Magazine article New Zealand Management

The Educational Jigsaw

Magazine article New Zealand Management

The Educational Jigsaw

Article excerpt

An article Batch Hales in Management by ("Teaching and learning--they are not the same thing" July 2005) prompted some thoughts around the issues raised. Hales' contention was that we need to develop a sound body of research and practice around good teaching and learning practices, recognising that these are not the same.

He notes the impact of official ideologies of "learning" in terms of gaining qualifications, and the rigidity of assessment and moderation regimes. This model implies that assessment, teaching and learning have the same purpose, ie a 'qualification', and are seen to do so, by the 'powers' in educational circles, or whether the learners have complied with external requirements. Hales states that this is not a view that supports good teaching and learning practice.

I think it is fair to say that there has been a lot of confusion from both professionals and public alike about this issue--the current NCEA debate being an example--and is in part about purpose of and judgements around assessment and learning. Teaching and learning, and qualifications and assessment are not different sides of the same coin, but rather, are different parts of a whole larger education and training jigsaw.

In a traditional sense, assessment is often seen as measuring "subject matter", and it is here that people often become confused about the difference between teaching and learning, and assessment and qualifications, and the part of standards in these.

Hales contended that many courses focus on external requirements and assessment to the detriment of good teaching practice, when best teaching practice should take precedence over assessment. No one would take issue with this on the face of it; however, it then begs the question of how you know that you have good teaching practices if your programme is not assessed in some way.

Good teaching practice and assessment are mutually dependent; and competency-based assessment, such as that on which the National Qualifications Framework is based, can enhance both, providing the educators and tutors have a clear idea about the purpose of the teaching to start with.

This ties in with the best teaching practice that Hales talks about, as well as the need for teaching practitioners to develop "student centred and student led learning, reflective practice" and clarity about "values, philosophies and definitions of good practice". …

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