By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Provisional Curriculum For When Walking Is Taught At School
Kelvin Smythe wrote a similar satire over 25 years ago – coincidence? Good read all the same.
‘To secure the quality and consistency of walking skills in forthcoming generations, it is anticipated that walking will soon be taught by professional teachers in properly equipped educational facilities. The following curriculum has been designed to achieve optimum results.’
Discipline, Punishment and Mental Health
‘In the past 25 years rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers in the UK have increased by 70 per cent. How has society managed to produce a generation of teenagers in which mental-health problems are so prevalent?
Has the depersonalisation of learning and migration to a teacher-centred and curriculum-focused approach to education been a factor in this increase?’
Kids Don’t Fail, Schools Fail Kids: Sir Ken Robinson on the ‘Learning Revolution’
‘Robinson delivered a keynote address in which he spoke to the “learning revolution,” arguing that the shift to personalized learning is a non-negotiable in the United States if education is prepared students for the future, instead of simply the “now.”
So, why then is personalized learning a non-negotiable?’
Dear Friend About to Leave Teaching…
‘As another school year comes to a close, I am once again surrounded by teachers who are ready to give up or change careers. There are always complaints about testing, administration, other teachers, students … the list goes on and on. Each year, it feels like you’re at your wit’s end.’
‘Before you give up and leave teaching, please consider these three things …’
Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play.
‘But if you don’t give a child art and stories and poems and music, the damage is not so easy to see. It’s there, though. Their bodies are healthy enough; they can run and jump and swim and eat hungrily and make lots of noise, as children have always done, but something is missing.’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
Responsibility and Inner Discipline
We hear so much about children’s behaviour in schools . This short PDF based on the work of Barbara Coloroso would make a good basis for a staff meeting.
‘A major goal of education is to teach students to conduct themselves in an acceptable manner. To do so, students mush acquire an inner sense of responsibility and self-control.’
The problem with tests that are not standardized
‘Many of us rail against standardized tests not only because of the harmful uses to which they’re put but because they’re imposed on us. It’s more unsettling to acknowledge that the tests we come up with ourselves can also be damaging. The good news is that far superior alternatives are available.’
Why dividing us by age in school doesn’t make sense
‘Dividing children by age in schools doesn’t make sense. After few seconds of skepticism, I took his argument seriously and I realized that the idea of grouping students by age was an assumption I had never challenged before.What we take for granted and see as “how things are“, is often just “how things have been done lately“. The fact that we grow up doing things in a certain way tend to install in us the assumption that that’s the unique way to do them, and that humans have always been doing them that way.’
Be The Change You Want to See By Shifting Traditional High School
‘Great ideas and extraordinary teaching happen in public school classrooms all over the country, but these pockets of innovation often don’t get the attention they deserve. More often the schools held up as models for the future of learning started with a carefully articulated vision around change, a hand-picked staff, and even some startup capital. Changing the traditional approaches to teaching and learning that have been in place for decades within an existing school is extremely difficult work.But passionate teachers and leaders are doing just that.’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Integrated learning at its best!
Flexible thinking in a traditional school – you don’t need flexible learning environments
‘It seems that modern schools require Flexible Learning Environments (FLEs) when what is more important is flexible or innovative thinking. Opunake Primary is one such innovative school which makes use of James Beane’s democratic ideas to empower kids linked with a powerful inquiry learning model and mixed age teaching. Add to this their emphasis on presenting student findings through displays, exhibitions, models’ demonstrations and a range of modern media and you have a school worth emulating.’
Creativity – its place in education
An oldie written by Wayne Morris
‘Is it important to our futures that creativity be taught?What place should creativity have in our education systems?Should we teach creatively or teach for creativity?“By providing rich and varied contexts for pupils to acquire, develop and apply a broad range of knowledge, understanding and skills, the curriculum should enable pupils to think creatively and critically, to solve problems and to make a difference for the better. It should give them the opportunity to become creative, innovative, enterprising and capable of leadership to equip them for their future lives as workers and citizens. It should enable pupils to respond positively to opportunities, challenges and responsibilities, to manage risk and cope with change and adversity.”Source: UK National Curriculum Handbook [p 11-12]:’
Superkids; the hurried generation!
‘This hurrying is understandable in an age of increasing speed and insecurity and there is a growing industry ready to provide whatever any parents requires to give their child an academic advantage, non the least the computer industry! Parents often feel guilty if they aren’t providing all they can.Unfortunately most of what is being provided goes against what we know as age appropriate learning.’