What an experience this has been - the process from the idea to the establishment of a study and then the writing up of an original research project! Well, it has been nothing short of a supreme challenge.
I think I understand why people climb mountains now .....perhaps even why Bear Grylls is driven to survive when faced with inhospitable and hostile environments. ......and why he can only do so with a vast, talented and patient support crew....and studying at this level is a bit the same - it an only be survived with a vast and supportive loving support crew! So thank you to mine, you are all so very, very loved and appreciated. Also thanks to the teachers and the school for their participation in the study - without which there would be nothing to say. It has been very special to sit and reflect with the teachers who shared of their time so generously and honestly. As the saying goes -'if you want something done -ask a busy person!'.
Sadly, for me I continue to find the experience of isolated writing just too much. I hate the isolation that was my current experience of post grad study in education - the not talking through ideas, sharing viewpoints and coming to agreements and understandings about the new the unexpected, the contested and just occasionally .....the extraordinary. Next time I will know what questions to ask a lot earlier and how to structure and find supportive 'sounding boards' into the process a lot more - however, it has been about my learning too, so it is good that I understand these things now.
Anyway.......the next step in the process is to pass the dissertation, and complete two professional studies units and then I can graduate.....wee-hoo! Meanwhile I continue to look at what teachers do and the good ones remain inspirational to me and the poor ones are thankfully still there at least and probably doing only what they know how ....with increased time and proper funding and some support from mentors in schools they have could have an opportunity to become better teachers. No teacher starts out wanting to be bad at what they do ....that is just silly.
Removing the entire responsibility for teacher training from those who don't teach/ can't teach in schools, would be a good place to start professional reforms. I remember reading a book on teaching strategic reading by Jeffrey Wilhelm - a professor from the University of Maine, USA who still taught at the local high school a few classes a week. I thought then what a great thing for him to do - how revolutionary is that professor! To continue to work in a school with the very students he was teaching others to teach and read... he was walking the talk. Systems that remove the professional reformers from the very place they are trying to improve I have decided are not so helpful.
I hope I can make a difference to our current school system without ever losing touch with what a school currently has to do and what it feels like for our teachers who continue to do fantastic work at times, working within the constraints than are so limiting.
Finally a podcast treat about the Finnish Education system that exposes some of the gaps and gaping silences is our current schooling system in Australia!