Sunday, April 29, 2012

I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft (The Doors)

I'm currently reading a nifty book called Everything Is Obvious (once you know the answer) and it has made some good sense to me even though the subtitle of the book is How Common sense Fails.

I will return to the book a few times over the next couple of posts but I had to include this extract because it immediately made me think of one of the Cognition Education leaders who addressed a meeting in Al Ain last September.
Publishers, producers, and marketers - experienced and motivated professionals in business with plenty of skin in the game - have just as much difficulty predicting which books, movies, and products will become the next big hit as political experts have in predicting the next revolution.
The highlighted phrase is the bit in question. When Terry Bates used it at that meeting, my colleagues and I all looked at each other with a - what the hell does that mean? - expression on our faces. It was certainly new to us and we certainly wondered where Terry had picked it up from. It was clearly business jargon from somewhere.

A Google search reveals that we can blame Warren Buffett. It's a term referring to a situation in which high-ranking insiders use their own money to buy stock in the company they are running.

I think we should ban it! Even though Terry's number one acolyte, Colin Donald, has adopted it. No more skin in the game please!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In the year 2525 (Zager and Evans)

I was asked recently for my thoughts on the challenges facing education in New Zealand in the next ten years.

This is a tough question and I thought about it long and hard.

This is what I eventually came up with.

·         Schools will continue to have to work with a lack of adequate funding. The Christchurch earthquake has had a deep effect on the nations coffers. It will take some time before education is again at the forefront of politicians' minds I fear.
·         Closing the achievement gap between Maori and non-Maori students. This has been a focus for the last ten years and will continue to be a focus during the next ten, I have no doubt.
·         Attracting the most talented and best motivated people to become teachers and making it attractive for the best to remain in New Zealand. Australia is a drain but so too is the rest of the world. It's a global market now. I have chosen to return to NZ but I am in a minority compared to my NZ colleagues in the UAE. They are considering Singapore, China, Europe, America...anywhere but here. What a shame that we can't attract them back at this point.
·         Extending new pedagogical approaches that focus on differentiated/student centred classrooms and disseminating emerging innovatory good practice. NZ is at times zenopobic about things that haven't originated at home. We have to get over that.
·         Utilising new technologies as aids to learning. Often new technologies are seen as a panacea and not what they are - tools.
·         Learning from John Hattie's meta-analysis (visible learning). There is so much to be distilled from Hattie's research and it will take ten years to make progress on his findings.

That lot should keep everyone busy and focused for the next decade at least.