Archive for January 2021

Happy New Year

As thousands of school students, school leavers and tertiary students face the challenges of a new start to new places and new levels of learning it is an anxious time. I am in a somewhat different position. I am making a close. An end on 52 years of work in education but already I realise that to make a finish is to make another start. T.S.Eliot had a very perceptive view on this. The processes of education are circular and somewhat akin to exploring new ideas, new ways of working in new and different places. He put it like this:

What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make an end is to make a beginning

The end is where we start from ….

…. We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of our exploration

Will be to arrive at the start

And know the place for the first time [1]

Students meet teachers who are meeting new classes and that which has been learnt will be challenged and enhances by the new.

And EdTalkNZ will continue to churn over the issues in an effort to know that place called education for the first time.

Let 2020 end and 2021 begin!

At the end of last year, I commented on the fact that some Manukau Institute of Technology Tertiary High School students had completed two levels of NCEA within one school years. I asked myself and the readers if this had been done in other schools in a slightly challenging way, stating that such occurrences ought to be the norm. Well, I forgot to mention a group of students that I have no excuse for forgetting. Students at Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (NZ Correspondence School) have had the opportunity and have taken the chance to do just that for some time – apologies and congratulations to all concerned.

Remember that the space between the end to one school year and the start of another is simply a Christmas holiday. The process of learning, if it is to be seamless which it must be, should have a continuity that reduces the numbers and names of levels to no more that a device to keep the bookkeeping of education under control.

So, a new year starts. But if students have known and understood the end of their previous learning, their exploration of all that follows this new beginning will be secure. And in time they will develop a new level, a new end! Meanwhile, I shall set off to explore once more.

[1] T.S.Eliot Little Gidding, Four Quartets from Collected Poems 1909-1962