By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Do Some Educators Burn Out While Others Seem to Grow More Passionate?
‘When you listen to someone who is burned out, they often point to circumstances as the reason for their malaise. There is lack of support, lack of resources, problems with students, parents, administrators, other teachers, lawmakers, the department of education, society, you name it. And all of those things might be true. But others faced with exactly the same circumstances seem to tell themselves a different story.’
What creativity really is – and why schools need it
‘Teachers often have biases against creative students, fearing that creativity in the classroom will be disruptive. They devalue creative personality attributes such as risk taking, impulsivity and independence. They inhibit creativity by focusing on the reproduction of knowledge and obedience in class. Why the disconnect between educators’ official stance toward creativity, and what actually happens in school?’
Are you over-scaffolding?
‘There are so many experiences and opportunities to learn that are not only happening in your classroom or professional development because you have taught it. When we limit people to what we know or what we teach, we are limiting countless possibilities of what they know and can do without us.’
Ownership Through Inquiry
‘Are kids learning because they are intrinsically empowered to or are they compelled to through compliance and conformity? The former results when learners have a real sense of ownership. There are many ways to empower kids to own their learning. All the rage as of late is how technology can be such a catalyst. In many cases this is true, but ownership can result if the conditions are established where kids inquire by way of their own observations and questions.’
Who is for teaching?
‘That is, why can’t we firstly attract to, and then retain enough high calibre teachers in the profession? It’s a long stretch to argue that it is because we have made it too difficult for people in other professions and trades to transition into teaching. It is a theme too common – to seek solutions to teacher shortages and questions of skill levels by dressing up time worn strategies of luring other workers to the teaching profession as something more than quick-fix answers.’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
21st-Century Learning Starting in Elementary School
A group of Georgia schools work together to emphasize project-based learning and STEM courses from the elementary years through 12th grade.
‘At White Oak Elementary, teachers build a strong foundation by alternating between PBL and more traditional units, typically doing at least one major project within each nine-week period. Even when teachers are not leading a project, they emphasize inquiry and use the workshop model for reading, math, and writing.’
Sparrows And Penguins
Powerful. Any penguins are in your class?
‘This is why I think labels are important. This is why I think “we’re all birds, let’s focus on our similarities instead of our differences” is harmful. This is how my autism diagnosis was like breathing, after holding my breath for 26 years.’
‘We need to admit that the job of the classroom teacher has simply become too big’
New Zealand has the opportunity to escape all this stressful nonsense.
‘If this doesn’t unite the profession in a concerted effort to find the right work-life balance, to hold on to our longer-serving teachers and entice new ones into the fold, then we will continue to see even more classes taught by non-specialists or a chain of supply teachers, with all the adverse outcomes for equality of provision entailed.’
Stop the CRAPTIVITIES
‘For children to be CURIOUS about the world around them, following their own unique style of learning and to be engaged in the joy of DOING rather than the end result. Too often at this festive time of year, we feel under pressure to create products for the children to take home, cards, gifts & artwork. If WE feel this PRESSURE to get these products complete, spare a moment for the little ones who are sadly on a conveyer belt of activities of handprints and paper plates or as I like to call them “craptivaties”.’
Scrap age-based classes to boost school achievement
‘Underachievement in schools is commonly attributed to ineffective teaching methods, low expectations, poor student attitudes and behaviour, inadequate school resourcing and a culture that undervalues education. These may all be contributors. But could the explanation also lie in the way schooling itself is organised and delivered?’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Learning to be ‘creatively rebellious’. The importance of the Three Ds: being Different, Disruptive and Deviant.
‘Many people were labelled at school as ‘students who challenged teachers or their learning processes as being” disruptive’ and “rebellious”. As a result such students developed ‘compliant behaviours that effectively kept them out of trouble. Others who rebelled often missed out on the chance to benefit from a traditional education.’
Educational change and leadership – bottom up!
‘All too often in recent decades schools are dictated to by the political whim of politicians with their eyes firmly fixed on popular approval – this is certainly the case with the imposition of National Standards. What is required is for schools to begin to share their beliefs about teaching and learning by building on the innate strengths of their students, their teachers, the school principal and finally groups of schools to develop a vision that all can work with in diverse ways.’