Education Readings April 21st

By Allan Alach

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

The hidden dangers of caring about your career too much

‘This is one of the most important social justice and economic issues of our time. Until teachers feel valued and supported in their pursuit of their calling, they will continue to leave the classroom—and our most vulnerable children will suffer as a result.’

http://bit.ly/2oPsekK

Why School Makes Us Stupid

‘If you’ve ever thought school sucks, is a waste of time, or the education system is stupid, then this video is for you.’

http://bit.ly/2ovMEeY

A Look at 6 Digital Citizenship Myths That Must Be Dispelled

When digital citizenship cemented itself into the public consciousness only a few years ago, it definitely had its critics. That remains true even today as we strive to understand what it means and how to practice it in our homes and classrooms. Many digital citizenship myths still have some of us doubting the intrinsic need for its practices.’

http://bit.ly/2p0qHsw

7 Suggestions For How To Treat Wilful Digital Illiteracy In Education

‘A teacher I know asked me last week if I could create a Word document for him so that he could type a list of dates. He has been teaching, I believe, for over 20 years, and is in a senior position in her school. Why has he been allowed to get away with such a basic lack of knowledge for so long?

In this particular instance it doesn’t have any direct effect on the children he teaches, or the staff he manages. Or does it? I am a firm believer in what has been called the “hidden curriculum”, in which what you teach and what the kids learn may be rather different. What are his children and staff learning from his behaviour? ‘

http://bit.ly/2pk3kLu

Why Kids Shouldn’t Sit Still in Class

‘Sit still. It’s the mantra of every classroom.

But that is changing as evidence builds that taking brief activity breaks during the day helps children learn and be more attentive in class, and a growing number of programs designed to promote movement are being adopted in schools.’

http://nyti.ms/2pk5WZZ

What Student Test-Takers Share with Ejected Airline Passengers

By Alfie Kohn

‘Consider the sport of ranking the U.S. against other nations on standardized exams.  Even if these tests were meaningful indicators of intellectual proficiency, which is doubtful, specifying how well one country’s students perform relative to those elsewhere tells us nothing of interest. If all countries did reasonably well in absolute terms, there would be no shame in (and, perhaps, no statistical significance to) being at the bottom.  If all countries did poorly, there would be no glory in being at the top.’

http://bit.ly/2pHZ1GK

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Why Giving Effective Feedback Is Trickier Than It Seems

‘But giving effective feedback in the classroom can be trickier than it seems. It’s more of an art than a simple practice and requires the teacher to be disciplined and thoughtful about what is worthy of feedback, as well as when to give it.’

http://bit.ly/2oVltMC

More to good schools than ranked pass results

‘When choosing schools we need to prioritise much more than ranked test results. Choosing a school is infinitely more serious than scanning ranked examination percentages. We need to know the human heart of a school because design for learning is a complex thing.’

http://bit.ly/2oVuKnY

Computers in class ‘a scandalous waste’: Sydney Grammar head

Is there some truth in this?

‘A top Australian school has banned laptops in class, warning that technology “distracts’’ from old-school quality teaching.The headmaster of Sydney Grammar School, John Vallance, yesterday described the billions of dollars spent on computers in Australian schools over the past seven years as a “scandalous waste of money’’.’

http://bit.ly/2ortBn1

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Learning to be ‘creatively rebellious’. The importance of the Three Ds: being Different, Disruptive and Deviant.

‘Organisations (and this includes schools if they are to be true “learning organisations”) need to become ‘courageous’ and adopt a ‘rebellious instinct’ and to discard old habits and safety nets to remake themselves as 21st C  adaptive organisations. Unfortunately all this is beyond the timid leadership of most primary schools or the industrial aged straightjackets secondary schools operate under.’

http://bit.ly/2pI6e9L

Fundamentals in education

The real fundamentals in education – the creation of a creative mind

‘In recent years education has become more and more cognitive or rational; learning that can be seen and measured so as to prove evidence of growth.

In the process real fundamentals have been overlooked.The creation of the mind is more than simply cognitive. The mind is a unified, active, constructive, self creating, and symbol making organ; it feels as well as thinks- feelings and emotions are a kind of thought. Attitudes are created from feelings and emotions.’

http://bit.ly/13b5vRO

The corporate takeover of society and education.

‘Since the early 90s society has been reshaped by a neo liberal corporate ideology. An emphasis on private enterprise and self-centred individualism has replaced an earlier concern for collective good of all members of society.   As a result of this ideological shift a wider gap has been created between the rich and poor causing a number of social concerns. Schools as part of this shift have been transformed from a community orientation to being part of a competitive cut throat ideology.’

http://bit.ly/1hARUnP

DING!!

 

Aussies will know that the septic contamination of NAPLAN is spreading in NSW through the use of Year 9 NAPLAN results attached to the HSC.  This  crazy movement by amateur educators suggests that the NAPLAN tests themselves might have to be modified to cater for this kind of thing, which, of course, contributes further to the unreliability of the tests as a useful measure of performance.  If so, our PISA results will improve and testucators will be able to hoodwink parents with their kind of statistics. This is just a rumour, of course.
The most sensible suggestion comes from Martine Beaumont….see below in this article from the SMH.

It’s willy-nilly time for NAPLAN use.,frequently described as being “as useful as an ash-tray on a motor-bike”

HSC numeracy and literacy test will divide students, cause anxiety say principals

Principals from leading private schools have warned that a new literacy and numeracy test which year 9 students must pass to qualify for their HSC will divide students place too much emphasis on NAPLAN and cause anxiety among teenagers.

Parents have also expressed their concerns with the extra online test for all students who do not achieve three band 8s in year 9 NAPLAN this year.

Paul Teys, the head of Hunter Valley Grammar School, said a group of independent school heads was meeting with the standards authority this week to outline their complaints about the new test. He said an additional external exam was an unnecessary distraction to students and teachers.
“I would say that if a student doesn’t have a minimum standard of literacy and numeracy by the time they are in year 12, then we really should be looking at the syllabuses if there is such a problem,” Mr Teys said.

The head of girls’ school St Catherine’s, Julie Townsend, said the online test would encourage “teaching to the test”.

Dr Townsend said students would be divided into those who would qualify for the HSC and those who would not.

“What this will do is create two levels of students and and they will possibly ask themselves if they are even capable or worthy of an HSC,” Dr Townsend said.

“I think it has the potential to put enormous amounts of stress on students that will start as early as year 9.”

Dr Townsend said she feared it was a “cynical attempt” to raise the NAPLAN results so NSW would “look better nationally and internationally”.

Wendy Barel, principal of Masada College in St Ives, said the additional test would put “a huge amount of pressure” on students.

“I know that many schools will teach to the test, but we don’t do that at Masada because we are trying to teach our students to think analytically,” Ms Barel said.

But despite the opposition, other leading independent heads, including Jenny Allum from the girls’ school SCEGGS Darlinghurst, believe the online test would not be an unnecessary burden on students and would ensure students have appropriate literacy and numeracy skills by the time they reach the HSC.

Martine Beaumont, who has a son in year 9 at a public high school, is leading a campaign by concerned parents to have the online exam abolished.

Ms Beaumont said she had been seeking a meeting with the Education Minister, Rob Stokes, or NESA to raise the group’s concerns.

“We are suggesting to parents that they boycott year 9 NAPLAN this year because that would give kids another year before they are labelled a failure,” Ms Beaumont said.

“You could have kids who are brilliant at maths but miserable at writing made to feel like they cannot manage their HSC.”

The NSW opposition education spokesman, Jihad Dib, said the new exam would be easier than NAPLAN.

“There is nothing to indicate that the online test is set at a band 8 level, in fact what I am hearing is it is set at a lower level,” Mr Dib said.

“What I want to know is whether the government is going to provide any more resources to help these students who they say need to do another test.”

The fun-crazed year with HSC & NAPLAN

The Union of HSC and Naplan

An unhappy affair.


As the corporate giants [like Amplify, the Education Unit of News Corp., run by Joel Klein; and Enhanced EText owned by Pearson, previous owner of Amplify] rub their greedy hands together with happy feverishness, NAPLAN will come into its own this year, with the chance of eventually replacing the HSC in NSW,…..as one of our teacher-readers suggests.  She  was discussing the ‘merits’ of NAPLAN, describing it as robotised testicular mayhem, constructed and supported by neo-liberal scio-testucrats. She doesn’t seem to like it.

As an unwanted and unusual appendage to the HSC examinations in NSW, it will certainly provide an anxious year for Year 9 pupils culminating with a long lasting anti-subject syndrome being fostered for a further three years; set to last forever…..no second chance……despite any post-test gimmicks masked as supplementary. Check it out…..

http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/naplan-half-of-nsw-students-would-fail-first-hsc-test-20161209-gt7tix.html

SO. Machiavelli is alive and well.  Fear is  scripted as an endemic part of naplan-style schooling  for ever.   The creation of FEAR and ANXIETY is already written into the Code of Conduct for Naplanners as an essential component of the instructional process.

There is really no need to go to such lengths at the Year 9 level to ensure that children will leave school with a lasting distaste and hatred for Maths, Science and Literature.  Years 3,5,7 tests are ensuring this already , very effectively.  HATING SUBJECTS 101 starts at seven years of age. Get ’em early….and we are good at promoting it, as PISA results demonstrate.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/a-dire-lack-of-interest-in-students-wanting-to-pursue-maths-careers-20170330-gv9pwa.html

YES. Pupils must achieve scores at Band 8 level in NAPLAN 2017or it’s ‘OUT!” for HSC 2020….. as if they were competing in the ABC ‘s ‘Hard Quiz’.  [NAPLAN is  fast  becoming  useless junk and a pedagogical joke. It’s only achievement so far is the creation of anxiety in kids.]

Aussie kids, as bright as any on the planet, have shown their displeasure for these weird tactics by adopting a revolutionary stance. It’s the Aussie Kids’ Eureka Stockade, reacting to nasty control. They react, naturally, to the force-fed nature of preparing for the tests and the stand-over tactics of the Wallopers, by disliking  certain subjects so much that it eventually turns to hate for these subjects and, of course, they express this by doing poorly on the NAPLAN and PISA tests……those things that testucratic wallopers  pretend will reveal useful information. The kids have no other forum to express their feelings. This weird example of standardised blanket testing is certainly bruising their mental health. It  has been a monumental sham for ten years and it is time for it to finish.

While this kind of reaction is not deliberate, the subliminal effects are profound.  Disliking targeted subjects is the kids’ only way to react against the pathological compulsion of testucators to assault children’s mental strength during instruction in those essential school subjects. Potential scholars may be quiet and respectful at test-prep time, but still waters can run very, very deep.  School pupils have no advocates in any political party where the buck is supposed to stop, and they are ‘treehorned’ by the general public. They’re completely on their own. Even though we adults don’t take much notice, we are being told in so many ways…and…despite the message that our schooling system is going down the gurgler accompanying  those PISA results, we prefer not to notice.  Bye, bye, future.
The Aussie Kids’ Eureka Stockade needs more adults, using their votes at the barricades. First, we need to refuse to have the kids do the Year 9 NAPLAN tests; and then make sure that the whole silly testing business is tidied up. Then, at the ballot box, we need to consider the disposition of all candidates in their attitude to and treatment of kids at school.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen    41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point 2486   07 5524  6443     0407865999  cphilcullen@bigpond.com 

For 2017, there is only one recourse for the wallopers, but it is not appropriate to mention it. Even if they make tests easier, the scores might improve but the psychological damage will not go away.

Education Readings April 14th

By Allan Alach

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

Apostrophe vigilantes: who cares?

Think you’re an expert on apostrophes?

‘The Apostrophe Police are everywhere. Not only do they want you to get apostrophes in what they think are the right places, they are also ready to mock you if you get it wrong. The general message is that the rules for apostrophes are very easy, and only a fool could make a mistake.’

http://bit.ly/2ougcNA

Standardized Testing Creates Captive Markets

‘For example, school children as young as 8-years-old are forced to take a battery of standardized tests in public schools. Would educators prescribe such assessments if it were up to them? Would parents demand children be treated this way if they were consulted? Or is this just a corporate scam perpetrated by our government for the sole benefit of a particular industry that funnels a portion of the profits to our lawmakers as political donations?’

http://bit.ly/2oBEzcG

The one question to ask yourself the next time you’re facing a difficult problem

Can you adapt this for your classroom?

‘A lot of us have trouble dealing with conflict. But there’s an effective strategy for solving problems at work and at home. The only downside? It makes you sound a bit like a toddler on a road trip. The secret to resolving conflict, as first outlined by former Toyota executive Taiichi Ohno, is to “ask why five times.” The idea is that by continuously asking “why,” you’ll eventually arrive at a root cause and learn from the problem—the better to avoid repeating unproductive or ignorant behavior.’

http://bit.ly/2o80ncP

To Become a Better Problem-Solver, Try Thinking Like a Toddler

Following on (references previous article):

‘As Science of Us has previously reported, one analysis found that preschoolers ask an average of 76 questions per hour. That’s a lot of why, especially when you consider the fact that most of the time, they don’t even care much about the explanation.

http://sciof.us/2pwcY9V

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

The Age of Uncertainty: Who is Bold?

‘Why School?- What are the conditions for optimal, sticky learning? What are we doing in school that can not be Khanified?- What do students need to learn in school when they can learn so much without us? What are the skills that our students need now to succeed?Where do we start?I used to think I knew the answers to those questions. I am not sure (maybe a bit uncertain) as to what the future holds for our concept of “education.”’

http://bit.ly/2o7D82C

School doubles in size after curriculum change brings learning into 21st century

‘A school has doubled in size since changing its curriculum to a utopia-like educational system. Patea Area School’s role now sits at 154 pupils since a “massive overhaul” trialled last year appealed to a large number of people. School principal Nicola Ngarewa said the school now “focuses on preparing children for the 21st century, beyond the school gates”.’

http://bit.ly/2p8nmrX

Teachers struggle with modern learning environments

‘If there’s a pot of gold at the end of the collaborative teaching rainbow, Dave* thinks it’s a small one. He’s struggled with 50-child classrooms at his Christchurch primary school over the past few years and says he’s not the only one, with at least half his colleagues exhausted by what’s supposed to be the future of education. Endless collaboration between teachers sharing the spaces has distracted them from teaching pupils, who are in turn distracted by each other. Learning outcomes have gone down, not up, but no one wants to discuss the elephant in the room, he says.’

http://bit.ly/2o8iiiD

Brian Cox: Don’t use children as ‘measurement probes’ to test schools

‘Science presenter and particle physicist Professor Brian Cox has called for testing in schools to be minimised – and only used when the positive benefits can be proven.There has been concern that too much focus on maths and English – particularly in Year 6 in the run-up to Sats – can narrow the curriculum, leaving less time for other subjects.’

http://bit.ly/2oZmXbq

Education Kills Our Creativity, Here Is How We Can Regain It

‘Scholars have identified two thinking process: convergent thinking and divergent thinking. Education focuses on convergent thinking — emphasizes on finding definite, absolute answers. But in reality, we actually need divergent thinking more, which is the ability to find more than one way to solve problems, and it is essential to creativity.’

http://bit.ly/2o7CSk9

How Do We Define and Measure “Deeper Learning”?

‘In preparing students for the world outside school, what skills are important to learn. Simply defined, “deeper learning” is the “process of learning for transfer,” meaning it allows a student to take what’s learned in one situation and apply it to another.’

http://bit.ly/2oB6fOV

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The balance between consistency and creativity.

For three days the Gisborne principals visited selected schools in Taranaki. Their task was to look for each schools ‘cc’ rating: consistency and conversely creativity across classrooms. Consistency because this indicates shared language of expectations and creativity, for without celebrating each teacher and child’s creativity, it all can become mediocre.The balance between the two is vital.’

http://bit.ly/2p8Itdt

Learning styles

Developing a personalised educational approach

Developing a ‘personalised learning’ approach, tailoring learning to the needs of each students ( as against the ‘one size fits all’), is not as easy as it sounds. In the real world, outside of school, people make use of whatever ways of learning that do the job. For many such people school learning is of little use to them.’

http://bit.ly/1GgidNa

NO PLAN

PLEASE SHARE WITH PARENTS

A TIMELY MESSAGE FROM TREEHORN & RAY ARMSTRONG, former proud NSW primary school principal.

Parents, Your Kids Don’t Have To Do NAPLAN If They Don’t Want To

With May just around the corner, so too is NAPLAN, The National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy. Australia wide, students in Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 will be assessed over the course of three days to determine if their reading, writing and numeracy skills are up to scratch.

If your own child is in one of these year levels, you may be feeling curious as to how they will measure up or consumed with nerves about whether their test-taking anxiety will raise its ugly head. Like me, maybe you’re still hung up on the relevance of NAPLAN and why it exists in the first place.

We’re told that NAPLAN produces valuable data, essential for initiating improvements in student learning. However the statistics provided are somewhat limited in use, partly due to their four month turnaround. More significantly, the data compiled can’t compete with the rich observations made by an experienced teacher, which evolves over time and in different contexts.

We’re told that NAPLAN is just a little test, a part of life that children need to adapt to. Education critic Alfie Kohn refers to this mindset as the ‘Better Get Used To It’ principle. Sure, the experts in child development may be recommending against young children’s participation in standardised testing but with it lingering in their future, we prioritise getting them ready nonetheless, with little concern for the damage.

Eight-year-old Keli, first-time NAPLAN participant, said: “The teacher told us that we need to practice getting it all done otherwise we won’t be able to in the real test. I sat there and cried and thought about how hard tests are going to be in high school.”

We’re told that NAPLAN doesn’t dominate classroom learning. However, as you read this, classrooms across the country are knee deep in NAPLAN preparation. They may be revising content or they may be taking mock tests. The sad truth is that there’s too much riding on the results not to.

Accountability is a huge driver behind NAPLAN. The data is used to give schools and teachers a gold star or a giant red cross. But it ignores the obvious truth that we can’t make children learn if they’re not ready. Nor should we only value the style of teaching and learning that can be assessed in a written test.

Stephanie, an educator, said: “I don’t know a teacher that doesn’t give the students some practice of this test taking. We should be teaching concepts that make a difference, are relevant and motivate students for lifelong learning.”

Anthony, an ex teacher, adds: “Kids get less of an education because so much time is spent teaching to the test.”

Schools want your child to participate. The government wants your child to participate. But do you? And, even more importantly, does your child?

Here’s where things get interesting. Did you know NAPLAN isn’t compulsory?

Schools want your child to participate. The government wants your child to participate. But do you? And, even more importantly, does your child?

It’s time to make a decision. To support NAPLAN this year or to avoid it? My advice is simple. Ask your child: “Do you want to participate in NAPLAN this year?”

If he or she says “yes”, let them. Reduce the pressure surrounding the results and allow them to experience the process. If she or he says “no”, support them. Ask for a withdrawal form at your school’s front office. This one-page document simply requires you to write your child’s name, school and year level, tick a box for which parts of NAPLAN are being sat out (all) and sign it.

Repeat this conversation each year that NAPLAN rolls around. Your child’s answer may be the same or it may change. With their feelings valued and their decision empowered, the big hairy monster that is NAPLAN need no longer be a thing of nightmares.

NAPLAN, Mental Health and Dopamine.

NAPLAN, Mental Health and Dopamine

The psychological, sociological and now neurological effects of sytemic naplan abuse  can be very serious.

Loss of the natural, basic ‘yen to learn’ has serious consequences.

Much has been made of the abusive nature of NAPLAN testing.   News Ltd’s Guru, Joel Klein made the most of what he saw as testing’s most effective modus operandi – fear and threats – [love of subject and pupil care :OUT!] …..as did the Australian, Ms. Gillard,  whom he met at a Rockefeller booze-up near Wall st., New York in 2008, where, there and then,  she decided that the Australian education system should be based on kleinism. He openly championed FEAR in the Learning process. ….as did Ms. Gillard, her mentor Mr. Rudd,  and its later disciples Messrs Pyne and Birmingham….splendid examples of child-caring citizens. May the outcomes of government-sponsored child abuse and the destruction of the ‘yen to learn’  be on their hands.

Fear of failing and losing your job are now seen as motivators of great importance in the hunt for better scores for school children when they contest  standardised blanket tests that are  part of a scato-meme called GERM [Geopolitical Emetic Retard Meme].  Australia adopted it, without any kind of  examination and at enormous cost, and installed one of the most successful child-scare systems the world has ever seen.  Called NAPLAN, it has since failed because a neurological catastrophe was inbuilt into its nerve-system, and, for suspicious reasons, it  is being maintained.  While the financial costs are extremely burdensome, the costs to  mental health are much, much larger than any educator or testucator had ever anticipated.

Observers of the tragedy are now concerned about the dopamine effects on growing children. Neurologists, sociologists and serious educators tell us that dopamine, an organic chemical,  is a neurotransmitter that sends brain signals from one set of nerve cells to another.  This is very serious stuff. These messages can be quite dysfunctional during  anxious moments  [NAPLAN?] or periods of worry [NAPLAN test-prep?].  Outside the central nervous system, it assists in transporting some bodily operations to another.  Vomiting, sleeplessness, crying, anti-social behaviour, anti-subject and anti-school feelings and other degenerative conditions are outcomes of a lack of support and encouragement at crucial times.  The supply and maintenance of dopamine is central to positive learning; and fear-based, anxiety-promoted learning cuts off the supply. Encouragement  plays an important role in brain and body connectiveness.

Parkinsons Disease is ‘a degenerative condition …caused by a loss of dopamine-secreting neurons in the area of the mid-brain.’ … … ‘Restless legs and ADHD  – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are associated with decreased dopamine activity.‘ [Google : Dopamine] and there has been a startling increase in diagnosed ADHD in Australia since the introduction of NAPLAN

Suicide in GERM countries, including Australia, as an outcome of the lack of dopamine maintenance in our young learners, is amongst us

While social workers concerned by the present fixation on the use of digitised hand-held devices,  have raised serious ‘alert’ signals on the lack of dopamine in the public arena, Australian ‘educators’ have completely ignored discussion on the nasty things that NAPLAN ,the biggest monster of all, does to children…..and  we all seem to remain indifferent….cowed by political dictators and their henchmen!

Through their attitude and reactions to the NAPLAN tests, called ‘failure’, school children are pleading with Australian adults to treat them with humanity and help them to learn better and learn more.  Why do we treat them as we do?

With the shenanagans of on-line or paper tests and the movement to ‘opt-out’, we can be pretty sure that ‘adjustments’ will be made for the 2017 tests.

WON’T SOMEONE TRY TO GET RID OF IT!!!!????   WHAT MORE EVIDENCE DO YOU WANT, Mr or Ms Politician? WHERE ARE OUR ELITE SCHOOL PRACTITIONERS?

Sadly…..with Australia’s  inbuilt casual indifference to child welfare, aided and abetted by the silence of the press and the open support of so-called educators’ organisations, you can still lay ‘London to a brick’, that nothing will be done before May 9 .

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443   0407865999  cphilcullen@bigpond.com

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