Thursday, July 9, 2015

Capital Letters - Keynote 3 - Bernard Beckett

Have just read his latest book, Lullaby, so interested in hearing this. 

Follows on nicely from the 'Connected Curriculum' workshop this morning! 

Beckett challenged us with quite a few questions - Why do we  teach our subject? What is our idea of the specialisation of English? 

His humour resonated with many - and there were lots of nodding heads with the very funny comments on the list of jobs we do - and how we  prioritise them! 
Marking the roll - in the first 10mins - most probably not ? Priority list depends on how scary the end user is!!

Two reasons we shouldn't have for why we teach : 
The agendas of people above us - govern what we do! 
He looked at the  task of getting good grades - how this filters down from BOT to Principal to HOF to staff  - and the impact of this on Level 2.
The myth that 85% Level 2 will make a better society - our economy is structured around casual part-time labour.
This is not why we teach. What you respond to 'what have contributed to these kids lives?' 
If this is what you think - shift your thinking! 
Effective pedagogy and modern thinking drive teaching - but modern educational research is poor! Most educational researchers are not strong Mathematicians - as shown by Hattie's research. Always ask 'who gains from this research?'

Not everything important is measurable (Einstein)
He had very little positive to say about educational research - mostly educational research is on narrow measurable fields - reading, literacy. 
Hawthorn effect - that any change creates improvement-and 'cos kids are growing then they are learning - so therefrom there will naturally be growth and development. Biggest shift at primary level - naturally less shift at top secondary level. 

Variance in teacher quality - will show teacher quality is variable - not what you would do to change this.

As an economist he was pretty scathing of the push for IT integration - Look at IT providers - if the big companies can show that the technology  improves educational outcomes, then 700,000 kids will want it!! What can you not buy in your school because the money's been spent on IT.

So why do we go there? To the English class each day? 
You know the lesson that works - the discussion that had impact  -  in the classroom - kids are trying out their lives. 

Nice thought re defining the power of literature and its place in our world 'Literature is the moment when we know we're not alone.' 

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