By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at email@example.com
Clay in school
‘Primary-school children find clay a wonderfully tactile medium to tell their stories.
The manipulation of clay has a universal fascination for children. When given a tennis-ball sized piece of clay they immediately poke, squeeze, stretch, and roll it into a variety of forms. They add or pull out legs, arms, wings, and horns. With pinched out lips, noses, scales, buttons and attached pellet eyes, hair and spikes, their clay models possess a directness and dynamism that only this process can provide.’
Toddlers begin learning rules of reading, writing at very early age, study finds
‘New research suggests that children as young as 3 already are beginning to recognize and follow important rules and patterns governing how letters in the English language fit together to make words.’
11 brutal truths about creativity that no one wants to talk about
‘Sorry to break it to you, but while creativity is awesome and important, it’s not the be-all and end-all.
If you’re going to do your best creative work — and isn’t that what we all want? — then it’s time to accept these 11 brutal truths about creativity.’
What Students Remember Most About Teachers
‘And as I looked at you, wearing all that worry and under all that strain, I said it’s about being there for your kids. Because at the end of the day, most students won’t remember what amazing lesson plans you’ve created. They won’t remember how organized your bulletin boards are. How straight and neat are the desk rows.
No, they’ll not remember that amazing decor you’ve designed.’
Standards: Why Realizing the Full Promise of Education Requires a Fresh Approach
‘Furthermore, he believes that serving the best interest of all students requires a very different approach that starts with a paradigm shift in how we view education. Attempts to standardize individual student outcomes are an unhelpful, if not downright harmful, way to promote the development of human beings, he says. Instead, “we need to start with the individual child, instead of what others think [that child] should become.”’
So…What Exactly Should Curriculum Planning Look Like – for 2017/18? (Part 01)
Wisdom from Tony Gurr (read to the very end before you explode…).
‘I know, I know…most of us are still on holiday…but I am sure there are a few of us out there that are (already) experiencing anxiety about some of the tasks we have to complete when we get back to the factory floor. Especially, if a new textbook was selected just before the semester ended…
Do NOT worry…I am here to help you get over that anxiety and give you the PERFECT curriculum planning tool – shiriously!’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
How this small country school is turning a profit from the land
‘When a small Northland school was faced with the problem of what to do with their too-large grounds, a bunch of enterprising students came up with their own international award-winning solutions and everyone is now reaping the benefits.’
A Stressed System – We Need To Act Now
‘We are existing in a stressed system. Children are stressed and show this through behaviour, reluctance to try, opting out. Teachers are stressed and find it difficult to keep up with what is going on and all of the expectations placed on them and Principals are stressed, spending more and more time on compliance and less time supporting the children, parents and teachers in their school. I know that a system under stress while it can continue to function, gradually shows signs of this stress, and we are seeing these signs throughout our schools on a daily basis.’
Students’ test scores tell us more about the community they live in than what they know
‘Research shows that the outcomes of standardized tests don’t reflect the quality of instruction, as they’re intended to. The results show that it’s possible to predict the percentages of students who will score proficient or above on some standardized tests. We can do this just by looking at some of the important characteristics of the community, rather than factors related to the schools themselves, like student-teacher ratios or teacher quality.’
Ofsted says non-stop testing is bad for kids. Too late, mate
‘The head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, has just declared that “a good inspection outcome will follow” only if schools are providing “a broad and rich curriculum”, and not just creating “exam scribes”. Excuse me while I scream and cram myself into the fridge to stop my blood boiling, because Ofsted is rather late off the mark with this idea. About 30 years too late.’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Why schools don’t educate.
Notes taken from John Taylor Gatto’s acceptance speech as New York Teacher of the Year 1990
‘Compulsory schooling is an invention of the state and in the early days in the US school attendance was resisted and children learnt to read at home – today home schooling is on the increase and these students are testing higher than their schoolmates.Gatto doesn’t believe we will get rid of schools anytime soon but that if we’re going to change what is rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance we need to realize what school do well even if it does not ‘educate’. He believes that it is impossible for education and schooling to be the same thing.’
The killing of creativity by the technocrats.
‘Somehow, just because Hattie has amalgamated every piece of ‘school effectiveness’ research available ( mainly it seems from the USA) his findings, it seems, ought to be taken for read. The opposite ought to be the case – we need to be very wary of such so called ‘meta research.’. More worrying however is that the approaches he is peddling is pushing into the background the home grown innovative creative learning centred philosophy that was once an important element in many classrooms. Overseas experts always seem to know best – or those that return with their carpet bag full of snake oil.’
Education for the student’s future or for our past?
‘A small country like New Zealand has a a great chance to develop a creative education system if it had the wit, the imagination and the intelligence to do so at the top. But to do this it would need to get rid of the constraints that currently diminish such a possibility. By tapping into ideas from such countries as Finland, by listening to creative teachers and schools , by inviting real educationists to visit , and most of all by having a real conversation with all communities about what they want for all their children, it could be done. There is plenty of wisdom to be tapped and it sure is not limited to those who skulk around the corridors of power.’