Educational Readings January 31st

By Allan Alach

Welcome back to another year of educational miscellany. Let’s hope that it brings some serious GERM disinfection around the world.

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

This week’s homework!

The Big Lie About Student Achievement

“The Big Lie is all about extrinsic motivation; getting the grade to prove something to somebody else. Grades become stand-ins for self-worth. Everything we know about teaching and learning revolves around this one true thing: real education only occurs with intrinsic motivation, a desire to learn just because of a student’s passion for the subject. Everything else is crap that lives in a student’s brain just barely long enough to pass a test. No wonder students cheat and plagiarize; they’ve been told education is a game, and they need to win it.’

10 ways to create a learning culture… (via Tony Gurr)

Another start of school year posting.

Able readers damaged by phonics, academic says

This includes use of ‘non-words’ to teach phonics!

The 7 Myths of Class Size Reduction — And the Truth

A pertinent article from 2010. Take note John Hattie.

‘As John Dewey wrote, “What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children.” If education is really the civil rights issue of our era, it is about time those people making policies for our schools begin to provide for other people’s children what they provide for their own.’

Unionization And Working Poverty

Attacking teachers and their unions in the hope that this will improve the quality of education, while assuming that better education is the key to escaping poverty, is thus a doubly misguided strategy. Of course, if destroying unions is the goal, and reducing poverty is only a fig leaf, the current discourse and strategy of the corporate education reformers makes excellent sense.’

Teachers’ pay must be at the heart of global education reform

If the development community is serious about improving teaching and learning, it must address the recruitment, reward and retention of teachers.

21st Century Child Abuse

Excellent blog by Diane Ravitch

Yet our current obsession with data has led us to crush the spirits of our children, to make sure that budding Mozarts and Einsteins and those who dream instead of conforming are pressed into the same narrow mold.’

The Myth Of Learning Styles

Yes I know I’ve covered this before, however this article includes a comprehensive infographic.

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Here’s a range of beginning the school year blog articles by Bruce (for Australian and New Zealand teachers).

 Beginning the school year – what attitudes do learners have towards aspects of schooling?

Beginning the school year – sharing our stories.

 Beginning the school year – developing a ‘growth mindset’ through a simple portrait( Carol Dweck)

Beginning the school year – the importance of observation in learning

Beginning the school year – what talents do your students bring to your class?

Beginning the school year – how do we learn?

Developing a ‘stance’ as a teacher – ideas of Robert Fried and William Glasser

Happy Days

Aussie Friends of Treehorn 

Read by adults who worry about impact of the NAPLAN-based Curriculum on their children’s development.



Enjoy the day, kids.


 Shouldn’t this photo be the other way around? Children returning to the endless excitement and wonder and thrill of learning …of achieving…well….shouldn’t they?

 Best wishes to Year Ones. You will learn more and achieve more during your first two years of school than you will ever again.

 When you reach Year 3, however, you will be pressed into the games that adults play. At age 7 in early Year 3, you will start to be measured, tested, judged, compared according to some adults’ view of schooling. This will last for ten years.

 You will think, at times, that school is hell and that adults don’t want you to enjoy learning.

 They really don’t mean it. One day, they will grow up.


Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point 2486 07 5524 6443

Toast to Teachers.

 Treehorn Express 

Happy New School Year to all Teachers Down Under;

and warmest wishes to those Up Over.


Rupert McCall

While Teachers have been dramatically devalued and shamefully used by SBT luvvies and testucating junkies in all GERM countries during the past decade, Rupert McCall has an entirely different viewpoint.

He’s an Australian balladeer, whom the country watched recently on TV at an official dinner during the Australian Open Tennis Titles reciting his poem about Laver and Federer in their presence. It brought a tear to Roger’s eye.

During the Fifth Cricket Test, Australia versus England, held the same week, he recited his poem to the Australian team during the second day to encourage the players to have no mercy on the Poms during this last-of-series Test Match that lasted 4 days. The team was charged-up and the main Aussie bowler sent down some howlers at 158-9 kph [aka 98 mph] and two English batsmen were injured. { I shan’t bother to explain why a game takes five days to complete; nor ensure disbelievers that it is much more exciting than a lawn-growing contest…. or can be. It’s British, after all!]

Rupert McCall likes what teachers do….has a very different opinion from his namesake and his test-crazed cronies in Britain, New Zealand, U.S.A., and Australia.


Thanks to Queensland Teachers Mutual Bank.

Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point 2486 07 5524 6443

What is going on?

 Aussie Friends of Treehorn

A friend of Treehorn is a friend of school kids everywhere and will do anything to help them.

What is Going ON?


Christopher Pyne announced  on 10 January 2014 that he had appointed Dr. Kevin Donnelly, a Catholic Liberal Party member, and Professor Ken Wiltshire A.O. to review the national school curriculum now being revised, following his orwellian hectoring of testing results. Mr. Pyne’s quixotic evaluation of Australia’s schooling dystopia has been based on NAPLAN’s numerical scoring, which itself has been a major source of the decline in scores. Messrs Donnelly and Wiltshire will know this and of the profound impact that such SBTs have on the curriculum in action.

The use of young children as disposable items to obtain number scores, and the deliberate use of fear and stress on them to try to increase scores, and the enormous inroads into genuine curriculum activity for Years 3,5,7,9 during the February to May period, do not seem to have been included, however, in the terms of reference. They did not receive a mention from him who must be obeyed.

Since NAPLAN test preparation controls the curriculum for a major portion of the school year, its influence on other forms of classroom interaction and on the whole curriculum as well as the influences on child welfare is the largest curriculum issue that has faced Australia in decades….indeed it’s the only one of importance at this point in time

Administratively, since June 2008 when Julia returned from the Carnegie knees-up in New York, there have been endless examples of clownish tyranny in pursuit of the puritan ethic of hurt; and the associated belief that, if children enjoy learning and try to extend their achievements beyond the mediocre, it must be wrong. They just must not enjoy learning. “Toughen them up” is the official credo.

Already, it can be guaranteed that Pyne’s insistence that his public view of Australian history, which, in preference to a left-wing view [?], must be included; and Donnelly’s study of religions is also a certainty. It would appear that both Dr. Donnelly and Professor Wiltshire will act independently. Dr. Donnelly has started.

Have Messrs Wiltshire and Donnelly been compromised? Their knowledge of the curriculum in the classroom is hardly extensive. If they have a contrary view to that of the minister, as most teachers seem to have, will their reputation for speaking their mind be applauded? Do they appreciate what NAPLAN is doing to our schools?

At the same time, the minister has also placed great reliance on the operations of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership whose membership consists of a number of Naplan test supporters and some whose views are accommodatingly neutral. He has his cards spread all over the table. Messy.

Can anyone please tell us what is going on? What benefit is there in all this clownish political behaviour? Our deepest sympathies to Professor Wiltshire and Dr. Donnelly.

Leunig has a view


as does Tony Gurr.

image[1] Meanwhile, back at the school…..



Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point 2486 07 5524 6443

School staff-room at testing time.

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

Those who might protect learners from NAPLAN testing and all other silly forms of ability labelling.

Getting Ready for another useless NAPLAN year.


 A typical Australian school staff precinct.


 There are some days I really enjoy what I am doing.


Phil Cullen, 1 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point 2486 07 5524 6443