Education Readings February 23rd

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

How Children Learn Bravery in an Age of Overprotection

Peter Gray:

‘I doubt if there has ever been any human culture, anywhere, at any time, that underestimates children’s abilities more than we North Americans do today.  Our underestimation becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, because, by depriving children of freedom, we deprive them of the opportunities they need to learn how to take control of their own behavior and emotions.”

http://bit.ly/2sBgXIL

Reasons Today’s Kids Are Bored At School, Feel Entitled, Have Little Patience & Few Real Friends

‘I completely agree with this teacher’s message that our children are getting worse and worse in many aspects. I hear the same consistent message from every teacher I meet. Clearly, throughout my time as an Occupational Therapist, I have seen and continue to see a decline in kids’ social, emotional, and academic functioning, as well as a sharp increase in learning disabilities and other diagnoses.’

http://bit.ly/2vV7Kbc

My Pedagogic Creed (1897)

by John Dewey

‘I believe that much of present education fails because it neglects this fundamental principle of the school as a form of community life. It conceives the school as a place where certain information is to be given, where certain lessons are to be learned, or where certain habits are to be formed. The value of these is conceived as lying largely in the remote future; the child must do these things for the sake of something else he is to do; they are mere preparation. As a result they do not become a part of the life experience of the child and so are not truly educative.’

http://bit.ly/2BzoCKs

‘It’s given the children a love of wildlife’: the schools letting nature in

‘But the children have been taking an active interest in the wildlife at their school for a while. Since creating a garden in an unused corner of their field more than two years ago, the pupils have attracted a variety of birds. They’ve planted wildflower seeds, created a vegetable plot, made bird nests, and learned about biodiversity. The school has a wicker bird hide and has bought binoculars to encourage bird spotting all year round.’

http://bit.ly/2BDIz2y

To foster a love of art in children, we must teach it at primary school

If we want children to value art, we must give them access to it early on in life. Here’s how primary schools can make space for creativity.

‘Robust art curricula should cover a range of artists, styles, genres, websites, books and galleries. Look to design lessons that build on prior learning, can be connected to a wider context (historical or geographical, for example) and provide opportunities to further develop visual literacy. Teachers can be encouraged to help children to think critically about images by asking open and closed questions, and giving them sentence starters as a way to talk about art. For example, “I like the way the artist has … ” or “In this artwork I can see … ”’

http://bit.ly/2FjWWsX

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Great Pedagogy Trumps Ideology

‘Political ideologies may have indirect impacts on schools by the social and economic policies they enact and the impacts these have on learners’ lives, but the pedagogical approaches of teachers have so much more of an influence in schools. Teachers and schools have always looked at the constraints placed upon us by governments and then continued to design curriculum and learning in the best way they see fit.’

http://bit.ly/2o6hT34

The Real Agenda of “So-Called” Education Reform

‘What if I told you that the hidden agenda of those controlling public education policy has actually been to crush innovation, make children more obedient, force teachers to “dull & dumb down” their instruction, and do whatever else is needed in order to snuff out young people’s natural creativity, curiosity, independence, freedom of thinking and love of learning?’

http://bit.ly/2Hp16QP

The Pedagogy Of John Dewey: A Summary

‘John Dewey is one of the giants in the history of educational theory, and it’s difficult to isolate one of his specific theories to discuss here. He was influential in so many areas of educational reform, that to choose one theme would do him a disservice, so I will highlight several of the areas in which he was ahead of his time.’

http://bit.ly/2ypQ9x3

How should we group students in primary maths classrooms?

Grouping students in maths classrooms based on their ability or prior attainment is a notion that is increasingly being challenged by research (see also here and here). When we have engaged in so-called ‘ability grouping’ practices for so long, why should we think about changing? And what would the change involve? These are big questions that are concerning many teachers at the moment,  spurred by a nagging concern that traditional ability grouping may be missing the mark for a large group of students, along with wider conversations about equity issues in our school system.’

http://bit.ly/2BHakaF

On the Edge of Chaos: Where Creativity Flourishes

‘If it’s true, in Sir Ken Robinson’s words, that “Creativity is not an option, it’s an absolute necessity,” then it’s that much more imperative to find ways to bring creativity to learning.But first, we have to understand what conditions foster true creativity. One definition that scientists have agreed upon for creativity is the ability to create something that’s both novel as compared to what came before, and has value. “It’s this intersection of novelty and value, a combination of those two features that’s particularly important,”’

http://bit.ly/2HCESe2

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The forgotten genesis of progressive early education

‘My own experience has taught me that all the best idea have come from those who teach the very young children rather than with those working at the ‘higher’ levels  but this seems to have been forgotten. As children move up through the school system their experiences, their sense of agency and voice are replaced by subject requirements and teacher intentions. At the secondary little has changed in hundred years.’

http://bit.ly/2cBOYvp

Seymour Papert : The obsolete ‘Three Rs’ – blocking real change in education

All this Victorian emphasis on the ‘three Rs’  according to people like Professor Seymour Papert, a highly respected MIT expert in learning and computers, ‘expresses the most obstinate block to change in education’.’ The role of the basics’, he writes, ‘is never discussed; it is considered obvious’. As a result other important educational developments are being ignored.

http://bit.ly/1i5mRQ2

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Education Readings February 16th

By Allan Alach

If you are a creative teacher who wants to do the best for their class, I strongly suggest you read Bruce’s article (below) “Creative teaching:Learning from the past – John Cunningham teacher 1970s”

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

‘The Cult of Hattie’: ‘wilful blindness’?

Yet another ‘debunking’ of Hattie – got the message yet?

‘Unfortunately, in reading Visible Learning and subsequent work by Hattie and his team, anybody who is knowledgeable in statistical analysis is quickly disillusioned. Why? Because data cannot be collected in any which way nor analysed or interpreted in any which way either. Yet, this summarises the New Zealander’s actual methodology. To believe Hattie is to have a blind spot in one’s critical thinking when assessing scientific rigour. To promote his work is to unfortunately fall into the promotion of pseudoscience.’

http://bit.ly/2BRTG9e

Five Ways To Shift Teaching Practice So Students Feel Less Math Anxious

‘Rather than focusing on the algorithms and procedures that make mathematics feel like a lock-step process — with one right way of solving problems — Boaler encourages teachers to embrace the visual aspects of math. She encourages teachers to ask students to grapple with open-ended problems, to share ideas and to see math as a creative endeavor. She works with students every summer and says that when students are in a math environment that doesn’t focus on performance, speed, procedures, and right and wrong answers they thrive. They even begin to change their perceptions of whether they can or can’t do math.’

http://bit.ly/2HdWgpE

Why forcing kids to do things ‘sooner and faster’ doesn’t get them further in school

‘Why do some children who learn to read earlier than their peers do so poorly in ways that matter later on? Why do children for whom every aspect of their education, from kindergarten onward, is tailored toward graduating from college often struggle to graduate from college?’

http://wapo.st/2CiMvm0

The Joy and Sorrow of Rereading Holt’s “How Children Learn

‘This clearly is a corollary of the point that children learn because they are motivated to do the things they see others do.  They are, of course, motivated to do whole things, not pieces abstracted out of the whole.  They are motivated to speak meaningful sentences, not phonemes. Nobody speaks phonemes.  They are motivated to read interesting stories, not memorize grapheme-phoneme relationships or be drilled on sight words.’

http://bit.ly/2G9jdJe

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Creative teaching:Learning from the past – John Cunningham teacher 1970s

‘John wrote “It was the students themselves who effected the changing nature of the classrooms and I had to accept the children as who they are than what I wanted them to be”. Those who visited John’s classroom could not but be impressed with the quality of students work on display and of the way they were able to work independently.’

http://bit.ly/2DBcjLT

Teaching: Just Like Performing Magic

‘Education, at its most engaging, is performance art. From the moment a teacher steps into the classroom, students look to him or her to set the tone and course of study for everyone, from the most enthusiastic to the most apathetic students. Even teachers who have moved away from the traditional lecture format, toward more learner autonomy-supportive approaches such as project-based and peer-to-peer learning, still need to engage students in the process, and serve as a vital conduit between learner and subject matter.’

http://theatln.tc/2G7n5Kr

Personalized Learning Vs Personalization of Learning

‘Before she started speaking, I was skeptical because I have seen the idea of “personalized” learning happening in many schools where a student jumped on a computer and based on the information they share, the technology creates a pathway for that student.  Although the technology is impressive, it doesn’t mean that it is good.  Seeing a student completely zone out in front of a screen and letting the computer lead the learning is not where I hope education is moving.’

http://bit.ly/2G3uGtO

Technology can hurt students’ learning, research shows

‘Giving school students access to iPads, laptops or e-books in the classroom appears to hurt their learning, new research has found.

However, putting this technology in the hands of a teacher is associated with more positive results.’

http://bit.ly/2EUJATy

Non-Math Essentials for Learning Math

Focusing on these five qualities of thriving classrooms can help foster confident young mathematicians.

‘As a math consultant, I’m in many classrooms, and I get to witness lots of math instruction. I find that there are similar qualities among the classrooms that are really thriving—and those qualities quite often don’t really have much to do with math. There are five non-math qualities I see in the best-run classrooms.’

http://edut.to/2ElxhD2

The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids

(USA): Today’s young children are working more, but they’re learning less.

‘Until recently, school-readiness skills weren’t high on anyone’s agenda, nor was the idea that the youngest learners might be disqualified from moving on to a subsequent stage. But now that kindergarten serves as a gatekeeper, not a welcome mat, to elementary school, concerns about school preparedness kick in earlier and earlier. A child who’s supposed to read by the end of kindergarten had better be getting ready in preschool.’

http://theatln.tc/2o2col4

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Control your own destiny – do something!

‘The answer is for principals and schools to work to share their expertise and insights and to develop a group consciousness able to stand up to outside pressures. There will need to be courageous individual principals prepared to start the collaborative ball rolling. I can see problems with so called ‘successful schools’, or the competitive, ‘look at me’ schools, wanting to share, and as well schools who are struggling ‘owning up ‘and agreeing to being helped. But, if someone starts the ball rolling then, as Dean Fink writes, schools can, ‘shake off the shackles of conformity and compliance and imagine and create…. do something. ‘So the answer to stress is to work with others to ‘do something’ and to develop, what Fullan calls, ‘local creative adaptability.’

http://bit.ly/2o3UUF6

A new metaphor : Assessment tasks as performance.

“It is somewhat surprising that some educationalists have only just picked up on this way of assessing learning, one used naturally in the real world. The problem is that schools have been diverted from such an understanding by believing in tests, written exams divorced from reality, and an obsession with assessing atomised bits of learning. Such educationalists have not been able to see the wood for the trees. It is exiting to read, in a recent Ministry pamphlet ‘Assessing Key Competencies’ (written by Dr Rosemary Hipkins), that one way to think of assessment is to consider the demonstration of competency as a complex performance’.”

http://bit.ly/2o4AnjP

Education Readings February 9th

By Allan Alach

If you’re still a John Hattie fan I suggest you carefully read the article “The Politics of Education Policy: Even More Beware the Technocrats.

The first reference listed at the foot of the article attempts to link to an article by Kelvin Smythe. This link no longer works and has been replaced by this one: Horizons, whirlpools, Sartrean secrets, John Hattie and other symptoms of the continuing education tragedy

 I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

Why I Want to Karate-Chop the SmartBoard and 19 Other Rants

‘I worked for a district who had the nicest SmartBoards and projectors around. I liked them, they were easy to use, and they were only there a few years. But, the darndest thing happened: the same year we took a forced pay freeze, the district purchased new equipment – because if they didn’t they’d lose the money. Socrates, one of the world’s greatest teachers, stood at a stone podium and gave his students one question to discuss for the entire day. Just give me the $5,000 it cost for that new tech equipment and let me be Socrates.’

http://bit.ly/2ErNLsw

Piles of paperwork stopping teachers doing what they’re good at

‘At the top of the list of the roadblocks are the piles of paperwork that increasingly stand in the way of good teaching. The teachers starting out this week didn’t become teachers to fill in endless forms; they became teachers to change lives.’

http://bit.ly/2C1BENg

What Do Schools Fostering A Teacher “Growth Mindset” Look Like?

‘Yet, school leaders and teachers scarcely talk about how to adopt a growth mindset for themselves—one that assumes that educators, not only the students they teach, can improve with support and practice. Many teachers find it hard to imagine working in a school with a professional culture designed to cultivate their development, rather than one in which their effectiveness is judged and addressed with rewards and sanctions.’

http://bit.ly/2skMMFJ

A Recipe for Inspiring Lifelong Learning

A veteran teacher reflects on his quest to inspire intrinsic motivation and curiosity in his students.

‘It made me reflect over my career as an educator, and what kinds of impressions I have left in the hearts and minds of the many students I have taught. I would like to hope that the impressions I left were favorable, even memorable. One of the impressions I hope to have left is that students had success in their learning when they were in my class.’ 

http://edut.to/2ENQief

The Politics of Education Policy: Even More Beware the Technocrats

‘Coleman and Hattie work to control what counts and what matters—the ultimate in politics—and thus are welcomed resources for those benefitting from inequity and wishing to keep everyone’s gaze on anything except that inequity.’

http://bit.ly/2E7vrRT

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

8 Ways to Help Older Kids Develop a Sense of Imagination

‘Because imaginative thinking hones creativity and improves students’ social and emotional skills, it’s something that teachers and schools should fold into their planning. Ostroff identified several strategies teachers can adopt to encourage older students to activate their dormant imaginations.’

http://bit.ly/2E25Qha

Blue Sky High – five things every secondary school should implement…now

‘I believe that implementing the following five things would be a relatively easy way for any school to evolve so as to ensure students are gaining the skills needed now (not 100 years ago) and in the future. Whether you refer to them as the infuriatingly named “21st century skills” such as collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking, or simply as a way of genuinely fostering what the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) refer to as key competencies, particularly relating to others, managing self and participating and contributing.’

http://bit.ly/2FLf91v

Real Learning is a Creative Process

‘Real and meaningful learning is a creative process. Skills and knowledge cannot be downloaded like computer software, they must be acquired, constructed and mastered– through long-term application and effort.

Those who have studied successful skill mastery describe a common process that is followed, one that requires practice, effort, patience, experimentation and deep concentration.’

http://bit.ly/2siBUIq

7 Reasons Why Differentiated Instruction Works

‘Differentiated instruction (DI) begins with an accurate understanding of what DI is—and is not.   You may be surprised how easy it is to incorporate into your classrooms.’

http://bit.ly/2BKXHfx

The Man Who Will Save Math

Dan Meyer, the most famous math teacher in America, wants to radically change the way we learn math.

‘Imagine aliens have abducted you. They’re kind enough creatures, however: Theirs is the slow-motion torture of trying to make you understand them. They flash their strange alphabet at you and prompt you with esoteric questions: Are you allowed to put this symbol here? To rearrange this into that? At first you struggle. Soon enough, though, you start to see patterns; eventually you begin to answer correctly.

This, Dan Meyer says, is how too many students experience mathematics.’

http://edut.to/2AeYYtU

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Living at the Creative Edge: School transformation

An Australian school that caters for ‘disadvantaged students’

‘Education is difficult in disadvantaged situations where it is pretty obvious that the old ways are not working so it was great to read about a school that seems to be beating the odds. The approaches they have developed provide guidance for all schools but particularly middle and secondary schools. And it is not that the ideas are even claimed to be new – the school involved just had both the leadership and the courage to put them into practice. Their approach is in opposition to the market driven imposed reforms of the past decades.’

http://bit.ly/2GTdlVH

The Power of Biography!

‘Too often personalized learning is missing; lost in all the teacher imposed curriculum and assessment requirements; too much teacher ‘delivery’ of curriculums and not enough ‘designing’ personalised studies. One idea to remedy this situation is to study the significant and personal greatness of our student’s lives through biography. This could lead into, or emerge out of, a study of the biography of famous people, or the recording of the oral history of their parents, or of local people of interest.’

http://bit.ly/2sdosVZ

Education Readings February 2nd

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers

‘Surround yourself with good people.

By finding the positive, supportive, energetic teachers in your school and sticking close to them, you can improve your job satisfaction more than with any other strategy. And your chances of excelling in this field will skyrocket. Just like a young seedling growing in a garden, thriving in your first year depends largely on who you plant yourself next to.’

http://bit.ly/2noMQyo

We are born creative geniuses and the education system dumbs us down, according to NASA scientists

‘The scientists then gave the test to 1,600 children between the ages of 4 and 5. What they found shocked them. This is a test that looks at the ability to come up with new, different and innovative ideas to problems. What percentage of those children do you think fell in the genius category of imagination? A full 98 percent!’

http://bit.ly/2nnxvyT

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Summer has arrived – time to go outdoors. Some ideas to consider

‘The sooner students develop an awareness of their environment , and in the process learn to love and respect it, the sooner they will see the need to sustain and protect it. As the future generation they will need to see it as the number one world problem.’

http://bit.ly/2DPEKWw

The Feynman Technique: The Best Way to Learn Anything

How can you adapt this for your classroom?

‘The famous Nobel winning physicist Richard Feynman understood the difference between knowing something and knowing the name of something and it’s one of the most important reasons for his success. In fact, he created a formula for learning that ensured he understood something better than everyone else.

It’s called the Feynman Technique and it will help you learn anything faster and with greater understanding. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to implement.’

http://bit.ly/2FsYWO9

When Success Leads to Failure

The pressure to achieve academically is a crime against learning.

‘The truth—for this parent and so many others—is this: Her child has sacrificed her natural curiosity and love of learning at the altar of achievement, and it’s our fault. Marianna’s parents, her teachers, society at large—we are all implicated in this crime against learning. From her first day of school, we pointed her toward that altar and trained her to measure her progress by means of points, scores, and awards.’

http://theatln.tc/2DLELuJ

‘Too much control’: Pasi Sahlberg on what Finland can teach Australian schools

Pasi Sahlberg from Finland gives advice to Australia (applies to NZ as well ?)

“Maybe the key for Australia is loosening up a little bit, less top down control and a bit more professional autonomy for teachers,” he says.  Maybe the problem is that things are tied up in a system that is not able to be flexible enough for teachers. “Maybe there is not enough trust in Australia in good teachers.”

http://bit.ly/2DTgm9R

After 100 Years of the Same Teaching Model It’s Time to Throw Out the Playbook

‘The transmission model of education is still the name of the game, although in some circles there are signs of its erosion.

I would like to take you on a journey in this post, starting from the 1950s banking model (Freire, 1968) of instructional design, before comparing it to my own schooling experiences as a digital native at the turn of the century. Then, finally, I would like to share my vision for C21 learning, and propose some ways that we can move forward so that we are meeting the needs of today.’

http://bit.ly/2BBEiJy

It’s OK to Say No

For those of you starting off in a new school:

‘Because the first year in a new role is a whirlwind, it’s easy to lose track of why you decided to take on the challenging role of educator. It’s easy to get discouraged with the many tasks and the overall state of being busy. I’ve learned to take time to center myself and remember why I’m doing the work I’m doing. Some might do more formal mediation or even reflective journaling.

Sometimes teachers take on so much work that they lose their sense of purpose. Here are a few steps you can take to avoid that.’

http://edut.to/2nk2R9k

Students Share The Downside Of Being Labeled ‘Gifted’

‘When growth mindset was still a fairly new concept in the education world, many teachers of gifted children saw its potential with that population, who often feel they’ve gained a special status for being smart. It’s not uncommon for gifted students to fear failure more than other students because they feel they have more to lose.’

http://bit.ly/2DItQlb

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Placing in depth inquiry learning first!

‘Creative teachers have always placed developing authentic realistic and first hand experiences followed by creative expression through the arts central to their programmes .Important to such teachers was the need to provide opportunities to develop all the innate gifts and talents of their students.’

http://bit.ly/2E65DZO

What the modern world has forgotten about children and teaching, and solutions to ensure all students learn

‘Modern Western learning and teaching based on ‘collecting data on human learning of children’s behaviour in school is like collecting data on killer whales based on their behaviour at Sea World.’

http://bit.ly/2bUnAZW

The rise and fall and rise again of teacher expertise

‘To see changes sometimes you to have to stand back at a distance and look for patterns. It is the same as with the difference between the weather and a storm – when you are in the middle of a storm it is hard to work out what is the weather pattern is. The same applies in education. Many people think major educational changes started in 1986 with Tomorrow’s Schools. This of course it not true. It was more just another nail in the coffin of creative teachers.’

http://bit.ly/2zbYi8a