Aussie School?

 The Treehorn Express

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

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

 The Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australia.  Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which uses the blanket-testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN [its only learning-motivational weapon] to destroy the   reputation of teachers and schools. This weapon was forced on schools in Australia in 2009.

It disrespects school pupils, devalues teachers’ professionalism, threatens Australia’s developmental future and is just no good.

Although some ‘education’ groups support it, ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, unprofessional, politically driven, unrequested by the profession, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, wasteful and divisive. It has a background of malicious intent.  IT WILL REMAIN UNTIL ENOUGH GOOD PEOPLE SAY “STOP IT”.

For further information, click on the official description http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html

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An Australian School?

Below could be a scene from Schadenfreude State School, a typical Australian School of the second decade of the 21st Century.

Approved by Messrs Klein, Murdoch, Gates and Nelson [Brendan], then established by Her Hardness Frau Gillard under instruction from her devoted leader, Professor of Eschatology  Rudd, whose leitmotif was “If you don’t like this kind of school, tough luck. Walk somewhere else.”, such schools cover the landscape. The pupils of Schadenfreude, controlled by frightened, politicised, adult-oriented, test-preparers maintain the school’s Mission Statement to the letter:-

The notion that children like learning is a falsehood.

Fear of failure is the best motivation for success.

The school time-table will concentrate on things testable.

Practising to cope with blanket tests will be the major focus.

Well, that’s not quite true, of course; even though there is more than a ring of truth. It is difficult to see fair dinkum Aussie teachers tolerating this sort of conditioning for too long. At present, timidity prevails. Once upon a time, the existence of such a place would have been an abhorrent vision of future schooling, but then….

What happened ????

An unknown US cartoonist sees such a school in NCLB terms. That’s the same as NAPLAN, so……

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Let’s try for a Re-form of Compulsory Schooling. 

NOT FROM THE TOP.

Start at the classroom.

There IS a rational, workable design.

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Other Treehorns ? :     Click Recent Posts and Archives in sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

 

Why blanket tests should be banned.

 Treehorn recommends

that you read this article.  Say hello to Treehorn on the attachment; and feel sorry for his condition [adult apathy].

Click on

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-complete-list-of-problems-with-high-stakes-standardized-tests/2011/10/31/g/QA7fNyaM_blog.html

or google ‘The Answer Sheet 2011/10/31’

It’s from the Washington Post. While it refers to American schooling,  it lists a number of reasons that apply for Naplan to be ceased in Australia. It concludes with a parent’s wish: “Do not subject my child to any test that doesn’t provide useful, same day or next-day information about performance.”   Marion Brady lists 25 reasons for the termination of blanket tests as they reveal their immorality, uselessness and damage to schooling…

Thank you Valerie and thank you Marion.

 Blanket tests administered from afar should be banned because they…

  • focus so narrowly on reading and math that the young are learning to hate math and school;
  •  measure only the ‘low level’ thinking processes;
  • put the wrong people – the test manufacturers – in charge of American [& everybody else’s] education;
  • allow pass-fail rates to be manipulated by officials for political purposes;
  • simplify test items and trivialize learning;
  • provide minimal to no useful feedback;
  • are keyed to old deeply flawed curriculum issues;
  • lead to neglect of physical conditioning, music, art and other non-verbal ways of learning;
  • unfairly advantage those who can afford test preparation;
  • hide problems created by margin-of-error computations in scoring;
  • penalize test-takers who think in non-standard ways;
  • radically limit the ability of teachers to adapt to learners’ differences;
  • encourage the use of threats, bribes, and other extrinsic motivators;
  • wrongly assume that what the young will need in the future is already known;
  • emphasize minimum achievements to the neglect of maximum performance;
  •  create unreasonable pressures;
  • reduce teacher creativity and the appeal of teaching as a profession;
  • are culturally biased;
  • Have no ‘success in life’ predictive power;
  • lead to the neglect of the best and the worst students, as resources are channeled to lift marginal kids above the ‘cut lines’;
  • are open to massive scoring errors with life-changing consequences;
  • are at odds with deep-seated values about individual differences and worth;
  • undermine a fundamental democratic principle that those closest to and therefore most knowledgeable about problems are best positioned to deal with them;
  • dump major public money into corporate coffers instead of classrooms;
  • do psychological damage to children who are not yet able to cope;
  • are blocking policy-makers from what, Marion believes to be the greatest educational innovation of the last century –the use of general systems theory as it developed during WW II as a tool for reshaping and radically simplifying the ‘core curriculum’.

It is a 21st Century phenomenon that any thoughtful school would entertain national or systemic blanket testing.

Where they do, parents need to let their schools know that they want their children to ‘OPT OUT’.

Phil Cullen

Towards Digigogy

 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

“”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””’

COME ON ADULTS. START TALKING, DISCUSSING, QUESTIONING, READING, CAMPAIGNING.

Our young Treehorns need you. Why are you neglecting their plight?

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TOWARDS  DIGIGOGY

http://leading-learning.blogspot.com/2011/10/smoke-and-mirrors.html

This is a posting on Bruce Hammonds’ leading-learning site by Allan Alach, a New Zealand primary school principal who reads in his sleep. He must; he reads so much. Actually, he has been blessed with quick-reading and high-absorption skills and shares his readings and knowledge generously.  Dedicated readers of The Treehorn Express are all professionally richer for having access to his advice and readings.

In this article he raises an issue that professional, teacher-industrial and subject associations everywhere need to regard very, very seriously. How do school leaders handle top-down cunning and secrecy? Allan indicates that New Zealand’s digitised politico-bureaucrats are preparing to institute computer programs that will enable tests and examinations to be delivered online, with results recorded and scores assigned without ‘interference’ from a teacher. This classroom intrusion is likely to be introduced in  other formerly-democratic countries….especially not-much-interested-in-schooling-Australia. It is a first step for the flood of other technologies.

Such technologies set the stage for Rupert Murdoch’s grand design and the development of digigogy [Rick Ogston].

Check http://truth-out.org/news-corp-will-save-our-schools-and-other-scarily-seductive-reforms/1319434215

This is an article that deals with the issue of responsibility, that needs vast and intense discussion…the responsibility of caring for our children’s learning development…trained school teachers or corporations’ machines.

“The debate…is really about fundamental ideological differences over how traditionally-public institutions ought to be run and who ought to be responsible for nurturing the nation students: publically run schools accountable to voters and their communities or private companies accountable to their shareholders. says author Julianne Hing.

Few adults want to acknowledge that, pre-May each year, Australian schools are forced to operate under a fear-driven, concentration-camp style of schooling.  Adults prefer to take no notice. If they are schoolies, they favour waiting for the evil to go away and, in the meantime, just do as they are told.

That’s why Rupert has spent $500 billion on the development of digital schooling. He is no fool  and understands the market place.  He will have his way, world-wide for sure. He will make the most of our timidity and tell the politicians what he wants.

As his mate Gordon Gekko said,

“ I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick the rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you’re not naive enough to think that we live in a democracy, are you buddy? And you’re part of it. Stick around pal. I’ve still got a lot to teach you.”

A perspicacious sixteen-year old high-schooler reacts to ‘who does what to whom”’, on http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nikhil-goyal/post_2586_b_1034887.html with

“The education system really sucks. We continue to toil in a 19th century factory-based model of education, stressing conformity and standardization. This is all true even though globalization has transformed the world we live in, flipping the status quo of the labor market upside down. The education  system has miserably failed in creating students that have the dexterity to think creatively and critically, work collaboratively, and communicate their thoughts.

Over the past decade, when government has tried to muddle its way through education, it has gotten fairly ugly. President Bush passed No Child Left Behind and President Obama passed Race to the Top, infatuating our schools with a culture of fill-in-the-bubble tests and drill-and-kill teaching methods. Schools were transformed into test-preparation factories and the process of memorization and regurgitation hijacked classroom learning.”

This lad is writing a book on schooling. It should be interesting.

This student’s crowd-rallying counterparts in his and other countries are concerned about the future, especially the privatisation of schooling. Under existing circumstances, private schooling can be a very profitable and privileged enterprise.

If you read Trevor Cobbald’s  Government Largesse of $6 million for Geelong Grammar on http://www.saveourschools.com.au you will see that the annual fees for Geelong Grammar, which“…serves some of the wealthiest families in Australia have risen to $30,000 for 2012” while neighbouring schools that serve severely disadvantaged families struggle to survive.

This government enlargement of the gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ has led to wild re-action in other places. If you bother to read http://ism-global.net/coordinations_november2011 make sure that you view the video clip towards the end. The high-schoolers are serious.

They’re asking big questions about their futures at school, these young folk. Private? Public? Privileged? Learning-based? Test-based? Laissez faire? Narrow curriculum? Diverse learning choices? Face-to-face? Face-to-laptop? Measureable subjects? Learning attitude? Learning-to-learn?  Learning facts? Creativity? Social attitudes?

We are muddling through the greatest schooling revolution in world history – no doubt – and we can’t even handle the basics; like helping teachers to teach better, without threat or stress. We can’t sort out the proper years of compulsory school, the best age to start formal schooling, whether to have a rigid or advisory curriculum, who supplies the curriculum…so many basics. Adults, especially teachers and parents, don’t really worry too much about these things.

All of the pain and heartache related to testing could have been prevented in Australia if our schools and/or their representatives had just told the great Julia to jump in the lake when she sought their support for fear-based schooling. They were conned, and it will take a decade or two to tidy up the mess, which will be compounded, big time, by this onslaught of digitized schooling. We don’t even know what we want for our schools now; and we are on the threshold of a new era!

As Alfie Kohn says on http://alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/botsnjtt.htm “What troubles me is the rarity of discussion, the absence of questioning, the tendency to offer instructions about how to teach to the standardised tests, before we have ever asked whether doing so is a sound idea.”

Amen, Alfie. Onya.

o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

No apologies for the time that it will take to read through this and associated articles.

The issues  need dedicated thought…..NOW.

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Another Fantasy 

In the previous issue of Treehorn I fantasied about the progress that Australia would have made if a boffin was appointed [as is our wont] to control Australian schooling; one who had an intense background in the study of classroom interaction instead of in testing.

This time I should like to share another fantasy.  Supposing that Andrew Wilkie, MHR decided that he wanted Parliament to get rid of the immoral, destructive NAPLAN blanket testing. Wouldn’t he save years of enormous personal distress to pupils, parents and teachers and open up for discourse, on which way we want our country to go….before the next elections.  Schooling and Testing would make Page1.

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Re-form  Compulsory  Schooling.

Start at the classroom.

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

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

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What do teachers do?

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

“”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””’

What do Teachers Do?

Although University boffins are appointed to high positions of influence or are hired to write reports that seriously affect political decision-making then, quite often, square pegs are stuck in round holes. Many academic scioloists are asked to do things that they know little about.

I often fantasize of the enormous progress that Australia would have made if the likes of Dr Michael J Dunkin, who spent a seeming academic lifetime studying classrooms, had been appointed by our then Minister to institute reform to the schooling landscape of Australia.

What did our Minister for Education [J.Gillard] do after a cocktail with a New York lawyer who sweet-talked her with self-praise about his home-made fear-based system? She hired measurers whose knowledge of classrooms was very, very limited. We are stuck with her decision.

Now we have a fear-based, testing controlled system of compulsory schooling. Sometimes I extend the fantasy and wish we could go back in time and have her visit Finland instead of the U.S. before she made her undiscussed disastrous decision on how to reform schools; before she had a cuppa with Dr. Dunkin.

I had a dream.

Dunkin says, in Researching Teaching [March, 2009] that, until 1970, much of the study of classroom behaviour had concentrated on what teachers did and what pupils learned. He and U.S.A. famous researcher, Bruce Biddle,

“…wanted to know how classroom conditions and events affected what students learned while they were there. We also wanted to know why teachers did what they did. We wanted to know how the things that teachers did, affected the things students did in the immediate context of the classroom. We wanted to know the effects that the environment had on the things teachers and students did. Thus, we had in mind four different kinds of variables.

They were context variables, presage variables, process variables and product variables. We conceived the idea that all four could be inter-related and that the category into which any variable would be assigned would depend on whether we were focussing on the teacher or the students en masse or a particular individual student.

Thus, the teacher could be regarded as part of the context of the class,whereas the class could be regarded as part of the context of the teacher or, indeed, of any particular individual student. The architecture of the classroom, the culture of the school, the season of the year, the time of the day, climatic, economic and health conditions, would all be context variables.   

Anyone who has attended school knows that school children are more difficult to control on very windy days! We all know that children and teachers find it more difficult to concentrate as the end of the day, week or term approaches!

That is why mathematics lessons tend to be held in the morning before recess, while art and craft and physical education and sport happen in the afternoons, and excursions are planned closer to the end of term. But few attempts have been made to document these “truths”.

These are all examples of the effects of the context of the classroom upon the processes [for example smiling, listening, problem-solving, distracting, answering, asking, demonstrating, commending, cajoling, questioning, supporting, expounding, correcting, distributing, frowning] that occur within it. They are context-process relationships that could be examined. Such relationships reveal influences upon classroom events that environmental factors, physical and temporal have.

Questions about other causes of teacher and student behaviour involve presage-process inquiry, that is,  relationships between teacher or student characteristics [sex. age, personality, traits, professional qualifications, willingness to learn, for example] which are regarded as presage variables, on the one hand, and process variables, on the other” …continued.[Pp. 17-18]

This writer knows what he is talking about, and re-form needs to start from such discussions ABOUT THE CLASSROOM. How can you disagree?

M.J.Dunkin’s Researching Teaching [2010] has been published by AARE [Australian Association for Research in Education].

Teachers are busy people aren’t they? Shopping lists of what happens in classrooms are inadequate, but they can be revealing and help us to ponder about the wonders of what happens in them. When a teacher gets with  pupils about learnacy there’s sparkle, sparkle, sparkle, achievement, achievement, achievement for all.

When it’s about test preparation, it’s despair, despair, despair, shame, shame, shame for many.

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Re-form  Compulsory  Schooling.

Start at the classroom.

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

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443

cphilcullen@bigpond.com

http://primaryschooling.net

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