Professor Russell Bishop introduces Associate Professor James Ladwig, whose task is to analyse project data to determine the direct links between what is happening in classrooms with student achievement.
Russell Bishop: “Kia ora tātou ... anō. It gives me great pleasure to introduce Professor James Ladwig from Newcastle University in Australia. You’ll, you’ll pick quite quickly though from his accent that he didn’t originate in Australia and that he actually came from the University of Wisconsin prior to his working at the University in Newcastle. And because I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of an international advisory group for a programme established, or the evaluation of a programme established by Dr Chris Sarra, an aboriginal, um, professional developer and researcher in Australia, and the programme that he’s developed is called Stronger, Smarter, and I should have worn my shirt today. And, um, there has been a, a team who have been invited to evaluate this Stronger, Smarter programme which is going to be working in over five hundred schools in Australia to improve the educational achievement of indigenous aboriginal kids in, in those schools, very similar, similar situation we have in this country.
“And, um, the team that was led by, uh, Professor Allan Luke at QUT included Jim Ladwig and I was sitting there two years ago scratching my head about all the data that we had, we were swimming, we were drowning in data, we had so much data we didn’t know what to do with it all. And we wanted to make some sense out of all this data and I asked people there if they could recommend someone from that group and they all turned round and pointed to James, and says, ‘There’s your man, he’s the guy, he’s worked in quality education, quality teaching programmes in Queensland.’ He’s worked with large data set analysis in, in, in Australia and he’s done the sort of work, and he’ll explain more of what he’s done himself. But at that time I asked him if he would be so kind as to come to New Zealand, have a look at the work, at the data we had and see what sense he could make of it using some sophisticated statistical analysis packages and I’m sure you’ll be really interested to see what he’s come up with. This stuff is statistically significant.
“Just in case. And, um, as you know the question that we set off with Te Kotahitanga like ten years ago, was that if you change, this was during the time, ten years ago when this whole thing started, the, the notion was the biggest impact upon Māori kids achievement was what went on in their homes. And myself and Ted Glynn wrote a book called Culture Counts, and in that book we suggested that the real situation was teaching practice, and it was about relationships and interactions in classrooms and the hypothesis we suggested in that book was, if you change the teaching practices you’ll bring about changes in student achievement. And it’s, it’s now you’ll be able to see that this is, um, proven to be the case. Okay, without going on too much longer, you’re the, you’re the speaker not me, Kia ora James, see you.”
James Ladwig: “Thank you all. Bit of background just so you know, ah, kind of where I come from and what I, what I do. I’ve been in Australia about twenty years now. Since being in Australia a lot of the work I’ve been doing, um, has focused on school reform initiatives, school restructuring and has always, ah, focused very heavily on what goes on in the classroom. So when Russell asked me if I’d have a look I said, ‘Yea why not, give it a go, it’s very similar.’ The basic question was can we link what has been observed in the classroom with the student outcome?, that’s the basic question. When I started looking at what kind of data we had there was a question earlier this morning from one of the groups I was in about other kinds of evidence, um, but the obvious one to look at were, um, kind of the test scores that schools have, asTTle data and trying to link what we had available from the professional development work and working with teachers using the observational tool. So it’s okay, can we link those two in some ways. There’s a lot of caveats we got to make along the way, it’s work that will be ongoing, so what I have today is kind of the initial stuff I’ve been able to get done over this last year, some of it.”