Education Readings January 30th

By Allan Alach

Another New Zealand school year is about to start, so I guess that means I need to unpack my brain and get started on this year’s education readings.

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

This week’s homework!

Can Lego Help Return Play to Children’s Lives and Education?

Peter Gray commenting on a Lego Foundation conference – a good read.

“..there was no real discussion of the meaning of “play” (at least none that I heard), and I wish there had been, because many speakers used the term to refer to activities that neither I nor most children would class as play. They used the term to describe activities that teachers could bring into the classroom for the explicit purpose of teaching certain lessons, lessons that are part of the school curriculum and would ultimately be measured by scores on tests.”

When you innovate are you a puzzle builder or quilt maker?

Interesting video:

“When you don’t ‘get’ something, when there’s something you’ve not got that gets in the way of building your idea, do you put your hands up and wait until the next piece in your puzzle becomes available, or do you just make stuff happen with the resources you’ve got – are you a puzzle maker who struggles when a piece is missing or a quilt maker who makes the best out of what you have?”

Workload forcing new teachers out of the profession, survey suggests

An article from England, however from what I read online this is a widespread concern.

“Almost three quarters (73%) of trainee and newly qualified teachers (NQTs) have considered leaving the profession, according to a new survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. Heavy workloads are wreaking havoc among new recruits as 76% of respondents cited this as the main reason they considered quitting.”

What’s Worth Learning in School?

Thanks to Ivon Prefontaine for the link to this. Ivon’s Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity site is well worth following.

‘“You’ve been teaching long enough to be pretty sure that hand is going to go up as soon as you got started on this topic, and so it does, with an annoying indolence. All right. You gesture toward the hand, Let’s hear it.

The student: ‘Why do we need to know this?’”

Seven ways schools kill the love of reading in kids — and 4 principles to help restore it

“This post by Alfie Kohn explains all the ways that school actually kills a desire to read in many kids, and how that can be remedied.”

Great Research

Jamie McKenzie:

“Students must make answers. The research is like a shopping trip to find the raw ingredients that will be chopped up and combined to cook a great stew or sauce. Cooking should involve more than heating up “store bought” dishes in the microwave.”

5 Devastating Facts About Charter Schools You Won’t Hear from the ‘National School Choice Week’ Propaganda Campaign

“Children who are better resourced with more family support are the winners in the school choice game. Children from disorganized families don’t even enter the lottery. Children with significant special needs are not well served in charter schools that lack the appropriate resources. The privatization of our schools puts public schools at a huge disadvantage, stranding the least advantaged and disabled in underfunded, under-resourced schools.”

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Beginning the school year with the end in mind ( Steven Covey)

Bruce wrote this article for New Zealand teachers who are about to enter the fray for the new school year; however it has relevance all over.

“A few years ago Steven Cover wrote a popular book called ‘The Seven Habits of Effective People’. One of Covey’s effective habits  was  to ‘begin with the end in mind’.I think it very important advice for teachers starting with a new class. What would you like the class to be like at the end of the year? What habits, dispositions, attitudes, competencies and behaviours would you ideally like to be in place?”

Insights into Student Motivation

“Motivating students is always a hot topic among education writers and researchers, but never more so than the last several years. This MiddleWeb Resource Roundup gathers blog posts, interviews and studies centering on some of the recent commentary on intrinsic and extrinsic sources of motivation.”

My Longstanding Beef with Instructional Leaders

Bruce’s comment: Are principals really’ instructional leaders’  or’ lead teachers’? Do you go to your principal for help or to an admired fellow teacher? The reality of the principal’s role is to create conditions to encourage creativity and to trust teachers.

‘When the mic finally came to me, I pushed back at the notion that principals are truly the instructional leaders of any school.  “How can you REALLY be the instructional leaders,” I argued, “when no one has ever seen you teach?!”’

The Past, Present And Future Of High-Stakes Testing

Bruce’s comment: The state of testing – is USA the model to follow? This testing obsession must never take over New Zealand schools!

“I’ve just written a book on this topic, The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing — But You Don’t Have to Be, and Steve Inskeep sat down with me to ask me a few questions about it.”

Andrew McAfee: What will future jobs look like?

Bruce’s comment: This  TED talk by the author of The Second Machine Age  is a must to watch about the future of jobs in the coming decades. It is a positive message. Schools need to be about encouraging exploration, imagination and creativity – not the current push towards standardisation ( which has more to do with the first Industrial Age. Be great to show to staff and senior students.  Andrew Mcafee gives a powerful quote about education ‘I learnt in Montessori school that the world was interesting and it was my job to explore it. Then I went to public school – it was like being in the Gulag’.

8 Myths That Undermine Educational Effectiveness

Bruce’s comment: The real truth – myths about education. How many apply in NZ? (or in your location, wherever that may be).

“Certain widely-shared myths and lies about education are destructive for all of us as educators, and destructive for our educational institutions. This is the subject of 50 Myths & Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education, a new book by David Berliner and Gene Glass, two of the country’s most highly respected educational researchers. Although the book deserves to be read in its entirety, I want to focus on eight of the myths that I think are relevant to most teachers, administrators, and parents.”

Straya Day Awards

Treehorn:  What’s wrong with a pupil-centred, achievement-focussed, test-free, holistic schooling system ?   Why can’t we kids have it?
Aussie Kleinist Testucator:   What’s wrong with a fear-based, tension-building, teacher-squirming, scoring-based system ? We’ve got it. We like it. You lump it.
Aussie Friends of Treehorn
Strayan Hood Awards
Gold Hood
The highest award of the Strayan Day handouts went to TREEHORN for gross educo-political naivety.  His Tonyness, devoted squire for Australia’s Emperor [who art in New York and next in line for a hood],  Australia’s loftiest of Autocrats, sometimes called ‘Captain’, granted the Golden Hood to Treehorn using his oft quoted observation that “We can’t stop people being homeless – I mean ‘stupid’ –  if that is their choice.”  That’s Treehorn.
His Tonyness said : To be known as Sir Green and Shrinking, Treehorn and his companions deserve this award. They have to realise that holistic, achievement-focussed, pupil-oriented learning is ‘dead, buried and cremated.’ This is the era of old-fashioned British Grammar School kinds of instruction with exceptionally heavy emphasis on success at knowing only what can be rigorously tested on paper or machine, arranged by psycho-metrics. No wink-wink about it.  Dills.
In added comment,  his loyal kleinists, busily preparing the gas chambers for this year’s intake, reminded Treehorn and other anti-naplanners and  distressed test-queer school kids, that they have as much chance of attracting sympathy from the Pavlov-conditioned bystanders, as the Jews had of having Auschwitz disapproved by sympathetic bystanders. Who cares?
Sir Green : Get nicked, Lord Tony and Sir Stufferupper 
Silver Hoods
His Tonyness:  Christmirror Plasticpine, for the introduction of endless ‘whatevers’ to Australian schooling.
                         You shall be known forthwith as Sir Stufferupper, keeper of reliteratized  versions of a schooling Napalm and the dogged maintenance of hysterical versions of the curriculum.
Sir Stuff:   I do my best, Your Blessed Tonyness.
His Tonyness: Rampant Muchaquid, for making tons of money from the plight of Treehorns, those funny little creatures that keep getting under our boots…and need your kind of stamping upon.
                        I shall dub you, Sir Amplify Big Apple, in accordance with your wishes.  You represent the best of RLoyal American Australians.
Sir Rampant: Thanks Tony. You are a good obedient lad.  Half the lies they tell about your supervision of my empire , aren’t true. You’ve done good. Not sure about you-know-who.
His Tonyness : Mr. Squeeky Kleen , other foreigners [although; NY is home really – like – our capital] like Sir Fill and Sir Rampant – we don’t care much where our hoods come from –  your Wallest blue blood makes you an admirable standard bearer for those without standards.
                         You shall be Sir Testalot of Brooklyn [as announced on Straya Day] in recognition of your control from far, far away, of your sweet-talk control of the big end of Australia and of your ability to buck up its system.
Sir Testalot: Any time, Jewel—oops— Tony.
His Tonyness: Ms.  Con. Hardard, for ability to corral and sweet talk any person or group of persons at any time for any purpose, nefarious or otherwise. It’s a unique skill possessed only by unique Australians, despite the level of suckerness of their victims.
                        You will be called Dame Super- Drover, defender of Murdochism, Kleinism, the American Way,  and scourge of minor herds like teachers and principals.
Dame Super : I will not be lectured-….oops….thank you, dear Tony
Translation available
Any connection to First Dog On The Moon is intended…..with thanks.
Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486   07 5524 6443

Treehorn is back.

Treehorn: What’s wrong with child-centred, achievement-focussed, holistic primary schooling ? Why can’t we have it?
Tesucator  [Pyne, Gillard, Klein etc.] :- What’s wrong with fear-based, tension-building, teacher-squirming, subject-hate schooling?  We’ve got it.  We like it.

The Treehorn Express
Treehorn is the hero of a children’s book called The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heidi. It’s about a small boy with enormous problems, who remained totally ignored by all adults, including his parents, teachers and principal during an important period in his life. Like all young school pupils, he came to learn that adults don’t take much notice of school kids, no matter how dire the circumstances. Children are left on their own to survive, despite the stress that  some very cruel adults impose on them – like the operators and users of NAPLAN the Wombat tests. The Shrinking of Treehorn is a powerful story with a morally-stunning conclusion.
Treehorn Everychild is Back
Although some would think that we anti-Naplanners, anti-N.Z. ‘Standards’ and anti-NCLB would be black and blue in parts from the battering by those adult psycho-metricating DRBs who, apparently, despise kids and who believe that inhumane, rigorous, high stakes testing makes children learn things when they try to pass their peculiar tightly-scripted,  number-based tests, and, as well, even more stupidly, also believe that their kind of testing is the only way of diagnosing kids’ problems……
but note …This ‘Care-For-Kids’ Treehorn group does not give in easily. Every child abused, like Treehorn, can now be heartened by the news that  increasing numbers of parents, well and truly mushroomed until now,  are becoming more and more disgusted by the stories of abuse and mental cruelty that children must tolerate, and  are saying “NO to NAPLAN”; and statistics are showing that the NAPLAN experiment, based on really cock-eyed principles of learning,  has been a waste of money, brains and time.   Yes!
This is the year of saying NO by those mums who genuinely care about the learning welfare of their children. 
Of course, there are three other kinds:-  1.the tiger-mums whose self-esteem is determined by their children’s scores [and try coaching, stimulants, rewards, anything];  2. parents who are ‘sucked into the fear factor’ [‘didn’t do me any harm’] and 3. those who just ‘go with the flow’.  They’re all a worry.
Really. Australian children don’t have to do the NAPLAN tests if they [through their parents] don’t want to.
The Kleinist pollies and flunkies  have come a gutsa….a big gutsa. Their tests are proving destructive as is being shown by their effects on the curriculum, the sickness of children, the Am I failing... or is it the test?concern, disgust  and anguish of teachers, the questioning by parents and by reliable research, the most recent comprehensive study supplied by Trevor Cobbold in January…. extremely revealing. This research has been ignored by our psycho-metric leadership. Too hot to handle! Those state and federal pollies with their own school age children should be ashamed that they have done nothing through their party rooms to rid Australia of the pestilence.  They need to be held to account at every opportunity.
The real ‘care for kids’ mums are reacting.
The ‘Wake-up-Australia’ Cobbold study should have front-paged every single newspaper in Australia last week. It’s explosive! What happened to it, do you think?  Beheaded by the metricated curriculum terrorists…for sure!
You know how such important information is usually closed down and hidden, don’t you? As is generally known……for the worst of reasons, profit-based reasons, big-business-flunkies and sick politicians want the tests to continue, even though the continuance is totally irrational, destructive and dangerous to child health…and is just plain crazy and useless as well. We all know it. The research shows it  BUT. They plan to  spend millions more…. in times of financial crisis indeed …. on its extension only because they can’t admit to making a big mistake in starting the chaos in the first place and continuing with it.  Pollies in power believe that they are always right…. Gillard, Pyne, and their ilk.
NAPLAN is truly a Wombat : A Waste OMoney, Brains And Time for ordinary Aussie taxpayers…….but…….. a monumentally successful business venture for others.
The power to decide whether to continue with NAPLAN the Wombat,  relies more than ever  on  parents. IF they say ‘NO’, i’s gone. School Principals with ethical principles, could have terminated it early in the piece, but they were captured, then corralled, then controlled; and now just do as they are told. Maybe they’ll return to the real world of learning this year.  Eichmannism has certainly become a pandemic condition for testucators in schools over the past few years, but the times are now changing.  With revived professional confidence,  they are sure to  join, now,  with their parents and feel enriched by their combined efforts. The Treehorns of Australia certainly hope that this happens.
Its been a long haul for Treehorn and his friends in various good-guy organisations around the countryside, who have tried to fight the good fight since 2008. Each must feel something like the old Jew in the story that Fitz told [SMH, 20/12/14]about Barbara Walters, a journalist who visited Jerusalem in 1991. She interviewed an old man who visited the Wailing Wall three times a day to pray,. He had done so for the previous 85 years.
“At Dawn”, he told her, “I pray for world peace. At Noon, I pray for peace in the Middle East. At Dusk, I pray for all the people in all the world to be nice to each other, and stop hating.
“And what does that feel like,” Walters asked, “having done all that for all those decades?”
The old man looked her straight in the eye and said, “ Like I’m talking to a f___ing wall.”
Yep. Sometimes, it does.
Never mind. We kid-lovers are back, praying, pleading, begging, sticking to the belief that ‘kids like learning’ and are not made of tin or wind-up machinery.  We’ll hang in there.
[ Remember Treehorn’s mum- Type 3 – who  just said, “That’s nice, dear” and then ignored him? Too many of them, right?]
Parents have a great deal more school-based gumption and less fear than Treehorn’s mum and her friends. We’ll  do it all together, for sure..
Parents, who value their children’s education, will not allow their children to contest NAPLAN
Principals, who value their pupils’ cognitive schooling, will offer the choice to parents…..clearly and sincerely.
The Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of high-stakes testing everywhere. Such fear-based testing is kleinist.  Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which uses wide-spread blanket-testing to destroy the  reputation of teachers and schools. This weapon was forced on schools in Australia in 2009 and euphemistically called NAPLAN – an assessment!  It only  opens a door for mega-bank-rolling by known curriculum vandals for the control of school-based learning….nothing else.   It disrespects school pupils, devalues teachers’ professionalism, threatens Australia’s developmental future and is just no good.  
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue   Banora Point  Australia  2486    07 5524 6443 [Refer: “Who’s Who in Australia’]
Read about what  some Principals have done in their own time:  If you have seen the movie “Unbroken’ you’ll be fascinated by the story of Bill Belford, a friend to Weary Dunlop and Tom Uren, and a proud primary principal., 
Read some random thoughts on primary schooling:
.       Childs’ Rights are Human Rights        It’s time for democratic humanity in school education
NAPLAN….. the cash-based ideological front  of  Libs and Labs…… a contest for unnatural selection.
Kids are human being.   Kids love learning.    Kids don’t need to be forced to learn.  Kids want to achieve.
Bang-crash-wallop schooling went out with hanging and beheading and other nasty adult threat-based beliefs about learning to do as one is told.
NAPLAN – introduced by LABOR, continued by LIBS. on behalf of Rupert Murdoch….both apparently acting as neo-conservative cum neo-fascist parties, it seems, supported in silence by the Greens and PUPs……all doing as HE expects.  When did ‘Care for Kids’ change to “Let’s Make Money out of Kids”?
NAPLAN – A counter-cognitive, maverick scoring device, applicable only to small pieces of the curriculum, unexamined by serious educators, introduced to Australia in 2008.
NAPLAN Testing – The frenzy event of the year.
If you love children ,the depravity of high stakes anti-learning testing and its continuance by shameless testucators. will hurt.
NoteWhen will they ever learn?Note