Education Readings July 4th

By Allan Alach

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

This week’s homework!

School starting age: the evidence

Hey school deformers, here’s some more evidence for you to ignore …

“This is a brief review of the relevant research evidence which overwhelmingly supports a later start to formal education. This evidence relates to the contribution of playful experiences to children’s development as learners, and the consequences of starting formal learning at the age of four to five years of age

There are several strands of evidence which all point towards the importance of play in young children’s development, and the value of an extended period of playful learning before the start of formal schooling. These arise from anthropological, psychological, neuroscientific and educational studies.”

Happy Teaching, Happy Learning: 13 Secrets to Finland’s Success

I haven’t posted anything about Finland for some time – nothing new here, but its important that the message isn’t overlooked.

“The teachers and students that I observed were happy. Students seemed to actually be enjoying their learning experiences, and teachers appeared satisfied and valued.

It made me wonder: “What makes school in Finland such an enjoyable experience for students and teachers?” Here are 13 factors that I identified.”

A School Built Entirely Around the Love of Math

I wonder how this will turn out?

“In fall 2015, a small, independent school that’s exclusively tailored for math whizzes will open in downtown San Francisco. Designers of the new, non-profit Proof School intend to provide mathematically gifted youth an intensive and complete education in grades 6-12 that typical schools can’t muster. The pupils will learn advanced areas of math, such as number theory topics that a university math major or graduate student might tackle. They’ll work on math research projects, and engage in community service through math tutoring.”

What Young Children Can Get Out Of Technology—And What They Can’t

“Advocates for technological tools tout their capacity to teach young children about letters, numbers, and every informational topic under the sun. These kids are growing up in a digital world, the e-enthusiasts point out, so why wait to expose them to the electronic riches the rest of us enjoy? Others, however, urge caution. Research on the effects of digital media use is still spotty, they note, especially where very young children are concerned.”

College Ready vs. Out-of-Basement Ready: Shifting the Education Paradigm

Yong Zhao – is any other comment necessary?

“… education has been preparing our students for an economy that no longer exists. Technology and globalization have transformed our society. Machines and off-shoring have led to the disappearance of traditional middle class jobs—jobs our education have been making our children ready for.”

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Teachers have been led down the wrong path these past decades – time to control their own journey.

From Bruce’s oldies but goodies file.

“The imposed accountability model being imposed on schools have their roots in the discipline of economics rather than education. Education has been reduced to metrics, standardised teaching through ‘best practices’, endless testing and aggregated data to assess ‘added value’. Unfortunately this approach fails to capture the complex factors that go into teaching and learning and misses encouraging creativity, innovation and the tapping of the diverse talents of students.”

Students Learn by Making ‘Stuff’

Bruce’s comment: Importance of making stuff – authentic learning.

“When I look at this stuff made by children, I see something that matters not just to the students who created them, but to their families, communities, educators, and the general public. Although they are just eleven or twelve years old, McMains’ students learned how to work in teams, get feedback from experts, peers, and teachers; and research and revise like real authors, artists, and designers. They grappled with and overcame the challenge of making something that makes a difference by educating and inspiring real people.”

5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students

Some very useful questions to develop student’s thinking.

“Many would agree that for inquiry to be alive and well in a classroom that, amongst other things, the teacher needs to be expert at asking strategic questions not only asking well-designed ones, but ones that will also lead students to questions of their own.”

The 100 Best Video Sites For Educators

“Bringing multimedia into the classroom is a great way to engage students in learning. Supplementing lessons, opening up new interests, and offering inspiration, online videos make for an incredible teaching tool. In 2010, we covered our favorite 100 video sites for educators, and we’ve now updated our list for 2012 with more than 100 resources and more than 25 brand new entries. Read on, and you’ll be able to check out the very best sources for educational videos on the web.”

Worse than Michelle Rhee: Teachers and public schools have a shocking new enemy

Would you believe unions are worse than terrorists?

“How did teachers and their unions – those bastions of labor rights, loyal supporters of Democratic candidates, and frontline troops educating the nation’s children – become equal to zealots who turned the mass slaughter of school children and teachers – yes, teachers were killed that day – in Newtown, Connecticut, into a rationale to advocate for more guns and fewer restrictions on firearms?”

Everyone – an education they are best fitted for so as to develop the fullest extent of their powers.

Going back to principles that underpinned the First Labour Government

Bruce’s latest blog article, that refers back to this quote that still cannot be surpassed.

‘…that every person whatever his level of academic ability, whether rich or poor, whether he lives in the town or the country, has a right as a citizen to a free education of the kind best fitted and to the fullest extent of his power……(and that this ) will involve the reorientation of the education system.’


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