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  1. #1
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    Default Any teachers care to comment?

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/secret...15-gtrztp.html

    I just wonder why the Australian education system seems to be so stubbornly ignoring the science of what helps children learn and copies systems like the UK with every more testing when that system has already failed??

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    The "science" of what helps children learn is highly dependent on how the children are raised, the culture that surrounds them on a daily basis, their ingrained beliefs and many more things. It bothers me that so many people expect us to base our system on an entirely different culture. What works well in China for example is highly unlikely to be effective in Australia but there is a whole camp of people that wild like us to incorporate their way of educating into ours.

    Secondly, there are MANY schools that incorporate the key elements of the approach discussed in the article (play based curriculum and no formal teaching until at least 7 etc.) Parents ultimately choose whether to send their child to schools that use this approach or not and I personally after teaching for 6 years at one of these school am seeing a really change in favour for that approach as they are not (in parents eyes for one) equipping them for the rigidity of secondary education (in Aus).

    Lastly, with our flawed assessment system that ranks children's ability on only one day, every 2 years of their education, schools that have high SES population and a highly structured, teach to the test traditional approach will always out perform the schools that embrace play based learning etc. Therefore, if we are to use our data as to what is successful in Australia it would be extremely flawed...I don't know how they assess in Finland to ascertain that they are the best educated. Hopefully a better system than ours!

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    There is no easy answer, however, when you look at the countries that are the top achieving in the world they are:
    - geographically small
    - homogenous (1 main culture, language etc)

    When you look at Australia, we are becoming more and more diverse, we are a very large country with major inequalities between education standards around the country. Put simply, we live in a very complex country which is hard to educate to the standards of those smaller countries.

    Standardised testing is a joke as the way students are tested (mainly multiple choice) is not a common form of classroom assessment as it's not the most effective style (especially for younger students).

    There's more I could say as there are definite flaws in the current Australian system but at the same time, there are some great things happening. I'd be choosing schools very carefully to get the best for your child

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    This is just my opinion obviously!

    Education has become a very complex business - once upon a time, parents sent their kids to school so the kids could be taught "the three "R"s". Before and after school, kids were engaged in play, but also learning future skills - maybe looking after siblings, helping cook, working on the farm, helping in the shop, etc. Families and society have changed with schools now taking on more parenting roles. The school day is really crowded with demand increasing for subjects like play-based learning, technology and ethics. Our curriculum is being updated to reflect these changes but it's a very crowded curriculum with teachers taking on the role of educator additional to psychologist, social worker, and parent. It's a tough gig.

    Early years educators know the value of play and most try to incorporate this into their classrooms, but (and this is particularly true in low SES areas), we first have to explicitly teach children HOW to play.

    Standardised testing complicates things further, and there is a general acknowledgment that this is unhelpful, and biased. As a PP pointed out, Australia is a country of huge contrasts; while our curriculum aims to address these contrasts and inequalities, our assessment strategies haven't caught up yet, and this disadvantages far too many.

    A bloke called John Hattie is a leading Australian academic who is passionate about visible learning. If you're interested, you should check him out.

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    Default Any teachers care to comment?

    This is exactly why I gave up my teaching job to move to early childhood education, because I believe in play based learning.
    Last edited by Mamasupial; 18-01-2017 at 04:42.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tootsiegirl View Post
    The "science" of what helps children learn is highly dependent on how the children are raised, the culture that surrounds them on a daily basis, their ingrained beliefs and many more things. It bothers me that so many people expect us to base our system on an entirely different culture. What works well in China for example is highly unlikely to be effective in Australia but there is a whole camp of people that wild like us to incorporate their way of educating into ours.

    Secondly, there are MANY schools that incorporate the key elements of the approach discussed in the article (play based curriculum and no formal teaching until at least 7 etc.) Parents ultimately choose whether to send their child to schools that use this approach or not and I personally after teaching for 6 years at one of these school am seeing a really change in favour for that approach as they are not (in parents eyes for one) equipping them for the rigidity of secondary education (in Aus).

    Lastly, with our flawed assessment system that ranks children's ability on only one day, every 2 years of their education, schools that have high SES population and a highly structured, teach to the test traditional approach will always out perform the schools that embrace play based learning etc. Therefore, if we are to use our data as to what is successful in Australia it would be extremely flawed...I don't know how they assess in Finland to ascertain that they are the best educated. Hopefully a better system than ours!
    How do parents find those schools? Our local primary is pretty good but I know even kindergarten is not play based unfortunately. I'll keep my youngest at preschool an extra year and start her at 5.5 for that reason

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    Default Any teachers care to comment?

    I'd suggest googling local schools and a range of approaches with their name -Steiner, Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Walker Learning. Unfortunately (only for finding schools) many schools incorporate such approaches but do it in their own way (not paying consultancy fees and therefore buying the "name") so they can be harder to find just through Google. For example, my niece starts school next year at a school which uses a fabulous play based learning approach in the early years (yet still use formal teaching sessions) and it mirrors what I did at my nationally accredited walker learning school. They however don't "pay" for the approach so my sister didn't even know until I told her. Different approaches embrace strictly play only more than others so you'd have to see what suits you best. It is very difficult as a teacher and parent to wholly embrace a no formal teaching approach as you watch the children and peers in other schools "outperforming" your child/class for a period of time. At this point many parents begin to question their choice in school. Statistics continue to show though that these kids not only catch up, but outperform, by grade 3. Nonetheless, very hard to passively watch on and trust!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freyamum View Post
    How do parents find those schools? Our local primary is pretty good but I know even kindergarten is not play based unfortunately. I'll keep my youngest at preschool an extra year and start her at 5.5 for that reason
    You can ask what philosophy guides their early childhood planning/how much time for play etc.. I work at a traditional school, yet kindly and PP have adopted a Reggio Emilia approach.


 

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