By Allan Alach
As the New Zealand school year is coming to an end, Bruce Hammonds and I are taking a break from producing these education readings. We hope you all have a great festive season and we’ll be back at the end of January.
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Special Letter From Santa … Why Teachers Must Be Magic!
‘Please take a moment to read this very special letter from Santa! He takes a moment to describe the magic that you as an educator make happen every day!’
3 Signs Of Gender Discrimination In The Classroom You Need To Know
‘There are 3 signs of gender discrimination in the classroom that you need to know which are behavioral discriminations, achievement discrimination, and developmental discrimination. This articles discusses each sign and provides key components you need to know to avoid discrimination against boys and girls in the classroom.’
Why Reading Aloud Helps You Remember More Information
‘The research, published in the journal Memory, finds that the act of reading and speaking text aloud is a more effective way to remember information than reading it silently or just hearing it read aloud. The dual effect of both speaking and hearing helps encode the memory more strongly, the study reports.’
Is your school feeding inequality?
‘Education is meant to be society’s great leveller. Offering public education supposedly gives everyone a fair chance to succeed in life in any capacity they might choose, but in reality … it doesn’t. In fact, I would go as far to say that it barely tries to. Now, If you’re an educator, that might upset you as I’m sure you are thinking “I try really hard to help all my students!” I know many teachers who are inclusive, flexible and cater for individual needs, but that doesn’t stop the systems they work within, undoing much of the progress they make.’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
Students can own Their Learning Through Creating Questions
A simple read but important.
Dr Ann Milne – Why not White Boys’ Writing?
‘Do we think White boys have an additional writing or reading gene that our Maori kids missed out on? Or do we think they had better parenting perhaps – you know, bedtime stories, books in the home, and all that? Or, here’s a thought, could it be that the whole system, the way we set up and structure schools, our teacher training, our obsession with copying failed policy from other countries which also marginalise their indigenous learners, the knowledge we value—and measure—is also White and it, therefore, benefits the children whose values match, and whose values are embedded in and reproduced by our schools?’
What Do We Really Mean When We Say ‘Personalized Learning’?
‘The idea of personalized learning is seductive – it implies moving away from the industrialized form of education that pumps out cookie-cutter students with the same knowledge and skills. After decades of this approach, it is clear that all children don’t learn the same way and personalization seems to honor those differences. However, that term has taken on several different meanings.’
‘We help them flourish and bloom’: using nature to keep students in education
‘There is evidence to back this idea up. In 2015, Mind’s report Feel Better Outside, Feel Better Inside (pdf) found that activities such as gardening boosted self-esteem, improved physical health and benefited those at risk of developing mental health problems.’
Our education systems must focus on developing underlying human capabilities, not just knowledge and skills
It is absolutely clear that better, broader education will be essential in creating a positive future of work. However we still need to work out precisely what is the education that will be most relevant for tomorrow’s world.’
‘Collaborative problem solving must be placed at the heart of our curriculum’
‘The latest Pisa rankings prove that if our pupils are to thrive in future workplaces, the importance of collaborative problem-solving, creativity and teamwork must be emphasised in schools, writes one educationalist.’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Time for a rebirth of the creative spirit.
Make the most of the end of national standards.
‘The time is right for a true educational revolution! We need to listen to lost voices and rediscover our own The spirits of creative teachers, long gone, will be with us. The secret is to seek out and network with creative teachers in your own areas to share their wisdom.’
Lester Flockton. Nothing wrong with being critical!
‘Lester wisely suggest that we need to reflect carefully on the ‘over stated claims’ based on this thing called ‘evidence’. It is almost impossible these days to avoid ‘evidence based’, or ‘best practice’ whatever, in any Ministry document! ‘Best practice’, when imposed through heavy handed contracts, can ‘mutate’ into, what educationalist Dean Fink calls, ‘educational sects’ that make it all but impossible for teachers to develop new creative approaches. If we are to be creative then there will be times that we can’t wait for the ‘evidence’. Schools must feel free to create their own ‘best practice’ through their own actions. Such an approach is what some scientists call, ‘enlightened trial and error’ – or simply common sense.’
End of year survey – tapping the wisdom of your class/school/community
‘At the end of the school year it is a good idea to gather information from the students you are passing on. Not only is this a chance for you to get some insight about your teaching but it is also a great way to value the ‘voice’ of your students. What are your students’ attitudes towards areas of learning?’
Creative schools – schools as true learning communities.
‘When schools develop a culture of approved (and enforced) ‘best practices’ such schools can be defined as ‘best practice learning communities’. Where schools value the creativity of both students and teachers they fit the ‘learning organisation ‘definition. Michael Fullan has written that it is ironic that few sc hools are true learning organisations. A ‘community of best practice’ follows the guidance of experts from outside of the school or classroom while ‘learning organisations’ value the inspiration of creative teachers. The emphasis chosen makes a big difference.’
We need a new story for our future.
‘What we need, as we make our way into the new millennium, is a new way of thinking to align our thoughts behind. We need a new story, myth, narrative, or metaphor, to replace current thinking – thinking based on a mechanistic emphasis on economic progress, exploitation and short term thinking.’