Glenn Manton Tedx talk.
Glenn was recently invited to share a TED talk at the MEME theatre in St Kilda which was recorded and will soon be uploaded.
It was titled -
A STORY OF MALE TO MALE MENTORING.
Please see link below to view perforamce
The Australian education system requires a rethink.
Article written by Glenn Manton
First, the education system promotes numbers before students, at times refusing to acknowledge that students are people. The blind pursuit of ATAR- or NAPLAN-based numbers consistently compromises the personal development of young students. Global and localised real learning is lost to standardised testing and enter scores which time ultimately proves hollow.
The vacuum of pressure caused by this numbers-first approach suffocates even the most dedicated students and staff, with reports finding that stress and anxiety levels among both groups continue to rise sharply. Witness the rate of VCE and university completion as evidence that the education system values the numbers more than the student (person). Similarly for those students choosing alternative learning pathways such as VCAL, only to find themselves regarded as second-class citizens by a system that not only fails to acknowledge them but fails to play to their strengths.
Second, current teacher training limits relationship development. True teaching occurs as a two-way process. Sharing, listening and questioning are important platforms from which to disseminate information. Ask any student who their favourite teacher is and they will select someone who thoughtfully shares aspects of their personal lives with creativity in conjunction with teaching the curriculum.
Potentially great teachers are being lost as a result of a narrow training focus. Many teachers haven't been taught how to build real rapport with their students. Recent statistics show that most teachers engage their chosen profession for five years on average before choosing an alternative career path. While there are no doubt many professional and personal reasons for this change of tack, one standout reason appears to be an inability to connect with students on a personal level.
Personal connection between teachers and students builds rapport, develops respect and encourages broad communication. Universities appear out of touch in the provision of their teacher training which prompts the question: Are universities the best institutions in which to be developing prospective teachers?
Teachers educate via a combination of curriculum-based information and personal experience. Teaching without the ability to create, develop or sustain individual student relationships simply burns teachers out by creating an 'us versus them' environment.
Third, aspects of the curriculum are outdated, leaving both students and staff hamstrung by obsolete components of the curriculum.
Teachers’ pedagogy needs to shift to allow for the affordances of technology, societal values and popular culture. Teachers cannot teach as they did 20 years ago, not even as they taught five years ago.
Creating a curriculum that is relevant to current and future culture should be a joint affair, with teachers and students identifying which components hold relevance and value, and which components don't. A mathematics staple such as Pythagoras's theorem, which few students will practice in an ongoing manner, needs to be reconsidered as baseline learning. Whereas a focus on media practice would allow our youth to dissect news and advertising, and enable them to navigate social media, potentially lowering the rates of various psychological issues that currently plague the community. These are just two examples of content that would bring relevance and value for the modern student and promote fluidity with the world around them. There are many more.
Fourth, innovation should be encouraged at the expense of failure. Every school has the ability to innovate. And yet few do, as the ATAR–NAPLAN focus negatively impacts on their ability and willingness to innovate. The mySchool website compares schools based on these narrow measures with such a focus crippling true innovation.
Schools must seek innovation by modifying existing ideas and creating bespoke solutions that best fit their environment and young people. However, fear of the status quo means that potentially invaluable ideas lay dormant or get quashed. Failure drives success. A school provides a uniquely captive audience against a focussed allocation of time. School traditions beg to be massaged.
Anything that positively promotes relationships and communications within and beyond the school grounds is a win for all stakeholders. Developing and maintaining optimum staff and student morale is worth an investment in considered chance.
Fifth, education policy is being directed by disconnected 'experts'. Ten years of Australian political instability has resulted in many missed development opportunities. The educational space has not been immune.
The focus on vote retention has done nothing to grow education. Policy-makers who have skipped from institution to institution make for dangerous advisors in the youth space. Many policy-makers are devoid of any ongoing hands-on experience in working with students, and can't recognise the cultural, styling or language cues that dictate direction, communications or relationships. This ignorance ensures that systems and procedures are blanket in nature—and consistently fail to acknowledge those students that they are meant to support. In short, the market has little to no connection to those who oversee it.
A mixture of governance, experience and street-cred is desperately required to ensure relevance and respect is restored to our education system and to those within it.
Sixth, teachers are undervalued and the the social currency of teaching is low. As a community, we need to share the collective responsibility for allowing the fundamental profession of teaching to fall to a dangerously low standard of appreciation. Those oriented towards teaching are looking elsewhere, as the kudos that comes with 'being a teacher' is at times negligible.
The teaching profession deserves its share of the best and brightest young minds. Good teachers propel lives that further communities and shape the future. This cyclical process requires immediate attention.
Despite the shortcomings that exist in Australia's educational space, it must be highlighted that those teachers who choose to place relationships first continue to drive positive outcomes for all in schools. Again and again I am buoyed by teachers and students who—as individuals or as a collective—demonstrate a connectedness that has overcome constraint and will continue to do so. Imagine what they could achieve if they didn’t need to negotiate unnecessary obstacles?
*Glenn Manton has worked with youth across the globe and throughout Australia from remote to metropolitan school settings on a near daily basis for 20 years. As an educational consultant, he is well placed to compare the mechanics of the schools in which he works and the behaviours of those who make them function.Glenn sees youth disconnects and creates unique ways to repair them. The ability to gel with youth of all ages and backgrounds makes Glenn one of Australia's most coveted school speakers.
Know music...know youth.
Article written by Glenn Manton
With a background in education (I taught for 5 years) a broad and respected reputation for acting as a youth advocate and a highly converted professional life that sees me facilitate workshops in schools on a weekly basis I am often asked to share my thoughts around youth.
I am regularly asked how best to communicate with and/or relate to 'youth'.
When responding to this question be it to an individual or before a group (such as an educators in-service) my response is either instantly accepted or dismissed.
And beyond that communication either maintained with diligence or ignored.
Should my simplistic advice be ignored it is done so at the peril of that person wanting to connect to - understand - create with - mobilize and/or sell to youth.
MUSIC is the common denominator.
Understand music and you understand youth.
You understand their aural cues.
You appreciate their visual cues.
Their personal culture...views.
Current pop culture.
Current street culture.
The soundtrack to their life.
That is why I believe that anyone who wants to connect with and/or work with young people MUST appreciate the mainstream TOP 10 songs of the day...and have the want to constantly update this knowledge at least every 2 weeks.
Listen to the song,make time to watch the film clip and digest the contents of both.
If you are really interested delve deeper into the various subcultures and genres and create a greater knowledge base.
But please don't turn up your nose and dismiss 'today's music' as rubbish...nonsense. That approach is shallow.
Relating to the youth of today doesn't mean you have to 'like' the music that's being promoted and consumed...but if you want to have genuine influence then you need to be able to appreciate it (on multiple levels)
Thus my advice is - (at the very least) -Know the top ten songs of the day.
Appreciate the total package of each.
Delve further should you want for more knowledge.
And thoughtfully digest all you discover placing current information against historical reference as required.
You're now a mouse click or two away from developing a greater understanding of and connection too 'youth'.
Glenn Manton - ABC radio
Take a listen - ABC radio interview discussing my schools based road trip to regional Victoria and the need to support student (youth) mental health via thoughtful discussion, story telling and mentoring.
Glenn Manton - Youth forum video
Watch Glenn in action (on behalf of the City of Greater Dandenong) as he engages and entertains young people and corporate clients alike...sharing curated stories in a bespoke performance. Glenn's ability to connect with his audience with relevance and humour sets his speaking abilities apart.