10 ways to recognise a good school

September 24th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports Professor ’s 10 indicators for parents:

1. In the playground, do the students look each other in the eye? Or do they avoid each other, or sit in cliques.

2. Diversity breeds fresh thinking. Can they show you genuine evidence it is encouraged?

3. How do they measure success? By the achievements of the few or of the many?

4. Ask to meet the best teacher. If they tell you they’re all good, they’re not thinking clearly.

5. Who do students turn to? Every student should have someone who knows how they are doing and will spend time with them.

6. Do new students make friends in the first month? It is a critical indicator for success: how does the school make sure it happens with all students?

7. Do they like mistakes? Learning starts from not knowing, so do they embrace that? Do students feel confident enough to talk about errors or not knowing something?

8. Are students “assessment capable” in this school. Can they talk about how well they are doing, where they are now and going next?

9. Do they use acceleration for all? Are students enabled to learn at different speeds?

10. What feedback do students get? Ask – “what did you get told about your work today”?

I especially like the suggestion to look at the playground and asking to meet the best teacher.

Tags: ,

41 Responses to “10 ways to recognise a good school”

  1. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    How do you define the “best teacher” on Planet Key?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. flipper (3,544 comments) says:

    #s 11 and 12 are more important

    #11 NZEI membership – zero.

    #12. Hams – zero

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Unimatrix.Zero (14 comments) says:

    I LOVE this! We are looking for a school for our 4 year old right now. Very thought provoking.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. alex Masterley (1,490 comments) says:

    Question 10 is important.
    The feedback a child gets from his her or their teacher is important.
    The school my kids attend has 38 langauages represented so diversity is not a problem.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Harriet (4,506 comments) says:

    “…..4. Ask to meet the best teacher. If they tell you they’re all good, they’re not thinking clearly….”

    How come this bloke has not elaborated on what that best teacher is asked?

    No where in the 10 does it question how discipline in the classroom is handled.

    There is some bullshit going on here I think.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    That’s why I ask, how do you define the “best teacher” on Planet Key?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    The best teacher is the one who isn’t a member of the nzei.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Colville (2,073 comments) says:

    I think H and H both miss the point on the best teacher question…you dont need to actually talk to the best teacher..you just want to know if the school knows which teachers are better than others and I assume you would want to know how the school is helping the teachers that arent quite as good…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Simon Lyall (100 comments) says:

    I remember walking by Auckland Girls Grammar a few years ago. One part of the playground was full of white students, another part was full of brown students. I guess they get a “not complete” for question one.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. hmmokrightitis (1,508 comments) says:

    Best teacher question = celebrating and supporting success.

    Ham, you wont get this, it involves grown up concepts that your glib one liners cannot penetrate. Its about a school not being afraid to identify success in its teachers, and allow others to understand that and model the same techniques. So that kids can grow as well as teachers.

    As a people manager and leader, Im constantly pushing, guiding, coaching and looking to expand and test my leaders, and so grow them and my organisation. And part of that is understanding who my stars are, and getting them to seed a little of that around them. If you cant understand a concept as simple as that, and I doubt you can, then your grey “were all the same, yay” world is the best place for you.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (762 comments) says:

    You’re missing the point there Hambrain
    A principal identfying the best teacher shows that the principal recognises that not all teachers are the same and that they should at least try to recognise the best ones.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Stuart (40 comments) says:

    Number 3, a favourite of the left. It is part of the wests culture and success that the success of the few is celebrated and it should be celebrated. Life is full of winners and losers and we should all strive to win, not cotton pad our children and pretend that we are all equal

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (762 comments) says:

    whoops should have read the post above me first ….. ^^^^ what hmmokrightitis said

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Redbaiter (7,565 comments) says:

    This is just worthless touchy feely crap and in its idiocy reinforces my suggestion that most people involved with education in NZ should be fired.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Harriet (4,506 comments) says:

    When I looked around the school that my children were going to[a christian school in QLD] the most pleasing thing I saw was a list on the wall by the door.

    It was the ‘walking order’ for all the 5ylds when they went from class to class – boy/girl boy/girl etc – and they hold hands.

    That gave me some satisfaction that ‘new age nonsense’ wasn’t being taught there.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (762 comments) says:

    Feel free to discredit each point one at a time there Reddy
    we will check up on your progress later

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. mara (721 comments) says:

    The girls at Auckland Girls’ Grammar segregate themselves into Asian, Pakeha and Pacific, despite some effort by teachers to separate them. My daughter, who went there, says the cultural, attitudional and intellectual differences mean they generally feel more comfortable with their own.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    Hattie says
    > 4. Ask to meet the best teacher. If they tell you they’re all good, they’re not thinking clearly.

    Teachers are like ordinary people and have different skills and talents. They are musical, sporty, empathetic, extroverts, introverts, good with reluctant learners, good at accelerating achievers, interested in science, interested in maths.

    If you ask to meet the “best” teacher and you don’t say what your criteria are then it’s no suprise if you get a simplistic answer.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Hattie forgot to add #11.

    #11) Do they encourage kids to have a facebook account or have their own blogs?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. hmmokrightitis (1,508 comments) says:

    You miss the point mpledger. The point is, does the response to the question have any thought behind it. For example:

    Oh goodness me no, they are all the best, we are all equal here

    Or

    Best in or at what? (Discussion follows on the stars / leaders)

    If a leader cannot identify who their talent is and what those talents are, they are no leader. The difference between ‘manage’ and ‘lead’. Or ‘barely coping’.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. flipper (3,544 comments) says:

    Fala…
    That is #13

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. rouppe (915 comments) says:

    What I especially noted in the weekend paper was the reports from various interest groups. Several principals said that National Standards didn’t change how they operated much because they already talked among themselves as a teaching group, and identified children who were struggling and directed resources at them. One principal already had ‘specialist teachers’ for both the bottom 10% of students (who struggled most) and the top 10% of students (who weren’t being challanged enough).

    We had parents who were relieved that they could finally see how their kids were doing.

    Funniest was the group who complained that the assessment of where children where at was open to interpretation and there wasn’t any moderation. Moderation was in the original plan but was dropped after an outcry from teacher unions.

    Then we had the head of the Principals Union. Negative, whiney, hand-wringing, intransigent… What an awful person

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    mpledgern – well put, as with all humans, teachers have different skills and talents.

    Mr Oil – That is a small pool to select your best teacher from, maybe around 6%.

    How much is a ticket to Planet Key?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. voice of reason (491 comments) says:

    One of the best indicators I know is to meet with the principal just on lunch time and ask him to take you on a tour of the school. How the kids interact with him and how he repsonds is an excellent guide.

    Also – look at the classroom walls at the art and other works on display – The walls should be full to overflowing – A good inidcator of kids pride in their work

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. capitald (72 comments) says:

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how evaluate a good daycare centre?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. hmmokrightitis (1,508 comments) says:

    “How much is a ticket to Planet Key?”

    Im prepared to buy you one to North Korea Ham, mainstreet utopia for you, right? And not even one way, return. If you can get out, you can come back and tell us how truly fucking awesome the workers paradise really is.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. dime (9,399 comments) says:

    every kid at any school can tell you who the best teachers are.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Mark (1,360 comments) says:

    Whaleoil (684) Says:
    September 24th, 2012 at 8:06 am
    The best teacher is the one who isn’t a member of the nzei.

    Yes and is compliant and accepting of government policy without question.

    But seriously Hattie makes some very good points. I have to say I have been very happy with the standard of education our kids have received and the teachers they have had.

    I like the concept of National Standards,
    I am pissed off that what we have is not properly moderated,
    I have a good degree of scepticism about the results of those schools that are markedly out of line with the rest.
    Moderation would address this.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    Someone said
    Moderation was in the original plan but was dropped after an outcry from teacher unions.

    I can understand the teacher’s union not being in support of it if it is unfunded. It’s takes huge organisation to ship kids work around the country to get other people to grade it. And that organisation comes at a cost as well as the cost of shipping.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. MH (624 comments) says:

    See if the school has a good number of men teachers.
    see if they have a copy of the Rules of Rugby Football at the doorway.
    If you are Polynesian insist your child is taught by a Polynesian.
    If you are European insist your child is taught by a European male-a rarity.
    Check that the Headmistress/master doesn’t have a coloured badge already on their chests.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. RRM (9,435 comments) says:

    Our daughter will be moving from a decile 10 primary school to a decile 3 primary school in a few weeks’ time.

    When we went to check out the new school, the minute I held a door open for two children, and they both looked at me and said “Thank you!” I knew we were making a good move.

    You don’t seem to see manners like that in the children of “better” people at the flash school in town.

    So I think the conflation of the income of the parents with the quality of the school is probably overblown…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Bob R (1,336 comments) says:

    ***2. Diversity breeds fresh thinking. Can they show you genuine evidence it is encouraged?***

    Can someone translate what this means?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. hmmokrightitis (1,508 comments) says:

    RRM, completely agree. Its something we and our friends comment on from time to time. Our house monkeys go to a full primary, decile 10 in New Plymouth. Kids there are almost all polite in that same way.

    It comes down largely to what happens at home – you dont learn that at school, its reinforced there. We read to all ours from very early on. My wife and I are both voracious readers, and our kids are the same – all with reading ages well in advance of their years.

    If youve not done it by the time they are 5, battle lost. If you have, well done, youve set them up for life.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Yes, some very interesting observations from Hattie. The elephant in the room is that he doesn’t mention National Standards. At all. But according to the Right, National Standards are EVERYTHING. Shows how inept the Right is when it comes to education.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. RightNow (6,649 comments) says:

    If the principal has Annette King’s mobile number on a sticky note by her desk, gather your family and run, don’t even look back, just run.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. hmmokrightitis (1,508 comments) says:

    Oh do fuck off ross. Show WHERE National says its EVERYTHING you twat. Such glib ill-informed generalisations merely sum up why ‘the left’ is failing in NZ – the just make shit up.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. MH (624 comments) says:

    Ten reasons people ! I was always against decimalisation because it made “division” easier for the masses. And the Dewey system,once they learnt how to read I thought if we could just hide the relevant books in the library they’d never find them anyway.
    This question should be put to Beck Eleven.
    You’d also run if:
    the next relieving teacher is Dover Samuels.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Meanwhile, our illustrious leader John Key says that “Ignorance takes us nowhere” when it comes to National Standards. This is the same person who refused to read the police report into the John Banks saga. Has New Zealand ever seen a more pig-ignorant Prime Minister? Maybe Muldoon but maybe I’m being unfair to the rotund one.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7721069/Key-on-National-Standards-Ignorance-takes-us-nowhere

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    John Key: “We’re saying that 30 per cent of young New Zealanders are not attaining the level that we would want them to attain in terms of reading, writing and maths.”

    Hmmm not sure where he plucked the figure of 30% from – and I don’t expect him to tell us – but the point he conveniently misses is that a proportion of NZers are not doing well…under a National Government. It’s as if this government bears absolutely no responsibility for this state of affairs.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Steve (North Shore) (4,496 comments) says:

    How about ask to meet the worst Teacher?

    Wonder what would happen then? :) I mean your child could end up the same as the worst Teacher right?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. hmmokrightitis (1,508 comments) says:

    You raise a really good point woss. Because, and lets be blunt, under labour the 30% was 0% wasn’t it – labours education policy saw all those leaving school going on to get first class degrees at universities around the world. Don’t forget pixies and rainbows too.

    Or, maybe this infantile attempt at smearing National demonstrates where the education system is really lacking – allowing dullards like you the vote and probably the right to drive as well.

    Under labour we had no idea what education standards were being met as a country, no way of seeing how our kids were doing comparatively, and therefore no means of bringing about positive change – measure what you treasure. Now we have the start of a meaningful measurement process, a process that will allow for trend analysis over time, not hysteria. My only hope is that some teacher leaders grow up and engage in a meaningful way – for the sake of the kids.

    Having teacher leaders talk about ignoring the law sends a great message to kids. But then you ignore laws all the time that you dont agree with dont you wossy?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.