By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A new phonics test for Australian six year olds is a BAD idea
‘As renowned English author Michael Rosen explains, the difference between a phonics test and learning to read is that a phonics test merely requires children to pronounce a list of words, while learning to read is about making meaning of a text. Phonics is only one part of the literacy story. And there is no evidence that phonics training should precede meaning making in literacy learning. It is much more productive to address decoding skills in meaningful contexts.’
Should Traditional Teachers Join the Revolution?
‘However my experience is that very few of colleagues make pedagogical choices on the basis of ideology or efficacy, they do what they do to get through the day. Effectively each teacher presents a personal mishmash of entrenched pedagogical styles. It is immensely difficult to persuade colleagues to break their particular pattern because the pattern is a coping strategy.’
Give teaching back to teachers
‘We need to give back to teachers control of the learning agenda. They also need to be supported with high-quality professional experiences. I want to make clear that I am not advocating an ‘anything goes’ approach. Good teachers are prepared to be accountable and responsible for their work and the work of their colleagues. But making them jump through hoop after hoop to justify their existence is draining and disheartening.’
What Works Can Hurt: Side Effects in Education
‘Educational research has typically focused exclusively on the benefits, intended effects of products, programs, policies, and practices, as if there were no adverse side effects. But side effects exist the same way in education as in medicine. For many reasons, studying and reporting side effects simultaneously as has been mandated for medical products is not common in education.’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
Designing New Learning Environments to Support 21st Century Skills
A serious read about modern learning environments by Bob Pearlman
This chapter from a recent book outlines the development of creating 21stC learning environments. For schools moving in such directions it is worth the read. a key element of such schools is project base learning with students working collaboratively on authentic tasks to produce of quality. One message is not to put ‘old wine into new bottles’. Obviously purpose built buildings feature but it is the pedagogy that is most important.
How can the learning sciences inform the design of 21st century learning environments?
A short and valuable report about the teaching beliefs required to teach in a Innovative Learning Space.
‘Over recent years, learning has moved increasingly centre stage and for a range of powerful reasons. A primary driver has been the scale of change in our world the rapid advances in ICT, the shift to economies based on knowledge, and the emphasis on the skills required to thrive in them. Schools and education systems around the world are having to reconsider their design and approach to teaching and learning. What should schooling, teaching and, most especially, learning look like in this rapidly changing world?’
Rethinking classroom design to promote creativity and collaboration
‘Modern Learning Environments are the in thing but it’s what happens in them that counts!“The physical design of the space absolutely helps, especially when it comes to promoting collaboration. “It shouldn’t matter whether it’s for high school or college students,” he said. “We have to prepare students for a future that they can’t imagine, and how to succeed in the 21st century, using adaptability, creativity and empathy, along with ethics and problem-solving.”’
Are Teachers Becoming Obsolete?
‘Leaving my school building the other day, I had an unexpected realization: Perhaps a computer was a more effective teacher than I currently was. The thought unnerved me, and still does as I’m writing this. I’m a nearly 13-year veteran educator dedicated to reflecting upon and refining my teaching craft. But I’m now considering the real possibility that, for at least part of a class period or school day, a computer could—and maybe should—replace me.’
Students Learn from Inquiry, Not Interrogation
‘Almost all students view follow-up questions as attempts to keep them on the “hot seat” and embarrass them for not knowing. And most perceive classroom questioning to be a competition that pits students against one another – Whose hand goes up first? Who answers most frequently? Very few students understand questioning as a process for collaborative exploration of ideas and a means by which teachers and students alike are able to find out where they are in their learning and decide on next step.’
Always Think Like a Student
‘There are many paths to success, but there is a common thread among them all: learning.The value of being a lifelong learner is immeasurable. We tend to forget this outside of the most obvious situations: at work or in school. What we all need to understand is that there is knowledge to be uncovered everywhere.’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Modern Learning Environments (MLEs) are they so new?
‘My impressions of the schools I have visited are that they remind me of technological futuristic factories and, in some ways, not really relating to real flesh and blood
children. Even the landscaping has been planned by ‘experts’ who like mass planting of natives that are forced to conform to their futuristic roles – amenity planting. Not really gardens – or even natural native gardens.’
Teaching /learning in flexible spaces – Modern Learning Environments MLEs – New Tech High
A bit of history about modern learning environments – a NZ perspective.
“Modern School Environment are the latest iteration of 1970s open plan schools.I am not sure how they will be developed by teachers other than by those who already have an open approach to education. Time will tell but the flexibility of such buildings are a great improvement on the limitations of self contained classrooms – sometimes disparagingly described as ‘single cell classrooms’.”