Education Readings May 6th

By Allan Alach

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

Sometimes Misbehavior Is Not What It Seems

“When Sigmund Freud reportedly said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” the key word was “sometimes,” because sometimes a cigar is more than a cigar. So it is with understanding misbehavior. Sometimes the reason for misbehavior is very different than the obvious and requires a totally different intervention than the usual consequences. It is never easy to determine why children do the things they do.”

http://edut.to/1WJpD5O

Emotions Help Steer Students’ Learning, Studies Find

So if children are bored to tears by the formalised instruction, how much learning is taking place? The converse is equally true.

“In a new book, Emotions, Learning, and the Brain, Immordino-Yang and her colleagues at USC’s Brain Creativity Institute found that as students learn new rules during a task, such as the most efficient way to answer a math problem or the best deck to choose in a card game, they show emotional and physical responses long before they became consciously aware of the rules or are able to articulate them.”

http://bit.ly/1NXhzwC

What Does “Making” Have To Do With Learning?

“Making is not just the simple act of you being the difference between raw materials and finished product, as in “I made dinner” or even “I made a robot.” I don’t think we always need to ascribe learning to the act of making — but the act of making allows the maker, and maybe an outsider (a teacher, perhaps) to have a window into the thinking of the maker.”

http://bit.ly/1QSpmqg

Are We Making Space For Imagination?

“I want my kids to retain this sense of wonder. I want them to remain imaginative. I want them to follow curiosity and see where it leads. I want them to design and build and create and invent. I want them to play with ideas. I realize that imagination changes over time. But it shouldn’t be something that shrinks or diminishes. It should be something that expands and evolves. Maybe it gets more realistic. Maybe it grows more rooted in reality. But the imagination should always remain.”

http://bit.ly/1Og4DwE

Education is being hijacked by profiteers

“Education reformers like to say they are doing it for the kids. That the reforms will improve the education system. Mountains of evidence shows this is poppycock and that education reforms overwhelmingly lead to profits being more important than the children’s education.”

http://bit.ly/1SZmcFF

The Dystopian Future of Schools

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the original concept of developing greater student agency — a complex task — is being lost in attempts by well-intentioned schools to provide this opportunity in a manageable manner which is, in turn, being capitalized upon by the “education reform” industry. These canned approaches move us further and further away from the objective of making learning personal.”

http://bit.ly/1SS8Sk3

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Modern Learning Environments (MLEs) / Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs) and what it means for use of space, time and grouping of students in schools

Bruce has written another article in his sequence on this latest trend in classroom design.

“Today we now have have the concept of ‘innovative learning environments’  linked with the development of ‘modern learning environments’. Not that the practices actually ‘new’,  more that they have failed to be implemented in the past, or only to be found in a few creative classrooms. And certainly such innovative learning environments are rare  in schools ‘educating’ adolescent students.”

http://bit.ly/1VKweOv

Creativity: A Choice, a Gift, and a Mission

“When we define and embrace our own creativity, we thrive. And when their teachers thrive, students will learn to thrive as well. We can take responsibility for thriving by giving ourselves the powerful gift of being creative.”

http://edut.to/1VKwhK1

Need to Remember Something? Try Drawing It

Are you able to make use of this in your classroom? I suspect Tony Buzan (Mind Maps) will be saying ‘I told you so.’

“Researchers at the University of Waterloo have found that drawing pictures of information that needs to be remembered is a strong and reliable strategy to enhance memory.” 

http://bit.ly/1TngIBB

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The science of teaching – or the teaching of science

“It would seem that students’ experience of school science has not helped them see science as an exciting way of thinking about fascinating areas of learning. Problem solving, finding out how things work, exploring ideas, learning through enlightened trial and error are all innate way of human learning – the default mode inherited from birth. All life is a search for meaning. It is not that children are young scientists but that scientists still see the world with the passionate curiosity of a child.”

http://bit.ly/23q9xhG

Accountability or ‘Accountabalism’

‘Weinberger says we have been, ‘lured by the myth of precision’. Accountabalism ‘suggests there is a right or wrong answer to every question’ and that we can measure all results exactly. ‘Accountabalism’ has well and truly spread to schools where compliance and the need to measure selected achievement targets to prove success is the name of the game.’

http://bit.ly/1SZlCYC

Making a real difference!

“What ‘counts’ is the culture of the students, their life experiences and their existing knowledge; what ‘counts’ is involving students and their parents in the learning process; what ‘counts’ are the relationships between teachers and their students; what ‘counts’ are the teaching strategies teachers use in their classrooms and what ‘counts’ is the total culture of the school.”

http://bit.ly/1ZjuF8l

Let’s Think, Opt out, Talk, Reinvent

Aussie Friends of Treehorn
protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
“Why not re-design a schooling system that starts with a discussion on these sorts of things….and NOT from the presumptions of those whose own classroom experience has been limited and who only recall their crash-bang-wallop gotta-pass-the-test techniques  of their very  own schooling experience”
 Let’s Think,Opt Out, Talk, Reinvent
     When the naplannic cane toads were released in Australian schools in 2008, there was atomic-sized gasps from those who pupilled children at school, working in a constantly evaluating, Siamese-twin sort of relationship…… dedicated to learning.  I spoke with dozens of those I knew were high-quality teachers who were dumbfounded that this could occur. in Australian schools. 
   Many, like me, still find it hard to believe that this sort of thing actually happened.  Our dreams of having schools that were so learning attractive to kids that they’d just learn, learn, learn because it was good fun  and challenging and wonderful, were shattered.  We could not contemplate the thought that Australia would ever foster a system that would deliberately teach child to dislike learning.. It happened. 2008. The destiny of our future citizens is now very worrying, even frightening.   It’s naplanic. What are we trying to do to our kids in their classrooms?
   Have you, as Australian Professor Michael Dunkin has done: ,examined the kind of classroom agitation that occurs on wet and windy days at school, the ‘shows’ that the pupils can put on for visitors, the distracting  modes of behaviour at the end of each week, of each year. School pupils can be such  lively little buggers for no apparent reason.  Why do schools teach maths in the morning; leave art and physical education to the late afternoon; cancel sport, art and music when test heat is high?  Are some subjects so unimportant that they can be dropped when NAPLAN–prep starts?  What sort of schooling is that? Is there some sort of weight in subjects?  Can our domineering, testucating  fanatics describe any of the million social-teaching-learning exchanges that occur each and every day in each and every classroom that are more important than their stupid tests? 
    Michael Dunkin says, “Few attempts have been made to document these ‘truths’. These are examples of the context of the classroom upon the processes [e.g. smiling, listening, problem-solving, distracting, answering, asking, demonstrating, commending, cajoling, questioning, supporting, expounding, correcting, distributing, frowning] that occur within it. These are context-process relationships that could be examined. Such relationships reveal influences that need to be examined. Such relationships reveal influences upon classroom events that environmental factors, physical and temporal, have.”
   Let’s THINK about what he is saying. Will such learning exchanges be happening on May 10,11,12? Dunkin, Gage, Biddle wrote definitive works on classroom learning that testucrats  prefer to ignore. They talk about classroom learning. 
   Why doesn’t Australia try to document these truths….or just talk about them?   What sort of teaching strategies are used from the range of those we know about…..of the hundreds and hundreds between the maieutic, self-generating techniques to the didactic [sermonising], through the wealth of child-centred and adult oriented forms and the plethora of group techniques? Why don’t we let teachers that use all these sorts of teaching/learning exchanges, run the show?  Let’s give back schooling to them and help the kids learn things?
   Why not re-design a schooling system that starts with a discussion on these sorts of things…and NOT from the presumptions of those whose only classroom experience has been limited; and who only recall  the crash-bang-wallop, gotta-pass-the-exams techniques of their own very limited school experience. That only leads to klienism, a dead-set failure.
Let’s ask ourselves some pertinent questions…
        Which is more important : spending the day practising tests or spending the day learning?
        Why do politicians talk about democratic principles and don’t stand up for kids when it matters?
        Why don’t basic human rights apply to kids at school during NAPLAN season?
        How much does NAPLAN cost ?      Who benefits?
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486    cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
07 5524 6443          0407865999
proud to be sticking-up for kids
looking for a party to vote for
hoping that Australian schools will concentrate on mass devotion to learning asap

Education Readings April 29th

By Allan Alach

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

Not Every Kid Wants to Learn How to Code

The latest educational bandwagon is that all children should be taught how to code computers, although exactly what this is supposed to achieve isn’t clearly spelled out.

“But here’s the thing; not every kid wants to be a computer scientist.  Not every kid wants to work with a computer.  Not every kid wants to stare at a screen, nor do something with technology.  Did we forget that in our eagerness to jump on the coding wagon?”

http://bit.ly/1QDF9Jn

Learning to Code vs. Coding to Learn

Along much the same lines:

“For what it’s worth, and in case it might be of any interest to others, here are, in no particular order, some of the most common arguments I hear made both in support of, and against, educational coding initiatives.”

http://bit.ly/1YVXh7l

Does our ‘edtech’ obsession get in the way of education?

“Instead of proclaiming the virtue that apparently derives from forswearing technology – as if academic rigour and using computers were somehow antithetical – wouldn’t we be better off by remaining open to the notion that using technology, in certain circumstances, may actually contribute to improved teaching and learning? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to develop teachers’ expertise so that they are able to make discerning use of whatever technology may be most helpful at any given time for any given purpose?”

http://bit.ly/1rlTKEU

PISA-envy, Pearson and Starbucks-style schools

“The focus on test scores is vital to the neoliberal vision of education. It is what enables standardization and hence accountability across the system. If outcomes in the form of test scores are what counts, then it becomes easy to compare one student with another, one class with another, one school with another and one state with another. And test-based accountability has now become a truly global phenomenon, shaping local and national educational priorities and policies.”

http://bit.ly/1TzaPUW

Why Lots of Love (or Motivation) Isn’t Enough

Latest article by Alfie Kohn.

“True, these students no longer require carrots or sticks. They don’t need discipline because they’re self-disciplined. . . in a way that’s disturbing. Their motivation is internal, but it sure as hell isn’t intrinsic. And that key distinction would go unnoticed if we had just asked whether they had internalized certain values rather than inquired about the nature of that internalization.”

http://bit.ly/1WVAM3K

Better teachers? Better at what, exactly?

A lament from an Australian teacher.

“Until we are capable of putting our children’s needs in front of anything else, we will continue to slip down the educational league table. It has nothing to do with better teachers. It’s got everything to do with protecting our children from politicians.”

http://bit.ly/1Tzbfun

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Teaching /learning in flexible spaces – Modern Learning Environments MLEs – New Tech High

Bruce has written another article about this current development.

“By the late sixties, in England, flexible school buildings were being specifically designed to allow a varied combination of individual and group work as well as for class and inter-class activities. And in the 70s ( inspired by American school critics such as John Holt) an open education movement started which culminated in the development of open plan schools.”

http://bit.ly/1NUH50e

Sir Ken Robinson Changes the Paradigm

This is an oldie but well worth watching again.

“Sir Ken Robinson’s inspirational talk at the RSA Conference called “Changing Paradigms” has made its way around the education circles through different media. This animated version of the speech, taking us through the speaker’s colorful prose with illustrations, has made even more of an impact.”

http://bit.ly/1rj1esf

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

We have lost so much over the past 50 years. We need to return leadership back to creative teachers.

“It was in the sixties when creative classroom teachers working within a shared educational philosophy were the real leaders. In contrast to all the structural changes that have happened since the advent of Tomorrow’s Schools the role of the teacher has been neglected. There are some, such as Professor Frank Crowther, University of Queensland, who says that, since the 1970s, the professional respect for teachers has diminished.”

http://bit.ly/14oaM8E

A future Vision for Education

Modern Learning Environment / Innovative Teaching Practice – or just good learner centred teaching?

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.”

http://bit.ly/1pHqBCy

What do we steal from our students?

“Dr John Edwards based his presentation, the final one for the conference, on a question his wife had asked him when he returned after teaching his graduate students.

She asked him, ‘What have you stolen from your students today?’’

And..

“The poem is worth a read because it clearly makes the distinction between an antiquated transmission style of teaching (which is still all too common) and what is now required if we are to develop all students as ‘confident life long learners’, the ‘seekers, users,and creators of their own knowledge’, that our revised curriculum asks of us.”

http://bit.ly/1pHrj2P

Contributed by Phil Cullen:

Test-score inflation can boost graduation rates but comes with consequences, Stanford study finds

“Six years ago, a team of educational researchers shocked New York state with clear statistical evidence of widespread manipulation of test scores on the high school exit exams, or Regents Examinations. The analysis, which formed the basis for an investigative report in the Wall Street Journal and sparked major reforms by New York state, showed that test graders were artificially lifting the scores for 40 percent of the students who had fallen just short of passing.”

http://stanford.io/1VVVi4Q

A Toad called ‘Naplan’

PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR LOCAL CANDIDATES
“Indifferent to opinions of real experts in Australia, or USA or the UK or Finland or anywhere in the world, our power-drunk  
education know-it-all 
then had to use underhand ‘client-capture’ techniques to have her way and to cover-up a monstrous brain-fart.”
Aussie Friends of Treehorn
protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts in gear, their pens active and their votes available.
A Toad Called NAPLAN
If ever you see a large, ugly cane toad in your garden, call him “Naplan”.  He’s a darling of all the political  hoi-poloi and educratic know-it-alls.  Both the toad and his namesake share a similar history. They were both mistakenly introduced to do a special job. Those who brought them both to Australia thought that they knew better than anybody else. Big mistake. A political decision to introduce both kinds of vermin was too hurried; immediate; on sight; no questions asked.  They were desperate. They thought that they were on a winner because some smart-alecs in Hawaii and New York told them so. No checking of consequences.
Indifferent to opinions of real experts in Australia or USA or the UK or Finland or anywhere in the world,  our power-drunk education know-it-all then had to use underhand ‘client capture’ techniques to have her way and to cover-up a monstrous brain-fart. No research. No checking how things are going or  likely to go. No public talk. No need. A dramatic blunder of gargantuan proportions!  The school testing debacle continues….but it can be stopped. Parents just have to say ‘NO!’  High stakes testing wasn’t even needed in the first place. Her bowel movements must have been irregular at the cocktail party where her decision to introduce kleinism to Australia was made; on the spot, before Rupert and Joel even said ‘Goodnight’. A dry martini did it.
Australia was committed to a Klein version of schooling.
Millions of dollars later and ever-lasting  gross destruction of our intellectual landscape by NAPLAN testing and our  physical landscape by almost-as-ugly toads, the waste continues.
[The cane toads introduced to the cane fields of Gordonvale, North Queensland, gobbled up tonnes of cane beetles that flew close to the ground. Nobody had bothered to check to see how high toads could leap nor how high beetles could fly!!. A total waste. No prior thought. The voracious hungry ones migrated from NQ to see what they could eat around the eastern part of Australia and the Northern Territory.]
There’s a lesson to be learned, by our brown-nosed educrats and our indifferent political candidates, from our now millions-strong army of cane toads, each called ‘Naplan’,  don’t you think? We must OPT OUT and ….
That’ll be new for our politico-educrats, won’t it?  BUT….

Australia’s order of business for educational improvement needs to be…..

1. OPT OUT OF TESTING.
                                                                                                                                   2. RETURN TEACHING TO TEACHERS.
                                                                                                                                   3. THINK
                                                                                                                                   4. TALK
                                                                                                                                   5. REINVENT A SYSTEM OF SCHOOL LEARNING.
optoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptout
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443   cphilcullen@bigpond.com         
    http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
STILL LOOKING FOR A PARTY TO VOTE FOR, AS ARE THOUSANDS OF PARENTS;
ONE THAT CARES ABOUT KIDS AND WHAT NAPLAN DOES TO THEM AND TO OUR COUNTRY.
PARENTS.   FOLLOW THE SUN.  VISIT BRISBANE  OR GOLD COAST [Train direct to Southbank] JUNE 1
PARENTS’ DAY

Who’s for kids?

Aussie Friends of Treehorn
protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
Who’s for Kids?
Here’s an interesting list. You can check to see how interested in schooling and in NAPLAN [The greatest threat to Australia’s welfare, since the Japanese]your present representative is.   It says a lot.
Let’s now see how concerned about school children’s welfare they have been; and how likely they are to be interested between now and the election.
What did your federal representative do?
Click on a name
Which ones care about the damage to kids and have something t say about NAPLAN?
It’s worth checking to see who cares about kids at school.
Which party seems to dominate in the ‘care for kids’ business in the classroom…..all kids….all classrooms….no matter where they go to  school?
o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o00o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o
Below is the copy of a letter that I have sent  to Richmond’s four candidates. I live in the electorate.  There are four parties represented : National, One Nation,  Labor, Green. One of these has already shown complete indifference. More later
Dear Candidate for Richmond, Federal election for 2016,
I am one of your possible constituents and I am also one of a large number of educators who are opposed to the use of NAPLAN testing in Australian schools.
I write, daily at present, for what is called The Treehorn Express, in an effort to have the testing programs cancelled.  You will have seen it if you take an interest in primary schooling. I plan to write an article about the attitudes of political candidates towards NAPLAN issues. 
I am assuming that you know the history of the introduction of these standardised blanket tests and that you have an attitude towards their use.  Our anti-NAPLAN crusade is based on our concern for
[a] The nasty way that children are treated in the administration of the test. It is a form of  emotional child abuse.
[b] The serious impact that the tests have on schooling by extensively  narrowing the school curriculum;
[c] The negative impact that the tests have on the attitudes of children towards certain subjects [notably Maths and Science] and towards schooling itself.
[d] The continuing impact of NAPLAN by its self-generating lowering of standards of Australia’s economic culture.
[e] The denial of choice for parents.
I have searched for comments that you and/or your party might have made about NAPLAN and its effects. While your party has probably had something to say about money for education, Gonski. privatisation, proposed changes and general standards, I have yet to notice any specific comments that you or your party have made about the greatest threat to our country’s economic progress ever perpetrated  in this country.  
You may have different ideas and opinions from those listed above, of course.  Would you be prepared to express them or even state plainly that you were in favour of NAPLAN testing… or opposed to it ….or indifferent to the controversy.
Thank you in anticipation of an early reply.
Phil Cullen
Treehorn Express 
41 Cominan Avenue
Banora Point 2486
07 5524 6443
0407865999
l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0ll
PARENTS’  RALLY –  Southbank, BRISBANE –  1 JUNE – 11.30 a.m.
Show ‘THEM’ that you are serious about your child’s schooling.

Educational Malpractice.

Aussie Friends of Treehorn
protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
WHY MAKE CHILDREN CRY ?
That’s what Standardised Blanket Testing does – whether it be NCLB [USA], Standards Testing [NZ] or NAPLAN [Australia].  It’s an essential part of its modus operandi.  It is wrecking so many little lives.  
It’s malpractice!
Just substitute ‘Australian’ for ‘American’
Brave teachers who will stick-up for kids are needed more than ever in our history.
Never before have children been so systematically abused and tormented.
Teachers and parents need to form a coalition of determined anti-naplaners.
Even though it may be too late to dump NAPLAN testing in Australia  this year, let’s opt out of the tests on May 10,11,12; and talk about schooling on June 1 at Southbank, Brisbane.
Is Kleinism [aka ‘Fear Driven Schooling] the kind of system that Australia needs? It isn’t working very well.
_____________________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  0   cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
07 5524 6443          0407865999
 
proud to be sticking-up for kids
looking for a decent political party to vote for….one that thinks 
 Let’s think 
What do you think ?  Finland wants to abandon the teaching of subjects!

http://qz.com/367487/goodbye-math-and-history-finland-wants-to-abandon-teaching-subjects-at-school/

Test Prep

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
It’s Test Prep Time
Aussie kids should be sweating it out now.
OPT OUT NOW
“Test Prep is about studying the arcane way that the tests structure the questions….far from straight forward….deliberately tricky…don’t teach anything – useless…..handling the computer component….
makes a lot of money for Test Prep companies …”
For “Common Core”, read “NAPLAN”
PARENTS’  RALLY –  Southbank, BRISBANE –  1 JUNE – 11.30 a.m.
Show ‘THEM’ that you are serious about your child’s schooling.
_______________________________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  0   cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
07 5524 6443          0407865999
proud to be sticking-up for kids
looking for a decent, democratic party to vote for
hoping that Australian schools will concentrate on mass devotion to a love for  learning soon.