Some Useful Readings

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn, the hero of Florence Patty Heidi’s The Shrinking of Treehorn is still asking , “Isn’t there anybody out there with enough clout to change things around?  No politician who has the gumption to ask in the party rooms, ‘Why do our children suffer this messy testing business?’   What’s wrong with our parents, teachers, principals ? Must they continue to ignore me as they did when I was shrinking? Don’t they understand children? What’s wrong with you all?”

Maybe, Treehorn, they don’t read enough.


Some Useful Readings

Give yourself an hour or two. Just sit down with a notebook and pen and read the four articles below very carefully, huh? They have special messages. Take your time. Think about the issues.

1.     “Why did I leave my child at a test-focussed school as long as I did?” Jolisa Gracewood seems to ask. She was a very involved, very school-committed parent who worried about the influence of a testing culture on her child’s attitude to learning.  This story is for those parents who let such worries last too long.

2.      Are you sick of hearing about Finland being the end-all of purposeful schooling? Yes? I reckon, too,  that Australia can do better, following similar beliefs of course,  better done. We also have the personnel. Check out these beliefs however before you start writing to your local member. Finland is so very, very learning oriented. Here are two on-the-spot reports of what they do, written by some  experienced folk.

This first one is lengthy – 5 pages. Hang in there. The detail is important.

The second one, from Samuel E Abrams wraps things up succinctly – 2 pages.  Read both and plan a schooling system for Australia that works better. I’ll wager that your first suggestion will be to dispense with Naplan. Finns would.

3.    CURRICULUM Leadership in schools is essential. In most countries, especially Australia, existing quality leadership can be diverted from the ‘curriculum’ component in the face of other imposed demands. Sage Kelvin Smythe, former Chief Inspector of Schools for New Zealand, writes of its importance; and compares it with managerial leadership fostered by our super-clueless administrative theorists a couple of decades ago; and we have been saddled with it’s ridiculousness ever since. Plumbers have been running the garage and square pegs fitted into round holes in too many instances.

“In a way, curriculum-driven leadership is everything that managerial leadership isn’t :- home-grown, holistic, broad-based, curriculum derived and concentrated, teacher informed, practical,  aim and essence based, being-there evaluation, democratic, interrogative, and an art.” says Kelvin.

Enjoy the reading and the note taking.

Thanks to Allan Alach & Kelvin Smythe for sharing.


Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2870

07 5524 6443

Please tell everyone about what you have just read. Don’t forget your local member. There could be a party meeting soon.


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