Education Readings May 27th

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

Against “Personalized Learning”

Interesting article by Annie Murphy Paul:

“…is that it runs afoul of our current understanding of cognition. Put simply, knowledge is cumulative. What a child is capable of learning depends upon what she already knows. When a child encounters new information, if she lacks the preexisting knowledge to put the information in context, she will quickly become frustrated. She won’t learn. So to the extent personalization seeks to devolve a greater degree of the responsibility of acquiring new knowledge to students, it relies on the mistaken assumption that many or most students are properly equipped to make sense of new information.”

http://bit.ly/1OQ7psT

Why “21st Century Learning” is No More Than Status Quo

‘So here’s something to consider. 21st century reformers are NOT new. They are NOT cutting-edge. They are nothing they propose to be. In a world dominated by digital services and programs, and in a time in which Silicon Valley is home to the new robber barons, how can selling our education system out to their corporate interests really be “cutting edge”? It’s what we have always done.’

http://bit.ly/1XAwu1K

5 Reasons Why Origami Improves Students’ Skills

‘While some of the oldest pieces of origami have been found in ancient China and its deepest roots are in ancient Japan, origami can make an impact in today’s education too. This art form engages students and sneakily enhances their skills — including improved spatial perception and logical and sequential thinking.’

http://edut.to/25kTp3M

The idea that strong teacher unions impede education quality is ludicrous

‘Throughout history teacher organisations have been the main driver of improving education quality and educational opportunities. Is it a coincidence that the 23 best performing nations on the Programme for International Student Assessment scale have strong education unions? Of course not. Many successful education reforms in the industrial economies were initiated by teacher unions, while the most effective professional development programmes are organised by teacher unions.’

http://bit.ly/1qMAVtt

Rigor spagis

An article from the Cambridge Primary Review Trust in the UK that discusses the deadening effects of national tests on children’s writing.

‘Only one of the eight relates to the point of putting pen to paper in the first place. Aside from ‘the pupil can create atmosphere, and integrate dialogue to convey character and advance the action’, the writing criteria spring entirely from the Government’s obsession with grammar, punctuation and spelling. I fear it is only too easy to meet the ‘expected standard’ with writing that is as lifeless, uninspiring and rigorous as the criteria themselves.’

http://bit.ly/1RuHWoG

The power of reading aloud: not just for babies and little children

‘There is something special about reading books together at school. A clever teacher can turn the reading experience into an almost theatrical event, and transform ‘the class’ into a keen and interactive audience. A shared story is communal; it is protective to those who are most struggling, who are learning about words, how they sound and what they do; they are helped by hearing others say them. It helps to bring about a shared class-consciousness, a shared memory that enriches and motivates. Reading a shared story every day is one of the most rewarding teaching experiences and one with highly productive outcomes.’

http://bit.ly/1THCIKN

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

One to Grow On / Beyond Grades and “Gotchas”

‘My perspectives on looking at student work have been honed over many years of teaching. I don’t pretend to have it all right yet, but I think I’m wiser about that aspect of teaching than I was in my early years. Over time, I’ve arrived at four conclusions. Although a part of me wishes someone had told me these things as a beginning teacher, I know there’s a difference between being handed a list of do’s and don’ts and developing an understanding of how learning works. As Linus once told Charlie Brown, “There’s a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker.” Here are four elements of my evolving philosophy about looking at student work.’

http://bit.ly/1sQGzgb

How A Strengths-Based Approach to Math Redefines Who Is ‘Smart’

‘The three main tenets of Complex Instruction are that learning should have multi-ability access points, norms and roles that support interdependency between students, and attention to status and accountability for learning. In most Complex Instruction classrooms the majority of class time is spent with students working in groups of four on a rich task that has multiple entry points and ways it could be solved. If one student can solve the problem in his or her head, it’s not a rich task.’

http://bit.ly/1Wkhzdc

10 Surefire Ideas to Remove Writing Roadblocks

An excellent article by Regie Routman

‘So you want to teach writing well. It’s not as hard as you think. Yes, it’s a challenge, but it can be exhilarating.I believe writing – more than anything we teach – has the power to change students’ lives, for them to see themselves, sometimes for the first time, as smart thinkers and writers across the curriculum.’

http://bit.ly/1ViTTEY

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Tapping into the student’s world

‘Every student brings with them memories and ideas gained from the experiences they have had. All too often this personal form of motivation is overlooked by teachers who seem to think they have better ideas to use – their own. It is as if students come to school as blank slates ( tabula rosa) when instead they come with a wealth of ideas to share but to do their ideas need to be valued.’

http://bit.ly/1LwCrc8

Importance of School Values

‘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.’

http://bit.ly/1WQKvVA

‘Superkids’; the hurried generation!

‘The latest metaphor for education , and one with unhealthy consequences, is that of the ‘super kid’. This has resulted in what Elkind calls the ‘hurried child’. Arising out of an ideology of individualism and competition, this metaphor puts pressure on parents to hurry their children through childhood to give them an advantage in the future. It is an outcome of the ‘dog eat dog’, ‘me decades’, or the ‘yuppie me first’ culture!.’

http://bit.ly/1qKnlqv

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