Educational Readings February 8th

Treehorn Express:

Shared opinions soaked in knowledge & experience – all well tested.


Educational Readings

By Allan Alach

It’s all too easy for people to dismiss concerns about the seemingly obvious connections between GERM implementation and rhetoric in many countries as ‘conspiracy theory.’ This phrase has become a very easy and convenient way to dismiss anything that does not fit the ‘party line.’ However we must not fall into this trap. It is so clear that every GERM country is using the same song book. This is no coincidence. This is compounded by the tendency of the ‘oppressed’ to unconsciously adopt the language of their ‘oppressors’, and so we hear educators start to use GERM language, even though they hold strong anti-GERM viewpoints. Listen to the language used in your school. Identify all the GERM related terms that have slipped into every day use.

Thanks to Bruce Hammonds who contributed several of this week’s articles.

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

Why Mathematical Practices Matter as Much as the Content (via Bruce)

‘the approaches and uses of the tools students learn in math matter just as much as the topics and situations in which they apply.’

Deeper Learning: Defining Twenty-First Century Literacy (via Bruce)

‘In today’s world, being literate requires much, much more than the traditional literacy of yesterday.’

Change the Subject: Making the Case for Project-Based Learning (via Bruce)

‘What should students learn in the 21st century? At first glance, this question divides into two: what should students know, and what should they be able to do? But there’s more at issue than knowledge and skills. For the innovation economy, dispositions come into play: readiness to collaborate, attention to multiple perspectives, initiative, persistence, and curiosity. While the content of any learning experience is important, the particular content is irrelevant. What really matters is how students react to it, shape it, or apply it. The purpose of learning in this century is not simply to recite inert knowledge, but, rather, to transform it. It is time to change the subject.’

Three Trends That Will Shape the Future of Curriculum

‘What we as adults experienced in school, as educators and students, will bear little resemblance to what lies ahead. Here’s a look at current trends, their implications, and changes to watch for.’

Let’s see: National standards? Nope. Standardised blanket tests? Nope. League Tables? Nope. Performance pay? Nope. Focus on the 3Rs? Nope.

Do you agree with this article?

Bringing Students to Life With Memoir Writing (via Bruce)

‘Incorporating personal writing in students’ education may seem like a waste of time to those who emphasize acquiring skills and mastering content, but countless writing teachers at every level have seen otherwise.’

This is where personal blogs can play a big part.

If profit-making schools are the answer, what’s the question?

Article is from England but….

There is no such thing as an objective rubric.

Beware of rubrics and their relatives, such as WALTs, success criteria, national/common core standards, employee performance standards, key performance indicators, etc, all of which profess to use subjective judgements to make objective assessments. Thought experiments: how would Picasso have been judged using predetermined rubrics? The Beatles were rejected by Decca on the basis of a judgement that guitar bands were no longer current. Einstein struggled for many years to get a university post and was forced to work in a patent office. Any predetermined measure carries a huge risk, that the truly unique and original is overlooked due to tunnel vision.

Kelvin Smythe: Primary School Diaries Part 1: Stories and Satires.

Highly regarded New Zealand educator Kelvin Smythe has published the first booklet of a series which will revisit his best articles from 23 years of writing, firstly in his Developmental Network Newsletter, and then on his networkonnet website. While some of the articles have a ‘kiwi’ flavour, most are applicable all over. This booklet tells the story of the neo-liberal takeover of New Zealand schooling from 1990 onwards and leaves one truly gobsmacked that we submitted to this nonsense.

I helped Kelvin put this together, and even though I have that inside view, I can affirm that this is a high quality document, well worth reading. The madness of the whole ideology and implementation is so apparent and this helps reveal the present government’s agenda as a part of the same process that was started in the mid 1980s in the height of the neo-liberal agenda. Nothing has changed.

$20 per booklet or $17.50 each for two or more. Email Kelvin

Let concerned adults make sure that NAPLAN eradication becomes a top election issue.

Kids don’t get a vote.

Phil Cullen

February 8th  2013

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