Education Readings July 28th

By Allan Alach

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

Clay in school

‘Primary-school children find clay a wonderfully tactile medium to tell their stories.

The manipulation of clay has a universal fascination for children. When given a tennis-ball sized piece of clay they immediately poke, squeeze, stretch, and roll it into a variety of forms. They add or pull out legs, arms, wings, and horns.  With pinched out lips, noses, scales, buttons and attached pellet eyes, hair and spikes, their clay models possess a directness and dynamism that only this process can provide.’

http://bit.ly/2tL4DFM

Toddlers begin learning rules of reading, writing at very early age, study finds

‘New research suggests that children as young as 3 already are beginning to recognize and follow important rules and patterns governing how letters in the English language fit together to make words.’

http://bit.ly/2tLfoYK

11 brutal truths about creativity that no one wants to talk about

‘Sorry to break it to you, but while creativity is awesome and important, it’s not the be-all and end-all.

If you’re going to do your best creative work — and isn’t that what we all want? — then it’s time to accept these 11 brutal truths about creativity.’

http://bit.ly/2uyYtr4

What Students Remember Most About Teachers

‘And as I looked at you, wearing all that worry and under all that strain, I said it’s about being there for your kids. Because at the end of the day, most students won’t remember what amazing lesson plans you’ve created. They won’t remember how organized your bulletin boards are. How straight and neat are the desk rows.

No, they’ll not remember that amazing decor you’ve designed.’

http://edut.to/2uyUScM

Standards: Why Realizing the Full Promise of Education Requires a Fresh Approach

Yong Zhao:

‘Furthermore, he believes that serving the best interest of all students requires a very different approach that starts with a paradigm shift in how we view education. Attempts to standardize individual student outcomes are an unhelpful, if not downright harmful, way to promote the development of human beings, he says. Instead, “we need to start with the individual child, instead of what others think [that child] should become.”’

http://bit.ly/2tEBvvL

So…What Exactly Should Curriculum Planning Look Like – for 2017/18? (Part 01)

Wisdom from Tony Gurr (read to the very end before you explode…).

‘I know, I know…most of us are still on holiday…but I am sure there are a few of us out there that are (already) experiencing anxiety about some of the tasks we have to complete when we get back to the factory floor. Especially, if a new textbook was selected just before the semester ended…

Do NOT worry…I am here to help you get over that anxiety and give you the PERFECT curriculum planning tool – shiriously!’

http://bit.ly/2uZfBav

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

How this small country school is turning a profit from the land

‘When a small Northland school was faced with the problem of what to do with their too-large grounds, a bunch of enterprising students came up with their own international award-winning solutions and everyone is now reaping the benefits.’

http://bit.ly/2v66bKX

A Stressed System – We Need To Act Now

‘We are existing in a stressed system.  Children are stressed and show this through behaviour, reluctance to try, opting out.  Teachers are stressed and find it difficult to keep up with what is going on and all of the expectations placed on them and Principals are stressed, spending more and more time on compliance and less time supporting the children, parents and teachers in their school.  I know that a system under stress while it can continue to function, gradually shows signs of this stress, and we are seeing these signs throughout our schools on a daily basis.’

http://bit.ly/2vZ1EpU

Students’ test scores tell us more about the community they live in than what they know

‘Research shows that the outcomes of standardized tests don’t reflect the quality of instruction, as they’re intended to. The results show that it’s possible to predict the percentages of students who will score proficient or above on some standardized tests. We can do this just by looking at some of the important characteristics of the community, rather than factors related to the schools themselves, like student-teacher ratios or teacher quality.’

http://bit.ly/2eMtt1H

Ofsted says non-stop testing is bad for kids. Too late, mate

‘The head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, has just declared that “a good inspection outcome will follow” only if schools are providing “a broad and rich curriculum”, and not just creating “exam scribes”. Excuse me while I scream and cram myself into the fridge to stop my blood boiling, because Ofsted is rather late off the mark with this idea. About 30 years too late.’

http://bit.ly/2v6xnt5

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Why schools don’t educate.

Notes taken from John Taylor Gatto’s acceptance speech as New York Teacher of the Year 1990

‘Compulsory schooling is an invention of the state and in the early days in the US school attendance was resisted and children learnt to read at home – today home schooling is on the increase and these students are testing higher than their schoolmates.Gatto doesn’t believe we will get rid of schools anytime soon but that if we’re going to change what is rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance we need to realize what school do well even if it does not ‘educate’. He believes that it is impossible for education and schooling to be the same thing.’

http://bit.ly/2bWvrc6

The killing of creativity by the technocrats.

‘Somehow, just because Hattie has amalgamated every piece of ‘school effectiveness’ research available ( mainly it seems from the USA) his findings, it seems, ought to be taken for read. The opposite ought to be the case – we need to be very wary of such so called ‘meta research.’. More worrying however is that the approaches he is peddling is pushing into the background the home grown innovative creative learning centred philosophy that was once an important element in many classrooms. Overseas experts always seem to know best – or those that return with their carpet bag full of snake oil.’

http://bit.ly/WeTrMo

Education for the student’s future or for our past?

‘A small country like New Zealand has a a great chance to develop a creative education system if it had the wit, the imagination and the intelligence to do so at the top. But to do this it would need to get rid of the constraints that currently diminish such a possibility. By tapping into ideas from such countries as Finland, by listening to creative teachers and schools , by inviting real educationists to visit , and most of all by having a real conversation with all communities about what they want for all their children, it could be done. There is plenty of wisdom to be tapped and it sure is not limited to those who skulk around the corridors of power.’

http://bit.ly/2uvCyRX

Education Readings April 28th

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 the Proper Purposes of a System of Schooling?

‘I’m raising this as a question.  Suppose you, magically, were part of a committee charged with developing, completely from scratch, a school system for our modern times.  You and the other committee members realize that before designing the structure, you need a clear idea of the purpose of schools.   And let’s suppose you are idealists enough to believe that the purpose should have something to do with education (as opposed, for example, to such purposes as providing employment for teachers or supporting the textbook and testing industries).  You are asked to come to the next meeting with a brief, written statement of what you think that purpose (or those purposes) should be.

Now, here’s what I’m asking you to do in this little survey.’

http://bit.ly/2pjGbWU

Relationships and the Company We Keep.

‘If we start with these, relationships and the company we keep as our basic principles of learning, then the design of our school, classroom, learning environment need to reflect that. In other words, do the designs of the above, hinder or support strong relationships and creating a context for students to be surrounded by the kinds of people that we hope they become?’

http://bit.ly/2oy9J5T

50 Tips, Tricks and Ideas for Teaching Gifted Students

‘Gifted kids can be a joy to teach when you know how to identify what engages them. These 50 tips and tricks come from my own experience and from around the Web. They’re good to have in your bag of tricks whether you’re a newbie or an old hand at teaching these high-level thinkers.’

http://bit.ly/2p601Gl

Secret Teacher: I’m tired of justifying the value of vocational subjects

‘One consultation evening, a parent told me that their child was no longer considering health and social care as an option. They had been informed by one of my colleagues that there was no point in doing it and to take a “real subject”. While I was shocked, I shouldn’t have been surprised: my subjects were always included at the back of the options booklet, with English, maths and science at the front.’

http://bit.ly/2oL9zmL

How to make mixed ability work: Let children take control of the lesson

‘Grouping children by presumed ability rests on the assumption that teachers know exactly what each child will achieve in a lesson. In reality this is rare, as completing tasks does not always equate with achievement. In fact, the idea of the ‘omnipotent teacher’ has led to an approach to lesson design defined by passive pupils waiting to be moved on. This ignores the pupil as a rational, self-regulating agent who has the potential, if given the chance, to understand their own cognitive capacity better than anyone else; it also belies the ability for pupils to act as resources for one another.’

http://bit.ly/2p5LMBw

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Here’s How British and American Spelling Parted Ways

A short video explains the differences.

‘Why do Brits and Americans spell certain words differently? A colourful tale of dictionaries, politics, and national identity ensues here.’

http://stumble.it/2q88442

‘To retain our best teachers we need to stop killing them with planning, marking and meetings’

‘Just about every teacher will recognise the sad truth: they are working longer and longer hours week after week. (It would appear that this is now recognised by the Department for Education, too). The most profound question to address is whether these extra hours spent in the school are actually improving the quality of teaching and learning. Sadly, it would seem, this is not the case. It is rather more likely that we are spending endless hours perfuming menial tasks because that’s just what is expected of us…’

http://bit.ly/2mkaEEc

The Heart of Teaching: What It Means to Be a Great Teacher

‘What does it mean to be a great teacher? Of course credentials, knowledge, critical thinking, and all other faculties of intelligence are important. However, a great teacher should be much more than credentials, experience and intelligence.What lies in the heart of a great teacher?’

http://edut.to/2q8cSGP

Learning Objectives: a waste of time.

‘If you still have learning objectives written up at the start of every lesson, you’re in 2012. Hope you’re enjoying Gangnam Style.

A few people have been asking the reasoning behind my scorn for learning objectives, and I felt it prudent to outline my thinking here, in a blog. So here’s why I think learning objectives are ridiculous:’

http://bit.ly/2q7YwpP

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Education is about playing the whole game

‘David Perkins is professor of Education at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. A highly respected authority in his field he is well known for his research and insight into the deep understanding of teaching and learning. His latest highly creative and easy to read book ( published 2009) summarizes years of observations, reflections and research. He ‘makes visible’ what creative and insightful teachers do. He also provides a framework of seven practical principles for all teachers to transform their teaching.’

http://bit.ly/1PxqsZB

What’s the Point of School?

“Guy Claxton, University of Winchester,is one of the UK’s foremost thinkers on developing students ‘learning power’. His most recent book is called ‘What’s the Point of School’ and ought to be compulsory reading for anyone involved in education. His book is all about ‘rediscovering the heart in education’.”

http://bit.ly/2p5BukY

The Big Picture Company

“The Big Picture Company believes that every students learning should grow out of his or her unique needs, interests and passions. They also believe that the system must ensure that the students and their families are active participants in the design and assessment of the student’s education. The goal of education should be to connect students to the world ‘one student at a time.’”

http://bit.ly/2oyeYCs

Disbobedient Teaching

Disbobedient Teaching

Surviving and creating change in education

Welby Ings

This book is about disobedience. Positive disobedience. Disobedience as a kind of professional behaviour. It shows how teachers can survive and even influence an education system that does staggering damage to potential. More importantly it is an arm around the shoulder of disobedient teachers who transform people’s lives, not by climbing promotion ladders but by operating at the grassroots. Disobedient Teaching tells stories from the chalk face. Some are funny and some are heartbreaking, but they all happen in New Zealand schools. This book says you can reform things in a system that has become obsessed with assessment and tick-box reporting. It shows how the essence of what makes a great teacher is the ability to change educational practices that have been shaped by anxiety, ritual and convention. Disobedient Teaching argues the transformative power of teachers who think and act.

Author Welby Ings is a professor in design at Auckland University of Technology. He is an elected Fellow of the British Royal Society of Arts and a consultant to many international organisations on issues of creativity and learning. He is also an award-winning academic, designer, filmmaker and playwright. But until the age of 15 Welby could neither read nor write. He was considered ‘slow’ at school and he was eventually expelled. Later he was suspended from teachers’ college. Welby has taught at all levels of the New Zealand education system and remains an outspoken critic of the education system’s ‘obsession’ with assessing performance. In 2001 he was awarded the Prime Minister’s inaugural Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.

Otago University Press

Paperback
ISBN 978-1-927322-66-6
RRP $35.00

Why Are Teachers Taken For Granted?

Over the past few weeks your attention would have been drawn for the umpteenth time to Finland. It’s a world away in distance and in attitude to schooling. Treehorn has outlined the major differences….
screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-10-32-21-am
 I have been asked “Why are we so different?”
A credible answer is clearly : “Because our clever politicians and corporate managers and other kinds of status-claiming ultra-crepidarians believe that teachers and principals are stupid.” There can be no other reason.
Pollies and testucratic outliers of the profession, in particular, regard the down-to-earth practitioners as easily manipulated, readily compliant, nice people who feel that standing up for kids is someone else’s job.

They will do as they told no matter what they are told by their control agents. They are very, very obedient.

Their obedience is taken for granted.

“Taken for granted” as a phrase is derived from “Taken for granite”….that inanimate, common rock. When a social contract such as making the teaching force undertake unpleasant standardised blanket tests is enacted, it assumes that the teaching force has no feelings one way or the other about the effects; too thick; too hard to comprehend the consequences; and, sadly, like Adolf Eichmann, will do as it is told for as long as the project lasts. The case in point ….when the force was not given the chance to examine the full probable outcomes of NAPLAN while Julia and Kleinie were introducing it in 2008, any unease was poo-poohed and quelled quickly. Its impact on the teaching act was not allowed to be considered nor examined. Measurement was supreme. Measurement ruled the teaching act. Constant measurement meant good teaching, our testucratic Creps opined. This was it. Why worry? Trust us. The rock face wouldn’t ‘get it’, anyhow. Conventional wisdom was out of place. Meek compliance was commanded and is now a feature of the Australian scene. It’s the sort of organisational demand that came about when this sort of testing and payment by results was first introduced; when ‘uppity teachers’ of the 1840s who had claimed a level of professional dignity, previously not tolerated, had to be kept in their place like chooks, I think the official government statement said, when Payment by Results was introduced…..that first time. You’d think that we were mature enough to learn from history, and not repeat it.

Teachers’ gumption was respected then. Two hundred years later it is on a serious decline and payment by results is back.

I know a lot of teachers in all sorts of places. I do not know one who does not love kids, nor devalues what kids do. Australian teachers can match anyone in the world for love and concern and ability. They would dearly love to work in an organisational climate as their Nordic colleagues do. They are stuck. Why? They tell you that they are working for a system that dehumanises children and mentally abuses them and only wants to use them for data gathering. Their hands are tied. They yearn to be free. What can anyone do about it ? It’s DATA DATA DATA. Must be collected.

That’s what schooling in Australia is for.

A number of quality teachers have left the service and told us why. We can’t afford the loss of one good teacher. Really. How hard did we listen to them; to their reasons for leaving? Then, what did we do? Lucy Clark has since opened the eyes of many parents who had not previously accepted the reality of how testing freaks control each one of our schools. There is no great enthusiasm amongst school graduates to become a teacher for long. NAPLAN has failed at the PISA level, if you take notice of that sort of junk. NAPLAN testing has gone completely feral. It can control obesity. It took $22m for uncertain, unpopular DI kits. Year One five year-olds’ tests are needed to set the main. School and university graduates need to do well or cop out. If the state does not do well, state funding decreases.
It has spread its nastiness across endless boundaries from its original Literacy and Numeracy demands at Year 3,5,7,9 levels. One can even anticipate that Western Bulldogs and Cronulla players will not receive their premiership awards unless that have passed a NAPLAN tests. That’s for the future. Don’t laugh. There’s money in it. That’s the rub.

It is not true that teachers have to write down ten times per day from 1 April [of course] until 11 May: “NAPLAN is a useful diagnostic thingo.” It’s just that things are heading that way.

Things have gone quite crazy during 2016. Fear 2017, kids.

It’s so out-of-hand, the public needs to play silly-buggers with it to relieve the tension..Julia cracked the first joke: ‘5 by 25’.
NAPLAN is a sick joke.
Who will demand that it be sin-binned?
Malcolm? Tanya? Simon? Adrian? Daniel? Annastacia? Bob K.? or someone from the real world….
Perhaps some…

Parents? Lucy Clark provides plenty of reasons for a large scale cop-out crusade.*
Graduating pupils ? [Call them ‘students’ if you haven’t got the gist of it.] who might join Lucy’s daughter: “I will NOT be judged by the Board of Studies.” [P.280]

Academics have tried but, like teachers, they are also just taken for granite.
Politicians have too much to do, they say. What are kids? Forget them. Expect us to do something?! Huh!
We Geriatics have tried, but, too well conditioned over the years, are just no good at crusading; only cursading.

Any branch or affiliate of the APPA or the ASPA or the ACPA or the AEU or the AIU or the IEU or the ISCA could sin-bin NAPLAN on purely professional and ethical grounds, on their respect for kids, on their own turf if they wanted to, which would bring it all to a halt; and advance schooling in Australia. Their support too was taken for granted, wasn’t it?

PARENTS. You know the reality. You’ve read the book. The kids do need someone! HELP!

WANTED
ONE HIGH PROFILE CRUSADER

or group thereof.

Oh dear.

_________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen, 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point, Australia 2486 o7 5524 6443 0407865999 cphilculen@bigpond.com
Refer: ‘Who’s Who in Australia’

* When you write your note to your teacher about your child dropping out of all NAPLAN testing please be clear. At the present time, with KGB/SS kind of intensity, the government is checking out those schools and classes that claim large numbers of opt-outs last May. Can’t trust schools, of course. Be warned.. Some unfortunate folk in ACARA are lumbered with checking out a few million notes, probably checking them for grammar errors, spelling mistakes, errors of syntax.

If Australian schooling followed democratic principles and used some down-to-earth democratic smarts, all parents would be asked to give their permission before the test. If a parents did not respond to the request, the child would not be tested. Simpliciter. NAPLAN is a health risk and its operations carry heavy legal responsibility and culpability for the government . The federal minister [or one of his operators like the school principal or teacher] can be sued for damage to children’s mental health. Yes. Our intelligent pollies and their Creps may regret that they took school parents for granted too!

Might I suggest, by the way, Parents, that you write your note to your teacher NOW? Get away from it as quick as you can. It’s growing and morphing and morphing and morphing.

“NO to my kids doing NAPLAN” is enough to write. Don’t forget to sign or they’ll get your teacher….or the principal….or the school funding…or the state department….or the state treasury.
Play safe and get as far away from NAPLAN testing as you can.

They are not nice people. Anyone who treats children the way that testucators do, can be a threat to society’s welfare.

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

NAPLAN-type tests for graduating teachers.

   AUSSIE FRIENDS OF TREEHORN

Australian Graduating Teachers Take Tests

 We are going to test graduating teachers using NAPLAN style of testing in literacy and numeracy that the system itself promised to impart to one and all.

 Come off  it, Birmingham, Hattie,  ACER,  ACEL,  ACE,  AEU,  APPA,  ACPPA,   ASPA.

 Where are our professional standards ?

 What is going on?

 http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/so-you-think-you-can-be-an-australian-teacher-take-the-new-test-for-education-students-20151130-glblwh.html

https://teacheredtest.acer.edu.au/

 http://www.vit.vic.edu.au/news-and-events/news/literacy-and-numeracy-test-for-initial-teacher-education-students

 http://www.appa.asn.au/policy-and-media/charter-on-primary-schooling/

 

How childish can we get?

 Amongst the plethora of associations, councils and groups pretending to be guardians of our schools and other educational institutions, is there an Australian Council for Professional Ethics in Education?    There is an obvious need for the thorough examination of political innovations such as these tests and of any standardised blanket tests and of their effects, well before they are introduced. Present day easy compliance with crude, sudden declarations of political quirks is not the mark of professional ethics nor of political wisdom nor of concern for our country’s future nor of ethical protection of its children.  It seriously demeans the profession to which one claims to be a member.

 Such petty approaches are unworthy of us.  Can’t Australian think big?  This kind of denigration of the teaching profession by the testing mafia is counter-productive.  Teachers in Finland start with a Masters degree and recent school reforms indicate that more of what they do in  schools is appropriate, wheras more of the same in the USA – THE KIND OF COERCIVE MENTALITY THAT AUSTRALIA CONTINUES TO COPY – can be disastrous. Don’t we know where to go? Please read this comment by an American academic located in Finland….

 http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/08/30/education-reform-common-core-finland-us-schools-column/89511246/

 Serious professional teachers need to be heard for the sake of Australian children.

 If there was such a council, it would be a busy one.

 What is stopping us from discussing professional ethics, how children learn, how schooling helps children to learn, the role of teachers in the classroom?  We could come up with a system that would out-Finn the Finns.

 Australian schooling has run off the rails.

 _________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486     cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/

Burn-out and Disillusionment

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts in gear, their pens active and their votes available.

NAPLAN has nothing to do with learning. It has nothing to do with teaching. It has nothing to do with real schooling. It has to do with finding fault and making money. It’s an ineffective, unreliable and invalid device that makes the most of young children’s vulnerability and it deliberately threatens their cognitive development and emotional stability.

Just because certain politicians and educrats don’t like kids, there’s no need for all of them to be so nasty!

2016 – The Year to get Rid of NAPLAN – The Great Year for Kids. A Great year for Australia’s progress. Let’s vote for kids!!

o0o0o0oo0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

Burn-out and Disillusionment

Kathy Margolis says:

http://blogs.abc.net.au/queensland/2016/02/brisbane-ex-teachers-post-on-poor-state-of-education-goes-viral.html?site=brisbane&program=612_morning

The letter below appeared on Facebook a few days ago and seems to have gone viral. It mirrors a similar letter printed on The Treehorn Express  from Gabriel Stroud on 3 February. See: https://treehornexpress.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/got-a-spare-few-minutes/  There are far too many such letters in existence.  Australia cannot afford such a brain=drain..

The Facebook letter became the subject of a chat session conducted by Steve Austin  on 612 4QR, Brisbane. on 5 February.  Listen to a replay if you get the chance. even if you find it as distressing as I did.  It can be googled easily. The examples cited were, for me, quite chilling and disappointing to listen to. It would appear that some parents believe that the naplan-inspired national curriculum has replaced love for learning and the enjoyment of teaching,  as a casual wander through http://treehornexpress.worpress.com/ will demonstrate. They have reason to worry.

NAPLANITIS is a school-borne disease that  dehumanises the relationships between a pupil and a teacher; and destroys the positiveness of the learning contract that pupilling entails. It spreads through each school from the excessive demands placed on Years 3,5,7,9 pupils reacting as data-robots in their attempts to record what they know as answers to obtuse questions that have little to do with real-life situations.  It has spread through the Australian school system and is destroying the enthusiasm for learning. It is even reported as being serious, indeed quite learning-destructive, data-demanding,   at the preparatory level of schooling…..from when children starte school!!

NAPLAN testing, the rotten GERM from which NAPLANITIS emerges,  has altered schooling in Australia more than any other device in the past eighty years.  Nothing has worried parents more for many years.  They have  become extremely concerned about what is going on at school.  Nothing has caused pupils to dislike particular subjects and schooling more. Nothing has caused the exit from the profession of so many high-quality teachers who are just so burnt-out and disillusioned. Then there are issues of the use of fear of failure as a teaching device, cheating, reliance on invalid and unreliable results, after-school tuition, use of performance-enhancing vitamins, abuse of child emotions, destruction of a child’s emerging cognitive development, exacting and lengthy homework, reliance of private schools on faulty results, inability of all schools to accept learners as unique human beings, controlled silence of the press, supressing of the costs to government and payments to suppliers, deliberate avoidance and down-sizing  of professional ethics. It must be recorded in history as the greatest schooling disaster ever. IT stinks!

Kathy Margolis

February 2 at 10:27am ·

To all my teaching buddies and all my friends with school age kids, I’ve written a letter on your behalf to the editor of the Courier Mail:

Education in Australian schools is in crisis and someone has to listen to those who are game enough to speak up. I have been a primary school teacher in Brisbane schools for over 30 years. This year, after much thought, I have decided to look for another job, not easy for a woman in her 50s. I cannot continue to do a job that requires me to do what is fundamentally against my philosophy of how it should be done. I love my students and they love me. I know how to engage children in learning and how to make it fun. It’s what I do best. 
Teachers have very little professional autonomy anymore. We are told what to do, how to do it and when it has to be done by. Never have I experienced a time in my profession where teachers are this stressed and in real fear for the mental health of not only themselves, but the children that they teach. The pressures are enormous. And before we get the people who rabbit on about our 9 to 3 day and all the holidays we get, let’s get some things straight. No teacher works from 9 until 3. We are with the students during those hours. We go on camps, we man stalls at fetes, we conduct parents/teacher interviews, we coach sporting teams and we supervise discos. And of course there is the lesson preparation, the marking, the report cards. Full time teachers are paid 25 hours a week. Yes you read that correctly, 25 paid hours a week. In any other job that would be considered part time. So now that I have justified our holidays, many of which are spent doing the above, let’s talk about what is going on in classrooms across this great nation of ours.
Classrooms are overcrowded, filled with individuals with all sorts of needs both educational and social. Teachers are told we must differentiate and cater to each individual. Good teachers try desperately to do that but it is near impossible and we feel guilty that we are not doing enough to help the children in our care.
The curriculum is so overcrowded. Prep teachers who used to run lovely play based programs (which might I add work beautifully) are teaching children sight words and how to read and write alongside subjects like history and geography. As a teacher and a mother of 3 sons, this scares the proverbial out of me. We all know that boys this age need to be moving around doing things that interest them, not sitting at desks. And what about the notion of readiness? I fear those little ones who are not ready are going to be left behind. And here’s the problem with our crowded curriculum. There is not enough time to consolidate the basics. Every teacher on this earth will tell you that the early years should be about the 3 R’s. My own children went off to year one after having had a lovely, enriching play based year of learning back in the days of pre-school. They didn’t know any sight words; they could write maybe a few letters and guess what? They learnt to read and write without being pushed at such an early age.

In my teaching career I have never seen so many children suffering from stress and anxiety. It saddens me greatly. Teaching at the moment is data driven. We are testing them and assessing them and pushing them so hard. I get that teachers need to be accountable and of course we need assessment but teachers have an innate ability to know what kids need. A lot of it is data for data’s sake. Don’t even get me started on NAPLAN. Teachers wouldn’t have a problem with NAPLAN if it wasn’t made out to be such a big deal by the powers that be, the press and parents. It has turned into something bigger than Ben Hur.
So why am I writing this? I’m writing this because teachers need to speak up but we are often afraid of retribution. We need to claim back our profession but we are powerless. Teachers teach because we love children and are passionate about education. Our young teaching graduates enter the profession bright eyed and bushy tailed, energetic and enthusiastic, ready to make a difference. So why I ask are they only staying for an average of 5 years? Of course that question is rhetorical. I know the answer. They are burnt out and disillusioned. Older teachers like me have seen better days in the classroom so in a way it’s harder for us to see all the joy slowly being sucked out of learning. But we also have a wealth of experience to draw from and we know which hoops you don’t necessarily need to jump through. We occasionally speak out. We are not as easy to “control”. But we are tired and also burning out with disillusionment.
I write this in the hope that we can spark a public discussion. We need the support of parents, who I know agree with us. I write this because I love children and I can’t bear to see what we are doing to them. Last year, as I apologised once again to my class for pushing them so hard and for the constant barrage of assessment, one child asked me “if you don’t like the things you have to do then why are you still a teacher?” That question got me to thinking long and hard. I had no answer except that I truly loved kids and it was with a heavy heart that I realised that wasn’t enough anymore.

Kathy.

_______________________________________________________________________
With sincere thanks to Les O”Gorman, Bruce Jones and Allan Alach.
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443   cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
07 5524 6443          0407865999