Michael Moore: Where do we invade next?

“Where to Invade Next?”

You know Michael Moore, that sloppy looking bloke whose fond of stirring the possum.

On Monday, 26 February 2017 he presented a documentary on SBS, which can be found of your TV’s “SBS on Demand”, called  Where to Invade Next? in which he ‘invades’ countries on the continent that have the most outstanding  ways of combating social issues and conducting some of society’s most successful social institutions.

His ‘invasion’ of Finland’s education system is outstanding. He queries some of their more preciously held beliefs on the nature of schooling The looks on the faces of those Finns amazed at the ways we treat our school children, is worth the effort of watching.

It’s a pity that a video clip of this section of his documentary cannot be sent to every schools in Australia. It says so much.  The reference below is not as easy to follow [poor sound] as that available on TV’s  ‘SBS on demand’.

But, no matter how you access it, please make sure you do.

You will note…
Schooling starts at 7 years of age.
No ‘rich’ [aka ‘private’] schools.  Rich kids must mix with lower class kids. No distinctions are noted nor made between neighbourhood schools.  Each one is proficient.
“Less is More’.  Allow time for kids to be happy, to be ‘hands on’, to be problem solving learners.
[You will note the surprise on Moore’s face when the Maths teacher said that his pupils have to be happy with learning Maths. Please consider the NAPLAN view of how the teaching of Maths ought to be handled!]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRJ1hgN7uAU

If you should like to find more, another handy video clip that gives 5 reasons for Finland’s supremacy, is useful. Any authority can copy them….or….at least….talk about them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfmFIEh2QjU

1. No standardised tests during schooling …only one at end of schooling.
2. More time for play and socialising. School week is only 20 hours at school.  No homework.
3. Teaching is the highest and most respected profession in the country. A Masters Degree is required for entry.
4. Post-schooling college and university education is free.
5. Pre-schooling is universal.

Treehorn insists : Australian schooling, now near the bottom of the international scale of effective schooling, has the potential and the intellectual power to leave Finland and other top-rated systems way behind in schooling achievements. It only lacks drive and initiative and thought..
  1. It needs to get rid of NAPLAN
  2. It needs to consider whether there is any social merit in Public Examinations generally. After all, they contain the elements of serious threat to teen-age well-being; suicide being only one of them.
  3. It needs to consider whether the creation of fear and anxiety in young children is preferable to the creation of play and being happy.
  4. It needs to think about the reasons for schooling.
  5. It needs to wonder why the kind of Finnish élan for learning works comprehensively better than the Australian macabre disposition for driving learning by fear.

    ________________________________________________________________________________
    Thanks Gavin.

    Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point Australia 2486   07 5524 6443   0407865999   cphilcullen@bigpond.com  REFER: Who’s Who in Australia.

    Which do you think is more important for Australia’s future……  Its Schooling or its Defence by submarines?

    [It’s a trick question.]


Education Readings February 24th

By Allan Alach

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

A new phonics test for Australian six year olds is a BAD idea

As renowned English author Michael Rosen explains, the difference between a phonics test and learning to read is that a phonics test merely requires children to pronounce a list of words, while learning to read is about making meaning of a text.  Phonics is only one part of the literacy story. And there is no evidence that phonics training should precede meaning making in literacy learning. It is much more productive to address decoding skills in meaningful contexts.’

http://bit.ly/2m5KnKM

Should Traditional Teachers Join the Revolution?

‘However my experience is that very few of colleagues make pedagogical choices on the basis of ideology or efficacy, they do what they do to get through the day. Effectively each teacher presents a personal mishmash of entrenched pedagogical styles. It is immensely difficult to persuade colleagues to break their particular pattern because the pattern is a coping strategy.’

http://bit.ly/2mnagSB

Give teaching back to teachers

‘We need to give back to teachers control of the learning agenda. They also need to be supported with high-quality professional experiences. I want to make clear that I am not advocating an ‘anything goes’ approach. Good teachers are prepared to be accountable and responsible for their work and the work of their colleagues. But making them jump through hoop after hoop to justify their existence is draining and disheartening.’

http://bit.ly/2la868t

What Works Can Hurt: Side Effects in Education

Yong Zhao:

‘Educational research has typically focused exclusively on the benefits, intended effects of products, programs, policies, and practices, as if there were no adverse side effects. But side effects exist the same way in education as in medicine. For many reasons, studying and reporting side effects simultaneously as has been mandated for medical products is not common in education.’

http://bit.ly/2lMWNXm

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Designing New Learning Environments to Support 21st Century Skills

A serious read about modern learning environments by Bob Pearlman

This chapter from a recent book outlines the development of creating 21stC learning environments. For schools moving in such directions it is worth the read. a key element of such schools is project base learning with students working collaboratively on authentic tasks to produce of quality. One message is not to put ‘old wine into new bottles’. Obviously purpose built buildings feature but it is the pedagogy that is most important.

http://bit.ly/2ma440X

How can the learning sciences inform the design of 21st century learning environments?

A short and valuable report about the teaching beliefs required to teach in a Innovative Learning Space.

‘Over recent years, learning has moved increasingly centre stage and for a range of powerful reasons. A primary driver has been the scale of change in our world the rapid advances in ICT, the shift to economies based on knowledge, and the emphasis on the skills required to thrive in them. Schools and education systems around the world are having to reconsider their design and approach to teaching and learning. What should schooling, teaching and, most especially, learning look like in this rapidly changing world?’

http://bit.ly/2kXa8YP

Rethinking classroom design to promote creativity and collaboration

‘Modern Learning Environments are the in thing but it’s what happens in them that counts!“The physical design of the space absolutely helps, especially when it comes to promoting collaboration. “It shouldn’t matter whether it’s for high school or college students,” he said. “We have to prepare students for a future that they can’t imagine, and how to succeed in the 21st century, using adaptability, creativity and empathy, along with ethics and problem-solving.”’

http://bit.ly/2m9drkK

Are Teachers Becoming Obsolete?

‘Leaving my school building the other day, I had an unexpected realization: Perhaps a computer was a more effective teacher than I currently was. The thought unnerved me, and still does as I’m writing this. I’m a nearly 13-year veteran educator dedicated to reflecting upon and refining my teaching craft. But I’m now considering the real possibility that, for at least part of a class period or school day, a computer could—and maybe should—replace me.’

http://bit.ly/2lJS7S4

Students Learn from Inquiry, Not Interrogation

‘Almost all students view follow-up questions as attempts to keep them on the “hot seat” and embarrass them for not knowing. And most perceive classroom questioning to be a competition that pits students against one another – Whose hand goes up first? Who answers most frequently? Very few students understand questioning as a process for collaborative exploration of ideas and a means by which teachers and students alike are able to find out where they are in their learning and decide on next step.’

http://bit.ly/2kX3NN5

Always Think Like a Student

‘There are many paths to success, but there is a common thread among them all: learning.The value of being a lifelong learner is immeasurable. We tend to forget this outside of the most obvious situations: at work or in school. What we all need to understand is that there is knowledge to be uncovered everywhere.’

http://bit.ly/2lJTDDP

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Modern Learning Environments (MLEs) are they so new?

‘My impressions of the schools I have visited are that they remind me of  technological futuristic factories and, in some ways, not really relating to real flesh and blood

children. Even the landscaping has been planned by ‘experts’ who like mass planting of natives that are forced to conform to their futuristic roles – amenity planting. Not really gardens – or even natural native gardens.’

http://bit.ly/1Dxahay

Teaching /learning in flexible spaces – Modern Learning Environments MLEs – New Tech High

A bit of history about modern learning environments – a NZ perspective.

“Modern School Environment are the latest iteration of 1970s open plan schools.I am not sure how they will be developed by teachers other than  by those who already have  an open approach to education. Time will tell but the flexibility of such buildings are a  great improvement on the limitations of self contained classrooms – sometimes disparagingly described as ‘single cell classrooms’.”

http://bit.ly/1NUH50e

What If?

Treehorn recently speculated as to what would happen if Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party included the banning of NAPLAN as part of its policy.


If it did, it would be ‘London to a brick’ that she would become Prime Minister, the  Honourable Pauline Hanson at the next election. Wouldn’t it? There are a few million teachers and parents and others who just don’t like what NAPLAN does to our kids, how it contributes to our lowering of status and ‘standards’ on international tests, what it does to the mental health of our young and the blatant waste of  billions of dollars  through ACARA’s  assault on our schools each year.

Pauline has a leadership style that is different.  While neo-con business corporations and bankers will try to ‘persuade’ her to join their other units – Liberal and Labor – she seems most likely to resist.

No.  She’s not my cup of tea; but dissatisfaction with major parties seems to be increasing.  If she was able to get rid of NAPLAN, one of the greatest threats to our nation’s progress ever, she’s worth considering….just because of that.

It’s a very real possibility, don’t you think?

As our squirming, nervous  kids get closer to the May NAPLAN testocaust, things should get interesting.

In the meantime……

A thought.

______________________________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point 2486  07 5524 6443  0407865999  cphilcullen@bigpond.com    Refer: Who’s Who in Australia


Fair-dinkum pupilling. Chapter 2

Attached is the next chapter of FAIR-DINKUM PUPILLING GIRT BY NAPLAN.

WHY?

Chapter  1 talked about kids, those little testucated robots that are forced to attend school to do NAPLAN tests.

Very few people bother to query why we do what we do to children.

Australian adults don’t take much notice of them nor of their plight nor want to discuss why our education system has imported peculiar curricular intrusions to take up a lot of school time! We have replaced items of the school curriculum that are of immense value, with soul-destroying test preparation that doesn’t work. Our system has gone quite crazy, but we don’t want to talk about it.

Children’s pleas for rescue and the system’s need for improvement through the use of reliable pupilling interactions, have fallen on deaf ears.

While adults tend to applaud high achievements and scores,  Australian adults have failed to notice the diminishing scores on PISA tests ….nothing to applaud….which ridicules our NAPLAN efforts, tells the world that we are getting worse at scoring well,  flattens our learners’ egos, attacks their mental health and threatens Australia’s industrial future.

We know that it is happening.  We tolerate it.  The school system is not allowed t change it.

WHY CAN’T WE JUST BANN NAPLAN AND GET ON WITH THE TASK OF TEACHING AND LEARNING?

Chapter 1 finished by asking “WHY?”.  Chapter 2 attempts an answer. See below.

o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

A THOUGHT BUBBLE…. So many of the silent majority hate NAPLAN so much, that, although they won’t talk about it in public,…… If Pauline’s Party was the first to include “Bann NAPLAN” in their electioneering policy…… the Hon. Pauline Hanson would be our next P.M.

Garn!   You agree, don’t you?

If not, Which Party or candidate will be first?              =-O           It’s got to be worth a few million votes over  all.  Disaffected mums and dads, all teachers, the boys at the local or at the club.                                    

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen, 41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point Australia 2486      07 5524 6443      0407865999     cphilcullen@bigpond.com   Refer: Who’s Who in Australia


CHAPTER 2

WHY?

Back to 2007. A possible scenario…

It must have been after a business lunch, enjoyed by Kevin 07 Rudd and his many big-time corporate friends, that Kevin ran into an unhappy banker, or a business man who acted like an unhappy banker, who gave Kevin a spray…..as they do.

I don’t know what they teach kids at school these days. This morning I dictated a letter to my secretary and said that we operated under the auspices of the Liberal-National Party and, back came the printed letter which said, ‘acting under the ‘orse pisses’ ….”

Kevin grinned. 

You know that that story is a make-up but you also know that such lunches, cocktail parties and barbies are an essential part of running a country. For one, politicians do not have to use tax-payers’ money to eat as well as they do if they are guests of ‘business friends’; and no record is kept of the instructions given by the big-boys to the polly….which they do….the reason for the lunch, of course.

Kevin, however, knew everything. He was hardly a lover of the teaching fraternity and he was looking for something to show his great strength to the electorate. Going “Back to basics” and bashing teachers in the big, bad world is like Marilyn Munroe’s seven-year itch. It’s sure to happen every now and then. When it happens, peculiar memes comes out of left field for all sorts of reasons, receiving unkind media attention, making politicians panic and causing gross disturbance in various communities. Professional groups duck for cover and the issues slowly dissipate due to lack of interest. Kevin reckoned that he could generate a panic. He sure did and it has lasted.

The really big ‘standards debate, prior to this NAPLAN debacle was in the seventies when some ‘Black Papers’, written in England, criticised school standards and this false meme kick-started a crusade for better standards around the world. Led by The Bulletin in Australia, there was an enormous quantity of unwarranted criticism dumped on schools. It led to nation-wide TV debates, special documentaries, large public meetings, special conferences, the whole box and dice. It proved to be a big-time media hoax. Sales of The Bulletins skyrocketed.

You can be sure that, after NAPLAN has been seen for what it is; and has disappeared from the landscape. [“gone, dead, buried, cremated” to quote our once great leader]..and schooling has returned to pupilling…..things will get itchy again after a few more years. It happens

Schooling, in the late 70s and early 80s, was left vulnerable by this gigantic illegitimate meme and the gate was left open for the attacks of unhappy do-gooders. The moral crusaders got on the warpath. They caused an itch that became a rash. The League of Rights, the John Birch Society, Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, the Australian Council for Education Standards, The Committee to Restore Educational Standards, The Campaign for Responsible Education and other alphabetical groups had a field day for about a decade under the leadership of educational priestess, Rona Joyner, head of STOP-CARE [Society to Outlaw Pornography-Committee Against Regressive Education] who believed that she and her troops had the right to condemn school programs [no need for a test] that they didn’t like; and to punish the wrong-doers. They had the ‘ear’ of the most powerful and her ladyship was often seen around the foyer of Parliament House looking for an unused ear. She had a unique talent for effective politicking. [Methinks Pauline took lessons] Perhaps, because human relationships are not performed according to numbers, like NAPLAN is, she and her storm-troopers faded away after a while.

Please don’t tell our naplanners that Rona did very well at her job; and had Joh’s Queensland cabinet wrapped in her moral fibre for quite a while. And one might note with caution that the son of her claimed mentor, Jerry Falwell Jnr. has now been invited to join President Trump as an adviser. 

Back to the present itch.

When a pollie uses the taxpayer’s generous ATM on himself or herself, the sky is the limit for a lunch. That’s another trick. No, it’s not always political largesse for help rendered. Sometimes it’s plain party business. ….maybe to dissuade a recalcitrant from behaving sensibly. In any case, many, maybe most decisions that effect the lives of all of us are made at lunches and parties shared by the big boys and our pollies…..and later ratified at the big house. It’s called ‘politics’. 

That’s how our education system got girted. 

Kevin 07, always on the side of big-business as is our present-day day neo-liberal Labor Party, agreed with that old business fart and a friend pf his wifei, we think, had also complained about a check-out girl at the supermarket, who had trouble calculating the total cost when Therese’s friend suggested the machine wasn’t working properly. 

From such earth-shattering major incidents, new nation-building schooling systems are born.

That kind of robust research was enough! The system needed reform! The evidence was clear; and he was the lad to smarten things up. He had just been appointed Prime Minister and had had enough experience as offsider to Premier Goss during the crazed restructure of the Public Service in Queensland, when it went ‘back to drastics’, organised according to Harvardian Business Management principles and some added academic foibles, to know how to go about it. He thought. Keeping the underdog in check is the secret and hanging on to the coat-tails of hired help from academia can help one ‘get ahead’.

Kevin, who always had trouble distinguishing knowledge from wisdom, started to harbour impure thoughts. If he gave this reform task to dear colleague Julia, Minister for Education, and she buggered it up, he’d still come out clean. Smart move 07. She obliged. She will now, for ever be blamed for introducing fear- based kleinism into Australia.

Of course, in his haste to be known as a master reformer and teacher-basher Ruddy, ally Julia and mentor Joel, overlooked the fact that profit-based business operations were ‘wild societies’, that had to forage like wild cats for their continued existence. They were very different from schools: humane, ‘domesticated’ operations, pussy-cat type caring institutions that perform moderating operations for the country’s welfare. The better the schooling, the more prosperous the country. But then, BCA types and the Ruddy/Gilly coalition believed that schools could and should be run like any old business enterprise; or like a prison or insane institution. Once the inmates are confined, the high authorities can do what they please with the inmates. In his business studies off the coast of China somewhere, Kev and his cronies did not have access, it seems, to the definitive work of one Richard Carlson who based his business studies on the nature of the client, the users of the institution….the customers, the kids. Carlson made it clear that schools and businesses are very different kinds of circuses, and require very different forms of administration……depending on the status of the client and the control over their admission to the firm or institution. 

Ironically, Richard Carlson died during a trip to promote his final book; “Don’t Get Screwed. How to thrive in a world full of Obnoxious, Incompetent, Arrogant and Down-right Mean-spirited People.” A telling treatise, one doubts if the book will be found on either of the Education shelves behind the door of the Federal Parliament Library. 

Also, schools are constructed for kids, a form of human being who sometimes survive childhood despite the thoughtless things that politicians and testucratic educators want to do to them. Things would run much better for such adults if kids were true robots. The notion that kids are really human and have deep feelings has escaped every single Australian politician, every testucator and most of the adult population.

Fair-dinkum Pupilling – Girt by NAPLAN

Education Readings February 17th

By Allan Alach

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

The Writing Process Isn’t Linear. So Why Do Schools Keep Pretending That It Is?

Read this!

‘If you conduct an online image search for “writing process,” you’ll find many charts that lay out the steps—brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, publishing—in a nice linear fashion. It’s as if these visuals assert, “We brainstorm on Monday, draft on Tuesday, etc.”

However, professional writers don’t check off the steps of the writing process as they move through it. As any experienced writer will tell you, the writing process is recursive, not linear.’

http://bit.ly/2lIIxiO

Learning spaces of the third kind

First Steve Wheeler article of the year:

Students carry technology in their pockets, information floats through the air, and the they use their own devices to seek and capture it. There is a sense that learning can occur without the teacher being present in this same space, although the teacher may be there anyway, as a co-learner as much as a facilitator. Education is co-constructed, and the tools and technologies provide the scaffolding to support the learning. Students learn by creating, connecting, discovering and sharing.’

http://bit.ly/2l6os2J

Curiosity Is the Cat

Here’s a Will Richardson article that reminded me of this quote by Albert Einstein “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”

‘I’m becoming more curious about curiosity. I’m beginning to think it’s the only “C” that truly matters, and that it’s been badly disrespected in all the conversation around the 4Cs or 7Cs or howevermanyCs that people have been throwing around.I mean really, when it comes to learning, what comes before curiosity?

Critical thinking doesn’t, because if you’re not curious as to whether something is true or fake or accurate or real, you won’t really think very hard about it.’

http://bit.ly/2l6dIli

Five-Minute Montessori

Many of today’s hot topics in education were addressed by iconic educator Maria Montessori nearly a century ago. The video below (5 1/2 min) – along with this Wikipedia link – provide a quick overview of this method of schooling (the video is an adjunct to a book promotion but still works).’

http://bit.ly/2kvprYm

Why Creativity?

‘I would argue that without creativity there is the danger of not challenging what we do and why we do it. Possibly to go blindly along with what we are told without question for we have no drive, no vision of how things could be different, no need even, to do anything different. Without creativity in our lives, we risk seeing the world only as a series of things we are directed to achieve in the way we are shown to achieve them.  Should we forgo challenge and accept obedience?’

http://bit.ly/2kR3W7S

3 Ways To Encourage Creativity In Your Classroom This Year

‘As educators, when it comes to creativity in the classroom, we can take the path of least resistance and take creativity out of the learning process or we can create an environment that fosters creativity in learning and allow kids to explore their talents. Fostering creativity in learning in the classroom doesn’t have to be complex or complicated. Here are 3 ways you can encourage creativity in your classroom this year.’

http://bit.ly/2kvnwDq

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Breaking the Cycle of “Baby Stuff”

Challenging the Goldilocks Rule

‘For years, teachers have been using simple benchmarks, tests, or other assessment tools to select materials that attempt to align with students’ abilities. This is often known as the Goldilocks Rule—selected books are not too difficult and not too easy but supposedly just right. Unfortunately, this was how all three boys ended up confronting baby stuff at their schools.’

http://bit.ly/2lxw6lX

How to Combine Rigor with Engagement

‘The imperatives are clear. On the one hand, we have an obligation to equip all children with a baseline level of literacy and numeracy. Rooted in concerns about equity and given teeth by recent accountability policies, this obligation has become a central goal of schooling in the United States. On the other hand, however, we know that the basics are no longer enough. To successfully negotiate modern life, adults need the capacity to tackle open-ended problems in creative ways—a capacity that requires both critical-thinking skills and the disposition to persevere.’

http://bit.ly/2lxv4q4

Right-Sized Rigor

‘At the core of our quest to increase rigor is creating a common understanding of rigor that speaks to all students. Too often, we dismiss struggling students as unable to work at rigorous levels. In fact, “Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels; each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels; and each student demonstrates learning at high levels” (Blackburn, 2013).’

http://bit.ly/2kXuNQM

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

What has really changed in our schools the past 50 years?

Reflecting on teaching beliefs – are things better now?

‘The other day I had the opportunity to visit a school I began my career visiting in 1960. During  a discussion with the principal she mentioned the classrooms had been developed into innovative (or flexible) learning environments. I couldn’t help suggesting that I bet the daily classroom programmes/timetables haven’t changed much since I first visited the school 40 plus years ago ( with exception of availability of information technology). If anything the current emphasis on literacy and numeracy had reinforced the timetables of earlier times taking up the morning time with the rest of the Learning Areas squeezed into the afternoon period. Hardly flexible teaching? Hardly progress?’

http://bit.ly/2l1USO8

Educational Quotes 5: Leadership and Teamwork

Some quotes on leadership to think about.

‘Imposed bureaucratic ‘top down’ changes have resulted in school being ‘over managed and under led.’ Now is the time for courageous leaders, at all levels, to emerge and add their ‘voices’ to the debate. There are no experts with ‘the answer’ – we will have to invent the future ourselves together as we go along.’ 

http://bit.ly/1vGrNDD

The Treaty of Waitangi – what do your students’ know?

‘A wise teacher should take advantage of important events in New Zealand history such as the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

As the celebration comes early in the year it is a good opportunity to introduce the students to how they will be expected to learn in the class; how to work together to develop critical thinking; how to value their own ideas; how to deepen their understandings and how to apply lessons learnt to their own class.’

http://bit.ly/2kQYVdY

Education Readings February 10th

By Allan Alach

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

Schools are supposed to help students master the dominant information landscape of their time

‘Our new information landscape is digital bits in the ether instead of ink dots on paper. There is no foreseeable future in which we go back to analog. One of schools’ primary tasks is to help students master the dominant information landscape of their time. Schools are knowledge institutions preparing students to do knowledge work. So let’s be clear about what our new information landscape looks like:’

http://bit.ly/2jVRQvx

How Playing With Math Helps Teachers Better Empathize With Students

‘Unlike other professional development opportunities, the focus of these circles is not on lesson plans or pedagogy. Most of the time is spent working on and discussing a problem that the facilitators bring, with the hope that teachers will rediscover what they love about math and how it feels to be a learner.’

http://bit.ly/2kLVdnK

Teaching kids philosophy makes them smarter in Math and English

‘Nine- and 10-year-old children in England who participated in a philosophy class once a week over the course of a year significantly boosted their math and literacy skills, with disadvantaged students showing the most significant gains, according to a large and well-designed study.’

http://bit.ly/2kB5AZE

Piaget’s Constructivism, Papert’s Constructionism: What’s the difference?

What is the difference between Piaget’s constructivism and Papert’s “constructionism”? Beyond the mere play on the words, I think the distinction holds, and that integrating both views can enrich our understanding of how people learn and grow.’

http://bit.ly/2kkSktw

Skinning Cats Alive.

Phil Cullen:

‘A toxic form of managerialism hit the fan in the mid-80s; and we lost sight of the kids. These aliens organised and started running testing factories replacing real people who’d been-there-done-that ,organising schools of learning and mentoring others on the way. These good guys were cunningly dominated by absurdists who forced fear-laden testing on kids and have now done more damage to Australia than the Japanese could ever have done. Fear-laden swotting of a kind never known before has replaced decent teaching. The load on small pupils during normal learning time, the likes of which no previous generation has had to tolerate. is enormous. Kids are still our future, but you wouldn’t think so.’

http://bit.ly/2kkLoNc

Okay campers rise and shine and don’t forget your booties

Want to be an artist? Watch Groundhog Day.

‘Here’s a popular version of “The Creative Journey”: A genius comes to the end of his trip, closes his eyes, concentrates, and then the idea comes to him, fully formed.

When I’m working on my art, I don’t feel like Don Draper. No, when I’m working, I feel more like Phil Connors from the movie Groundhog Day.’

http://bit.ly/2kkXVjL

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

The HeART of the Matter – the Gordon Tovey Experiment.

‘The film was about the programmes Gordon Tovey implemented, while under CE Beeby, as the head of Arts and Crafts in the Department of Education from 1946 until 1966.  You may be familiar with the work of Elwyn Richardson at the Far North school Orauti, which was part of what was known as the Far North project or experiment. Part of the essence of the experiment was to nurture the creativity of children and allow them to explore and express themselves.  It was part of the child centred driven philosophy that emerged from the First World War and the Depression in the first Labour government’s education policy to give children better opportunities.’

http://bit.ly/2bHPMS2

What Would Be a Radically Different Vision of School?

‘In his vision of this third narrative, reformers would focus on creating an education system that supports inquiry-based, student-centered learning, where students are encouraged to find entry points into the mandated curriculum in ways that are meaningful to them. Technology is an integral part of Richardson’s vision because it allows students to create and demonstrate their knowledge.’

http://bit.ly/2kGvIVq

Task Library

Great ideas for Maths

Provided by Dan Murphy (ex Winchester)

‘A school without tasks is like a school without books.Students investigate books to explore literature and develop language concepts and skills in context.

Students investigate tasks to explore mathematics and develop mathematical concepts and skills in context.’

http://bit.ly/2lihLKY

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Slow learning needed for fast times!

‘Slow learning they believe is essential for our lives and learning by giving depth to our experiences and providing insight for creativity and ingenuity. All too often, in contrast, students are rushed through learning to cover curriculum material. First finished is best seems to be the order of the day. As a result ‘slow learning’ is neglected in schools.’

http://bit.ly/1GWw6E2

A future Vision for Education

Ideas for  schools developing modern or innovative learning environments

 Imagine a school where every child would see themselves as an investor in their own learning. Older children would frequently coach and mentor younger children. Those who were more advanced in a subject would help those lagging behind. Children would help teachers design learning programmes, their parents would be parties to these discussions .The children would see it as their responsibility to learn in their own time, often using online tools provided by the school .Although every child would have a personalized learning plan, most learning would be practiced in groups but these would not be organized into rigid year groups, class membership would be in part determined by aptitude and appetite’.

http://bit.ly/1pHqBCy

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

Is our ‘modern’ education system harmful to students?

‘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

Education Readings February 3rd

By Allan Alach

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

8 digital skills we must teach our children

‘Moreover, there is the digital age gap. The way children use technology is very different from adults. This gap makes it difficult for parents and educators to fully understand the risks and threats that children could face online. As a result, adults may feel unable to advise children on the safe and responsible use of digital technologies. Likewise, this gap gives rise to different perspectives of what is considered acceptable behaviour.

So how can we, as parents, educators and leaders, prepare our children for the digital age? Without a doubt, it is critical for us to equip them with digital intelligence.’

http://bit.ly/2kiAMg4

Information Literacy and Document Learning

‘Information literacy consists in the ability to identify, search effectively for information, locate, filter, discern the quality of information, evaluate, analyze, tag,  categorize, re-mix, create new types of information and effectively use and communicate the findings well for an issue or problem at hand.’ 

http://bit.ly/2krSH6s

The Critical Thinking Skills Cheatsheet

‘Critical thinking skills truly matter in learning. Why? Because they are life skills we use every day of our lives. Everything from our work to our recreational pursuits, and all that’s in between, employs these unique and valuable abilities. Consciously developing them takes thought-provoking discussion and equally thought-provoking questions to get it going.’

http://bit.ly/2jWHOGb

Can Constructionism prevent our children turning into Stormtroopers?

‘Seymour Papert, who I had the opportunity to spend time with in those years, had developed a learning theory he called “Constructionism”. Papert had been a student of Piaget and Vygotsky who had developed philosophies about the nature of knowledge called Constructivism and Social Constructivism respectively.’

http://bit.ly/2kini48

Eight Big Ideas Behind the Constructionist Learning Lab

Following on, here’s more about Seymour Papert’s constructionism.

‘The first big idea is learning by doing. We all learn better when learning is part of doing something we find really interesting. We learn best of all when we use what we learn to make something we really want.’

http://bit.ly/2kTIRYm

Why Spatial Reasoning Is Crucial For Early Math Education

‘There’s a well-known rift between those who believe the only type of developmentally appropriate early childhood education is a play-based one, and those concerned that relying solely on any learning that comes out of play could put students coming from impoverished backgrounds at a disadvantage. Research has shown that students from lower socioeconomic groups enter school with significantly less mathematical knowledge, and it is difficult to overcome that gap without intentional mathematics programming. But, at the same time, traditional teacher-led instruction often isn’t developmentally appropriate for five-year-olds.’

http://bit.ly/2jWQJHR

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

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.’

http://bit.ly/2ks90jB

Die in the Ditch – Non-negotiable Principles for Learning Design

‘An important and very rewarding part of our development journey has been sharing our thinking with the hundreds of visitors that we have hosted. This has reminded me of the passion and openness that so many teachers have to make schooling as engaging and relevant as possible for learners. Almost all have agreed that students are struggling to engage and find learning stressful. They also recognise that teaching has become a hard slog with reduced rewards. Many also acknowledge that schools are becoming more like centres of assessment rather than centres of learning.All of the visiting schools want answers to the question of what can be done at their school and, in some cases, believe that after a visit they will discover a model they can transplant into their own environment. Of course, they soon realise this is unlikely.’

http://bit.ly/2kXj1lL

Sir Ken Robinson: How to Create a Culture For Valuable Learning

“If you design a system to do something, don’t be surprised if it does it,” Robinson said at the annual Big Picture Learning conference called Big Bang. He went on to describe the two pillars of the current system — conformity and compliance — which undermine the sincere efforts of educators and parents to equip children with the confidence to enter the world on their own terms.”

http://bit.ly/2jEkts6

How One Teacher Let Go of Control To Focus On Student-Centered Approaches

‘When Kristine Riley saw a colleague she admired and teachers she followed on social media extol the learning advantages of letting go of control in the classroom, she decided to give it a try. “I started out small,” said Riley, who teaches in Edison, New Jersey public schools. It took about a year, maybe a year and a half, to abandon her top-down approach to teaching and replace it with what she calls “structured chaos.”’

http://bit.ly/2kTSeHE

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Creative Schools – an impossible dream?

‘Educators who believe that education is more of a process of creating stimulating environments to allow students to begin the process of helping the young explore what it is that they are best suited for have always been in the minority. Most teachers have little choice to put programmes into place that have been defined by their school, by those distant ‘experts’ that determine the curriculum and, most invasive of all, by those who determine the means of assessing students learning. When the latter is in the hands of the politicians supported by compliant principals then the possibility of creativity is all but lost.’

http://bit.ly/2dlEXWL

The artistry of teaching and future learning attributes

The future of learning depends on the artistry of the teacher

‘The future of education will be substantially determined by the shared perception of the purpose of learning, and that this is best expressed in terms of the needs of the learner. A focus on deep and profound learning would determine the qualities of a learner of the future. This in turn has implications for the quality of the teaching provided.’

http://bit.ly/1PsoX3j