Alpha Next Gen Presentation

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  • Education: A Contested Enterprise

    Alpha Plus Next Gen Taskforce

    15 January 2009Nick Hitchen Falcons School for Girls

  • The Alpha Gold Standard

  • The Common Sense Discourse

  • (The Times; 6/12/08, reader comment)My son is 4 years old & it is my intention for him to go to private school when he is 11. This will involve living in a smaller house, but I am happy to do this for the benefits he will get. Smaller classes, access to a variety of sports, languages & good old fashioned non-PC teaching!

  • Typology of Ideologies in EducationIndividual (progressive)Knowledge (traditional)Society (egalitarianism & elitism)

  • Teacher X & Teacher Y

    X externally motivates pupils through controlling actions


    encourage intrinsic motivation through self-development


  • I.Q.

    Innate, immutable ability

  • Cognitive Developmental TheoryIntellectual & moral development as sequential(Piaget)

  • Constructivism(Vygotsky)People make their own sense of things in a unique wayNeed to give learners responsibility for their own learning

  • Metacognition

  • Learning StylesLearning ApproachesLearning StyleLearning StrategyLearning Preferences

  • Learning StylesHoward GardenerV.A.KSternberg: analytical, creative & practicalEmotional IntelligenceBuzan MindMapsLeft / Right Brain

  • Personalised LearningThe purpose of education for all children is the same; the goals are the same. But the help that individual children need in progressing towards them will be different.(Warnock)

  • Sociological perspectiveDevelopment of basic skillsSocialisationSocial control / social orderPreparing for work

  • The Fear!Pupil-centered, discursive pedagogy seesdegree of control pass to the pupils...

  • Political context (with a small p)Neo-liberalism Choice and competitionNeo-conservatism Uphold traditional values

  • Experiments

  • Continual ConflictNo correct answerInteraction between competing ideologiesTension between neo-liberal and neo-conservatismGold Standard permission to experiment

  • Questions????Is education a process?Is education a product to be consumed?What does education involve?Where does education take place?

    Conflicting claims Society & individualVocational & liberalEconomic & humanitarianWhat education is for & what it isElitism & egalitarianism

    In short - between the possible & the desirable; between reality & idealism

    Our children leave primary school in pitiful ignorance because teachers remain committed to half-baked notions.Chris Woodhead

    Common-sense can represent theory as being quite distinct from practice; however, this common-sense view is a view of how things are and - as with all theories - represents a particular way of looking at the world.Question of self-determination and teacher control

    Ideologies which emphasize the individual - progressive; child-centered. Emphasis on learning process - individual development with the needs and interests of the learner being central. Discovery and experimentation at the heart

    Ideologies with emphasis on knowledge - arranged in subjects - conservatism and traditionalismLearner is under close supervision in the early stages & only becomes more autonomous when reaching the higher levels of academic study

    Tension - v. relevant to our schools - between setting by ability to allow the able to progress fully and not appearing to be elitist

    How much of an individuals character and ability is due to genetic inheritance (nature) & how much to genetic & environmental factors (nurture)?I.Q. individual differences conceptualised as differences in intelligence as measured by IQ testsFrench gov. - intelligence test was devised for the practical purpose of determining how well a child might do at school.I.Q. still used in London Day Schools to indicate potential (Child, 2004 - 115 threshold for grammar 11+); narrow nature of 7+, 11+, 13+ encourage a narrow perception of a childs abilities.

    Piaget - cognitive growth driven by internal desire to understand the world

    Child moves through stages of thinking - rigid model - e.g. 11+ fits with idea with stage at which children were thought to begin abstract or formal operations

    Crit: view of child as a system of developing logic, not as a social, emotional human being.

    Constructivism places little or less emphasis on the role of instruction; rather, the teacher creates situations which facilitate individuals constructing their own knowledge.

    Emphasis on social talk - talk as a learning tool. Essentially, if pupils discuss with others what new ideas/problems mean to them, further thinking is generated with more complex links between ideas afforded.

    Bruner - teacher & student engages in active dialogue, asking questions and testing hypotheses. Teacher guides by asking focused questions or providing appropriate methodsInfluence of social-constructivist ideas v. strong amongst teachers, but the notion of a single measurable intelligence still powerful in our common sense discourseThe process of coming to know ones learning strategies, or learning to learn

    Emphasis on critical thinking through games & simulations, problem-solving tasks, study skills, collaborative thinking and experimental thinking.Gardner - influential - offers an alternative to the view of intelligence as unitary and stable, encouraging a focus on developing individual capabilities to their highest potential. Easy to see how M.I. gained currency at a common-sense level because people often display particular talents or tendencies.

    Sternberg: schools undervalue creativity and think it is no different to general intelligence

    Diverse range of classroom approaches, resources, teaching styles and assessment media such that every child has access to the learning.

    V.A.K. - assesible tool - Thats been V.A.K-edProblems:Theorists can engage in polar opposites; Attempts to characterise different types of learning or voation too precisely.

    Influence of social-constructivist ideas v. strong amongst teachers, but the notion of a single measurable intelligence still powerful in our common sense discourse

    Differentiation, personalised, tailored learning - but how does this sit with the notion of a strict curriculum?Differeing positions on human condition. These kead to alternative visions of what is desirable and humanly possible in the organisation of society; tendency to present these as polar opposites

    How we as individual teachers view content and competition pedagogical methods will, in turn, be linked to how you see the purpose of what you are involved in.Children gain places at their preferred destination school or university.How can we gain a fresh perspective? Understand the political context. At heart is the amalgam of conservative (with a small c ideologies) that shape public policy since the 1970s both here and in the Western world, regardless of party affiliation.

    Neo-liberals - importance of a free-market economy which involves freedom of choice for consumers and producers with the minimum of state interference.

    Neo-liberals talk of choice and competition, neo-conservatives advocate traditional values & traditional subjects.

    V.A.K.MetacognitionSocial-constructist approachNeo-conservative curriculumGlobal dimension (Web 2.0)