Ennuic Schools

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts, emotions and plain common sense in gear, ready to help children.

‘Since 2008, the neoliberal corporate sector, using its own forms of unionism and exploiting the most powerful elements of New Public Management [Managerialism on steroids], has been very successful. As a first step it captured and corralled  the leaders of various professional groups in Australia and arranged for mass ethical  gelding. It then cloned and dominated these associations that once used to stand guard on professional ethics, when they had balls….. Such organisations could rescue Australian schooling from the present doldrums….now….tomorrow…., but their pride in professional ethics and in high level enthusiasm for effective schooling has been successfully neutered and muted.”

 ENNUIC SCHOOLS

The Revised Version [20 July 2015]

 After 70 years since first facing a class of Year 3s, I’ve always had this deep desire for Australia to stop fiddling with schooling enterprises for a while and just THINK.  I remain optimistic about the possibility that Australia will, one day, think seriously about  its schooling/education system. Yes. [I have happened to note that things are much worse than they were in May , 1947].There have been one or two attempts in our past history to come to terms with a superior form of schooling, prominent amongst which was the establishment of a Schools Commission in 1973, with scholar Malcolm Skilbeck in charge….as you do {Google him]. His work in the U.K. since then, in the development of school-based curriculum has been seminal. The likelihood of school-based development of anything to do with basic schooling  in Australia  seems quite remote while testing children dominates the scene.. Schools are now controlled by a higher authority which treats schools as simple-minded collection centres for useless data that testucating measurers like to play with.

Despite this, I want to remain optimistic.  NAPLAN will go. One day.  It’s too damaging to Australia’s future to last. Entrapped in the serious corporate desire to control schooling as the big-end-of-town sees fit, schools have been forced to tolerate far too much dismemberment of children’s desire to learn.

 THINK. It’s 2016. We are on the edge of a schooling plateau, looking down

  1.  Disinterested adults now ignore the wonder of childhood to such an extent that its very existence is not relevant. Children are now regarded as hardened, little adult robots.
  2. The exercise of humane attitudes towards children is no longer discussed in the schooling context. Data matters, not kids. 
  3. Respect for children’s modes of individual development is now being totally  ignored. Remember “Each One if Different” by Prof. G.W. Bassett? Ye Gods!! That was 1962!  54 Years ago! Slow leaners aren’t we?
  4. The heart of a healthy, social, professionally ethical  and economically  secure learning environment for all has disappeared from our down-under island nation.
  5. The rich knowledge base and expertise possessed by classroom primary teachers is unused and generally ignored.

 Just in passing, Paul Wildman has reminded me of Sotto, E. (1994). When Teaching becomes Learning: A Theory and Practice of Teaching. London: Cassell. 230pgs. Only 22 years ago!

 You might be able to see, from my politico-schooling paradigm [attached], why I maintain a little bit of hope, however.  The designs show why we are held back.  Australia can only stand so much of NAPLAN-based  ennuic schools…..just going through the motions…..the stage that is all too common at this time.  NAPLAN is being ridiculed –CRAPLAN – with adjectives that we normally avoid. People are looking forward to the movie! Comic drama?  However. While schools are encouraged to be just formal and functional, collecting heaps of data, there’s a bit of grit left at this ennui stage; and recovery is possible. Australia badly needs innovative schools with enthusiastic personnel, independent in curriculum interpretations, icons of professional ethics; and happy places for children to attend, because of all the wonderful learning enterprises that are offered there. But…

 The Treehorn call over the years for adults to be more conscious of the damage being done at present,  has fallen on deaf ears. Classroom primary teachers and authors like Lucy Clark and her  Beautiful Failures, tell the story of the damage….and it’s serous stuff.

 Since 2008, the neoliberal corporate sector , using its own forms of unionism [They run the most powerful Unions in the country] and exploiting the most powerful elements of New Public Management [Managerialism on steroids], has been quite successful.  As a first step it captured and corralled the leaders of  various professional groups and in the style of ‘lambs to the slaughter’, arranged for the mass gelding of professional ethics.  It then cloned and dominated the associations that used to stand guard on professionalism…when they had balls.The Australian Primary Principals Association http://www.appa.asn.au/about-us/ was concumed by the Australian Government Primary Principals Association, http://www.agppa.asn.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2%3Ayour-new-agppa-website&Itemid=11 for instance…..according to plan.  Let’s not muck around with the semantics of the take-over. It now belongs to Simon.  Both deknackered Associations approved of NAPLAN and continue to support its crude exploitation. Captured! On hard labour.

Once strong on ethical behaviour, principals’ organisations and their networks acquiesced in obscene haste. There has been no serious public discussion regarding testing and system evaluation since…….none available to the public, that is.  Such organisations could rescue Australia from the present doldrums and positively alter the course of Australia’s future, but their pride has been neutered and muted.  Ethical muscle is being held in detention.

State governments themselves had no choice. They were captured first.  A piece of cake, really.  No testing; no money. The threat saw their knees turn to jelly. They sold their respectability without a question or a whimper. None seems to want the schooling business back. They just don’t have the balls to run their own schools properly. ….and any one of them could do a better job than they do at that funny-farm in Canberra.

 Since 2008 Australia has used an education system controlled by fear-based standardised testing techniques. Once state responsibilities Australian schools are, clearly, now run by ACARA…. a politico- kleinist  organisation established by Julia Gillard and a group of testucators. Children have been exploited in the interests of a greedy testing industry whose profits rely on the neoliberal way of doing fearful things to children.  Adults, in tune with the causal attitude  shown by school administrators,  don’t care much what happens to the kids. Treehorn will tell you more.

 I still wait for the teaching profession to grow in spunk terms and sternly exert its ethics based on the considerations of  effective teaching strategies, whose results would make Australia a proud nation.  It will happen. I’m optimistic.  Why am I so certain? I have never met a teacher who has joined the profession to be as nasty to our children as the present system demands…..and I’ve met a number who have left because of the lack of professional ethics. I reckon that most teachers are sick of NAPLAN schooling. We have some strong, great teachers in Australia. No classroom teacher that I know, favours NAPLAN.

 It should not be too difficult for the government to arrange to forgather large groups of classroom Years 1 to 10 to ask them to describe what compulsory schooling should look like.

 To help THINKING in ordered form, I have a couple of designs [Zone of Acceptance, and Belief and Control Systems ] that I find handy. How do you feel about such presentations? Do you have one to share?

 There will soon be a strong resurgence of professional ethics. One can feel it in the air.  Compliancy and heresy [the belief that fear works best in the teaching act] need to be discussed.   Principals and school administrators need to come out and stamp their authority at the same time….before  any more NAPLAN tests are allowed to persist with its damage to fair dinkum learning processes. Schooling needs to be returned to schools and its real teachers.

_______________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486     
cphilcullen@bigpond.com           
  http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/

 Let’s think 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s