Should we change the way teachers teach and students learn?
“Unless there is change, our kids will be stuck in the dark industrialised ages..
The leaders in our schools will have to be skilled in change management,” says secondary teacher Lee Elvy.
Lee earned the national excellence in teaching award for both his teaching and work as curriculum coordinator last year at St Teresa’s Catholic College, Noosaville, Queensland.
Lee’s teaching philosophy, underpinned by the use of multiple technologies – podcasts, interactive whiteboards, iPhones, websites and wikis in daily lessons, is what gained him recognition.
Lee became passionate about policy and curriculum while studying for a master of learning management. The ideas of Howard Gardner, Harvard Graduate School Of Education, and British education expert Ken Robinson have been particularly influential.
Compared with schools in Singapore and other Asian countries Australia is not doing very well technologically, says Lee.
“It’s the one-on-one programs that really matter. Every student has to have access to a computer and computer training and access to teachers who have computer training..
Professional development needs to be very technology based because realistically all of this is challenging what is thought to be the traditional role of a teacher.”
Lee was teaching Society and Environment, History, Maths, Religion and Ethics and using podcasts, and web-based research to help his students personalise the pace of their learning, for example:
Students in the History class used the internet to deliver two-minute summaries – mostly in movie format with soundtracks – on the meaning of the industrial revolution. Lee says:
“I had the option of making them take copious notes on how each area (of industry) was affected by the industrial revolution or say to them, ‘You have an hour to research how these areas were affected and then present a two-minute summary”.
He believes he should communicate with the students one-on-one to teach them about discernment and good sources.
Lee would like to research teacher training and spend time in other countries learning about their learning systems. He finds the way Finland trains its teachers interesting – you can’t be a teacher there without a master’s degree.
The above info was drawn from an article by Penny McLeod in The Weekend Australian Professional section, April 9-10 2011.
I really like the idea of one-on-one guidance.