By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Data Driven Into the Weeds
‘Having a data-driven school has been all the rage for a while now, because when you express your ideas, thoughts, and biases in numbers, they qualify as “facts,” whereas judgment expressed in words obviously lacks data-rich factiness, and so should be ignored. Yes, the fact that I am 100% an English teacher may make me about 62% bitter about the implied valuing of numbers over words; I’d say I’m at about 7 on the 11-point Bitterness Scale, and that’s a fact.’
Don’t Spend A Penny On Education Technology Until This Is Clear
‘This ‘keeping up with the Jones” is a familiar practice, especially in anything related to technology. That approach, though, can lead to imbalanced education policy, mediocre edtech programs, and a lot of wasted money. Integrating education technology is a complex thing that depends entirely on local and constantly changing factors.’
Why Students Should Take the Lead in Parent-Teacher Conferences
‘But at schools built on Deeper Learning principles, the meetings are often turned into student-led conferences, with students presenting their schoolwork, while their teachers, having helped them prepare, sit across the table, or even off to the side. The triad then sits together to review and discuss the work and the student’s progress. The message, once again, is that the students are responsible for their own success.’
The Power of Visualization in Math
‘The power of this moment, the change in the learning environment, and the excitement of my fifth graders as they could not only understand but explain to others what the problem was about convinced me it was worth the effort to pursue visualization and try to answer these questions: Is there a process to unlock visualizations in math? And are there resources already available to help make mathematics visual?’
How can teachers introduce forest school principles to their curriculum?
‘More commonly, forest school is part of a bigger educational mix in which pupils enjoy time outdoors perhaps once a week, but the same principles apply: a drive to build young people’s independence and self-esteem through experiencing the natural world. Lili Pluck, forest school assistant at Ashdon, says: “It’s about learning to realise what is around you, appreciate nature and enjoy the freedom, space and sense of peace.”’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
The Internet Is Killing Creativity – And Analog Is About to Make a Comeback
‘In some ways, I think the internet has made it harder to become creative because it encourages us to be interested in all the wrong things. (Note: I differentiate between becoming smarter–educating yourself on every topic ever, which the internet is like freakin’ fantastic at, and being creative. Artistically putting yourself out there.) Why my negativity around creativity?’
Sir Ken Robinson on how schools are stifling students’ creativity
‘While many Canadian educators struggle to find the solution to students’ declining math scores, there’s one expert who says we may be looking at the problem the wrong way. Sir Ken Robinson – education guru, author and adviser – says relentless testing and the push for standardized scores are destroying students’ imagination and talent. He argues that schools are stifling instead of nurturing kids’ creativity.’
Reasons Today’s Kids Are Bored At School, Feel Entitled, Have Little Patience & Few Real Friends
‘Today’s kids come to school emotionally unavailable for learning. There are many factors in our modern lifestyle that contribute to this. As we know, the brain is malleable. Through environment, we can make the brain “stronger” or make it “weaker”. I truly believe that, despite all our greatest intentions, we unfortunately remold our children’s brains in the wrong direction.’
A Haeata student gives her view on modern learning
‘Three years ago when we knew some of our local schools would be closing, my school, Aranui Primary, started what was called “modern learning”. At first it was really weird and we didn’t know what we were doing, but then the teachers got trained in modern learning. Over three years we changed the way we learnt to the way that best suits us so we could self-manage, but not too much depending on how good you were at self-managing. We had stages: Manager, Self-Managed, Self-Directed, and Self-Driven.’
The Troubling Trend to Collect Behavioral Data on ALL Children
‘As school starts, many parents are being bombarded with information about behavioral data collection on their children. A lot of this is tied to the trendy push for social-emotional learning (SEL), and the attempt to connect behavior with a child’s ability to read and do well in school. But it’s troubling to see schools monitoring the behavior of every child so tightly. Children will not have perfect behavior.’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Back to school to see what really happens in the classroom – Nigel Latta
‘In recent years politicians from the ‘right’ have given the impression that our schools are failing – our current Minister is fond of saying ‘one in five of our children are failing’ and that the introduction of National Standards will solve the situation. ‘We so often hear stories about how standards have fallen,’ said Latta, ‘that you would be forgiven for thinking the sky has fallen in’.’
For New Zealand readers – a few articles to consider before the general election on September 23rd, which will hopefully see the end of national standards and charter schools.
National Standards – which Parties will keep them and which will ditch them?
‘It’s election time again, but before choosing which Party to vote for, make sure you know what their education policies are – and pay attention to what isn’t mentioned, too. This time we are looking at National Standards.’
Election questions are for all of us
Before we settle on which political party to support this election, let’s ask a few questions of ourselves. An election is traditionally an opportunity to ask questions of would-be politicians. More fruitfully, it’s an opportunity to ask questions of ourselves. Questions to candidates will then follow, but the self-examination is actually the more valuable for democratic engagement.
Nigel Latta: The New ‘Haves and Have Nots’ – Time for Moral Leadership in New Zealand
As we begin to focus on the upcoming elections it is surely time to move away from on the personalities of leaders and to focus on the real issues facing our country.
‘The programme was a serious attempt to get to the core of inequality in NZ and its consequences for us all.Once NZ had one of the highest home ownership figures in the world and we didn’t see examples of extreme wealth. Latta is careful to say he is not against people doing well but he was stunned to learn that over the past decades the gap between the rich and poor in NZ has widened more than anywhere in the Western World.’
Government gets an F for education
‘OPINION: My verdict on the Government’s track record in education is that it is an epic fail.
The reasons for this verdict are many and varied, but I will focus on three main areas:
1. Our student achievement data is declining nationally
2. Ideology is overriding evidence
3. Trust has been completely eroded in the sector achievement data’