Treehorn Everychild was the hero of a book by Florence Parry Heide: The Shrinking of Treehorn. When he was severely afflicted, worried and puzzled, the adults closest to him – parents, bus-driver, teacher, principal – preferred to ignore him. They had other things to do. The conclusion to the book is dramatic. He had lost faith in all adults. When his skin started to turn a violent green, he had adjudged by then that adults don’t care about school kids and the book concludes : “Treehorn sighed. ‘I don’t think I’ll tell anyone.’ he thought to himself. “If I don’t say anything, they won’t notice.’”

 Do you know how your child feels at NAPLAN time?  Do you care?



 This was the headline on the Ellen Fanning’s  ABC National Radio show, [click above] during which she interviewed Lucy Clark, author of  Beautiful Failures

 In her introduction Ellen Fanning indicated that the federal minister for education Simon Birmingham, became so cross when he heard that the 2016 NAPLAN results had plateaued and were heading for the cliff on the other side, that he phoned the S.A. premier and then phoned the local Minister for Education, demanding better results. The minister contacted the Director-General who, in turn, emailed all Area Directors and put the screws on them.  They, in turn, jumped in their official white cars and headed for the nearest schools insisting that principals smarten up and  give their NAPLAN efforts their undivided attention.  Red alert!   Panic stations!

 Ellen Fanning warns teachers and school pupils,Boys and girls! Don’t think this pressure won’t come down on you!”

 Sure as shootin’ it will. These unfortunate testucating  characters who were the links in this chain reaction, just don’t seem to know nor understand what happens to learners when you put pressure on young people for results. Even Methuselah knew at a young age, that such scoring routines flatten out and then flop. The research is that old. They’re like smokers who just can’t give up testucating, even though they know the dreadful consequences.

 The usual reaction from such testucators is to do just what all political syncophants do.  They’ll turn  the screws even harder…without thought of basic elements of healthy learning,that they would have learned about if they ever attended a lecture on teaching or learning; or spent some time in a classroom. You will find that the forthcoming Year 1 tests [Imagine it. Year 1 Tests !! Poor kids.] will be installed because they represent a good political ploy…..and that’s what NAPLAN is all about; attacking kids emotions while misinformed testucators play their silly games. The Year 1 scores in 2017  will be the benchmark for the Year 3s in 2019. The lower the scores at Year 1, the more notable the Improvement in scores for the cohort’s Year3 tests.

 At the other end of the school, the pressure on Year 9s in NSW will be enormous, since that state is about to connect the NAPLAN results to the HSC results three years later!

 One has to wonder who dreams up these anti-schooling schemes!

 It’s ‘Back to Drastics’ Time

The broadcast was outstanding and encouraged open discussion on a number of fronts….

 *Things will not be pleasant in schools for the next few years….unless we take the sort of advice offered by Ellen Fanning, Lucy Clark, Katrina of Melbourne and other wise parents who graced the program. I’d suggest that if every parent in Australia was able to hear the mature views expressed by these mothers,  NAPLAN would be dead tomorrow. They’d all say. “NO way.” The ladies made salient points. Their issues and quotations are worthy of repetition…..

 *Last week’s media talk only discussed outcomes, scores and hard data results, with no reference to the importance of the content. The week’s discussion centred on winners and losers. A text messages asked “Do you know anyone who ever grew taller by having his height measured?”

 *Only winners and losers got a mention in the press, when, in fact, both lose because of being forced to do the tests. The sequence of NAPLAN events is set…..

                                1. Teachers teach  to the tests.

                                2. Children only want to know what’s on the test.

                                3. They don’t want to know about anything else.

 You might like to listen again at this stage….Click above.

 *Lucy Clark suggested that our kids are suffering because, like her daughter, they are “….knobbled in class and made to feel like failures.”  Schooling, these days, is only about ranking kids. The focus on Outcomes ignores the joys in learning.  Why not enjoy the content and ignore the outcomes?  What does a  ‘High Distinction’ mean, anyhow?  Does it reveal how much one loves the subject?   Why can’t our children ENJOY Maths?  NAPLAN is a competition that is too harmful.  Literacy and Numeracy have never ever been under-played in our schools. It has always received first-class, predominant attention. What’s the problem?  Kids should feel confident and comfortable about what they learn and we all know of the great pain endured by kids during the hours spent on NAPLAN teaching.

 *  “Success in life comes from the ability to use the soft skills – creativity, problem solving, team work, decision making, confidence,  accepting challenges, love of learning.”

Why can’t kids enjoy Maths.? “

 *Pupils now attend schools so that they can serve the system?  Wasn’t the idea supposed to be that the system should serve the pupil?  Did you know that………

 ** $60 billion has been spent on after-school tutoring by people who can afford the money…..mostly those who want their kids to keep away from kids with lower NAPLAN scores.

$60billion !!!

 “Competition only focuses on the high achievers ; whereas every kid matters.”

 “What we do with NAPLAN flies in the face of what we know about teaching and learning.”

Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  0              

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