You can’t see it, smell it, hear it. People disagree on how, precisely, to define it, or where, exactly, it comes from. It isn’t a school subject or an academic discipline, but it can be learned. It is a quality that is required by artists. But it is also present in the lives of scientists and entrepreneurs. All of us benefit from it: we thrive mentally and spiritually when we are able to harness it. It is a delicate thing, easily stamped out; in fact, it flourishes most fully when people are playful and childlike. At the same time, it works best in tandem with deep knowledge and expertise.
This mysterious – but teachable – quality is creativity, the subject of a report published this week by Durham Commission on Creativity and Education, a body chaired by Sir Nicholas Serota, the chair of Arts Council England, with input from figures including film director Beeban Kidron, architect Sir David Adjaye and choreographer Akram Khan. The report, put together in collaboration with academics from Durham University, concludes that creativity is not something that should inhabit the school curriculum only as it relates to drama, music, art and other obviously creative subjects, but that creative thinking ought to run through all of school life, infusing the way human and natural sciences are learned.
The authors, who focus on education in England, offer a number of sensible recommendations, some of which are an attempt to alleviate theGradgrindish turn in education policy of recent years. When children are regarded as pitchers to be filled with facts, creativity does not prosper; nor does it when teachers’ sole objective is, perforce, coaching children towards exams. One suggestion from the commission is a network of teacher-led “creativity collaboratives”, along the lines of existing maths hubs, with the aim of supporting teaching for creativity through the school curriculum.
Nevertheless, it is arts subjects through which creativity can most obviously be fostered. The value placed on them by the independent education sector is clear. One only has to look at the remarkable arts facilities at Britain’s top public schools to comprehend this. But in the state sector the EBacc’s focus on English, maths and science threatens to crush arts subjects; meantime, reduced school budgets mean dwindling extracurricular activities. There has been a 28.1% decline in uptake of creative subjects at GCSE since 2014, though happily, art and design have seen a recent uptick.
This disparity between state and private is a matter of social justice. It is simply wrong and unfair that most children have a fraction of the access to choirs, orchestras, art studios and drama that their most privileged peers enjoy. As lives are affected by any number of looming challenges – climate crisis, automation in the workplace – humans are going to need creative thinking more than ever. For all of our sakes, creativity in education, and for all, must become a priority.
Source of the article: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/18/the-guardian-view-on-creativity-in-schools-a-missing-ingredient
During the 2020-21 school year, thanks to the recent passage of the Inclusive Curriculum Law by state legislators, students in Illinois public schools will learn about LGBTQ history and this group’s contributions to our world.
Illinois will follow in the steps of California, the first state to enact LGBTQ curriculums in public schools and one that reaped the benefits of its residents wielding a greater understanding of diverse cultures. Discrimination and hate crimes certainly haven’t evaporated from California, but its LGBTQ education initiatives are fundamental in addressing and removing the intolerance and bias that fuel such acts to begin with.
As Illinois leaders — and other states in the future — devise these curriculums, they can take heed from these lessons and advice from California.
First, any successful LGBTQ curriculum starts by addressing intolerance among teachers themselves. Within California, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of teachers who were or are not familiar with LGBTQ history and conflicts. Nor have they received any sort of formalized education on these subjects throughout their lives and careers.
As a result, teachers may hold implicit and explicit biases toward LGBTQ individuals, including students. Even if instructors align themselves with these individuals and other progressive causes, they still might use homophobic language without realizing it is offensive, or unintentionally trivialize issues that afflict the LGBTQ community.
These instructors can impede the larger LGBTQ education process and its goals. They can project their biases and misconceptions onto students, and instead of awareness and acceptance blossoming from the classroom, it can become a place where diverse personalities and perspectives wither.
But teachers who hold unacknowledged biases or prejudices towards LGBTQ individuals are not a lost cause. Through comprehensive training about this culture and community, educators can broaden their viewpoints, challenge their belief systems and guide their students down the path of acceptance, inclusion and pride.
Once teachers fully appreciate the scope and impact of LGBTQ culture and history, Illinois schools and districts need to make sure their curriculum encompasses all students, even those in elementary schools. This may seem counterintuitive, and can cause some to wonder, “How could a teacher possibly explain complicated concepts such as gender identity to a second-grader?”
But consider that within high schools, “gay” remains a popular term for students to verbally insult and harass one another, even in 2019. These students are more intellectually mature, more physically developed than their elementary school counterparts, but have lessened their tolerance to LGBTQ persons. Making children aware of LGBTQ topics from the beginning of their education, in a manner that is appropriate for their age, will help instill a lifelong understanding and acceptance of this community.
Some families likely would object to mandatory education about LGBTQ history. But it is important to note that such instruction is not associated with sexual or reproductive topics. Parents should be made aware of what subjects and events would be covered in class, but providing the ability to opt out will reduce the positive impact these lessons would have on the community as a whole.
Finally, LGBTQ education cannot be just a means of distributing information about historic events and struggles this community has faced. A primary factor behind the marginalization of LGBTQ individuals is a lack of empathy and emotional awareness from those not a part of this community.
Educators and administrators need to ensure that LGBTQ education is human-focused, that children understand these are real individuals who share in our world, not just names in a textbook. An effective way to accomplish this is by incorporating personal stories to promote meaningful learning. Not only do stories help convey ideas and concepts more clearly, they personalize events and topics in a manner that resonates with students, regardless of age, location or identity.
Source of the article: https://thehill.com/opinion/education/463760-illinois-can-learn-from-californias-lgbtq-education-lessons
Africa/ South Africa/ 13.08.2019/ Source: businesstech.co.za.
In his February State of the Nation Address, president Cyril Ramaphosa said that his government would introduce a number of new technical schools to meet the growing demand for skills in the country.
To expand participation in the technical streams, several ordinary public schools will be transformed into technical high schools, he said.
Responding in a recent parliamentary Q&A session, minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said that government plans to have a technical high school in each regional school circuit.
“The time frame for the transformation and expansion of schools will be over a period of 5 years starting in 2020 – 2025,” she said.
Motshekga said that the following process will be followed for identifying and transforming these schools:
Identification of schools by the nine provincial education departments;
Mapping of schools in circuits to be undertaken;
An onsite audit of schools will be conducted by the national and provincial departments;
A Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) conditional grant will cover all schools offering technical occupational and technical vocational subjects.
Motshekga said that a number of costs will also be incurred including:
Infrastructure renovation and construction for workshops;
Provisioning of equipment tools and consumables for the technical specialisation subjects.
Spending on Human Resource recruitment.
Government has made a substantial push towards digitisation and technical subjects in South Africa’s education sector in recent months.
In February Ramaphosa said that over the next six years government will provide every school child in South Africa with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device.
Ramaphosa said that the Department of Education would also expand the training of both educators and learners to ‘respond to emerging technologies’ including the internet of things, robotics and artificial intelligence.
On top of coding and robotics, other new technology subjects and specialisations will be introduced, he said, including:
Source of the notice: https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/333979/south-africa-is-getting-new-technical-schools-heres-what-you-need-to-know/
The federal education minister, Dan Tehan, is expected to face resistance when he asks some state counterparts to consider a ban on students using mobile phones during school hours, at a meeting in Melbourne on Friday.
Tehan is asking his counterparts in states without a ban to consider a similar move in their states and territories, which would stop all Australian public school students using phones during school hours.
But Queensland, the Northern Territory and the ACT have no plans to implement a similar rule.
The ACT education minister, Yvette Berry, says banning phones in school may not be the best way to support the development of children and young people.
“Helping students understand what appropriate behaviour is both on and offline should be part of the learning journey,” she said.
“It’s important that children and young people are taught how to live alongside devices appropriately because this is a big part of our life now.”
The NT education minister, Selena Uibo, believes technology can be used in a positive way in classrooms and schools, while the Queensland education minister, Grace Grace, says the decision to implement such a ban is up to principals.
Mobile phones are banned in French schools and Canadian provinces are considering the policy.
Experts from both countries will visit Australia in coming months to discuss the issue.
Tehan says phones are a distraction in the classroom and make teaching difficult.
The ministers will also dissect exactly what went wrong with the online Naplan tests this year, with NSW calling for a complete overhaul of the national assessments.
When the testing took place across the country in mid-May, some students lost connectivity and others were unable to log in at all.
Those affected were able to resit the tests, managed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.
Tehan remains hopeful Naplan testing can go online from next year but admits more work is needed to resolve technical issues.
But the NSW education minister, Sarah Mitchell, will use the meeting to call for a review of the national assessment, which could consider alternative options to the Naplan test.
She says it’s time to design a new test that is “genuinely useful”, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Source of the notice: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/28/call-for-national-mobile-phone-ban-in-public-schools-to-face-resistance
Worsening school inequality in Australia further entrenches disadvantage. There are children who struggle to afford attendance at free public schools
Bec* loves school and wants to go to university so she can become a social worker, and help children who grew up in similar situations to her own.
The Aboriginal teenager missed a lot of classes when she was younger – from grades five to seven. Her mum was in an abusive relationship, and money was so tight affording petrol just to get to and from school was difficult. Her Naplan test results nosedived in that period, her principal says.
“I was heartbroken when I missed school from years 5-7,” she wrote in her application to the Public Education Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that provides financial aid to students in public schools.
“Not only did I have to face what was happening at home, I was missing out on learning, new friends, and skills.”
By the time she was in year 10 though, Bec was living in a more stable situation with her brother and his partner, and her attendance was back at almost 100%.
“If I was granted $5,000 it would improve my learning and my knowledge,” she said.
“It would help me access internet at home, hire a tutor to help fill gaps in my learning, and cut my hours at work so I can focus on my studies.
“I would like to attend university and become an Aboriginal caseworker to help young children that were like me to know that there is a good ending to it all.”
Bec’s story is far from unique. Guardian Australia was provided with a range of anonymised applications for these scholarships; all were from ambitious students swimming against a current of financial hardship to try to get the best education possible, and to one day make a generational break with poverty. They needed the money not for expensive school fees, but for everyday basics – uniforms and well-fitting school shoes, laptops, internet access and excursion fees.
One student hoped to study nursing at university after spending so much time with her single mum in hospital, two years after her dad died. She said the scholarship could help her get there by covering the cost of tutoring, uniforms and stationery. Another Year 12 student wrote her application while living in refuge accommodation. She was already financially independent and working two casual jobs, and said the scholarship money would make a huge difference in alleviating her financial strain and allowing her to complete school and attend university without going into major debt.
A Torres Strait Islander boy wrote that his mother left home when he was little, then his father committed suicide after a car accident left him with chronic pain and depression. He and his two siblings moved in with their grandma.
“We live in a housing commission and my grandma has low income and struggles to pay for education, resources, excursions, and uniform. My grandma never went to Tafe or University however she has always encouraged me to do my best, my attendance at school is very good, I try my best at school but with all the things that have happened in my life, it’s very hard.”
David Hetherington, who oversees the disbursements as executive director of the foundation, says: “The promise of public education is that any student can attend a public school at no cost to themselves and can get a proper education.
“But we know that there are students who are going without these educational basics.”
Though the scholarships aim to address these immediate financial needs, their aim is something bigger – to disrupt, if only for a select few, the ongoing link that exists in Australia between poverty and poorer educational outcomes.
Despite decades of school funding wars, the landmark Gonski report and major increases in commonwealth funding to schools, children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds in Australia are still falling well behind their wealthier peers at school.
By Year 9, Australian teenagers from the most disadvantaged quartile are still, on average, around three years behind their peers from the most advantaged group in science, reading and maths.
More than a third of students from this most disadvantaged group still do not finish high school, and only a quarter go on to university.
Though the general public may have grown weary of discussions about inequality and education, experts stress there is still much unfinished business. Too many public schools in particular continue to be funded below government targets, while the problem of school segregation – particularly of disadvantaged kids being concentrated in disadvantaged schools, that are being abandoned by other families – is worsening.
It’s a much bigger problem than charities and not-for profits can fix alone.
“Educational investment can break the cycle of economic disadvantage – that’s the wonder of education,” says Hetherington. “But it’s got to be properly resourced and properly managed, and I think that’s still where we’re falling down in Australia.”
“Demography is not destiny” was a favourite mantra of former prime minister Julia Gillard, and one she said guided her government’s signature education reforms.
At its core was a new “needs-based and sector-blind” funding model, to distribute higher levels of public funding to those schools educating students with the highest levels of disadvantage. The report established these schools were overwhelmingly, though not exclusively, public schools: almost 80% of students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds attended a public school, along with 85% of Indigenous students and 83% of students from remote areas.
But eight years on, many schools, particularly public schools, are not meeting the government’s own funding benchmarks set in the wake of theGonski reforms.
Attempts to ensure “no school would lose a dollar”, a web of special deals in the years and shortfalls in funding, particularly from some state governments, have left the full vision unmet.
“Funding is not everything, I agree,” says Trevor Cobbold, the convener of the public school advocacy group Save Our Schools.
“But it’s pretty fundamental to being able to employ extra teachers, extra support staff, and so on … we have to direct much larger funding increases into disadvantaged public schools than we have been.
The Gonski model was built around a tool called the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS), the amount of money a school needs to properly educate each child, made up of a base amount of funding plus additional loadings for key areas of disadvantage.
Julie Sonnemann, a school education fellow at the Institute, points to the funding split between the commonwealth, which is the primary source of funding for non-government schools, and the states and territories, which are the main source of funding to government schools.
“There has been a lot of progress made in channelling more funding to disadvantaged schools, however still a long way to go,” she says.
“Because some state governments have been less effective in meeting the new school target set out under Gonski, government schools have got the short end of the stick.”
Under current Coalition policy, the amount the commonwealth will contribute to government systems will be at least 20% of SRS by 2023, and education minister Dan Tehan has touted the fact education spending has grown every year the Coalition government has been in power.
“We are providing a record $21.4bn for schools which is an extra 66% since we came to government and we can afford to pay for it without increasing taxes,” he told Guardian Australia.
Labor is pledging an additional $14bn for public schools over a decade, effectively lifting the commonwealth contribution to at least 22% of the SRS in the first term, as well as cracking down on some deals that allow states to deduct costs such as transport from their spending on public schools.
“Not quite full funding, but within touching distance.”
While the wide gap in achievement between kids from the lowest SES group and their more advantaged peers may seem like an intractable problem, many experts don’t agree – for a simple reason. The size of gap varies significantly between different countries.
In Canada, a similar country to Australia in many ways, this gap between students is markedly less, at 2.4 years (compared to 3.1 in Australia) and Canadian students from the most disadvantaged quartile routinely outperform disadvantaged Australian students in international PISA tests.
Canada spends a higher proportion of GDP per capita on school education than Australia, but researchers point to another factor too.
“The thing that I keep coming back to is that schools are more socially mixed in Canada than they are in Australia,” says Laura Perry, an associate professor at Murdoch University .
“Canada has one of the highest proportions of kids in the OECD that go to a socially mixed or diverse school … Australia is the opposite.
“School choice”, the idea that parents should pick the “best” school for their child and not necessarily attend the local comprehensive high school, has long been a governing philosophy in Australia, and one encouraged by the generous public funding of non-government schools and supercharged by publicly available comparison data on the MySchool website.
One result is that disadvantage is increasingly concentrated in particular schools, and the social mix of students from a range of socio-economic backgrounds is often missing.
More than half of students (51.2%) classified as coming from a disadvantaged background in Australia attended disadvantaged school in 2015, according to a recent OECD analysis, while less than 5% attend a socio-economically advantaged school (the remainder attend schools classified as socio-economically average).
Those figures are more polarised than they were a decade earlier, when the proportion of disadvantaged students at disadvantaged schools was 46%.
The trend comes despite a growing proportion of parents choosing public over private schools, in a recent reversal of a decades-old trend.
Research conducted by Chris Bonnor, a former Sydney principal and fellow at the Centre for Policy Development, shows that more advantaged families are seeking out more advantaged public schools – such as selective schools, or ones that have a higher socio-economic profile. As a result, some public schools serving poorer populations are getting left behind.
When Bonnor taught in Mount Druitt in the 1970s, a working class suburb on Sydney’s western fringe, he says there was more socio-economic diversity in the local public high schools than today.
“Even in those very difficult schools – Mount Druitt High, Shalvey High, there was always a small but significant group of high achieving kids,” he says.
“But what MySchool data clearly shows is that sort of critical mass of aspirant kids are less likely to be found in those schools now.”
This trend matters because the concentration disadvantage is compounding the difficulties students face, and is believed to be leading to poorer educational outcomes.
The same OECD analysis found that, on average, students from disadvantaged backgrounds attending more advantaged schools scored markedly better results in standardised tests.
“If you have a school with a significant disadvantaged enrolment there are negative impacts that build on each other,” Bonnor says.
“It’s partly about teacher expectations of kids, partly about resources that the school has, it’s certainly about the intellectual capital that kids bring to school everyday … There’s a whole pile of things that interact with each other to further reduce opportunities for students in low SES schools. And that’s often despite the best intentions of teachers and reformers.”
Concentrating disadvantage in these smaller, public schools also compounds the need for more funding, Perry says.
“When you concentrate students with high needs – and poverty is a high-needs, high stress situation – it makes teaching and learning a lot more difficult, and it also makes it a lot more expensive,” she says.
“Low SES schools are small. Even though their per student allocation is quite generous compared to other schools, you don’t have the economies of scale you have at other schools.”
But while debates about funding have featured prominently in education policy-making for some time, tackling the issue of segregation and residualisation has proved far more taboo in Australia.
Policy solutions could take the form of mandating non-government schools take more students from low SES backgrounds in return for their public funding, removing fees at some non-government schools, as well as changes to entrance policies to make sure selective public schools and more advantaged government schools take a wider range of enrolments.
“There are some parts of the US that have tried to tackle this issue with admissions policies, to ensure there is a diversity of kids in every school, and perhaps Australia should consider policy settings like that,” says Sonneman.
But most experts know this is likely to face deep opposition.
“There is a really strong sense of entitlement among the Australian community that they have the right to choose the best school for their child, and as long as that cultural norm exists, it’s pretty difficult for governments to do much.”
Fuente del artículo: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/may/12/students-going-without-the-basics-i-was-heartbroken-when-i-missed-school
Africa/ Democratic Republic of Congo/ 13.11.2018/By: Katie Moore/ Source: www.cjonline.com.
The migrant education program in the Dodge City school district provides a “holistic” approach to learning and integration for nearly 300 students, program director Robert Vinton said.
Students qualify for the federal program through their parent’s employment, predominately large agricultural companies. The program was established in 1965 and came to Unified School District 443 in the 1970s, according to Vinton.
In the 2017-18 school year, 288 students are participants in the migrant program. Nearly half of the district’s 7,000 students are English language learners with 17 languages represented throughout the district’s student body. Most of the staff is bilingual.
“For a small community, we’re very, very diverse,” Vinton said.
Students have come from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, China, the Philippines, Russia and Haiti, among other countries.
To qualify for the migrant program, students must have moved across school district or state lines in the past three years. The legal status of participants isn’t known. School officials are barred from asking for documents because it could create a chilling effect, Vinton explained.
Student performance varies widely. Some are at the honors level. Others, in their teens, may have attended a minimal amount of school in a developing country and need to learn how to hold a pencil, he said. Greta Clark, English language agent, said they make efforts to discern between a student’s language level and their capacity.
For high school students, there is an emphasis on career readiness, parent engagement and understanding the college system.
The program also has two full-time community liaisons who make home visits, checking on the well-being of families and sharing information about local resources, Clark said.
Socially, there are many variables and by and large, most do well, becoming part of the “mainstream fabric,” Vinton said.
But for a few, “It’s virtually impossible to cross those lines,” Vinton said. “They struggle.”
In addition to an emphasis on reading and math, the migrant program can assist students with basic needs like health services. Vinton said diabetes awareness has been a focus because it is a growing problem. When options outside the program are limited for things like tennis shoes or glasses, the program can step in.
However Vinton said funding has shrunk in recent years as the definition of migrant was narrowed. The program in the past had up to 2,000 participants in Dodge City.
Vinton also said migrants have felt a sense of fear and insecurity since President Trump was elected.
“He has created more of a tremendous fear of families being separated,” Vinton said.
Many families have created a plan for their children, bank accounts and other assets in case immigration enforcement comes in. Vinton said developing that plan is critical, but also shows a “sad reality.”
Nationally, Vinton said, he has observed a troubling inability to understand diversity. He said he hopes the country can reach a more “sophisticated” point where people understand there is a place for everyone.
Vinton believes that passing immigration reform will help things settle down.
“Right, wrong or indifferent, we need immigration reform,” he said.
Clark said she hopes the immigrant population in Dodge City continues to expand, bringing with them rich traditions and culture to the community.
Source of the notice: https://www.cjonline.com/news/20181111/migrant-education-program-in-dodge-city-public-schools-helps-nearly-300-students