Education Readings February 27th

By Allan Alach 

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

This week’s homework!


Four reasons to seriously worry about ‘personalized learning’

Another gem from Alfie Kohn – a must read.

“Personal learning entails working with each child to create projects of intellectual discovery that reflect his or her unique needs and interests. It requires the presence of a caring teacher who knows each child well.

Personalized learning entails adjusting the difficulty level of prefabricated skills-based exercises based on students’ test scores.   It requires the purchase of software from one of those companies that can afford full-page ads in Education Week.”

Steve Hargadon: Escaping the Education Matrix

“What are most kids getting out of 12 years of school?” he asks. “The honest answer is they’re learning how to follow, and that was the original intent. Public schools were based on the belief that what was needed was a small group of elites who would make the decisions for the country, and many more who would simply follow their directions” — hence a system that produces “tremendous intellectual and commercial dependency.”

How Learning Artistic Skills Alters the Brain

‘The art students specifically increased “their ability to think divergently, model systems and processes, and use imagery,” the researchers write. The results suggests that, in a matter of a few months, “prefrontal white matter reorganizes as (art students) become more able to think creatively.”’

The Corruption of Learning

The biggest challenge facing schools is that the modern world amplifies our ability to learn in the classic sense, and increasingly renders the official, school based theory of learning pointless and oppressive. While our kids’ love of learning can flourish outside of school, it’s extinguished inside of school as we take away agency, passion, connection, audience, authenticity, and more.”

Three lessons from the science of how to teach writing.

So much for teaching by standards…

“Traditional grammar instruction isn’t effective. Period. Six studies with children in grades three to seven showed that writing quality actually deteriorated when kids were taught grammar. That is, graders scored the essays of students who’d been taught traditional grammar lower than those of students who had not received the lessons.”

What Comes First: the Curriculum or the Technology?

“It’s important to never force fit technology – if it’s not supplementing what’s already happening in the classroom or a teacher’s goals for the school year, the addition will become more of a barrier to learning than a catalyst.”

Why Slowing Down Stimuli to Real Time Helps a Child’s Brain

Suggest you read this and reflect….

“The pacing of all programs, both adult and child, has sped up considerably. Part of the reason for that is that the more rapidly sequenced the scenes, the more distracting it is. It’s taxing to the brain to process things that happen so fast even though were capable of doing it. And there’s emerging science now in older children that watching such fast-paced programs diminishes what we call “executive function” immediately afterwards. It tires the mind out and makes it not function as well immediately after viewing it.”

False Choices and how to Avoid Them

This came to me from Phil Cullen who found it on an Alfie Kohn tweet…

“The lesson “accept your children for who they are rather than for who you want them to be” is clear. Loving your kids for who they are is the only real choice.”

Is There School Today?

“Kindergarten, literally a “children’s garden” was traditionally a place focused on playing, singing, and otherwise imagineering. Over the past 20 years, a myopic focus on reading and math has turned the children’s garden into a factory, a place where unique beings go for standardization, followed by 12 more years of it. This standardized approach to learning supposedly prepares them for placement in an economy that no longer exists.”

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Welcome to Concept to Classroom!

Bruce’s comment: For teachers who want some practical knowledge about :Constructivist Teaching,Multiple Intelligences,Cooperative and Collaborative Learning, Inquiry Learning, Interdisciplinary Learning, Assessment and Evaluation and Web Based Learning,  and practical ways to implement them this is the link for you. Highly recommended.

“The site features a series of FREE, self-paced workshops covering a wide variety of hot topics in education. Some of the workshops are based in theory, some are based in methodology – but all of the workshops include plenty of tips and strategies for making classrooms work.”

16 Ways Your Brain Is Sabotaging Your Effort To Learn

“The human brain is our best friend, and our worst enemy, and unless we keep one eye peeled, it can hijack our learning completely.

In this article I’d like to examine some of the “traps” the brain sets for us during the course of our academic careers, and what we can do to avoid them.”

Welcome back to a new year of learning!

Bruce’s comment: I think this NZ site Discovery Time is well worth a plug.

“Discovery Time is the perfect opportunity to excite children’s curiosity, discover their strengths and stand  back and observe how they work together.  Keep your ‘Key Competencies’ focussed on ‘managing self’ and ‘relating to others’ i.e. looking after equipment, sharing, taking turns, cleaning up when you have finished, trying something new, working with someone you don’t know…”

Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching – a New Zealand perspective

Bruce’s comment: The challenge of developing a 21st C education system. Some NZ thinking about personalising learning. Well worth the read.

“It is widely argued that current educational systems, structures and practices are not sufficient to address and support learning needs for all students in the 21st century. Changes are needed, but what kinds of change, and for what reasons? This research project draws together findings from new data and more than 10 years of research on current practice and futures-thinking in education.”

Personalisation and Digital Technologies

Bruce’s comment: Download this document for a UK view of personalising education.

“The logic of education systems should be reversed so that it is the system that conforms to the learner, rather than the learner to the system. This is the essence of personalisation. It demands a system capable of offering bespoke support for each individual that recognises and builds upon their diverse strengths, interests, abilities and needs in order to foster engaged and independent learners able to reach their full potential.”

Personalising learning – what does it mean?

Not to be outdone, here’s Bruce’s take in personalised learning. Bruce mentions a book called ‘In the Early World’ by Elwyn Richardson. All teachers should have this in their library,

“Once ‘child centred’ was commonly heard phrase but it  now seems dated . ‘Student centred’ seems more relevant – is this personalised learning? If students are helped individually some might call this personalised but , if it is moving through a pre-determined curriculum at the students pace this is simply a more an extreme form of ability grouping than personalising learning.”

World’s Shortest Books

Aussie Friends of Treehorn


World’s Shortest Books

“My View of Equity” by C. Pyne

Gillard & Pyne : “Our Love for Teachers.”

“Everything ACARA knows About Classroom Learning”

“The Holistic Curriculum” by C. Pyne

“Learnacy’ by J. Klein.


Phil Cullen, 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point 2486 07 5524 6443

Australian schools’ patron saint.

The Treehorn Express


Joel Klein – Patron Saint of Australian Schooling
The Emperor’s Representative

The inspiration, designer, motivator and founder of the ideas and techniques adopted by Australia’s NAPLAN regime.

For the office wall of those who approve of the NAPLAN way of life, especially those schools and organisations who continue with it. Your community should know what your founder looks like.


Treehorn: Why can’t we kids have a pupil-centred, achievement-oriented, shared-evaluation as part of the learning process, holistic-learning-based-curriculum? Why? Why?Why?

Testucator: We adhere to the profit-based, stress-laden, teacher-squirming, unreliable test program, thanks to Murdoch & Klein. We won’t change it. We tell you what to do.
Treehorn: Why can’t you replace tension with challenge, fear with encouragement, ritual with creativity, teacher-bashing with professionalism, subject-hate with love-of-learning, time-wasting-tests with shared-evaluation ?

A testucator is a pretend schoolie who is unable to apply the theories and practices of learning. Ignorant of the ability to share positive evaluation of children’s learning, they ignore children’s human rights to healthy cognitive development.and just badger them with tests from time to time for political purposes..


Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486 07 5524 6443

2. Thinking About NAPLAN ?

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

2. Thinking About NAPLAN ?

Is it a budget concern or isn’t it ?

I have been told once or twice, that the former Labor Party government left an enormous debt and a financial mess and that measures continue to be undertaken to straighten out the economy.

Am I being taken for a ride ? NAPLAN, the most extreme, useless, dangerous and most expensive alteration to schooling in Australia’s history, costing thousands of millions of dollars is still in place.!!

As a swinging voter, I’m really sick of listening to political upstarts with forked tongues, talking about financial crises while our government carelessly throws millions away on ridiculously evil projects like NAPLAN, a recognised instrument of child abuse. This kind of rhetoric doesn’t attract my vote under any circumstances.

Yes. The coalition government continues to throw education money around as if it was unlimited and, yet, keeps blaming the Labor Party for over-spending. At the same time, Joe is right. Labor started NAPLAN and developed the massively expensive, stupid and extremist curriculum intrusion with the help of a NY lawyster. [sometimes called a ‘shyster]. It was a siegheil event that would have been worthy of the any extreme neoliberal on the planet. Labor’s semantic-mind-controlling druids easily captured the Libs, whose educational ideology [ ‘Only fear produces results’] is parallel; and they kept up the spending of millions and millions on the useless Klein con. when they got into power. Suckers.

Now, all parties, with gross disregard for kids’ emotional and cognitive development, want to appear tough and domineering; and to appear to be doing something by demanding high test scores, while they have no idea of the mess that they are creating. They demand that teachers abuse children’s mental health on their behalf so that they can claim a party achievement. The March-April period has become, traditionally, the government-approved ANXIETY-STRESS CREATION months in schools….about to start for the 2015 testucation season…..out come the NAPLAN practice books in newsagents, the fish-oil and other supposed ‘performance-enhancing’ products in chemists shops, up go enrolments in test-tutoring businesses, with a dramatic increase in homework, practice, practice, practice, and so on and so on.

The Greens, traditionally, sit on the fence hurling a missive or two; and occasionally calling for a Senate Inquiry which they organise with consummate skills to do nothing whatsoever. They can always say, they tried. With astute care, an inquiry never asks for the cost of NAPLAN. It takes too much time to gather the figures. It’s a bother. Kids continue to be anxious and distressed, because no known Australian politician – Labor, Lib.,Green or PuP gives a damn.. They play with the evil import as if taxpayers money was endless and the Treasury just don’t care about a few hundred million .

Budget problems ? Bullshit, Joe. Can’t be…

What can be done without losing face? Well, our Captain left us assured us that ABC Radio and Television [that contrary left-wing organisation] was examined and was severely pruned as a consequence of a thorough assessment. Why not? A serious audit, it took a couple of weeks. The PM has indicated that an “Annual Funding Reductor” was applied to the ABC as is usual for all federal government authorities. It seems that the auditors used an “Efficiency Dividend Measure” to evaluate activities that might be pruned. Both assessment instruments are not commonly known to the taxpaying layman, but they seem to be able to be used to effect, swiftly and successfully. Why not apply them to NAPLAN? Something has to be done in a hurry. The coffers are bleeding.

NAPLAN can easily become a major election issue if any of the opposition parties have an interest in kids. Our country deserves better, after all. Whichever party promotes the banning of NAPLAN is surely on a winner. Parents are awakening. While those in organisations have been ‘client captured’, the great mass of independent, worried ‘moms’ are exerting their will: “My child will NOT do NAPLAN.” and the numbers, according to recent research are increasing by the thousands. God bless such concerned mums.

When will we see these ABC kind of performance indicators applied to NAPLAN ? It’s a blood sucking form of extremism, attached to an existing schooling enterprise…….so it can be removed with ease and will not be missed. Its elimination will save millions and millions of dollars. With diligence, the banning can be done and dusted by May 2015, when the next set of victims are due for the torture chambers. It will only need a money-cost audit. On humanity issues, the damage is too obvious.

What is its real cost, indeed….of ANCARA, state and federal publishing and administrative costs, regional organisation in money terms? Nobody seems to know, nor care; and various senate and other inquiries have shown no interest in knowing.

Why not ask your local member to raise the issue in the party room? What does NAPLAN and alliedWhy%202[2] gimmickry cost in money terms ?
It certainly costs the earth in psychological damage and general human misery. WHY?

Then there’s Gonski, one day set to Guide Our Nation’s School Kids Intelligently. [Attached]


Phil Cullen, 41 Cominana Avenue, Banora Point 2486 07 5524 6443

Gonski social equity

Thinking about NAPLAN.

Aussie Friends of Treehorn


Thinking About NAPLAN as Child Abuse  ?

NAPLAN is an Australian designed data-driven device used in classrooms to direct curriculum traffic towards lower-level mediocrity. 
NAPLAN is a form of state-driven child abuse forced on all schools to create tension and stress on children going about their normal learning activities.
NAPLAN is part of the State Theory of Learning : FEAR and DOMINATION  motivate learning better than anything else.

There are many definitions of  NAPLAN.  It is being used in Australia to divert school leaders and their teachers from the proper exercise of their craft and it prevents pupils in schools from applying full learnacy techniques to their personal cognitive development.

It is a nasty, nasty business. Its origins are soundly embedded in the profit-making motive of big corporation’s publishing, syllabus programming and the use of digital devices businesses. As stated by one who knows*, it is worth billions and billions of dollars.

It is important for political controllers that the stories behind the introduction of NAPLAN remain hidden.  Sensitive to its potential to damage the mental health of children, especially the seven and eight-year olds in Year 3, captured schools were forbidden from informing parents of their right to refuse to undertake the test;  and schools are still also forbidden, in most states, to express their professional views on high stakes testing if the comment is antipathetic to the program.

State Driven Child Abuse.

In parts of the US, the high stakes tests, close relatives of the NAPLAN kind,  are called Common Core Tests.  Here is one reaction to its influence on children’s health.  The teacher Beth Dimino mentions ‘Common Core Syndrome’,  a legitimately recognised affliction that such tests cause to children’s mental health.  The Australian version “NAPLAN Syndrome” is just as toxic, or more so.

Later in her talk, Beth Dimino mentions ‘Mommies” in a special way that many US folk have, of referring to parents of school children. She is directing her comments at the Superintendent of her School District.

Teachers and parents reading this Treehorn will also be impressed by these sorts of teachers who  are prepared to stand up for kids.  Here’s another who says….

“I will not distort curriculum in order to encourage students to comply with bubble test thinking,” continues her letter. “I can no longer, in good conscience, push aside months of instruction to compete in a state-wide ritual of meaningless and academically bankrupt test preparation. I have seen clearly how these reforms undermine teachers’ love for their profession and undermine students’ intrinsic love of learning.”

For children’s mental health, let’s hope that something like this happens somewhere in Australia soon.


*Rupert Murdock. It’s worth $500millions per year to his businesses.



Treehorn:           Why can’t we kids have a pupil-centred, achievement-oriented, shared-evaluation as part of the learning process, holistic-learning-based-curriculum?  Why? Why?Why?
Testucator:        We prefer the profit-based, stress-laden, teacher-squirming, unreliable test program, thanks to Murdoch & Klein.  We won’t change it. We tell you what to do.
Treehorn:           Why can’t you replace tension with challenge, fear with encouragement, ritual with creativity, teacher-bashing with professionalism, subject-hate with love-of-learning, time-wasting-tests with shared-evaluation ?

A testucator is a pretend schoolie who is unable to understand the theories and practices of learning. Unable to share positive evaluation of  children’s learning efforts,each  ignores children’s rights to healthy cognitive development.and just test them from time to time for peculiar purposes..



Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Aveue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443           

Education Readings February 20th

By Allan Alach

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

This week’s homework!


The Pupil in the Middle of Your Eye

This article by former Queensland Director of Primary Education Phil Cullen is a must read for all teachers.

“So…since learning is institutionalised in schools, pupils need to know why they are at school and what sort of relationship is intended during the schooling efforts. Too often do we overlook this. Children believe that they go to school only because someone says that they have to go. The excitement of learning has been understated. We teach in the schools because we are more expert at the teaching act than other people in the community and we want to honour the contract of helping children to learn how to learn.”

Chile’s Charter School Experiment is Almost Over

So is New Zealand’s, it seems. Yesterday the Minister of Education advised that no new charter school applications will be sought for the rest of this year.

“This week Chile ended the education sector experiment started in the 1980s by dictator Pinochet that had led to, by 2014, around 60% of the nation’s schools becoming charter schools. Like Thatcher and Reagan, Pinochet was a devotee of Milton Friedman’s free market ideology (one that the National Party of New Zealand follows, too), and deregulating schools is key to that ideology.”

What Do We Really Mean When We Say ‘Personalized Learning’?

Good points made here – what teachers mean by personalized learning is different from what Pearson Group, et al, mean.

‘“We often say we want creativity and innovation – personalization – but every mechanism we use to measure it is through control and compliance,” Laufenberg said. “Those things never come together as long as that is the overriding moment.” She cautions educators who may be excited about the progressive educational implications for “personalized learning” to make sure everyone they work with is on the same page about what that phrase means.’

Home readers for school kids often wasted learning opportunity, expert warns

Food for thought …

‘Lecturer in literacy education at the University of Canberra Ryan Spencer told 666 ABC Canberra the home reader routine was a wasted learning opportunity if the student was disengaged.

“If they don’t have interest or excitement, or if there’s no motivation to read that book, it just becomes an onerous task,” he said.

“Reluctant readers take [their readers] home because they have to and the teacher has chosen it.

“But by the time they get home, the last thing they want to do is read this book that they’ve already read at school that day.”’

Ten things you need to know about international assessments

Lots of information here, with this quote being very pertinent.

“These assessments were never intended to line up and rank nations against each other like baseball standings.

That’s right. The statisticians and psychometricians who dreamed up these assessments 50 years ago stated explicitly that the question of whether “the children of country X [are] better educated that those of country Y” was “a false question” due to the innumerable social, cultural, and economic differences among nations. But, hey, that’s just a detail.”

One-Size-Fits-All Testing Isn’t What Our Kids Need To Succeed

The message is slowly disseminating.

“What are the skill sets that we as a society see as necessary for the future success of our children? What kind of future do we want to be shaping? Do we want well-rounded children who grow up with exposure to the arts, culture, and music? Or do we want over-tested, over-stressed children who see only the importance of achieving academic growth? Are we looking to provide our children with the skills that are necessary to instill a sense of morals, coping skills, and human compassion? Or do we continue to narrow down the focus of academics to what can be measured on a standardized test, and use that as a predictor for future success?”

The Heavy Hitters Behind a Fund Focused on K-12 Blended Learning

For all you ……….. (insert descriptor of choice) who are buying into the propaganda about blended learning, I suggest you read this blog by Susan Ohanian to see who is behind it.

“Surprise. Surprise. Look at who’s behind Blended Learning.”Blended” is, of course, a diversionary term to distract from the fact that this system of computer-directed instruction should actually be termed, at best, teacher-lite–and, at worst, teacher dumped.”

Why technology will never replace teachers

Here’s a gem from Steve Wheeler:

“When children act unexpectedly, or demand support that requires intuition, only a human teacher who knows that child can support them effectively. Comparatively, the human brain is highly complex, while the computer is a very simple tool. We are only just beginning to understand some aspects of the human brain, whereas computers are fully understandable, because they have been designed by human ingenuity.”

‘You have made us the enemy. This is personal.’ 

Seven New York State teachers write an open letter to Governor Cuomo.

“We are teachers. We have given our hearts and souls to this noble profession. We have pursued intellectual rigor. We have fed students who were hungry. We have celebrated at student weddings and wept at student funerals. Education is our life. For this, you have made us the enemy. This is personal.”

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Keeping alive the spirit of John Dewey

Bruce’s latest blog article which includes this sobering comment: “The student centred ideas of John Dewey have, it seems, all been lost in the country of his birth.” That’s a tragic state of affairs.

“John Dewey believed that the need to learn, to make sense of ones experience was the inborn innate way humans learn – until they reach formal schooling. One of his key phrases was that ‘children are people, they grow into tomorrow only as they live today’. Culture counts – for better or worse.”

Using Old Tech (Not Edtech) to Teach Thinking Skills

Bruce’s comment: Making full use of ‘old tech’ thinking skills with modern technology

“I’ve viewed classroom technology as the means to sharing knowledge, in addition to acquiring or manipulating it. Yet I find that not only has the computer itself become something of a distraction, but the students aren’t making enough use of the tech’s “share-ability” — that is, they struggle to work effectively together on it, and to have their ideas cohere in an intelligible way. It occurred to me that co-editing in a Google Doc is a skill that itself needs to be taught and practiced before it can become effective in the classroom.”

Perspectives / Five Myths About School Improvement

Bruce’s comment: Many schools subscribe to the  ASCD magazine Educational Leadership – this latest editorial will give you a taste. There are some good links to explore.

“Indeed, even those who advocate disparate visions about “what works” most likely would concur that there is no panacea that will help all schools all the time. David Berliner and Gene Glass tell why contexts matter in the social sciences. They describe the problems with replicability, transfer, and fading effects of single reforms, but they do not conclude that the reform process is a waste of time.”

How We Make Progress

Bruce’s comment: Too much of our teaching is based on linear thinking – but it seems our learning is not as simple. Well worth the read. I have aways thought that learning was spiral shaped  , ever upwards,  but at times regressing. Another great read from Anne Murphy.

“This is not an orderly ascension up an ever-rising set of steps. It’s something more like waves on a beach, where one wave overtakes another and then pulls back, overtaken in turn by another advancing and then receding wave. “Overlapping waves” is, in fact, the name of a theory of intellectual development proposed by Robert Siegler, a professor of cognitive psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.”

From Bruce’s ‘oldies but goodies’ file:

Dysfunctional Schools

Bruce’s observations on Kirsten Olsen’s book “’Wounded by School-recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing up to the Old School Culture”

“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. Certainly too few students leave school with their joy of learning alive and their unique gifts and talents strengthened – not even the so called successful students.”

On Knowing – Jerome Bruner

Bruce’s comment: My favourite quote from Bruner is ‘ teaching is the canny art of intellectual temptation’.Today we  have those (usually politicians) who wish to test for learning ignoring, according to Bruner, that ‘it is difficult to catch and record, no less understand, the swift flight of man’s mind operating at its best’.

“The themes Jerome Bruner covers in his book concern the process of knowing, how knowing is shaped and how it in turn gives form to language science, literature and art. The symbolism of the left hand is that of the dreamer – the right that of the practical doer.The areas of hunches and intuition, Bruner writes, has been all too often overwhelmed by an ‘imposed fetish of objectivity’…’”

Professional Reading

Treehorn:           Why can’t we kids have a pupil-centred, achievement-oriented, shared-evaluation as part of the learning process, holistic-learning-based-curriculum?  Why? Why?Why?
Testucator:        We prefer the profit-based, stress-laden, teacher-squirming, unreliable test program, thanks to Murdoch & Klein.  We won’t change it. We tell you what to do.
Treehorn:           Why can’t you replace tension with challenge, fear with encouragement, ritual with creativity, teacher-bashing with professionalism, subject-hate with love-of-learning, time-wasting-tests with shared-evaluation ?
Testucator:        Simply : We don’t know HOW.
[Please note the alteration to Treehorn’s first statement. You’ll know why.]
A testucator is a pretend schoolie who is unable to understand the theories and practices of learning. Unable to share positive evaluation of  children’s learning efforts, a testucator ignores children’s rights to healthy, happy cognitive developmen;t.and just tests children from time to time, pretending to know what they are doing in learning terms..

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

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.


Too busy to read?


‘Too busy’ is usually a lazy bum’s excuse for not keeping up with anything, no matter what the profession.  Reading articles such as those supplied by our Allan Alach is an easy way for really  busy school-based folk  to keep up with the latest.  Reading during meals, during ads. on TV, on the ‘loo, on the exercise bike, waiting at the medical centre, in the bus or train….most catch as catch can.  ‘Seasy.   Keen professional reader, Allan supplies some remarkable reading for us week-by-week [Friday]. May I draw your attention to his last Friday’s Readings? Here some short-quotes from some.
1.   A Message to Ministers and Secretaries The bottom line is this, you cannot get professionalism, compassion and commitment from teachers when you treat them like Starbucks employees. The corporate model of school reform, with it’s focus on charter schools, high-stakes testing and Common Core standards, ignores the reason the best teachers went into the profession in the first place

2.   “The Music is in the Musician” Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave for the last decade, you’ll know that Sir Ken Robinson has a lot to say about education and technology. Any one of the 100 million plus viewers of his various TED talks will tell you that his perspective on schools and learning is decidedly progressive. On the occasion of his keynote speech at the 2015 BETT Show, this was abundantly clear.

3.   Blended or Half-n-half?”  The psychology of learning screams at us, telling us that successful learning, retention and recall, that leads to good performance, needs to be sensitive to a learner’s starting state, personal needs, personalised learning, practice by doing, then spaced practice to consolidate what is learnt in long-term memory. Blended learning also screams at us to take this ‘learning’ theory seriously.

4.   33 Illustrated Problems e.g. Non-teachers telling you how you should be running your classroom.





5.   Buzzwords Let’s educate these young people with the necessary skills to react accordingly to difficult situations, both online and in person and stop hiding behind firewalls. Knowledge is power. Besides, our students see much more outside of school than we realize or like to admit via the interweb or hanging with friends.

 6.   Enough is enough. Seriously   Forcing any, and all, children to endure the harmful effects of high stakes standardized testing because some state or federal mandate requires all children be tested, ironically in the name of providing equitable and quality education, is the greatest insult ever hurled upon public education and children.

7.   Bruce Hammonds supplied this extract from Simmerman  and hosts of hints as usual.




8.  So let’s talk about that last question, and specifically, direct instruction versus facilitation. When considering various teaching approaches, balance is the key word. If we turn to the work of educational researchers Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, and their seminal book, Understanding by Design (UbD), they make a call for educators to reflect on how they balance the following three teaching roles:

  • Facilitation: open-ended questioning, problem posing, Socratic seminar, and guided inquiry
  • Direct instruction: demonstration, modelling, and lecturing
  • Coaching: providing feedback, conferencing, and guided practice
Phil Cullen, 41 Cominana Avenue, Banora Point  2486    07 5524 6443