The importance of being there

By Marj Moore 31 October 2016, 12:00AM

Paraphrasing one of the many catch phrases coming out of the never-ending U.S. Elections, I’d like to declare, “I’m with him”.

The ‘him’ I’m talking about by the way is not Donald Trump.

And if I was saying “I’m with her” it would certainly not be Hilary Clinton either.

The poor American public have certainly got what is often termed Hobson’s Choice; a situation where you don’t really have a choice.

And while the whole interminable, American election debacle makes for alternating fascinating or eye rolling reading and viewing, it’s thankfully their problem.

We have our own.

We can only hope theirs doesn’t become ours too by default when the results from November 8 finally come through.

The ‘him’ I’m actually referring to, is Aeau Chris Hazelman’s astute comments in our front page story, ‘Teachers marked absent’. 

As a professional who has worked in the Education sector in various roles for many years, Aeau is far too smart to think that management figures saying everything is rosy in Education, means that it is or that it will be.

He is also no doubt aware that worldwide, teachers are one of the biggest groups of professionals who are known to be resistant to change of any sort.

New ideas at in service training sessions for example, are often seemingly embraced whole heartedly at the time. 

However check back in the classroom a few weeks later and many teachers will have reverted to their old practices and methods with which they feel comfortable.

It’s a fact.  

So when Aeau cast his eyes over the attendees at the Education Sector Mid Term Review meeting held at the T.A.T.T.E. building and noticed there were few principals and even fewer teachers, he was quite rightly concerned.

Even more concerning was that according to the C.E.O. of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, Afamasaga Dr. Karoline Fuata’i, they had all been invited and presumably had the time off to attend.

Aeau also pointed out that “If you want the sector to move forward it has to be owned by the people who are going to be initiating or implementing these reforms.”

And as part of owning and initiating the reforms, one would expect that those entrusted to do just that, would play a major part and be very visible on the day of the Review.

Were any one of the teachers invited to speak, comment, praise or criticise or was this just another talk fest from Ministry office holders and others who have not seen the inside of a classroom since they were last there themselves?

For many of the stakeholders who were present and very visible in the photo opportunity of the day, their part for the time being ended after the positive speeches were over and pleasantries had been exchanged. 

Not so the principals and teachers whose past and ongoing work is vital to the very reforms and to the students in their classes.

And as we all know at the end of the day; that is what counts.

The teaching and learning that is happening every day in the classrooms

By Marj Moore 31 October 2016, 12:00AM

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