The Living Curriculum at the DoMM. An Open Discussion Facilitated by Steve Barnett
Last evening 20 people engaged in spirited conversation about radically
different ways to manage learning. Not so radical if you teach on a high
school YES programme already, but radical for most secondary and tertiary
Thanks to Rob Ayres (Te Puna Ako) and Yong Liu (Tech wiz & camera operator)
the conversation was webcast live on http://www.livestream.com/txxb and the
almost 2 hr video is available in the Video Library on that site (you will
need extension speakers to crank up the volume because the sound levels are
Special guest Arran Caza reported that quantitative research (to be
published soon) into the results of wide ranging application of Roger
Putzel’s XB model of classroom management conclusively show the benefits for
Organisational Behaviour students. The only aspect of performance that they
don’t outclass conventionally educated students is in conventional exams.
There they equal the conventionally educated students’ performance.
We heard of valiant experiments in alternative methods by others in the
room: stories of successes, failures and barriers. Stories of how student
collaboration and teacher “absence” produce extraordinary learning.
There were stories from business of how shifting control and discretion from
manager to managed is radically effective in other learning contexts such as
within firms and supply chains operating in uncertain commercial
Then the conversation focused on the main issues for change leaders: There
seem to be four main ones
1. The assessment system is designed for synchronised,
standardised performance and administrative transparency.
2. Peer pressure from most teachers believing (or at least
accepting) that student conversation (noise) and diverse activity (chaos)
indicate professional incompetence and are counterproductive to learning.
3. Schools management metrics assume and expect straight line
learning progress rather than exponential learning curves typical of
learning through high-performing teams. Managers judge their reports on that
basis (and they in turn are so judged)
4. Students’ (and their parents) expectations and perceptions
around “work” and “learning”: it is stuff that you are made to do. Learning
is about receiving instruction and successfully replicating technique or
When conversation moved to action, there was discussion about just how much
and how fast change could be achieved in the bureaucratic, administratively
dominated “system”; and what the “mavericks” need to lead and achieve the
change that is increasingly widely acknowledged as imperative.
The main thing needed seemed to be support of a community of like-minded,
like-impassioned teachers who each risk being different, risk change; who
strengthen each other and build resilience through regularly, openly sharing
their stories of successes and failures, with each other. In other words,
collaborate to create room and build courage to initiate and achieve the
The loose consensus was that there in the room were 20 people already who
could collaborate. There are another 20 -30 that we know of who weren’t in
the room. . . . . . . . . . . . .some in other nations.
What do you think?