Education Readings July 12

By Allan Alach

Here’s this week’s mixture of articles. Expect the next issue when it arrives, as I’m off to France at the end of the week.

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

This week’s homework!

A Close Look At Close Reading

“David Coleman and other proponents of close reading clearly don’t have respect for students or the learning process. Common Core’s emphasis on deep analysis of text and close reading is an inappropriate and misguided approach to reading instruction that will discourage and dispirit many students.”

Why the World of Public Education Has Never Been Worse, and Why I’m Excited To Be a Teacher Anyway

Another Peter Greene blog, written about the USA but with obvious relevance all over.

‘A far-reaching network of rich and powerful men is working to take the public education system as we know it and simply make it go away, to be replaced by a system that is focused on generating profit rather than educating children. Teachers have been vilified and attacked. Our professional skills have been questioned, our dedication has been questioned, and we have been accused of dereliction and failure so often that now even our friends take it as a given that “American schools are failing.”’

The Brave New World of Twenty-First Century Learning (A Retort)

“A central tenet of twenty-first century education is the child-centred approach – which boils down to placing the needs, interests and personal background of our students above the syllabus. The problem with trying to ‘measure’ memorization skills (by looking at test results, for example) is that it seeks to measure an outcome that is not the top priority in 21st century teaching (marks / grades / results), using a methodology that is outdated (tests / exams / memorization tasks). It’s a bit like estimating the age of the earth: now that we have better methods, we can use better means of measurement in order to gain better evidence and arrive at better results.”

The Struggles and Realities of Student-Driven Learning and BYOD

New Zealand Labour Party – take note.

“The reality is that while some teachers have found powerful ways to use mobile devices — both those owned by students and those purchased by the school — teachers at schools in very low-income areas are often battling a persistent student culture of disengagement. Many students have learning gaps that make it hard for them to stay interested in grade level materials and little desire to be in school at all.”

To Close the Achievement Gap, We Need to Close the Teaching Gap

US educator Linda Darling-Hammond – another one to add to your follow list.

“Countries where teachers believe their profession is valued show higher levels of student achievement. Nations that value teaching invest more in high-quality professional learning — paying the full freight for initial preparation and ongoing professional development, so that teachers can continually become more capable. To recruit and retain top talent and enable teachers to help all children learn, we must make teaching an attractive profession that advances in knowledge and skill, like medicine and engineering.”

Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today

“Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist and the founder of TimberNook, a nature-based development program designed to foster creativity and independent play outdoors in New England, suggests yet another reason more children are being diagnosed with ADHD, whether or not they really have it: the amount of time kids are forced to sit while they are in school.”

“In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order to pay attention, we need to let them move.”

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

This week’s collection from Bruce all come from his oldies but goodies file. Bruce has been writing on New Zealand educational issues for many years and was one of my main inspirations in my school principal days.

On Knowing – Jerome Bruner

He comments “Love Jerome Bruner – best quote ‘teaching is the canny art of intellectual temptation.’

“Schools are special communities where students are challenged ‘leap into new and unimagined realms of experience’ so as to ‘open new perspectives’.

Einstein, Darwin, da Vinci & Mozart et all – lessons from the Masters. Based on the book ‘Mastery’ by Robert Greene.

“As teachers we need to focus on what it is that individual students are interested in. It was an interest in nature that drove Darwin, an obsession with observing that drove Leonardo da Vinci and an interest in magnetic force as a five year old that drove Einstein – Darwin , Einstein and da Vinci became obsessed with the search and the process of creating.”

The End of Education: Russell Hvolbek — February 06, 2012

“I argue that as we absorb the socio-economic values of our age, an age ruled by business, we have drifted away from what we in the educational community should be doing: teaching students to think, to see, to read, and to write. Education as a dwelling in the human experience of reality is ending. As with the Roman Empire, it is ending with a whimper, not a bang. The root of the problem is that we have absorbed the socio-economic and intellectual values of our age, an age ruled by business and science.”

L.I.S.P. New Zealand’s lost research!

This innovation in Science teaching was superb and it was a real tragedy that it was lost in the rush to standards based instruction.

“Learners must actively construct, or generate, meaning for themselves from their own experiences. No one can do it for them. Knowledge is constructed from within. Learners must take a major responsibility for his/her own learning behaviour. Without some appreciation of the learners existing framework of ideas successful teaching becomes difficult.”

Sharing the wisdom of creative teachers – the agenda for the future.

Very relevant, given current New Zealand government education policies, that mirror GERM policies from the USA and UK.

“Learning from other teachers, both within and between schools, is the most powerful form of professional development. Every teacher respects and appreciates the reality that any such advice is based in contrast to many current advisers who , more often than not ,  give advice about things they have never put into practice. That school leadership has not taken advantage of expertise between schools has meant that wisdom and an opportunity for teacher leadership has been lost.”

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