Education Readings April 10th

By Allan Alach

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

This week’s homework!


Sir Ken Robinson: ‘Creative’ with the truth?

This article by Donald Clark may rattle a few cages out there:

“It is difficult to go to any educational conference without being assaulted by the accusation that ‘Creativity’ has been sacrificed on the altar of traditional education and schooling. Robinson’s main thrust is that all children are born ‘creative’ and that school knocks it out of them. I’m not so sure.”

A World at Risk: An Imperative for a Paradigm Shift to Cultivate 21st Century Learners

A lengthy and detailed article by Yong Zhao but don’t let that put you off reading it – this is very good.

“America is not the only nation that has “been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament” in the world. Over the past few decades, many Western democratic and developed nations have engaged in such suicidal educational reforms. Led by the same mistaken assumptions that gave birth to A Nation at Risk, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and others have made or are about to make similar changes in their education systems. These changes, just like the changes the U.S. has made, are simply trying to do the wrong thing more right. They are putting the world at risk.”

Why the conventional wisdom on schooling is all wrong

A very good article by Marion Brady.

“Educators can solve this problem, but there’s no point in their even trying as long as the rich and/or powerful are on their stumps peddling the myth that what ails America’s schools are educators clinging to the status quo and kids with insufficient grit to do what they’re told to do.”

Telling Time with a Broken Clock

“What if standardized test scores aren’t telling us what we think they are telling us? What if the scores are illusions that are giving us false confidence? What if our reliance on standardized testing to judge our schools is like relying on a broken clock for time?”

What If Education Reform Got It All Wrong in the First Place?

A very good question ….

“That’s the conclusion of a growing number of researchers who argue that 30 years of test scores have not measured a decline in public schools, but are rather a metric of the country’s child poverty and the broadening divide of income inequality.”

The Importance of Art in Child Development

A topic close to Bruce’s heart…

‘When kids are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives. “The kind of people society needs to make it move forward are thinking, inventive people who seek new ways and improvements, not people who can only follow directions,” says Kohl. “Art is a way to encourage the process and the experience of thinking and making things better!”’

Robots as teachers?

“…the concept of am instructionally oriented teacher being replaced by a robot like this doesn’t exactly excite me – it’s rather like replacing the traditional paper based exam with an online equivalent and calling it an advance in assessment.”

Standards Based Education is Bad Education Theory

This is a must read article.

“What is the root of the persistent and two millennial old tendency for politicians with minimal knowledge of education creating education standards and mandating testing accountability? It originates in a deep rooted innate and evil desire in humans to control other humans. If we do not fight this tendency, we are doomed to live in an authoritarian society where political elites ensure subservience by controlling education standards enforced by standardized testing.”

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Pivot Point: At the Crossroads of STEM, STEAM and Arts Integration

Bruce’s comment: A move from STEM to STEAM  a positive shift towards integration. A way of teaching that creative NZ teachers used – and hopeful still do . Maybe the key to unlock the all too often unrealised potential of Modern Learning Environments (MLEs)?

“In addition, there has been a movement over the last few years to change STEM to STEAM — adding the arts to the mix — as a way of further integrating creativity and artistic skills and processes across content areas. But there is also the arts integration approach to education, which teaches the selected content in and through the arts. With so many choices for integrated learning, it can paralyze us with fear of taking the next step.”

Leonardo da Vinci: Scientist; Inventor; Artist.

Bruce’s comment: Anyone want to learn about Leonardo the original STEAM learner – mind you Leonardo didn’t go to school? He home schooled himself through curiosity, observation , drawing and note taking.

4 Tips to Transform Your Learning Space

Bruce’s comment: Some good ideas for transforming libraries.

“Recently, I wrote about the transformation of libraries from archives of resources to active learning commons that encourage exploration, creation, and collaboration. However, in that post, I profiled a number of locations that made significant financial investments in their redesign. Million-dollar learning spaces are often not a reality for most schools. However, that is no reason to abandon the concept of transformation.”

Don’t Become a Teacher, Advises Award-Winner Nancie Atwell

Bruce’s comment: Scary stuff – who would want to be a creative teacher in America.

“An influential language arts teacher who recently won a $1 million international teaching prize has some surprising advice for young people considering joining the profession: Don’t.”

Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous

Bruce’s comment: So much for this STEM education agenda

‘A broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity. Exposure to a variety of fields produces synergy and cross fertilization. Yes, science and technology are crucial components of this education, but so are English and philosophy. When unveiling a new edition of the iPad, Steve Jobs explained that “it’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — that it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”’

From Bruce’s “goldie oldie” file:

Educational change and leadership – bottom up!

Bruce’s comment: The principal’s role in creating conditions for teacher creativity rather than conformity.

“Like the class teacher the principal’s role is to ensure such gifts are affirmed and shared with other teachers. The principal’s role is to create the conditions for the expertise of teachers to be shared and to develop an overarching vision and agreed teaching beliefs for all to hold themselves accountable. A with a creative class teacher the principal’s job is to ensure all teachers do not move away from what they have agreed to – that is unless new ideas are developed that need to be included. “

What do good learners do?

Bruce’s comment: What do good learners do ( and this includes principals and teachers). Some attributes of good learners from a book ‘Teaching as a Subversive Activity’ in the 60s. Are your students realising such powerful learning habits?

“Good learners seem to know what is relevant to their survival and what is not. They are apt to resent being told that something is ‘good for them to know’, unless, of course, their ‘crap detector’ advises them it is good to know – in which case, they resent being told anyway.”

An idea whose time has come; schools and teachers working together

Bruce’s comment:

The government is proposing an expensive scheme to ‘super’ principals and teachers to work with other schools. A bit ironic because the original intention of Tomorrow’s School was to compete not collaborate . The idea of empowering teachers to share ideas has long been part of educational thinking. The link below has a few suggestions and an idea suggested just before the introduction of self- managing schools.

“As the focus is increasingly on student learning then developing the capacity of teachers as leaders is an imperative. Teacher creativity, not imposed standardisation, is central. Teacher creativity needs to be celebrated, recognised and shared. Principals who can share leadership with their teachers and then with other schools will be seen as the real future leaders.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s