Education Readings August 26th

By Allan Alach

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

Paradigm Shift Urgently Needed In Education

Childhood stress levels are at an all time high.

‘The way to combat this childhood suffering is by creating a paradigm shift in how we currently educate our children. One which addresses both the universoul nature (our inner essence) and intellectual development of children. In the 21st century, children need hope and inspiration. They need guidance toward inner peace as much as they need guidance towards academic achievement.’

No grades, no timetable: Berlin school turns teaching upside down

Pupils choose their own subjects and motivate themselves, an approach some say should be rolled out across Germany.

‘The philosophy behind these innovations is simple: as the requirements of the labour market are changing, and smartphones and the internet are transforming the ways in which young people process information, the school’s headteacher, Margret Rasfeld, argues, the most important skill a school can pass down to its students is the ability to motivate themselves.’

Why Are Teachers Burning Out?

Many teachers feel suffocated by the teaching profession because of the intrusiveness of curriculum, district and federal mandates, behavior management systems, state testing and a constant re-vamping of all of the above. Very few of these “norms” are ever generated by the adults on school campuses, and that disconnect creates a sense of disempowerment.’

Cognitive Offloading: How the Internet Is Changing the Human Brain

‘Though the ease of acquiring information in the modern world has improved our lives in so many ways, it is also changing how our brain works and processes information. Some wonder when taken altogether, whether the results are better or worse for us. A new study published in the journal Memory looks into the process of “cognitive offloading,” or relying on Google, GPS, and other external devices for what we used to use our memories for. It considers the impact on learning and problem solving as well.’

The voice of the child in 21st Century education matters, now more than ever

‘In education systems today there is a real danger of children’s voices being swamped by those of bureaucrats, economists and politicians. I believe to ensure we remain responsive to learners we have to listen and respond to what children have to say about the world around them. My particular concern is for the voices of young children and children with autism to be heard.’

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Personalized Learning: Enabling Student Voice and Choice Through Projects

“When you’re able make learning relevant to a student it helps them want to do it and not just because that’s what’s expected. The whole focus of personalized learning is that students see the relevance of what it is that they’re doing. The outcome is students are engaged, and they’re enjoying the learning process.”

Inquiry-Based Learning: From Teacher-Guided to Student-Driven

Ralston educators are building a culture of inquiry, empowering students to ask questions like:

    • How do I problem solve through this?
    • How do I persevere?
    • How do I understand the cause-and-effect relationships that occur in every field?

Curriculum Conversations: 7 Do’s and Don’ts

One way to help students own their role (power) in the curriculum-making process is for teachers to include them in the conversation. Here are seven conversational do’s and don’ts to consider when involving students in curriculum decisions:

Fraud, mismanagement, lies, failure: John Oliver takes on Charter Schools

If you’ve not watched this, here’s your chance. if you have watched this, it’s well worth watching again.

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

An inquiry based classroom

‘How is your inquiry programme going?’ seems to be a common question asked by principals these days.Behind such a question seems the idea that inquiry is another programme to include in the school day along with literacy and numeracy.Two things are wrong with this.Firstly inquiry isn’t a programme to simply be added to the daily programme rather it is a disposition ( their ‘default’ way of learning) that children are born with until it is ‘flipped’ by life experiences and by schooling.Secondly the teachers I have admired over the years see inquiry as the basis for all learning – literacy and numeracy included. Today many teachers ( and schools) have allowed literacy and numeracy to all but ‘gobble up’ the entire school day. National Standards will further dissipate this missing inquiry dimension.’

Don’t touch the bananas!!!!

The power of culture – don’t touch the bananas,

‘It is always amazing to see how exposure to an environment, or culture, can change how we think without us even knowing – I guess this is called conditioning. New ideas always rely on those individuals who can see reality without the blinkers. The truth however is not always welcome and it is always easier to go along. As Oscar Wilde once said, ‘The truth makes you very unpopular at the club.’”

Howard Gardner on creativity – are schools encouraging creativity? The challenge of creativity.

Howard Gardner:Being creative is vital but it isn’t always easy.

‘Gardner says his audiences expect him to fully endorse creativity but creativity in human history was ‘neither sought after nor rewarded’.  Human societies are naturally conservative – and schools particularly so. Humans strive to maintain their current position and in schools this mitigates against educational innovation and interdisciplinary leaps Many people we regard as great thinkers had in their day a difficult time with their ideas –  Galilee Galileo comes to mind but at least he wasn’t burnt at the stake but had to officially recant his ideas. People like Bach and Vincent van Gogh, Freud and Darwin were not at first appreciated.’

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