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crisis of quality

September 14, 2014
P1020438

crisis of quality

Selected reference

Mockler, N. (2014). Simple solutions to complex problems: Moral panic and the fluid shift from ‘equity’ to ‘quality’ in education. In British Educational Research Association 2(1), pp. 2-29.

Education policy analysis: Global to local

September 14, 2014
SDRandCo (6)

Introduction

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This paper’s intention is to consider enactment of the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework as policy articulated at the micro level in our College’s Learning Area Operational Plan, in conjunction with the whole school’s Strategic Plan, within a broader global reform movement focused on quality teaching. Research has served to refine notions of what was previously termed excellence (Hattie, 2003) or teacher effectiveness (OECD, 2005) as crucial factors generating improved student achievement. Policy in this context is thus defined as

Text and action, words and deeds, what is enacted as well as intended (Ball, 1999, p. 10).

As an attendant concept, neoliberal themes enshrining choice, managerialism and marketisation have become apparent in the emergence of an educational audit culture and hyper-accountability (Barker, 2010). Despite stated best intentions embodied in the Melbourne Declaration, erosion of teacher professionalism and trust are undesirable outcomes of how aspects of this ideology feature in a policy ensemble which currently plays out in schools. Raised awareness to the global knowledge economy and a concomitant emphasis of 21st century skills may serve to reposition education as central to both policy and social change (Vidovich, 2014), yet how this is experienced in schools and classrooms can be seen as complex and, at times, contradictory to the stated intentions of teacher performance and development.

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In relation to this topic, I am a teacher practitioner as well as a school leader; as such, I have a line management responsibility to enact AITSL professional standards as a national policy for and with teachers in a collaborative learning community while undertaking performance and development, coaching and review processes. The local micro setting is a K-12 Independent Public School in Perth, Western Australia. My own performance and development is similarly measured against AITSL 360 degree feedback criteria, along with the College’s Strategic Plan which focuses on “High quality teaching and leadership”. In seeking to analyse this practice, our own enactment of policy at the micro level presents

a rather different, more diffuse view of policy as a process rather than a product, involving negotiation, contestation or struggle between different groups who may lie outside the formal machinery of official policy making (Ozga, 2000, p. 2).

While I am aware of current trends and research into social capital, emotional intelligence, wellbeing, positive psychology and happiness as alternative indices of success, achievement or effectiveness, the prevailing norm of quality teaching in my school context is glocalised, thus understood in relation to global trends emphasising competition and performance in measurable terms, as well as national and international research (Hattie, 2009; OECD, 2009). In an Independent Public School, performance review embodies a shift from centralised bureaucracy towards a devolved autonomy driven by new managerialism within the hierarchy of our College’s corporate leadership structure. While devolution espouses scope for autonomy and local differences in how policy is enacted, accountability measures ensure that teachers in schools experience the effects of performativity (Ball, 2003).

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To my mind, tensions exist between notions of quality in education as measured by the OECD on PISA tests or by ACARA in NAPLAN since these are scales of, respectively, international and national achievement based on ideologies of competition. Similarly, the Australian Curriculum serves to standardise achievement and, by association, quality teaching against scales published at the end of Year 12 in this state as league tables. These accountability structures serve to inform a mediatised, marketised and political understanding of quality in teaching practices which has replaced more traditional notions of a moral standard representative of common or public good (Reid, 2012). Education reform – prompting a ‘policy pandemic’ (Vidovich, 2009) – can therefore be seen as a concept underpinning both global standards for quality teaching since the 1980s, as well as a nationally defined concept reified in the Melbourne Declaration:

 Excellent teachers have the capacity to transform the lives of students and to inspire and nurture their development as learners, individuals and citizens (MCEETYA, 2008, p.11).

Focus areas for this paper are therefore broad, complex and abstract. Since the policy ensemble previously mentioned is largely top-down, framed globally and politically in terms of competition and excellence (Barber & Mourshed, 2007) and shrouded in terms of neoliberal practices which advocate lifelong learning as well as clear national definitions of Principal standards, where leaders

 have a key responsibility for developing a culture of effective teaching, for leading, designing and managing the quality of teaching and learning and for students’ achievement in all aspects of their development (AITSL, 2012, p. 9),

I discover myself occupying contested terrain (Ozga, 2000).

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My purpose undertaking performance and development processes while enacting our Learning Area Business Plan is to seek refinement through collaborative practice, and build capacity with others along with self-reflective practices which serve to define leadership as a function of openness, accountability and trust. In framing a postmodernist interpretation of education policy within a global marketised sphere, however, tensions become apparent (Ball, 1998). The localised experience of enactment illuminates policy incoherence amidst change.

Selected references

AITSL. (2011). National professional standards for principals. Retrieved September 11, 2014 http://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/nationalprofessionalstandardforprincipals_july25

AITSL. (2012). Australian teacher performance and development framework. Retrieved June 12, 2014 http://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/professional-growth-resources/performance-and-development-resources/australian_teacher_performance_and_development_framework_august_2012.pdf

Ball, S. (1999). Global trends in educational reform and the struggle for the soul of the teacher. London: Centre for Public Policy Research, King’s College.

Ball, S. (2003). The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity. In Journal of Education Policy 18 (2), pp. 215-228.

Barber, M. & Mourshed, M. (2007). How the world’s best performing school systems come out on top. London: McKinsey & Company.

Barker, B. (2010). Introduction – the dynamics of school reform. In The pendulum swings: Transforming school reform. Stoke on Trent, UK: Trentham Books, pp. 1-18.

Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers make a difference: What is the research evidence? paper presented to Australian Council for Educational Research Annual Conference. Melbourne, 19–21 October.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: Routledge.

Reid, A. (2012). Federalism, public education and the public good. Whitlam Institute: Perspectives. Retrieved July 5, 2014 http://www.whitlam.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/399624/Perspectives_7_-_Professor_Alan_Reid_AM.pdf

OECD (2005). Teachers matter: Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers. Retrieved September 12, 2014 http://www.oecd.org/education/school/34990905.pdf

OECD (2009). What makes a school successful? Retrieved September 12, 2014 http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/48852721.pdf

Ozga, J. (2000). Policy research in educational settings: Contested terrain. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Reid, A. (2012). Federalism, public education and the public good. Whitlam Institute: Perspectives. Retrieved July 5, 2014 http://www.whitlam.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/399624/Perspectives_7_-_Professor_Alan_Reid_AM.pdf

Vidovich, L. (2009). ‘You don’t fatten the pig by weighing it': Contradictory tensions in the ‘policy pandemic’ of accountability infecting education. In Simons, M., Olssen, M. & Peters, M.A. (Eds.) Re-reading education policies: A handbook studying the policy agenda of the 21st century. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Vidovich, L. (2014). Education policy trends: Global to local (EDUC 5658) – Topic 9. UWA course materials.

failing to notice

September 7, 2014
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failing to notice

 

Selected reference

Bottery, M. (2006). Education and globalization: redefining the role of the educational professional. In Educational Review 58(1), pp. 95-113.

examining trust

September 7, 2014
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oldphoto Youth Out Loud

An excess of sequins generated the retinal burn of Famous Sharron’s (the second r is silent) frock last night centre stage at the finals of the 2014 Youth Out Loud speaking competition.

Our college representative, student JC, came second in his division. Improvements/ progress noted in JC’s journey:

  • Stood tall without fidgeting
  • memorised palm cards
  • learnt from his big sister’s coaching efforts at home, and
  • spoke eloquently in the 2 minute impromptu on the topic

What human quality does the world need more of?

JC inspired about hope. Others addressed happiness and trust. Interesting choices for 15 year olds.

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Gives me another lens with which to filter my critical analysis of trust in the workplace as I evaluate education policy trends for uni.

Here’s my assignment outline:

PURPOSE: This paper will consider enactment of the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework policy at the micro level within the broader global context of focus on quality teaching as a means to achieve improved student achievement through neoliberal practices including audit culture and hyper-accountability. Tensions exist between notions of quality in education as measured by the OECD on PISA tests or by ACARA in NAPLAN since these are scales of, respectively, international and national achievement based on ideologies of a competitive market economy running counter to moral purpose/ investment in public good. Erosion of teacher professionalism and trust are undesirable outcomes of how ideology and policy currently play out in schools.

Influences – global to local contexts:

  • 1980s neoliberalism and educational reform pandemic
  • from bureaucracy to managerialism
  • 21st century skills
  • Globalisation & the knowledge society
  • Mediatisation
  • Federalism
  • Welfare state -> individualism
  • Tensions between autonomy and recentralization/ devolution – IPS eg online budget/ funding model
Post-war – doing more with less – Rethinking educational reform

(Goldspink, 2007)

Hyper accountability – Pendulum (Barker, 2010) & Taking context seriously (Braun et al 2011)

The neoliberal cascade& education (Connell, 2013)

- Policy as numbers  (Lingard, 2011)

Bottery, 2006

Marginson, 2010

- Perspectives on Globalisation (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010)

- Big Policies/ Small World (Ball, 1998)

- Education, Change & Society (Connell et al, 2010)

Policy text production: Devolution/ steerage from afar

  • performance management
  • peer review
  • observations
  • evaluations
  • testing regimes
  • published school results perceived as league tables
  • moderated assessments
  • reporting processes
  • teacher quality measured by and against

AITSL standards (Vidovich, 2014).

- Raising the Stakes (Klenowski, 2012)

- Teacher professional identity (Sachs, 2001)

Restructuring – from government to governance (Lingard, 2011, p. 366)

OECD, PISA

Barber & Mourshed – How the World’s Most Improved School Systems keep getting better

Melbourne Declaration

– How Good? Quality/ Equity (McGaw, 2008)

ACARA – Australian Curriculum; competitive – global knowledge society

What is quality teaching? Problematic

- Governing Education through data (Ozga, 2009)

AITSL insights: Evaluation of the Implementation of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers>>

  • Compliance-based, top-down, surveillance approach to the implementation process
    – Misinterpretation of the Standards
    – Difficulty in ensuring and encouraging teachers to engage with the Standards in the context of other significant national reforms such as the Australian Curriculum (AITSL, 2014, p. 10).

– The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity (Ball, 2003)

Practices/effects:

  • Deprivatised practice vs surveillance
  • Self-reflection vs assessment against standards
  • Enactment vs implementation
  • Performance vs compliance

Argyris & Schon, 1974

How this policy ensemble plays out in an IPS – micro level

AITSL teacher standards

Performance & Development policy vs review practices

Forced compliance & coercion

Audit culture – Audit explosion (Power, 2011)

Federalism, public education & the public good (Reid, 2012)

Outcomes – wider & longer term issues of equity & social justice:

  • Neoliberalism = audit culture + deprofessionalisation
  • Trust erodes/ suspicion & mistrust permeate
  • Low morale
  • Attrition
  • Pervasive fear

Challenge of leading with a moral purpose –

Rethinking Schools & School Leadership (Davies, 2002)

 

Balance required!

Global trends in educational reform and the struggle for the soul of the teacher (Ball, 1999)

- Simple Solutions to complex problems (Mockler, 2014) Intelligent accountability

 

Ball – Teacher Professionalism/ authenticity (Simons et al 2009)

– The Leadership of Learning Communities in a Culture of Unhappiness (Bottery, 2010)

- Trust in Organisations (Kramer & Tyler, 1996)

Sitkin, S.B. & Stickel, D. (1996). The road to hell: The dynamics of distrust in an era of quality. In Kramer, R.M. & Tyler, T.R. (Eds). Trust in organizations: Frontiers of theory and research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

My reference list is still an incomplete work-in-progress owing to

  • rushing to a study retreat in New Norcia with Stage 3 English students this weekend
  • difficulty saving the table above in WordPress
  • losing track of updates – frustration – until a partial success retrieved citations from auto-save….

P1020765

Selected references

AITSL. (2012). Australian teacher performance and development framework. Retrieved June 12, 2014 http://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/professional-growth-resources/performance-and-development-resources/australian_teacher_performance_and_development_framework_august_2012.pdf

AITSL. (2014). Evaluation of the implementation of the Australian professional standards for teachers: Interim report. The University of Melbourne: Graduate School of Education. Retrieved September 6, 2014 http://www.appa.asn.au/president/AITSL-Evaluation-Standards-for-Teachers-Interim-Report.pdf

Argyris, C. & Schon, D.A. (1974). Theory in practice: Increasing professional effectiveness. San Francisco: Jossey –Bass Publishers.

Bottery, M. (2003). The management and mismanagement of trust. Educational Management Administration & Leadership 31(3). Retrieved July 21, 2004 from http://ema.sagepub.com/content/31/3/245

Bottery, M. (2006). Education and globalization: redefining the role of the educational professional. In Educational Review 58(1), pp. 95-113.

Goldspink, C. (2007). Rethinking educational reform: A loosely coupled and complex systems perspective. In Educational Management Administration & Leadership35(1), pp. 27-50.

Jensen, B. & Reichl, J. (2012). Implementing a performance and development framework. Grattan Institute. Retrieved August 24, 2014 http://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/implementing_a_performance_and_development_framework_-_grattan_-_feb_2012

Lingard, B. (2011). Policy as numbers: ac/counting for educational research. In Australian Educational Research 38(4), pp. 355-382.

McGaw, B. (2008). How good is Australian school education? In Marginson, S. & James, R. Education, science and public policy: Ideas for an education revolution. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, pp. 53-77.

Mockler, N. (2014). Simple solutions to complex problems: Moral panic and the fluid shift from ‘equity’ to ‘quality’ in education. In British Educational Research Association 2(1), pp. 2-29.

Sitkin, S.B. & Stickel, D. (1996). The road to hell: The dynamics of distrust in an era of quality. In Kramer, R.M. & Tyler, T.R. (Eds). Trust in organizations: Frontiers of theory and research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Vidovich, L. (2009). ‘You don’t fatten the pig by weighing it': Contradictory tensions in the ‘policy pandemic’ of accountability infecting education. In Simons, M., Olssen, M. & Peters, M.A. (Eds.) Re-reading education policies: A handbook studying the policy agenda of the 21st century. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Vidovich, L. (2014). Education policy trends: Global to local (EDUC 5658) – Topic 9. UWA course materials.

assessing the quality

August 31, 2014
P1010184

assessing the quality

Selected reference

Yates, L. (2012). My School, My University, My Country, My World, My Google, Myself…What is education for now? The Australian Association for Research in Education, 39, pp. 259-274. Retrieved August 30, 2014 http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/663/art%253A10.1007%252Fs13384-012-0062-z.pdf?auth66=1409550338_58c4cadaf1d992c03c3fdc20ac79c62e&ext=.pdf

policy gap

August 31, 2014
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Wednesday’s athletics carnival showcased exuberant community spirit at our K-12 College. Later that evening, a Year 10 entrant in the Youth Out Loud competition held at the Midland Arts Centre won his way through to next week’s finals with a 6 minute speech on music and technology.

How did he get through such a long, eventful day? Student JC admitted that he had managed to squeeze in a sleep on the new sofas in our cyber cafe space. Did I know – he asked me - that the sofas flatten into beds?

Well, yes, the Humanities team decided to purchase 4 sofa beds as part of our annual budget submission. Funky and functional, even if the flat pack assembly proved challenging…

GouacheOval.jpg

 

Made me appreciate that there’s often a gap between stated purpose/ intention and end-use/ outcome. Similarly, teaching-learning as a process is both complex and dynamic, thus not useful to consider only in a formulaic sense, reduced to curriculum, guidelines, final test scores or stated policy alone.

Also, policies are understood (or not) within diverse contexts.

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As a lived, enacted practice imbued with emotions which serve to glue relationships at the local or micro level in schools, classrooms, and on sportsfields, a plethora of policy is mediated by actors who seek to resolve anxiety arising from

…concerns about the future, and of the need for schools to do something different in preparation for a future that is different from the past (Yates, 2012, p.266).

No wonder the OECD maintains that teacher status is dependent on innovation and research (Vidovich, 2014); thus, high quality teaching is seen as equipping

students with the competencies they need to become active citizens and workers in the 21st century. [Teachers] need to personalize learning experiences to ensure that every student has a chance to succeed and to deal with increasing cultural diversity in their classrooms and differences in learning styles. They also need to keep up with innovations in curricula, pedagogy and the development of digital resources (OECD, 2011, Foreword).

To assist in specifying and evaluating teacher quality, much of the research focuses on attraction and retention of the best graduates with the problematic underlying assumption being that the most able students “make the best teachers“, whereas students acknowledge the importance of subject knowledge to quality teaching, along with pedagogy, relationships, and an ability to make learning fun (Graham, 2014).

Is it possible to measure these qualities on a scale?

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Investment in ongoing professionalism is seen as vital in order to ensure teachers are

equipped with subject-matter knowledge and an evidence- and standards-based repertoire of pedagogical skills that are demonstrably
effective in meeting the developmental and learning needs of all students for whom they have responsibility – regardless of students’ backgrounds and intake characteristics, and whether or not they experience learning difficulties (Ingvarson & Rowe, 2007, p. 2).

In a period of rapid global educational reform driven by

  • neoliberalism
  • privatisation
  • marketisation, and
  • school choice policies (Vidovich, 2014),

where funding sources have swung away from supporting notions of public good (Reid, 2012), and the Gonski Review has been rejected by a federal government intent on managing change efficiently, devising viable means of sustaining as a practitioner within this macro level context seems far more complicated than enacting AITSL standards or undertaking Performance & Development may suggest.

Is it any wonder that since the 1980s we have been witnessing a steady erosion of morale and trust, along with spiking points of fear in the embrace of hyper-accountability?

Then again, as I return to my earlier carnival vignette, and the insight shared by student JC about the suitability and comfort of our school facilities: A counter-discourse of hope, care, commitment and passion emerges in relationships (Hargreaves, 2001). We just need to be open to these possibilities with others in our schools.

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There is, after all, a continual opportunity for us to operate in the praxis which we cultivate, and – from this vantage point, together – the policy gap presents as a potential s-p-a-c-e or landscape in which to build trust and make sense or meaning.

Selected references

Graham, L.J. (2014). ATAR scores only part of the picture for teaching. The Conversation. Retrieved August 30, 2014 http://theconversation.com/atar-scores-only-part-of-the-picture-for-teaching-28445

Hargreaves, A. (2001). Emotional geographies of teaching. Teachers College: Columbia University. Retrieved August 30, 2014 http://ww2.faulkner.edu/o/admin/websites/jfarrell/emotional%20geographies%20of%20teaching.pdf

Ingvarson, L. & Rowe, K. (2007). Conceptualising and evaluating teacher quality: Substantive and methodological issues. Australian Council for Educational Research. Retrieved August 30, 2014 http://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1007&context=learning_processes

OECD. (2011). Building a High-Quality Teaching Profession: Lessons from around the World. OECD Publishing. Retrieved August 31, 2014 http://www.oecd.org/edu/school/programmeforinternationalstudentassessmentpisa/buildingahigh-qualityteachingprofessionlessonsfromaroundtheworld.htm

Reid, A. (2012). Federalism, public education and the public good. Whitlam Institute: Perspectives. Retrieved July 5, 2014 http://www.whitlam.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/399624/Perspectives_7_-_Professor_Alan_Reid_AM.pdf

Vidovich, L. (2014). Education policy trends: Global to local (EDUC 5658) – Topic 9. UWA course materials.

Yates, L. (2012). My School, My University, My Country, My World, My Google, Myself…What is education for now? The Australian Association for Research in Education, 39, pp. 259-274. Retrieved August 30, 2014 http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/663/art%253A10.1007%252Fs13384-012-0062-z.pdf?auth66=1409550338_58c4cadaf1d992c03c3fdc20ac79c62e&ext=.pdf

Path ahead ~ vigilance

August 24, 2014
P1010957

vigilance

Selected reference

Wheatley, M.J. (2012). So far from home: Lost and found in our brave new world. Berrett-Koehler: San Francisco, CA.

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