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Luc Stevens in conversation with Andy Hargreaves

16 mei 2011

Andy Hargreaves, sociologists and professor of education sciences at the Boston College in Massachusetts (US) is among the most prominent authors and participants of the public debate on the future of education. This February he spoke with Luc Stevens at the ‘every child is a promise’ conference in The Haque (The Netherlands). Watch this video (05.24) to find out what Andy Hargreaves said about the Pisa-ranking, the status of a teacher and the value society attaches to education: “if we challenge teachers, give them freedom and responsibilities, we will be able to keep the best people working for education. If we fail to do so, they will leave for jobs in the commercial sector or elsewhere, where they do have the opportunities to develop themselves”. Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie.

[vimeo 22289193]

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Luc Stevens and Andy Hargreaves talked about the ‘third and fourth ways’: pathways of innovation in education and what they brought. The third way promised teachers more freedom and responsibility, but also more attention for education yields and accountability. This has resulted in an autocratic and technocratic government that recommends education according to pre-defined recipes (evidence-based). The government is mostly engaged in data and ranking and narrowed down education to languages and mathematics (skills training). The fourth way, of which Finland, Alberta (Canada) and Singapore are examples, are focused on what is of true value for the future: a responsible student who finds learning self-evident, a learner, learning communities and teachers who are of value and who can make a difference. The seven principles of hetkind represent the fourth way as these principles become visible in schools.

Watch the whole conversation here (22.44).

[vimeo 22304883]

The keynote speech of Andy Hargreaves during the conference ‘every child is a promise’, his workshop and the accompanying conversations , were induced by his last book which he wrote in collaboration with professor Dennis Shirley. ‘The Fourth Way’ is an analysis of innovation pathways in education in the Western world since 1945. The developments of education in the Netherlands are, to a large extent, similar to these. In recent times, we recognize this in the far-reaching standardization and the monitoring of returns of education. The disproportionate testing of children is one of the consequences of this way.

To better understand the interview, in which is being referred to the four ways, a basic typology is presented.

The first way was dominated by unprecedented optimism about the feasibility of people and society. Governments facilitated developments and schools were relatively autonomous. These ideas guided our thinking until the mid ‘70s. In the Netherlands this remained for a longer period.

The second way, in fashion until the ‘90s, was dominated by economical or free-market thinking and the standardization of education. The labels ‘effectiveness’ and ‘efficiency’ became commonplace and the ‘effective education’ movement unfolded.

The third way, on which we are now, attempts to find a middle way between the earlier paths. By having more attention for independent and responsible profession practices and professional development, it is attempted to balance the disadvantageous influences of the first and second pathway. There has to be attention for results and their accountability. Many professionals are disappointed that this development altered and has become, as Hargreaves calls it, ‘The New Orthodoxy’. With excessive attention for comparing results (ranking), it has led to a kind of testing compulsion and more governmental control, evidence based education (or prescribed education), imposed goals and an autocratic government which does not engage in dialogue.

The fourth way anticipates what education will require in the future. When every talent will be important and lifelong learning will be the norm. According to Hargreaves, key notions will be: a concept of humanity: the question who you are and who you want to be (what does the school value?); having shared educational goals in a school and norms to which you want to comply; ‘evidence informed’ instead of ‘evidence based’ education; schools helping schools; leadership and ‘teacher quality’ at first; vision and responsibility coming before accountability; first attention to the process (challenging and responsive education) and then to the result.


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