Educational Readings June 7th

By Allan Alach

Thought for this week:

‘Rote repetition can result in some information being retained, although it is not  a particularly effective method of encoding information into memory. Why, then, are so many kids forced to learn this way?’

 The Truth About School

Your thoughts?

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

 This week’s homework!

 What can we learn from children’s writing? (via Michael Fawcett)

‘A BBC Radio 2 short story competition aimed at children up to the age of 13 has had 90,000 entries. It’s an exercise in creativity but the words they used have also been put into a database which gives us an insight into the way they think. Every one of the 40 million words from the story-writing competition has been collated and analysed by lexicographers at the Oxford University Press, in order to monitor and track children’s language.  Here are some of the findings.’

Warning: not necessarily compatible with standardised education….

Noam Chomsky on Democracy and Education in the 21st Century and Beyond

Chomsky is always worth reading…

 New data shows school “reformers” are full of it

‘Reality, though, is finally catching up with the “reform” movement’s propaganda. With poverty and inequality intensifying, a conversation about the real problem is finally starting to happen. And the more education “reformers” try to distract from it, the more they will expose the fact that they aren’t driven by concern for kids but by the ugliest kind of greed — the kind that feigns concerns for kids in order to pad the corporate bottom line.’

 Lesson for Our Leaders: The Best Defense is a Good Offense

Criticism of educational sector groups for ‘roll over and scratch my tummy’ attitude towards the school ‘reformers’ is rather frequent. This article suggests that the alternative approach would be more productive.

‘Educators and our representatives have been on the defensive for so long, many of us have forgotten one of the lessons of the great strategist Sun Tzu – the best defense is a good offense.’

Revising the questions that shape learning (via Bruce Hammonds)

‘In thinking about the current slate of policies shaping education, I can’t help but feel we are asking, and attempting to answer, the wrong questions — questions rife with assumptions; questions that limit thinking; and questions that quell curiosity rather than fuel it.’

Some very good questions are raised here.

 How outdoor play inspires independent learning for early years (via Bruce)

Bruce’s comment: ‘Sounds like the good old days”

The Next Generation of Assessments Can—and Must—Be Better (via Bruce)

Bruce’s comment: ‘What’s going wrong in the US and soon NZ by Linda Darling-Hammond ( great educationalist).’


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