By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What Are the Proper Purposes of a System of Schooling?
‘I’m raising this as a question. Suppose you, magically, were part of a committee charged with developing, completely from scratch, a school system for our modern times. You and the other committee members realize that before designing the structure, you need a clear idea of the purpose of schools. And let’s suppose you are idealists enough to believe that the purpose should have something to do with education (as opposed, for example, to such purposes as providing employment for teachers or supporting the textbook and testing industries). You are asked to come to the next meeting with a brief, written statement of what you think that purpose (or those purposes) should be.
Now, here’s what I’m asking you to do in this little survey.’
Relationships and the Company We Keep.
‘If we start with these, relationships and the company we keep as our basic principles of learning, then the design of our school, classroom, learning environment need to reflect that. In other words, do the designs of the above, hinder or support strong relationships and creating a context for students to be surrounded by the kinds of people that we hope they become?’
50 Tips, Tricks and Ideas for Teaching Gifted Students
‘Gifted kids can be a joy to teach when you know how to identify what engages them. These 50 tips and tricks come from my own experience and from around the Web. They’re good to have in your bag of tricks whether you’re a newbie or an old hand at teaching these high-level thinkers.’
Secret Teacher: I’m tired of justifying the value of vocational subjects
‘One consultation evening, a parent told me that their child was no longer considering health and social care as an option. They had been informed by one of my colleagues that there was no point in doing it and to take a “real subject”. While I was shocked, I shouldn’t have been surprised: my subjects were always included at the back of the options booklet, with English, maths and science at the front.’
How to make mixed ability work: Let children take control of the lesson
‘Grouping children by presumed ability rests on the assumption that teachers know exactly what each child will achieve in a lesson. In reality this is rare, as completing tasks does not always equate with achievement. In fact, the idea of the ‘omnipotent teacher’ has led to an approach to lesson design defined by passive pupils waiting to be moved on. This ignores the pupil as a rational, self-regulating agent who has the potential, if given the chance, to understand their own cognitive capacity better than anyone else; it also belies the ability for pupils to act as resources for one another.’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
Here’s How British and American Spelling Parted Ways
A short video explains the differences.
‘Why do Brits and Americans spell certain words differently? A colourful tale of dictionaries, politics, and national identity ensues here.’
‘To retain our best teachers we need to stop killing them with planning, marking and meetings’
‘Just about every teacher will recognise the sad truth: they are working longer and longer hours week after week. (It would appear that this is now recognised by the Department for Education, too). The most profound question to address is whether these extra hours spent in the school are actually improving the quality of teaching and learning. Sadly, it would seem, this is not the case. It is rather more likely that we are spending endless hours perfuming menial tasks because that’s just what is expected of us…’
The Heart of Teaching: What It Means to Be a Great Teacher
‘What does it mean to be a great teacher? Of course credentials, knowledge, critical thinking, and all other faculties of intelligence are important. However, a great teacher should be much more than credentials, experience and intelligence.What lies in the heart of a great teacher?’
Learning Objectives: a waste of time.
‘If you still have learning objectives written up at the start of every lesson, you’re in 2012. Hope you’re enjoying Gangnam Style.
A few people have been asking the reasoning behind my scorn for learning objectives, and I felt it prudent to outline my thinking here, in a blog. So here’s why I think learning objectives are ridiculous:’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Education is about playing the whole game
‘David Perkins is professor of Education at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. A highly respected authority in his field he is well known for his research and insight into the deep understanding of teaching and learning. His latest highly creative and easy to read book ( published 2009) summarizes years of observations, reflections and research. He ‘makes visible’ what creative and insightful teachers do. He also provides a framework of seven practical principles for all teachers to transform their teaching.’
What’s the Point of School?
“Guy Claxton, University of Winchester,is one of the UK’s foremost thinkers on developing students ‘learning power’. His most recent book is called ‘What’s the Point of School’ and ought to be compulsory reading for anyone involved in education. His book is all about ‘rediscovering the heart in education’.”
The Big Picture Company
“The Big Picture Company believes that every students learning should grow out of his or her unique needs, interests and passions. They also believe that the system must ensure that the students and their families are active participants in the design and assessment of the student’s education. The goal of education should be to connect students to the world ‘one student at a time.’”