Education Readings October 2nd

By Allan Alach

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

Great tech can’t replace poor teaching

Yes – someone tell Pearson Group, Murdoch, McGraw Hill, etc.

“Investing heavily in ICT for education doesn’t lead to appreciable improvements in student achievement in reading, maths or science, according to a new OECD study.

‘Technology can amplify great teaching but great technology cannot replace poor teaching,’ Andreas Schleicher, Director of the organisation’s Directorate for Education and Skills said, and added the reality in schools ‘lags considerably behind the promise of technology’.”

What Students Wish Their Teachers Knew

I was sent this by Eveline Bailey who said, “This is a bit of self-promotion, but my students are so happy I took their words and wrote a blog for them.”

“I told them it was an anonymous activity and that if they would provide real feedback, I would blog about it. Goodness! I’ve never seen a group of kids move so fast! Amidst all the “Are you really going to tell other teachers this?” and “Do you care if we cuss to make a point?” and “How many can I write?”—I have to say, it was probably the most effective writing assignment I’ve ever given. Certainly enlightening. Often scathing.”

Do We Forget What We Are Asking Students to Do All Day?

As adults we forget how tiring that must be.  How not only are they asked to pay attention, but they are also asked to sit still, take notes, and be ready to answer any question we throw their way.  We expect them to care about what we are doing and give us their very best, every minute, every day.

Factory Model Education “Reforms” Were Designed for Product Testing, Not Children

“The factory model was developed to ensure quality control and produce identical “consumer” products cheaply. It is NOT an approach that should be used with children. Modern researchers and professional educators have come to understand that the human brain is wired for learning, and that the most effective methods of education are aligned with how children naturally learn.”

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Here are two articles about project based learning.

What the Heck Is Project-Based Learning?

“You know the hardest thing about teaching with project-based learning? Explaining it to someone.  So to help you in your own musings, I’ve devised an elevator speech to help you clearly see what’s it is all about.”

My PBL Failure: 4 Tips for Planning Successful PBL

‘Our first project, filmmaking, had kept them interested. The subject of their films, recycling, hadn’t been the driving force for them. I hoped that our second PBL experience would combine an interesting topic and work to keep them engaged. However, despite this goal, that second unit turned into what my students might call an “epic fail.”’

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

“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.”

10 Tips For Launching An Inquiry-Based Classroom

“It takes time to build up a strong inquiry-based teaching practice, to learn how to direct student questions with other questions, and to get comfortable in a guiding role. But when Laufenberg talks about what it takes, she makes it sound easy. We’ve broken her advice down into digestible tips for anyone ready to jump in and try for themselves.”

Feedback Should Be More Work for the Recipient

Bill Ferriter:

“Stew in all of this for a minute:  If William is right that effective feedback should be more work for the recipient than the donor, how much effective feedback are you giving in your classroom? What’s keeping you from giving more?”

Report: 7 Future Roles for Educators

The evolving role of the teacher – what do you think?

“The role of the teacher continues to evolve, according to a report that envisions seven roles that teachers could take on. They are, according to KnowledgeWorks, learning pathway designers, competency trackers, pop-up reality producers, social innovation portfolio directors, learning naturalists, microcredentialing analysts and data stewards.”

Principal Connection / Choose Your Yardstick

Thomas Hoer – schools ought to choose what to measure

“Decisions about what to assess shouldn’t be made without us or done to us. We should take the initiative and develop metrics to help frame our school and focus our efforts. Sure, many measures are thrust upon us, determined by state governments, school boards, and central office administrators, but we should be an integral part of the dialogue.”

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Five Minds for the Future

“Howard Gardner, renowned worldwide for for his theory of multiple intelligences, shares his latest ideas in his new new book ‘Five Minds for the Future’.Based on the premise that students are entering an accelerating world of change in every area of life Gardner believes that such changes call for new ways of learning and thinking in schools if students are to thrive in the world during the eras to come.”

Developing a democratic curriculum.

“I visit a wonderful school that makes use of an integrated learning approach based on the ideas of James Beane. James Beane’s ideas fits into current talk of personalizing learning but within an environment based on democratic ideals.Relating back to the ideas of John Dewey he believes that if people are to live democratic lives they must have the opportunity to learn what that way of life means. His ideas are based on the ability of students to participate in their own education.”

Ideas of Ernesto Sirolli

“As a result of his experience Ernesto has a passionate disbelief in bureaucracy and believes strongly in a ‘person centred approach’ to development and education. Ernesto believes that when ‘passion is the starting point skills can be learnt, doors can be unlocked, and dream can become reality.’ The governments, he says, can only influence through providing infrastructure and that the facilitator is a person who helps ‘transform the dream to reality’ only by using a ‘person centred approach.”

Does your classroom have the ‘wow’ factor?

The first sign of ‘wow’ is the overall first impression the room gives you. The feeling you get is that you are indeed in special place. There is a feeling of positive relationships between teacher and learners and often parents are to be seen quietly helping students. Other students seem to be working without supervision. A quick look around the walls, covered with students creativity gives an impression that this is a room dedicated to the students themselves.”


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