Education Readings March 17th

By Allan Alach

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

Writing is more beneficial for learning than typing, according to these scientists

‘”When the students were drawing the word we saw that the brain was active in larger areas and also in a very particular way that is indicative of being beneficial for learning,” said van der Weel. The researchers found that when your motor skills are involved, the way nerve cells communicated with each other was found to be better for processing information, he explained. Van der Meer added that using a pen in the process of writing or drawing is often slower than typing — forcing people to process what they’re hearing or seeing, compared with passively typing.’

http://on.mash.to/2nGsRd8

Flogging Dead Horses

‘Our model of schooling is more than 100 years old and has barely changed in that time

The rest of society – our industrial practices, technology, the media we use, our leisure activities, the global scope of our world, communication systems – has undergone a revolution.’

‘The original purpose of school – designed to sort and sift; to separate sheep and goats – is now redundant.  We need 100% of students to be skilled and capable citizens able to contribute positive agency to both their economic and social world.’

http://bit.ly/2nph6vd

Teacher Quality: A Reader in 2017

‘“The continual dumbing-down of the preparation of teachers is not without consequences.”

I would argue that the “dumbing-down” is about the false attack on “bad” teachers as the primary or even single cause of low student achievement among, specifically, vulnerable students. And the ugly consequence of that assault has been increasing accountability over teacher certification and teacher evaluation (such as using value-added methods) and thus demonizing teachers without improving teaching or learning.’

http://bit.ly/2npdHgf

Busting the attention span myth

‘You probably won’t get to the end of this article. Everyone knows our attention spans are getting shorter. It’s just obvious. Or is it?’

http://bbc.in/2mQmOVw

12 ways to really make Genius Hour work in your class

‘It’s a class unlike anything you’d see at almost any school. But at heart, it’s driven by the same thing that drives Genius Hour: helping kids pursue what’s important to them and what’s important to the people they serve. Genius Hour is the idea of giving students 20 percent of their class time to pursue projects related to their passions. The concept is broad and intentionally open-ended, and the results can be phenomenal.’

http://bit.ly/2mQjzxB

The changing skill set of the learning professional

‘It comes as a surprise to no-one that learning professionals are operating in a very different world to those of a generation ago. I’d like to highlight four changes in particular that impact heavily on the skill set of the learning professional.’

http://bit.ly/2nGsbV9

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

How Integrating Arts Into Other Subjects Makes Learning Come Alive

‘Art has long been recognized as an important part of a well-rounded education — but when it comes down to setting budget priorities, the arts rarely rise to the top. Many public schools saw their visual, performing and musical arts programs cut completely during the last recession. A few schools are taking the research to heart, weaving the arts into everything they do and finding that the approach not only boosts academic achievement but also promotes creativity, self-confidence and school pride.’

http://bit.ly/2npf1PX

Brava Art Press, Visual Art for Children, Teachers and Parents

An Art site schools might like to join?

‘Children who participate in the Brava Art Visual Art Program express their thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and at the same time, they develop their own symbols and techniques to create their art works.As artists, children are encouraged to rely on the concept of personal freedom and expression – utilizing a variety of both new and old materials – to transform this Visual Art Program into a very creative adventure.’

http://bit.ly/2ntQqGr

Seeing Struggling Math Learners as ‘Sense Makers,’ Not ‘Mistake Makers’

The need to develop an activity based maths programme.

’In discussions of progressive and constructivist teaching practices, math is often the odd subject out. Teachers and schools that are capable of creating real-world, contextualized, project-based learning activities in every other area of school often struggle to do the same for mathematics, even as prospective employers and universities put more emphasis on its importance.’

http://bit.ly/28LOvo8

Want to Raise Successful Boys? Science Says Do This (but their schools probably won’t)

‘This is a story about successful kids (especially boys), common sense, and research.

Most of us spend hours each day sitting at work. Science says it’s killing us, and we have developed all kinds of fads to combat it–from standing desks to smartphone alerts to get us up and moving. Armed with that knowledge, however, what do we force our kids to do each day at school? Sit still, for six or eight hours. Now researchers say that mistake leads us into a three-pronged, perfect storm of problems:’

http://on.inc.com/2muwwdS

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Mathematics in education and ability grouping

Bruce Hammonds  recently complied a recent blog with developing active maths programmes with links to practical resources for those interested.

‘Recently I had a discussion with some young teachers about the teaching of mathematics in schools – the teachers taught in the middle school area. It didn’t go to well! They have to do what’s expected of them – and that this was  sadly influenced by what the secondary school maths teachers wanted students to have covered! Change requires leadership and a whole school approach.’

http://bit.ly/2mQnaeZ

What do the learners think?

‘The people who know best about what attracts student’s curiosity, or things that worry them, are the students themselves. A visit to even the most child-centred classrooms will find very little reference to students’ questions, views and theories. All too often students are required to respond to what their teachers feel is important for them to learn.’

http://bit.ly/2m22JwW

As we move closer to May 9 the day of attrition

Back to ‘Comments on Comments’ soon.

NOPLAN DAY IS NOT FAR AWAY
Time for the wise to withdraw their children.

As Australia moves forward to one of the most important days on its socio-political calendar – the first day of what is now called, The Noplan Tests, we need to consider the climate in which our present system exists. A drum-roll for those who are forced to head for the learning gallows on May 9 to do the tests!

The Climate

* Schooling movements in Australia are moving further away from democratic principles and it is noticeable.

*Australian politicians do not know how to prepare for the future ….the future of work, of living; a future  of doing better at anything we do.

*Australians do not have the courage to stand up to corporate lobbyists who are now determining our  children’s future.

* The obstacles to a healthy school-learning culture are political, not educational.

* The unscrupulous domination of the greedy  controls our entire schooling system.

* Our obedience to the desires of vested interests keeps us from discussing what is important.

*The elements of the devices used to control basic principles of learning, contain their own form of decadence.  [Children fail NAPLAN because of NAPLAN.]

*The greatest social and industrial handicap to Australia’s future is NOPLAN.  Naplan is a noplan. It’s a political curse for which Australia will pay dearly.

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Keeping in mind that the most esteemed educational practitioner of the 20th century, Sir Alec Clegg, said: 
there are two kinds of education: the education of the mind by imparting facts and teaching skills, and the education of the spirit … the child’s loves and hates, his hopes and fears, or in other terms, his courage, his integrity, his compassion and other great human qualities.

Australia has the capacity to have both for its pupils. We are willing and able to do things properly, if we are allowed.. Sir Alec’s little homily is appropriate….
When Michelangelo was going to Rome to see the Pope prior to his being employed to build the great dome of St Peter’s and paint the Sistine Chapel, he took a reference with him which said: The bearer of these presents is Michelangelo the sculptor. His nature is such that he requires to be drawn out by kindness and encouragement. If love be shown him and he be treated really well, he will accomplish things that will make the whole world wonder.

Every child is a  Michangelo  if we believe in the worth of our children.
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Sadly, the climate of Australian schooling is certainly not conducive to child  care, progress and welfare. Aussies prefer that their teachers exert fear and worry and anxiety so they can pass tests.

The Child

* There is good in every child no matter how slow, damaged, ill-favoured or despised by others.

* Children will work to the limit of their abilities.

* All children matter.

* Happy relationships between school administrators, parents, teachers and pupils are extremely important.

* The life of every child is enriched by the development of its creative powers.

* Love and encouragement and having fun at school are much more important than fear and anxiety.

* Children need care-based pupilling rather than fear-based hard instruction and repetitive test-prep.

* Teachers need as much support as pupils. Both thrive on recognition.

Australians, however,  prefer to believe that children go to school to pass tests and examinations; and play sport. Nothing else.

The School

* definitions are clear and meaningfully used

* all adults on the campus think about their place in the scheme of things.

* thinking time is part of each person’s timetable.

* all members concentrate total effort on the improvement of teaching and learning techniques.

* progress through school is marked by increasing joy in the acts of learning as new thresholds are crossed. Such thresholds are not  marked by school years but by growth in experiences.  Schooling is fun.

* there is plenty of shared opinions about activities and efforts. The sharing of helpful opinion represent the limit of evaluation processes, because increases in learning joy would be the aim of any learning conversations. Shared opinions would lead to positive forms of self-evaluation.

* Oracy is part of the every-day time-table.

* ways  are found to develop talents as part of the normal learning process.

Times for unique interests are found but not over-ritualised.

Pupils  exit school with a greater love for some skill or interest of a particular kind than they had when they started.

 When decisions have to be made [e.g. whether to do Noplan tests]  they are based on a simple Four Way Test, not unlike the Rotary Test:

1. Does it help children to learn better?

2. Does it help teachers to teach better ?

3. Does it economise on efforts in the teaching/learning acts ?

4. Does it provide the greatest good for the greatest number ?

When you have the pupil in the middle of your eye, you can’t miss describing an effective, quality institution.

You end up describing joy in the processes of learning, growth in the quest for learning how to learn, and high satisfaction in achievement.

HOW DOES THE 4-WAY TEST APPLY TO NOPLAN? WHAT DO YOU THINK? Comments?                                                                                                                                                  _______________________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                                                                                                              Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486  07 5524 6443  0407865999  cphilcullen@bigpond.com  REFER: Who’s Who in Australia

Education Readings November 4th

By Allan Alach

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

What are our students doing 400 minutes a day?

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

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

http://bit.ly/2ffO2jD

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

Another link from Phil Cullen, who comments:

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

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

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

http://ab.co/2e3qOiC

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

On the other hand …

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

http://wapo.st/2eBicfu

Why Daydreaming is Critical to Effective Learning

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

http://bit.ly/2ep22Iy

The Culture of Childhood: We’ve Almost Destroyed It

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

http://bit.ly/2e3pEE6

The Role of Metacognition in Learning and Achievement

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

http://bit.ly/2fwQDsF

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Great expectations: how to help your students fulfil their potential

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

http://bit.ly/2fe2hFc

Getting Restless At The Head Of The Class

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

http://n.pr/2cMvSrE

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Who dares wins!

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

http://bit.ly/2e3pDzY

The source of school failure

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

http://bit.ly/2fe3DQj

Looking back

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

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

http://bit.ly/1sPo0SY

The rebirth of education – a real Renaissance

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

http://bit.ly/2eWbNyB

Please explain….

AUSSIE FRIENDS OF TREEHORN

 Please Explain….

 Australia could have the best schooling system in the world, but doesn’t want to try.

 Why doesn’t it talk about schooling ? Why does it force children to be institutionalised and then be nasty to them?  Is it some sort of mystical belief that our politicians follow …that fear and coercion as part of an all-powerful and all-encompassing testing routine really motives people to learn better?  Why does it neglect the great parts of the curriculum?

 Australia plainly wastes heaps and heaps of money on testing.  It costs billions to conduct NAPLAN testing and it knows that the program  is a total waste and is dangerous, but it is reluctant to examine the financial [and human] costs.

 Why does it waste so much on such useless junk? The damage that is being done is staggering. We persist. Why?  Where’s the benefit?  ‘Scuse me…..WHO benefits?

 Some Australians believe that scores on test are indicators of educational standards.   Please explain!

 Why can’t we discuss what happens in schools and what ‘standards’ are all about and what we  do to promote confidence in child learnings?

 Why Australia runs an ordure,  fear-based education system,  copied from one of the weakest systems of schooling in the world.

 Why  is this so?  More successful authorities concentrate on love and encouragement and interest and challenge and dignity and pupil-based evaluation techniques.  Why can’t we ?

 Why state-governments are so toady and fictile when the feds tell them how they should run their schools.

 Don’t states ‘own’ their schooling systems? Haven’t states got any school educators who can run systems as learning systems, say like Finland, that are based on pupilling, instead of testing? Must they comply so easily and just add duplicitous test clones of the worst kind of standardised blanket testing : NAPLAN?

 Why do some states want to brand children as young as 4 years of age as failures? 

They might as well tattoo “Failure” on kids’ chests straight after the Year 1 probe [2017].  The smear lasts forever, in any case.  Can’t we give the young-uns a fair crack of the whip and help them to learn?

 Why  parents are deceived into believing that NAPLAN tests are mandatory?  Few realise that they can ‘opt out’.  Please!! Tell them.

 This is unctuous fascism at work isn’t it?  After nine long years, the freedom of choice has yet to be announced or mentioned in the public arena.  Schools are forbidden to announce that children have a choice. The media seems to be forbidden as well.

 Why so many quality young teachers are leaving the work force, feeling degraded by the expectations and the demands of testucating charlatans?

 When will Australian teachers be allowed to teach properly again?   When will their ethical principles be realised?

 Why teachers, who were once the leaders in the caring professions and respected for their ethical and  prodigious output, have lost their mensch and are now regarded as feeble flunkies,  ethically weak at the knees doing what any ‘hired political gun’ wants them to do.

 Is it because it’s now just a job?  Maybe, one day they will stick up for themselves.  In the meantime the pressure on them from the obscurant  ‘friends of NAPLAN’, hired to prevent the spread of knowledge,  is scary.  After all, our cohort consists of those amongst the best in the world. Let them teach properly.

 Australia wants to prevent its young from learning as much as can be learned and to enjoy the experience.   PLEASE  EXPLAIN!

 Australia persists with a standardised,  mediocre schooling system, maintained for questionable purposes when the sky is the limit.

 PLEASE EXPLAIN !

PLEASE.

_________________________________
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443    cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/

Education Readings September 30th

By Allan Alach

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

The education system would fall over without many hours of teacher overtime. How long until this goodwill is withdrawn?

This article is from the UK; however it sure applies to New Zealand, and, I suspect, to many other countries as well.

‘There is no doubt that the vast majority of teachers do far more work than they are either contracted or paid to do. Recent BBC research showed that the average primary class teacher, if there is such a thing, worked 59 hours per week. If we consider that only 20 hours of this time is actually in front of a class, then it means a phenomenal amount of time is spent on preparation or marking or taking on the many additional responsibilities a class teacher now has.’

http://bit.ly/2dDrnwl

How Clear Expectations Can Inhibit Genuine Thinking in Students

Time to rethink WALTs, learning outcomes, etc?

‘Karen did have very clear expectations, communicated effectively and upheld relentlessly in an admirable fashion. But somehow these expectations, the clearest manifestation of what Karen’s classroom was like, seemed to be standing in the way of creating a culture of thinking. How could that be? Why would having such clear expectations for students’ behavior and performance inhibit their development as thinkers?’

http://bit.ly/2db5Vmv

The Bonus Effect

One Kind of Interest that Rewards Don’t Kill

Alfie Kohn:

Alas, too many parents, teachers, and managers persist in treating people like pets, offering the equivalent of a doggie biscuit to children, students, and employees in an effort to get them to jump through hoops. (Rewards are tools used by people with more power on those with less.) The more familiar you are with the mountain of research on this topic, the more depressed you’ll be to find, for example, that schools continue to rely on Skinnerian programs such as PBIS, Class Dojo, Accelerated Reader, and the like. It’s not just that they’re manipulative, or even that they’re ultimately unsuccessful. It’s that they’re actively harmful.’

http://bit.ly/2dIabZm

Virtual Classrooms Can Be as Unequal as Real Ones

Online courses are praised for their potential to make education accessible to everyone—but they’re leaving students behind.

So much for the latest brainwave from New Zealand’s loose cannon Minister of Education …

“The same factors that have held back low-income or minority students in physical classrooms also plague virtual ones. Studies have found that online-learning resources had trouble attracting low-income students—or, in the case of school-age children, their parents—and that those who did participate in online classes performed more poorly than their peers.”

http://theatln.tc/2cZC2jG

Educational Malpractice – The Child Manufacturing Process

‘Over the last decades, research in education and child development indicates that the factory model is based on several faulty assumptions. It assumes that learning can be measured by standardized tests, and that all children will learn at the same rate and in the same manner. This is just not true. The fact that children learn best when something is meaningful, enjoyable and interesting for them is ignored. The importance of learning in groups and from slightly older children is also not considered relevant.’

http://bit.ly/2dygz6m

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Building Students’ Cognitive Flexibility

‘In today’s world, the skillsets of cognitive flexibility are more critical and valuable than ever before. These skillsets include:Open-minded evaluation of different opinions, perspectives, and points of view.Willingness to risk mistakes.Consideration of multiple ways to solve problems.Engagement in learning, discovery, and problem solving with innovative creativity.’

http://edut.to/2cET7U8

Why Are Some People Better at Drawing than Others?

‘Since the dawn of human art-making, the divide has been clear: There are people who can effortlessly sketch an object’s likeness, and people who struggle for hours just to get the angles and proportions right (by which point the picture is scarred by eraser marks, anyway). What separates the drawers from the drawer-nots?’

http://bit.ly/2dhGcVL

7 Simple Ways To Teach Creativity In The Classroom

‘In the 20th century creativity as valued in society as it is today.It wasn’t important for landing a job, nor was it crucial for building a successful business; the industrial revolution did emerge thanks to some creative out-of-the-box thinking, but it was hard graft and monotonous work that kept it alive and thriving.Skip forward to 2016 and creativity is a highly prized trait. No longer can you depend on conventional thinking to get you by in life; modern society demands ever more creative and innovation solutions — and you’re students can be the ones to provide them.’

http://bit.ly/2dv5PFX

Our children aren’t ready for class, so we are ‘worldschooling’ them instead 

‘Over a decade later, I can answer my own question unhesitatingly: my daughter, like thousands of others her age, is simply not ready for the pressures of formal schooling. On first teaching a Year One class, I was shocked and had a crisis of integrity: it felt wrong to expect all these five-year-olds to read and write when they were clearly programmed for play.’

http://bit.ly/2deDwrP

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Beautiful minds – ‘in a world of their own’

‘The capacity of the brain is infinite. Lucky for most of us so called ‘normal’ people our brains suppress, or filter out, most of the information coming our way but for the savants their brains take in everything in their particular sphere of interest without interference. It is as if they have no ‘delete’ button; their mind, like a ‘google’ search, recalls everything! And as a result they miss out on capacities such as social and practical skills that we all take for granted.’

http://bit.ly/1AP1qD1

Finding a real curriculum

‘By the age five, when children arrive in elementary schools, they have evolved definite selves…..they have their passionate interests, concerns, topics,humour; a style that is theirs’.In other words their own personal curriculum for teachers to tap into , amplify and challenge. Unfortunately, even from a very early age this curriculum is subsumed by topics teachers want to study with their class. Nothing wrong with this but it ought not be at the expense of children’s interests and concerns. Eventually teacher imposed curriculums lead to the disengagement of many older students.’

http://bit.ly/2dDpYWw

Why are schools not implementing authentic inquiry learning?

‘I wish there was a magic wand to get this message of authentic inquiry learning  into all schools and into all teachers’ heads around the country, and beyond them, our politicians. Sadly I fear we are losing the battle, bit by bit. The rot set in during the 1990s and seems to be spreading, in spite of the best intentions of the New Zealand Curriculum. I guess it hasn’t helped having ‘standards’ imposed upon schools to meet yet to be announced political agendas. I used the quote marks, deliberately as labelling these vague statements as ‘standards’ is an oxymoron of the highest degree. Setting ‘standards’ aside, why are schools and teachers not taking advantage of the NZC?’

http://bitly.com/1DLwL73

When we return to common sense.

AUSSIE FRIENDS OF TREEHORN

Will Common Sense Ever Return to the Classroom?

 When your computer or TV set fails, switching the machine off for a while,  rejuvenates it. Maybe that’s what we need to do with the failed NAPLAN testing program. Switch the testing program off until a better alternative is found.

 It seems, though,  as if our politicians are too beholden to the big end of town and cannot prise themselves from its clutches. There’s nobody in Canberra with any grunt or spunk to try to stop the nonsense….to consider the plight of the millions of little Treehorns, totally ignored by adults.  They can’t turn off the greatest threat that Australia has to our economic growth; and they don’t seem to care about  the mental health of its young citizens.  For the sake of kids, maybe  the all powerful testucating fraternity appointed by our pollies, some of whom may have had a passing brush with schooling,   might have the power to turn the use of Naplan into a voluntary service.

 The well-heeled ACARA might like to make NAPLAN tests available free-of-charge to any teacher who requests them.  Just that. No collection of useless data. No competition. No harmful publication of results. Just let the teachers use them if they think that they are of any value and wish to use them. [As a test-fixated principal in my immature days, I wore out two copies of Diagnostic and Attainment Testing by Fred & Eleanor Schonell.  I loved testing.  I even asked a volunteer aide to spend her entire time over a few months  at the school, using Schonells’  Individual Reading Test, to test as many pupils as possible; and a contact at the Schonell Centre became a close friend. Except for the friendship made, the rest was a complete waste of time but it was on my terms. I wanted to know. After awakening to the extent of the damage that I was doing, I later found that the in-built classroom alternatives to blanket testing are much more effective and efficient at getting to know the child and assess class progress. Even routinized shared evaluation techniques work better than raw, bullying blanket types of mass testing.

( I hope testucators understand what I mean by that remark).]  Evaluation as part of the teaching/learning act is powerful stuff. Modes of shared evaluation focus on the child in a personal, confidential 3-way –teacher, pupil, parent – form of collaboration; and not on the extremely competitive, public, immoral Canberra-based one-hit way– – that Gabby Stroud described so well.] The gagging of principals and the mushrooming of parents were dreadful tactics to be employed when our frenemies introduced the scheme. The professional operators in the classroom have far more expertise than anyone located somewhere else, to be able to decide when and how any kind of test should be used.

 And….after all…..child welfare and love of learning MUST come first………. not working like mad to supply data to Canberra.

 Education in Australia needs to escape from its “Canberra state of mind’ and get back to the schools for learning purposes.

 Can anyone in the holy-of-holies explain why May is the chosen month for children to trade three days of learning for three days of stupid inactivity at a desk, filling in bubbles?  Simon?  Yes It suits Canberra.and its politicians aren’t brave enough to use basic common sense – or don’t know what blanket testing means in the schooling context.

 If economic growth hinges on harnessing knowledge, innovation and talent [SMH 18/09/16], Australia has big, big problems.  For years, we’re been heading in the wrong direction.  We’re on the edge of a plateau, heading downwards….that’s for sure. The existence of NAPLAN is very, very serious business. It’s effects can, no longer, be ignored!

 Please let COMMON SENSE prevail. Things have got out of hand. Talk to some real teachers.

 Have another look at ‘The Drum”  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-16/the-drum-friday-september-16/7854134

____________________________________________________
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443   
cphilcullen@bigpond.com            
http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/