Learning Futures guest blog post: Accountability

May 3, 2011 at 9:21 am Leave a comment

Guest blog post by Martin Said, Teacher at Cramlington Learning Village

Its funny how many times the point of accountability has come up over the last couple of days on my return to school (from High Tech High in San Diego) in the run up to coursework deadlines.

I think I work in a great school which does a tremendous job in taking a comprehensive intake and helping them to be better and more independent thinkers and learners, yet I still perceive a shift in emphasis from the beginning of my short career.

It may be the “rose tinted glasses effect” but it seems that the locus of accountability in quality assurance has moved further from the student towards the teacher. Coursework (seems funny using that word in the new spec vista) was the responsibility of the student to hand in on time to a good standard, now it feels like it is the teachers’ responsibility to get coursework from students. This is not a specific observation to my school but from conversations with colleagues in other schools also.

What is the determining factor here? I don’t know is the honest answer. League tables maybe and pressure upon teachers to meet targets (self imposed or otherwise), and I’m sure that students recognise this. Kids are canny.

Anyway, what struck me about accountability in HTH was one instance where a girl had not completed her engineering project but was still expected to stand by her empty table in exhibition and of course every visiting member of community asked the same question: “Where is your project?”

What a powerful thing to have to describe the mistakes you made, a real learning experience and extremely formative!

I asked the question many times at HTH, “What would you do if you didn’t have Carte Blanche?” and the first response was invariably “Get carte blanche”.

A reframing of the question to “If you could change just one thing in the inherent system…” yielded similarly homogenous responses:

“Start with public exhibition.”

Oh and DTPF!

(Do the project first)

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Entry filed under: Education & Children's Services, Uncategorized.

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