Treehorn is Every Child
TREEHORN, the name given by Florence Parry Heide to a little lad who kept shrinking but nobody noticed, represents all boys and girls. Nobody notices school children; adults indifferently ignore almost every single child from the day it starts going to school. NOBODY cares…..really…. about the way that schooling should be conducted for Australian children. Our historically petrified, pest’em-test’em State Theory of schooling stresses–out keen learners…. socially, emotionally and intellectuality; and ,so, their cognitive capacities are not stretched to any decent extent. Some of their more zombic mentors even think that test-stress itself is good for children; in the same way that measles are good for their complexion. SO, Treehorn and his friends keep shrinking intellectually, emotionally and academically. Nobody worries.
Read this booklet if you think that schooling is important..The material contains topics that those with a genuine interest in schooling like to talk about. Each topic and each cartoon in this little booklet has meaning. Each helps each one of us to think about schooling, and learning. Please feel free to print it as a booklet and share or its parts with others.
P.2 This inside-cover tableau has its genesis in Pasi Sahlberg’s [Finland] original comparisons between the aims of the Australian National GERM and the aims of LEARNING systems of schooling, like Finland. It’s not complicated.
P.3 This first cartoon’s origins are uncertain. It represents a meeting of ‘stockholmed’ principals, many of whom hold high positions in teacher organisations, high on the hierarchical scale of a state, church or other school system, are hard workers; and generally considered to be regarded as ones who ‘run a good school’. They’re immobile and sterile in an educational sense. When it comes to the exercise of professional ethics and belief in children as learner-children, their professional mind finds refuge under the soil.
In milder terms, Kelvin Smythe describes such ‘educators’ as Dr. Strangeloves after the doctor played by Peter Sellars in How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb [Substitute ‘NAPLAN’ for ‘bomb’ and you get the picture], “..strangegloving principals do not, at base, have to learn to love the government lines; it is inherent in their intellectual and moral make-up. That is because we have much less free will than we think. Strangeloving principals, while often very competent principals, feel morally lost going against authority, they need someone to trust and believe in – so feel impelled to strangeloving.” .
P.4 The photograph of the message on the pupil’s shirt says it all in a few words. There are a few thinking C2000 schools around Australia and America with parents who are prepared to go to these lengths for their kids. God bless them and their spunk.
P.5 Inspired by Freeman Butts – Assumptions Underlying Australian Education – 1955 – this page displays how little we have learned about ourselves over the past 60 years. Great book. Sad. Still relevant. We still ignore all decent research into teaching and learning; and blindly follow the quantitative modes of mediaeval times. Stress and test .
P.6 This page contains a sincere and serious prayer: “Please revitalise our professional dignity…” [Pray sincerely at this point]; then there’s a telling comment from a mother ; and then a model of Australia’s testing factories spewing Creativity, Disciple and Intelligence out of the system as waste; replaced by mortar-boards. Who’s got the best stress and test factory? That’s the purpose, right?
P.7 Here are some more serious assumptions. For instance, we often forget that: how Australian teachers teach and what to teach, whether good or bad, is in the hand of just one person in Australia, usually a politician whose experiences of schooling are negative in terms of knowledge and experience. Yes. One person only decides….based mostly on whims of the moment. The present one subscribes to the ancient chalk-talk theory of schooling without reference to classroom research nor to holistic learning.
P.8-12 Kelvin Smythe describes, in this brilliant summary, the basics of a realistic school system that (1) keeps the pupil in the middle of each teacher’s eye, (2) is based on high ethical principles and (3) encourages the freedom to learn without limits.
P.13-14 Who is Treehorn? As Florence Parry Heidie says…..he’s every little child. What have we adults done to him?
P. 15 ‘ N.A.P.L.A.N. ‘ – the poem by Ray Kelley.
P.16-17 If parents are not allowed to decide for themselves whether their child is to be kleinised or not, school systems of the future should reserve a few billion dollars for some push-over anti-test-stress litigation.
P.18-20 A proper Head Teacher aka Principal talks about the way that his/her school will progress using the humanity, the challenge and the pleasure of the learning experience.
P 21 “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think “ [Socrates]
P.22 Quotable Quotes
P.23 A Case Study in ‘ethical’ political command by the Federal Minister for Education.
P.24 A teacher-aide describes how she navigated life at school.
P.25 A series of “What if?” questions, the most telling of all : “What if Julia Gillard had not shared cocktails with Joel Klein in New York in 2007?”
P.26 The true origin of the Australian system of schooling aka Testucation 2007.