Today's model of education delivery has remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years. Educational change is not entered into lightly, and rightly so - as a society we need to ensure the best for students, for teachers, for social and economic well-being. Nevertheless, it's clear now that employers, students, and their families in Australia’s knowledge-based economy are getting impatient. So we brought together experts from two leading universities and two leading secondary schools, to help shine a light on the future of formal learning.
When he took over as Prime Minister just seven months ago, Malcolm Turnbull did so with a commitment to lead the nation through an urgent transformation into a knowledge-based economy. “We are living at the most exciting time,” he said, acknowledging the changes happening to the global economy. To fully participate in this revolution, he explained that Australia needs to build a national workforce with strong science, technology, engineering and maths skills to drive a culture of innovation. It's an inspiring vision.
For many children, 2015 will bring big changes to their education. They may have started in a new class with higher expectations and new ways of learning, and often it is daunting and stressful.
Ciaran Smyth, our Director of Tutoring Services (also ex-teacher and devoted dad), has been speaking with the media recently, on how to get through this stressful period with family sanity intact. Here he is on Channel Nine's Sydney News last week (video courtesy of Channel Nine):
In an effort to help staff cope with the enormous marking load, the executive of our school made the decision that all students would have access to yourtutor three years ago. After the initial presentations to staff and students, I saw considerable merit in the service, but believed it offered little to the English Staff. Nevertheless, we were prepared to embrace the concept and I encouraged all staff to tell their students to use the service. Some did, some didn't!
What has surprised me is the number of King's boys who have chosen to use the service. Each enquiry represents one less enquiry to an English Staff member. We set a variety of tasks for years 7-10 students, from writing a short story, to an assignment on Macbeth to comparing and contrasting two novels that deal with the human condition or growing up in a different part of the world, to an unseen essay task on poetry or set novel or play.
yourtutor offers an independent voice, not a voice that will rewrite the assignment, story or essay, but a critical voice that can assist the students to improve their work. There is no doubt that those students who use the service regularly have benefited. Just receiving feedback that makes them think about their writing is a huge advantage.
yourtutor has been able to cope with our peak demands. The student comments, an excellent feature, really allows for proper monitoring. I suggest, if your school is prepared to offer yourtutor, you give it a go. Just remember, for it to be effective, you as teachers, have to tell your students they should use the service.