Educational decision makers would do well to reflect on Angela Shanahan’s column “Teaching suffers for a generation of ideological hijack” (The Weekend Australian 13,14/8), for she goes to the nub of the deficit model, education has become. The dismissal of explicit teaching and the diminishment of teachers as leaders within classrooms, has been to the detriment of instruction in key areas. Literacy and numeracy skills, the ability to listen and comprehend, grammatical correctness in in writing, spelling and speaking have all been dismissed.
The concept of teachers as role models has been abandoned. In the place of these things we have open classrooms, an abandonment of desks and tables, students and teachers sitting on the floor for lessons, a focus on talking (everyone together at once) with the hubbub making listening almost impossible. Respect for teachers has diminished, with classroom educators placing more emphasis on being pals with children.
A lack of structure leads to a lack of respect, dismissing classroom order and discipline. Ultimately this leads to teachers becoming frustrated, with disillusion ending in their premature departure from the profession. Sadly, too many school principals and senior staff cannot see that new ideologies lead to the substitution of key learning outcomes with mediocrity and under-educated students. School education needs to be realigned with ordered teaching and learning again becoming a priority.