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An unfortunate infographic on Teacher time

So I received the first edition of Teacher Magazine in my inbox today and dutifully scanned through some of the articles (having featured in an article I figured it’s only fair). It was here that I came across a rather unfortunate infographic…

See Teacher Magazine here…

The “Did you know?” infographic is a summary of the results of a study undertaken by the Grattan Institute on Making time for great teaching (the link to the report on Grattan website is dead but it can be downloaded from here). The unfortunate part is the underpinning messages that I was gleaning from what was represented.

  • Reduce teacher involvement in extra-curricular activities
  • Don’t waste time on subjects with small enrolments or non-core subjects
  • One period a week on pastoral care is ‘too much time’
  • 1 to 2 periods a week on PE is ‘too much time’
  • 1 period a week on research skills is ‘too much time’
  • Just get more money to fund teacher learning time

Of course the full report does go into detail on other elements such as the amount of time wasted supervising students in the schoolyard, detentions and exam supervisions… This isn’t even a complete list! ACER what messages did you think educators were going to extract from this?

On the plus side it suggests a program of professional learning taken from high performing education systems around the world that requires approximately 135 periods (112.5 hours) of professional learning throughout the year blending:

  • Teacher mentoring and coaching
  • Lesson and grade groups
  • Research groups
  • Teacher appraisal and feedback
  • Classroom observation and feedback

Not a bad list of suggestions but if you’re suggesting that being out in the schoolyard building relationships with students, supervising extra-curricular activities to support students engaging in their personal interests, or engaging in pastoral care activities to promote student health and wellbeing aren’t directly linked to quality “teaching and learning” then I must be doing it wrong…

Can someone tell me how to do it right?

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What If Classes were Structured like TED Talks?

Welcome back to the start of a new year Aussie educators! I expect most of you have now been at school for at least a day if not the majority of the week. Full of optimism? Full of hope? If you are a graduate, full of fear? Anticipation? Or full of something else…

I thought I’d kick off the year with a little bit of plagiarism, well not exactly. The link below was an interesting post I came across today and it got me thinking. Is this what we would actually want?

What If Classes were Structured like TED Talks?.

Whilst I believe there is some merit to the notion of presenting classrooms like TEDtalks I don’t think this blogger has extended the idea enough to comprehend the possibilities! or the problems. I doubt I will extend it that much further but here are a few things that popped into my mind as I read through:

– TEDtalks are generally well planned, researched, thought through, impactful, timed, inspirational, emotional, delivered with ‘punch’, and genuinely interesting.

– TEDtalks are concise around key points and although many are story-like in structure they usually have some very catchy messages or phrases that stick with you.

– TEDtalks are for the most part professionally done.

– TEDtalks are 18 minutes in length.

So… if every lesson we had with students contained 18 minutes of ‘teacher talk’ that had the same quality of preparation and delivery as Sir Ken Robinson (not that his actual presenting is all that exciting, it’s his key messages to educators that gets us tingling all over) then we would have the rest of the lesson to give students control over their learning! Engage in genuine inquiry, explore their own resources, discuss and collaborate over the key messages and findings of our presentation, actively seek out alternative sources of knowledge, and who knows… maybe create their own TEDtalk in response to a challenge we might set them as a demonstration of learning. So if every lesson was a TEDtalk then we’d be finished with the ‘teaching’ much sooner and then the students could get stuck into the ‘learning’.

Could you do it? Would you do it?

Good luck this year in what ever your learning adventures may bring!