By Allan Alach
The demise of national standards in New Zealand schools opens the door to a return to more progressive, child centred learning. In the first article, Bruce Hammonds gives his take on the possibilities in the post national standards classroom. All progressive teachers should read this.
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Organising the school day for 21st Century Teaching – the Craft of Teaching
‘What ‘message’ does the timetable, or the day’s organisation, in your classroom give? Does it reflect past expectations or future thinking? Which learning areas are given the most prominence? Which areas are neglected? With the termination of the reactionary National Standards the time is right for progressive thinking re classroom organisations to be considered.’
Progressive Education Is Not Just Child’s Play
‘Despite the incontestable evidence of what is best for young children, our society continues to tolerate – often celebrate – schools and educational methods that directly contradict several hundred years of evolving knowledge. At least among sensible educators, the importance of play and discovery for young children is a consensus belief, despite policies that often make it hard to teach that way.’
The importance of keeping a beat: Researchers link ability to keep a beat to reading, language skills
Anyone want to have a go at trying this in their classroom?
‘Because hearing sounds of speech and associating them with the letters comprising written words is crucial to learning to read, the Northwestern researchers reasoned that the association between reading and beat synchronization likely has a common basis in the auditory system.’
Why Art And Creativity Are Important For Kids
‘Schools that eliminate art programs are doing so at their peril. No one questions foundation subjects like reading and math for the development of competent citizens, but not enough people are inquiring about how important art and creativity are for kids.
The importance is paramount. Arts and creativity nurture well-being and assist learners in creating connections between subjects.’
Always asking questions
‘Hopefully, in most cases, the entire experience is about asking questions. But the curriculum often militates against good question times. It is so stuffed full of unnecessary content, there is far too little time left for teachers to help children to frame their questions. They must make time, because the bloated curriculum shows no signs of going away just yet. Questioning is far too important to gloss over or push into a corner. Give the kids time to ask questions.’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
Creative by Nature
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” ―Pablo Picasso
‘All human beings are creative by nature. Young children know this in their hearts, but as we grow older most of us begin to have doubts. We live in a culture that discourages creative thought and wants us to believe that artistic ability is rare. Over time, most of us learn not to color (or think) outside the box.
What Should Schools Teach?
‘In the UK, decades of political meddling in the curriculum have resulted in endless lists prescribing what – and how – teachers should teach. How refreshing then, that unlike many educational policy prescriptions, What Should Schools Teach? does not offer a dazzling list of innovative academic hybrids, along with an interactively inspirational flowchart of how to deliver them.’
Genius Hour in Elementary School
‘Educators know a good idea when we see one (even if Google eventually ended the program). We want that vibrant creativity pulsing through our classrooms. We can visualize the end, filled with projects in which our students have connected with experts, filled journals with intelligent thinking, and explored with curiosity. How do we get from this euphoric idea to a classroom reality.’
Have we forgotten that children are still just children?
‘We seem to be so desperate to jump on the next bandwagon, to shape our classrooms for the future, to teach these supposedly ‘different’ learners, who are so ‘different’ to how we were, in progressive ways. But what is it that has made them so different? My thinking has now meandered to this point….children are no different to how we were….they are still just children.’
Here’s How to Apply the 4P Approach to Building a Creative Classroom
‘What is a creative classroom? Creative learners are not linear thinkers. Contrary to popular belief, while others have a plan from the beginning, creative learners are different. They might need to play first and experience the medium before they begin to come up with ideas of their own. That’s why the students in a creative classroom strive for innovative solutions to unexpected problems.’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Learning is about constructing meaning.
Marie Clay was more than about reading
‘Marie Clay was ‘constructivist’ or more accurately a ‘co-constructivist’ believing, like such researchers as Jerome Bruner, Piaget and Vygotsky that students create their own meanings and that this is best achieved by sensitive teacher interaction, always leaving the responsibility of learning in the child’s hands.’
John Holt quotes on learning – more pertinent than ever
‘The freedom and anti-authoritarianism movement of the 60s challenged traditional views in all areas of life. Creative teachers of the time had access to a number of writers spreading the message of an alternative approach to education. I am reassured that there are still many creative teachers doing their best; unfortunately far too few innovative principals. With this in mind I thought the sharing of John Holt’s quotes are as relevant as ever.’