Education Readings November 28th

By Allan Alach

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

This week’s homework!


Playing Video Games Is Good For Your Brain – Here’s How

One to challenge any preconceived ideas you may have …

“However there is now a wealth of research which shows that video games can be put to educational and therapeutic uses, as well as many studies which reveal how playing video games can improve reaction times and hand-eye co-ordination. For example, research has shown that spatial visualisation ability, such as mentally rotating and manipulating two- and three-dimensional objects, improves with video game playing.”

Looking ahead

Yet another article by UK academic Steve Wheeler – you’ll be starting to think that I have a high regard for him …

“This quote from Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget in 1988 reveals a deep truth that all teachers should apprehend. School is not about teaching subjects, it is about teaching children – and education is not simply about preparing them for a world of work, it is a preparation for life. “

Half of the Statistics in Visible Learning are wrong (Part 2)

If there’s anyone out there who still thinks John Hattie is the ‘rock star of educational research’ (actual phrase used in an Australian newspaper) this may disillusion you.

“Again we are left with two options to choose from

1.   John Hattie is a genius who is doing things that even Mathematicians don’t understand.

2.   John Hattie is a well meaning man with a Social Sciences degree who has made a mistake in using statistical techniques he didn’t realise were unknown to Mathematicians and incorrect.

The choice is yours.”

Teaching neoliberalism: time to replace Ofsted

Ofsted is the English school inspection agency, reputed to cause nightmares wherever they go.

“Ofsted has become a political tool of the GERM project not merely because of senior staff links with academy chains, the recently appointed chair is a trustee of the AET academies chain, but through its judgements on schools being used by the DfE to force academisation of local authority schools, often against vehement parent opposition.”

Creativity is the key to education, so why aren’t we pursuing it?

“Creativity can provide this trend with a home in education; teachers who are able to determine their own teaching methods in response to what children want and need. School is a notoriously divisive experience for people, with many disengaging entirely with it. Surely if the way in which they were taught was responsive  and creative, students will respond better to education.”

Experiential Learning

Good article by Grant Wiggins.

“I always ask all kids when I visit class the three questions at the heart of this caution:

▪ What are you doing?

▪ Why are you doing it?

▪ What does this help you do that’s important?

Alas, many kids do not provide adequate answers. And that’s why we need to worry about merely hands-on learning – even as hands-on learning is vital for making abstractions come to life.”

5 Creativity Myths You Probably Believe

“Let’s start with a fact: We are all capable of conceiving new, useful ideas. Unfortunately our chances of doing this are hampered by a few stubborn myths.These misconceptions cloak creativity in mystique and they foster elitism—the idea that the potential for innovation and imagination is a rare gift enjoyed by only a select few “creative types.” Here we debunk five persistent myths that misrepresent the true neuroscience and psychology of creativity.”

Schools will start teaching typing instead of longhand

What’s your opinion about this?

“Teaching children to write is transitioning to a computer era, as traditional cursive writing and calligraphy will not be taught at Finnish schools after the autumn 2016 and will be replaced with the study of typing skills …”

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

What’s Our Vision for the Future of Learning?

Referred by Bruce’s colleague Wayne Morris:

“The new landscape presents a significant upheaval. Inventors and researchers are increasingly working independently outside academia, finding collegial collaboration in the Global Learning Commons. Learners also find themselves in the driving seat because formal education is no longer the only game in town for those eager to learn. How colleges and universities adapt to the customization and personalization of education will largely determine their survival.”

Creativity – its place in education

Following on, here’s an article by Wayne Morris that lays out his vision for education.

“Creative students lead richer lives and, in the longer term, make a valuable contribution to society. Surely those are reasons enough to bother.”

Noam Chomsky: Independent Thinking Comes Through Discovery

Noam Chomsky sums up the purpose of education in just over one minute!

‘”It doesn’t matter what we cover, it matter what you discover” – In an exclusive interview to WISE, Professor Noam Chomsky speaks about the importance of interaction and participation in the classroom, and what needs to be done to build the future of education.’

How a boy became an artist

“TED Talk: How I become an artist. Importance of art in the life of a young boy who was inspired by two words about his drawing by a visiting author of a picture book. The speaker worries about the lack of imagination in today’s test orientated schools.”

Doodling: A Teacher’s Secret Weapon for Unlocking Learning

Another TED Talk on the importance of doodling in school.

“Despite centuries of teaching otherwise, researchers and thought leaders alike are increasingly rebranding doodling as a source of creativity, engagement, and yes, even keeping students on task. It’s something Sunni Brown, author of the book The Doodle Revolution, articulates well in her 2012 TED Talk, which emphasizes the importance of looking at doodling as something to embrace rather than shame.”

How to tame your inner tiger parent

Bruce’s comment: I have just listened to Tanith Carey author of How to Tame Your Inner Tiger Parent  on National Radio and felt inspired to buy her book. She gave some very sensible advice about parenting and was very critical of the test culture in the UK –a culture we seem to be heading into. The book was inexpensive and I wait eagerly to read it. Schools do feel pressure from parents eager to ensure their children get ahead and ironically their children are suffering anxiety and stress as a result. Learning is the loser.

From Bruce’s ‘oldies but goodies’ file:

Dysfunctional Schools

Bruce’s comment: An oldie but a goody – is it time for teachers to face up to the idea that schools actually harm some students / Shouldn’t the first rule of teaching be ‘to do no harm?’

“I don’t think teachers like to face up to the fact that schooling actually harms many of their students but it is clear, reading Kirsten’s Olsen book, it does. Obviously this harming is not done intentionally but it is all too easy to blame failure on dysfunctional students.”

Self managing learners

Bruce’s comment: Some questions to ask about your students now the end of the year draws near.

“If students are to become ‘active seekers, users and creators of their own knowledge’ then self managing skills need to be ‘taught’ deliberately as an important goal of any classroom. The best way to see if students are self-managing is when the teacher leaves the room . As Art Costa says, if you do , on your return, ‘what intelligent behaviours would you hope to see?’”

What did you steal from your students today?

Bruce’s comment: Poem from John Edwards – what do schools steal from kids?

“I guess the real question is, what do we want our students to leave with so they can continue their learning journey?”


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