Education Readings October 10th

By Allan Alach

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

This week’s homework!


The Perils of Plans: Why Creativity Requires Leaping into the Unknown

Which is a pretty good reason why standardising education is a step back into the past….

“Keats termed the willingness to embrace uncertainty, live with mystery, and make peace with ambiguity “negative capability” and argued that it’s essential to the creative process.

Integrating the 16 Habits of Mind

“The habits themselves aren’t new at all, and significant work has already been done in the areas of these “thinking habits.” However, in a 21st century learning environment — one often inundated with information, stimulation and connectivity — there may be a newfound context for their application.”

The Maker Movement: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants to Own the Future

“From constructivist theories of psychology, we take a view of learning as a reconstruction rather than as a transmission of knowledge. Then we extend the idea of manipulative materials to the idea that learning is most effective when part of an activity the learner experiences is constructing a meaningful product.”

Teachers on naughty step over pupils’ bad behaviour, but Ofsted report is unfair

More teacher blaming from England.

“The report’s headline that a “failure of leadership in tackling poor behaviour” is “costing pupils up to an hour of learning a day” will, of course, worry parents. But, even a cursory reading of the survey data invites scepticism.”

What Happens When Your Teacher Is a Video Game?

More moves towards the corporate vision of computerised instruction to replace humans.

“Rocketship’s model is based on four principles. First, the company cuts costs by eliminating teachers. Starting in kindergarten, students spend about one-quarter of their class time in teacherless computer labs, using video-game-based math and reading applications. The company has voiced hopes of increasing digital instruction to as much as 50 percent of student learning time.”

Online Learning is Just as Effective as Traditional Education, According to a New MIT Study

On the other hand, Tony Gurr tweeted a link to this article. What do you think?

“But a new study from MIT suggests naysayers should think otherwise. Massive open online courses are not only effective, researchers have discovered, they are as effective as what’s being traditionally taught in the classroom — regardless of how prepared or in the know students are.”

How teachers sometimes fool themselves

Another Alfie Kohn article to make you reflect…

“You have to look harder and think deeper to realize that what appears to be progressive instruction sometimes turns out to be more traditional and less impressive than it seemed at first glance. And if it’s your classroom, then acknowledging that possibility may require courage as well as insight.”

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

30 Ideas To Promote Creativity In Learning

“Much of the blame for a lack of creativity, and therefore innovation, can be traced to our traditional educational systems. It relies on teaching to the correct answer.  An innovative thinking model is needed. Robinson recently tweeted an article about a new study that suggested 80% of educators surveyed preferred creativity to be included as part of learning standards.”

What the Marshmallow Test Really Teaches About Self-Control

“One of the most influential modern psychologists, Walter Mischel, addresses misconceptions about his study, and discusses how both adults and kids can master willpower.”

Inspire Thoughtful Creative Writing Through Art

Bruce’s comment: For teachers who believe in integrating the arts into their curriculum check out this excellent link.

“Children naturally connect thoughts, words, and images long before they master the skill of writing. This act of capturing meaning in multiple symbol systems and then vacillating from one medium to another is called transmediation. While using art in the classroom, students transfer this visual content, and then add new ideas and information from their personal experiences to create newly invented narratives.”

Letting Go and Gaining Understanding

Bruce’s comment: Sensible stuff.

Rather than completely overhauling ourselves as teachers, we need to simply feel safe to reexamine how we do things. As I prepare for this school year, I will return to the three big ideas I gleaned from last spring: understanding drives learning, reexamination precedes revolution, and collaboration depends on trust. This school year, reference these concepts to reexamine your differentiation practices in your own classroom.”

30 Inspiring Quotes To Help You Get Through Your Work Day

Bruce’s comment: Some inspirational quotes to share with staff

From Bruce’s oldies but goodies file:

Educational Quotes 5: Leadership and Teamwork

A collection of quotes on leadership.

“Imposed bureaucratic ‘top down’ changes have resulted in school being ‘over managed and under led.’ Now is the time for courageous leaders, at all levels, to emerge and add their ‘voices’ to the debate. There are no experts with ‘the answer’ – we will have to invent the future ourselves together as we go along.”

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