Education Readings February 17th

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

The Writing Process Isn’t Linear. So Why Do Schools Keep Pretending That It Is?

Read this!

‘If you conduct an online image search for “writing process,” you’ll find many charts that lay out the steps—brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, publishing—in a nice linear fashion. It’s as if these visuals assert, “We brainstorm on Monday, draft on Tuesday, etc.”

However, professional writers don’t check off the steps of the writing process as they move through it. As any experienced writer will tell you, the writing process is recursive, not linear.’

http://bit.ly/2lIIxiO

Learning spaces of the third kind

First Steve Wheeler article of the year:

Students carry technology in their pockets, information floats through the air, and the they use their own devices to seek and capture it. There is a sense that learning can occur without the teacher being present in this same space, although the teacher may be there anyway, as a co-learner as much as a facilitator. Education is co-constructed, and the tools and technologies provide the scaffolding to support the learning. Students learn by creating, connecting, discovering and sharing.’

http://bit.ly/2l6os2J

Curiosity Is the Cat

Here’s a Will Richardson article that reminded me of this quote by Albert Einstein “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”

‘I’m becoming more curious about curiosity. I’m beginning to think it’s the only “C” that truly matters, and that it’s been badly disrespected in all the conversation around the 4Cs or 7Cs or howevermanyCs that people have been throwing around.I mean really, when it comes to learning, what comes before curiosity?

Critical thinking doesn’t, because if you’re not curious as to whether something is true or fake or accurate or real, you won’t really think very hard about it.’

http://bit.ly/2l6dIli

Five-Minute Montessori

Many of today’s hot topics in education were addressed by iconic educator Maria Montessori nearly a century ago. The video below (5 1/2 min) – along with this Wikipedia link – provide a quick overview of this method of schooling (the video is an adjunct to a book promotion but still works).’

http://bit.ly/2kvprYm

Why Creativity?

‘I would argue that without creativity there is the danger of not challenging what we do and why we do it. Possibly to go blindly along with what we are told without question for we have no drive, no vision of how things could be different, no need even, to do anything different. Without creativity in our lives, we risk seeing the world only as a series of things we are directed to achieve in the way we are shown to achieve them.  Should we forgo challenge and accept obedience?’

http://bit.ly/2kR3W7S

3 Ways To Encourage Creativity In Your Classroom This Year

‘As educators, when it comes to creativity in the classroom, we can take the path of least resistance and take creativity out of the learning process or we can create an environment that fosters creativity in learning and allow kids to explore their talents. Fostering creativity in learning in the classroom doesn’t have to be complex or complicated. Here are 3 ways you can encourage creativity in your classroom this year.’

http://bit.ly/2kvnwDq

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Breaking the Cycle of “Baby Stuff”

Challenging the Goldilocks Rule

‘For years, teachers have been using simple benchmarks, tests, or other assessment tools to select materials that attempt to align with students’ abilities. This is often known as the Goldilocks Rule—selected books are not too difficult and not too easy but supposedly just right. Unfortunately, this was how all three boys ended up confronting baby stuff at their schools.’

http://bit.ly/2lxw6lX

How to Combine Rigor with Engagement

‘The imperatives are clear. On the one hand, we have an obligation to equip all children with a baseline level of literacy and numeracy. Rooted in concerns about equity and given teeth by recent accountability policies, this obligation has become a central goal of schooling in the United States. On the other hand, however, we know that the basics are no longer enough. To successfully negotiate modern life, adults need the capacity to tackle open-ended problems in creative ways—a capacity that requires both critical-thinking skills and the disposition to persevere.’

http://bit.ly/2lxv4q4

Right-Sized Rigor

‘At the core of our quest to increase rigor is creating a common understanding of rigor that speaks to all students. Too often, we dismiss struggling students as unable to work at rigorous levels. In fact, “Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels; each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels; and each student demonstrates learning at high levels” (Blackburn, 2013).’

http://bit.ly/2kXuNQM

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

What has really changed in our schools the past 50 years?

Reflecting on teaching beliefs – are things better now?

‘The other day I had the opportunity to visit a school I began my career visiting in 1960. During  a discussion with the principal she mentioned the classrooms had been developed into innovative (or flexible) learning environments. I couldn’t help suggesting that I bet the daily classroom programmes/timetables haven’t changed much since I first visited the school 40 plus years ago ( with exception of availability of information technology). If anything the current emphasis on literacy and numeracy had reinforced the timetables of earlier times taking up the morning time with the rest of the Learning Areas squeezed into the afternoon period. Hardly flexible teaching? Hardly progress?’

http://bit.ly/2l1USO8

Educational Quotes 5: Leadership and Teamwork

Some quotes on leadership to think about.

‘Imposed bureaucratic ‘top down’ changes have resulted in school being ‘over managed and under led.’ Now is the time for courageous leaders, at all levels, to emerge and add their ‘voices’ to the debate. There are no experts with ‘the answer’ – we will have to invent the future ourselves together as we go along.’ 

http://bit.ly/1vGrNDD

The Treaty of Waitangi – what do your students’ know?

‘A wise teacher should take advantage of important events in New Zealand history such as the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

As the celebration comes early in the year it is a good opportunity to introduce the students to how they will be expected to learn in the class; how to work together to develop critical thinking; how to value their own ideas; how to deepen their understandings and how to apply lessons learnt to their own class.’

http://bit.ly/2kQYVdY

Education Readings February 10th

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

Schools are supposed to help students master the dominant information landscape of their time

‘Our new information landscape is digital bits in the ether instead of ink dots on paper. There is no foreseeable future in which we go back to analog. One of schools’ primary tasks is to help students master the dominant information landscape of their time. Schools are knowledge institutions preparing students to do knowledge work. So let’s be clear about what our new information landscape looks like:’

http://bit.ly/2jVRQvx

How Playing With Math Helps Teachers Better Empathize With Students

‘Unlike other professional development opportunities, the focus of these circles is not on lesson plans or pedagogy. Most of the time is spent working on and discussing a problem that the facilitators bring, with the hope that teachers will rediscover what they love about math and how it feels to be a learner.’

http://bit.ly/2kLVdnK

Teaching kids philosophy makes them smarter in Math and English

‘Nine- and 10-year-old children in England who participated in a philosophy class once a week over the course of a year significantly boosted their math and literacy skills, with disadvantaged students showing the most significant gains, according to a large and well-designed study.’

http://bit.ly/2kB5AZE

Piaget’s Constructivism, Papert’s Constructionism: What’s the difference?

What is the difference between Piaget’s constructivism and Papert’s “constructionism”? Beyond the mere play on the words, I think the distinction holds, and that integrating both views can enrich our understanding of how people learn and grow.’

http://bit.ly/2kkSktw

Skinning Cats Alive.

Phil Cullen:

‘A toxic form of managerialism hit the fan in the mid-80s; and we lost sight of the kids. These aliens organised and started running testing factories replacing real people who’d been-there-done-that ,organising schools of learning and mentoring others on the way. These good guys were cunningly dominated by absurdists who forced fear-laden testing on kids and have now done more damage to Australia than the Japanese could ever have done. Fear-laden swotting of a kind never known before has replaced decent teaching. The load on small pupils during normal learning time, the likes of which no previous generation has had to tolerate. is enormous. Kids are still our future, but you wouldn’t think so.’

http://bit.ly/2kkLoNc

Okay campers rise and shine and don’t forget your booties

Want to be an artist? Watch Groundhog Day.

‘Here’s a popular version of “The Creative Journey”: A genius comes to the end of his trip, closes his eyes, concentrates, and then the idea comes to him, fully formed.

When I’m working on my art, I don’t feel like Don Draper. No, when I’m working, I feel more like Phil Connors from the movie Groundhog Day.’

http://bit.ly/2kkXVjL

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

The HeART of the Matter – the Gordon Tovey Experiment.

‘The film was about the programmes Gordon Tovey implemented, while under CE Beeby, as the head of Arts and Crafts in the Department of Education from 1946 until 1966.  You may be familiar with the work of Elwyn Richardson at the Far North school Orauti, which was part of what was known as the Far North project or experiment. Part of the essence of the experiment was to nurture the creativity of children and allow them to explore and express themselves.  It was part of the child centred driven philosophy that emerged from the First World War and the Depression in the first Labour government’s education policy to give children better opportunities.’

http://bit.ly/2bHPMS2

What Would Be a Radically Different Vision of School?

‘In his vision of this third narrative, reformers would focus on creating an education system that supports inquiry-based, student-centered learning, where students are encouraged to find entry points into the mandated curriculum in ways that are meaningful to them. Technology is an integral part of Richardson’s vision because it allows students to create and demonstrate their knowledge.’

http://bit.ly/2kGvIVq

Task Library

Great ideas for Maths

Provided by Dan Murphy (ex Winchester)

‘A school without tasks is like a school without books.Students investigate books to explore literature and develop language concepts and skills in context.

Students investigate tasks to explore mathematics and develop mathematical concepts and skills in context.’

http://bit.ly/2lihLKY

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Slow learning needed for fast times!

‘Slow learning they believe is essential for our lives and learning by giving depth to our experiences and providing insight for creativity and ingenuity. All too often, in contrast, students are rushed through learning to cover curriculum material. First finished is best seems to be the order of the day. As a result ‘slow learning’ is neglected in schools.’

http://bit.ly/1GWw6E2

A future Vision for Education

Ideas for  schools developing modern or innovative learning environments

 Imagine a school where every child would see themselves as an investor in their own learning. Older children would frequently coach and mentor younger children. Those who were more advanced in a subject would help those lagging behind. Children would help teachers design learning programmes, their parents would be parties to these discussions .The children would see it as their responsibility to learn in their own time, often using online tools provided by the school .Although every child would have a personalized learning plan, most learning would be practiced in groups but these would not be organized into rigid year groups, class membership would be in part determined by aptitude and appetite’.

http://bit.ly/1pHqBCy

What the modern world has forgotten about children and teaching. and solutions to ensure all students learn

Is our ‘modern’ education system harmful to students?

‘Modern Western learning and teaching based on ‘collecting data on human learning  of children’s behaviour in school is like collecting data on killer whales based on their behaviour at Sea World.’

http://bit.ly/2bUnAZW

Skinning Cats Alive.

I had convinced myself during the 1980s that, within twenty years, Australia would have a schooling system that was like no other…..built purely on love for learning and a zest for achievement in all things. At the time, things were on the up-and-up and school leadership was more ethical and professional and thoughtful than it had ever been. Teachers were proving their academic and professional worth in the big arena. Bureaucrats were learning to pull their heads in and were releasing the power of a truly caring profession. There was ‘Pride in Primary’ – real fair-dinkum pride in being a primary teacher -a catch-phrase that the good guys used at the time during their professional and personal activities. Classrooms looked like exciting learning places…‘Living, Learning Laboratories’ as Bob Pashen called them – inviting children to come in and join in the joy of learning. Things felt good. We had a lot of wrinkles to iron out that would take some doing and a lot more independence to be grasped … but we knew we could do it. We felt so tall and so proud of being primary.

Bugger! We couldn’t. A special form of heavy-handed totalitarian political control grew alien antennae that made some powerful politico-weirdos believe they knew everything about everything.,..and they took over the activities of governments.

A toxic form of managerialism hit the fan in the mid-80s; and we lost sight of the kids. These aliens organised and started running testing factories replacing real people who’d been-there-done-that ,organising schools of learning and mentoring others on the way. These good guys were cunningly dominated by absurdists who forced fear-laden testing on kids and have now done more damage to Australia than the Japanese could ever have done. Fear-laden swotting of a kind never known before has replaced decent teaching. The load on small pupils during normal learning time, the likes of which no previous generation has had to tolerate. is enormous. Kids are still our future, but you wouldn’t think so. 

Now we have a take-over of schooling by the most ruthless gang of kid-bashing monsters ever. Schools, intended to be the centres of schooling excellence that our children deserve, were set up on Day 1 of schooling … ,last Monday…. to be an examination centre for happy, anxious young kids who’d been dreaming of something else on their first day. 

What an introduction to a lifetime of learning!

The little ones were kept quiet and submissive, we’ve been told, waiting for a teacher to give them a series of literacy and mathematical encounters, the results of which were scored and recorded and forwarded to an all-powerful pooh-bah who will keep the data for statistical purposes. The school will be expected to keep the results until the poor little folk contest the really earnest NAPLAN test in Year 3, when they are about 7 years of age. The branding done and intellectual expectations set in place in the minds of those adults whom the child respects at this point, will mark their progress for many years, Day 2 marked the beginning of ‘getting to know you’ activities, starting to ‘down play’ the implications of the day before, and to start the pupilling….fair-dinkum schooling. No one will have time to try to see what effect the testing had on the pupil, how the pupil felt, The effects could be profound, but we big people will pretend that negativity can be patted away and all will be okay. We will also pretend on behalf of those who did not do well, that it doesn’t matter. The kids are so young. They’ll get over it. We’ve sorted them out early, as far as NAPLAN goes, anyhow. 

Remember that page in one of the most wonderful books on education :ThGeranium on the Window Sill Just Died but Teacher you went right on” by Albert Cullum : 

Where is my place in your puzzle, teach?

Do I fit?

Or am I one piece too many?

Tell me for real, teach!

I know there’s no room for me on the bulletin board,

but do I have a place in your puzzle?

When the advisers and special helpers move in to remind the slow or poor-scoring child of his or her inadequacies, we will be sure to get an increase in scores, by Year 3, because that’s what this kind of schooling is all about. By test time in Year 3 0r 5, many pupils will be saying, in Albert Cullum talk :

was good at everything

– honest, everything –

until I started being here with you.

I was good at laughing, 

playing dead, being king.

Yeah, I was good at everything!

But now I’m only good at everything

on Saturdays and Sundays…

It’s certainly useful to know how your pupil stacks up against others and against certain criteria. …and against their own views of themselves. It’s also critical , however, that the information is obtained as part of the learning operation. Those who would kill a cat by skinning it alive, would approve of the way that some schools conducted the operation last Monday. “Hello Sam. Here’s a little fun thing I’d like you to do. Bye Sam”

The media will pile on the plaudits for the kids and the teachers for the first day. It makes good copy. Parents will scurry home to learn how to do it better with the next child. After all, kids talk. The disgrace of having to seek remediation for what I did to my kid! OMG.

I should like to make one point. The way that this operation was carried out, the organisational mode was a disgrace. Only cold and calculating beasts , excuses for humanity, would dream this sort of thing

Teachers will learn more about each child during the first week or two of schooling and use it for each child’s welfare; in the way things ought to operateand;, hopefully, repair some of the damage done by mean-spirited adults who enjoy skinning cats alive,

Phil Culllen, Emeritus Director of Primary Education, Q’ld.., 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point. Australia 2486. 07 5524 6443 0407865999 cphilcullen@bigpond.com

Education Readings February 3rd

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

8 digital skills we must teach our children

‘Moreover, there is the digital age gap. The way children use technology is very different from adults. This gap makes it difficult for parents and educators to fully understand the risks and threats that children could face online. As a result, adults may feel unable to advise children on the safe and responsible use of digital technologies. Likewise, this gap gives rise to different perspectives of what is considered acceptable behaviour.

So how can we, as parents, educators and leaders, prepare our children for the digital age? Without a doubt, it is critical for us to equip them with digital intelligence.’

http://bit.ly/2kiAMg4

Information Literacy and Document Learning

‘Information literacy consists in the ability to identify, search effectively for information, locate, filter, discern the quality of information, evaluate, analyze, tag,  categorize, re-mix, create new types of information and effectively use and communicate the findings well for an issue or problem at hand.’ 

http://bit.ly/2krSH6s

The Critical Thinking Skills Cheatsheet

‘Critical thinking skills truly matter in learning. Why? Because they are life skills we use every day of our lives. Everything from our work to our recreational pursuits, and all that’s in between, employs these unique and valuable abilities. Consciously developing them takes thought-provoking discussion and equally thought-provoking questions to get it going.’

http://bit.ly/2jWHOGb

Can Constructionism prevent our children turning into Stormtroopers?

‘Seymour Papert, who I had the opportunity to spend time with in those years, had developed a learning theory he called “Constructionism”. Papert had been a student of Piaget and Vygotsky who had developed philosophies about the nature of knowledge called Constructivism and Social Constructivism respectively.’

http://bit.ly/2kini48

Eight Big Ideas Behind the Constructionist Learning Lab

Following on, here’s more about Seymour Papert’s constructionism.

‘The first big idea is learning by doing. We all learn better when learning is part of doing something we find really interesting. We learn best of all when we use what we learn to make something we really want.’

http://bit.ly/2kTIRYm

Why Spatial Reasoning Is Crucial For Early Math Education

‘There’s a well-known rift between those who believe the only type of developmentally appropriate early childhood education is a play-based one, and those concerned that relying solely on any learning that comes out of play could put students coming from impoverished backgrounds at a disadvantage. Research has shown that students from lower socioeconomic groups enter school with significantly less mathematical knowledge, and it is difficult to overcome that gap without intentional mathematics programming. But, at the same time, traditional teacher-led instruction often isn’t developmentally appropriate for five-year-olds.’

http://bit.ly/2jWQJHR

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

What Do We Really Mean When We Say ‘Personalized Learning’?

‘The idea of personalized learning is seductive — it implies moving away from the industrialized form of education that pumps out cookie-cutter students with the same knowledge and skills. After decades of this approach, it is clear that all children don’t learn the same way and personalization seems to honor those differences. However, that term has taken on several different meanings.’

http://bit.ly/2ks90jB

Die in the Ditch – Non-negotiable Principles for Learning Design

‘An important and very rewarding part of our development journey has been sharing our thinking with the hundreds of visitors that we have hosted. This has reminded me of the passion and openness that so many teachers have to make schooling as engaging and relevant as possible for learners. Almost all have agreed that students are struggling to engage and find learning stressful. They also recognise that teaching has become a hard slog with reduced rewards. Many also acknowledge that schools are becoming more like centres of assessment rather than centres of learning.All of the visiting schools want answers to the question of what can be done at their school and, in some cases, believe that after a visit they will discover a model they can transplant into their own environment. Of course, they soon realise this is unlikely.’

http://bit.ly/2kXj1lL

Sir Ken Robinson: How to Create a Culture For Valuable Learning

“If you design a system to do something, don’t be surprised if it does it,” Robinson said at the annual Big Picture Learning conference called Big Bang. He went on to describe the two pillars of the current system — conformity and compliance — which undermine the sincere efforts of educators and parents to equip children with the confidence to enter the world on their own terms.”

http://bit.ly/2jEkts6

How One Teacher Let Go of Control To Focus On Student-Centered Approaches

‘When Kristine Riley saw a colleague she admired and teachers she followed on social media extol the learning advantages of letting go of control in the classroom, she decided to give it a try. “I started out small,” said Riley, who teaches in Edison, New Jersey public schools. It took about a year, maybe a year and a half, to abandon her top-down approach to teaching and replace it with what she calls “structured chaos.”’

http://bit.ly/2kTSeHE

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Creative Schools – an impossible dream?

‘Educators who believe that education is more of a process of creating stimulating environments to allow students to begin the process of helping the young explore what it is that they are best suited for have always been in the minority. Most teachers have little choice to put programmes into place that have been defined by their school, by those distant ‘experts’ that determine the curriculum and, most invasive of all, by those who determine the means of assessing students learning. When the latter is in the hands of the politicians supported by compliant principals then the possibility of creativity is all but lost.’

http://bit.ly/2dlEXWL

The artistry of teaching and future learning attributes

The future of learning depends on the artistry of the teacher

‘The future of education will be substantially determined by the shared perception of the purpose of learning, and that this is best expressed in terms of the needs of the learner. A focus on deep and profound learning would determine the qualities of a learner of the future. This in turn has implications for the quality of the teaching provided.’

http://bit.ly/1PsoX3j

Education Readings January 27th

By Allan Alach

Well, here we are at the start of another year, which in New Zealand and Australia is also the start of the school year. I wonder what 2017 will bring as far as education is concerned. I fear that little that is good will happen, especially in the USA, given the suggested Secretary of Education. The possible exception could be a change of government in New Zealand when the elections are held later this year. Such a change should mean the end of the current standards based nonsense, but we will have to wait and see.

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

Burnout’s devastating impact on teachers who can’t switch off

Burnout sneaks up on you, as I found to my cost. Beware.

‘Defined as the process of collapse attributed to excessive and continuous demands on energy, strength and other physical, psychological and emotional resources, burnout develops across time and can be viewed through a lens of ever reducing levels of passion and compassion, self-efficacy and effectiveness.’

http://bit.ly/2k1PbiL

Sometimes Misbehavior Is Not What It Seems

‘The following are examples of seeing misbehavior from a new perspective. In each of these cases, diagnosis is very difficult — as are the remedies. For chronic misbehaving students, pay close attention to their home situations, the type of misbehavior, when it occurs, and whether they behave differently with other adults. Be advised that the best responses to these situations sound easier than they are to put into practice.’

http://edut.to/2kuuGvY

To Encourage Creativity in Kids, Ask Them: ‘What if’?

‘I explained to them that these two words are a kind of secret tunnel into the world of new ideas. In fact, I told them, I only came up with the booger story after asking myself: What if a family picked their noses so much that they create a monstrous booger? And what if the snot rocket rolled out the window and gained so much steam it threatened to roll over the town? And what if the whole story rhymed?’

http://nyti.ms/2kuD5iS

21st Century Skills Don’t Exist. So Why Do We Need Them?

‘This is a very good point and even if you don’t agree at first, we encourage you to chew, swallow, and then slowly digest it. Listen up (confession: all examples here are stolen from Rotherham and Willingham). Do you really think that in the ‘old days’ – whenever they were – we didn’t need to think critically and solve problems? What about the development of tools, agricultural advancements, discovery of vaccines, or land and sea explorations? And don’t you think the lads and gals back in the old days would have to communicate and collaborate to progress?’

http://bit.ly/2kusOiN

How to Teach a Middle School Class in 49 Easy Steps

Funny…

http://bit.ly/2kuqBYD

Why Schools Should NOT Be Run Like Businesses

‘It’s absurd. Not everything benefits from being sold for a profit. Imagine if your spouse suggested running your marriage that way. It would turn you both into prostitutes selling yourselves at ever cheaper rates while any self respect, dignity and love disappeared.’

http://bit.ly/2j6miTl

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Why A More Creative School System Might Be The Solution We’ve Been Looking For

Let’s start the 2017 year with Sir Ken Robinson:

‘If you think of it, children starting school this year will be retiring in 2065,” he tells an enrapt audience in a video captured at the Monterey, California event. “Nobody has a clue, despite all the expertise that’s been on parade for the past four days, what the world will look like in five years’ time. And yet we’re meant to be educating them for it. So the unpredictability, I think, is extraordinary.”In his talk, Robinson describes the unpredictability of the market and the jobs it creates as an opportunity. But insofar as it is seen as a challenge, a problem, he says he’s identified the solution: build an educational system that celebrates and encourages creative thinkers and out-of-the-box problem-solvers.Making our job a little easier, he suggests, is that kids are ready-made to come up with weird and wonderful ideas. We’re just currently teaching them not to.’

http://bit.ly/2jSTef0

The Beauty and Chaos of Free Play

‘I love the joyful learning that I see when children are engaged in free play, exploration and creative thought with materials, using them in their own innovative ways as loose parts. I often find any carefully presented centres I try to create are soon used in novel and other-than-intended ways and I have to resist (not always with success) the urge to say, ‘but wait…”. And while resisting the urge often results in a gigantic tidying time, it also results in unexpected and joyful learning.I often have to ask myself, is it more important for children to engage in this exploratory free play or to engage with the lovely provocation I have so carefully laid out?’

http://bit.ly/2kudNxz

Finnish-ing touches on education

New Zealand needs to learn from Finland.

‘Education is also a national priority, funded well, with more than 55 percent in federal dollars, and catering to working families. Free meals, health care and outside-of-class child care are available to all students, who start formal schooling at age 7 after state-sponsored compulsory kindergarten that features outdoor play and exploration.School is mandatory through grade 9, or age 16, with two tracks in high school—general academic and vocational. Nearly 40 percent of students choose the vocational side, which is geared toward what the country expects to need in the next decade in terms of skilled workers, such as computer coding and engineering.’

http://bit.ly/2k56AY1

3 Types of Unintentional Learning (And How to Make Them Intentional)

‘We are all aware of the teachable moment, and most of you reading this have experienced it firsthand. We know that one of the best opportunities for students to learn is when they are asking questions, so we make time for this in each lesson. Some questions can be off topic, and just like unwanted weeds, we pull them out and redirect the students’ attention to continue our planned and deliberate teaching (gardening). But most questions bring forth deeper clarity for the learners in the room, and sometimes there’s the ripe question that elicits deeper questions and understanding. There’s nothing like that moment when a revelation happens for multiple students in the room.’

http://edut.to/2k1NMsr

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Creative Schools – an impossible dream?

‘Educators who believe that education is more of a process of creating stimulating environments to allow students to begin the process of helping the young explore what it is that they are best suited for have always been in the minority. Most teachers have little choice to put programmes into place that have been defined by their school, by those distant ‘experts’ that determine the curriculum and, most invasive of all, by those who determine the means of assessing students learning. When the latter is in the hands of the politicians supported by compliant principals then the possibility of creativity is all but lost.’

http://bit.ly/2dlEXWL

Checking out your class, or school, for quality learning.

Something to think about for the year ahead.

‘Is your classroom a quality learning environment where students are able to ‘seek, use and create their own knowledge’ as it states in the ‘new’ New Zealand Curriculum?

Here are some questions to focus on.’

http://bit.ly/2kupgRQ

Datafication

THIS IS AN EXTREMELY SERIOUS TOPIC.  IGNORE ITS INTENTIONS AT OUR NATION’S PERIL; AND THEN PRAY FOR ITS KIDS.

The future of our nation depends on our attitude towards children and their schooling

DATAFICATION

It’s here. It’s the end of schooling as an interpersonal teacher-pupil interactive learning enterprise.
During this century there has been a distinct movement in schooling from Education to Testucation to Datafication.

To the everlasting credit of a remarkable work force, Australiam teachers have maintained an amazing standard of pupilling excellence, of which, despite the debilitating interruptions by blanket testing, Australians can be proud. The future of schooling will be much tougher for pupils, teachers and parents, however, if we continue on our present course.

DATAFICATION

IT’S SERIOUS. “What it simply means is this: from our actions to our thoughts, everything is getting transformed into a numerically transformed format or ‘Data’….from sports to finance and from entertainment to healthcare, everything around us is converting into data.” [Sawinder Kaur]. Get used to it.

“Datafication refers to the collective tools, technologies and processes used to transfer an organisation to a data-driven enterprise. This buzzword describes an organisational trend of defining the key to core business operations through a reliance on data and its related infrastructure.”[Technopedia]

“Datafication is the method behind the madness of Big Data.”  [Mark Sylvestor]

It’s a later day technological trend that involves the collection of data and transforming the information into new forms of value. It’s the sort of thing that Rupert has dreamed of for years.  Seen to be of benefit for core business operations, it has invaded schooling systems to destroy the vigorous spirit of established institutionalised learning and to turn its citadels into business operations and testing factories in which a gullible public will spend big money to enrol their children. The recent rise in the standard of marketing and lobbying  skills will ensure this.   Datification has been able to take over from the testucation processes attached to NAPLAN because our testing industry had difficulty in understanding the consequences of certain unwelcome schooling behaviours that were introduced rudely into Australia in 2008; and this makes things easier for schools to become digitised and datafied testing factories.  It’s more than just using laptops at school for learning purposes. It’s a debauched use of technology merely to supply data to measurers for judgmental causes and maladjusted, political control.

Data collection is driving our schools….now….and the intensity is about to increase.  The shape and infrastructure of schooling and our attitude to it have changed. We need to stop the nonsense and talk. Testucation and datafication are draining the humanity of learning from our schools.

If we want this trend to continue, we should do nothing.  We are used to doing nothing. Ignoring the plight of school children is a major Australian cultural meme.  “She’ll be right, Jack.”  We allowed managerialism to take over from experienced-based organisational designs in the 1980s, then ignored the change to testucation in 2008, now to datafication.  Are you happy with the trend? Within the school setting, it meant changing from challenging styles of maieutic pupilling to didactic chalk-talk test practice, practice, practice that pupils usually detest. It has produced mediocre results in national and international tests as expected and should continue to do so.  It’s the pupils who decide how well they will do on tests, for goodness sake. How do we treat them in a productive, learning sense?

This may not have been  the Gillard-Klein intention when they introduced fear and obsession with test scores to supplant pupilled love of learning in 2008, but it happened.  They certainly set out to be data-centric, nasty and tough, but I should think that they did not intend things to go so far. They thought that they were just testing what had been taught, as we all used to do in our schools. It all went pear-shaped and the kids are now doing worse than ever before  at basic operations, because of the tests themselves…. but the modus operandi of using NAPLAN to gather data has been maintained!  […and it’s the bogey that contains the seeds of lowering standards! It actually causes the slump!] This has suited the datafying hawks, however,  who are presently taking over  from both kleinish testucators and former educators, ‘…using rapid speed and amazing tools to store, manipulate and analyse  information”,  for other-than-schooling purposes. Almost the whole population will, in the future,  be data-nailed as soon as they enter school and be branded through  datafying routines now being used by industry.  Schooling is not what it used to be; and we should fear for the kids at the chalk-face of the 21st century.   With creativity, problem solving, thinking, decision making, zest, acceptance  of challenges and pupilling,  all removed from the school scene, the kids don’t have much chance to enjoy a happy, challenging, creative, healthy life full of satisfying achievements as they could have expected from basic pupilling conditions at a humanity-based learning school.

Eagerly supported by the big corporate boys, the testucrats have set no limits to the expenditure of tax-payers’ money on new organisational arrangements.  If someone had said to you, some years ago, that education departments in Australia would, one day, spend $A24.7million dollars for computerised tablets, just to do a few tests of basic standards over a one-hit three-day period, because it’s quicker than using paper and pencil…..what would the electorate have said?   OUT!

Just to score tests faster !!!!   You can also be sure that much more than that will be spent over the next few years on increasing ‘how’ and ‘what’ we collect in our next lot of data-drives.

If you approve of totalitarian tactics, creation of fear, sleepnessness, depression and arrogant child abuse to obtain better scores on unreliable tests, that those such as NAPLAN now provide, with the expectation of more datafication procedures,   you must belong to some kind of moronic religion or terror group that ignores humanity and children and fair-play and equality.  Get outa here. Go back home to dataland.

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Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443 407865999 cphilcullen@bigpond.com  REFER :”Who’s Who in Australia.”

NAPLAN for Mummies. What is the purpose of NAPLAN?

The future of our nation depends on our attitude towards children and their schooling

NAPLAN

FOR MUMMIES

What is the purpose of NAPLAN?

A cynic would respond, “To line the pockets of Rupert Murdoch, Joel Klein and other captains of the Testing Industry.”

There is some truth in this. It appears that, some years ago,  Rupert Murdoch saw the future of schooling  [and other education enterprises] to be almost totally digital. Digital education was the future! Any need for schools? In 2012, through his News Corp. organisation, he purchased, for $US371 million, Wireless Generation, a company producing digitised curriculum and assessment material. He enlarged the enterprise , employed over 1200 writers, called it Amplify and appointed Joel Klein, the founder of Australia’s schooling system in 2008, to direct the business of digitising education products and services.  News Corp’s foray into the digitised education business is notable.  We aren’t allowed to talk about it much in Australia, even though we are a critical part of the empire .  It is prudent of News Corp. representatives down-under, to play-down the human stuff-ups of schooling caused by testing regimes; and not to make too much mention of NAPLAN’s failures and peculiarities. Media silence on important issues is part of the scenery down under. This has given NAPLAN and kleinism aka fear-based schooling a pretty free run since 2008. Since News Corp controls most of Australia’s media outlets and, it could be said, has a close linkage with our test-based schooling system, the cynic must have a point.  NAPLAN testing in Australia is  completely digitised this year and we are on the way to fulfilling Rupert’s business vision.  The cost of a tablet for each child completing the test has not been publicised. Financial matters are cunningly operated  by the states using federal taxpayers’ grant money conditionally tied for their diligence to NAPLAN.   It’s very tricky.

There are numerous doctoral theses that can be undertaken: : unravelling the payments made for NAPLAN, by whom to whom, how much, how planned, how organised; the whole scandal of its establishment and who wins. If students and universities are brave enough to examine the various exigencies of NAPLAN testing and they are able to obtain the information,  each thesis should provide interesting reading.

Australian measurers are about to enjoy the use of computer tablets and the purring of the CAT phase of naplanning – Computer Adaptive Testing;   and its UCD – User Centred Design from the field of datafication.  In classroom-speak, that means  the intense  gathering of a variety of data from as many pupils as possible to add it all to a pile of measurement algorithms for deep measurement seances at high levels, holding hands with the high priests of measurement who once gave statisticians their great glory.  Improvement in classroom activities and particularly in pupil attitudes towards learning is purely speculative….and unlikely.  The use of educational technology can be of enormous assistance to classroom learning, but the use of technology merely to streamline the gathering of data is a prostitution of its potential.  Why is it so?

Schooling in Australia is now big business, Mum. Schooling ain’t the well-meaning public service it once was andought to beTesting and datafication are major growth industries.  Schooling ceased being an altruistic, public spirited, humane, community welfare service when NAPLAN hit the fan and spread its testing muck in 2008.  A change of public attitude could bring testing to an end tomorrow, but we do not have the political spunk to challenge those who now tell us what to do and how to think. They are very good at controlling political attitudes. The indoctrination of a disinterested public has been very successful….until now. 

Meanwhile, back at the school gate, parents are unsure.  They wonder what it would be like if schools concentrated on the usual operations  of teaching and learning and not bother with all this super-imposed bally-hoo, Those who care seriously about the full future of their child, must wonder about the effects of testing and the other extra-curricular compulsions, on their child’s overall development. They wonder what kind of person their child will become, what kind of job they will have,  how  their child will cope with doing  jobs that don’t exist yet.   What sort of schooling should they require?  Should they  only need to pass tests of basic standards and little else,  or  should they learn how to evaluate their own progress in whatever they do and be able to make serious decisions; undertake challenges with zest, achieve as high as possible; and partake of art and music and play and sport in a really enjoyable and productive way; and enjoy life,  Gaining high marks in the kind of topics that NAPLAN targets is a piece of cake, if one develops an interest in the subject…the opposite of the naplanning kind of motivation; but the use of fear and despair now built into the testing procedures as part of it, is preferred by our obedient politicians.  We can get PISA scores much higher than we ever have, if we are only able to understand what we are doing and helping schools to develop positive attitudes to learning, instead of wasting time on all this testing. muck.

ACARA describes NAPLAN as follows…

“The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It has been an everyday part of the school calendar since 2008.

NAPLAN tests the sorts of skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life, such as reading, 
writing, spelling and numeracy. The assessments are undertaken nationwide, every year, in the second full week in May.

NAPLAN is made up http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/naplan-is-driving-our-students-backwards-20130514-2jk5p.html of tests in the four areas (or ‘domains’) of reading etc.”

This  pronouncement that schools teach NAPLAN every day of the school year is a worry….but…that’s it.  It’s been a take-over of the system, without a doubt.  Has it done any good?

Sorry, Mums.  NAPLAN testing results have been flat-lining or heading down hill.  Quality teachers attribute this to the kleinist philosophy of fear and punishment pervading the intense test preparation that NAPLAN requires.  It certainly ‘turns kids off’ learning. It certainly teaches them to ‘hate’ some subjects and/or to ‘hate’ school. If you allow your child to take part in the rigours of NAPLAN test preparation, you do take a risk, Mum. Ask Lucy Clark. Children always do better at doing something that they like to do…and NAPLAN certainly discourages teaching children from appreciating the beauty of Maths., the magic of Science, the joy of enticing literature. NAPLAN is causing declining, mediocre results in its own tests and in the international PISA tests and in TIMMS!The slides are getting slipperer!

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/naplan-is-driving-our-students-backwards-20130514-2jk5p.html

There is a field of thought that believes that children should be taught to evaluate things themselves using themselves as the rating unit….anything but a silly numeral!  It is immoral, surely,  to impose damaging  high stakes tests on individuals without their permission.  Self-evaluation is an outcome of shared evaluation and is based on the belief that anything we expect others to do requires a close, critical, encouraging audience, and the only one we should share it with is someone whom the learner respects…..teacher, mum, dad, big brother, sister, aunt…. or all of them.

The concept of pupilling is one that testucators have a problem with. They don’t seem to know what it means. They use the word ‘student’ to cover up their inexperience.   Hey, testucator!  It is the reason we send our kids to school! It is a contract between a learner….”I will learn. You will teach. We will both do our best.” and a teacher ….”I will teach. You will learn. We will both do our best.”  No need for any interference, unless requested.  We didn’t ask you to poke your noses into our decent, effective, professional, ethical learning efforts, Mr. Testucator. You weren’t invited to our daily learning fests. We evaluate as we learn. Get outa here!

Might I earnestly suggest, Mums,  that you talk seriously about such issues with a thinking  teacher, other mums and dads about NAPLAN before you make up your mind.  You have until early May, but the best advice is to remove the burden from your child’s shoulders asap.  Let him or her enjoy the good parts of schooling. Your school cannot offer you the choice. It isn’t allowed for obvious totalitarian, testucating reasons.

Please telephone or talk with your local members to determine their attitude to our kleinist form of schooling…….and they will ban it if they are fair dinkum…..and Australia will be better off

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Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486 07 5524 443           0407865999   cphilcullen@bigpond.com

Refer: “Who’s Who in Australia’