By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The forcible conversion of England’s schools to Academies (Charter Schools)
This announcement by the British government has sent shock waves around the country and mass rebellion is developing. New Zealand teacher John Palethorpe, a relatively recent immigrant from the UK, discusses why this is such a giant step into a potential quagmire.
“There is already a growing and vocal opposition to all of the plans outlined above, as well there should. Announcing you’re ditching LEA oversight and support of schools, dumping the need for any school to employ qualified teachers, dropping the National Curriculum, scrapping nationally negotiated terms and conditions and placing schools in a bidding war for new teachers is a huge and complete evidence free attack on the quality and professionalism of education in the UK.”
Forced academisation, shambolic assessment, budgets shrinking, teacher morale in crisis: is this the perfect educational storm?
Another article about the threat to English schools.
“Are we witnessing the final element of the perfect storm for schools? Probably. This government plans for all schools to become academies certainly suggests we have reached that stage. First of all, a definition: according to one online dictionary, a perfect storm is “a detrimental or calamitous situation or event arising from the powerful combined effect of a unique set of circumstances”. Boy, do we have those circumstances. Unfortunately we have a government totally unaware of what devastation such a storm will have on our profession.”
A Crack in the Dam of Disaster Capitalism Education Reform?
“When the education reform movement kicked into high gear, the promises were grand and the evidence was thin, but now we are beginning to have evidence of how the grand claims have wilted on the vine, and the fruit is rotting all around us.”
Blinded by Pseudoscience: Standardized Testing is Modern Day Eugenics
‘Once again, standardized tests are used as the justification for doing something obviously racist. If anyone said, “We’re going to close and privatize all the schools serving minorities and the poor,” people would revolt. However, when you say we’re doing it because of standardized tests – because of “science” – people just shrug and say, “You can’t argue with that!”’
Why We Don’t Do Art in School (And Why We Should)
“We are now reaping the results of a dedication and devotion to commercialism and consumerism. If we are to evolve beyond a culture that confuses adolescent posturing with political debate, we’ll need to offer our youngest citizens a climate encouraging freedom of thought, imagination and inquiry. We’ll need to grow a new kind of citizenry. And that means we’ll need to invest in the material conditions that will facilitate the release of every child’s inherent creative talent.”
Secret Teacher: our obsession with targets is hurting vulnerable pupils
“The government needs to recognise that there is no such thing as a “standard” child. Children don’t develop at the same rate and the increased pressure for them to achieve more and more at a young age won’t change this. All it will do is crush the confidence of those who find it more difficult, for whatever reason – and jeopardise their chances of ever reaching their potential.”
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
“Growth Mindset, Revisited”
“The growth mindset was intended to help close achievement gaps, not hide them. Renowned psychologist and author Carol Dweck describes her work to help educators adopt a deeper, true growth mindset, one that can show in classroom practice and throughout school systems.”
Watch the first 30 minutes.
When School Leaders Live in the Middle
Won’t happen to me, I said. I can cope. Hah. Famous last words.
“School leaders are faced with stress as part of their daily jobs; however, left unaddressed, stress has the potential of becoming mentally and physically exhausting. School leaders need opportunities for stress reduction as well as the means to predict and anticipate stress in an effort to minimize its effects. This commentary discusses leadership-related stress and offers strategies to minimize and cope with stress.”
The Destruction of New Zealand’s Public Education System
“This government is destroying our amazing collaborative, holistic public education system that recently led the world. They are determined to implement systems that have failed spectacularly overseas. Professional knowledge based on evidence should lead education, not political ideology. What angers me the most is what is being denied to our most vulnerable children when they should be the real focus of spending and any systemic change.”
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Developing talent in young people?
“I have always been curious about the early life of talented individuals so I was interested to access a copy of an article written on the subject by Benjamin Bloom published in 1985. I have wondered what creative individuals like NZ filmmaker Peter Jackson would’ve been like at school and what kind of school would such creative individuals invent if they were given the challenge?”
What do we all need to be life long learners?
“We need to ask what kind of world our students will be entering. One thing is certain it will not be a predictable one and their ‘passport’ to the future will need to contain fully developed gifts and talents along with the dispositions to learn from whatever experience they will have to face (in the language of the ‘new’ curriculum be equipped with ‘key competencies’). Our current education system marginalizes student’s creativity and talents and this will be worsened with national standards.”
Contributed by Phil Cullen:
High hopes for happy learning
“School is also about learners discovering their aspirations and dreams, with all of these factors not only enhancing learner happiness and well-being, but also making a crucial contribution to their future success in life and work.”