Educational Readings March 14th

By Allan Alach 

Thought for the week – what do we do to children to kill this kind of  behaviour? (Deliberately obtuse wording….)

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

This week’s homework!

Promoting a Culture of Learning

‘Learning is a culture. It starts as a culture with the students as human beings needing to understand their environment. And it ends as a culture with students taking what we give them and using it in those physical and digital environments they call home.

Even the practices that promote or undermine the learning process itself are first and foremost human and cultural artifacts. Literacy, curiosity, self-efficacy, ambition and other important agents of learning are born in the native environments of students’ homes.

Further, learning is ongoing, perishable and alive — just like culture.’

Creativity in the young learner classroom

‘A creative classroom is a joyful and motivating place where children feel empowered to learn, where all ideas are welcomed, and where learning is deep and meaningful. Children who are allowed to be creative are better learners, and they are more aware of their own learning styles. Creativity is a lifelong skill that our students will take with them into their adult lives to solve problems and help build a better world.’

If Not for Those Darn Kids

‘I have long considered that the Masters of Reforming Our Nation’s Schools view children as widgets, as little programmable devices, as interchangeable gears, as nothing more than Data Generation Units. I had considered that these MoRONS were indifferent to children. What I had not considered was that reformers are actively hostile to children.’

 The Right Questions, The Right Way

‘What do the questions teachers ask in class really reveal about student learning?

The fundamental flaw in the traditional questioning model is that it makes participation voluntary. The confident students engage by raising their hands—and by engaging in classroom discussion, they become smarter. But others decline the invitation to participate and thus miss out on the chance to get smarter.’

Vygotsky, Piaget and YouTube

Steve Wheeler:

‘Today, the bold claim is that anyone can learn anything they wish, because social media channels can provide that scaffolding. It’s open to discussion, but whatever way we look at it, tools such as YouTube are opening up unprecedented and very rich learning opportunities for anyone who has access to the Web. Informal learning will never be the same again.’

 The Universe of Learning and a Sense of Wonder

‘There is no body of knowledge that all students need to learn.  We do not have scientific evidence for this.  In this standards-based era of eduction, we’ve been convinced that all kids need to learn the same set of standards or same set of content. We shouldn’t support this idea. Instead learning should be about a sense of wonder.’

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 1): Romanticizing Misery

Zong Zhao:

‘PISA, the OECD’s triennial international assessment of 15 year olds in math, reading, and science, has become one of the most destructive forces in education today. It creates illusory models of excellence, romanticizes misery, glorifies educational authoritarianism, and most serious, directs the world’s attention to the past instead of pointing to the future. In the coming weeks, I will publish five blog posts detailing each of my “charges,” adapted from parts of my book Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education.’

 This week’s contribution from Bruce Hammonds:

The educational world according to John Hattie. – controversial conservative?

Bruce’s latest and very good blog article:

‘It is not that I disagree with all he says but I find him contradictory and very much in the conservative camp for all his criticism of current teaching. At times over such things as National Standards he seems to hunt with the hounds and run with the hares.’

 Contributed by Phil Cullen

 New era of accountability: Reducing students to “anonymous data points.”

‘Data, instead of informing decisions about real kids, serve instead to displace those real people, substituting virtual representations based on selective bureaucratic decisions about what is important to know about them, often based on what is easiest to measure and classify about them. When these selectively constructed virtual students replace real kids as the focus of education, teaching and learning veer off the tracks. Most fundamentally, as data points, these young people and their teachers lose their humanity…’


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