By Allan Alach
So what’s the truth, Hekia?
My latest article for New Zealand’s ‘The Daily Blog.’
While focussing on the NZ situation, there’s relevance for educators all over.
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s homework!
Quality of learning, process vs. product
‘Measuring quality in education is hard, partly because there is not one universal definition what good quality learning looks like. People have different connotations about educational quality, and the cultural perceptions are also very diverse. Learning, like play, is individual and very situational and contextual.’
Poverty is what’s crippling public education in the US—not bad teachers (via Dianne Khan)
Recently New Zealand’s Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, referenced Eric Hanushek’s ‘four great teachers will solve all poverty related education issues’. Yeah right, as Antony Cody points out.
‘So I offer this warning to the people down under and beyond. This misguided emphasis is no more likely to work there than it has in the US—unless of course, New Zealand truly is “opposite land,” where hot snow falls up.’
Only Thing You Need To Be A 21st Century Teacher
If you’re not a 21st century teacher already then you’ve missed the boat and should seriously consider whether another occupation is in order. Today’s 5 year olds hit the work force about 2028 and many will live to see the 22nd century. Are you teaching for their future or your past?
Writing survives the digital onslaught
“Can kidz rite 2day? Despite popular perceptions that the onslaught of texting, tweeting and other digital technologies is ruining students writing skills, a national survey of US teachers released last week found they offered such advantages as greater creativity, personal expression and increased collaboration.”
England vs Scotland: Competing school reform visions
Let’s move to Scotland; or, how the Scots will kick butt …
‘England and Scotland may both be part of Great Britain, but they do not share a primary and secondary education system. Indeed, those two systems appear to be headed in decidedly different directions.’
Study Finds Spatial Skill Is Early Sign of Creativity
And not a national standard in sight…
“A gift for spatial reasoning — the kind that may inspire an imaginative child to dismantle a clock or the family refrigerator — may be a greater predictor of future creativity or innovation than math or verbal skills, particularly in math, science and related fields…”
Girls Should Play More Video Games, And Other Thoughts On “Cognitive Balance”
This follows on from the previous article, which found that girls were less competent in use of their spatial skills.
‘But males’ spatial edge may also reflect, in part, differences in the leisure-time activities of boys and girls, activities that add up to a kind of daily drill in spatial skills for boys.
If that’s the case, then offering girls more opportunities to practice their spatial skills may begin to close the spatial-skills gender gap—and produce more female scientists, engineers and mathematicians in the bargain.’
Why teachers should read more children’s books
“A research project has found that teachers who read for pleasure have better book knowledge and feel more confident, calm and stress-free in the classroom. Research has shown that there is value in helping teachers become reading role models for the pupils they teach, and that developing teachers’ subject knowledge of children’s literature can contribute to a child or young person’s enjoyment of reading.”
Project Learning in History Class (via Bruce Hammonds)
“The idea behind Project Based Learning is that students will understand more if they make meaning through inquiry based creation. Project Based Learning can apply to any discipline. We’ve tried it in our history classroom to varying levels of success. Being proponents of constructivism, Project Based Learning was not too much of a stretch for us to embrace, pedagogically. However, there are some challenges that result.”