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.’

Julia & Tony on same wave.

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

The Lib-Lab Dynamic

Julia & Tony, together. 

Julia and Tony



“Australia deserves to have the best education system in the world; but we decided to have the New York system instead.” [Idea from Wilcox]


Before: Jeff Mullins used to run a “Difference of Opinion “ show on ABC TV . On 26 Feb., 2007 he arranged a four person panel to debate current educational issues. This program was conspicuous for showing how the school-experienced lady was able to flatten the sciolistic denigration of schools and teachers. This was an example of how dangerous superficial knowledge of schooling can be. This is a transcript. Kerry O’Brien interviewed two politicians on 28 February 2007, both of whom seem to believe that testing solves everything. You will notice Ms Bishop’s comments about Yrs.3,5,7,9 tests to be introduced by Julia the following May. The Lib-Lab neoliberal coalition’s commitment to tough-love didacticism in the classroom is on show here!

After: ‘Sixty Minutes’ on 20 September 2013 seemed to convince Ray Martin and many others that all was not well in Dystralia. Paul Thomson of Kimberley College, Carbrook featured in the program. This program was presented at the same time as the NAPLAN data was revealed; when middle to lower class schools are supposed to make their public acts of contrition and promise to force kids to do better in 2014. Rupert would not have been happy with this presentation, so we should not expect any more of its kind for a long while.


Are the kids in New York better at learning than Aussie kids?

In what emotional state does personal, lasting, useful learning best take place.
Don’t emotions determine our attitude?
What happens to my learning desire during imposed testing time?
What best motivates a learner ? Fear ? Stress? Threats? Encouragement? Shared love of a topic? Shared evaluation of progress?
Can I be forced to learn if I don’t want to?
Do teachers have a personal definition of LEARNING and do they deliberately teach pupils to love it?
Or do they concentrate on top-down mumbo-jumbo?

How do one-hit, frozen-in-time, fear-based, standardised, state-wide, cold, sternly-supervised tests motivate learners?
Tell me about emotions and learning; and memory. Please explain. Tell me about emotions and learning; and durability.
Next week-end….Treehorn Express…..Derek Hedgcock : “Dangerous Ideas”
‘In this day and age, there is no excusing whatsoever, the emotions based ills that NAPLAN and its brethren perpetrate upon modern education.”


Phil Cullen […….giving a damn] 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486 07 5524 6443

She’s back

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

She’s back

    Yes. She’s back. 

Did you get any sort of heartache or tear-jerk feeling or some kind of emotional upset when you first saw this? Did you?

It is real. IT IS NAPLAN IN ACTION. It is part of the NAPLAN doctrine….to cause stress. It’s a form of child abuse, against all basic principles of the rights of the child.

If you don’t feel upset when you look at her now, then I hope that you never become a teacher. If you are a teacher and are undisturbed by this image, do the country a favour and quit.

If you are one of those ‘tough-love’ donks….”won’t do her any harm……toughen her up….teach her what life is all about” then get off the planet. You’re a threat to society.

And yet. We [the voting public] ordinary folk won’t do anything about it. NOT A MURMUR. It’s as if average Australian citizens support an anti-child jihad designed to destroy the personal comfort and well-being of school children, as soon as they turn seven-years-of-age.

It’s real. Those who organise and run schools are more culpable than any others. Unthinking State Ministers continue to neglect their responsibilities to care for kids. They carry the can. They have the political power to cease the abuse immediately. Principals have the professional power to do much the same. They just need to say, “No more!” for pure professional reasons. Immediately. Teachers have the union power. They have to negotiate and tend to talk too much. Parents have real power. It just takes so long…one at a time saying “No!”; although they do have heaps of organisational muscle if they wish to use it.
It’s all so sad. Nobody uses the power that they have. Kids bawl their eyes out. Vomit. Don’t sleep. Don’t eat. Nobody cares.


The nastiness has a profound effect. Derek Hedgcock says that “Emotional wellbeing is the essence of beneficial learning.” “Emotions determine what we learn and what we forget”
He asks whether our benighted testucating commanders “….understand that learner variation exists across emotionally connected dimensions as a compelling, ineluctable, genetically inherited disposition…..only modified and ameliorated by nurture…..
….as opposed to coercion… one-size-fits-all assessment and instruction strategies that are morally reprehensible…. in an age when scientific discovery reveals more just and diversely accommodation alternatives for education to explore, apply and refine.”

Derek writes “Dangerous Ideas” for this week-end’s Treehorn Express. He follows Kelvin Smythe who illustrates conclusively that some terrible things have been perpetrated on children because school education has not been run in good faith; and fits with my own paper, earlier, which points out that such child-abusive operations are embedded in our culture because of the prevailing totalitarian notions of governance. The neoliberal coalition of ideologies shared by the major parties in Australia is responsible for the maintenance of these purulent coercion and threat processes, because their big-business masters want it that way – for profit – and because they do not know any other way.

They just don’t care about kids. This unfortunate little girl cries so profusely because they all want her to react this way. Fear is the essential element of NAPLAN. This image reflects what is happening to thousands and thousands of her age cohort every May….and we don’t seem to give a damn. It’s not to our credit that we allow it to continue.

Fear-based schooling in Australia is only available through the government agencies of Murdoch and Pearson.

Phil Cullen […….giving a damn] 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486 07 5524 6443      http://qldprimaryp[