Heather du Plessis-Allan: There is something fundamentally wrong in NZ's teaching

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 2 Feb 2021, 3:58PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: There is something fundamentally wrong in NZ's teaching

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 2 Feb 2021, 3:58PM

How many more of these warnings do we need before we start to acknowledge there is something fundamentally wrong in the way that we are doing schooling in this country nowadays? 

Today it’s maths results. Last year it was Year 9s to 13s slipping behind their peers in science and maths. The year before it was 15-year-olds falling behind in reading maths and science.

Our kids seem to be getting a schooling that is, on average, not as good as the one we got. 

So what are we going to do about it? How much more are we going to talk about this and leave it for the Education Ministry to fix given they are the ones who seem to have caused the problem in the first place. 

There are a bunch of solutions just waiting to be adopted. 

First of all, teacher training. You talk to educators they tell you teacher training isn’t up to scratch.

It’s been subsumed into universities so it becomes a book-learned thing instead of a hands-on thing. They say teaching should be learned at schools by junior teachers learning from senior teachers. 

Second, cut the nonsense experimenting with kids.  Creative learning, abandoning phonics. Cut that out. Teaching the basics works, so let’s stick to it. 

And finally, let’s pay our teachers properly. We pay our teachers poorly.

This should be a profession that’s attractive to the best and brightest young Kiwis. If they’re specialised, in areas like maths, they should be rewarded properly for it. 

We have enough research now to suggest here is a relationship between lifting teachers’ pay and student achievement. Let’s pay them what they’re worth, even if means busting up this union stranglehold on the profession. 

Is there any job more important to shaping the future of our workforce? These people are literally shaping our country’s future by teaching the kids that will one day run this place. 

Right now, we have reason to be concerned about the education we’re providing for this country’s future leaders.