Education Readings November 25th

By Allan Alach

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

10 Things That Happen When Students Engage in Design Thinking

‘Unfortunately, the system isn’t designed for innovation. For years, schools have been stuck in a one-size-fits-all factory model, where students passively consume content. Some people will point out that this model is outdated. However, I would argue that factory education was a bad idea from the start. Because here’s the thing: kids aren’t widgets. While one-size-fits-all works great for socks, it’s not ideal for minds. Kids need to dream and wonder and imagine. They need to design and build and tinker. This is why I love design thinking. It’s a flexible framework that guides students through specific phases in the creative process.’

http://bit.ly/2fGQNt5

What Neuroscience Can Tell Us About Making Fractions Stick

‘Fractions are a notoriously tricky part of elementary math education for many children. Too often teachers struggle to ensure students are grasping the conceptual underpinnings of this complicated topic, resorting to “tricks” that will help them learn the procedures of adding or multiplying instead. This is particularly troubling because studies have shown that students’ knowledge of sixth grade fractions is a good predictor of their math achievement in high school. This is largely because a deep understanding of fractions plays out in algebra.’

http://bit.ly/2giAnKV

Critical Thinking in the 21st Century and Beyond

‘Many of the 21st Century skills that are emphasized today were evident in the project that took place in 1988.  It is not that this type of learning is new. Heck, everything we see and hear for the most part is not new.  What has changed is how technology provides a new avenue to actively integrate this type of learning in ways that many of us could never have imagined.  The key is to focus on project-based and authentic inquiry. Taking the example I presented from my schooling consider the following elements and the ubiquitous role technology should play…’

http://bit.ly/2fSRt1B

Gender gaps in math persist, with teachers underrating girls’ math skills

‘The study, published in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, also shows that teachers give lower ratings to girls’ math skills when girls and boys have similar achievement and behavior. In addition, using two national datasets gathered more than a decade apart, this study finds that teachers’ lower ratings of girls are likely contributing to the growth in the gender gap in math.’

http://bit.ly/2gnmfOk

School Autonomy in England Fails to ‘Unleash Greatness’

So much for the big claims that have been made. Surprised?

‘The UK Government promised to ‘unleash greatness’ in English schools with its radical school autonomy plan to convert all schools to independent academies. A new comprehensive review of the experience with academies shows the plan is failing. It concludes that academies are an imperfect way to address the challenges faced by struggling schools and their students and that school autonomy has clear limits as a school reform strategy.’

http://bit.ly/2ghxZQY

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

An environmental study for New Zealand teachers:A chance to do some real inquiry: Harakeke study and other ideas

Bruce’s latest article – great suggestions that can easily be adapted for other countries.

An environmentally alert teacher always keep an eye open for interesting things to introduce to his, or her, students. November/December is an ideal time for environmental or ecological studies. My visits to schools this term indicates such awareness is a lost art.’

http://bit.ly/2fGT9Z4

Marion Brady: De-Legitimizing Public Education

Marion wrote this article about US education in 2010. How well was his crystal ball working, given Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education?

‘The quality of American education is going to get worse. Count on it. And contrary to the conventional wisdom, the main reason isn’t going to be the loss of funding accompanying economic hard times.’

http://bit.ly/2gn4z5l

the Deep Green Bush-School

A new school opening in New Zealand:

‘The Deep Green Bush-School is a democratic  nature-immersion school for Years 1-13, based on thousands of years of indigenous wisdom and on how humans actually evolved to learn – in freedom. Our highest priority is the health and happiness of our children and future generations, and we will nurture a new generation of young visionaries who will rise to the challenge and help heal our world.’

http://www.deepgreenbushschool.org

Why Empathy Holds the Key to Transforming 21st Century Learning

‘Like other aspects of modern life, education can make the head hurt. So many outcomes, so much important work to do, so many solutions and strategies, so many variations on teaching, so many different kinds of students with so many different needs, so many unknowns in preparing for 21st Century life and the endless list of jobs that haven’t been invented.What if we discovered one unifying factor that brought all of this confusion under one roof and gave us a coherent sense of how to stimulate the intellect, teach children to engage in collaborative problem solving and creative challenge, and foster social-emotional balance and stability—one factor that, if we got right, would change the equation for learning in the same way that confirming the existence of a fundamental particle informs a grand theory of the universe?That factor exists: It’s called empathy.’

http://bit.ly/2giqVr4

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Henry Giroux – lessons for New Zealand educators. Revitalizing the role of public education.

‘I was recently sent a rather long article written by Henry Giroux. I struggled to read it but I believe it is important to share the ideas he writes about if the true aims of education are to realised. Giroux sees education as central to the development of a just and democratic society currently under attack by neo –liberal thinking.’

http://bit.ly/18ntJX8

Learning: from ‘novice’ to ‘expert’ from John Edwards

‘When anyone undertakes new learning ( including first appointment as a principal or teacher)one starts in the ‘novice’ position. At this point individuals need to know clearly what is expected of them and how to go about it.As learning progresses the need for rule governed behaviour decreases. When the ‘expert’ position is realised then people are able to use their experience ( having internalised rule governed behaviour). Such ‘experts’ are able to ‘read’ the context and make decisions intuitively.’

http://bit.ly/2githq0

Transforming Secondary Education – the most difficult challenge of all.Thoughts from a past age – ‘Young Lives at Stake’ by Charity James

‘So far the teaching profession has not offered creative alternatives to parents. In contrast, school are becoming even more conservative to cope with the political straitjacket of National Standards and Ministry targets. Standardisation rather the personalisation is the current political agenda. Time it seems for some courage from educators to provide viable alternatives to parents.  The field is open for change but any alternative needs to be realistic, intrinsically interesting and relevant.’

http://bit.ly/1k3YTMR

Education Readings November 9th

By Allan Alach

The more observant ones amongst you will have noticed that this week’s readings are published earlier than usual. We are heading off to the north of New Zealand tomorrow for a 10 day break – neither of us have been there before, so it’s a new adventure for us. For those of you in the USA, these readings may distract you from the politics!

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

How Intrinsic Motivation in Education is Undermined by Extrinsic Motivation

‘I have heard many people talk about intrinsic motivation and how we need to get more of it – especially in schools. But what exactly is intrinsic motivation and why should we nurture it? This is a 2-part blog post. In part 1 (this one) I explore what intrinsic motivation is and why it matters. In part two (follow the blog to get informed when it’s online)  I will explore how intrinsic motivation can be implemented in the classroom.’

http://bit.ly/2fV9Bsd

Teacher research and why it is more important than ever for our schools

‘For some time now we have seen suspicion of any form of educational research not fitting into the ‘gold standard’ of randomized controlled trials. Qualitative and context-sensitive research has been excluded from the evidence base and teachers have been compelled to implement ‘evidence-based’ practices. It has seemed in some quarters that there is no longer any need for teachers to ask questions; they are all being answered by science. Indeed, teachers’ questions are seen as obstacles to their faithfully following pedagogic scripts. Currently, however, education systems are starting to see the limits of top-down reform and particularly of attempting to impose single solutions on teachers. It turns out that ‘what works’ does not always work for all students in all classrooms.’

http://bit.ly/2fyShF9

The Reading Rules We Would Never Follow as Adult Readers

Food for thought.

‘The number one thing all the students I have polled through the years want the most when it comes to reading.  No matter how I phrase the question, this answer in all of its versions is always at the top.  Sometimes pleading, sometimes demanding, sometimes just stated as a matter of fact; please let us choose the books we want to read. Yet, how often is this a reality for the students we teach?  How often, in our eagerness to be great teachers, do we remove or disallow the very things students yearn for to have meaningful literacy experiences?  How many of the things we do to students would we never put up with ourselves?  In our quest to create lifelong readers, we seem to be missing some very basic truths about what makes a reader.  So what are the rules we would probably not always follow ourselves?’

http://bit.ly/2fVmUsY

‘The devastating decline of the arts in schools will hit the poorest children the hardest’

A sad and almost inevitable outcome of the standards based education agenda:

‘I would like to see vice-chancellors of universities, employers and educators speaking up for the value of creativity in schools, for all learners. It is not a fanciful exaggeration to reflect that otherwise we may head back to class-based culture wars where arts are for certain classes only, and the others can make do. In other words, social immobility for all.’

http://bit.ly/2ftHOMI

Why Teaching to the Test is Educational Malpractice

‘… as a teacher, you can be singled out, written up or even fired for refusing to engage in malpractice. You are bullied, cajoled and threatened into going along with practices that have been debunked by decades of research and innumerable case studies. Take the all-too-common practice of teaching to the test. Not only do students and teachers hate it, but the practice has been shown to actually harm student learning. Yet it is the number one prescription handed down from administrators and policymakers to bring up failing scores on high stakes standardized tests.’

http://bit.ly/2fxCbNW

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Multiple Creativity Studies Suggest: Creating Our Reality Requires Detaching From It

‘I pore over studies on creativity, and recently I noticed a consistency across these many creativity studies that took me years to notice, let alone articulate. A consistency that most authors of these studies allude to in some way, and in different ways. I’d like to share a unified way of thinking about creativity, supported directly by these many studies, that helped me to better understand this important skill, but, more importantly, could help us all be more creative in business, marketing, and in life.’

http://bit.ly/2exxalN

To improve quality in education, reconsider true definition of ‘good teacher’

‘It is assumed, therefore, that teachers and the actions they take in the classroom fundamentally impact students and what they learn. Often we, as a community of education stakeholders, take this assumed relationship so far as to assert that educational systems are only as good as the quality of their teachers.However, this nearly universal valuation of both teaching and teachers glosses over the sober realization that individual teachers have differential effects on student learning.’

http://bit.ly/2bWcH8S

5 things we should teach in school but don’t

‘Let’s be honest: our education system is screwed.I mean, almost all of the important history I learned between grades 5 and 12 I could probably find on Wikipedia and understand within a few weeks now.And pretty much any scientific knowledge you could ever want to learn is explained with pretty videos on YouTube.’

http://read.bi/2ftsXBU

The Future of Learning

What is the purpose of school & the role of EdTech?

‘There’s a constant tension within the education system. This is a tension that isn’t a new one. It’s been going on hundreds of years in fact. John Dewey in 1902 wrote a book called The Child and The Curriculum that had the same tension, the same argument about whether education about subject knowledge and content knowledge or is it about self-realisation of the child, learning for the fun of learning and opposed to learning because you had to get through some tests? That’s been a constant tension, as it is today, and more so in a way because we’re beginning to use technology in a way that reinforces the format, the idea that education is about mastery of content, of subject knowledge, and then regurgitating it at an examination.’

http://bit.ly/2fxGzwp

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The NZC curriculum nautilus

The nautilus – a metaphor for the New Zealand Curriculum

‘The shell of the nautilus is a symbol, or metaphor, for beauty and proportional perfection. First used on a New Zealand Curriculum in 1993 it has become a familiar symbol for New Zealand teachers. Or has it? The ‘new’ New Zealand Curriculum introduced to schools in 2007 comes with a redesigned nautilus shell.To introduce the ideas of the curriculum to students (and teachers) it might be worth giving thought to the reason for the selection of the image. If it were possible to show students a nautilus shell (or a series of pictures) this might inspire some insightful thinking. We all seem to have a fascination for sea shells, most homes have a shell or two on display, and capitalizing on this fascination would result in an equally fascinating study at any level of learning.’

http://bit.ly/2exwIE0

What should a parent expect from a teacher in the 21stC?

Apart from the surge in technology use, and the new skills teachers need to adopt, implement and harness new digital media and tools (a subject for another blogpost), I would argue that little has changed in our expectations of good educators.’

http://bit.ly/1QwPHy6

School Reform: more political than educational

‘I would think that if we had focused on recognising, and sharing, the ideas of creative teachers and innovative schools in the first place, and if the various governments had seen their role as creating the conditions and providing resources, we would be in a far better position than we are in now. And, as well, we would have teachers who have faith in their ability to develop new approaches to teaching and learning without distorting and disabling the total system. The politicians have had their day – time to put the trust back to those who have the practical experience to develop new ideas school by school, community by community.’

http://bit.ly/2bB04Cv

Education Readings November 4th

By Allan Alach

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

What are our students doing 400 minutes a day?

‘If you are a parent you may wonder every now and then what your kids are doing all day in school. But, as an educator, teacher, and administrator (oh yeah, and I’m a parent), I’ve wondered out loud what a typical day-in-the-life of our students looks like.

In an effort to make this as visually appropriate as possible, I’m sharing with you the 100 block theory of learning.’

http://bit.ly/2ffO2jD

Children should be starting preschool at 3, Victoria University study says

Another link from Phil Cullen, who comments:

Paul Wildman describes this as the ‘end of childhood’. It also  gives testucators the opportunity to condition the very young to NAPLAN preparation as a cultural imperative. Its feral nature makes it easy.  Sandal-makers should welcome this move with open arms. Down the gurgler we continue to go………

“We think it could be manageable and we think that the long-term benefits of that investment mean that the returns absolutely outweigh the costs.

“It means children are much more ready when they start school, they start school on a much more equal footing, it has flow on impacts to their NAPLAN scores, to their rates of Year 12 graduation.”

http://ab.co/2e3qOiC

Report debunks ‘earlier is better’ academic instruction for young children

On the other hand …

‘Katz writes that longitudinal studies of the effects of different kinds of preschool curriculum models debunk the seemingly common-sense notion that “earlier is better” in terms of academic instruction. While “formal instruction produces good test results in the short term,” she says,  preschool curriculum and teaching methods that emphasize children’s interactive roles and initiative may be “not so impressive in the short run” but “yield better school achievement in the long term.”’

http://wapo.st/2eBicfu

Why Daydreaming is Critical to Effective Learning

‘Most kids have cellphones, use social media, play games, watch TV and are generally more “plugged in” than ever before. This cultural shift means that in addition to helping students gain the transferable skills and knowledge they’ll need later in life, teachers may have to start helping them tune out the constant buzz in order to get their message across. It’s never too early to learn smart strategies to focus in on priorities and tune out what’s not immediately necessary. Many people believe they are skilled multitaskers, but they’re wrong. Neuroscience has shown that multitasking — the process of doing more than one thing at the same time — doesn’t exist.’

http://bit.ly/2ep22Iy

The Culture of Childhood: We’ve Almost Destroyed It

‘Children are biologically designed to pay attention to the other children in their lives, to try to fit in with them, to be able to do what they do, to know what they know.  Through most of human history, that’s how children became educated, and that’s still largely how children become educated today, despite our misguided attempts to stop it and turn the educating job over to adults.’

http://bit.ly/2e3pEE6

The Role of Metacognition in Learning and Achievement

‘Metacognition, simply put, is the process of thinking about thinking. It is important in every aspect of school and life, since it involves self-reflection on one’s current position, future goals, potential actions and strategies, and results. At its core, it is a basic survival strategy, and has been shown to be present even in rats. Perhaps the most important reason for developing metacognition is that it can improve the application of knowledge, skills, and character qualities in realms beyond the immediate context in which they were learned.’

http://bit.ly/2fwQDsF

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Great expectations: how to help your students fulfil their potential

‘When you believe in your pupils, they will believe in themselves. Here’s how to create a culture of positivity in your classes. In the 1960s, a pair of researchers ran an experiment that changed the way the world thinks about expectations. Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson told a group of teachers that some of their students had been identified as having the potential to become very high achievers and that these students would bloom over the course of the year. These pupils were, in fact, chosen completely at random. But when the researchers returned at the end of the year, they found that the chosen students had, on average, made significantly more progress than their peers.’

http://bit.ly/2fe2hFc

Getting Restless At The Head Of The Class

‘They read a book quietly under their desks, pester the teacher for extra credit, or, perhaps, they simply check out and act up. Every classroom has a few overachievers who perform above their grade level and don’t feel challenged by the status quo. A new report suggests they are surprisingly common — in some cases, nearly half of all students in a given grade.’

http://n.pr/2cMvSrE

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Who dares wins!

‘Are you an innovative thinker?  If you fire off ad hoc answers, hate timetables and resent authority you are a potential winner according to research on potential innovative thinkers by Dr Fiona Patterson, an occupational psychologist at Nottingham University.’

http://bit.ly/2e3pDzY

The source of school failure

‘One in five Melbourne four-year-olds have difficulty using or understanding language, a new study has found, putting them at risk of long-term learning difficulties. The study of 1900 children, published today in the journal Pediatrics, found that social disadvantage played a major role in the language outcomes of four-year-olds – despite having little effect at age two.’

http://bit.ly/2fe3DQj

Looking back

A look back to the days when New Zealand had a real visionary in charge of education.

‘Dr Beeby believed in a creative role for education. He reminded those present in 1983 that the most important thing realized about education in the previous decades had been the discovery of the individual child. It is not that individuality wasn’t appreciated earlier but that the school system was based on a mass education vision which made realizing such an idea impossible. A system, developed in the 1870s, couldn’t conceive of individualising learning.’

http://bit.ly/1sPo0SY

The rebirth of education – a real Renaissance

‘There are some who say we are now entering a new age -‘A Creative Age’, or a ‘Second Renaissance’.  Our current institutions, shaped by Industrial Age thinking, are no longer able to cope – they are all well past their ‘use by date’. We now need new minds for the new millennium. New minds will be shaped by the new communication mediums – where ideas can from anyone, anywhere, any time. An age of inter connectivity and creativity – a new Renaissance.If we are to revitalize our schools so as to engage all our students, and ultimately save our planet, it will require the death of education and its rebirth.’

http://bit.ly/2eWbNyB

Education Readings October 28th

By Allan Alach

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

So who says competition in the classroom is inevitable?

Thanks to Phil Cullen for this link about what appears to be an excellent book.

‘In this extract from her new book Beautiful Failures, the Guardian’s Lucy Clark tackles the culture of contests and rankings at school, arguing that for children – indeed all of us – it is unnecessary and damaging.’

‘In personally questioning the role of competition in education I have lost count of the number of people who have said to me, yes, but life is competitive and school is just a training ground for the sort of competition our kids will face as adults in the real world.

Is that what school should be? A warm-up for the main game? A simulation of grown-up life, where we wake up in the morning, put on our armour and go out to compete in a dog-eat-dog world?’

http://bit.ly/2ewEhP4

Teaching is among the ‘top three most stressed occupations’

I doubt that this is news to teachers, and it’s getting worse.

“Of all the occupations I’ve studied, and that’s about 80, teachers are in the top three most stressed occupations,” he said. “The hours are long and antisocial, the workload is heavy and there is change for change’s sake from various governments.”   

http://bit.ly/2f8ybqg

The Ticking Clock of Teacher Burnout

‘Initially, I believed that Finland was an outlier with the amount of time it offers teachers to plan, assess, and collaborate on a daily basis. But, later, I’d discover that this kind of arrangement is fairly typical among countries that excel on international standardized assessments, such as the PISA. Take Singapore, for example.’

http://theatln.tc/2eHyX9i

Technology reform full of good ideas, poorly executed

Politicians, seduced by computers and online instruction, could do well to read this.

‘And perhaps the most disappointing finding is that technology seems of little help in bridging the skills divide between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Put simply, ensuring that every child attains a baseline level of proficiency in mathematics seems to do more to create equal opportunities in a digital world than subsidising access to high-tech devices and services.’

http://bit.ly/2eH6XWg

Teaching With Your Mouth Shut

‘The alternative to teaching through telling is what Finkel calls “teaching with your mouth shut.” In this model, teachers step back and become silent observers, rather than putting on a performance like an actor in a play. Instead of being “carriers of knowledge,” we become humble enough to say “I don’t know.” Instead of tightly controlling the learning process, we allow students to find their own solutions, thus “creating circumstances that lead to significant learning in others.” Refusing to teach through telling is also refusing to accept the traditional view of what being an educator means.’

http://bit.ly/2eNs9rF

The importance of creativity and shaking things up

‘So, circling back to the classroom, are we giving our pupils the chance to practice the skills required to become part of this creative class and reap the economic and personal rewards that come with it? My experience is that, on average, we are still preparing children and young adults for jobs based on outdated processes, subservience and narrow, short term thinking. To be fair, it is still the perfect system for anyone looking to become a university academic.’

http://bit.ly/2eSqtwH

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Quality learning: William Glasser – ‘Schools without Failure’ ; and Jerome Bruner – solving ‘learning blocks’.

Bruce’s latest article:

‘A number of years ago many schools implemented the ideas of Dr William Glasser. Glasser had written a number of books  all with a focus on achieving quality work for all students without teachers using coercion. Glasser’s belief is that, with the appropriate conditions, all students can do quality work but, it would be fair to say, many teachers find this hard to believe.’

http://bit.ly/2eH4oDw

Why Education, Not Punishment, Is The Solution To Reducing Crime

A brilliant and touching TED talk illustrating how poverty is linked to prison rates.

http://bit.ly/2dXZuAN

How Can Schools Prioritize For The Best Ways Kids Learn?

‘The education world is full of incremental change — the slow process of individuals learning about new strategies and approaches, trying them out, improving on their skills, and hopefully sharing their learning with colleagues to continue growth. While that process is necessary and good, if the changes to education are all in the service of doing the same thing better, they may be missing the point. The world has changed since education became compulsory and the current moment necessitates an education system that isn’t just better, but different.’

http://bit.ly/2eccmBb

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Developing a democratic curriculum.

Relating back to the ideas of John Dewey James Beane  believes that if people are to live democratic lives they must have the opportunity to learn what that way of life means. His ideas are based on the ability of students to participate in their own education. Democratic schools share a child centred approach but their larger goal is to change the undemocratic conditions of school themselves and in turn to reach out to the wider community.’

http://bit.ly/1JglCA9

Pride through personal excellence

‘It seems these days teachers rush through tasks to ‘deliver’ or ‘cover’ the curriculum. The idea of doing things well has been lost in this rush yet we all know that pride of achievement comes from succeeding so well at a task we even surprise ourselves. As a result students produce little of real substance. Teachers are too busy proving what they have done to focus on the more important need to see each student does the very best work they can. All the criteria and feedback formative assessment means little if the teachers have no idea of excellence.’

http://bit.ly/2eSotEs

Experience and Education -John Dewey 1938

‘Such a lot of the ideas expressed today have their genesis in the ideas of John Dewey.That Dewey’s ideas have yet to be fully realised says something for the power of conservatism in education. ‘Experience in Education’ is Dewey’s most concise statement of his ideas written after criticism his theories received. In this book Dewey argues that neither ‘traditional ‘ nor ‘progressive ‘ ideas are adequate and he outlines a deeper point of view building on the best of both. The following are ideas he expresses in his book.’

http://bit.ly/17J12HR

Education Readings October 21st

By Allan Alach

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

Noam Chomsky on the Dangers of Standardized Testing

“The assessment itself is completely artificial. It’s not ranking teachers in accordance with their ability to help develop children who will reach their potential, explore their creative interests. Those things you’re not testing.. it’s a rank that’s mostly meaningless. And the very ranking itself is harmful. It’s turning us into individuals who devote our lives to achieving a rank. Not into doing things that are valuable and important.”

http://bit.ly/1waGc0j

‘Schools must appoint teacher coaches to keep staff up to speed with rapid changes in technology’

‘Probably the biggest problem teachers have is the rapid rate of change that occurs in our computer-driven culture. Things change so fast, that we are now faced with “data obsolescence”. That which we believe to be true today, may not be true, or might be replaced by another fact or improvement in the upcoming year. Unless the very system that educates our population keeps up with these changes in a timely fashion it will itself in time become irrelevant. The model of professional development that the system relies on most heavily is the same system that has been in place for at least century.’

http://bit.ly/2ekaU1r

How to Become and Remain a Transformational Teacher

‘However talented, no one is a natural-born teacher. Honing the craft takes significant care and effort, not just by the individual, but also by the school at large. Though experience does matter, it matters only to the extent that a teacher — regardless of how long he or she has been in the classroom — commits to continued professional development to refresh his or her status as a transformational teacher.’

http://edut.to/2b2HWyS

This viral video perfectly sums up what’s wrong with education today, and how we can change it

‘Here, he’s pointing to the lack of freedom that teachers often have to adapt classes in the most effective way for their individual students. Teachers, he says, “have the most important job on the planet” and “should earn just as much as doctors”. But far from appreciating their expertise and efforts, politicians force them into restrictive boxes.’

http://bit.ly/2entVQR

The dark side of classroom behavior management charts

‘With each new school year come shiny new behavior management systems decorating the walls of elementary classrooms. From sticker charts to clip charts to color cards, teachers choose bright and engaging systems with the hope that a little incentive might lead to improved student behavior. The thing is, these systems rarely work for any extended period of time.’

http://wapo.st/2eyukPe

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

#DSXOAK: A prototype school comes to life

‘If you could completely re-design the school experience, giving students the greatest possible creative agency, how would you do it?That’s what d.school edu fellow David Clifford is prototyping in West Oakland this weekend during his design sprint. David is a self-described “agitator” who “love[s] to mess with old ideas.”“The thing that we’re trying to do is redesign high school for the 21st century kid to help them navigate and affect change in the 21st century,” said David.“The current school model is still building kids to navigate the 19th and 20th century.” That model is meant to “manage humanity instead of inspire it.”’

http://stanford.io/2eluUDX

Arts-Infused Project-Based Learning: Crafting Beautiful Work

“I would argue that the arts is project-based learning,” says Emily Crowhurst, a music teacher. “In every music lesson, whether it’s a project lesson or what you might deem a typical lesson, there are project-based learning techniques going on naturally in the way that students are constantly critiquing and rehearsing what they’re creating; and they’re always working towards an end project that will have an authentic audience.”

http://edut.to/2dBbqsg

Embracing Failure: Building a Growth Mindset Through the Arts

Teach your students the recipe for success: taking risks, making mistakes, and integrating critical feedback.

‘At New Mexico School for the Arts (NMSA) — a dual arts and academic curriculum — failure is taught as an important part of the journey toward success. Understanding that mistakes are indicators for areas of growth, freshmen learn to give and receive feedback. By senior year, students welcome tough, critical feedback — and even insist on it.’

http://edut.to/2dBa8NG

Rainstorms and Symphonies: Performing Arts Bring Abstract Concepts to Life

‘When early elementary teachers integrate music and theater, student learning improves in reading, math, and science as they become better critical thinkers and problem solvers.’

http://edut.to/2eiunRH

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Power through reading!

‘Reading, and writing, are not just processes to be ‘achieved’ but are all about power – power of the imagination, power of gaining messages through literature, and power to gain and share ideas that can change how you think. Unless students, particularly those from from families who lack ‘cultural capital’, appreciate this power why would they bother to read or write?.Arguments about literacy never seem to go away. Phonics or whole language arguments occupy literacy critics. Like the nature/ nurture argument the answer is both. Either or arguments only force proponents into corners; the future is always the best of both.’

http://bit.ly/1BYhkEN

Developing a democratic curriculum

‘Relating back to the ideas of John Dewey he believes that if people are to live democratic lives they must have the opportunity to learn what that way of life means. His ideas are based on the ability of students to participate in their own education. Democratic schools share a child centred approach but their larger goal is to change the undemocratic conditions of school themselves and in turn to reach out to the wider community.’

http://bit.ly/1JglCA9

Five Minds for the Future

‘Howard Gardner, renowned worldwide for for his theory of multiple intelligences, shares his latest ideas in his new new book ‘Five Minds for the Future’.Based on the premise that students are entering an accelerating world of change in every area of life Gardner believes that such changes call for new ways of learning and thinking in schools if students are to thrive in the world during the eras to come. The directions our society is taking and the future of our planet demands such ‘new minds’ able to explore creative alternatives for problems that cannot be anticipated.’

http://bit.ly/1Oxmmnt

Education Readings October 14th

By Allan Alach

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

The problem of perfectionism: five tips to help your students

‘As well as affecting general well-being, perfectionism can lead to fear of failure. When your whole self-worth and identity are tied to your success, mistakes and setbacks are seen as a threat and you avoid taking risks.

We need to talk about these issues – but where to begin? Here are some tips for helping students manage and overcome perfectionism.’

http://bit.ly/2d8nzGh

Why For-Profit Education Fails

Good…

‘Indeed, over the past couple of decades, a veritable who’s who of investors and entrepreneurs has seen an opportunity to apply market discipline or new technology to a sector that often seems to shun both on principle. Yet as attractive and intuitive as these opportunities seemed, those who pursued them have, with surprising regularity, lost their shirts.’

http://theatln.tc/2dYEJ8M

Teachable Moment

What is a Teachable Moment?

Difficult to achieve in an education environment dominated by accountability/standards/raising achievement etc.

‘A teachable moment is an unplanned opportunity that arises in the classroom where a teacher has an ideal chance to offer insight to his or her students. A teachable moment is not something that you can plan for; rather, it is a fleeting opportunity that must be sensed and seized by the teacher. Often it will require a brief digression that temporarily sidetracks the original lesson plan so that the teacher can explain a concept that has inadvertently captured the students’ collective interest.’

http://abt.cm/2ddwFgi

Education in Africa

The Uberfication of Education by Bridge International Academies.

How a US for-profit, data-driven, education experiment is failing children from poor African families and homogenising culture.’

‘So bottom line. No reliable evidence of efficacy supported by independent academic research conducting randomised school trials.’

We live in a sick world…

http://bit.ly/2e8UVRh

Why do parents take such different approaches to their kids’ education?

Thanks to Phil Cullen for this article.

‘While some children spend the school holidays studying in tutoring centres, enrolled in sports camps or other structured activities, others are left to do their own thing.

So why is it that parents take such different approaches to education and how their children spend their time?’

http://bit.ly/2e97AnA

Getting Curious (Not Furious) With Students

‘When their students act out, I propose the novice teachers do the following: Get curious, not furious. Let’s explore what that means. Rather than a teacher resorting to traditional discipline measures, it behooves the student greatly for the teacher to realize classroom outbursts, verbal defiance, or volatile anger can be symptomatic of repeated exposure to neglect, abuse, or violence. Traumatic stress can also manifest as withdrawal or self-injury.’

http://edut.to/2dfrZWW

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

One best piece of advice to ensure students achieve quality learning and teachers time to teach: ‘Slow the Pace of Work’.

Bruce’s latest article:

‘Too many students spoil what they do by rushing through their tasks working on the principle that ‘first finished is best’. When teachers allow this ‘mindset’ to be an implicit part of the school culture students are not encouraged to stop and think (or reflect) about whatever they are undertaking and, as a result, a frenetic atmosphere can result. Slowing the pace  allows no time for teachers to give students (particularly those struggling) appropriate help.’

http://bit.ly/2dLWsyC

STEM to STEAM

‘Makerspaces are environments that foster passion for projects of all stripes and sizes. If you can dream it, a makerspace will help you breathe life into it.  I christened the makerspace the STEAMworks. The STEAM, as I told anyone who would listen, stood for science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The “works” came from what we accomplished there. Even though I was a science and math teacher, I realized a needed to integrate the arts into the science curriculum. The arts play a crucial role in child/learner development and can benefit the STEM classroom and workplace.’

http://bit.ly/2dlEjsl

Ten Tips for Mentoring a Student Teacher

If you have a student teacher in your room here is some good advice.

‘I remember the first time I was asked if I would be willing to have a student teacher. Looking back, I was totally unprepared, both by my experience and by the university, to know what to do as a cooperating teacher. I relied on the experience I had just a few years earlier and tried to model after the cooperating teacher I had—sort of the way some teachers teach today.If you are in the same boat I was in back then, I have a few tips that I hope will be useful.’

http://bit.ly/2dlFZ4I

Students Use Phones, iPads to Create Digital Biographies for Senior Citizens

A simple but powerful idea:

‘A group of Orange County fifth-graders isn’t only reading about history, they’re documenting it.

As part of the Fullerton School District’s narrative writing and listening curriculum, 100 students taking part in the “Story Angels” program have begun interviewing seniors and using technology to create digital biographies of their lives.’

http://bit.ly/2dxi0gG

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Creative Schools – an impossible dream?

‘If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses’ said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.It is hard to believe that something that starts so well results in so many students leaving school with little to show for their experience – and even those deemed successful still have talents and gifts unrealised.’

http://bit.ly/2dlEXWL

What’s wrong with Ability Grouping?

‘New areas of research started to focus what was happening in classrooms which showed that teachers themselves are implicated and maintaining persistent patterns of differential achievement; that ability grouping helps create the very disparities it purports to solve. It does this in subtle and unintended ways through the ways it has on teacher’s thinking and through the impact it has on self-image for children in the ‘lower’ ability groups. It is obvious that teachers do not set out to do their children harm but they also know that children live up or down to what is expected of them.’

http://bit.ly/2eaC6i2