We Talk about Teaching, Not Trivia

When Henrietta took up her role as principal six years ago, she recognised the need for a new curriculum plan.

‘Henrietta insisted that for the first six months of the planning process no decisions would be made, nor would anything be committed to writing.’ Hilda, her deputy, is speaking.

‘Instead, the time would be used just to talk and discuss things and that is exactly what we did. And we continue to do this at our weekly curriculum meetings … we talk about teaching not trivia’.

‘Yes these meetings are great, we get a chance to talk about the things which really make a difference to our kids,’ chipped in Jeremy. ‘We talk about what we are doing and why’.

‘After six years you see things become part of the school culture and these weekly meetings are part of our culture’, added Hilda.

‘Change is also part of our culture, there is a constant process of change, we are always striving to do things better, to be better teachers, better at what we do. Change is just accepted as part of what it means to be a teacher here. And the curriculum meetings make these change manageable.’

‘The meetings make me feel like a professional … you feel valued as an employee, that you have a voice,’ Jeremy added.

‘The meetings give all of us an understanding of what each of us is doing,’ said Anthea. ‘They also help us understand the children we will be working with next year, and what work they have done previously … . We know a lot more about the kids and what they have been doing before we get them’.

‘At this school, there is an expectation that you will actively engage with your colleagues, students, parents, and others in the community … , that you will discuss what you are doing and why. There is a real sense that we are professionals and that we are all part of a professional learning community’.

Burrows, Peter, Bill Cope, Mary Kalantzis, Les Morgan, Kieju Suominen and Nicola Yelland. 2006. Data from the Australian Research Council Learning By Design Project.’ Unpublished Manuscript.