Educational Readings August 9th

By Allan Alach

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

 This week’s homework!

Do Green Classrooms Lead to Artistic Teaching?

This is a superb antidote to GERM.

Cord Ivanyi’s idea about a fabric of connections moves us to consider the whole of teaching and not trying to break teaching and learning down into components, especially components that can measured.’

 Bloom’s Taxonomy

This has been used for over half a century, in spite of some very valid criticisms made by many educational experts. The present emphasis on standardised learning, sequential achievement objectives, etc, is a descendant of Bloom. While Bloom has been adapted to guide thinking and questioning processes, this wasn’t his original intention.

If Bloom’s taxonomy were used just as a taxonomy—in other words a description of different types of thinking, I can see them as interesting and possibly useful. But generally they are used in the former way as developmental steps to be gone through, as Bloom designed them to be used.’

Put the Awe Back in “Awesome” — Helping Students Develop Purpose (via Tony Gurr)

‘Here’s how awe works: when we experience an inspiring work of art or a grand vista in nature, or when we learn a new mind-expanding theory, we often feel a sense of vastness that gives us a new perspective on the world and our place in it. These two steps make up the emotion of awe.’

This is the real job facing teachers – creating a sense of awe, or as another has put it, creating learning experiences of children that enable ‘mini-love affairs’ with something they have learned. You’ll all know the story – a child whose learning experiences develops into a life long passion and career. All in all, a long way from any notion of standardised learning.

What Are the Risks in Using Data to Predict Student Outcome?

A thoughtful post by Annie Murphy Paul:

‘“Is it good to tell a first-grader, ‘You might be a dropout?’”

The obvious answer would seem to be: Uh, no. But when Thomas C. West posed this question recently to Education Week reporter Sarah D. Sparks, he had a genuine dilemma in mind. West, who is an evaluation specialist at Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, has devised a tracking formula that can predict, with startling accuracy, which students will drop out of high school—as early as their second semester of first grade.’

 Schools that Practice Learning-Literacy

David Warlick is yet another ‘must follow’ educator.

‘Teachers, who teach solely from their university experience do a disservice to their learners.  Teachers should model themselves as habitual and resourceful learners, and skilled artisans of what they’ve learned.  We must walk into our classrooms out of today, not from the day that they graduated.’

Book Review: Visible Learning

A much needed critique of John Hattie.

He’s not necessarily wrong, but if we cannot trust the average effect sizes he gives as evidence, and cannot sensibly compare them, we cannot make that conclusion from this data’

Can we trust educational research? (“Visible Learning”: Problems with the evidence)

Staying with the ‘Hattie’ theme, here’s another critique. Convinced yet?

‘John Hattie seems to be a leading figure in the field, and while he seems to be a decent fellow, and while most of his recommendations seem somewhat reasonable, his magnum opus, Visible Learning, has such significant issues that my one friend who’s a professional statistician believes, after reading my copy of the book, that Hattie is incompetent.’


‘He essentially blames teachers for the fact that teaching is not more evidence-based, implying that if we hidebound practitioners would only do what the data-gurus like him suggest, then schools could educate all students to a very high standard.’

Music to GERMer’s ears!

Bruce Hammonds is an indefatigable reader of educational articles.  Here’s a couple of links from Bruce.

 The Differences Between Projects And Project-Based Learning

‘There’s a big difference between using projects in the classroom versus project-based learning in the classroom. What are those differences, you ask?’

This article includes a very comprehensive table.

Project-Based Learning Research: Evidence-Based Components of Success

‘What boosts PBL from a fun and engaging exercise to a rigorous and powerful real-world learning experience? Researchers have identified four key components that are critical to teaching successfully with PBL.’

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