By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at email@example.com
The Writing Process Isn’t Linear. So Why Do Schools Keep Pretending That It Is?
‘If you conduct an online image search for “writing process,” you’ll find many charts that lay out the steps—brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, publishing—in a nice linear fashion. It’s as if these visuals assert, “We brainstorm on Monday, draft on Tuesday, etc.”
However, professional writers don’t check off the steps of the writing process as they move through it. As any experienced writer will tell you, the writing process is recursive, not linear.’
Learning spaces of the third kind
First Steve Wheeler article of the year:
‘Students carry technology in their pockets, information floats through the air, and the they use their own devices to seek and capture it. There is a sense that learning can occur without the teacher being present in this same space, although the teacher may be there anyway, as a co-learner as much as a facilitator. Education is co-constructed, and the tools and technologies provide the scaffolding to support the learning. Students learn by creating, connecting, discovering and sharing.’
Curiosity Is the Cat
Here’s a Will Richardson article that reminded me of this quote by Albert Einstein “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”
‘I’m becoming more curious about curiosity. I’m beginning to think it’s the only “C” that truly matters, and that it’s been badly disrespected in all the conversation around the 4Cs or 7Cs or howevermanyCs that people have been throwing around.I mean really, when it comes to learning, what comes before curiosity?
Critical thinking doesn’t, because if you’re not curious as to whether something is true or fake or accurate or real, you won’t really think very hard about it.’
‘Many of today’s hot topics in education were addressed by iconic educator Maria Montessori nearly a century ago. The video below (5 1/2 min) – along with this Wikipedia link – provide a quick overview of this method of schooling (the video is an adjunct to a book promotion but still works).’
‘I would argue that without creativity there is the danger of not challenging what we do and why we do it. Possibly to go blindly along with what we are told without question for we have no drive, no vision of how things could be different, no need even, to do anything different. Without creativity in our lives, we risk seeing the world only as a series of things we are directed to achieve in the way we are shown to achieve them. Should we forgo challenge and accept obedience?’
3 Ways To Encourage Creativity In Your Classroom This Year
‘As educators, when it comes to creativity in the classroom, we can take the path of least resistance and take creativity out of the learning process or we can create an environment that fosters creativity in learning and allow kids to explore their talents. Fostering creativity in learning in the classroom doesn’t have to be complex or complicated. Here are 3 ways you can encourage creativity in your classroom this year.’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
Breaking the Cycle of “Baby Stuff”
Challenging the Goldilocks Rule
‘For years, teachers have been using simple benchmarks, tests, or other assessment tools to select materials that attempt to align with students’ abilities. This is often known as the Goldilocks Rule—selected books are not too difficult and not too easy but supposedly just right. Unfortunately, this was how all three boys ended up confronting baby stuff at their schools.’
How to Combine Rigor with Engagement
‘The imperatives are clear. On the one hand, we have an obligation to equip all children with a baseline level of literacy and numeracy. Rooted in concerns about equity and given teeth by recent accountability policies, this obligation has become a central goal of schooling in the United States. On the other hand, however, we know that the basics are no longer enough. To successfully negotiate modern life, adults need the capacity to tackle open-ended problems in creative ways—a capacity that requires both critical-thinking skills and the disposition to persevere.’
‘At the core of our quest to increase rigor is creating a common understanding of rigor that speaks to all students. Too often, we dismiss struggling students as unable to work at rigorous levels. In fact, “Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels; each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels; and each student demonstrates learning at high levels” (Blackburn, 2013).’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
What has really changed in our schools the past 50 years?
Reflecting on teaching beliefs – are things better now?
‘The other day I had the opportunity to visit a school I began my career visiting in 1960. During a discussion with the principal she mentioned the classrooms had been developed into innovative (or flexible) learning environments. I couldn’t help suggesting that I bet the daily classroom programmes/timetables haven’t changed much since I first visited the school 40 plus years ago ( with exception of availability of information technology). If anything the current emphasis on literacy and numeracy had reinforced the timetables of earlier times taking up the morning time with the rest of the Learning Areas squeezed into the afternoon period. Hardly flexible teaching? Hardly progress?’
Educational Quotes 5: Leadership and Teamwork
Some quotes on leadership to think about.
‘Imposed bureaucratic ‘top down’ changes have resulted in school being ‘over managed and under led.’ Now is the time for courageous leaders, at all levels, to emerge and add their ‘voices’ to the debate. There are no experts with ‘the answer’ – we will have to invent the future ourselves together as we go along.’
The Treaty of Waitangi – what do your students’ know?
‘A wise teacher should take advantage of important events in New Zealand history such as the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
As the celebration comes early in the year it is a good opportunity to introduce the students to how they will be expected to learn in the class; how to work together to develop critical thinking; how to value their own ideas; how to deepen their understandings and how to apply lessons learnt to their own class.’