Under the Bop It is my thesis. I haven’t written anything for a while and am finally now thinking about getting to it. Which is kind of a good if I actually want to finish the thing.
Reviewing the notes to go with it has been an interesting process. Particularly when tracking the changing attitude I have had towards effective educational leadership. I am increasingly thinking that part of the issue I have with writing it (going along with the train wreck which is/was my personal life) was that utopian view which much of the literature. When I say utopian, I am not talking about how they have a rosy picture of it all, rather than they see the issues with leadership in schools and the consequences of suck leadership on student outcomes, as something which may be “fixed” with some small shifts in educational thinking. I am not so convinced.
Keeping in mind that much of what I am about to write is me trying to get myself back into thinking in a more academic manner (it is holidays, and I have actually taken a bit of a break). If you are reading, then by all means respond, it gives me something to think about, but I am also at something of a crossroads with my teaching life, I am not sure if I want to continue it or not, but then that could be just a phase I am going through.
Putting together some of the threads which keep reoccurring for me for example attending the SMART Teachers conference in Sydney during the last stand down period. There was two days of workshops and presentations on using the latest technology in the classroom to assist student engagement. There were two excellent things which made it almost worthwhile. Firstly there was the key note address from Stephen Heppell who spoke about change within the classroom and using the learning spaces differently, the second was a presentation from David Christian about the Big History Project (watch the TED Talk, trust me). I left the conference feeling let down. Two days at the conference and I was engaged for two hours of the time. It was a waste for the most part, and it has taken me time to figure out why. There wasn’t the creativity in that space which I needed, there wasn’t the engagement, I was a student who needed to be engaged and they had failed miserably. But mostly, the changes which they key notes were talking about were things which need to be supported from the top, they were things which the departments of education, individual schools and most importantly school leaders needed to understand and see value in in order for them to happen. The organisers needed the wider crowd. Including the ones who are responsible for the budgets within schools so that when the teachers went back to their classrooms and started excitedly talking about what they wanted to do to change things for the better, they had an understanding of what that change actually was.
There are a lot of changes happening in schools, for all the “reforms” of the past, there are more coming in the future and all of them being seen through the prism of Australian Curriculum and the need to have testing evidence as a basis of decision making. While many of these changes are coming via the federal government some of them are school based, brought about by the changing nature of schools, including the introduction of autonomy and the increased pressure on budgets technology is bringing to an already stretched resourcing pool.
So I will continue to ponder this as I work my way through the Blue Box.