“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:
and three exciting models that have the capacity to yield deeper and more effective change:
The report can be downloaded from http://www.educationfoundation.org.au/
May. 18, 2007
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