Education Readings September 9th

By Allan Alach

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

Do Our Expectations of Kids Aim Too High or Too Low?

By Alfie Kohn

My premise is that it makes sense to adopt what might be called a “working with” — as opposed to a “doing to” — approach with children. That means relying on love and reason, seeing kids as more than bundles of behaviors to be managed and manipulated, and treating troublesome actions as problems to be solved (or, if you like, teachable moments) rather than as infractions to be punished.’

Students are not hard-wired to learn in different ways – we need to stop using unproven, harmful methods

School ‘reform’ movement – take note.

‘In health there are well-established protocols that govern the introduction of any new drug or treatment. Of major consideration is the notion of doing no harm. In education there are no such controls and plenty of vested interests keen to see the adoption of new strategies and resources for a variety of ideological and financial reasons.’

Screens In Schools Are a $60 Billion Hoax

Something to reflect on – do you agree or disagree?

‘Tech in the classroom not only leads to worse educational outcomes for kids, which I will explain shortly, it can also clinically hurt them. I’ve worked with over a thousand teens in the past 15 years and have observed that students who have been raised on a high-tech diet not only appear to struggle more with attention and focus, but also seem to suffer from an adolescent malaise that appears to be a direct byproduct of their digital immersion.’

Teaching ‘grit’ is bad for children, and bad for democracy

Debunking another educational ‘gimmick?

‘Duckworth celebrates educational models such as Beast at West Point that weed out people who don’t obey orders. That is a disastrous model for education in a democracy. US schools ought to protect dreamers, inventors, rebels and entrepreneurs – not crush them in the name of grit.’

Disrupt Assessment: It’s like the 21st century never happened

‘The notion that the assessment tail wags the dog of learning seems so illogical and yet it drives the entire process of educating our children as they get processed through the conveyor belt of the school system. Work hard, get good grades, go to university, get a good job. Why do we continue to collude in this illusion when even a degree from the best university doesn’t guarantee wellbeing and employment for life?’

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

What I Worry About When I Worry About STEM

Are we training our future employees, or are we educating our present and future citizens?

‘Education’s fundamental purpose is to improve our capacity to question and develop our ability to build bridges (metaphorical and physical) between theories and applications. So why do we allow the discourse to focus on pushing people into STEM for the fulfilment of the needs of industry (even when we know the industry needs are more complex), especially when it’s sold back to us as a national mission to “beat” other countries at math?’

What is Creativity in Education Really All About?

Sir Ken: What is creativity in education all about? Short and sweet.

‘So we all want to become more creative teachers. But what does creativity in education really mean? Is it about making worksheets look prettier? Is it about teachers standing on tables and being more exuberant? Is it about loosening things up and rethinking organizational structures and curricula? Or is it about finding and using more unusual ideas in the classroom?Creativity in education is none of these things.’

Attention artists: the new key to remembering things might be your drawing pencil

‘With the increased popularity of coloring books for adults, we’ve all been busting out the colored pencils and getting our inner artist out. Now, there’s new science that suggests your artistic talents could help improve your memory.A new study suggests that if you want to remember something, you should draw it.’

To improve quality in education, reconsider true definition of ‘good teacher’

‘It is assumed, therefore, that teachers and the actions they take in the classroom fundamentally impact students and what they learn. Often we, as a community of education stakeholders, take this assumed relationship so far as to assert that educational systems are only as good as the quality of their teachers.However, this nearly universal valuation of both teaching and teachers glosses over the sober realization that individual teachers have differential effects on student learning.’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The transformative Power of Interest: Annie Murphy Paul – Dan Pink and Carol Dweck

“‘If there is just one message I could share with parents, educators, and managers, it would be about the transformative power of interest’. Annie Murphy Paul. The development of every student’s unique set of talents and gifts is the challenge for a 21stC of education and so far few schools have yet to appreciate this challenge.”

We have lost so much over the past 50 years. We need to return leadership back to creative teachers.

‘The rise and fall, and possible rise again of the leadership of creative teachers. It was in the sixties when creative classroom teachers working within a shared educational philosophy were the real leaders.’

What should a parent expect from a teacher in the 21stC?

‘Apart from the surge in technology use, and the new skills teachers need to adopt, implement and harness new digital media and tools (a subject for another blogpost), I would argue that little has changed in our expectations of good educators.’

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