Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stakeholders in the field of education

All ready for the first day of school
The stakeholders who have input and control over education must ensure that we continue to improve the work we do in schools. Much is changed in education, without basing it on sound educational research. Teachers and principals should take risks and put new initiatives into play, but it must be based on action research and practices that are tried and tested, re-evaluated and improved. Too many of us encountered a principal who announces a new initiative, or punishes a teacher by moving classrooms, or giving them a difficult assignment.

A prime indicator of this, are the changes to recess and the 'lunch hour.' For a hundred years, students had an hour to eat and play. Suddenly, we changed over to nutritional breaks, twice a day. Kids would eat their desserts during first recess, then a sandwich at lunch, with nothing left over for the afternoon. They got cranky.

Then, each teacher was assigned the task of eradicating childhood obesity. We were forced to do a 20-minute exercise first thing in the morning in our classrooms. Teaching grade 8s at the time, we didn't have access to showers or the proper space to move in a crowded classroom of 30 students.
Some schools had students running around the school two or three times. Same issue. If we were running, kids weren't learning.

Taxpayers /Business / Media

  • hold a positive perception of teachers , i.e. if you can read this thank a teacher!
  • look at what is right with teaching, not at what is wrong
  • support effective teachers in Action Research
  • financial and physical resources for changed based on Action Research (A.R.) projects
  • provide experts and consultants, mentors
  • create unfettered partnerships
  • exchanges and work terms for teachers

Federations/Unions

  • on-line chat line for new teachers
  • create teacher resources: material and human
  • provide PD opportunities
  • provide more mentoring and counselling opportunities
  • continue to fight for fairness for teachers: fair treatment by principals, schools boards; working conditions; sick leave, parental leave; LTD
  • create a collaborative environment for Action Research

The Government and the Ministry

  • provide stable funding indexed to inflation and population growth
  • provide a stable adequate source funding for Action Research
  • provide a framework for stakeholder interactions and strategies for such discourse
  • create a climate that supports and encourages risk-taking and change
  • Ministers of education should undertake a dialogue with teachers based on Action Research
  • provide adequate resources to staff
  • ensure that school boards have what they need, fair isn't always equal
  • develop needs-based budgets
  • celebrate teaching and teachers, treat them as stakeholders in the system, not employees to be controlled
  • provide opportunities for teachers to collaborate
  • publicize projects and the good things that go on in schools
  • remember that teachers are employees and educators, not day care providers to be kept under their thumbs
  • know that teachers dig into their pockets to support education, spend many a long day doing their jobs
  • stop funding Catholic schools at the expense of public schools

Ontario College of Teachers

  • promote Action Research as an acceptable method of teacher evaluation
  • provide province-wide acceptable practices for Action Research
  • provide Action Research workshops around the province for interested teachers
  • make library sources , books, articles, journals accessible to teachers
  • publish teacher Action Research reports

Principals

  • ask the questions that encourage reflection
  • help teachers identify problems and propose strategies to arrive at solutions
  • emphasize the importance of lifelong learning
  • discourage dependency and top-down policies
  • sustain hope in presence of adversity, i.e. we can make a difference
  • model inquiry
  • provide time, support, financial resources
  • provide motive and opportunity
  • create a climate of collaboration and reflective enquiry

School staffs

  • accept that change is moving forward: get ready, be a part
  • stay informed
  • plan with groups of teachers
  • share resources
  • dialogue at meetings regarding positive change
  • buy into a shared vision
  • support colleagues
  • get involved in Action Research
  • find out what works and what doesn't

Universities

  • publish research findings
  • challenge ministry policies unsupported by research
  • join with teachers to improve education i.e. A.R. projects in more schools
  • invite classroom teachers to visit/join the university as adjunct staff
  • provide more teachers trainers
  • provide more P.D. activity opportunities
  • work with federations to support Action Research

Parents

  • convey a commitment to education
  • participate in Action Research
  • work with like-minded parents
  • see the big picture
  • lobby for schools and teachers
  • become informed
  • interpret school/community, community/school
  • laud school change
  • learn about parenting
  • practice good nutrition by sending their child with healthy food
  • respect staff, ask questions of the teacher first, principal next, and higher authorities
  • volunteer
  • believe 50% of what comes home from school

Students

  • become a lifelong learner
  • treat staff with respect
  • respect peers, those with special needs
  • do their best work, ask for help appropriately
  • behave in a manner that ensures all students can learn
  • ask questions appropriately

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