Education Readings October 23rd

By Allan Alach

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

What Parents Can Gain From Learning the Science of Talking to Kids

“The widening education gap between the rich and the poor is not news to those who work in education, many of whom have been struggling to close the gap beginning the day poor children enter kindergarten or preschool. But one unlikely soldier has joined the fight: a pediatric surgeon who wants to get started way before kindergarten. She wants to start closing the gap the day babies are born.”

What The Martian Teaches Us About Scientific Literacy

“I see scientific literacy as a set of basic rules about how the world works, a student can apply to a novel situation in order to derive insights, make predictions and better decisions. The ‘Martian’, although he had never grown potatoes before, now had to do so in an alien environment. His understanding of these basic rules (e.g. manure contains valuable nutrients, plants need earth-like atmospheric pressure, water can be extracted from the air) allowed him to plan his survival. Most of these basic rules are not confined to a single discipline, but span across.”

An introduction to Mindful Teaching

‘The mindful teaching approach is slightly different and it does start with a question, but a question of a different kind. The mindful teaching question would be “Tell me what you do understand?”’

Is Anybody Listening? Research finds no advantage in learning to read from age five

“A University of Otago researcher has uncovered for the first time quantitative evidence that teaching children to read from age five is not likely to make that child any more successful at reading than a child who learns reading later, from age seven.”

How People Learn: An Evidence-Based Approach

Teachers will always need to use their knowledge of students and content to make professional judgments about classroom practice. However, we believe the art of teaching should also be informed by a robust understanding of the learning sciences so that teachers can align their decisions with our profession’s best understanding of how students learn.

What if we radically changed the way high schools work and exist?

“It’s that schools were designed to crank out future workers at a time when the Industrial Revolution was in high gear. Most of us don’t realize that our education system hasn’t really changed since then, when it was designed to crank out factory workers. The whole goal was get people ready for repetition, routine, and defined tasks. Factory education, if you will.”

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Could Rubric-Based Grading Be the Assessment of the Future?

“Institutions of higher education are under pressure from students and employers to prove that graduates are gaining the cross-cutting skills — such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and quantitative analysis — necessary for success in the real world. Now, a consortium of 59 universities and community colleges in nine states is working to develop a rubric-based assessment system that would allow them to measure these crucial skills within ongoing coursework that students produce.”

More schools are working to integrate the arts into classroom learning

For creative teachers worldwide it would seem; stating the obvious!

“The arts also do so much more.They engage kids in school, motivate them to learn, develop critical thinking, and equip them to be creative.”

Questioning for learning, Questioning for life.

This is the ultimate responsibility of education – one that all too often not realised and one that underpins the philosophy of creative teachers..

“Esteemed biologist Rachael Carson once stated , ‘If a child is to keep their inborn sense of wonder alive he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, mystery and excitement of the world around him.’”

Am I Failing the Introverts in My Classroom?

Bill Ferriter:

“The way in which certain instructional trends—education buzzwords like “collaborative learning” and “project-based learning” and “flipped classrooms”—are applied often neglect the needs of introverts.”

Nonacademic Skills Are Key To Success. But What Should We Call Them?

“More and more people in education agree on the importance of learning stuff other than academics. But no one agrees on what to call that “stuff”.”

School Is Bad For Children

John Holt:

“Almost every child on the first day he sets foot in a school building, is smarter, more curious, less afraid of what he doesn’t know, better at finding and figuring things out, more confident, resourceful, persistent and independent than he will ever be again in his schooling – or, unless he is very unusual and very lucky, for the rest of his life. Already, by paying close attention to and interacting with the world and people around him, and without any school-type formal instruc­tion, he has done a task far more difficult, complicated and abstract than anything he will be asked to do in school, or than any of his teachers has done for years.”

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Education at a crossroad – while many teachers seem confused in educational no mans’ land

“There is a battle being fought for the minds of our future citizens between those who see education as a means to achieve narrow political or economic ends and those who see education as developing the full potential, or gifts and talents, of all students.  In the centre of this battle are teachers distracted by defending the status quo.”

An amoeba – a model for future change!

Lessons on learning and change from an amoeba.

“It seems strange to think of one of natures most simplistic animals as metaphor for an organizational model for the future but the amoeba is a good choice, as it has survived almost as long as life has been on the planet.”

Rip van Winkle and schools

‘Rip Van Winkle awakens in the 21st century after a hundred year snooze and is of course utterly bewildered by what he sees. Every place Rip goes just baffles him. But when finally he walks into a schoolroom, the old man knows exactly where he is. “This is a school”, he declares. “We used to have these back in 1906”’


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