I have long believed that teaching and learning are separate issues and that the evaluation of a teacher’s effectiveness needs to be based on the personal and professional qualities that make for teaching excellence. However, presently teacher and school effectiveness is being measured by student test and examination scores. This system is a misuse of standardised tests and state examinations to hold individual teachers accountable for their students’ learning outcomes. There is a belief that schools can achieve miracles by treating parents as consumers, students as products and teachers as compliant workers who are expected to ‘teach to the test’ – strategies similar to the ones that resulted in the worst economic crash to hit the western world in 2008.Read more
There has generally been little consideration of teachers’ psycho-social readiness to teach and, indeed, of students’ psycho-social readiness to learn. It appears to be the case that not many professionals – not just teachers – are conscious of the fact that their individual interior worlds hugely influence their professional practice. The truth is that personal effectiveness determines professional effectiveness and affectiveness is the bedrock of effectiveness. Current programmes for training of managers put personal effectiveness on the top of the training agenda. Sadly, some teachers and managers – albeit unconsciously – can act as if teaching and managing is a series of instrumental actions that have little or nothing to do with relationships and the wellbeing of individual students or employees and, indeed, of individual teachers and managers themselves.Read more
During a visit to an art gallery in Toronto, Canada, I came across an area of the gallery devoted to introducing children to the joy and excitement of painting. There were several sayings displayed around the walls and when I took to writing down some of them, one of the guards said to me: ‘are you a teacher; many teachers take down those sayings’.