, J. (2012). Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximising Impact on Learning. New York: Routledge. Lynch, D. (2012). Preparing teachers in times of change: Teaching school, standards, new content and evidence. Brisbane: Primrose Hall. Lynch, D. and Madden, J., (2015) Coaching, Mentoring and Feedback: The ‘how to’ in a schooling context. Education Alternatives: Journal of International Scientific Publications. Volume 13. August. Pp.116 to 129. Lynch, D., Madden, J. and Doe, T., (2015). Creating the Outstanding School. Oxford Global: London Marzano, R. J. (1998). A Theory-Based Meta-Analysis of Research on Instruction. Aurora, Col.: MidContinent Regional Educational Laboratory. Marzano, R.J. and Waters, T. and McNulty, B.A., (2005) School Leadership that Works: From research to results. ASCD: Alexandria, USA. Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training & Youth Affairs. (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, December 2008, p. 13. OECD (2013), Upgrading Skills for Current and Future Needs, in Perspectives on Global OECD, (2010b). Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education Lessons from PISA for the United States; Paris: OECD Publishing.
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