Finally, my colleagues are vindicated in their anti-NAPLAN comments! This morning’s news featuring the report from Dr Ainley showing:
“There has been no improvement in maths and reading among students in a decade and the results of disadvantaged students have declined sharply, a major report obtained by the ABC reveals.” (link at end of this blog)
I train teachers around the country and many outstanding educators have privately shared their NAPLAN concerns with me.
These concerns include:
- Having to teach to the test- not the curriculum.
- Reducing child development to grades and benchmarks and not taking learning styles into consideration
- Children’s fears and anxiety around these tests.
- Parents making children work on endless worksheets that purport to give better marks- a whole industry has grown up around this reduction of the education process to grades and numbers!
- Children are pretested, post – tested- they are tested so often there is little time to teach!
I regularly give workshops to SE Asian teachers as well, and my Singaporean colleagues have asked me why we have so many national exams.
Singapore has very high standards of education and has been very exam oriented in the past but is gradually injecting more creativity into the curriculum.
We NEVER had to go this way.
Sure- literacy and numeracy standards needed to improve and we needed more rigour in our education process.
This could have happened with a tighter curriculum, more effective professional development and extra teachers and assistants to work with children.
NAPLAN was always a broken, inferior tool to mend an education system that needed serious improvement.
Read more about it here-
Our education system is broken.
We have lost the plot – seriously!
We treat children like vessels to be filled with knowledge- like Mr Thomas Gradgrind, the school board superintendent, in Charles Dicken’s “Hard Times.”
“Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts; nothing else will ever be of any service to them.”
There are more and more schools that rip kindergarten children from the sandpits and plop them in front of boring workbooks, taking them away from play-based learning and thrusting them into formal school learning – all in the name of acceleration. Acceleration for what? Acceleration towards boredom and disengagment!
Some schools have the stated aim of getting all the children to be 1 year ahead before they get into year one! Why? What will this tension lead to?
Broken children will be the end results and already our level of anxiety amongst children has grown to worrying levels.
We are enrolling more and more children who are very anxious about NAPLAN, reports, academic performance and not managing to get all their homework done!
Schools are discussing children in terms of marks, stanines and percentages – not needs, personalities and learning styles.
The humanity, fun and excitement has gone from education and will continue to go.
Just over the last 7 days I have met broken children who believe they are failures at 8 years of age! I have met broken teachers who love children but have been instructed that children are no longer at the centre of the educational stage – it is all about exams results and, marks.
Even children are now describing themselves using the marks they get. I have children who have told me they desperately want to achieve a pass or get better than a C but believe this is no longer possible.
I have seen many reports that tell the exact position children come in their class. That is unbelievable and unacceptable in this day and age. It has to be stopped.
We are dishonouring our children and robbing them of motivation, hope and love of education. We CAN improve standards and reform our education system without taking away all the hope, enthusiasm, fun and creativity and breaking the hearts of the next generation!