Marrying the professional and the domestic: perceptions of female principals in New Zealand
Number 2, March 2005
The workload of principals in New Zealand has increased dramatically over the last decade. Besides the responsibility for the overall educational framework and environment in their schools, they also have to accept responsibility for the management of their organisation, it resources, personnel and marketing. In addition to these roles, they are also required to be the public face of the school, and to be seen as representing its interests in the community. As Moore explains, the increase in principals' workloads has affected female principals even more than males, as they usually have the additional burden of caring for families and managing the household. In this article Moore looks at what she decribes as the effects of the 'triple shift' on a group of female primary principals in Auckland, New Zealand, and examines how these principals have to balance their professional and domestic responsibilities in their bid to fulfil the professional and social expectations on them.
Subject HeadingsSchool principals
How do teachers’ political views influence teaching about controversial issues
Volume 69 Number 1, January 2005; Pages 47–48
Teachers have often struggled with the question of whether or not to introduce political controversies in their classes, even though the weight of educational research suggests that this kind of authentic learning does much to engage students and to maintain the relevance of the curriculum. Teachers often avoid controversial topics because they fear disclosure of their own political views and stances, and according to Hess, this dilemma still causes heated debate in staffrooms. In this article, however, Hess is interested in what factors cause teachers to determine an issue to be controversial, and how they then proceed to include it or exclude it from the curriculum. Hess discerns four approaches that teachers take to teaching controversial issues – denial, privilege, avoidance and balance – and deals with each of these issues in turn in this article.
Subject HeadingsTeaching and learning
Education aims and objectives
Education and diversity
Volume 69 Number 1, January 2005; Pages 36–40
The eight authors of this article were all members of the Multicultural Education Consensus Panel, which was sponsored by the Universities of Washington and Maryland in the United States. This article contains twelve principles on multicultural education, which the authors have applied to the five domains of education, namely, teacher learning, student learning, intergroup relations, school governance and assessment. The principles are applied selectively to each domain, as each is designed to inform a particular domain. For example, the principle of teacher professional development helping teachers to ‘understand the complex characteristics of ethic groups’ pertains only to teacher professional development. Likewise, the principle which holds that ‘a school’s organisational strategies… should create a caring environment for students’ applies only to the school governance domain. While this article is aimed at American educators, others will find its intent and conceptual underpinnings relevant to their professional practice.
Subject HeadingsMulticultural education
United States of America (USA)
March 2005; Pages 22–29
Over the last 4 decades, the number of obese children aged 6–19 in the United States has tripled. This trend has been accompanied by a rise in diet related ailments, such as Type II diabetes, amongst young people in that country. The causes of this ‘crisis’ are multifarious, but they include high sugar and fat diets, sedentary lifestyles, the ease at which young people are able to obtain ‘junk food’ and an inadequate knowledge of good nutrition. The effects of bad nutrition are played out in education settings, as students’ physical and emotional wellbeing are also affected. Students who have unhealthy diets are more prone to being unwell and to be absent from school. They are also more likely to experience learning difficulties and problems with their concentration. This article considers what schools and educators are doing to improve their students’ diets and reduce the incidence of obesity. Some of the initiatives include banning junk food from schools, organising summer fitness programs, and opening health food tuckshops.
Means and ends
Volume 4 Number 1, March 2005; Pages 24–26
The basis of this article is an interview between the author, Steve Holden, and the Joint Director of Teacher Education at the University of Queensland, Merrilyn Goos. Goos won the Social Sciences category of the Australian Awards for University Teaching in 2004, and, in this article, she discusses her approach to inducting pre-service teachers of mathematics into the profession, and her overall philosophy of teaching. Goos’ pre-eminent goal is to ensure that she prepares teachers to be able to make a difference to education systems, the profession and schools. In this vein, she describes some of her innovative programs, as well as her pedagogical approaches. One of her initiatives is an email discussion group and bulleting board, which allows her current students and past graduates of her courses to exchange ideas, experiences and information. In this way the experiences of practising teachers both informs, and is informed by, the work of their beginning colleagues.
Subject HeadingsTeacher training
The common ground: a rationale for integrating science and reading
Volume 42 Number 5, January 2005; Pages 40–42
Although focusing on the United States primary classroom, this article will be of relevance to all teachers who are attempting to integrate the skills of the English curriculum with those mandated in the Science key learning area. Royce and Wiley examine the skills and educational outcomes of both subject areas and, discovering that there is much overlap between the two, recommend ways in which teachers can achieve educational outcomes in each simultaneously, especially in primary settings. They note that similar skills, such as sequencing, appear in both curricula just in different guises. They also note that by achieving the educational outcomes of the two key learning areas simultaneously, teachers in primary schools can substantially increase the time they spend on learning in the Science curriculum. Moreover, by integrating Science with English learning, teachers can make literacy tasks more engaging for students as Science offers the incentive of ‘discovery’ and more practical experiences for students to participate in. Scientific literature can also introduce students to different kinds of literacy skills.
Key Learning AreasScience
Subject HeadingsScience teaching
English language teaching
A proposal to address the shortage of highly qualified mathematics teachers
Volume 98 Number 7, March 2005; Pages 456–458
This article seeks to explain the reasons for the shortage of mathematics teachers in the United States, and recommends that more should be done to retain those currently in the profession, as opposed to the current strategy which emphasises recruitment. Paul notes that mathematics pre-service teachers are in the top rank of university students and, as such, they are the kinds of students who have many other career options available to them. Teaching therefore needs to be made more attractive to candidates such as those. He also notes that the accountability measures that operate in many educational jurisdictions force teachers to compromise on their pedagogical approaches, further testing their resolve to stay in the profession. Furthermore, the shortage of mathematics teachers is not universal, and small, poor rural schools seem to have more problems attracting and retaining quality mathematics teachers than larger, wealthier schools. Paul suggests that one solution to the problem of the shortage of mathematics teachers would be to get government – in this case the United States Federal Government – to designate additional funding to every current mathematics teaching position. This, he believes, would provide the extrinsic motivation for people to both stay in the profession and to be attracted to it.
Subject HeadingsMathematics teaching
Parenting, teaching and self esteem
Volume 27 Number 1, 2005; Pages 28–30
Nurturing students to become mature, responsible and socially adept adults relies on cultivating in them a high sense of self-esteem. The authors of this article are concerned that a high proportion of student teachers feel that the way to do this is to be more permissive in their relationships with students, and to avoid the exercise of overt authority over young people. In order to counter this attitude, they examine parenting styles – uninvolved, authoritarian, permissive and authoritative – and rate each style on whether they are responsive to or demanding of children. In education, ‘responsiveness’ usually manifests itself in student welfare models of schooling, while ‘demandingness’ is the learning and performance expectations that schools, and school cultures, have of students. Likewise, the permissive and authoritative styles of parenting also, respectively, emphasise ‘responsiveness’ and ‘demandingness’. The authors conclude that both dimensions – ‘responsiveness’ and ‘demandingness’ are crucial to building self-esteem in young people, and that schools and students should not be drawn into emphasising either at the expense of the other. An example of this, they observe, is schools’ over emphasis on the responsiveness dimension when dealing with students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and their neglect in setting expectations (‘demandingness’) for those students.
Subject HeadingsTeacher-student relationships
Parent and child
Nine 'til three? Not likely!
May 2005; Pages 41–43
On average teachers now work an estimated 48 hours per week as the tasks demanded of them rise in breadth and complexity. In a recent study, 'Nine 'til three? Not likely!', the author investigated teacher workload. The study drew on existing data compiled by the Queensland Teachers’ Union. Two surveys were also conducted amongst Queensland teachers, asking them about their perceptions of changes in their workload and how it was impacting on their lives. Focus group interviews were also held with teachers. More than 60 per cent of teachers and 80 per cent of principals reported working long or very long hours. Besides teaching time, teachers reported heavy engagement in assessment and administration, especially at secondary school level, and said that this work had increased significantly over the last three years. Increases for full and part time teachers were found to be the same. Substantial numbers of teachers said that it was now difficult for them to enjoy time away from work and that it took longer for them to recover from work. Excessive workload leads to stress and burnout and is a disincentive to recruitment of new teachers. Explanations for rising workload include ‘constant changes’ in curriculum, policy and responsibilities; rising demands on schools without corresponding staff increases; and increasing expectations from Education Queensland that teachers attend to non-teaching responsibilities. Options for reducing workload include limiting the official hours that teachers can work each week, a policy that has led to ‘ a marked downward shift’ in teachers’ working hours in Europe. Another option is to introduce effective overtime provisions and to end unpaid overtime. Schools need adequate staffing levels to match workload.
Subject HeadingsWorking hours
Learning + assessment + reporting = innovation
May 2005; Pages 30–32
St Michael’s Grammar School, Melbourne, has introduced a seamless model of assessment and reporting for Years K–12. Assessment is now based around Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for each student. Portfolios containing samples of each student’s work are discussed at regular meetings between parents, teachers and the student. In the Senior School work samples for each subject area are entered online on the school Intranet. Students receive feedback as soon as work is marked. For set periods of time parents are able to access the Intranet to view feedback from teachers in each subject area. Heads of Houses also access the reports to identify and monitor distinctively high or low achieving students. Teachers can amend reportable tasks to fine tune their level of difficulty, so that students can be challenged and graded according to their current ability level. Late submission of work is tracked. The reporting system demands strict deadlines be met by students, building their time management skills. A survey of parents undertaken nine months into the new system showed strong support for it. Parents also suggested improvements, such as providing more background to parents on the role of IEPs; giving parents access to student portfolios prior to meetings with teachers and the student; and allowing for discussion between parents and teachers without the student, if requested by either party. Students initially feared being 'judged all the time' under the new system, but have come to appreciate having independent access to their results.
Webfolio: using electronic portfolios in preservice teacher education
Volume 30 Number 1, February 2005; Pages 27–36
Using webquests, the Webfolio project at
Inquiry based learning
University-School Teacher Education Partnerships in North Carolina
Volume 30 Number 3, 2004; Pages 443–462
The University-School Teacher Education Partnerships (USTEP) program in the USA involves collaboration between 15 teacher training institutions in North Carolina. The program was set up to promote a series of aims including earlier, longer and more intense field-work placements; joint professional development programs for teachers and school leaders; more communication between public schools and universities; and joint involvement of school and university staff in curriculum planning. Now operating for five years, USTEP has succeeded in lengthening and intensifying teaching placements for students; developing assessment tools for student performance; bridging cultural barriers between school and academic staff; and involving arts and science academics in teacher education. A range of lessons can be drawn from the USTEP experience. University-school partnerships are expensive, but offer rich opportunities for research. School performance needs to be measured through many forms of assessment beyond standardised testing of students, and the best measure is probably teacher-made tests. Selection procedures for candidates to teacher education courses need to be improved, taking into account the applicants’ creativity, intellectual curiosity and interest and ability in working with children. School-university partnerships need to document their effectiveness thoroughly to the public, policy makers and politicians. During placements student teachers should be groomed by senior teacher educators. Student teachers’ initial and developing competencies need much closer attention than they currently receive. Student teachers need to be taught about the school and the school community as social systems.
Subject HeadingsUnited States of America (USA)
Navigating to success with curriculum mapping
Project 2000 was a self-evaluation of technology use in the classroom undertaken by staff of the Graham Elementary School in Michigan, USA. Staff studied constructivist learning theory and the role of technology in the learning process then evaluated their current use of technology. They found a need for ‘transparent’ technology that was connected to the curriculum at points where it could enhance, rather than intrude upon, teaching and learning. They also decided on the need for teachers to become more information literate and help students to select and apply information across subject areas. To help integrate technology into the curriculum, lab computers were transferred to classrooms and resources of the school’s high-tech Media Center were drawn. Teachers mapped the curriculum, examining content taught in different subject areas each month, looking for connections across the curriculum. They identified suitable topics and formulated key questions to be raised in each area, then developed lessons, activities and collaborative projects. Sample lessons, activities and student output were provided to teachers on the school district’s intranet, classified by discipline, topic and grade level. Every two months teachers met with a project consultant to review training and support needs. After teachers had mapped the curriculum and as they became more proficient in technology use, they made deeper connections with technology and the curriculum, and increasingly applied webquests, distance learning, and collaborative projects in their teaching. As they became clearer about the skills they needed to help students learn, teacher training began to occur ‘on an as-needed or just in time basis’.
Teaching and learning
Inquiry based learning
Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
Numeracy across the curriculum: demands and opportunities
School mathematics alone is unlikely to develop students’ numeracy to adequate standards, since students struggle to apply mathematics learning to real world contexts, even when it is well taught. The ACT Middle Years Numeracy Across the Curriculum Project has engaged teachers in action research to study the demands of, and opportunities for, numeracy across the curriculum. The project set up research circles of teachers from primary and secondary schools to explore ways to take a whole school approach to numeracy teaching. By developing and testing action plans teachers identified a range of reasons why students don’t apply their mathematics learning, such as inability to see its relevance in a specific context, or the tendency to give up when confronted by something they can’t do. The teachers also sought to identify and make use of ‘numeracy moments’ in their subject areas. Participants reported difficulty in engaging the interest of other teachers in non-mathematics subjects who often had a limited grasp of numeracy – for example applying it only to low-level social goals like paying bills – and were uncomfortable with it.
Subject HeadingsTeaching and learning
Inquiry based learning
Conversing for conversion: turning system-wide curriculum into local school reform
Attempts at system-wide curriculum reform are crucially mediated by cultures and sub-cultures operating within individual schools. These cultures and the existing community of practice in a school may be very resistant to change and may not encourage the willingness to experiment or adoption of new methods. Teachers’ individual professional identities are often tied to their existing practices and knowledge base, which are another source of resistance to reforms. For these reasons policy makers should not expect direct, uniform adoption of curriculum changes within schools. Policy documents should be developed as resources that allow teachers, school leaders and other members of the school community to explore, trial and discuss new ideas and ways of working. Teachers must also be encouraged to examine and possibly confront the preconceptions behind their present ways of thinking and working. Schools need a culture that overcomes the private and individualised experience of teaching. The school community needs to be one of ‘trust-based diversity’ where different perspectives are acknowledged and discussed. Teachers can exercise leadership by helping peers to explore and adopt changes to their practice, within their specific school contexts.
Teaching and learning
School and community