By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Get Started With Genius Hour for Elementary Classrooms?
Well worth trying in your classroom.
‘I believe that every single child is gifted and that every kid has a talent which we as educators should help uncover. This is not easy when you have a curriculum to follow and tons of material to teach. But that given we need to make time to work with kids in a different and more creative setting. It’s important to let them explore new things that may not be present in your curriculum but are in your students’ heads all the time. This is how we can awaken curiosity in young children and help them develop creative thinking.’
Idea to retire: Technology alone can improve student learning
‘Yet each successive wave of technology has failed to live up to its hype, and millions have been spent trying to make technology do what it, alone, cannot do. Ultimately, it is not the technology that does the teaching. Technology is a tool that is wielded by people to accomplish specific ends. While it can serve as an accelerator, it can just as easily accelerate poor strategies as effective ones. It is the teaching approach—the pedagogy—that ultimately determines learning outcomes. Once this is understood, a series of other misconceptions also fade.’
What Bruner Really Meant: a personal viewpoint
If you are a user of ‘WALTS’ or other learning outcome type procedure, I suggest you read this.
‘The idea of starting with a learning objective is somewhat at odds with a constructivist approach, yet in far too many schools in the United Kingdom, teachers are still required to display just such an objective at the start of every lesson, despite there being no evidence that this achieves very much at all. Just to be clear, a learning objective is a good and important thing, but children are not mere machines – sometimes their thoughts will lead them ‘off script’ and they may make important connections and realisations that fall outside the narrow scope of an objective. Thus it is as pointless as showing them the end of a film before they have had a chance to work through the story and watch the plot develop.’
How Billionaires Are Successfully Fooling Us Into Destroying Public Education—and Why Privatization Is a Terrible Idea
This is an extract from Diane Ravitch’s book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System.” While written about the USA, we can find the same things happen in many other countries, including New Zealand.
‘A powerful, well-funded, well-organized movement is seeking to privatize significant numbers of public schools and destroy the teaching profession. This movement is not a conspiracy; it operates in the open. But its goals are masked by deceptive rhetoric. It calls itself a “reform” movement, but its true goal is privatization.’
10 Ways Pokémon Go Augments Real-World Education & Student Learning
This week’s Pokémon Go article…
‘As with all sudden fads, a host of important caveats have emerged this past week, including safeguarding private information, respecting hallowed locations, and ensuring personal safety. Also, as with most fads, this one game will not revolutionize education. That being said, here are 10 ways that Pokémon Go can support the skills of contemporary learning:’
Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm
An article by Peter Gray that discusses the ‘school reform’ agenda of making very young children jump academic hurdles.
‘Research reveals negative effects of academic preschools and kindergartens.
The results are quite consistent from study to study: Early academic training somewhat increases children’s immediate scores on the specific tests that the training is aimed at (no surprise), but these initial gains wash out within 1 to 3 years and, at least in some studies, are eventually reversed. Perhaps more tragic than the lack of long-term academic advantage of early academic instruction is evidence that such instruction can produce long-term harm, especially in the realms of social and emotional development.’
Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
We Don’t Like “Projects”
Project based learning based on authentic inquiry lost in many schools – this applies to New Zealand schools
‘I uncovered some frankly stunning assumptions that many students have about learning:The word “project” is not a happy word. When I say project-based learning, most students grimace as they imagine prescribed PowerPoints;If a teacher doesn’t plan it, it’s not learning;If there isn’t a test, it wasn’t real.Their personal interests cannot inform their learning. Learning is sterile, and the actual usage of the word “learning,” to them, is quite different from what a professional might consider learning.’
Secret Teacher: My pupils’ creativity is being crushed by the punctuation police
Students creativity in writing being crushed- and its the case in New Zealand as well
‘The technocratic approach to assessment is supposed to be raising standards, but I do not see how. The children in my class have not become better writers this year. They haven’t had as many opportunities to be creative. They haven’t been able to focus on good story writing.’
Facing Resistance? Try a New Hat
Modern Learning Environment leadership and diverse styles.
‘Leading complex change requires trying on different perspectives to understand the various ways people respond to change.When I first stepped into Lyn Jobson’s school in Melbourne, Australia, and saw the open classrooms, I must admit that I flashed back to some bad memories of my own school days in the 1970s, when our “open classrooms” had wide breezeways into shared space instead of doors and were separated by thin, movable walls. What I recall most was the noise, distracting outbursts from other classrooms—and carpenters turning up circa 1980 to reinstall the doors.Yet Jobson’s K–8 public school, Alamanda College, was different.’
From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Creating Conditions for Creativity. Steven Johnson’s ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’
‘If organisations such as schools and classrooms embraced creating the conditions for creativity they would do better at nurturing new ideas. Johnson writes that we are better by connecting ideas than building walls around them – good ideas want to be free, they want to connect, fuse, recombine.’
Survival of the fittest or the best connected – Market Forces or creating conditions for all to thrive. A new look at Darwin.
From the same author as above – where good ideas come from.
‘Steven Johnson, in his book ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’,writes that Darwin realised that the true story of nature was not just one of ruthless competition. Darwin understood well the paradox of the importance of interdependence as well as competition.Johnson writes that the most creative ideas come from open environments where people share and build on each others ideas – in Darwin’s day the coffee shop. Creating such fertile ideas environments is the theme of Johnson’s book.’
The miracle of community
The power of an organic learning community.
‘For the past decade or so schools have been too busy, sidetracked trying to implement imposed technocratic curriculums and accountability demands, to consider a more effective way of working, that of being a ‘learning community’. And, in turn, teachers have become so obsessed with complying with requirements that they too have neglected the real source of power – shared beliefs that they and their students forge through working together for their mutual benefit.’