STRESS – The Essential Element.

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

…..for kids and a stress-free schooling system


STRESS – The Essential Element

“If SBTs, used for high stakes purposes, were not so fundamentally flawed, socially depraved, cognitively dangerous and emotionally damaging to children,they would be treated as a joke.”

STRESS , the vicious whip of NAPLAN {and of all other forms of Standardised Blanket Testing in the galley of schooling) is what makes children and teachers and schools work better, they say. It is the essential ingredient of teaching practices… they say. These testing procedures are designed to cause as much emotional turmoil as possible within each child so that each will try harder to get good marks on a one-hit proven-useless test. This kind of fear and emotional concern rubs off on mums and dads and teachers who care deeply about child welfare and their intellectual development. “So what”?” they say.

You know who they are.

There are thousands of Australian educators who are strongly opposed to NAPLAN and challenge it because of its assessment frailties and its contamination of the curriculum. It is a proven dud, costing millions and millions. Despite this, very few others seem anxious enough to consider the impact of such unsuitable devices on the well-being and cognitive progress of school children. That’s a dreadful shame.

It remains the fond belief of all testucators that fear is the best motivational device known to humans. The dreadful consequences are of little interest to them… and educators remain timidly concerned.


Does an aggressive one-hit, fear-ridden, one-size-fits-all data collection do any harm to children? Murdoch agents, ACARA, state education departments, some roughneck parents and society’s dyslexic indifferents know that it does, but they pretend to be ‘tough’’ cookies . They, clearly, support the credo that a few ‘hard knocks’ doesn’t “do ‘em any harm. Do ‘em good.”

AND…For the maintenance of such a national climate of fear, indifference and timidity within the schooling system, excessive aperient forms of school administration have to be employed. …

McGregor’s Theory X, for instance, suggests that superordinate operators must maintain a punitive atmosphere because teachers are basically lazy and do not know as much about the job as these superordinate test-experts do. Blame is a very useful device and the public is gullible enough to believe what management says.

If one turns to Maslow, one can be sure that there is little interest within today’s school systems for trying to fulfil the higher level needs of school children. There is no overt concern nor hierarchical emphasis for full attention to the whole curriculum. There is, unfortunately, a pervading indifference in schools to holistic forms of cognitive development. They find comfort in doing what they are told to do. They close the learnacy shop during April and mid-May. Our schooling is a great big mess, so well described by Leunig in the attachment above.

The new Australian system’s beliefs [d.o.b. 2008] are blind to the holistic learn-how-to-learn techniques in schools; and try to ignore the certainty that there are modes of learning and evaluation that actually sharpen the intellect of every child to the extent that pupils accept the challenge to do everything well, and be happy about it. Learning as much as possible and achieving as high as possible becomes a part of their psyche.

In Australia, the entrenched Nelson-Rudd-Gillard-Pyne belief system reflects the view that life is linear; that school subjects should be isolated from each other, that assembly-line forms of curriculum delivery need to be maintained and that jug-to-mug classroom strategies work best because the goal is to get better scores, not to educate children properly. The system supports the crass belief that achievement can be measured only by numbers – and that such numbers can be used to describe children, teachers, schools, system, countries as it suits them and in a score-based, competitive way. They dare to quantify learning and teaching for goodness sake and talk in placement language! Their conversations depend on the use of score-talk because they know no better. Learnacy-talk seems verboten.

The system ONLY causes STRESS, STRESS, STRESS! Nothing much else.

How often do you read or hear some dyslexic pollie say such things as : “Australia needs to do better. It is only tenth in the world in reading according on the PISA test!” This reliance on the highly-competitive, crazed, unreliable, invalid world test, that is such a risk to the world that it should be discontinued immediately [Zong Zhao], does nothing to enhance the kind of thought processes that enables a country’s schooling system to progress.

{ Famous last words : “Australia will be in the top 5 by 25!.”……..I have spoken.}

There is a problem with the entrenchment of such philosophies within the minds of political parties both ‘down-over’ and ‘up-over’. The recent report from The Parliamentary Inquiry in Australia, after 93 submissions made just a passing reference to the morality of the tests….”Some students are being harmed by this exercise.” Garn. Who’d-have thought!

The use of painful stress on those who do not have the means to resist or ignore, is clearly undemocratic, and, in a continuum of forms of political ideologies stretching from Democracy to Fascism, its use is much closer to the fascist end. All major parties ‘down-under’ in the South Pacific, share similar non-democratic, fascist-style crazy notions that kids have to be scared into learning better, except the New Zealand Labour Party. It’s a stand-out. It cares about kids. U.S. Democrats and the Australian Labor Party focus their attention on the welfare of ‘business’ and ignore child welfare in schools. U.S. Republicans, N.Z. Nationals and Australian Liberals focus their attention on the welfare of ‘big business’ and exploit kids in schools. That’s about the only difference when one considers the school scene in the three countries…..except that ‘down-under’ dwellers tend to follow their ‘up-over’ leaders without question. Australian politicians now exploit school children with the best of them.

[N.Z. Labour Party is a world leader in the belief that the future of their country is in the children presently in their classrooms; that children need to be treated better, with learnacy in mind. While it seems unlikely that they will win this year’s elections – fingers crossed for them, for your sake, you Kiwi kids – they will certainly curtail ‘national standards’, the N.Z. version of NAPLAN and NCLB testing, close all charter schools and seek to find more humane ways of doing things, if they achieve power. May the blessings of an apolitical universe that respects kids at school be with you, NZLP. The world awaits.]


If one thinks that there is not much stress around schools at NAPLAN time, one should just halt for a while…..and consider…

    1. Why is it that bookshops and supermarkets cover their wall with “Practice Tests”? The use of them at school art-BJDarPxCIAAuiQX-jpg-large-620x349and at home must be prolific. Practice stress books.
    2. Why do young mothers on talk-back radio shows, rail against the stress that the testing of their kids causes them; and then do nothing about the tests?
    3. Why do the sales of pharmaceutical performance enhancers spike during this period of the year? Remember the fish oil advert to the right?
    4. Why do parents have to go to extremes to calm their children during the test-induced periods of sleeplessnes? Sing with Dad here.

5. Did you know that increased stress on children from unstable family environments are more likely to suffer damage to their DNA than do others [SMH 9/04/14]?

6. PNSD – Post Naplan Stress Disorder – is now a fact of life. It lasts a lifetime

7. Can you judge the level of professional integrity and reading proficiency of a person by the level of their use of score-talk or learning-talk? ‘Seasy really. Try it.

Why do we have to treat our young children this way ? The use of NAPLAN testing is clearly damaging to our children on a number of fronts. It is professionally immoral, unnecessary, costly, curriculum wrecking and only serves to line the pockets of identifiable plutocrats and their lobbyists.

There’s too much fear about.

How come that there is no known Australian politician in any party, in any state or federal electorate, who is prepared to stand up for kids with sincere determination and spunk in their party room? If there is, no one has heard about her or him. Is the pay-off so controlled that none dares? It’s truly mystifying that those pollies who have children of their own can follow their party’s low-level ideological processes, its totalitarian party line, so timidly; tolerate the ridiculous score-talk without comment; and allow small children to be stressed sick. Isn’t there a pollie somewhere with the stomach to stand up for kids?

Who will test the party line? Which party?

What if the new power-source, Clive Palmer, almost in command of the Senate, became worried about school children? Let’s pray.

Do Aussie adults really want to perpetuate stress-laden tests?

What ever has happened to social justice for kids?

Who cares?


Please make sure you look at
and tell all parents to keep looking at it.

Expect interesting news this week, if you care about kids facing NAPLAN

Phil Cullen […for kids and stress-free schooling] 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486 07 5524 6443…



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