Education Readings June 27th

By Allan Alach

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

This week’s homework!

Education Reform: A National Delusion

An article from USA, but then again, since we unquestionably follow USA education policy, its relevant all over.

“As I watch the education “debate” in America I wonder if we have simply lost our minds. In the cacophony of reform chatter — online programs, charter schools, vouchers, testing, more testing, accountability, Common Core, value-added assessments, blaming teachers, blaming tenure, blaming unions, blaming parents — one can barely hear the children crying out: “Pay attention to us!”’

How To Get Great Teachers

US blogger Peter Greene:

“If you really want to put a great teacher in front of every child, then you need to preserve and enhance a vision of teaching that gives teachers control over their fate, their teaching environment, and the education they provide their students. You need to preserve and enhance a vision of the profession that allows teachers to grow and excel (on their own terms). You need to preserve and enhance a vision of education’s greater purposes, which are so much more than “college and career ready” and “do well on that bubble test.” And you need to offer career pay that means they’re not always wondering how they’ll ever be able to raise a family or buy a home.”

Ineffective Forever

Another blog by Peter Greene, sounding off at the ineffective teacher refrain that is being used to attack the profession around the world and particularly in the so-called Anglo-Saxon countries of England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA. Is this a coincidence? What do you think?

“In other words, by focusing on a bogus definition of effectiveness, you actually have no idea of which teachers are great for a particular classroom. It’s not just that the reformster definition of effective is unjust and unfair; its innate wrongness will actively thwart any attempts to make anything better. It’s almost– almost– as if reformsters actually want public schools to fail.”

On teaching and learning of literacy

Excellent article by reading expert Ken Goodman, contrasting the way children actually learn to read, with the commonly held notion of the technocrats.

“While young children are remarkably able to learn language, they are notably much less able to deal with abstraction. No wonder then they do not succeed well in learning sets of abstractions which not only are what they are taught but which are reified as reading in their tests.”

Teaching can be stressful — children’s lives are at stake

“Yes, teaching can be that stressful. Children’s lives are at stake.

I am not making this up. Psychotherapist Carl Jung might well have had teachers in mind when he proposed the archetype of the wounded healer. Jung believed that, in relating to patients, an analyst can take on their pain, a phenomenon that can be both positive and negative. I know that this experience is part of the psyche of teachers. Teachers take on students’ wounds to gain the blessing: student learning.”

Creativity and education

“Teaching creatively and for creativity entails taking students on a creative journey where their responses are not predetermined. Teaching for creativity means that students will be producing ideas that may well involve novelty and possibly, experimentation. Teachers and students involved in teaching for creativity will be engaged with processes and although products may well be important it is in the process of creation where the true focus lies.”

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

What I’ve Learned During 10 Years In The Classroom

“After all, some things stick with us, becoming our sacred tenets about teaching and learning, shaping our personal and professional lives in profound ways.

Whether you’ve finished your first year, tenth, or fifteenth year in the classroom, the summer weeks (or months, if you are lucky) provide us educators a great opportunity to reflect upon and catalog those ideas, ideals, and insights we carry forward from year to year.”

The Right to Learn – an agenda for the 21stC; challenging the status quo.

Another from Bruce’s oldies but goodies file, looking at the role of technology in education.

“What is required is to dramatically change the way in which teachers teach and children learn – technology will be the key to this transformation.Technology makes personalisation of learning, and child-centred learning, ideals of earlier days, possible.”

The art of making learning fun with drama, music and visual arts

“The program pairs local artists with classroom teachers to develop creative ways to teach some of the drier or more confusing parts of the core curriculum. The teachers identify the concepts that their students struggle with most, and the artists help develop new ways to visualize or act out those ideas.”

Employers’ Challenge to Educators: Make School Relevant to Students’ Lives

Bruce comments: An excellent insight into 21stC education – schools as dream realizers. (Also suggested by Phil Cullen.)

‘“Students are the power tools of change in education,” Miller said. “They are the most ignored and they have the most at stake.” But, as Olin has found, when they are given free range to design, make and innovate they can be very powerful examples of what a great education can produce.’

This week’s contribution from Phil Cullen:

Why can’t schools focus on the whole child again?

Also suggested by Bruce!

“What has happened to us in our country that we have forgotten that education can be such a joy? How did it all become such a deadly grind? I am inspired by the Green School in a way that I have rarely been inspired by any institution – so much so that I am already making concrete inquiries about getting my kids into the place.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s