Opening the Doors to Greatness: Public conversations in middle years pedagogy

Year: 2004

Author: Keamy, Kim, Bottrell, Christine

Type of paper: Refereed paper

There exist different, and sometimes conflicting, understandings of what good teaching and learning may be. Just who this may be 'good' for is also contentious. Yet in this example of a funded education program there is an expectation that the different voices involved not only collaborate but, also work to bring about change. Our contribution as to how this reconciliation is to be achieved is to provide research and a workable framework in which systematic inquiry can interact with the lived experiences of the multiple publics in the Beechworth Cluster of Schools. Through programs such as Schools for Innovations and Excellence, the competing publics Fraser (2003) refers to are meant to make decisions reflecting 'good', but for too long these decisions have been informed by uncontested opinion and stereotypical misunderstandings that surround school communities.

This paper describes the collaborative methodology and mutual respect that underpin research undertaken into the middle years of school as part of the Schools for Innovations and Excellence initiative in the Beechworth Cluster of Schools in North East Victoria. The research records the voices that have informed and continue to contribute to the public good within the Cluster.

Specific insights into teaching and learning within the Cluster have been gained as a consequence of this research which has been positively embraced and regularly consulted for future decision-making. Innovations within the Beechworth Cluster recognise the uniqueness of particular settings within a context of collective action.