By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t Say “Times” When Teaching Multiplication (And What to Say Instead)
‘Choosing our words carefully can have a big impact on student understanding, especially when it comes to multiplication. Make this small change to your multiplication vocabulary today, so students can better visualize and comprehend this important concept.
The word “times” doesn’t mean anything to students.’
Should we ‘pupil’ kids or ‘NAPLAN’ them?
‘Australia’s casual indifference to the effects of mass testing on the learning progress of its school children, and its penchant for using children for excessive periods of school time for ‘test-prep’, as if they are mere inanimate objects available for the collection of data, contains the seeds for its developing inabilities as a nation to mix with the world at large.’
Most primary classes ‘get less than two hours of science a week’
If I had my way, Science would be a major part of children’s learning experiences at school. The article is about England but I fear it applies all over.
‘Three in 10 primary teachers did not receive any support to teach science last year, according to Wellcome Trust study Many UK primary schools are teaching science for the equivalent of less than two hours a week, according to a study. A report commissioned by the Wellcome Trust argues that the subject is not being given enough priority or time by most of the nation’s primaries.’
Cooperative Conflict: Neither Concurrence Nor Debate
By Alfie Kohn.
I’ve been to a workshop run by the Johnson brothers – one of my best professional development experiences. I strongly recommend exploring their work.
‘The good news is that we aren’t forced to choose between creating a classroom in which students must arrive at an artificial consensus and one in which conflict is present but manifests itself as an adversarial exercise. The alternative is to invite disagreement but nest it in caring and a framework of shared goals. This has been called cooperative conflict, constructive controversy, or, in a poetic turn of phrase by the brothers and social scientists Roger and David Johnson, “friendly excursions into disequilibrium.”’
Opinion: The value of ‘slow schools’
‘The “slow education” movement, was founded by Maurice Holt in the UK, who advocated that schools should provide students with time to engage in deep learning, curiosity and reflection. This led advocates of this approach to oppose the use of high-stakes testing and rapid improvement in favour of more time spent developing collaborative and supportive classroom relationships for learning.’
A textbook dilemma: Digital or paper?
‘Do we learn better from printed books than digital versions? The answer from researchers is a qualified yes.’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
Learning Goals… Success Criteria… and Creativity?
‘While I am aware that setting clear standards are important, making sure we communicate our learning goals with students, co-creating success criteria… and that these have been shown to increase student achievement, I can’t help but wonder how often we take away our students’ thinking and decision making when we do this before students have had time to explore their own thoughts first.’
Portfolios hold new promise for school
‘Decades ago, portfolio assessment—using samples of classroom work to document students’ progress toward learning goals—meant finding room for bulging binders stuffed with paper. But digital technologies that make it far easier to collect, curate, share and store student work have dismantled the physical barriers that once made portfolio assessment daunting. Schools are now taking a fresh look at the practice.’
10 Surefire Ideas to Remove Writing Roadblocks
‘So you want to teach writing well. It’s not as hard as you think. Yes, it’s a challenge, but it can be exhilarating.I believe writing – more than anything we teach – has the power to change students’ lives, for them to see themselves, sometimes for the first time, as smart thinkers and writers across the curriculum.’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Time for a rebirth of the creative spirit
‘In the early 50s primary education was a very formal and inflexible affair. By the 70s a major revolution had occurred and today we take for granted the colorful child centred classrooms of our primary schools. Early educational innovators came to believe in ‘education through art’. Such teachers embraced enthusiastically: the writing of poetry, movement, dance and drama, story telling, myths and legends, social studies and natural science, the making of creative music, and of course a wide experience of the arts and crafts, including clay and paint – and at the same time the arts of the Maori were introduced.’
Henry Giroux – lessons for New Zealand educators. Revitalizing the role of public education.
Time to call an end to neo liberal free market drivel before we ruin our country.
‘There is no doubt that current political leadership, influenced by a neo –liberal philosophy of small government, individualism and the need to privatise of all aspects of living has led to the erosion of the belief in the common good resulting in a growing gap between so called ‘winners and losers’.The winners are the financial and corporate elite – the one percent.The corporate and financial elite, right wing think tanks –and extreme fundamentalist political groups (the Tea Party in America and the ACT party in New Zealand) are increasingly focusing on privatisation.’
Experience and Education – John Dewey 1938
Time to listen to John Dewey again?
‘Maybe, as the self centred greedy capitalism of the West is crumbling, the time is right to develop a new democratic vision for the 21st Century. John Dewey’s book Experience and Education provides idea to think about for the century ahead of us? Dewey wrote extensively about the relationship between education and democracy (1916) – a link that those in power today choose to ignore but what better place to establish democratic ideals through example than the school.’