This week the Caldwell article and PowerPoint arrived so I thought I’d blog the most important sentence for me from the presentation, in his own words. It’s a critical point.
The student is the most important unit of organisation – not the classroom, not the school, and not the school system – and there are consequent changes in approaches to learning and teaching and the support of learning and teaching.
It’s great to see that ACER’s fetish with all things FINLAND continues, as illustrated nicely in today’s Education Age article by Caroline Milburn (not online yet)
I agree with the basic premise of the article, that it’s a focus on quality TEACHING, not TESTING that is likely to lead to improved student learning and that ‘nations with the best student performances have focused on developing a highly trained teacher workforce rather than publicising school results’.
The article talks about Professor Brian Caldwell’s co-authoring of a new study Why Not the Best Schools? and the findings that teacher training is the key to improved outcomes for students.
Which is all a bit ironic as the short article mentions Finland four or five times as being the best performing system in international testing at the same time asserting that Finland isn’t into testing. Maybe just international testing?
Caldwell’s conclusion nicely blends the Finnish with the American rhetoric: ‘We should be insisting that every teacher be very well trained to at least a master’s level and not allow any child to fall behind’.
Finland may well do well in international testing but I retain serious doubts as to how tranferrable the education results of that small northern European country are to Australia. Maybe Caldwell is just into skiiing?
[Finland photo from elanores on Flickr]