By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The education system would fall over without many hours of teacher overtime. How long until this goodwill is withdrawn?
This article is from the UK; however it sure applies to New Zealand, and, I suspect, to many other countries as well.
‘There is no doubt that the vast majority of teachers do far more work than they are either contracted or paid to do. Recent BBC research showed that the average primary class teacher, if there is such a thing, worked 59 hours per week. If we consider that only 20 hours of this time is actually in front of a class, then it means a phenomenal amount of time is spent on preparation or marking or taking on the many additional responsibilities a class teacher now has.’
How Clear Expectations Can Inhibit Genuine Thinking in Students
Time to rethink WALTs, learning outcomes, etc?
‘Karen did have very clear expectations, communicated effectively and upheld relentlessly in an admirable fashion. But somehow these expectations, the clearest manifestation of what Karen’s classroom was like, seemed to be standing in the way of creating a culture of thinking. How could that be? Why would having such clear expectations for students’ behavior and performance inhibit their development as thinkers?’
The Bonus Effect
One Kind of Interest that Rewards Don’t Kill
‘Alas, too many parents, teachers, and managers persist in treating people like pets, offering the equivalent of a doggie biscuit to children, students, and employees in an effort to get them to jump through hoops. (Rewards are tools used by people with more power on those with less.) The more familiar you are with the mountain of research on this topic, the more depressed you’ll be to find, for example, that schools continue to rely on Skinnerian programs such as PBIS, Class Dojo, Accelerated Reader, and the like. It’s not just that they’re manipulative, or even that they’re ultimately unsuccessful. It’s that they’re actively harmful.’
Virtual Classrooms Can Be as Unequal as Real Ones
Online courses are praised for their potential to make education accessible to everyone—but they’re leaving students behind.
So much for the latest brainwave from New Zealand’s loose cannon Minister of Education …
“The same factors that have held back low-income or minority students in physical classrooms also plague virtual ones. Studies have found that online-learning resources had trouble attracting low-income students—or, in the case of school-age children, their parents—and that those who did participate in online classes performed more poorly than their peers.”
Educational Malpractice – The Child Manufacturing Process
‘Over the last decades, research in education and child development indicates that the factory model is based on several faulty assumptions. It assumes that learning can be measured by standardized tests, and that all children will learn at the same rate and in the same manner. This is just not true. The fact that children learn best when something is meaningful, enjoyable and interesting for them is ignored. The importance of learning in groups and from slightly older children is also not considered relevant.’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
Building Students’ Cognitive Flexibility
‘In today’s world, the skillsets of cognitive flexibility are more critical and valuable than ever before. These skillsets include:Open-minded evaluation of different opinions, perspectives, and points of view.Willingness to risk mistakes.Consideration of multiple ways to solve problems.Engagement in learning, discovery, and problem solving with innovative creativity.’
Why Are Some People Better at Drawing than Others?
‘Since the dawn of human art-making, the divide has been clear: There are people who can effortlessly sketch an object’s likeness, and people who struggle for hours just to get the angles and proportions right (by which point the picture is scarred by eraser marks, anyway). What separates the drawers from the drawer-nots?’
7 Simple Ways To Teach Creativity In The Classroom
‘In the 20th century creativity as valued in society as it is today.It wasn’t important for landing a job, nor was it crucial for building a successful business; the industrial revolution did emerge thanks to some creative out-of-the-box thinking, but it was hard graft and monotonous work that kept it alive and thriving.Skip forward to 2016 and creativity is a highly prized trait. No longer can you depend on conventional thinking to get you by in life; modern society demands ever more creative and innovation solutions — and you’re students can be the ones to provide them.’
Our children aren’t ready for class, so we are ‘worldschooling’ them instead
‘Over a decade later, I can answer my own question unhesitatingly: my daughter, like thousands of others her age, is simply not ready for the pressures of formal schooling. On first teaching a Year One class, I was shocked and had a crisis of integrity: it felt wrong to expect all these five-year-olds to read and write when they were clearly programmed for play.’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Beautiful minds – ‘in a world of their own’
‘The capacity of the brain is infinite. Lucky for most of us so called ‘normal’ people our brains suppress, or filter out, most of the information coming our way but for the savants their brains take in everything in their particular sphere of interest without interference. It is as if they have no ‘delete’ button; their mind, like a ‘google’ search, recalls everything! And as a result they miss out on capacities such as social and practical skills that we all take for granted.’
Finding a real curriculum
‘By the age five, when children arrive in elementary schools, they have evolved definite selves…..they have their passionate interests, concerns, topics,humour; a style that is theirs’.In other words their own personal curriculum for teachers to tap into , amplify and challenge. Unfortunately, even from a very early age this curriculum is subsumed by topics teachers want to study with their class. Nothing wrong with this but it ought not be at the expense of children’s interests and concerns. Eventually teacher imposed curriculums lead to the disengagement of many older students.’
Why are schools not implementing authentic inquiry learning?
‘I wish there was a magic wand to get this message of authentic inquiry learning into all schools and into all teachers’ heads around the country, and beyond them, our politicians. Sadly I fear we are losing the battle, bit by bit. The rot set in during the 1990s and seems to be spreading, in spite of the best intentions of the New Zealand Curriculum. I guess it hasn’t helped having ‘standards’ imposed upon schools to meet yet to be announced political agendas. I used the quote marks, deliberately as labelling these vague statements as ‘standards’ is an oxymoron of the highest degree. Setting ‘standards’ aside, why are schools and teachers not taking advantage of the NZC?’