‘Teacher bashing’ Australia’s favourite sport?

So I’ve just finished reading yet another article that provides plenty of commentary about how shit (pardon my Australian) teachers are and the fundamental problems with our education system, yet in the same breath complain that we don’t have enough highly skilled professionals as teachers!?!

“Counting the cost of national maths failure”, The Australian, 6th December.

The article starts with an interesting and rather misleading graph depicting the ‘rapidly’ declining PISA scores for Australian students. I know that this style of writing ‘sells’ more papers but I wonder what kind of outburst there would be if the shoe was on the other foot… imagine if all teachers taught students that newspaper journalists were rubbish and were dumbing down the nation with their continual literary dribble, and that most of them were writing about things they weren’t formally trained to write about! hmmm… that’s actually an intriguing idea…

“The steady decline in mathematics performance in Australian schools has resulted, in turn, in a shortage of qualified maths teachers.” Really?!? Is this the root cause of the declining number of specialist teachers? Or maybe the once respected profession has been dragged through the mud once too often by the ever criticising media.

There is no easy answer for ‘fixing’ the declining levels of achievement in mathematics and anyone that thinks switching everything back to skill & drill rote learning is the way obviously missed the memo on 21st century learning.

Do you have the answer?

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Is blogging at school ok?

Should schools be footing the bill for our online time?

Sure! Why not?!… Heck no! Wasting taxpayers money!Hand on keyboard

Well is it really that simple? If I write a blog post during school hours, which I would say many people do, then who’s paying for my time and who’s benefitting from my blogging?

I suppose this reaches beyond just the blogosphere into most online personal social networking spaces. As technology in the classrooms becomes ubiquitous we are redefining our ‘average day’ to embed more and more creation and consumption of knowledge online. But is it all for work purposes? Should it be? Are online environments replacing the conversational chatter of the staff room, cause they most definitely aren’t all educational.

A couple of years ago the IT manager at my school sent out a usage stats list for Facebook’s website ranked in order of the number of hours it was opened on the end users computer… 3 of the top ten in that list were teaching staff (including number 1!). This may have been legitimate use for educational purposes… or it may not, who’s to know?

Should schools be monitoring this sort of behaviour and getting staff to justify their virtual timetables or should they embrace the collaboration that may stem from our meanderings through cyberspace? Tell me what you think…