A new education report is launched: Crossing the Bridge

“What is missing in the education reform picture ... is a set of proven and transferable models of how schools in our most disadvantaged communities are turning around learning outcomes ... throught student-centred learning.”

Crossing the Bridge: Overcoming Entrenched Disadvantage Through Student-Centred Learning attempts to fill this gap, reporting on innovations in disadvantaged schools designed to increase student engagement and learning. 

This research project was conducted by Education Foundation Australia with funding from The R E Ross Trust. It identifies what works in student learning and engagement, analyses what supports or hinders schools in developing, implementing and maintaining student-centred learning, and identifies what can be done to replicate successes in other schools.

The report is highly practical, with much teacher and principal input:

“There are too many organisations providing money for projects. This encourages many schools to adopt any number of short-term programs just to get their hands on some money. Consolidation of funds into long-term projects that support effective teacher development through access to excellent pedagogy and mentoring would have more long-term benefits for teachers and therefore for students.” (principal)

and a broader community perspective:

“We can do all we can to improve the quality of schooling, but if disadvantaged famlies are disengaged from their kids’ education it will all come to naught. Until we can empower parents to fulfil their parenting role, we won’t get very far in addressing educational disadvantage.” (Tony Nicholson, Brotherhood of St Laurence)

The report concludes with five clear recommendations for those that support the work of schools in disadvantaged communities:

  • Highly effective leadership is the most fundamental precondition for effective teaching and good student outcomes, and schools in disadvantaged communities need the best leaders;
  • A new funding formula is needed to increase core staffing to provide for in-school teacher learning on a long term, sustainable basis;
  • Schools and teachers in disadvantaged communities need models of proven practice and the tools to implement them in their own context - with sharper definitions of student-centred learning, collated evidence of impact on outcomes, and disseminated workable models;
  • New funding partnerships between government, business, philanthropy and community organisations are required to meet the non-learning needs of students in disadvantaged areas and engage and support their families;
  • A broader set of measures of student achievement is needed with wider definitions and new certifications of success.

and three exciting models that have the capacity to yield deeper and more effective change:

  • student-centred schools;
  • schools as community centres;
  • shared responsibility for young people.

The report can be downloaded from http://www.educationfoundation.org.au/

May. 18, 2007

 Tags: research & information, recommended reading, education

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