I just read an excellent blog post which mirrors my exact feelings on all this recent discussion and bla bla about curricula and education in Malta. This throwing back and forth remarks and statements made mostly by bureaucrats in a politics match throwing in nice buzz words which are meant to impress… in my opinion, impresses very little at all.
I recently had the opportunity to attend a discussion organised by the Faculty, with Education Division officials. I didn’t know what to expect from this meeting to be honest, but somehow, very sadly I have to admit that my gut feeling that all this Curriculum framework will hardly be implemented the way it is intended increases with every passing day.
The blog post which inspires my thoughts today says clearly: “cut the excuses and start leading”.
I think this is really so true. Every day I hear so many excuses, every day I find myself facing people, teachers and Educators mounting walls upon walls by saying that Education which empowers, Innovation in Education, is impossible to achieve. I hear it from administrators as well and this is even more worrying. I have looked at the proposed syllabi which are being piloted with schools, and I must say this: I find them extremely disappointing. I feel that I have wasted away a day attending a curriculum framework conference where everybody seemed to be talking straight out of a text book, because looking at these “curricula” (I have no idea why subject syllabi are being called Curricula with a degree of persistence…) I feel that these are an insult to the intelligence and autonomy to any Education profession who invests passion and energy for the empowerment of the students who are at the front.
When I pointed out that after all, no esteemed professional, expected his work to be written out for him/her, I was told that teaching is unlike any other profession. This much is true, but it doesn’t warrant treating professionals as idiots and foresaking the trust which such a dignified profession warrants. I find that the more information we give out, the more “lectures” we give, the less creative outputs are given.
I look at my 2 and a half year old son. I trust my precious iPhone in his hands and he manages wonders. This little boy, who certainly cannot read and is just starting to find out about life, can handle the iPhone apps with a degree of confidence which is amazing. He even manages to take pictures of his favourite Buzz toy. I honestly swear that I have never ever sat down with him and gave him a full PowerPoint presentation of how to use it. I merely downloaded some game apps for him, gave him the mobile, and let him play around. I never tell him not to do anything for it, now he can use the paint apps, he actually chooses the game apps he wants to play with, and he’s happy. Bottom line is: if a 2 year old, can really learn on his own by letting him creatively explore a little bit the technology, why on earth do we have to tell our adult teachers exactly how to carry out a lesson step by step. Heck, on the ICT syllabus they even tell them which YouTube video to show to class… duh!!! Come on people, cut this crap… a new Curriculum framework is being proposed, where words like creativity, innovation, learner-centredness come in profusely… and the administrators in charge of the schools and the teachers, just cannot come to terms with it. We keep talking about teaching teachers how to use the tools… and how – you might wish to ask? But by training of course… hours of sitting in on endless professional development talks which interest (at best) very few. Why don’t we cut the crap and let the leaders lead? Why don’t we let teachers explore? Investigate? Finally produce something? Why do we still tie our teachers with rigid syllabi following the SEC exams? What are we doing? We have removed our secondary school entry exams, we have integrated all the learners together, we have “TOLD” (note the emphasis) teachers they have to practice differentiated learning, we have created levels (which is a farce in my opinion) but THEN… we have to make students sit for common national exams drawn up by a handful of persons per subject who are deciding the whole Education system in Malta… this is crazy….this is simply crazy…
I ask – will we ever get to practicing what we preach?