From the Principal

Dear Parent and Carers, 
The holiday break is in sight for many, and this will provide an opportunity to relax and reinvigorate energy levels. For those of us who must continue work, please consider our Holiday Program, now under the leadership of Ms. Lyndsay and her team. I am sure you will be impressed with the changes to service delivery.

We have had an awesome first Term, consolidating many changes in processes and staffing, with the feedback from our community identifying very positive support. I have also had more time this Term to spend around the school engaging with our students. This time has provided them the opportunity to discuss what they have been working on and to showcase the processes leading to completed work. These discussions with students often form the best part of my day as a school principal and there has been many a time where I have been ‘set right’ in regard to my factual knowledge by our students.

Below is an extract from a recent personal submission to ACER in relation to a traditional education model…

“Robinson and Aronica (2009) argue “Education doesn’t need to be reformed – it needs to be transformed” (p.445). I believe any such transformation of education needs to consider the efficacy of systems, government and policy, creating a top down approach to change, as this top down approach is not overly sensitive to the crucial role of teachers and students in the learning equation. The underlying tenet of Masters (2013) suggestions for reform are neither new nor profound, but clearly articulate the need to move from a 20th century perspective of ‘judging’ to a 21st century perspective of ‘understanding’ our learners, helping shift the paradigm from outdated practices and understandings of student assessment, to more informed and adaptive methods of assessment. Arguably, schools have become very good at evaluating the ‘average’ expectation of students, and even identify to students how to avoid mistakes to get a letter grade (A-E standard). This style of learning assessment does not necessarily equate to identifying individual excellence. Black & William (1998) suggest the giving of marks and letter grades are overemphasised, while the giving of useful advice on learning is underemphasised. Further, “When the classroom culture focuses on rewards… then pupils look for ways to obtain the best marks rather than to improve their learning” (Black & William, 1998, p.142). A culture of didactic pedagogical style and pitching curriculum to meet externally agreed outcomes based on standardised assumptions determined to meet the needs of ‘most of the children, most of the time’ has resulted in a model that depersonalises and seeks to identify and address perceived deficitIf the aim of education is to address the needs of the student, why do we continue to look at the performance of cohorts?
“If we acknowledge almost every element of our society has evolved, then surely our provision of education should also evolve to meet the direct needs of the student, where they can be guided, as owners of their personalised learning journey. Griffin et al., (2013) have articulate this precept well, “…the aim is to move a student’s learning forward along a path of increasingly complex knowledge, skills and abilities…. and can be viewed in opposition to a deficit approach to assessment and intervention, which focuses on describing, then attempting to remediate, the things a student cannot do” (p.2)

“A ‘one size fits all’ approach to education is fundamentally flawed and if we are truly committed to meeting the needs of every student, then a personalised approach to learning must be considered.”

Aren’t we lucky we have all opted to follow a personalized, student centred learning pathway, focused on ensuring the best possible learning environment for our children… “The child seeks for independence by means of work; an independence of body and mind.” (The Absorbent Mind, Chapter 8, p. 91)

Sincerely,
Anthony Vandermolen
CMS Principal

Black, P., Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the Black Box – Raising Standards Through Classroom
Assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80, 139-144.

Griffin, P., Care, E., Francis, M., Hutchinson, D., Arratia-Martinez, A., & McCabe, C. (2013). Assessment and learning partnerships: The influences of teaching practices on student achievement. Retrieved from http://education.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/809253/LP00991123_Teaching_Practices_Report.pdf

Masters, G. (2013). Reforming education assessment: Imperatives, principles and challenges
(Australian Education Review No. 57). Retrieved from Australian Council for Educational Research website: http://research.acer.edu.au/aer/12/

Robinson, K., & Aronica, L. (2009). The element: How finding your passion changes everything. New York: Penguin Group USA.