Northland education leaders and parents are not convinced moves to make compulsory core teaching requirements for maths, reading and writing will work in schools.
Their reaction followed an announcement by Education Minister Jan Tinetti this week the Government would legislate these core teaching requirements so that students were taught the same way across New Zealand.
“We have great teachers, but historically the curriculum hasn’t always been clear about how core subjects should be taught, and it’s meant there are wide variations of teaching. We’re changing that.
“The compulsory core teaching requirements will outline what teachers have to cover at every year level across a child’s time at school.
“Teachers will be supported with guidance, professional development, and materials to implement these changes and ensure there is consistency across all schools to give all kids an equal opportunity.”
The core teaching requirements will be released in Term 4 this year and used from next year. All of that is subject to Labour making it back into government.
Education Minister Jan Tinetti said the Government would legislate these core teaching requirements so that students were taught the same way across New Zealand. Photo / NZME
But Whangārei mum Bonnie Houston described the government’s proposal as “a bit unrealistic”.
“I believe everyone is different and learn in different ways. I feel by making the teaching of maths, reading and writing consistent across the country will hinder many students.
“The outcomes should aim to be consistent however, the means to get there needs to be in a way that works primarily for our students and children and our educators,” she said.
Houston said it was common knowledge schools were not for everyone and that throughout her life, she has met so many adults that were not inclined towards school studies but went on to own successful businesses.
“So I think it is a bit unrealistic to expect delivering lessons exactly the same way to every child will lead to the same results. It ignores that we each have our own strengths and areas to improve. "
NZEI Te Riu Roa representative for Te Tai Tokerau and Kāeo School principal Paul Barker said teaching tamariki the same from Cape Reinga to Bluff does not work because they have different needs.
“If it’s a well-researched and well-implemented guide to teaching in a classroom then that’s probably something we wouldn’t dismiss immediately.
“But if it’s a workbook that tells you what to do and when, it’s the worst idea in the history of teaching.”
Barker is concerned schools across the country were diverse in their needs, as were students within them.
He said the policy could be a “short step” from national standardising, which he described as a “miserable failure” in the past and “largely to blame” for the drop off in literacy and numeracy skills.
The idea of having 30 children in a classroom learning through one teaching model was “particularly scary” because it failed to acknowledge students have different backgrounds and challenges, he said.
He said if the policy was implemented, it would need correct resourcing to support principals in its implementation but believed in the last 20 years, new initiatives have not been resourced correctly.
Barker said the policy was a “massive example” of politicising the education sector, particularly as earlier this year, National announced it would “rewrite” the curriculum to focus on reading, writing and math.
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