Media release: Revolution School could change our approach to education

The successful application of world-class research and the complexities of teaching take the stage in the four-part ABC documentary Revolution School, which starts at 8.30pm tonight.

This landmark series tells the story of a typical suburban high school that has lifted from rock bottom to the top 25 per cent of study scores, and includes University of Melbourne academics effectively trialing learning interventions.

Dean of Education, Professor Field Rickards said that the series captures the challenges of one of the University’s network schools, Kambrya College in Melbourne’s outer southeast.

“It shows just how hard teaching is. You will witness Kambrya’s teachers relentlessly strive to maximize the potential in each student - both addressing struggling students and stretching the high achievers,” said Professor Rickards.

“Our academics work with the school to take a clinical approach to teaching and evaluate the impact of each lesson. We are involved in trialing new teaching innovations including classroom management and wellbeing approaches that improve the quality of education.

“Tonight you’ll see first year teacher and recent University of Melbourne Master of Teaching graduate Grace Wong overcome an incredible seven year ability gap in her year 8 maths class by using breakthrough technology.”

An Australian first, the series was filmed using fixed and roving cameras over the course of the entire 2015 school year.

As part of the documentary, a national public attitudes survey tested parents’ understanding of the factors that improve student learning against Laureate Professor John Hattie’s internationally acclaimed research.

Professor John Hattie said that the survey found serious misconceptions about the most effective ways to raise Australia’s academic results.

“Parents’ beliefs about what made a difference in education were unbelievably negatively correlated with what works. More than two thirds of parents incorrectly think that regular homework at secondary school is essential to academic success,” he said.

“We need to challenge conventional views, and focus on the things that really matter: the expertise of teachers. The majority of debates in the policy arena, the press, amongst parents and the teaching profession are about things that don’t matter much.”

Revolution School runs on the ABC from 31 May, and will be available on iView until 6 July.