I wrote most of these articles and conference reports while I was doing my M.Ed.(CI). Originally put up on the website TeachAsiaOnline.com (defunct since 2009), I have decided to archive them here as I think most of the information is still relevant and useful for others. (2012) I'm now picking up where I left off to write about more recent seminars I attended.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Leadership for Student-Centered Learning in a Culture of Educational Change

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Deanne Magnusson, University of Minnesota, USA
Organised by: Faculty of Education, ABAC, Bangkok
Date: 25-26 November 2005
Location: ABAC Bangna Campus, Bangkok

Dr. Magnusson’s started of by stating that school managers should become leaders to guide transition into the future, instead of just maintain their schools the way they are.

Her experience in the USA is that the nature of teaching and learning are changing; students are actively participating in the learning process, construct their own knowledge and are working on challenging and authentic learning tasks. The role of teacher has become facilitator.

New US high standards for teaching and learning comprise ‘No child left behind’ and accountability for teaching and learning. The goal is to reduce the diverse learner achievement gap. Schools should improve continuously to facilitate new ways of teaching and learning.

She followed up with recommendations for Thai education reform, which reflect the student-centered ways of teaching and learning, although she realises that local values should always be taken into account (‘One size does not fit all’).

She went on to discuss the important role of leadership for successful school cultures. A key element of effective schools is distributive leadership, in which responsibilities for success are distributed to all parties involved (‘Collective responsibility creates ownership’).

Continuous assessment, feedback and authentic tasks are parts of successful instruction. Instruction should be differentiated to cater for individual differences between students. Students should work in flexible groups based on skills, interests and / or similar learning patterns, be assessed continuously and feedback should lead to improved instruction.

The last part of her presentation went too fast and she skipped most of the slides. She touched quickly on the new professional development paradigm; student-centered learning requires a new professional development design as a continuous process with the educators involved instead of one-off workshops by experts. Developing school personnel is the key.

Her conclusion is that we should recognise differences in individual students and ends with W. Yeats ‘Is education a bucket to be filled or a fire to be kindled’?, with which I assume she wants to stress the ‘new’ role of educators as facilitators.

More about Educational Leadership at International Conference on Educational Leadership http://education-articles-and-conferences.blogspot.com/2011/11/international-conference-on-educational.html.

(c) cafavier, 2005-2011

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