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

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