By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All this week’s contributions are from Bruce Hammonds:
Providing Space for Wonder: Fostering Children’s Natural Sense of Inquiry
“Why is the sky blue? Who invented the toilet? Why do zebras have stripes? As any parent of a preschool- or elementary school–age child can attest, children are born with a natural sense of curiosity. It is this innate sense of wonder that will lead and support our students’ lifelong journeys of discovery and learning. As educators, we have a moral obligation to not only allow for our students’ inquisitiveness, but to also foster and support this powerful, often untapped potential.”
How to get children to want to do maths outside the classroom
How to get children to want to do maths – try some maths walks
“Ask adults about maths and they’ll often say: “I was never very good at maths at school”. How can we stop young children growing up today saying the same thing. One way to develop ownership is to take children on a “maths walk”, opening their eyes up to the world around them. It’s like a treasure hunt, with the treasures hidden all around us waiting to be observed.”
Three Lessons For Teachers From Grant Wiggins
This advice is offered so that each student can continue to benefit from Wiggins’ teachings and wisdom.
“While Grant is no longer with us, his spirit and ideas live on. Indeed, we can honor and celebrate his life’s work by acting on the sage advice that he offered to teachers over the years. As we prepare to meet our new students, let us consider three of Grant’s sensible and salient lessons for teachers.”
Five Strategies for Questioning with Intention
The art of questioning by Art Costa and Bella Kallick
“One of a teacher’s most important practices is designing and posing questions. Knowing that questions are the gateway into students’ thinking, masterful teachers don’t just ask a lot of questions; they purposefully design and pose questions that are appropriate for each learning goal—questions that will bring about the specific kinds of student learning they are aiming for.”
The Neuroscience Behind Stress and Learning
The real oil about brain friendly learning.
“The realities of standardized tests and increasingly structured, if not synchronized, curriculum continue to build classroom stress levels. Neuroimaging research reveals the disturbances in the brain’s learning circuits and neurotransmitters that accompany stressful learning environments. The neuroscientific research about learning has revealed the negative impact of stress and anxiety and the qualitative improvement of the brain circuitry involved in memory and executive function that accompanies positive motivation and engagement.”
Beyond the Factory Model
Blended learning – many schools are moving into personalised blended learning to move out of a factory one size fits all model.
“A foundation-funded experiment is testing whether “blended learning” can personalize instruction in eight Oakland schools. Blended learning combines brick-and-mortar schooling with online education “with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace” of learning, according to the Clayton Christensen Institute definition of the term.”
Classrooms Flooded with Devices.
Remember B.F. Skinner’s teaching machine? Are similar claims being made for today’s technology?
“By repeatedly rotating a little wheel on the machine’s side, each child was presented with a question and its answer, then another question and its answer and so on. The feedback was instant. Each child could move at their own pace. Learning was fun instead of hard work. It was obvious to Skinner that this technology was going to change the face of education forever. Except it didn’t.”
Nine of the Best Ways to Boost Creative Thinking
“When it comes to creativity, one of our biggest concerns is usually how we can be more creative, or how to come up with better ideas. Research in this area is all over the place, but I’ve gathered some of the most practical studies out there to help you utilize specific techniques that can boost your creativity.
All of these studies are useful for everyday creativity in daily life, so try a few out for yourself and see which ones work best for you.”
Don’t Assume I’m Smarter Than My Contractor: Why Schooling Helps Us Devalue the Nonacademic
It is not only what school think is worth knowing – shame teachers don’t understand this
“Whether we mean to or not, we constantly reinforce the message that only the stuff kids are taught in school counts as serious learning. Extracurriculars are fine, but what really counts is in their textbooks and homework.We send them to school precisely because we believe that’s where they’ll be taught the most important subjects. We grade them on those things, and in many ways we measure their worth (at least while they’re in school) by how well they do on tests and school assignments.”
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
New Literacies for a New Millennium
Reading has shaped our brains!
“It is hard to imagine that such an innocent act as reading could limit our thinking. After all what could be more innocuous than reading a book?
Creativity: process or product?
What’s often missing in many classrooms are the ‘voices’ and personal creativity of the students.
The point of the creative process is for each student to produce a piece of work (research, poetry, art or dance) that represents the best a learner can do; a piece of work or performance to be proud of. We are what we create to a degree.To many teachers do not understand that to develop student creativity they need to do ‘fewer things well’ to allow their students to ‘dig deeply’ into any experience and then to express what they discover with individual creativity.
See nothing, hear nothing, don’t talk to anyone!
Time for the elites to listen to voices of the people.
The only way we will get a real change in the basic script of our society is for central government to start listening to the voices of the wider community and, in education in particular, to the voices of teachers, students and their parents.
Unlocking the treasure within
Unlocking the treasure within with regard to Maori students.
“Perhaps there is no way for schools to develop their Maori students learning unless they dramatically change their style of teaching – and if they did all this students would benefit.”
Observation and imagination
“Students who are taught to observe the intimate world of their immediate environment not only see more, and have more to wonder and talk about but, in the process, develop a wider vocabulary and ask more questions. From this wealth of sensory experiences arises the source for talking, drawing and early writing.”
Time to re-read John Holt
John Holt quotes on learning – more pertinent than ever
Along with John Holt I now have to admit that, after decades of encouraging school transformation, I have also come to Holt’s view about the impossibility of really transforming our antiquated education system.