How do Learners Learn at School?

  The Treehorn Express                           

Treehorn? http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=1924

Theme song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australian.   Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which  uses the blanket testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN to destroy the reputation of  public schooling.      This weapon was introduced to schools in Australia in 2009. It disrespects children, devalues teachers’ professionalism and threatens the developmental future of Australia.     Ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, politically driven, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, unprofessional, interruptive and very divisive. It is clearly aimed in a malicious manner  at public schooling and its teachers.  It also strives for mandated, standardised mediocre achievements in only a very few aspects of a full school curriculum in all schools.  It will survive until enough good people say, “Stop it.”

Click on the Naplan site for more details : http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html

“”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””How

How Do Learners Learn At School?

I asked a parent this question. He thought about it quite seriously and then remarked. “The teacher teaches them something, maybe from the black-board.  She then questions them and might set a test or the kids write something down.”

Well, we all know that there is much more to the learning process than that. They were mentioned earlier in The Treehorn Express [10 August, 2011],  The list is worthy of careful thought and consideration. Teachers can  think of an instance for each activity and try to figure how many can be used in one learning activity. The more the merrier, perhaps???

brainstorming     grouping      rationalising

choosing     inferring     reflecting

classifying     inventing     recalling

comparing     investigating     repeating

constructing     listening     representing

contrasting     manipulating     seriating

copying     matching     smelling

counting     mimicking     taking roles

creating     ordering     talking

deducing     planning     tasting

evaluating     practising     testing

experimenting     predicting     touching

exploring     pretending     verifying

generalising     questioning     watching

Learning to learn is an involved business, right?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________-

     Re-form  Compulsory  Schooling.

Start at the classroom.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________-

Re-form   – NOT reform [meaning ‘change’].

RE-FORM.  Start the system again.

Design it from the bottom up – with the knowledge of how children learn in school-room settings. What goes on in each classroom is the only thing that matters. For goodness sake, all you politicians….set things up so that expert classroom operators can consider their task and work on how to do better than we are presently doing. Arrange things to improve what goes on with learning in a classroom. Don’t make decisions on what you think goes on.

Compulsory – The starting age for compulsory attendance needs to be determined by examining the accumulated knowledge of the learning habits of children in the first decade of their life; and how they develop their idiosyncratic learning styles.  Special effort is required for setting the age to start undertaking institutionalised, regular, organised learning habits.  Should there be a completion age?

Schooling – The word ‘education’ is a nondescript word that says nothing important. A child’s education happens all the time during waking hours. A child’s schooling is special, when attendance is compulsory.

Classroom – The place where we force children to spend time so they can learn things and develop their unique styles of learning. To have each classroom work efficiently and effectively is why society appoints Ministers of Education and Secretaries.  The effect of their decisions on what happens in school classrooms during the years of compulsion is their main job… probably meant to be their only job.  To have classrooms work well is why Principals, Senior Education officials and advisers have a job, also.  Their curriculum leadership [guiding learners through certain learnings] is their main role, their only role is they can manage it. This professional group needs to know as much about each classroom within their care as possible and to be in them as often as possible. They need to have had hard-yard experience, to read widely and know more than most about schooling.

The home rooms themselves need to be of a size and shape, and contain sufficient learning material that allows for the full range of teaching strategies. Can you describe an ideal classroom for various age groups and various school activities?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Like to check the recent ‘Treehorns’ ?    Click on Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

IT’S TEACHERS’ DAY

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn? http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=1924 
The Treehorn Express Theme song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australian.   Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which  uses the blanket testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN to destroy the reputation of  public schooling.      This weapon was introduced to schools in Australia in 2009. It disrespects children, devalues teachers’ professionalism and threatens the developmental future of Australia.     Ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, politically driven, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, unprofessional, interruptive and very divisive. It is clearly aimed in a malicious manner  at public schooling and its teachers.  It also strives for mandated, standardised mediocre achievements in only a very few aspects of a full school curriculum in all schools.  It will survive until enough good people say, “Stop it.”

Click on the Naplan site for more details : http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””WHA

It’s Teachers Day

We celebrate Teachers Day down under, today.  Although World Teachers Day was held on October 5, national celebrations are held on different occasions.  UNESCO instituted the notion forty years ago. Australia and New Zealand chose the last Friday of October. If one searches today’s press for big-time recognition of the work of teachers and their tolerance for stress, one might be disappointed. A ‘google’ of teachers’ poems and other  indications of teachers’ worth, however, can be fun, however. It’s a good day for doing this.

My favourite recognition of Teachers Day remains a letter to the Brisbane Courier Mail on Teachers Day 2008, written by Catriona James-McGovern of Bundaberg.

TEACHER SPEAKING

I am a primary teacher. As well as teaching English, which includes reading, writing, spelling, punctuation, phonics, gramma, handwriting, speaking and listening, I teach maths, SOSE [social studies], science, art, health and technology.

I teach children to sing, dance and act so they can be part of a school musical. I teach children about healthy eating and the need for exercise.

I teach children to communicate and get along with others, to value others’ opinions, to treat other as they would like to be treated, to use manners, to respect the property of others and to be fair. I teach children to cross the road safely, to ride their bikes safely, to walk safely on the cement. I teach them to wash their hands, to blow their noses, to wear hats in the sun and to sit on their chairs safely.

I teach children to want to come to school, to want to learn and develop a love for learning. The children I teach know that I will do my best for each one of them, that I like them, that I value their opinions, that I want each of them to succeed and that I am proud of their achievements.

Who am I? Just an ordinary teacher. There are thousands of other teachers just like me out there. Thousands of them pick up the newspapers or turn to television daily to be told what a bad job they are doing.

I love my job. I love the children; I love the buzz I get when they make me proud and I love the noise of 52 of them beating down my classroom door at 8.15am every day.

That’s what will get me through the turbulent times ahead. I hope that all of those teachers just like me get through them, too. Have a great Teacher’s Day today.

o0o0o0o0o

I know that I’m not supposed to, but I feel a little teary every time I read this wonderful comment.  I do check it out every now and then on http://primaryschooling.net?/page_id=616  It breathes such  hope for a better immediate future.  I  trust that the writer and all of her colleagues are surviving these ‘turbulent times’ and that they enjoy today.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Re-form  Compulsory  Schooling.

Start at the classroom.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Like to check the recent ‘Treehorns’ ?    Click Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

What is a good school?

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn? http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=1924

Theme song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australian.   Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which  uses the blanket testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN to destroy the reputation of  public schooling.      This weapon was introduced to schools in Australia in 2009. It disrespects children, devalues teachers’ professionalism and threatens the developmental future of Australia.     Ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, politically driven, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, unprofessional, interruptive and very divisive. It is clearly aimed in a malicious manner  at public schooling and its teachers.  It also strives for mandated, standardised mediocre achievements in only a very few aspects of a full school curriculum in all schools.  It will survive until enough good people say, “Stop it.”

Click on the Naplan site for more details : http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””WHA

What is a good school?

http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=483

Two very tall giants of effective schooling in recent times have been John Goodlad [Listed amongst the ‘Fifty Modern Teachers in Education’] of the Washington Univcersity. and Sir Alec Clegg [former CEO of the West Riding of Yorkshire]. Author of over 30 books, his most recent is In Praise of Education. His most famous is an award winner: A Place Called School. There is more detail  and one other view, if you click the site indicated just above.

John Goodlad, in “The School I’d Like To See” says…

*teach the processes of thinking ….”learning to think would be the prime focus of the entire school”.”

*arranged in phases, not grades or year levels

*multi-aged…to give each child to be amongst the oldest and youngest in a group

*phases would be guided by teams led by experienced, qualified teachers

*literacy of learning would transcend any other form of literacy

*different adult models available

*great deal of self-selection of activities

*no marks, scores or grades; no stylised report cards; no external rewards

The school would be concerned with the processes of personal realisation and fulfilment of individual identity, of individuals able to participate in all the richness that could lie ahead.

o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

Sir Alec Clegg discusses “Some School Matters” and present his views of a good school.

*a place of orderliness,involvement and courtesy

*minimal anger; constant sharing and mutual help

*surroundings that add interest and stimulus

*where work is a joy; full opportunities for conversation

*and emphasis on play, with physical skill available to all, but not ruined by excessive competition

The school will be a haven from fear, where honesty prevails; a place to be shared where thought, reason and logic will be pursued in the desire to discover; this desire to be shared by teachers who have a similar liveliness of curiosity. Standards of excellence will be pursued by all.

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Where are some examples of good schools?  There are so many of them, despite  political efforts to standardise them and curb their search for excellence. More are refusing to pursue the imposed fear-driven tactics; and their search for excellence is unimpeded.  Many better ones have had to adjust for national blanket testing and their search is curbed. This is the great shame of the 21st century.

 http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=231

Re-form  Compulsory  Schooling.

Start at the classroom.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________-

Re-form   – NOT reform [meaning ‘change’].

RE-FORM. Start the system again. Design it from the knowledge of how children learn in school-room settings. What goes on in each classroom is the only thing that matters. For goodness sake, all you politicians….set things up so that expert classroom operators can consider their task and work on how to do better than we are presently doing. Don’t make decisions on what you think goes on.

Compulsory – The starting age for compulsory attendance needs to be determined by examining the accumulated knowledge of the learning habits of children and how they develop their idiosyncratic learning styles.  Special effort is required for setting the age to start undertaking institutionalised, regular, organised learning habits.  Should there be a completion age?

Schooling – The word ‘education’ is a nondescript word that says nothing important. A child’s education happens all the time during waking hours. A child’s schooling is special, especially when it is forced on you..

Classroom – The place where we force children to spend time so they can learn things and develop their unique styles of learning. To have each classroom work efficiently and effectively is why society appoints Ministers of Education and Secretaries.  The effect of their decisions on what happens in school classrooms is surely their main job. To have classrooms work well is why Principals, Senior Education officials and advisers have a job, also.  Their curriculum [guiding learners through certain learnings] leadership is their main role. This last group needs to know as much about each classroom within their care as possible and to be in them as often as possible. They need to read widely and know more than most about schooling.

The home rooms themselves need to be of a size and shape, and contain sufficient learning material that allows for the full range of teaching strategies. Can you describe an ideal classroom for various age groups and various school activities?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Like to check the recent ‘Treehorns’ ?   Click Recent Posts and Archives links in the sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

Re-form compulsory schooling.

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn? http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=1924

Theme song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australian.   Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which  uses the blanket testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN to destroy the reputation of  public schooling.      This weapon was introduced to schools in Australia in 2009. It disrespects children, devalues teachers’ professionalism and threatens the developmental future of Australia.     Ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, politically driven, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, unprofessional, interruptive and very divisive. It is clearly aimed in a malicious manner  at public schooling and its teachers.  It also strives for mandated, standardised mediocre achievements in only a very few aspects of a full school curriculum in all schools.  It will survive until enough good people say, “Stop it.”

Click on the Naplan site for more details : http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Re-form  Compulsory  Schooling.

Start at the classroom.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________-

Re-form   – NOT reform [meaning ‘change’].

RE-FORM. Start the system again. Design it from the knowledge of how children learn in school-room settings. What goes on in each classroom is the only thing that matters. For goodness sake, all you politicians….set things up so that expert classroom operators can consider their task and work on how to do better than we are presently doing. Don’t make decisions on what you think goes on.

Compulsory – The starting age for compulsory attendance needs to be determined by examining the accumulated knowledge of the learning habits of children and how they develop their idiosyncratic learning styles.  Special effort is required for setting the age to start undertaking institutionalised, regular, organised learning habits.  Should there be a completion age?

Schooling – The word ‘education’ is a nondescript word that says nothing important. A child’s education happens all the time during waking hours. A child’s schooling is special, especially when it is forced on you..

Classroom – The place where we force children to spend time so they can learn things and develop their unique styles of learning. To have each classroom work efficiently and effectively is why society appoints Ministers of Education and Secretaries.  The effect of their decisions on what happens in school classrooms is surely their main job. To have classrooms work well is why Principals, Senior Education officials and advisers have a job, also.  Their curriculum [guiding learners through certain learnings] leadership is their main role. This last group needs to know as much about each classroom within their care as possible and to be in them as often as possible. They need to read widely and know more than most about schooling.

The home rooms themselves need to be of a size and shape, and contain sufficient learning material that allows for the full range of teaching strategies. Can you describe an ideal classroom for various age groups and various school activities?

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

The previous Treehorn Express [17 October 2011] indicated that teachers know more than most about a schooling system that works . Pollies, take note. Dismiss the above generalities at your country’s peril. Use teachers’ advice and decision-making abilities to provide quality schooling.

Let’s put on our thinking caps by asking each other some salient questions.

1. What is schooling ?

2. What is a school?

3.What do teachers do in their classrooms?

4. What do pupils do while at school?

It’s thinking time. Let’s deal with these issues, one at a time.

Lee Crockett and Ian Jukes call this a poem. Google them. It’s worth it. Others have said that it is just a list of slogans. What do you think ?

     What is a teacher?

What is a teacher?

A guide, not a guard.

What is learning?

A journey, not a destination.

What is discovery?

Questioning the answer not answering the question.

What is process?

Discovering ideas, not covering content.

What is the goal?

Open minds, not closed issues.

What is the test?

Being and learning, not reviewing and remembering.

What is learning?

Not doing things differently, but doing different things.

What is teaching?

Not showing pupils what to learn, but showing them HOW to learn.

What is a school?

Whatever we chose to make it.

Next question: What is a GOOD school ? See the next Treehorn Express.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

You will recall the regret expressed by Ontario tertiary teachers about the effects of the 1997 testing and its rigid curriculum regimes; and how they are now paying, big time, for the folly. Allan Alach comments : “The tragedy is that this was predictable and disregarded, as are current concerns and evidence. Ideology and money are too strong for reason. Shades of the way Galileo was treated.”

________________________________________________________________________________

Still interested in Finland? Read : http://www.pasisahlberg.com/blog/  and http://www.com/article/politics/82329/education-reform-Finland-US?page=0%2C1 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________    Like to check the recent ‘Treehorns’ ?

Click Recent Posts and Archives in the sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

Looking Back from 22

 The Treehorn Express

Treehorn? http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=1924

Theme song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australian.   Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which  uses the blanket testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN to destroy the reputation of  public schooling.      This weapon was introduced to schools in Australia in 2009. It disrespects children, devalues teachers’ professionalism and threatens the developmental future of Australia.     Ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, politically driven, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, unprofessional, interruptive and very divisive. It is clearly aimed in a malicious manner  at public schooling and its teachers.  It also strives for mandated, standardised mediocre achievements in only a few aspects of a full school curriculum..  It will survive until enough good people say, “Stop it.”

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Looking Back from 22

When behavioural scientists at the end of the 21 Century examine the social milieu of its beginning, they will conclude that greed and bullying were dominant eIements of human existence back then. If leaders of powerful countries did not like smaller countries in late C20 and early C21, for instance, they invaded them. The general populace thought that, during the conflicts.  soldiers only shot at soldiers and no one else was hurt or that anyone suffered emotionally. Even though traditional warfare went out of fashion from 11 September 2001, they still believed in preparing the young for shooting at those they were taught to hate. There was plenty of hate around. The kind of preparation required for disciplined troops was in line with the kind of preparation required for industry and work life in mega corporations, so the warlords and top money-lords guided social system towards keeping the offence-force and the work-force to basic standards of learnings. They set standards, the limits of which did not involve any developmental learning challenge…just practice, practice, practice. They had no fair-dinkum name for it, so cunningly called it ‘Reform’.  Bankers and corporations approved of it; the population fell for it.

By 2020, countries who followed fear-driven schooling pursuits started to feel the effects. They were eviscerated in financial, cultural and social terms. They had left it too late to think. They caught up slowly after they had learned to listen to the operators of classrooms.

Parents of school children in the 2090s wondered why the beginning of the 21st Century started off as if compulsory schooling was controlled by robots who believed only in greed, competition, testing and controlling children by keeping them frightened. Of those countries that thought seriously about the nature of schooling, one stood out.  Finland. Other, kleinist [fear-driven] countries, tired of hearing of Finland’s cerebral successes, tried even harder to force their schools to toughen up with their treatment of their own children so that they could get better scores on formal paper-and-pencil standardised tests.  Countries did that sort of thing in those days. Australia was one.

It wasn’t only that such countries lacked an intelligent view of compulsory schooling. It was also simple-mindlessness and dumbed-down obedience to totalitarian corporate control. Simple-minded politicians legislated for immoral changes to schooling and left the work-force, subjugated by unctuous measurement-focussed  heavies, to do the best they could under threat. Children were disconnected from their brain power, and, apart from their ability to pass some meretricious  literacy and numeracy tests, their overall  academic abilities were left to stagnate, even within the subjects that dealt with basic literacy and numeracy. Politicians and bureaucrats fiddled with various cosmetic structural alterations [starting school age, names of classes, renaming groups of classes and many undiscussed pet ideas];  then set limits to literacy and numeracy achievements, and patted themselves on the back.

By the end of the century parents came to appreciate the intense complexity of organising learning for children of compulsory school age within each classroom, which everyone had missed early in the century.  People gradually learned that classroom teachers knew best and there was no room in any program of national school improvement for control by speculative measurers, hard-nosed opinionators, or fixed-minded, other-system copy-cats.

Back to 2012 : A wish :- During this year, just prior to a federal election, some astute politicians put party politics to one side and persuaded their colleagues that Australia’s classroom teachers could easily come up with a design for a schooling system that would put it amongst the world’s best by any measure. The one that sciolists put in place in 2009 was a disaster. It was finally realised that the chalk-face operators needed to be asked for their opinion and turned loose to implement a thorough learning-based system. Who else? Finland provided a useful model, but it wasn’t the only one; and an indigenous one that used the best of others [rather than a holus-bolus city-fied copy] was possible.

Finland maintained its prominence as a model for some decades. Other countries had trouble understanding what it had done, as simple as it was. According to Canadian Joe Bower, Finland had decided to develop a nationwide love of learning. See http://joebower.org/2011/10/paradoxes-of-finland-phenomenon.html  It had no natural resources except trees. Its competitive richer neighbour, Norway, had oil; so Finland decided to connect with its children’s brainpower, its greatest potential for social, cultural and financial greatness.  Bower suggests that the Finns worked with laser-light focus on nurturing their most precious resource. It worked. Clearly.  How did they do it?

1. They developed a high academic standard for entry to the teaching profession. A Masters degree is required.

2. They increased teachers pay and their reputation.

3. There is a concise national curriculum, used only as a guide by the professional classroom teachers.

4. They set a limit of class size at 24 but, according to Diane R., almost all classes are under 20.

5. Assessment of pupil progress is local. Pupil-teacher shared-evaluation is widely undertaken. National blanket testing is not endorsed.

6. There is a well-developed general policy to ensure equity and opportunity.

“Finland’s successful pursuit of policies driven by diversity, trust, respect, professionalism, equity, responsibility and collaboration refutes every one of the reforms [like NAPLAN] that focus on choice, competition, accountability and testing  being expanded around the world.” concludes Joe Bower. I claim the parenthesis comment.

As the years went along parents kept asking politicians why Australia hadn’t checked out Finland as a source of ideas, instead of mindlessly copying the narrow-minded, red-necked New York School District. A 2090 management theorist and any classroom teacher would tell them what they could have done in Australia and other smaller countries during the post-2012 years to preserve and increase self-respect, worth and international reputation. Until then, like USA, New Zealand, UK and a few other monied places, purulent blanket testing spoiled the will for children to learn.

Imagine, if one of the countries decided that schooling needed to be improved for the sake of the clients… the 7 to 19 year-olds…and that pupils needed help to learn as much as they could ; to the highest possible standard; to enjoy doing it at a school; to share it all with friends and colleagues; to become so interested in learning per se so much that it would become part of each individual’s make-up for the rests of their life. Supposing that they learned, at school, that sharing with your school colleagues, friends and neighbours the social graces to be pleasant to each other at all times*….to rid the world of hate and inhumanity and unkindness; not encourage these traits by high-stakes testing and competition. Compassion and understanding and cooperation would replace schoolyard bullying and destructive interpersonal and international relations. Imagine such a world!  One might ask: ‘How much school time is spent on teaching social intercourse…compared with the measureable subjects? ‘ It’s a matter of school time-tabling according to prevailing beliefs, isn’t it? The early 21C had some really screwball beliefs, didn’t it?

Arranging for dialogue isn’t difficult.  Look for two groups of good Australia’s classroom teachers, about twenty in each :-  one, Primary; one Secondary, because that’s the way the establishment runs schooling in most countries.  Arrange for them to meet in one place, near but separate, for as long as each group desires. Appoint clerical assistance. Just tell them that you [Parliament] would like them to come up with suggestions as to how Australian schooling should be arranged. Allow each to select a leader, but do not allow any boffin or beaurocrat anywhere near either group. Give them access to as much information [e.g. parent groups, comparative international information, rural groups, curriculum advisers] as they desire. Then ask some child-oriented school principals to check out their suggestions and comment. Then…everybody…talk about it. [Please don’t allow the 2009 style of decision-making – discussed only at a bankers’ dinner and the Press Club – before introduction.]

It would be a wonderful start. Australia would become a truly wonderful country. Amen.

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* Dottrens, Robert: The Primary School Curriculum – the kind of education the world needs. 1962. Translated into 3 languages. Neighbourhood and International brotherhood are featured.

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Like to check the recent ‘Treehorns’ ?    See Recent Posts and Archives links on sidebar  {Thanks to Allan Alach]

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

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School for learners.

The Treehorn Express

 Treehorn? http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=1924

Theme songhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australian.   Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which  uses the blanket testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN to destroy the reputation of  public schooling.      This weapon was introduced to schools in Australia in 2009. It disrespects children, devalues teachers’ professionalism and threatens the developmental future of Australia.     Ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, politically driven, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, unprofessional, interruptive and very divisive. It is clearly aimed in a malicious manner  at public schooling and its teachers.  It also strives for mandated, standardised mediocre achievements in only a very few aspects of a full school curriculum in all schools.  It will survive until enough good people say, “Stop it.”

Click on the Naplan site for more details : http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Back to School:

Teachers in most Australian states have returned to school for the final part of the school year, many to prepare their candidates for an examination to test [?] if the last 12 years have been adequate enough for the requirements of tertiary studies. Best of British to all.

For those educators who have spent the mid-semester break at a Conference, one can be certain that they did not spend as productive an hour as they would have on http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4409

“”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

A Story

When I was Queensland Director of primary Education, I once received a phone call, relayed from the Minister’s office, from a gentleman in another state, who was shifting to Queensland. He wanted to know the name of our best school, to which he could send his two children. I asked him where he was going to live. He replied, “Wherever you tell me the best school is.” With a little explanation, I  gave him the name of a school.

If someone asked you the same question today, what would be your response?

I know that if I had a young family and was moving to Victoria, I would try to find a home as close as possible to SSSPS. [See below] It cares about kids and has a healthy learning attitude. For the same reason, if I was moving to the North Island of New Zealand, I’d head straight for Palmerston North and  Hokowhitu School. I’d like my children to have  good schooling while it lasts. No restrictive pro-NAPLAN school.

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A School for Pro-Naplaners

Kennedy High School in La Palma, California requires students to carry ID cards in one of three colours based on their performance on state standardised tests. The cards are coloured black, gold and white. Black is the highest level. Holders of black cards receive  more privileges than the gold; and the white cards receive no privileges at all.

Whites must stand in a separate cafeteria lunch line and receive no benefits at athletic home events, school dances or local businesses. In parts of the school, there are separate entrances. There are about 1400 white card holders.

Black card holders receive free admission to all home events and games and full discount at school dances and in local business.  Gold receive free admission to certain home games and limited discounts. There are about 1000 black and gold card holders.

While the school says that it recognises the achievements of those who do better on the blanket tests, the white card holders don’t feel too excited. Samantha Lee, 15, a white card holder says that the black and gold card holders act as it they are on top of the world. “It just makes the rest of us feel worse inside.”  Peggy Lindeman, mother of a son with a learning disability, says that the notion really shuts such children down. “They’re like,’Why try? You’re already labelled.” Senior student, Danielle Field, 17 says, “It makes you feel dumb, being put down by your own school.” Parent Carol Lopp added, “You are bullying them; you are degrading white-card holders and making them feel inadequate. They used to use a dunce cap.”

That’s where Australia is heading, Treehorn.   External state-controlled blanket testing breeds these sorts of attitude. Avoid such a school, whatever you do

“”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

A School for Learners

I was surfing the website that lists the submissions to the Senate Inquiry in the Administration and Reporting of NAPLAN, 2010. It is a really interesting site for those who wish to compare the views of associations,organisations, schools and people who hold certain views of the implications of the effects of national blanket testing. Click : http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committrr/eet_ctte/naplan/submissions.html  or google ‘Senate Inquiry Naplan’; and follow the prompts. It’s worth it. The site lists all submissions by number [Mine is No.20].

I paused and checked put No. 232 [from Spensley Street State Primary School] because I had heard of the school’s splendid reputation.  Amongst other things, its School Staff and School Council had this to say in their submission….

We have several concerns about the My School website. We believe that the data will be used to rank schools, and that unfair and damaging comparisons will be made. The ICSEA {Index of Community-Education Advantage} ignores some important factors which influence NAPLAN test results, e.g. differences in the ethnic composition of student populations, proportion of students with disabilities, difference in school size, and major funding differences.

We also dispute the validity and reliability of the NAPLAN test results, and we do not believe that one simple test can provide an adequate measurement of student growth and achievement. Publication of NAPLAN data has resulted in a ‘high stakes’ approach to the test, meaning that this one assessment has taken on a significance it does not deserve. Our concerns about the NAPLAN are as follows.:

Evidence shows that NAPLAN has already narrowed the curriculum. Resources are focused on those subjects which are tested – English and Maths. Schools are spending valuable resources on test-preparation material, at the expense of extra teaching support and other subject areas.

Schools are under pressure to spend class time preparing for the tests taking time away from valuable learning.The learning becomes based on what will be tested, rather than what is worth learning. In many cases, schools are ‘teaching to the test’. Such preparation also makes comparisons of the data unfair.

The tests are limited; they only test what can be quantified. The focus is on ‘mechanics’ rather than higher-order thinking skills. They are also poor quality assessments because they are out of context with what is being taught at a particular time.Test results are of limited usefulness for teachers because the results are not available for months.  The data is not reliable. A single test done on a single day will result in significant errors in data.

Test results have the potential to incorrectly label students. The can have a negative impact on students with learning difficulties or poor self-esteem. The one-size-fits-all approach does  not take into account the different learning rates and styles of individual children. And because the results are standardised, success for some is based on failure for others.

The current system of publishing NAPLAN results is demoralising for teachers and for schools. Teachers experience high levels of stress, and many are now resisting taking responsibility for Year 3 and 5 classes. Creativity and new ideas are not encouraged. Teachers are becoming de-skilled at assessing student progress. Schools are failing to provide sufficiently broad and reliable information abut individual children.

Parents are confused by the data and teachers are forced to defend their own judgements about student progress as NAPLAN marking scheme is inconsistent with VELS. The current approach will deepen the inequalities in our education system. It is extremely damaging for schools that do not do well, which are often in poorer areas.This will results in greater isolation for struggling students in marginalized schools. It is likely that there will be a  drift of higher-achieving schools from public to private schools.

The way that NAPLAN results are currently used to make comparisons between schools is clearly having a damaging effect on our education system. It undermines the real purpose and achievement of schools, and it is demoralizing for teachers. And we know that teaching, not testing, that makes a difference to student learning.”

It was noted that the parents of the Spensley Primary School refused to have their children contest the NAPLAN tests. It appears that the parents and teachers genuinely appreciate learning, like school children; and want to protect them from nasties.

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As Principal, Anne Nelson, says, “We are very proud of our school and we make every attempt to place the student at the centre of everything we do. We have resisted NAPLAN since we first had the state-wide standardised tests in Victoria [LAP,LIP,AIM etc] in 1995 [or thereabouts]. We inform our school community every year about our own assessment practices and how they inform our teaching and learning program, and about the national tests. Our parents are highly engaged with their children’s schooling and they are extremely supportive of the school’s view.”

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Spensley Street’s website is well worth a visit http://ssps.vic.edu.au/basics.html It’s a gem. It’s view of a successful learner is far, far more than the restrictive NAPLAN testing encourages. In a multi-age teaching atmosphere, spanning three of four year levels, it says:

“Our view of a successful learner is one who:

*is thoughtful, curious, reflective, critical, a problem solver, makes references, provides reasons

*is industrious, stays on task, is motivated, has perseverence, is a good worker

*is generative, creative, original, imaginative, fluent, has lots of ideas

*is empathetic, aware of and concerned about the feelings of others, gets along with others

*is a risk-taker, takes informed calculated risks, willing to try something new.

*is strategic, organised, tidy, resourceful, able to set goals

*has knowledge and is able to demonstrate expertise, understandings and skills and to use this confidently for appropriate purposes

*has a strong sense of self and is able to show feelings of self worth, self confidence and self respect.

We believe that multi-aging is the most effective classroom organisational structure for teachers to meet the individual needs of students.

A multi-age class has children from different ages intentionally grouped for learning. At Spensley Street a multi-age group of students.”

It looks like a lot of pupilling and community sharing takes place at Spensely Street.  There’s too much productive learning, for interfering Naplan tests to be tolerated, right?

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Like to check the recent ‘Treehorns’?  Click on Recent Posts or Archives in the side bar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Extra – curricular Reading {Allan A.}

http://slekar.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-to-privatize-public-education-in-12_07.html  A succinct list of ideas and suggestions for Australian politicians. test publishers, corporate giants and Naplanners to follow to devalue public education.

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/classrooms_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2011/10/response_standardized_test_critiques_potential_alternatives.html  Splendid reading that invites participation. Ask a question. The site is concerned that “…the high-stakes testing cannot shake off the collateral damage that is too great for any benefits it may bring.”

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2011/10/what_can_we_learn_from_finland.html?cmp=ENL-EU-VIEWS2  Diane Ravitch writes to Deborah.

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On the Road to Nowhere

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn? http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=1924    Theme song: “Care for Kids”

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australian.   Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which  uses the blanket testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN to destroy the reputation of  public schooling.      This weapon was introduced to schools in Australia in 2009. It disrespects children, devalues teachers’ professionalism and threatens the developmental future of Australia.     Ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, politically driven, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, unprofessional, interruptive and very divisive. It is clearly aimed in a malicious manner  at public schooling and its teachers.  It also strives for mandated, standardised mediocre achievements in only a very few aspects of a full school curriculum in all schools.  It will survive until enough good people say, “Stop it.”

Click on the Naplan site for more details : http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html

“””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

‘Looking Ahead’ –  We are ‘On a Road to Nowhere’

These are the titles of two of a number of articles forwarded by Allan Alach, NZ Principal.

In Looking Ahead http://edge.ascd.org/_Churchill-38-Burke/blog/5233779/127586.html  Walter McKenzie displays a photo of and a quote by Winston Churchil: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something in your life.”  and then says ‘Standing up for education is different. It’s not about reacting to an immediate crisis…it’s about advocating for the future. It doesn’t carry that immediate call to action to fend off an immediate attack. Nonetheless, it requiries those of us invested in the cause, to speak up for what we know to be good and true and right about public educator’s role in the future of our civilization. Yet most of us in education today have our heads down and are trying to quietly get along during difficult times. As one colleague remarked,”Educators know what is at stake. But they are too scared to do anything about it.

Fear is an understandably human emotion…one that can powerfully impact our motivations and actions. Will you speak up for what is right and good for public education, even as your leaders and colleagues continue to plod along with business-as-usual? Or will you settle for the status quo and allow the future of public education to be co-opted by political and commercial interests who do not have your insight and investment in the value of a free education for all? Speaking out is a moral imperative…we need your voice… now.”

{“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” –Edmund Burke 1729-97}

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In http://www.pasisahlberg.com/blog/?p=23 Finn Pasi Sahberg compares the UK and Finland’s attitudes to school. “Many countries are obsessed by test rankings.  These league tables let policy makers benchmark their school system not only across countries but also within them. Administrators and principals in the UK, for instance, can access the strengths of their schools by comparing England to Wales, or Scotland to Northern Ireland. As the stakes – both political and economic – get higher, the temptation to create policies and employ practices that help to boost the test scores is growing. [See ‘Courier Mail 5 October2011 P.4:’Test results fail targets’] As a consequence, teachers teach to tests and schools turn away children who are not effective learners to guarantee greater success in forthcoming student assessments.

A typical feature of teaching and learning in Finland is high confidence in teachers and principals as respected professionals. Another involves encouraging teachers and students to try new ideas and approaches rather than teaching them to master fixed attainment targets. This makes school a creative and inspiring place for students and teachers. These policies are the result of systematic, mostly intentional development that has created a culture of diversity, trust and respect within Finnish society in general, and within its education system in particular. The result is a cocktail of good ideas from other countries and smart practices from the tradition of teaching and learning in Finland.

Experience from Finland shows that through high quality teachers committed to and capable of creating deep and broad teaching and learning it is possible to have powerful to have powerful, responsible and inspiring schools in an increasingly self-regulating profession. In Finland teachers design and pursue high quality learning and shared goals. They improve their schools continuously through professional teamwork and networks without being disturbed by standardised teaching, frequent testing or competition. You did hear what Diane Ravitch said about her visit to Finland on http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4409 didn’t you?

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So, while the UK –and Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.A. continue downhill on the road to nowhere, there is hope. The OPT-OUT crusade, encouraging parents to tell their school that they do not want their children to contest the standardized blanket tests, is gathering momentum. It’s wonderful news. Australia needs a few thousand more to drop a note to their school. It can be done at any time. Why not do it NOW?

Here’s what Prof. Tim Slekar of Penn State Uni wrote to his school. Stop treating my child as data. He’s a great kid who loves to learn. He is not a politicians’ pawn in a chess game designed to prove the inadequacy of his teachers and school.” Prof Slekar appreciates how people feel about whether to opt-out or not and asks them to consider five things…

1.KNOW YOUR RIGHTS Although schools don’t speak about it, parents have the legal right to say no to standardized tests. Children are allowed to attend school on the days of the test and it is expected that they will be learning as usual.

{Apropos: Ken Woolford of Toowoomba writes on Oct.6: “…talking with parents and teachers we are finally hearing that some local schools are accepting and acknowledging that the Naplan tests are NOT compulsory (despite statements to the effect that they were compulsory in this year’s Q’ld Distance Ed. Year 9 Information to Parents). Welcome to Planet Qld.” Ken suggests that Qld is much more obsessive with results of Naplan than NSW is.}

2.IMPLICATIONS If the school suggests that the refusal will affect the school’s test score, parents need to remember that waivers are allowed and accounted for.

3.STRENGTH IN NUMBERS  In the USA, to find other families exploring the opt-out option, mums and dads are turning to Facebook. Florida-based Facebook group called “Testing is not Teaching” boasts 13,000 supporters.  Another called “Opt Out of the State Test – The National Movement” attracted 600 members in its first few days online. {Google both for more information}

Australians will like the Bartleby Project where Year 9s are encouraged to write “I prefer not to take this test” on each test, to sit calm and respond politely to each question or comment, not to get upset and just answer “I prefer not to do this test.” The argument is maintained that kids and parents should not be forcibly subjected to tests that “ pervert education, are disgracefully inaccurate, impose brutal stresses without reason, and actively encourage a class system which poison the nation’s future.”  Year 9s will know this.

4.THE SIX PER CENT RULE  Yung Zhau maintains that, if more than 5 per cent of parents opt out, the validity of statements about schools is very uncertain. There is too much doubt for anyone to believe the statistics.   Which State School is “The Worst” will not be able to be indicated, as did the Gold Coast Bulletin 15 September 2011’

5.THE END TO TESTING While corporations, banks, publishers and political parties control schooling, the end is not expected any time soon. The rug has been pulled from under the feet of kids, parents, principals and teachers. They need to stand up for kids at school and be loud in their insistence on better schooling than fear-driven testing can offer.

[See  http://www.takepart.com/article/2011/09/30/opting-kids-out-standardized-tests-5-things-you-should-know ]

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Wouldn’t 2011 have been a wonderful year if Andrew Wilkie had taken up the banner for kids; or if another independent politician decided to do so, instead of having to wait for 2013 when each candidate will be asked if he or she supports NAPLAN testing. Poker machine addiction is so passe by comparison. A stance by an Independent at this time would save so much anguish.  Well Rob, Tony, Bob …how about it?  Caring for kids would be talked about !  It’s a new political idea.

With hope for a better Australia, Kleinism and Naplan will certainly share No.1 issue for the next federal election and state elections if enough Real Teachers and Fair-dinkum Parents take sufficient interest. Just watch this space. Hang in there, Treehorn.

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Have you checked Recent Posts and Archive menus in the sidebar, to catch up on previous  comments?

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Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point  2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

Please send this to as many readers as possible, Diane Ravitch has 20,000 readers.

Treehorn only has a hundred or so.

We’ll keep trying, kids.

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The Reality of What is Happening

The  Treehorn   Express 

Who’s Treehorn? http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=1924

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Treehorn Express is dedicated to the elimination of  the Kleinist-based NAPLAN in Australian schools . Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which uses the blanket-testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN to destroy the reputation of public schooling and its teachers. It was introduced into Australia in 2009 without discussion or thought for the consequences.  It disrespects children, devalues teachers’ professionalism and threatens the social and financial future of Australia.  Corporation-initiated NAPLAN is immoral, politically driven, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, unprofessional, interruptive, and very divisive. While it is clearly aimed at the destruction of  public schooling and its teachers, it sponsors standardised mediocrity in all schools. Click on the ACARA website for more details  http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html

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This is a very important video clip.

It puts each of us clearly in the picture regarding the background to NAPLAN and Kleinism, copied from our friend up-over.

YOU WILL NOT SPEND A BETTER HOUR THAN WATCHING THIS

Imagine each of the speakers is Australian and is speaking about our schools. The comments apply.

It is a pity that it does not get a chance to circulate around schools.

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4409

[P.S. Notice the coffee cups : ‘Don’t Trust Corporate Media’. Yes Rupert gets a mention. See previous Treehorns]

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Have you checked the recent Treehorns? Check Recent Posts and Archives on side bar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

Please make sure that as many people as possible see this video clip. 

It is like attending a critical conference.

Allow a full, uninterrupted hour.

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