Executive Director of Schools, Catholic Diocese of Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
Teachers have never been more important than in today's connected world.
Richard Elmore once observed a knowledge-based economy requires a knowledge-based teaching profession. The expectation of all schools in today’s world is to ensure every learner is equipped with knowledge age skills—creativity, critical thinking, collaboration etc.
If the nature of schooling changes, then the role of teacher must change from transmitters of information and deliverers of curriculum to moderators of knowledge and curriculum designers.
Teachers learn as well as teach.
Good teachers see themselves as learners—the more they learn about learning and the more they learn about how students learn, the more powerful and influential their teaching becomes. One of the features of a successful school in today’s world is the concept of it being a connected learning community—both physical and virtual. These schools see learning as the major task of everyone: leaders, teachers, students and parents.
Teaching isn’t autonomous.
The days are long gone when teachers can work on their own agenda and choose their own methods, oblivious to best practice, contemporary research and the expectations of 21st century schooling.
A knowledge-based profession recognises the role of teachers as team-members of a learning community. They learn as well as teach; they share the responsibilities and accountabilities for improving the learning outcomes of every student. This is what is referred to as the de-privatisation of teaching—the practice of collaboration and reflective dialogue in order to continually improve the learning and teaching.
Schooling has reached its use by date.
The mass production model of schooling has reached its use by date. There is no one size fits all; new models need to be developed which place learning and teaching at the centre. School communities will find their own innovative models—these will be flexible and agile—able to respond to new capabilities and opportunities. Technologies will be powerful tools to assist these dynamic learning communities in creating rich learning experiences for students and influential networks for teachers.
No school is an island.
No school is an island in today’s world and the complexities of contemporary schooling means that we need to look beyond the school walls for inspiration and solutions. It’s important that schools develop robust partnerships with parents, industry and the wider community to deliver solutions that address local needs and issues. These partnerships will give rise to a new mutuality or co-responsibility for learning and teaching that is organic and sustainable.
The views expressed on this site are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pearson Foundation.
Greg Whitby is the Executive Director of Schools in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta, New South Wales, Austrlia and leads a system of 78 Catholic schools in greater western Sydney serving over 42,000 students and employing over 4,500 teachers and staff. He has extensive experience in senior system leadership and K-12 schooling in government and non-government sectors.
Greg has served nationally in many areas of educational leadership and was appointed in 2011 to the Australian Government's Digital Education Advisory Group. He is a Commissioner of NSW Catholic Education Commission and Catholic Commission for Employment Relations as well as founding Chair of CENet (Catholic Network Australia)—a not for profit company linking 745 schools across Australia on a robust virtual private network.
In 2007, he was named the most innovative educator in Australia by the Bulletin Magazine in its annual SMART 100 awards and was awarded the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) Presidential Citation. In 2011, he received the AW Jones Medal for services to education. Greg is an Apple Distinguished Educator, Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders. He was also made a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of education.
He is a regular keynote speaker at national and international conferences including Pearson Global Research Conference, 3rd International PBL symposium, Consortium of School Networking USA (CoSN), Oracle Open World and the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI).
In addition to writing his blog bluyonder, Greg engages with his colleagues in a global educational conversation via Twitter @GregWhitby.