By Allan Alach
Two important articles bookend this set of readings. If you’re not familiar with John Dewey, I recommend you read Bruce Hammonds’ article: “John Dewey – New thinking 1897!” If you want to see how Dewey’s vision can be expressed in a school, read the first article from Kelvin Smythe: “A schoolwide science experience.’
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A schoolwide science experience
This is a must read!
‘My intention was to provide an opportunity and context where children could engage to make connections with science in their environment, to learn how science activity affects life, indeed their life. I delighted in the idea that that in the process of undertaking this science, the children were keenly telling their parents what they were doing, why they were doing it, and the ambitions they had for the outcome.’
Tes talks to… Alfie Kohn
‘Everything you think you know about behaviour management in schools is wrong, according to Alfie Kohn. For example, if you believe that the use of rewards and punishment improves children’s behaviour, think again, he says. In fact, the American former teacher and author of books including Punished by Rewards and Beyond Discipline believes that using these traditional techniques only makes matters worse.’
Some Schools Are Abolishing Homework In Favor Of Reading, And That’s A Good Thing
‘While there is no solid evidence that homework is beneficial for academic success in younger kids, there is plenty of evidence that reading is.’
Teaching of synthetic phonics in Australia based on flawed evidence
I’ll toss this contentious topic into the fire and then stand well back…
‘What is phonics for? Where does it fit into an overall pedagogy of literacy? Without clear answers to these questions, the contestants in the phonics debate will continue to circle each other like blindfolded prizefighters.’
The Brain Is Wired for Math—Sort Of
‘While genetics and gender play a role in math achievement, classroom teaching can pick up the slack and help kids soar. Three keys? Make math understandable, useful, and beautiful. This is no small task, but you have 23 (or so) helpers in your classroom who can make the job manageable if you work with their natural abilities and motivations.’
The State of Being Stuck
‘Last year, I got the high school math teacher’s version of a wish on a magic lamp: a chance to ask a question of the world’s most famous mathematician.
The essence of Wiles’ answer can be boiled down to just six words: “Accepting the state of being stuck.”’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
6 Problems with our School System
‘The traditional system of education was designed in the industrial age and is now outdated and ineffective. Learn about the 6 major problems with the system.’
5 Principles of Outstanding Classroom Management
‘Effective classroom management requires awareness, patience, good timing, boundaries, and instinct. There’s nothing easy about shepherding a large group of easily distractible young people with different skills and temperaments along a meaningful learning journey.So how do master teachers do it?’
Critical Thinking: Keeping Our Minds Open
‘Critical thinking is the ability to apply reasoning and logic to new or unfamiliar ideas, opinions, and situations. Thinking critically involves seeing things in an open-minded way and examining an idea or concept from as many angles as possible. This important skill allows people to look past their own views of the world and to better understand the opinions of others. It is often used in debates, to form more cogent and well-rounded arguments, and in science.’
Neuroeducation Will Lead to Big Breakthroughs in Learning
‘All human abilities, including learning, are a result of our brain activity. Hence, a better understanding of how our brains operate can result in a better understanding of learning.’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Tapping into the student’s world
‘Every student brings with them memories and ideas gained from the experiences they have had. All too often this personal form of motivation is overlooked by teachers who seem to think they have better ideas to use – their own. It is as if students come to school as blank slates (tabula rosa) when instead they come with a wealth of ideas to share but to do so their ideas need to be valued.’
John Dewey – New thinking 1897!
If you’ve not read about John Dewey, this is a good place to start.
‘John Dewey’s famous declaration concerning education was first published 1897 and is still as pertinent now as it was then. All school communities ought to declare their beliefs about education and then work towards aligning all their teaching to achieving what they believe in. If they do not determine their own destiny someone else will. Having clear beliefs provides both security and the basis of making all choices – or simply saying no as appropriate.’