By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s homework!
Hattie’s research: egregious errors
Distinguished New Zealand educator Kelvin Smythe has vehemently disagreed with John Hattie for many years. Here’s his latest salvo that attacks the dubious basis of his ‘research’ and subsequent conclusions, which are then used to reinforce neoliberal education agendas.
“Hattie does not really discuss, present, or defend his curriculum or education conclusions on the basis of the range of known arguments but on what his statistics demonstrate. In this age of the obsession with certainty based on numbers, Hattie has settled on a winning combination, and when presented by a professor of considerable standing, his conclusions are difficult to touch let alone challenge. And with Hattie it is not just numbers but numbers gigantism.”
All artists have ADD, me included says Sam Neill
Consider the points that Sam makes when considering the children in your class. Are you overlooking the artists?
“If I could have your attention for just one minute please… if you would… all right, half a minute would be fine then, if that’s all you’ve got. If I might ask, exactly how distracted are you? Do you have, like me, the concentration span of a mosquito? Can you get to the end of this article without wondering what leftovers are in the fridge, if QI is on the telly tonight, or if indeed it is Thursday at all? I ask this because we have some of what ‘experts’ call Attention Deficit Disorder in my family.”
The Myth of Multitasking And What It Means For Learning
“Supported by research into how the brain functions, Dr Deak argues that the brain is only able to focus deeply on one task at a time. And not only that, trying to do too many things at once causes the brain to lose the capacity for deep thinking altogether.”
The Rock Lady
Another essential read from Kelvin Smythe, this time describing REAL learning.
‘“If you want to explain the holistic, holistic evaluation, an example of the structure of an holistic activity, an holistic question, the ideal of teaching as it used to be, how to be a great teacher, the antithesis of John Hattie’s philosophy – the true story that follows is it. For me, this story from the ‘80s is an icon. If someone asks me: How could I be a better teacher? I say, read this, absorb this, now go forth and teach.’
25 Things Skilled Learners Do Differently
“Why some of us master them earlier than others is another topic, one that may have something to do with parenting, environment, and even genetics. But the point is, we’re all capable. The smartest, most successful people in the world wouldn’t be where they are today if they weren’t skilled learners. So let’s examine which strategies we should be perfecting and how they can serve us in the long run.”
A therapist goes to middle school and tries to sit still and focus. She can’t. Neither can the kids.
I can relate to this!
“Except for brief periods of getting up and switching classrooms, I’ve been sitting for the past 90 excruciating minutes. I look down at my leg and notice it is bouncing. Great, I think to myself, now I’m fidgeting! I’m doing anything I can to pay attention – even contorting my body into awkward positions to keep from daydreaming. It is useless, I checked out about forty-five minutes ago. I’m no longer registering anything the teacher is saying. I look around the room to see how the children a few decades younger than me are doing.”
Seriously, Why Are You Still In Education?
“Why are our reform voices not being heard above the clamor and strife of recent events? Not that it’s pleasant or easy. No one relishes staring down racism, confronting poverty and calling out injustice. But this is the cancer eating away at society. Either we fight it aggressively or accept a terminal diagnosis. To beat it, we need a new kind of leadership in education; educators who have a seriousness of mind and commitment of purpose to push the profession past where it’s stuck.”
This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:
Why Learning Innovation Can’t Come From Teachers Alone
Bruce’s comment: Who is right does an over focus on standards limit creativity?
“When is the last time you’ve walked into a classroom and seen real joy for learning and understanding? Not simply a fun activity, or students enjoying working together, or even vague engagement, but rather resonating, engrossed, curiosity-driven and rigorous learning that changes kids from the inside out?”
Arts Education Transforms Societies
Bruce’s comment: Importance of the arts.
“Although many people may agree that arts (music, theatre, dance, visual, media, literary and more) are an important part of education, they may not realize the powerful trickle-up effect of arts education on a modern, innovative workforce. Indeed, arts education has the power to transform societies for the better.”
Accountability: Do we mean the same thing?
Food for thought…
“So, the word accountability is thrown around a lot in education, but the more I hear the word, the more I think we are really saying different things…”
Bruce comments: Got a bee in my bonnet about ability grouping at the moment… the unintended consequences of ability grouping.
Research Spotlight on Academic Ability Grouping
Bruce’s comment: A taken for granted assumption underpinning most school is the unquestioned use of ability grouping or in some situations streaming. What are your views on the use of ability grouping. We see them as the most destructive element of traditional education. The trouble is with things taken for granted , as Abraham Lincoln once said, is that they’re taken for granted! Personalised programmes require rethinking about the use of ability grouping/streaming, setting etc. The trouble is as school are increasingly being compared by achievement results there is pressure to use ability grouping.
“The educational practice of ability grouping emerged around the turn of the 20th century as a way to prepare students for their “appropriate” place in the workforce (Cooper, 1996). Students with high abilities and skills were given intense, rigorous academic training while students with lower abilities were given a vocational education.”
Is Ability Grouping the Way to Go — Or Should It Go Away?
Bruce’s comment: Should we untrack our schools? Does streaming within class ( ability grouping) or school wide (division of students into specialised academies) do any good?
“So is tracking a fair way for educators to deal with the wide disparity in students’ abilities? Or is it a form of discrimination that has few benefits for students and ought to be outlawed? The issue has been the subject of debate for many years—and will be for years to come. One thing is certain: Further research is essential for educators (and, perhaps, for the courts) charged with making informed decisions about the advantages or disadvantages of ability grouping.”
From Bruce’s ‘oldies but goodies’ file …
More on ability grouping …
Ability Grouping – unintended consequences for learners and teachers.
- A need for a new transformational mindset for teaching to develop the talents and gifts of all students.
“When I taught I chose, against advice of the school, not to use ability grouping instead choosing to help students individually, or in small groups skills required and then returning students back to whatever they were studying. The teachers who were advising me seemed to spend most of their day worrying about reading and mathematics whereas I wanted to focus on inquiry studies, language and the creative arts.”
Teachers using ability grouping contributing to growing inequality in schools!!
Bruce’s comment: And some NZ research about teachers with the highest expectations of students who choose not to use ability grouping. This research shows that the use of ability grouping is adding to the growing achievement gap in schools. Time to change.
“Several studies have shown that high expectation differ from low expectations in three key areas: they do not use ability groups, they create a warm class climate, and they set clear learning goals with their students. At the heart of these difference, in my opinion is the use of flexible groupings rather than ability grouping.’”