A recipe for good schools
What makes a good school?
As part of Stuff's relaunched School Report NCEA and National Standards data project, we've asked what you think makes a good school. Here's reader Peter Corlet's list.
I am a teacher of over 30 years' experience, and I am appalled by the direction current government policy is driving New Zealand education.
We need a minister of education who will engage, listen to, and work with the people at the "chalkface" instead of someone who imposes the current "silver bullet" ideas associated with the Global Education Reform Movement.
The key factors of a good school should be:
1) Students who like being at school, who have an expectation they can learn.
b) Students who are socially adept and able to work cooperatively with their peers.
c) A broad curriculum which goes beyond the reading/writing/maths focus of National Standards.
d) A well respected teaching workforce where teachers, principals, support staff are well-supported by parents and the community. It is a home/school partnership. Make teacher training entry requirements higher and lift the status of teachers.
Make a teaching degree of equal status to a subject degree. It is ridiculous to have someone with a three-year B.Ed focused on teaching practice being of less value than someone with a subject degree and six weeks' teacher training, as is the current case.
e) Less testing more teaching. More time for teaching because of less documentation required.
f) Class sizes of no more than 25 so teachers have time for seeing individual children.
g) Adequate release time for teachers to do testing and marking so they can tailor teaching to student needs.
h) Good resources for technology, science, art and sports gear, and so on.
i) Low school fees to make participation affordable.
j) Adequate support services and resource teachers such as RTLits, RTLBs, Social Workers and Counselors in schools.
k) Well-researched, evidence-based rationals for educational improvement.
l) Adopting the approach to education used in Finland instead of adopting failed policies from other countries (National Standards - in England many children are sitting the tests more than once each year so students can have a greater chance of passing, and the school will look better on league tables; charter schools that take money away from state schools).
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