Improving outcomes in education may be achieved not by pursuing them directly, but as a ‘side-effect’ of an unwavering dedication to the larger educational purpose.
There may be a lesson for education policy makers and educators in Viktor Frankl’s 1946 book, Man’s Search for Meaning, says Professor Geoff Masters AO, Chief Executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), writing in Teacher Magazine.
Approaches to improving student outcomes have tended to focus on targets and applying appropriate incentives – either rewards or sanctions – on the assumption that this will prompt schools to ‘lift their game’.
‘On the sporting field and in the swimming pool,’ Professor Masters writes, ‘success depends on continual improvements in techniques and training. When the primary focus is not on outcomes, but on improving practice, the score board and time clock take care of themselves.’
If our focus is upon an unwavering dedication to the larger educational purpose – ensuring that every student’s educational needs were identified and addressed with high quality teaching, high expectations and excellent school facilities and infrastructure, regardless of background, improved student outcomes might follow, Professor Masters proposes. ■
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‘Focus on the larger purpose of schooling and improvement may follow’, by Geoff Masters, is published in Teacher.