Use your professional wisdom to shift the mindset in your school for the better

You have a key role to play in shifting schools and young people to a creative mindset, principal members of Federation were told by Pasi Sahlberg, professor of education policy at the Gonski Institute of Education at the University of NSW, on Monday.

Successful education systems have adopted a creators paradigm, Professor Sahlberg said, addressing Federation’s Principals’ Conference. The model strives to prepare ‘creatives’, who are able to come up with new ideas, create things and solve problems as individuals or with other people.

Professor Sahlberg said education systems based on competition, standardisation and evidence-based schooling are failing. He said Australian education systems are “trying to do the wrong thing just a little bit better or try to do the same things that they have done but just a little bit more, a little bit longer, a little bit harder”. “The mentality…is that we are not trying hard enough.”

“When people ask my advice what would help [I say] how about doing a little bit less — a little bit less instruction for kids, a little bit less teaching for teachers — a little bit more time to hang around.

“You can forget beautiful conversations about creativity, innovation and figuring out the next big thing in your school in an environment where everybody is so busy all the time, everything is so scheduled that people don’t have an opportunity to figure out anything new.

“That’s why I’m very passionate about doing a little bit less.”

Professor Sahlberg urged principals to “cultivate your professional voice” and “cultivate the voice of those in your school” to make positive changes.

— Kerri Carr