Showing posts with label future schools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label future schools. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Underestimating the impact of fly-in fly-out

I read the paper and see people write, "fly-in fly-out will buy me my house" and I can't believe my eyes.  The idea of being away from my family for extended periods for money would keep me up at night, if it was the only solution.  It seems naive and short sighted.

The impact on a family must be horrendous.  One parent effectively looking after everything to do with the house, another 4000 km away with nothing to do but work.  The only payback being a few extra dollars per hour.  It may pay off the house, but it would certainly put my marriage under strain.  I value time with family a lot higher than that.

In schools we see this impact emerging with dual income families and one parent FIFO.  Kids get limited support from parents as instead of sharing the load of parenting, it is placed on one overworked person trying to juggle 100 balls in the air and usually a job aswell.  I could only liken it to the load of the single mum, something that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

Needless to say the load ends up somewhere and typically it is with kids in schools unable to socialise effectively and study adequately.  There is a cost to FIFO and we haven't paid it yet.  It's on its way and we had better put some thought into it.  These kids are coming and many may be underdeveloped and lack self discipline after being left alone for extended periods of time.  It has the potential to be a mental health issue (with kids lacking belonging), a policing issue (with kids not being adequately monitored), an education issue (with attendance and performance dropping) and a social issue (with families under strain).

Encouraging true regional areas seems to be the only real solution and it will take years to create viable communities in outlying areas.  Royalties for regions was a ridiculous notion but if refocussed now that money is available, it will be an interesting exercise spending money to make regional centres attractive - fixing health, education, lack of amenities and creating a broad spectrum of service based jobs (built around decent populations); rather than risky exiles from city centres with fear of never being able to return due to increasing land values.  Just ask a teacher trying to return from a regional centre how easy it is to get a job in Perth after a regional posting now independent public schools has reduced the available pool of places.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Extinction Event: School Librarian

As a kid I loved the library, I was a book a day kid.  I didn't really care what it was, as long as it was interesting in some way and over 300 pages.  I never understood picture books as the picture created in your own mind was the fun of it.  I still own a decent science fiction collection from the 50's and 60's.

but.. I think the school teacher librarian and the idea of a library itself is on its last legs.  The non fiction section completely lacks relevance (it always was too small to be useful) and has been surpassed by online resources or class based texts.  The day of the printed book, even fiction, is passing.  I realised this when I watched my wife prefer to read her book on a backlit iPad than the paper copy next to her.

Specialist research tasks are no longer the domain of the librarian.  There's no reason why a bibliography by a student can't be written using a tool like 'Papers' - it's a task now that does not need a specialist teacher.  There's no reason why a teacher can't prepare a list of articles for students to research from and keep for later use - I've never seen this done by a librarian anyway (albeit it was more common with paper books).  Electronic documents can be annotated and highlighted just like paper - without printing and photocopying time/expense.  Students with laptops are ringing the death knell of the library being IT centres, distributed computers in classrooms are just more useful.

When I look at a library I see a shell of the learning centre it once was.  I see broken computer labs with kids playing games, too loud to promote study.  I see old mouldy books last read in a previous decade.  I see old brown furniture that wasn't even that well made to begin, not old enough to be retro, not new enough to be modern.

Libraries could become study centres again with the right management in place.  Librarians though are too expensive to use managing study centres.  Once a fertile ground for breeding librarians, now that paper books are becoming extinct, so are librarians.  The person choosing, storing and sorting books has been overtaken by digital resources selected by the masses or distant experts.

Where does this leave the librarian?

Sadly, I'd suggest out of a job.  I can't see such traditionalists re-inventing themselves into something as required as the librarian was.