Education Readings August 22nd

By Allan Alach

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

This week’s homework!

Rational And Evidence-Based Responses To Standards Advocates And Critics

This article will provide you with a valuable tool to support all those debates you are having  with pro-GERMers!

“A practical logic problem also exists for those advocating or criticizing standards: If I am teaching, my job is to identify where any student is in her/his learning and then to take that student farther, both in terms of direct teaching and by motivating that student to learn. That fact of real-world teaching renders detailed standards irrelevant because it doesn’t matter what a standard deems any student should know and when since the reality of that student supersedes those mandates.”

What’s the real purpose of educational benchmarking?

Very good article by Andy Hargreaves:

“Is there a second purpose of educational benchmarking then? Is it to delineate the weak from the strong, inciting nation to compete against nation, Americans against Asians, and school against school. After we have pinpointed schools that are failing, does this just make it easier for invading opportunists to set up charter schools in their place, or to market online alternatives, tutoring services and the like?”

The Opposite of Excellence

Another excellent blog by Peter Greene:

“When they talk about highly effective teachers and excellent schools and proficient students, all they are talking about is the scores on a standardized math and reading test. That’s it.”

8 Needs For Project-Based Learning In The 21st Century (thanks Tony Gurr)

“We tend to think of project-based learning as focused on research, planning problem-solving, authenticity, and inquiry. Further, collaboration, resourcefulness, and networking matter too–dozens of characteristics “fit” into project-based learning. Its popularity comes from, among other characteristics, its general flexibility as a curriculum framework. You can do, teach, assess, and connect almost anything within the context of a well-designed project.”

Let’s Stop Trying To Teach Students Critical Thinking

‘The philosopher most associated with the critical spirit is Socrates. In the 1980s, Australian philosopher John Anderson put the Socratic view of education most clearly when he wrote: “The Socratic education begins … with the awakening of the mind to the need for criticism, to the uncertainty of the principles by which it supposed itself to be guided.”’

Never Again! Now The Evidence Is Irrefutable…

Read how three separate groups have taken over American education, then use this to analyse the situation in your own country. Are there any similarities?

“Finally, each group attempting to destroy or reform public education and access the tax dollars citizens pay for public schools, violates some or all of the tenets that guide the education profession. What are some of these tenets?”

Reformers Standardize – Teachers Individualize

“Only in the field of education do we find The Professional completely superfluous. Much has been made of the public’s disregard for teachers: the idea that since you’ve graduated high school, you know what it means to be a teacher. You don’t. You don’t get a teaching certification digging around in a Crackerjack box. People earn genuine college degrees in this – many of them get masters and doctorates. Those degrees even require you to go out and do some actual teaching! Let me assure you, none of it entails reminiscing about your old high school days and all the teachers who were mean to you.”

Shifting The Point Of View

How to best develop the use of technology in education?

“Technology is advancing too fast and its effects on society for today and future are observed clearly by many institutions and they are changing themselves accordingly. Unfortunately educational institutions can not follow them since they are the most resistant ones to change. Most of the schools who are having their technology transformation nowadays are only changing their shop windows. A deeper and more realistic change can not happen until they really shift their perspective from technology to pedagogy.”

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

The Science Behind Classroom Norming

Bruce’s comment:Use this primer on the five stages of norming to establish a positive classroom community.

“Does the norming process take time? Yes, but when students share important values, beliefs, and goals, they accomplish more. Don’t trust me. Trust the science.”

The 5 Critical Categories of Rules

On a similar theme:

“Regardless of whether a school is open and free or traditional, limits or rules are necessary to teach students responsibility. I have identified five areas that I call critical categories which are useful when deciding what rules you need. Because rules work best when students have a say in their selection, I prefer teaching students what these critical categories mean, and developing rules together.”

Back to School: A Surefire Strategy for Building Classroom Community

And another – back to school time must be approaching in the USA!

‘… this post does not address anything related to technology or the CCSS. It addresses a topic of much greater importance — the emotional environment of the classroom. Without an excellent, intentionally designed, emotional environment (one which builds authentic community in the classroom), the standards and the technologies are of little value. As Steven Covey and many others have said, “First things first!”’

20 Things Educators Need To Know About Digital Literacy Skills

Bruce’s comment: Something to think about – even for those who struggle with digital technology.

Teaching digital literacy is about more than just integrating technology into lesson plans; it’s about using technology to understand and enhance modern communication, to locate oneself in digital space, to manage knowledge and experience in the Age of Information.”

Difficult Discussions Are The Most Important Discussions

Bruce’s comment: Making difficult decisions before your ‘train’ goes off the track!

“The best way to prevent a train from heading down the wrong track is candid discussions about the facts and clarity around why the journey should happen. But we need to do a better job at having those tough discussions earlier in the process.”

Universal Design for Learning: A Blueprint for Successful Schools

Bruce’s comment: An excellent 18 minute TED Talk – lessons from flying a jet – personalised talent based learning. A very simple message.

“Teachers confront this challenge with every lesson, activity, and course as they acknowledge that no two students learn the same way. With the added pressure to address standards, integrate technology, and prepare students with 21st Century Skills, consider the potential if school leaders could offer teachers a single strategy that would address all of their students’ needs. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) does just that.”


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