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15374261 - Jakob van de Wiel - EDU4CCE - Assessment Task 1: The Contexts and Directions of Australian Education.

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Transcript of 15374261 - Jakob van de Wiel - EDU4CCE - Assessment Task 1: The Contexts and Directions of Australian Education.

Global Philosophical Economic and Industrial Social and Historical Jakob van de Wiel - 15374261 The Contexts and Directions of Australian Education Economic and Political Future Directions References and suggested further reading Australia likes to think of itself as a classless society. But power and wealth hierarchies and social differences exist, (influenced by gender, ethnicity, immigration, the urban/rural divide). Socioeconomic status is an important determinant of a student's approach to and success in learning; poor students have the highest rate of academic failure. Education provides crucial opportunities for social and economic mobility, particularly in a widely diverse multicultural society; apart from its Indigenous people, Australia is a nation of migrants, with a post-World War II spike in European migration, then from Asia and more recently the Middle East and Africa. In the mid-19th century, Karl Marx pointed out the power and wealth imbalance between industrialized Europe’s new classes, the capitalists and the workers. Poor families could rarely afford to educate their children (child labour wages were needed and education was too costly), unlike the middle classes, whose ‘habitus’ (Pierre Bourdieu) instilled in their children the advantages of education, including to accumulate cultural capital. School attendance only became compulsory in Australia in the 1870s (Education Acts) whereupon secular and free education became available, at least to the end of primary school for working-class students. Prior to the Education Acts, these students’ schools were either small, inexpensive and private, or local and church-based. The 1960s to the late 1980s (particularly the 1970s Whitlam Federal Government) saw more equitable provisions for disadvantaged students, including for Indigenous Australians, increased school funding and no-fees tertiary education. The Karmel Report (Schools in Australia: report of the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission, May 1973) brought in the Commonwealth Schools Commission. But by the late 1990s, neoliberal federal and state governments effectively reduced government school funding in poor, struggling areas: widening gap between the privileged and the disadvantaged classes; long-term reduction of funding to government schools, plus pressure on middle-class parents to enter the ‘user-pay’ education system seeking better academic success for their children, plus a focus on selective testing and scores, plus pressure in the job market (fewer government jobs available, while private sector employment is unstable) result in schools being divided along class lines (Campbell, 2010). In effect, a return to earlier days of having poor students in schools of their own, with learning problems associated with disadvantage and marginalization. Karl Marx – mid-19th Century early industrialism inequitably pitted the capitalists against the workers. Max Weber, in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, noted the importance of economics to social identity. Up to the early 1970s, working class youth could still find low-skilled employment, including in industry. By the mid-1970s recession, the job market contracted, particularly for youth (Campbell, 2010, p.93). This impacted on schools; pressure to retain students for longer (for training for new work available and to reduce unemployment rates) while, in late 1990s, facing reduced spending on public education by neoliberal Australian governments. While the new knowledge industry is growing, employment opportunity and income for working-class and clerical employees have declined in Australia (Groundwater-Smith et al. 2009, p.9). Economic insecurity and instability is increasing. Australia is affected by e.g. the GFC, bankrupt EU countries and alternative cheap labour sources in the developing world, including Asia. Governments like Australia's are increasingly turning to education to ameliorate economic problems, as a training ground to fit the needs of industry and the workplace; additional focus on creating suitable workers rather than independent thinkers for global and local citizenship. The Teaching Profession A complex profession; a highly influential,responsible and wide-ranging vocation. An ageing workforce (Groundwater-Smith et al., 2009, pp. 41, 48). Women make up the majority of the profession, but hold fewer senior positions – average male salaries are greater than women’s (Vick, 2004, p. 87). Involves ever-longer hours of work; e.g. with IT, students may expect instant and 24-hour contact with teachers. Need to be aware of a plethora of regulatory bodies, including the Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA)
and teacher registration boards that maintain teacher standards (Vick, 2004, p. 93). For last twenty years, conservative government industrial legislation has resulted in enterprise bargaining and individual contracts, while conversely demanding deeper commitment to teaching; all leading to employment insecurity. Strong teachers’ unions continue to campaign for improved recognition of their professionalism, including through better work conditions and salary. Education is crucially affected by the shifting fundamental political ideology of governments in recent decades:-Neoliberalism; private, individual, small-government VS. Communitarianism; Communal, inclusive, universal public good. For over twenty years (late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries), neoliberalist government policies for education in many Anglo-American democracies, including Australia, (Welch, 2010, p.241) have resulted in a poorer future for youth. Public welfare safety net reductions and an increase in a prison-industrial approach commodify youth and treat the dispossessed as inferior, a liability and disposable; e.g. former Colorado Governor Bill Owens called youth a “virus…let loose upon the culture” (Quoted in Giroux, 2010, p. 72). Teaching students critical pedagogy fosters engagement with democratic principles for equitable common good (Giroux, 2010). Education is not simply to train people for work. Australia’s modern neoliberal governments include the former Victorian Kennett government that attacked and neglected government education including by closing many functioning schools, selling off their valuable assets for private development, reducing teacher numbers, increasing class sizes and demonizing teachers. Caused a massive shift of students out of government schools to the private system (‘user pays’), impoverishing government education academically, socially and financially. Non-government schools continue to make up a notable proportion of Australian schools. Current conservative Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu strips funds to government schools and reneges on his election promise to encourage and reward Victorian teachers by making them the best paid in Australia. He faces voter displeasure and teacher backlash, including substantial industrial action. The conservative NSW government is reducing education spending to government schools and TAFEs by $1.7 billion over the next 4 years, from 2012. Apprentices at TAFEs face large fee increases. The Queensland conservative government has cut education funds in real terms, by $400 million yearly for four years. Australian spending per capita on education is already substantially less than the OECD average for public education (Job, 2012). Federal governments are steadily gaining greater control of education from the states e.g. national teaching standards, national curriculum, NAPLAN, accreditation of teacher education courses (Groundwater-Smith et al, 2009, pp. 1-2). The current Gillard Federal government and Schools Education Minister Peter Garrett are continuing ex-Prime Minister Rudd’s efforts to remedy the former Howard government’s legacy of reduced government school support (including the SES model); including through the $14.1 billion Building the Education Revolution, $2 billion Digital Education Revolution and funding more preschool and university places. The current Federal Government is working to strike a balance between educating the whole student for self-knowledge and active, life-long engagement in society, versus the greater pressure to educate for the job market, as urged by employer-based factions (Welch, 2010, Marginson, 1993). The more important of recent Federal reviews and reports include the Gonski review that recommends a long-term approach to the impact on student achievement by poor socio-economic circumstances; for Australian students to rank among the world’s top five nations by 2025, government funding increase to schools is needed of $5 billion per year on a needs basis; now increased to $6.5 billion, to include independent schools. The National Plan for School Improvement (over 6 years, from 2014) includes: imposing higher teaching standards and more reviews; each school to have a parent-teacher determined student results improvement plan; increased Principal autonomy for budgets and staff hire; a Safe School Plan for each school, to combat bullying; extended after-hours care (including homework clubs). NAPLAN - national testing for student literacy and numeracy, with a view to boosting funding to struggling schools. However, the curriculum can narrow to ‘teach’ to the test, and can disengage students (Browne, 2012). Political anxiety occurs if Australia's NAPLAN and PISA (OECD) scores do not steadily improve, or if decline even by only a small margin (e.g. 2012 NAPLAN results). (Browne, 2012) Victorian DEEECD June 2012 discussion paper, “New Directions for School Leadership and the Teaching Profession”, proposes improving student performance by ameliorating teacher excellence by attracting high quality potential teachers. AUS VELS and a new national curriculum for overhaul of core subjects like History and English; replace SOSE with specific subjects, including History (Australian and global) (Taylor, 2012). More managerialism; government insistence on accountability and on seeing tangible results; for example, proposals to pay teachers according to students’ academic results. But what will happen to the ‘hard to teach’ students? Increased decentralization of education (termed GERM – Global Education Reform Movement - by Finland’s Director-General of Education) promoted by organizations such as the OECD, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (Welch, 2010, pp. 261-263). Australian political and economic engagement with Asia encourages Australian governments to (unfavourably) compare their education models and results with that region's successes, although they are embedded in a different historical and socio-economic ethos with a longer and broader commitment to quality universal education. Myriad philosophical approaches have influenced the evolution of Australian education and schools and of the concept of the student. The more important ones, particularly those that have contributed to the development of constructivism, include: Post-Reformation educational pioneer, Jan Komensky (Comenius) (1592-1670), Enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) and, later, Johann Pestalozzi (1746-1827); suggest using the innate goodness of children to foster their spontaneous, natural inquisitiveness in their environment, and their ongoing psychological development to build deep understandings and successfully process new information; contrary to the traditional approach that children are born inherently evil (child depravity theory) and tutors need to beat it out of them. This enlightened philosophy informed subsequent relevant theories, including Idealist Friedrich Froebel's (1782-1852), who created kindergartens as places for children to start formal learning in a safe and caring milieu that encouraged creativity. Later, a similar approach was taken by Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Meanwhile, Herbert Spencer’s (1820-1903) Social Darwinian and utilitarian-inflected education theories fused concepts of social harmony, physical and mental well-being with economic benefit, that still resonate with Australian educational government approaches. Aspects of Darwin’s theory of evolution appealed to pragmatist John Dewey (1859-1952) who championed collaborative group work to promote student social development and understandings; students solve problems through experience, facilitated by teacher-provided guidance. Jean Piaget’s (1896-1980) cognitive development hypothesis basis; children learn in stages of the world around them by actively exploring and experimenting in it, building on their established knowledge (constructivism, later taken up by postmodernism). Piaget’s theory of how children think and learn had substantial impact on liberating modern educational procedures used for young children, as did Gardner's multiple intelligences theories that encouraged catering for the different ways children learn (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek, & Vocke, 2010, Gardner, 1993). According to Paulo Freire (1921-1997), teaching does not involve filling an empty vessel (the student) with information (“banking”), but entering into an energetic dialogue with the student, situating meaningful learning in her life circumstances and enhancing critical consciousness. This encourages thinking that challenges unfair practices; an important poststructuralist pedagogical approach, particularly relevant for poor, dispossessed or oppressed people. It questions categorizations and assumptions of identity established through class, race, ethnicity or gender, constructed through discourses of power and language (Foucault, 1991). Ivan Illich (1926-2002) similarly disagreed with rigid curriculum requirements that failed to engage the student in questioning her world (Groundwater-Smith et al, 2009, p. 27). Henry Giroux (1943-present); empower underprivileged students with the right consciousness-raising knowledge and critical faculties for a more humane and equitable world. He urges resistance to modern neoliberal economic philosophies and the current harsh economic and political climate, including the commodification of education. Globalization; the changing of the world “into a shared social space by economic and technological forces” such that action in one part of the world deeply affects lives in another part (Held, 1999, p. 1). It brings about an international distribution of money and power that virtually ignores borders and relies on a free-trade ethos; e.g., transnational corporations control “two in every three dollars of world trade” (Bagnall, 2010, p 365). This reduces a nation’s autonomous sovereignty, virtually replaced by powerful and interdependent transnational networks of trade, finance and production. This advantages wealthy countries’ trade (like Australia’s) over that of poor countries, who fall into greater debt (Bagnall, 2010, pp. 361, 363-364). The results of workforce deregulation, loss of low skilled manufacturing jobs to cheaper off-shore labour sources, and the rise of the global new knowledge industry; Australian students remain at school longer and need better training for new types of employment, particularly in the service, technology and new knowledge industries (Groundwater-Smith et al, 2009). More students take up tertiary studies (also as employers want more qualified workers) with the concomitant HECS debt burden. To aid its global economic competitiveness, Australia compares, links and standardizes its educational systems and programs with those of other nations, such as through OECD and TIMSS global academic indicators (Bagnall 2010, p. 371). Growing Australian interest in and implementation of the globally recognized International Baccalaureate; teachers learn to teach this curriculum instead of an Australian one; it attracts international students, making it economically appealing; it provides Australian students with international qualifications; and it trains teachers for overseas international schools, expanding their employment choices. Global issues also generate a more diverse Australian curriculum; e.g., the Australian Government’s 2007 Educating for a Sustainable Future: A National Environmental Education Statement for Schools to teach students global and local environmental sustainability and conservation. Innovative teaching approaches need be constantly formulated and applied, due to prevalent global mass media, pressure on youth from popular culture, and instantaneous and limitless access to information through new and constantly evolving digital revolution technologies. The teacher is no longer the sole or main source of information; Australian students must learn to autonomously and creatively access, filter, critically assess and reflect upon new material (Beers, 2011, Greenspan 2000). “Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time” (Old Hebrew Proverb). Ongoing rapid technological, social, economic and political changes directly influence and pressure Australian education to keep adapting. For example, teachers must increasingly motivate and guide learning in the interactive, digital classroom, and teach students how to apply globally and readily available information. Ideally, must balance the pressure on Australia to satisfy increasingly globalized economic demands, technological interconnectedness and to standardize education to an international norm, with the nurturing of students into engaged and valued citizens of their increasingly diverse community, whether local or global; invest appropriately in our young. Australian students (including recently-arrived migrants from diverse backgrounds, remote Indigenous Australians and other marginalized and disadvantaged groups) must learn new techniques for their uncertain world; to communicate effectively; to discover, retrieve and collate information from multiple, instantaneous, global sources; to work collaboratively in a multicultural world; and to respond with adaptability, flexibility, independent inquisitiveness and healthy scepticism. (Every year, five million gigabytes of new information is produced globally) (Wagner, 2010, Abbott & MacTaggart, 2010, pp.3, 6-8, Beers, 2011). Societal anxiety about reduced community mutual respect and tolerance and of the trashing and dumbing down of the public good can help be alleviated by teaching students respectful, dignified, inclusive and collaborative social techniques in the classroom (Crooks, 2012). Australian government education strategies to attempt to correct social and economic imbalances must consider the OECD’s latest PISA scale for numeracy, literacy and science (in which Australian students ranked equal eighth in the world) that shows that the space between Australia’s top and bottom students is wider than that in most other countries. The Australian government must recognize that education is a major force in helping disadvantaged students better realize their full potential and contribute their citizen and worker talents and skills to the future. This also reduces the likelihood of disaffected, angry and destructive civil rebellion. Dietrich Bonhoffer; the moral fibre of a community is best found in the way it treats its children. Must include improving Indigenous living standards through education (Egan, 2008, pp. 31-32). To safeguard their civic future, students need to learn to confront ideologies that aim to strip away their hard-won democratic entitlements and rights (Giroux, 2010, Derrida, 2004, Bauman, 2001). As the Delors Report to UNESCO (1996) proposed, in Twenty-first Century education students need to “learn…to live together…[and] to be” (Delors, 1996). Improve Australia's connection with its Asian neighbours, as US power wanes, including through enhancement of Federal government initiatives to reintroduce Asian language programs in schools. Perhaps Australia may look to Finland's education model, for best all-round student results that also rank highly in literacy and numeracy: Finland conducts no national testing; its schools are connected to the local community and receive full government financial support; education is an essentially social, not political, issue; teachers are highly qualified, esteemed, well paid and choose their own teaching style; the school determines its own curriculum for a complete education; with such autonomy and outside the restrictions of repeated standardized testing, teachers can best develop confident, fulfilled, inquisitive and broad thinkers. (Sahlberg, 2012, MacTaggart, 2010, Cervini, 2012). In future, Australian teachers will need to be better valued for their vocation: reduce the unrealistic onus placed on them for educating and raising students; accept this is a whole-community responsibility; reduce time-wasting incessant accountability and reporting; trust that schools have their students' best interests at heart; allow greater teacher autonomy to decide and implement strategies to bring all students to meaningful, optimum learning (Sapon-Shevin 2010); enhance ongoing professional learning and development throughout the teaching career. Improve selection of candidates for teaching, ensuring an enhanced vocational approach; to this end, a “Teach Next" (Teacher Select) system is being developed and trialled in Melbourne, for the Federal Education Department. Provide appropriate school funding, and teacher salary and conditions; test-results’ based bonuses are unhelpful. Educators of different political persuasions agree that quality teachers cost more (Dunn, 2012). Jan Komensky Peter Garrett John Howard Julia Gillard J Jeff Kennett Ted Baillieu Max Weber Karl Marx Gough Whitlam Jean-Jacques Rousseau Johann Pestalozzi Friedrich Froebel Maria Montessori Kevin Rudd Herbert Spencer John Dewey Jean Piaget Paulo Freire Ivan Illich Henry Giroux Dietrich Bonhoffer Further viewing - Sir Ken Robinson - TedX (RSA Animate): Changing Education Paradigms - (11 Minutes). Illustration: Bruce Petty. Lev Vigotsky (1896-1934) focused on the influence to the child's thinking from her cultural, social and historical antecedents. Vigotsky's zone of proximal development theory located the ideal teaching locus as the area just past the child's ability, that with teacher guidance and scaffolding leads to authentic learning. Widely influential, including regarding collaborative learning. Lev Vigotsky For further reading, see: The Global Education Reform Movement Paper, 2010.
http://bit.ly/W76uu5 For further reading, see: The Schools in Australia 1973 report (Karmel Report) at: http://apo.org.au/research/schools-australia-report-interim-committee-australian-schools-commission-may-1973 For further reading, see: The Australian Bureau of Statistics - "Cultural diversity in Australia" at: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2071.0main+features902012-2013 For further reading, see: Australia Forums: Class in Contemporary Australia, 28 July 2002, radio transcript, Australian Broadcasting Corporation at: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/australia-forums-class-in-contemporary-australia/3512552 For further reading, see: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Schools Australia, 2011 data analysis, at: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/4221.0Main%20Features202011?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4221.0&issue=2011&num=&view= For further reading, see: The Australian Bureau of Statistics, Schools Australia 2011 - Staff.
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4221.0main+features502011 For further reading, see: The Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority
http://www.acara.edu.au/default.asp For further reading, see: http://www.naplan.edu.au/
http://www.teacherstandards.aitsl.edu.au/ For further reading, see: The National Plan for Schools Improvement
and Prime Minister Gillard's response to the Gonski Review (Video):
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-03/government-delivers-response-to-gonski-review/4239956 For further reading, see: 2008-2012 NAPLAN reports, reviews and test results. http://www.nap.edu.au/Test_Results/National_reports/index.html
and PISA Australia: http://www.acer.edu.au/ozpisa For further viewing, information on PISA testing - Created by PISA and animated by RSA Animate (11 minutes). For further reading, see: The Final Report of the Review of Funding for Schools (The Gonski Review): http://www.betterschools.gov.au/review For further reading, see: New Directions for School Leadership and the Teaching Profession
http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/directions/teachingprofession.htm For further reading, see: AUS VELS http://ausvels.vcaa.vic.edu.au/
and general information on the Australian Curriculum
http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/curriculum.html For further reading, see: An overview of TIMSS: http://www.acer.edu.au/timss/overview/
and OECD (PISA): http://www.acer.edu.au/ozpisa For further reading, see: International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO): http://www.ibo.org/ For further reading, see: Educating for a Sustainable Future - A National Environmental Education Statement for Australian Schools:http://www.environment.gov.au/education/publications/sustainable-future.html For further reading, see: IBE & UNESCO - "Thinkers on Education": http://www.ibe.unesco.org/en/services/online-materials/publications/thinkers-on-education.html For further reading, see: The Final Report of the Review of Funding for Schooling (The Gonski Review), http://www.betterschools.gov.au/review
and OECD "Education at a Glance" http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag2012.htm For further reading, see: "Teach Next Program":
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