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Ashfield Public School

Ashfield Public School

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Next Practice

We must rise with theoccasion of the 21st Century and think anew

Best practice in education can be described as maintaining an excellent school culture of learning, teaching and wellbeing. Measuring best practice is achieved by comparing school performance against such things as the School Plan and the Quality Teaching Framework.

While maintaining best practice, it is important that a school does not lock itself into a rigid formula of education, whereby new ideas and initiatives are quashed by policies and traditions that dictate a particular way of doing things. According to Ken Robinson, the mind-set of ‘it can't be different because this is how it's done' must be continually challenged.

Of interest then, is the concept of ‘next practice'; this is, the capacity of a school to be future orientated with an eye for doing things differently and a willingness to change. Next practice draws on the range of best practices, but directs a school to be open to questioning these very practices without the bristle of defensiveness and personal affront.

Of interest for next practice are resources like the School Excellence Framework and National School Improvement Tool that enable schools to set goals and design strategies for change, and to monitor and demonstrate the success of change over time.

A marvellous aspect of next practice is that it positions a school to be at the forefront of innovation with a high capacity to adapt. Innovation and adaptability are characteristics, as put forward by The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (ASTIL), of a high quality professional learning culture.

Next practice involves collaborative decision making between teachers, parents and the community where uncertainty is valued and grappled with through a collective prior knowledge, robust discussion and collaborations. The actions that follow are evaluated and adjusted through a continued dynamic process of ongoing learning and interaction with new understandings being shared and new information made accessible to all.

An example of next practice in action at Ashfield Public School has been the take up of Twitter. The openness by teachers and parents to try something different, to go beyond comfort zones and innovate on current practice has been very successful. By connecting our community through Twitter, not only has school communication been enhanced, but a network has been established to share educational ideas and resources.

Ashfield Public School is focused on being not only being an exemplar for best practice, but a shining example of a community that embraces next practice. In the context of 21st Century education where technology is revolutionising daily life, including workplace and social interaction, embracing next practice will enable the school to continue to tailor and progress the curriculum and learning environment to best serve our children.