Aussie Friends of Treehorn

encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts in gear, their pens active and their votes available .

NAPLAN has nothing to do with learning. It has nothing to do with teaching. It has nothing to do with real schooling. It has to do with finding fault and making money. It’s an ineffective, unreliable and invalid device that makes the most of young children’s vulnerability and it deliberately threatens their cognitive development and emotional stability for the sake of a score. It’s a favourite of politicians who wouldn’t know a wombat from a pussy-cat..


It’s the ‘IN-word’. Now that really important issues of social justice have arrived – at long, long,  last—people of importance are starting to sort things out.  The P.M. mentioned the big word with a really heavy emphasis when talking about our ATTITUDES to women and children. Wait till our PM learns the truth of NAPLAN –[see above] – where I have rearranged from a statement by Gene Glass , the greatest of US measurers; and certainly the person with equal professional integrity in the US.  He has asked his University  to remove him from anything to do with measurement because, as an academic educational measurers, its use is being  debauched and degraded in his government’s use of testing in schools.

Don’t hang by your tootsies waiting for the ANCARA  staff to  follow suite.  Professional ethics is in short supply. I don’t believe that NAPLAN would have been introduced into Queensland during my term as DOPE. I just don’t see how any classroom professional practitioner could. Those who support it will have a lot to answer for.  What do they care about the mental health of young children?  Sick.

Men are being blamed for their nasty attitude towards the dignity of womanhood. Children don’t get much of a mention as yet, as usual, but our moral conscience is starting to be opened little by little . While children are mentioned as the children of abused mothers, our docile attitude toward children while they are at school, almost as if the use of mental fear at NAPLAN time was not a part of the way we handle the mental health of children and that it is okay to scare the living daylights out of children as long as we get the results that we want …and bugger the kids.

Our new-age deforming CORPORATE EDUCATION style is a true example of our moral bankruptcy. NAPLAN is based on FEAR.   WE ALL KNEW THIS FROM DAY ONE.  JULIA AND KEVIN AND ALL CORPORATE UNIONS BOASTED ABOUT IT.  They were going to ‘improve standards’   Julia promised to have Australia in the ‘top 5 by 25’. She meant on the crazy PISA tests.  We used to be up there once, if that’s of any learning importance. Australia’s moral degeneracy as it applies to children at school now is about as low as it can get. We down-sized human dignity in 2009 and imported school-fear.

And …..Julia!  Try to tell me now that you forbade school principals to give parents a choice.  It was dirty downright skulduggery. Get in the queue with those blokes who bash their wives every Friday night.
So…..Join with Malcolm……CHANGE ATTITUDES.

CARE FOR KIDS                          
                                     GET RID OF NAPLAN
                                                                         Treat kids with dignity

Governments and their corporate controllers have not allowed much love nor dignity to be shown for a generation of young learners. Bring it back to school.

Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443              

Education Readings November 27th

By Allan Alach

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

The Conversation: Why 1904 Testing Methods Should Not Be Used for Today’s Students

“Testing is compromising the future of many of our able students. Today’s testing comes at the expense of validity (strong prediction of future success), equity (ensuring that members of various groups have an equal shot), and common sense in identifying those students who think deeply and reflectively rather than those who are good at answering shallow multiple-choice questions.”

Avoiding “Learned Helplessness”

“Instead of coming immediately to the teacher, we want students to experiment on their own. Many of us wonder why students constantly do the opposite instead. I’ve got news for you. It’s our fault. We, as educators, are often responsible for learned helplessness, and we have a responsibility to change it! How can we empower our students to be self-directed learners?”

Growth Mindset: Clearing up Some Common Confusions

Recently some critiques have emerged. Of course we invite critical analysis and feedback, as it helps all of us learn and improve, but some of the recent commentary seems to point to misunderstandings of growth mindset research and practice. This article summarizes some common confusions and offers some reflections.”

Levels of Understanding: Learning That Fits All

“In order to reach diverse learners, we need diverse teaching strategies. Student voice and choice lie at the foundation of a differentiated classroom. When voice and choice are honored, the one-size-fits-all model transforms into multiple pathways for student growth.”

Why Understanding These Four Types of Mistakes Can Help Us Learn

“We can deepen our own and our students’ understanding of mistakes, which are not all created equal, and are not always desirable. After all, our ability to manage and learn from mistakes is not fixed. We can improve it.”

The Global Search for Education: Just Imagine – Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith

“The Global Search for Education consistently focuses on how to better prepare students for the 21st century — an age which will be all about innovating and building. Today, we’ve invited education expert Tony Wagner and entrepreneur and filmmaker Ted Dintersmith to imagine the school of the future.”

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Museum Asks Visitors to Put Down Cameras and Pick Up Pencils and Sketch Pads

“Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam, recently launched a new campaign called “The Big Draw.” It’s an effort to get museum visitors to ditch cameras and simple snapshots in favor of drawing the artworks in order to more fully appreciate the easy-to-miss details The tagline of the campaign is “You See More When You Draw,””

Are Schools Designed to Help Children Learn?

In trying to wrap our hands around learning about learning, we  need to understand how to personalize learning by focusing on the learner first. This article discusses three “space invaders” that take up the space as teaching, performance and work instead of what they should be focusing on: LEARNING.

“When you see learners noticing and reflecting on their learning during their learning, that is the Wow of learning. This is the higher-order thinking skills we want our children to adopt: learning about learning and thinking about learning. This makes learning visible.”

Teacher Burnout: What Are the Warning Signs?

“It is not a matter of teachers becoming superhuman and overcoming all horrible conditions and indignities trying to succeed in doing what is virtually impossible, especially in a sustained way. The students need their teachers to stay engaged and fight for them. When the conditions of teaching are bad, the conditions of learning tend to be worse, and children suffer in lasting ways. That’s why the collateral damage of burned-out teachers is burned-up children.”

Teaching By Doing Something Meaningful

The illusion of making progress in education, the continuous re-evaluating, revising, and reorganizing of educational principles and practices, and the use of flawed data to direct our course of action, are all part of a grand illusion that is producing much “confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.””

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Reflection on my teaching beliefs

“There are many, including myself, who believe we are now entering a new age of creativity- some even call it a ‘second Renaissance’. If this is so then many of our current organisations, with their genesis in an industrial age, will need dramatic transformation, as will, more importantly our mindsets. We will need new minds for a new millennium.We will need to create networks of creative schools so as to to be in the forefront of such exciting changes. To achieve this schools, and their communities, need to stop and think about what is required of education in such exciting and very unpredictable times. Traditional education just won’t do.”

The power of visiting other schools

“It is my belief that focused school visits ( hence the need for a guide) are the most powerful means to gain professional development and, in particular, to gain insights in to what other schools/teachers feel important. This is all the more necessary as schools are increasingly under pressure to distort their teaching programmes by the need to respond to the reactionary and politically inspired introduction of National Standards.”

Education Readings November 20th

By Allan Alach

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

The fear of all sums: how teachers can help students with maths anxiety

“The way teachers feel about the subject also has an impact – if we think maths is hard and scary our class will too. Instead of taking shortcuts, teachers must help children see the relationship between the different challenges to ease their anxiety.”

Constructing learning in the digital age

I haven’t included a Steve Wheeler article for a while.

“From a cognitive constructivist perspective, learning is achieved through the twin processes of assimilation and accommodation. The latter implies that new learning is ‘bolted onto’, or constructed within, existing cognitive structures known as schemas. Learning relies on the individual construction of reality, according to Jean Piaget. Such construction of meaning is unique to each individual, and therefore centres on each learner’s efforts to make sense of the subject.”

Children should be allowed to get bored, expert says

“Children should be allowed to get bored so they can develop their innate ability to be creative, an education expert says. Dr Teresa Belton told the BBC cultural expectations that children should be constantly active could hamper the development of their imagination.”

Parents aiming too high can harm child’s academic performance

All teachers will be aware of this….

“When parents have high hopes for their children’s academic achievement, the children tend to do better in school, unless those hopes are unrealistic, in which case the children may not perform well in school, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.”

Art and the Mind’s Eye: How Drawing Trains You to See the World More Clearly and to Live with a Deeper Sense of Presence

An excellent reason to include drawing in your class programme.

“Drawing, indeed, transforms the secret passageway between the eye and the heart into a two-way street — while we are wired to miss the vast majority of what goes on around us, learning to draw rewires us to see the world differently, to love it more intimately by attending to and coming to cherish its previously invisible details.”

Power, Labor, and Compliance in Education Reform: Why We Must Refuse

Does this sound familiar?

“It appears apparent to anyone who has worked in education for more than a few years that what we have before us is a never-ending avalanche of policies. Further, dedicated and committed teachers try their best to follow instructions.  They try to follow the latest round of “to-do” lists hurled upon them from above by “experts” and policy makers.

But there’s a catch.”

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Standardization isn’t Just Killing Students’ Creativity

“Standardization is destroying the soul of creativity in our students. My subject area is about reading and writing, something a majority of my students hate doing. This is tragic because they’re both activities that I love deeply and most young kids enjoy. Older students often tell me that they loved reading and writing when they were younger, but they hate it now.”

Service Learning: Growing Action From the Roots of Passion

“Our goal was to create an educational model in which students’ passions are the driving force, empowering them as global citizens. While we have limited time to cover required curriculum, we are committed to finding ways of embedding curriculum in “real-life” applications within the project.”

The Power of Story in School Transformation

“Human brains are hardwired to understand the world through stories. This is so true that psychologists often refer to stories as “psychologically privileged,” meaning that our memory treats them differently from other types of information (Willingham). Each of us is a collage of our unique life experiences. By organizing these experiences into a story structure, we try to create order from chaos.”

How Can We Harness the Power of Learning Beyond the School Day?

“Discussions of learning tend to focus on what happens in schools, but many students are learning lots of important skills outside of school through extracurriculars like sports, music, art, politics or any other passion. Often students don’t get recognition for the learning they pursue on their own, and many times they don’t even see their passion as learning at all.”

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Developing a co-constructivist unit of study

Bruce wrote this after a visit to my school…sadly all this has now gone due to the switch after my departure to ‘raise achievement’ against ‘national standards’ based on the collection of ‘achievement data.’

“A plan for a school to develop a unit of work which values students’ ideas and thoughts and then challenges them to ‘change their minds’ though interactive activities. Before starting the unit the staff need to clarify their idea of ‘constructivist’ and inquiry learning.”

Mavericks – our only hope!

Creative ‘mavericks’ are our only hope – but times are difficult for creative thinkers in our standardised education system.

“Does your school benefit from the talents and energy of the ‘maverick’ or does it seek to restrain them?.New Zealand was settled by courageous creative Polynesian and European adventurers prepared to risk all for success in an unknown world. Not for then complying to bureaucrats sitting at their desks or self interested populist politicians.It was anthropologist Margaret Mead who said that every new idea was started by a small group of committed people. Or as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, ‘Every reform was once a private opinion.”

To resign or not resign.

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts in gear, their pens active and their votes available .

Below are two letters found amongst the BAT literature.  Both originate in the US, which has heavy-duty high stakes testing such as schools in the South Pacific have.  Thousands of quality teachers  resign each year in the US because they cannot tolerate the damage that such testing is doing to children.  You, dear Reader, will have heard of numerous colleagues who are doing the same down under. NAPLAN and  NZ’s National Standards are schooling stupidities, which should never have been allowed. You know that the system can ill-afford to lose the kind of teacher whose principles exceed their pay-check.

If you are thinking of resigning this year, these two letters might help you make your decision. .

1. I resign


To: The School Board of Polk County, Florida

I love teaching. I love seeing my students’ eyes light up when they grasp a new concept and their bodies straighten with pride and satisfaction when they persevere and accomplish a personal goal. I love watching them practice being good citizens by working with their peers to puzzle outproblems, negotiate roles, and share their experiences and understandings of the world. I wanted nothing more than to serve the students of this county, my home, by teaching students and preparing new teachers to teach students well. To this end, I obtained my undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees in the field of education. I spent countless hours after school and on weekends poring over research so that I would know and be able to implement the most appropriate and effective methods with my students and encourage their learning and positive attitudes towards learning. I spent countless hours in my classroom conferencing with families and other teachers, reviewing data I collected, and reflecting on my practice so that I could design and differentiate instruction that would best meet the needs of my students each year. I not only love teaching, I am excellent at it, even by the flawed metrics used up until this point. Every evaluation I received rated me as highly effective.

Like many other teachers across the nation, I have become more and more disturbed by the misguided reforms taking place which are robbing my students of a developmentally appropriate education. Developmentally appropriate practice is the bedrock upon which early childhood education best practices are based, and has decades of empirical support behind it. However, the new reforms not only disregard this research, they are actively forcing teachers to engage in practices which are not only ineffective but actively harmful to child development and the learning process. I am absolutely willing to back up these statements with literature from the research base, but I doubt it will be asked for. However, I must be honest. This letter is also deeply personal. I just cannot justify making students cry anymore. They cry with frustration as they are asked to attempt tasks well out of their zone of proximal development. They cry as their hands shake trying to use an antiquated computer mouse on a ten year old desktop computer which they have little experience with, as the computer lab is always closed for testing. Their shoulders slump with defeat as they are put in front of poorly written tests that they cannot read, but must attempt. Their eyes fill with tears as they hunt for letters they have only recently learned so that they can type in responses with little hands which are too small to span the keyboard.

The children don’t only cry. Some misbehave so that they will be the ‘bad kid’ not the ‘stupid kid’, or because their little bodies just can’t sit quietly anymore, or because they don’t know the social rules of school and there is no time to teach them. My master’s degree work focused on behavior disorders, so I can say with confidence that it is not the children who are disordered. The disorder is in the system which requires them to attempt curriculum and demonstrate behaviors far beyond what is appropriate for their age. The disorder is in the system which bars teachers from differentiating instruction meaningfully, which threatens disciplinary action if they decide their students need a five minute break from a difficult concept, or to extend a lesson which is exceptionally engaging. The disorder is in a system which has decided that students and teachers must be regimented to the minute and punished if they deviate. The disorder is in the system which values the scores on wildly inappropriate assessments more than teaching students in a meaningful and research based manner.

On June 8, 2015 my life changed when I gave birth to my daughter. I remember cradling her in the hospital bed on our first night together and thinking, “In five years you will be in kindergarten and will go to school with me.” That thought should have brought me joy, but instead it brought dread. I will not subject my child to this disordered system, and I can no longer in good conscience be a part of it myself. Please accept my resignation from Polk County Public Schools.

Wendy Bradshaw, Ph.D.

Now take a look at this one.

2.   I won’t quit

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


A Not Quitting Letter

It has become its own internet genre– the “why I am quitting” teacher letter. It is apparently on the rise again, because lately lots of folks have been forwarding examples to me. And I don’t want to seem unsympathetic– it has to suck to feel so backed into the corner that quitting looks like your best option. 

But still, I long to read something different. Something feistier. Something more like this:

Dear Board of Education:

Just wanted you to know that I am not going any damn where.

Yes, a lot of people have worked hard to turn my job into something I barely recognize, and yes, I am on the butt end of a whole lot of terrible education policy, and yes, I am regularly instructed to commit educational malpractice in my classroom.

But here’s the thing– you don’t pay me nearly enough for me to do my job badly, on purpose.

I’m not going to make children miserable on purpose. I’m not going to waste valuable education time on purpose. I’m not going to teach them that reading is a miserable activity with no purpose other than to prepare for testing. I’m not going to tell them that these big stupid tests, or any other tests, or grades, even, are an important measure of how “good” they are or how much right they have to feel proud or happy or justified in taking up space on this planet. I’m not going to tell them any of that.

Most of these new education reform policies are wrong. They’re bad pedagogy, bad instruction, bad for students, bad for education, and we all know it. I am not going to spend another day in my room pretending that I don’t know it.

Am I God’s gift to teaching, so awesome that I never need to listen to anybody about anything? Not at all. It’s a big, wide, complicated world, and I’ll listen to anybody who thinks they have something to share about how children can be educated.

But here’s the thing. I am a teacher. I am an education professional. I trained to do this job, and I have never stopped training and learning since I started on this path. This is my world. This is the work that I committed myself to. I live here, and that means I know more about this work than the edu-tourists just passing through.

And the work I am committed to is the education of young students, the work of having them become their best selves, of finding their best way to be in the world as they choose to be. I am not committed to a year of narrow test prep and a tiny, cramped definition of success. I am not committed to a view of compliance as the highest human virtue.I am not committed to the work of trying to force them into some box that the corporate world has built for them. My first allegiance, my first obligation is to my students– not the board, not state education bureaucrats, not policy makers, not test manufacturers, not to people who think they need to know what’s going on in the school but can’t be bothered to get their butts here to use their own five senses to find out. I have no obligation to those who want to profit from my work, and I have no obligation to people who want to use my classroom to further their own political or financial agenda.

So I will stay here, and I will do what I consider– in my professional opinion– to do what is best for my students and my community. When I am told to implement a bad policy, I will circumvent it by any means at my disposal. I will disregard directives to commit malpractice. I will question, I will challenge, and I will push back. I will speak at every board meeting. I will talk to every parent.

If you find this not-very-team-playery of me, you can direct me to follow orders in writing, and if I choose to follow those orders, my students and their parents will understand why I am doing it.

The best bet is that in ten years, I will still be here doing the work I’m committed to doing, and meanwhile, the corporate reformsters and the edu-crats at the capital and most of my building administrators and you, board members, whether you were elected or appointed– all of those folks will have moved on, and I will still be here. Because– and let me be absolutely clear– I am serious about this work. This is not a stepping stone or a resume builder for me. I am in it for life.

Or if you like a sporty metaphor, try it this way– this is my house. And you do not stroll into my house and disrespect me and the work I do.

Quitting?? Hell no. If you want me out of here, you will have to fire my ass, and I will make it just as public and loud as I can, so that you have to step out in front of the community and explain why you’re doing it. Hell, we may all end up in court, going on the record about the crap you tried to force me to do to these children.

I mean, if I’m at the point of contemplating whether or not to quit, why not make my departure cost you a little something?

I came to teaching to work. I came to make a difference in children’s lives. I came to raise up whatever students were set before me and help them become the people they were meant to be. And I came to stay. You’ll have to decide how you want to deal with that. But I came to stay and teach.
Yes, I know. Not everyone is in the position to be this feisty and confrontational, and not every situation lends itself to this approach. I’m not advocating this for every single teacher up against it. And yes– lots of teachers have adopted this “stay and fight” stance– they just haven’t written a letter announcing it. 

As I said, I am not unsympathetic to those who quit. You can only take as much as you can take. But still, it would be fun if somebody, some day, forwarded me a good, feisty “Bite me– I’m staying” letter. 

Education Readings November 13th

By Allan Alach

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

‘World’s best teacher’ warns on too much testing

Mind you I’m not sure who chose her for this honour, nor what the criteria were, so I’d take the ‘best teacher’ claim with a pinch of salt.

“… she warned against education systems moving to what she thought was an over-prescriptive curriculum.

Such an approach would limit children’s range of reading, she warned, so that they would spend too long focusing on a small number of texts in order to pass tests.

“Parents are recognising that their children are being tested rather than taught,” she said of US schools.”

Innovation: What Does it Really Mean in Schools?

“Technology alone will not make it happen. Indeed, the technology will achieve little unless the ecology of learning and the purpose of technology have been clearly established. It’s about culture, imagination, creativity, risk-taking, failure, learning, questioning and the amplification of this entire process – especially the innovation piece – through the appropriate use of tools and technologies that help extend our ambition and learning outcomes. It’s about how we use those things.”

The Timeless John Dewey

If you don’t know much about John Dewey, here’s your homework – research him!

“Dewey wrote much about the power and importance of experiential learning (learning by doing, outdoor education, hands-on experiences), and how the teacher should be more of a facilitator or guide in a child’s learning experiences rather than the “sage on the stage”, which sadly became the traditional approach.”

“Peak indifference”: Cory Doctorow on surveillance in education

An important topic, given the ever increasing eyes of the state on our every day activities, and there’s no reason to think that education will be spared from this.

“In the educational domain we see a lot of normalisation of designing computers so that their users can’t override them. For example, school supplied laptops can be designed so that educators can monitor what their users are doing. If a school board loses control of their own security or they have bad employees, there’s nothing students can do. They are completely helpless because their machines are designed to prevent them from doing anything.”

What if everything we thought we knew about learning was wrong?

Here is a series of articles exploring the nature of learning.

’It is time to go back to basics of teaching and learning, not those of the 3 R’s, or of rote learning, of the industrial revolution or that of the information technology revolution but instead the basics of relationships and trust in education. It is time to rethink our pedagogy. A time to wipe the slate clean and rethink things from the beginning and not keep adding things that we think will or should “work”.’

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Bruce Hammonds – Lessons from the Masters

Want to know what Bruce thinks – his ideas are captured in this PowerPoint presented at a creativity course.

45 Design Thinking Resources for Educators

“Design thinking consists of four key elements: Defining the Problem, Creating and Considering Multiple Options, Refining Selected Directions, and Executing the Best Plan of Action.”

‘I can be happy – or I can be a teacher’

“I come across weary, disillusioned teachers on a daily basis in the course of my visits to schools as an author. Now here’s the rub, not one of these good professionals references the very real stresses and strains of the classroom as the factor that could drive them out of teaching. It always boils down to workload, the endless collection of data, the subordination of teaching and learning to tracking, testing and “accountability”, which invariably means stress-inducing targets and anxious over-the-shoulder concerns about the next Ofsted inspection.”

Contributed by Phil Cullen:

Swamp Drop For Skills and Learning.

Here’s an interesting little task to work through.

“This exercise will build your skills in recognising how communications can activate unproductive cultural models. It’s an essential first step in keeping your messages from being eaten by dominant understandings of your issue.”

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Survival of the fittest or the best connected – Market Forces or creating conditions for all to thrive. A new look at Darwin.

“Competition it is still believed leads to innovation but when you look at innovation from a long term perspective competition turns out to be less central that we have been led to believe.  Survival of the fittest has been oversold – from a long term perspective openness and connectivity may be more important.”


“Shame is that  our current market forces competitive orientated government seems prepared to destroy such an environment by introducing competitive league tables which will destroy the valuable aspects of collaboration and connectivity and, in the process, narrow the curriculum as teachers will naturally begin to teach to the test – a version of the outdated ideas of ‘ survival of the fittest.”

Importance of School Values

The importance of shared values in a school

“A vision gives an organization a sense of direction, a purpose, but only if it is ‘owned’ and translated into action by all involved.But vision is not enough in itself. The values that any organization has are just as important or even more so because they determine the behaviours that people agree to live within. Alignment of people behind values is vital but too often both vision and values are just words hidden in folders are rarely referred to. What you do must reflect what you believe if there is to be integrity. And any alignment needs to include students and parents as well.”

Naplan the wombat.

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts in gear, their pens active and their votes available .

Naplan the Wombat.

Naplan is a large ugly wombat who lives in the dark scrub close to the big flash base of one the most important persons in Australia.

This VIP, called The Monster of Testucation, allows Naplan to live there as he wants the ugly wombat to scare the children who attend nearby public schools.
He doesn’t want the children to learn too much.
They will only become a nuisance when they are older.

Australian children should try to model themselves on the behaviour of their parliamentary representatives : not think and be nasty to children and schools.

Naplan is good at his job.
He has been well trained. He doesn’t like children. He likes to see them grovel and cry and vomit. He enjoys it.
He was found in a foreign land of blind and nasty people, where his owner was in charge.
The wombat had been taken there by this Aussie ex-pat. and was trained by a local ghoul who had destroyed at least one large education system in that country.
Naplan was then brought back to Australia on a broomstick driven by a colourful pollie to breed and spread contagion.

The pretty pollie was the greatest bully ever.
She ordered her lovers and admirers and political followers to allow ugly wombats to take over all school activities everywhere.
They were frightened of her, so they did as they were bid; were captured for years and years; then stockholmed forever……many of them, anyhow.
Some can see daylight.

Naplan the Wombat has done his job well.
Aussie teachers are not allowed to guide our nation’s school kids intelligently.
Nor do Australian children wish to learn much about words and numbers, any more. Yuk stuff. Drugs and footy and fun are better.
They don’t like school as much as they should anyhow; and Australia’s future is not too bright.
Naplan is the most dangerous wombat ever….. waste of money, brains and time.

NAPLAN, in truth, has been an abject failure as far as schooling is concerned. It has taught a generation of Australians to hate school. It has narrowed the curriculum disastrously and it continues to target teachers’ honourable efforts and professionalism.

It has set the stage for rich paydays for publishing corporations, testucators and private schools. The claim that we need high stakes tests is preposterous. We need them like a hole in the head.

I have yet to meet a teacher who likes NAPLAN. Many Stockholm-captured employees have given way to it, but even they are uncertain.

We need to re-introduce LEARNING into schools.

We should talk more about it…..but…….It’s about as easy to get groups of fair-dinkum educators together to talk about learning in schools as it is to get honest politicians together to discuss political donations.

Do you know anyone – anyone – who believes that NAPLAN has any genuine merit? The closer one gets to a classroom, the greater the condemnation of NAPLAN. It has cost millions and millions of dollars more than any other radical alteration in our history of schooling. It has destroyed talent and enterprise for millions and millions of Australians.

It is, assuredly, a Waste Of  Money, Brains And Time….. a W O M B A T

why2082What is wrong with us?


Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486 07 5524 6443

NAPLAN and Rah Rah

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts in gear, their pens active and their votes available .

Our Wallabies Need NAPLAN

 I started the day by reading this educational gem from NZ’s Minister for Testucation.


Poor New Zealand kids.

Then, within minutes, I read an article in the S.M.H. 07-11-15 p.53 by Darren Kane about the administration of Rugby League in Australia……

“The lunatic is on the grass

The lunatic is on the grass

Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs

Got to keep the loonies on the path

‘Brain Damage’ – Pink Floyd

Brain Damage. Second-to-none song on Pink Floyd’s seminal 1973 work Dark Side of the Moon. A meditation on the odiousness of mental disintegration.

Brain Damage. The lyric, maniacal laughter that rounds out the song’s haunting spectral. But where is the real madness? Decades later, Roger Waters suggested the true lunacy rested not inside the “lunatic “ imagining days of daisy chains, but in keeping the loonies confined to the path. Esoteric stuff. Little wonder the Floyd hit splitsville long ago.

Madness: a disordered mind. Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results?”


Poor testucators everywhere…..grasping for reasons to keep their stupidities on the path to ???


Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443              

Education Readings November 6th

By Allan Alach

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

Losing our grip: More students entering school without fine motor skills

This problem has appeared in New Zealand schools as well, and I suspect the same will the case all over.

“Local teachers and occupational therapists say an increasing number of children are showing up for kindergarten without the fine motor skills needed to grip a marker, hold their paper still while coloring or cut and glue shapes.”

Powerful play: Continuity and inquiry for children starting school

On a similar theme:

“By allowing children space and time to play they will show you what they know, what they are capable of, and what they want to learn about. Through play they explore and express their ideas, interests, and passions — but you need to listen to these carefully to know what to pick up on.”

Seven is the age of wonder, not the age for formal testing

A story from England but it’s applicable all over.

“How can we foster a love for life-long learning when, before the tooth fairy has even collected a full set of gnashers, children are expected to get down and give their teacher 20? It is bad enough that their final year of primary school is riddled with a strict diet of test, drill, repeat twice every half term for the entire year. But to re-introduce yet more testing for children who can barely get themselves dressed, is a regression.”

Philip Pullman decries ‘terrible state’ of children’s education in the arts

“The author of the His Dark Materials trilogy urged the government to make theatre visits for schools “a firmly established part of the curriculum”, saying he was concerned about falling numbers of children being taken to plays and concerts.

“I do worry what happens to children when they’re deprived of these things by these blasted league tables and this crazy assumption that we’ve got to test everything,” he said.”

‘It’s time to take a hard look at how we teach reading’

“We have almost a quarter century of studies that document how literacy blooms wherever students have access to books they want to read, permission to choose their own, and time to get lost in them.

Enticing collections of literature—interesting books written at levels they can decode with accuracy and comprehend with ease—are key to children becoming skilled, thoughtful, avid readers.”

Like it or not, schools are being converted into academies – that’s anti-democratic

‘Academies’ is an English term for charter schools. Readers all over will appreciate the points made here.

“Resistance against “forced” conversion is not a new phenomenon. The Anti Academies Alliance contains a catalogue of conversions of local authority-run schools into academies that were bitterly opposed by governors and parents. Many within education and outside of it are opposed to the highly politicised nature of conversions and the lack of evidence that these conversions are in the best interests of the students.”

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Curriculums, Collaboration, And Reinventing The Classroom

Riverpoint Academy in Spokane, WA is an innovative public high school to say the least. Students are given autonomy to pursue the projects that they are most passionate about and create real-world solutions to problems by incorporating the latest technology into a collaborative learning environment that is fueled by community professionals and an inspiring staff.”

What are “tests that are worth taking”?

Annie Murphy Paul:

“Over the weekend, President Obama declared that “our kids should only take tests that are worth taking.” But what would such tests look like? I have a few ideas. Here is my Affirmative Testing Manifesto:”

Confessions of a Business Artist

“Unfortunately our public schools are far too focused on indoctrination than education, on repetition over discovery. Our educational system specializes in creating trivia masters and kids that hate school, instead of building a new generation of creative problem solvers that love to learn and explore new approaches instead of defending status conferred based on mastery of current truths (which may be tomorrow’s fallacies). We are far too obsessed with STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) when we should be focused on STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Music.”

Ten reasons why teaching the arts is critical in a 21st century world

“The arts have a powerful impact on learning and are important in their own right. Here are ten reasons why, in a 21st century world, we should strengthen and expand arts education, not reduce or eliminate it.”

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

What’s wrong with Ability Grouping?

“Today there is an understanding of the relationship between socio economic background and school achievement and the cultural background of students. Ability grouping is unfair if it doesn’t take into account young people’s prior experiences and opportunities to learn.”

Self managing learners

“If teachers want to develop personalised learning environment students need to have developed the habit of working independently. Self managing is a ‘key competency’ both for the smooth running of a inquiry based classroom and to develop vital life long learning capabilities. As such it is highly related to future success. When students are ‘self managing’ it allows teachers the time to work with students who need help. What independent learning attributes do students in your class exhibit?”