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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Yet Another Government Initiative

I seems as though I have spent the last 7 days solid working on the Masterclass folios. Nicola (who I know reads this, but never comments) could confirm this, easily! I must say though, that this is small change in comparison to how much time some of them must have spent producing their folios.

Some people have been very critical of Masterclass, both locally and nationally. I wonder what they will make of this now public work of Masterclass. I also wonder what they thought Masterclass should achieve? The vast majority of Masterclass members are 1.0 FTE class committed teachers. Subtract this from the alleged 35 hour working week, and then remove the preparation, correction and marking time and what little is left (ha! – there’s some left?) can be spent encouraging others to make greater use of ICT?

I am amazed at how much time and effort some of our Masterclass members put into ‘championing’ the cause of ICT. I am bowled over by their commitment, and the sheer number of hours they put into helping others use ICT in the classroom. It’s amazing they can manage all this in a 35 hour working week. Hold on – that’s where I’m wrong. It’s nowhere near 35 hours.

We are all being taken advantage of. At first, we think we are doing people a favour, that helping out a little bit more is actually helping everyone. Wrong. All it tells our superiors is that we can do more, and are prepared to put ‘a little bit more in’. What happens next? Well, you seem quite able, so maybe you could do this as well? Eventually, you have so much to do, that you don’t really know where to begin, and the one thing you are meant to be doing has shifted slightly out of focus.

Add to this our over-politicised culture of ‘yet another government initiative’ we are moving further and further away from what should be our focus – educating children – not substantiating how we are educating children.

Until we realistically invest in promoting the use of ICT in the classroom, we will always rely on people’s good nature – and that just isn’t good enough. For starters, it’s not remotely systematic, let alone sustainable. The biggest change in use of ICT in the classroom is when a class teacher is given in-class support – fact. Twilight tuition is one of the least most effective methods of training – fact. How much more evidence of this do we need to collate?

Theoretically I could have stopped work this week on Wednesday at lunchtime. Maybe I should be taking some of my own medicine.

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