Education Readings March 23rd

By Allan Alach

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

Why is online learning ‘all fur coat and no knickers’? We design to forget.

‘Online learning has gone down the ‘all fur coat and no knickers’ route. It’s more presentation than pedagogy, more look and feel than learning. Rather than focus on what makes learning a success in terms of retention and recall, it allows the learner to skate across the surface of a thin layer of nicely designed but thin ice. It often creates the illusion of learning by illustrative graphics/animation that, as Mayer often showed, actually inhibit rather than help retention.’

http://bit.ly/2tlN5jK

3 Ways to Combat Recipe Learning

‘Rubrics were all the rage so I thought that by giving all the same project and using the rubric I was differentiating for my students because they got to decide where they fit on the rubric. What I didn’t know at the time was I was expecting all the same level of work. I hadn’t designed an effective summative assessment.

I had assigned a recipe.’

http://bit.ly/2FrPq2j

What Are The Benefits Of Learning To Code As A Child?

What are your thoughts about this? I’m not convinced.

‘So instead of watching people jump on the coding bandwagon because we said so, we decided to write an article that discusses the benefits of learning how to code as a child. That way parents and schools can make an informed decision. Believe it or not, some of the advantages that we are about to share may shock you. Well, without further ado, here is our list of the benefits of learning to code as a child.’

http://bit.ly/2tTq8Vv

Creativity is a distinct mental state that you can train

“Our results suggest that creativity can be characterized as a distinct mental state—one that can be nurtured through training, and that can reflect the quality of the finished product.”

http://bit.ly/2DyU9JY

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Teach Kids When They’re Ready

A new book for parents on developing their kids’ sense of autonomy has some useful insights for teachers as well.

‘The measuring stick is out, comparing one kid to another, before they even start formal schooling. Academic benchmarks are being pushed earlier and earlier, based on the mistaken assumption that starting earlier means that kids will do better later.

We now teach reading to 5-year-olds even though evidence shows it’s more efficient to teach them to read at age 7, and that any advantage gained by kids who learn to read early washes out later in childhood.’

http://edut.to/2p6fjcS

How To Ease Students Into Independent Inquiry Projects

‘Too often teachers enter the inquiry pool in the deep end, heading straight to Free Inquiry, as I had done with Chris. We can’t blame them; the essential questions students ask and the demonstrations of learning students create are incredibly meaningful and resonate with their audience. But beginning your adoption of inquiry by diving right into Free Inquiry could result in overwhelmed and underprepared inquiry students. In our experience, without flipping control in the classroom, empowering student learning, and scaffolding with the Types of Student Inquiry, students will not feel as confident, supported, or empowered through our inquiry journey.’

http://bit.ly/2oIGA5O

The 5th ‘C’ of 21st Century Skills? Try Computational Thinking (Not Coding)

‘There is growing recognition in the education systems around the globe that being able to problem-solve computationally—that is, to think logically and algorithmically, and use computational tools for creating artifacts including models and data visualizations—is rapidly becoming a prerequisite competency for all fields.’

http://bit.ly/2Fkh9kz

Creative thinking and the new Digital Technologies curriculum

‘In this book, Resnick states that kindergarten (where students are free to follow their own interests and direct their own learning) nurtures creative thinking because it allows students to naturally iterate through a creative learning spiral: learning how to start with an idea, build prototypes, share them with others, run experiments, and revise these based on feedback. In contrast, the current education model (which was made in—and for—the industrial era) restricts teachers’ ability to create lifelong kindergarten type environments.’

http://bit.ly/2Iwwg9l

Embracing the Whole Child

Fully engaging students can include using their interests in lessons, checking in on them emotionally, and being ourselves.

‘According to education researcher Maria del Carmen Salazar, an overuse of such things as scripted and mandated instructional curricula can hinder educators and students from developing meaningful relationships. And that rigid, standardized approach to teaching contradicts so much of what we know from whole-child education research. It can sabotage the humanness of all those beings growing and exploring daily together in one room.’

http://edut.to/2Dz5v0w

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Linda-Darling Hammond: Lessons for New Zealand from America

‘“The Flat World and Education’,  a book by Linda Darling-Hammond is a must read for educationalists and politicians who want to develop an alternative to the technocratic style of education that has been slowly destroying the creativity of students and teachers  in New Zealand and, in turn, the social fabric of our increasingly troubled society.”

http://bit.ly/UlVnBr

Are we brave enough to live for the future?

‘The past seems a simpler place to think about – the future is so messy and unpredictable. Years ago educational philosopher John Dewey wrote that the best preparation for the future is to live well today. Good advice. Hindsight bias, it seems, drains the uncertainty from the past while looking into the future is just so unpredictable. This uncertainly interferes with our judgment and provides us with a bias to conservatism.’

http://bit.ly/2FpnnAx

Re-imaging education; lessons from Galileo and Brazil.

‘Education stands at a crossroad caught in the lights of market forces ideology which blinds all but a few to beginnings of a new era some call the Second Renaissance – a new creative era.’

http://bit.ly/1cMz8h8

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Education Readings March 9th

By Allan Alach

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

6 Techniques for Building Reading Skills—in Any Subject

Students need good reading skills not just in English but in all classes. Here are some ways you can help them develop those skills.

‘Without a repertoire of reading strategies that can be applied to any text, students are being shortchanged in their education. In order to teach students to read effectively, teachers must be sure that they are not simply suppliers of information on a particular text but also instructors of techniques to build reading skills. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate reading skills lessons into a curriculum.’

http://edut.to/2t6JTZr

Academic Sponge Activities

A sponge activity is a lesson that soaks up precious time that would otherwise be lost. Hint: It should be fun as well as educational.

‘When failing lessons need to be abandoned, it’s time to implement a sponge. Madeline Hunter originated the term sponge activities to describe “learning activities that soak up precious time that would otherwise be.” The best sponges are academically rich and provoke laughter. Nicholas Ferroni, an education writer for The Huffington Post, says that laughter activates dopamine and the learning centers of the brain.’

http://edut.to/2ox7IER

Managing the Oppositional-Defiant Child in the Classroom

‘Some of the most challenging students I’ve had to teach have been those with Oppositional-Defiant Disorder. These are the students who challenge the behavioral norms in the classroom, often show low academic achievement, and lack motivation. Thankfully, there is plenty of research behind teaching these tough nuts to crack and lots of resources out there to help you figure out interventions to support them in the classroom.’

http://bit.ly/2GTTtAV

Scaffolding Student Thinking in Projects

‘In order to skillfully embrace the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in life, our students need to develop sophisticated thinking skills that extend far beyond disciplinary boundaries. From understanding and unpacking problems, constraints, and possibilities, to identifying patterns and addressing biases, the types of thinking we should be nurturing in students are many and complex.’

http://bit.ly/2GQDseS

STEM may be the future—but liberal arts are timeless

‘Society has therefore devalued the study of literature, history, politics, philosophy, and sociology as wasteful or pointless. Many suggest we all just should learn skills such as coding, digital marketing, and web development instead. But this is not the direction the world is heading in. Professional requirements are changing so quickly in the real world that lessons deemed relevant in the first year of college are barely relevant upon graduation—and much less early into one’s career.’

http://bit.ly/2I1t9pC

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Teaching in a Modern Learning Environment – with a twist!

Bruce’s latest article:

‘Modern Learning Environments must be more than an architectural innovation. Modern Learning Environments provides the means to devise learning situations which open up the potential for extending the learning of the students. It means attempting to develop within the individual learner all the skills and attitudes of a competent independent learner.’

http://bit.ly/2oX8xWZ

Primary pupils’ maths skills ‘dropping alarmingly’, report finds

After seven years of national standards, on top of 27 years of a neoliberal education philosophy, the damage to NZ education is starting to become very clear. Fortunately the new government may have seen the light and so things may start to turn around. Time will tell.

‘A new report has found schools that improve maths teaching and remove streaming were more successful in reversing a “worrying” downward trend in children’s maths abilities.Schools that abolish classes specifically for talented pupils have a better chance of addressing declining achievement in maths, a new report has found.’

http://bit.ly/2FegVLQ

Critical thinking in an age of fake news

‘In a post-truth era of alternative facts and fake news, the ability to discern what is true is an increasingly important skill.

Learning the skills to apply reason to claims is something built into New Zealand’s school curriculum as one of five key competencies required for living and lifelong learning. Critical thinking involves questioning evidence, the validity of sources of information and reaching conclusions based on evidence.’

http://bit.ly/2FdhSUU

This Yale Psychiatrist Knows How to Shut Down the School to Prison Pipeline: So Why is He Ignored?

‘What Dr. Comer has demonstrated, is that the academic success of children (especially those from poor neighborhoods) depends on educators building good relationships with their parents and truly caring about the students. It begins by first focusing on transforming the social environment of a school community.

Successful change does not begin with national standards or standardized testing (though test scores will also rise significantly, as an outcome of the cultural changes).’

http://bit.ly/2FEoAkv

Study: Too Many Structured Activities May Hinder Children’s Executive Functioning

So much for WALTs, success criteria, teacher intentions, worksheets, phonics, heavy teacher feedback /forward ~ formulaic standardised education….

‘When children spend more time in structured activities, they get worse at working toward goals, making decisions, and regulating their behavior, according to a study.

Instead, kids might learn more when they have the responsibility to decide for themselves what they’re going to do with their time. Psychologists at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver studied the schedules of 70 six-year olds, and they found that the kids who spent more time in less-structured activities had more highly-developed self-directed executive function.’

http://bit.ly/2CVLQre

If Only We Could Find A Way To Not Un-Learn It

‘It’s a truth that I feel in my own heart, even if I often struggle to live it, but the more time I’ve spent with young children, the more I stay out of their way, the more I see that they are the ones who truly understand it, not intellectually of course, but by simply living in the “Now,” regarding their fellow humans in their toils or trails, and making a decision to help them. This is why I can never consider adults as more intelligent than children.’

http://bit.ly/2I2VbRG

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Why schools don’t educate.

‘We live in a time of great school crises, Gatto began his presentation, ‘and we need to define and redefine endlessly what the word education should mean. Something is wrong. Our school crisis is a reflection of a wider social crisis – a society that lives in the constant present, based on narcotic consumption’

http://bit.ly/2bWvrc6

What’s the Point of School?

‘The purpose of education’ Claxton writes, is to prepare young people for the future. Schools should be helping Young people to develop the capacities they will need to thrive. What they need and want, is the confidence to talk to strangers, to try things out, to handle tricky situations, to stand up for themselves, to ask for help, to think new thoughts’ .’This is not to much to ask’, says Claxton, ‘but they are not getting it’.

http://bit.ly/2p5BukY

Education Readings March 2nd

By Allan Alach

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

Better together

‘Social learning is one of the vital components of contemporary learning and development. None of us lives in a vacuum, and we are better, stronger and wiser when we learn and work together. Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1978) argued that we learn best when we are immersed in a socially rich, culturally relevant environment.’

http://bit.ly/2FnxJO3

Secret Teacher: social media makes it impossible to switch off from work

‘Social media and messaging apps are a blessing and a curse for teachers. While it has broadened our horizons and inspired new ideas (thank you, Pinterest), it has also increased the intrusion of work into our personal lives. We are always contactable, and in many different ways. What starts off as a message containing a funny aside or lighthearted remark can quickly become a virtual planning meeting.’

http://bit.ly/2BTbdgy

What students know that experts don’t: School is all about signaling, not skill-building

‘There is a massive gap between school and work, between learning and earning. While the labor market rewards good grades and fancy degrees, most of the subjects schools require simply aren’t relevant on the job. Literacy and numeracy are vital, but few of us use history, poetry, higher mathematics or foreign languages after graduation. The main reason firms reward education is because it certifies (or “signals”) brains, work ethic and conformity.’

http://lat.ms/2oufQGg

Storytelling – A way into writing

‘I have taught writing both ways…formally through modelling and experience, and informally through play and storytelling.  The marked difference between the two environments is the amount and type of writing and the level of engagement.  You know those reluctant boy writers everyone goes on about?  Well they don’t exist in this environment.  They access writing at their own developmental stage, they do what they can and feel successful….even better after the initial teacher directed time (which feels more like a narrative) they are free to finish and move back to play.’

http://bit.ly/2CpKVTV

What Is a ‘Quality’ Curriculum?

‘Curriculum is a special case, however. Designing and delivering lessons—a.k.a. curriculum and instruction—are what teachers do. Nothing is more central to being an effective teacher (and by that, I mean a teacher whose students are paying attention and learning) than control over the what and how of the work.

Once we’ve totally lost those, there is no profession left. Teachers will be technicians, dispensing pre-selected knowledge using pre-determined methods and materials. Autonomy, creativity and purpose? Gone.’

http://bit.ly/2EYozGV

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

The New Zealand Curriculum (2007) – was lost but now is found.

With the end of national standards, it’s time to dig out those dusty copies of the New Zealand curriculum, as Bruce has done in this article.

‘I envisage classrooms as true learning communities of scientists and artists exploring their concerns, the local environment and the wider world past and present. Such classrooms I see as mini Te Papas ( or perpetual science, art, maths technology fair  type exhibits) with every available space covered with displays/exhibitions of quality research, art and language based on the themes, studies, topics and investigations.’

http://bit.ly/2BScWmh

Personalized Learning: What It Really Is and Why It Really Matters

‘Let’s be honest: as an academic term of art, personalized learning is horrible. It has almost no descriptive value. What does it mean to “personalize” learning? Isn’t learning, which is done by individual learners, inherently personal? What would it mean to personalize learning? And who would want unpersonalized learning?’

http://bit.ly/2sWtsyF

The Six Must-Have Elements Of High Quality Project-Based Learning

‘The framework is built around six basic elements that the framers believe must be present: intellectual challenge and accomplishment, authenticity, public product, collaboration, project management and reflection.’

http://bit.ly/2HKCF0h

The Best Ways to Shift Learning Responsibilities to Our Students

‘Teachers are in the position to foster engagement and develop necessary skills and self-

motivation. Alongside this they can model persistence in the face of challenges to achieve a desired goal. Let’s talk about how teachers can shift learning responsibilities from them selves to their learners.’

http://bit.ly/2oA6N5K

Setting pupils ‘incompatible with social justice’

‘Research by the UCL Institute of Education finds that setting by ‘ability’ is a ‘pernicious tool’ that reinforces social hierarchies

Grouping pupils into sets is “incompatible with social justice” as it entrenches the dominance of the middle classes at the expense of disadvantaged children, according to the latest findings from a major research project.’

http://bit.ly/2ouBLx4

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Kids from Chaos – our achievement tail?

‘I have always thought that it is the lack of authenticity about our programmes that all too often create the various categories of failing students in our society. Such students do not fit into ‘our’ preplanned programmes – success being assessed as students going along with what is offered. ‘One size fits most of the students’ – the rest are sacrificed; standardization only suits standard kids!’

http://bit.ly/2BV6wTh

‘Superkids’; the hurried generation!

‘Two basic metaphors have underpinned learning but now we have third. The first (and oldest) is the idea of the blank slate, or tabular rosa.   Much of the current school curriculum developments, imposed on schools, continues this metaphor with its obsession on educational measurement and the need to demonstrate the ‘added value’ the students have gained from their teachers. The second metaphor is that of a growing plant. This is seen best in junior schools. This metaphor is based on providing a stimulating and supportive environment to encourage the learner to grow and to develop their gifts and talents appropriately .The latest metaphor, and one with unhealthy consequences, is that of the ‘super kid’. This has resulted in what Elkind calls the ‘hurried child’. Arising out of an ideology of individualism and competition, this metaphor puts pressure on parents to hurry their children through childhood to give them an advantage in the future.’

http://bit.ly/1qKnlqv

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 November 24th

By Allan Alach

The demise of national standards in New Zealand schools opens the door to a return to more progressive, child centred learning. In the first article, Bruce Hammonds gives his take on the possibilities in the post national standards classroom. All progressive teachers should read this.

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

Organising the school day for 21st Century Teaching – the Craft of Teaching

Bruce Hammonds:

‘What ‘message’ does the timetable, or the day’s organisation, in your classroom give? Does it reflect past expectations or future thinking? Which learning areas are given the most prominence? Which areas are neglected? With the termination of the reactionary National Standards the time is right for progressive thinking re classroom organisations to be considered.’

http://bit.ly/2mQ8azD

Progressive Education Is Not Just Child’s Play

‘Despite the incontestable evidence of what is best for young children, our society continues to tolerate – often celebrate – schools and educational methods that directly contradict several hundred years of evolving knowledge. At least among sensible educators, the importance of play and discovery for young children is a consensus belief, despite policies that often make it hard to teach that way.’

http://bit.ly/2B3V30f

The importance of keeping a beat: Researchers link ability to keep a beat to reading, language skills

Anyone want to have a go at trying this in their classroom?

‘Because hearing sounds of speech and associating them with the letters comprising written words is crucial to learning to read, the Northwestern researchers reasoned that the association between reading and beat synchronization likely has a common basis in the auditory system.’

http://bit.ly/2jOaztK

Why Art And Creativity Are Important For Kids

‘Schools that eliminate art programs are doing so at their peril. No one questions foundation subjects like reading and math for the development of competent citizens, but not enough people are inquiring about how important art and creativity are for kids.

The importance is paramount. Arts and creativity nurture well-being and assist learners in creating connections between subjects.’

http://bit.ly/2hN07OO

Always asking questions

‘Hopefully, in most cases, the entire experience is about asking questions. But the curriculum often militates against good question times. It is so stuffed full of unnecessary content, there is far too little time left for teachers to help children to frame their questions. They must make time, because the bloated curriculum shows no signs of going away just yet. Questioning is far too important to gloss over or push into a corner. Give the kids time to ask questions.’

http://bit.ly/2hL1f5l

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Creative by Nature

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” ―Pablo Picasso

‘All human beings are creative by nature. Young children know this in their hearts, but as we grow older most of us begin to have doubts. We live in a culture that discourages creative thought and wants us to believe that artistic ability is rare. Over time, most of us learn not to color (or think) outside the box.

http://bit.ly/2B4ljrf

What Should Schools Teach?

‘In the UK, decades of political meddling in the curriculum have resulted in endless lists prescribing what – and how – teachers should teach. How refreshing then, that unlike many educational policy prescriptions, What Should Schools Teach? does not offer a dazzling list of innovative academic hybrids, along with an interactively inspirational flowchart of how to deliver them.’

http://bit.ly/2zvpqjB

Genius Hour in Elementary School

‘Educators know a good idea when we see one (even if Google eventually ended the program). We want that vibrant creativity pulsing through our classrooms. We can visualize the end, filled with projects in which our students have connected with experts, filled journals with intelligent thinking, and explored with curiosity. How do we get from this euphoric idea to a classroom reality.’

http://edut.to/2iIA0cD

Have we forgotten that children are still just children?

‘We seem to be so desperate to jump on the next bandwagon, to shape our classrooms for the future, to teach these supposedly ‘different’ learners, who are so ‘different’ to how we were, in progressive ways. But what is it that has made them so different? My thinking has now meandered to this point….children are no different to how we were….they are still just children.’

http://bit.ly/2jhs4yB

Here’s How to Apply the 4P Approach to Building a Creative Classroom

‘What is a creative classroom? Creative learners are not linear thinkers. Contrary to popular belief, while others have a plan from the beginning, creative learners are different. They might need to play first and experience the medium before they begin to come up with ideas of their own. That’s why the students in a creative classroom strive for innovative solutions to unexpected problems.’

http://bit.ly/29A6uUX

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Learning is about constructing meaning.

Marie Clay was more than about reading

‘Marie Clay was ‘constructivist’ or more accurately a ‘co-constructivist’ believing, like such researchers as Jerome Bruner, Piaget and Vygotsky that students create their own meanings and that this is best achieved by sensitive teacher interaction, always leaving the responsibility of learning in the child’s hands.’

http://bit.ly/1kV5g08

John Holt quotes on learning – more pertinent than ever

‘The freedom and anti-authoritarianism movement of the 60s challenged traditional views in all areas of life. Creative teachers of the time had access to a number of writers spreading the message of an alternative approach to education. I am reassured that there are still  many creative teachers doing their best; unfortunately far too few innovative principals. With this in mind I thought the sharing of John Holt’s quotes are as relevant as ever.’

http://bit.ly/1NA7pAS

Education Readings November 17th

By Allan Alach

Now that the curse of national standards is being removed from New Zealand education, the way is clear for schools and teachers to really let loose. Bruce Hammonds’ two articles on Elwyn Richardson provide a really good insight into this teaching genius of the 1950s, whose work is very relevant today in the post national standards world.

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

The Northland school teaching with art

‘There is a place for the arts in the teaching of all subjects across the curriculum. Teaching becomes lively and fun; children are ‘doing’ rather than sitting, and the classroom becomes an environment where students love to learn. This is a simple definition of ‘arts integration’ which is being researched by educators globally: A small school in Northland has taken the ideas on board and the results are proving remarkable.’

http://bit.ly/2ARsCmX

Teaching to Forget

Much of the ‘learning’ children do at school each day is gone by the time they walk out of the school gate…

‘The truth that we all know but are loathe to discuss is that the vast majority of what kids “learn” in our classrooms will soon be forgotten. We know this because we ourselves forgot the vast majority of what we learned in classrooms when we were in school.

And the other truth that we don’t want to admit is that the grades that we give that are supposed to show what a student has “learned” are pretty meaningless considering that student will forget most of the “learning” once the grade is given.’

http://bit.ly/2APqf41

Engaging Practice: Making in English Language Arts

Use creative technology tools to engage struggling readers and writers.

‘Creative multimedia tools allow for multiple forms of representation, providing an opportunity for students to demonstrate understanding while practicing literacy skills through writing (text), reading (audio), and illustration (picture walks and visualization). “When students publish their own books, you tap into their innate desire for recognition as they learn to connect to literature, play with language, and beam with pride at their accomplishments,” shares California educator Linda Oaks.’

http://bit.ly/2hCDOib

It’s Time for a New Core Curriculum

‘If we were starting the American school system from scratch today, knowing what skills our students will need, we could change the subjects and not base them on what big-time publishers want us to focus on with our students.  Building on some of the great work from FutureReady.org, the ISTE NETS for Students and keeping in mind those most desired future job skills from above, I would propose the development of the following 7 courses for every student:’

http://bit.ly/2hCjJcb

6 Strategies For Dealing With ‘Difficult’ Students

‘As a new school year approaches, the guidance offered by six “pillars” can help you stay at the top of your game by dramatically influencing even your most challenging students to want to behave and achieve. Each pillar is explained followed by a few hands-on suggestions. Add or substitute other methods within each pillar to reflect your style and preference.’

http://bit.ly/2zGhCLq

A Surprising Strategy Makes Kids Persevere at Boring Tasks

‘With the onset of early childhood and attending preschool, increased demands are placed on the self-regulatory skills of kids. Children need to start completing tasks that may be much less interesting than the myriad of entertaining distractions around them. Researchers have been interested in how to develop self-control and perseverance in children by teaching them tactics like averting their attention away from distractions.’

http://bit.ly/2hEzJtY

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Use Einstein’s Educational Philosophy to Boost Your Learning

‘Although he overall did well in school, Einstein was skeptical of the schooling system and strongly disliked academia’s restrictions on learning. Here are 10 things we can learn from Albert Einstein about school and education: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”’

http://bit.ly/2zE8neB

Why This Second Grade Handout Should Be Your New Creative Manifesto

‘Last week, I attended curriculum night at my daughter’s school. In discussing the things the kids will be learning this year, the teachers handed us the chart above. My first thought was, what an amazing thing to give a bunch of second graders. I am sharing it with you. I feel like this is as good a guideline for a creative department I’ve ever seen. A simple chart for all teachers at all levels.’

http://bit.ly/2A1c0vP

How This School Library Increased Student Use by 1,000 Percent

‘To adapt to changing student needs, some school libraries are reinventing themselves as makerspaces, but this Ohio library took a slightly different approach. Now they’re seeing incredible results. A library as a place where students did hands-on work, an extension of what was happening their classrooms toward more personalized learning.’

http://bit.ly/2yKi9rO

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

What’s the Point of School?

What’s the Point of School asks Guy Claxton

‘The purpose of education’ Claxton writes, is to prepare young people for the future.Schools should be helping Young people to develop the capacities they will need to thrive.What they need and want, is the confidence to talk to strangers, to try things out, to handle tricky situations, to stand up for themselves, to ask for help, to think new thoughts’ ‘This is not to much to ask’, says Claxton, ‘but they are not getting it.’

http://bit.ly/2p5BukY

Reclaiming the joy of learning 

and also

A new inspirational book about Elwyn Richardson – New Zealand’s pioneer teacher

Two articles about the great NZ teacher Elwyn Richardson that all teachers should read.

‘What matters is a curriculum that places children’s natural curiosity at the heart, so that they are encouraged to explore who they are and the world around them.This is evident in Elwyn’s use of an integrated curriculum, focusing on intriguing questions that motivated children to pursue avenues of enquiry. He encouraged the freedom to explore, the opportunity to observe closely, and the discipline to record findings in various ways. He also upheld the value of the arts as a vivid means of expression and not secondary to other subjects. He also realised that one subject informs another; that scientific understanding is enhanced by the aesthetic, and vice versa.’

http://bit.ly/2zMetXW

http://bit.ly/2ijzjXb

Looking back

Dr Beeby and the first Labour Government set an example for today

‘Today teachers need to look back to ideas that have been sidelined by the imposition of the current technocratic curriculums of the 90s and to appreciate that it is these curriculums that have caused our current confusion and distress. 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.’

http://bit.ly/1sPo0SY

Education Readings November 10th

By Allan Alach

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

What every teacher should know about … memory

‘There is a wealth of psychology research that can help teachers to improve how they work with students – but academic studies of this kind aren’t always easy to access, or to translate into the realities of classroom practice. This series seeks to redress that, by taking a selection of studies and making sense of the important information for teachers.’

http://bit.ly/2m5JIdq

Walking backwards into the future

Steve Wheeler:

‘When we consider the future we tend to strain our minds to imagine what will come next. And usually we fail miserably. Perhaps instead we should follow the Maori tradition and build our own future on the shoulders of giants. In the case of education and the future of learning we should consider what those who have gone before us have achieved, the lessons they learnt and the trajectory they have set us on.’

http://bit.ly/2AlfXHI

Listening, Not Testing, Will Improve Children’s Vocabulary

‘While we may actively teach our children to read, oral language skills (the ability to learn words, form sentences and to communicate abstract ideas) is a defining human characteristic and, of these, it is vocabulary which is the pivotal skill. Children grow up acquiring these skills driven by, in Canadian telly-don Stephen Pinker’s words an “instinct” for language.’

http://bit.ly/2iFdiBo

Mouldy cheese and minibeasts: tips for teaching science in primary schools

‘Classroom teachers have a lot of freedom to teach investigative science frequently and creatively, and some do so beautifully. However, in general, there is not enough help for teachers in this area, with just under a third of primary school teachers saying they had no support for science in the past year, and a quarter saying they were concerned they might not be able to answer pupils’ science questions. So what can teachers do to increase the focus on science at primary level?’

http://bit.ly/2zoLCv8

Math Class Doesn’t Work. Here’s the Solution

‘Until we change the way we teach math to emphasize learning and exploration, rather than performance, we’ll continue to produce students who describe their math experience as a hamster wheel, or worse, a prison. We’ll continue to produce anxious students who experience fear when they see numbers. The performance culture of mathematics has destroyed a vibrant, essential subject for so many people.’

http://ti.me/2AlMKfG

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Modern Learning Environments … innovation or disaster?

‘With glass walls, funky furniture and 60 children in a big open plan room where two teachers share the space, education consultants’ will explain the trend in classroom

design as an open, flexible learning environment in which inquiries are shared and interventions are devised collaboratively. Ask some of the men and women at the coal face of the modern learning environment about their experience teaching in buildings like this, and the answer is often less complicated.’

http://bit.ly/2yiW57w

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

‘Learning is about discovering your purpose and passion in life. Schools should provide diverse pathways and opportunities for students to develop and unleash their special abilities and unique talents…not standardize them.’

http://bit.ly/2hgecE4

Change, Beliefs, And The ‘F’ Words

Some advice if you are serious about transforming your school. Here is a summary of the main messages of the latest  uLearn Conference. The new Minister is removing National Standards and lightening the assessment load but if this is all that happens it will be a lost opportunity.

‘The annual uLearn conference is over for another year, and as the new term begins it’s worth taking a little time to reflect on the ‘big ideas’ we came away with — the overarching themes and messages that persisted through the various keynote, spotlight, and workshop presentations. I had the privilege of doing a quick summary at the end of this year’s conference, and want to share that in this blog post as an ‘aide memoire’ for those who are interested. For me, there were three ‘big ideas’ that kept surfacing (four if you count my two “F” words) which are expanded on below:’

http://bit.ly/2jd908n

How School Leaders Can Attend to the Emotional Side of Change

‘“All of us respond to a change that someone says or does not because of what it is, but in terms of what it means to us,”“Resistance to change is normal and necessary,” Evans said. “If you are part of some big change in your school and you aren’t expecting resistance, there’s something wrong with your plan.” But he also points out that resistance can be overcome when leaders understand its source and empathize with teachers. Evans shared several tips on how to manage change.’

http://bit.ly/2m4Q0K5

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The rebirth of education – a real Renaissance

‘If we want to be recognised as a creative and innovative country, a country at the leading edge of change, then the most important asset we have is the talent and creativity of our citizens. Once such a vision has been defined then schools can follow the lead or better still be seen as leaders.’

http://bit.ly/2eWbNyB

Learning to be ‘creatively rebellious’. The importance of the Three Ds: being Different, Disruptive and Deviant.  

(This blog not for traditional school principals!)

‘Organisations that want to develop innovative cultures that enable leaders to be intentionally disruptive and deviant will flourish in the 21stC. And schools should be at the forefront  of developing innovative cultures. Risk adversity and fear of failure gets in the way of embracing disruption and deviance as the basis of developing innovation.’

http://bit.ly/2pI6e9L

Joyful Learning

‘Wolk introduces his article by saying, ‘joyful learning can flourish in your school if you give joy a chance’. John Dewey, in 1936, wrote that ‘to what avail if students absorb prescribed amounts of information…. if in the process the individual loses his own soul’. More recently, in 1984, John Goodland in his book ‘A Place called School’ after surveying high schools, wrote that he found an ‘extraordinary sameness’ and that ‘boredom was a disease of endemic proportions, ‘ he asked, ,why are schools not places of joy?’

http://bit.ly/1H493Fb