Education Readings April 20th

By Allan Alach

Due to the recent sad loss of Phil Cullen, sometime in the next few weeks I will put this website into hibernation. All past articles, especially the many gems written by Phil Cullen, will still be visible but I will stop adding any more education readings. Instead these will be available on Bruce Hammonds’ LEADING AND LEARNING website.

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

Letting Students Succeed as Themselves

An American teacher shares a lesson learned during time he spent in New Zealand schools.

‘What if this idea were applied to other contexts? What if we in the U.S. worked to provide all of our students with knowledge to succeed and be proud in knowing who they are? School would be a different experience for these young people if they felt a connection to learning. School would be less about fulfilling external requirements and more about investing in a process that would be central to one’s current and future identity.’

https://edut.to/2JUskQq

Seven reasons people no longer want to be teachers

How many of these ring bells for you?

‘It’s not surprising, then, that numbers of applicants for teacher education programs have slumped. The programs are long and intense, the creativity and relationships aspect of the vocation has been eroded, there is pervasive negativity in the media, and comparatively poor salary and working conditions.’

http://bit.ly/2Ja9Zh1

How Can We Begin Developing Imagination in Our Older Learners?

‘As younger children, play and imagination are at the core of learning. Nevertheless, the truth is that as we get older we imagine less and less. Since we know a creative imagination is more important to learning today than ever, it’s time to reclaim it. How do we make developing imagination a worthwhile goal for all grade levels?’

http://bit.ly/2vqLL0b

Why playtime is key to raising successful children

‘One approach to redesigning education systems and equipping children with the right skills is often overlooked. We need to provide opportunities for children to learn in the way most natural and engaging to them: through play. We also need to erase the false dichotomy often drawn between children’s play and their learning of academic content.’

http://bit.ly/2HdyZU4

How Kids Learn Better By Taking Frequent Breaks Throughout The Day

‘Once I incorporated these short recesses into our timetable, I no longer saw feet-dragging, zombie-like kids in my classroom. Throughout the school year, my Finnish students would, without fail, enter the classroom with a bounce in their steps after a fifteen-minute break. And most important, they were more focused during lessons.’

http://bit.ly/2Hg0M6g

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

To Advance Education, We Must First Reimagine Society

‘Because disaffection with the education system reflects a much deeper societal malaise, it’s imperative that we first figure out what kind of world we really want: a world populated by responsible adults who thrive on interdependence and community, or a world of “customers” who feel dependent on products, services, and authority figures, and don’t take full responsibility for their actions?’

http://bit.ly/2qJT11p

PC pedagogy: How much technology should be used in Kiwi classrooms?

‘But news that tech-executives in Silicon Valley are choosing to send their children to Waldorf Schools, where there’s not a computer in sight, has also got people thinking. These parents are choosing the low-tech or no-tech education that teaches students the innovative thinking skills needed in the workplace. They develop the ability to think independently from a device, without a reliance on it.’

http://bit.ly/2qIoRwp

5 Strategies to Demystify the Learning Process for Struggling Students

‘Oakley recognizes that “many educators are not at all comfortable with or trained in neuroscience,” so she breaks down a few key principles that teachers can use in the classroom and share with students to help them demystify the learning process.’ 

http://bit.ly/2HL222F

Don’t Stress About Coding: Focus Shifts To Teaching Problem Solving Not Computer Skills

‘But many now recognize it’s not enough for students simply to know how to write code. The capacity to build a product or solve a problem requires an entirely different literacy. With this in mind, the focus of coding education is shifting from teaching the specific skill of coding to teaching computational thinking—or the ability to follow a step-by-step process to solve a problem.’

http://bit.ly/2HJABGr

Dawn Picken: Quit the school caste system

‘What once was an egalitarian system, where brainiacs sat beside average and struggling children, has developed into a more rigid hierarchy for students at around age 11. Children who pass a rigorous test are separated into one or more gifted and talented classes per school, leaving less-gifted and talented peers in “regular” classrooms.’

http://bit.ly/2EYxxmF

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Bali Haque.The failure of Education Reforms in New Zealand – with an emphasis on secondary schools. NCEA/ NZC and National Standards

‘Bali  believes that  power of a quality teacher depends on what he calls ‘a state of mind’ ; the individual teachers ‘personal dispositions, attitudes  and assumptions’. This he says is reflected in the New Zealand Curriculum ( Teaching as Inquiry) which asks teachers to constantly ask questions about the effectiveness of what they are doing and be willing to change what isn’t working. Such teachers believe all students can learn achieve provided the right conditions and help.’

http://bit.ly/2vqJDp9

Educational Books for Creative Teaching – to develop the gifts and talents of all students

‘So if you have time explore some of the links to some of my favourite books below. After reading my ‘review’ you might want to get the book for yourself – or share the blog with other teachers. How many are you aware of?’

http://bit.ly/1kxTTvt

Advertisements

Education Readings June 9th

By Allan Alach

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

Finland Will Become The First Country In The World To Get Rid Of All School Subjects

Thanks to Phil Cullen:

‘How many times have you wondered if you were going to need subjects you were made to learn because the curriculum said so? Finland has decided to change this in their educational system and introduce something which is suitable for the 21st century.

By 2020, instead of classes in physics, math, literature, history or geography, Finland is going to introduce a different approach to life through education. Welcome to the phenomenon based learning!’

http://bit.ly/2qVv8mt

Persistent bullies: why some children can’t stop bullying

‘Persistent bullies continue bullying in spite of interventions and sanctions employed by schools. Why they persist remains unclear. These students were the focus of our research. We believe understanding their behaviour and why they may be resistant to change will be gained by accessing their lived experiences.’

http://bit.ly/2s2DGfx

Data Walls: Why you will never see one in my class.

New Zealand teacher Melanie Dorian:

‘While I acknowledge that children will always know if they are bottom of the class or not, we can give them the dignity of some privacy.  To display their next learning step or what they have achieved on some reading rocket is garish in my opinion and unneccessary.  There are other ways of informing students of their achievements, next steps and goals that do not make them despondent about learning.  As one of the first photos I published at the top of this post says, “How would you like to be Norissa?”’

http://bit.ly/2sReZiO

On the Wildness of Children

THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT TAKE PLACE IN A CLASSROOM

‘We have forgotten that these were the original purposes of the factory-like institutions that most of us grew up in; we speak of our familiar school experience almost as though it were an integral part of nature itself, a natural and essential part of human childhood, rather than the vast and extremely recent experiment in social engineering that it actually is.’

http://bit.ly/2r08Rbc

Research Finds The Effects Of Homework On Elementary School Students, And The Results Are Surprising

‘After over 25 years of studying and analyzing homework, Harris Coopers’ research demonstrates a clear conclusion: homework wrecks elementary school students.’ 

http://bit.ly/2bpQuFj

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Black and brown boys don’t need to learn “grit,” they need schools to stop being racist

‘Everyone seems to think that a lack of “soft skills” is the reason why students of color aren’t ready for college and careers. More schools and after-school programs are teaching students how to have “grit,” compassion and a “growth mindset.” Rubbish! Soft skill training is disguised bootstrapping, which insidiously blames youth for failing in racist systems designed to block their success, and it abdicates the middle class from any responsibility to uproot inequality.’

http://bit.ly/2rzHZNS

Inside a Multiage Classroom

‘Dividing students by arbitrary birthdate ranges doesn’t make sense, advocates say.

Multiage education is not a return to the one-room schoolhouse of yore, in which students of all ages learned different subjects in one space. Instead, students from (typically) two grades learn together in an environment that, advocates say, encourages cooperation and mentoring while allowing struggling students enough time to master material.’

http://theatln.tc/2rGeBG7

Finland is famous for its education system. What makes it different?

‘For as small and homogeneous as Finland may be, its repeated success in national education rankings means there are at least a few lessons the US can learn.For one, the tiny Nordic country places considerable weight on early education. Before Finnish kids learn their times tables, they learn simply how to be kids — how to play with one another, how to mend emotional wounds.’

http://bit.ly/2s10Dz5

How Design Thinking Became a Buzzword at School

‘At a recent teaching conference in Richmond, Virginia, a session on “design thinking” in education drew a capacity crowd. Two middle-school teachers demonstrated how they had used the concept to plan and execute an urban-design project in which students were asked to develop a hypothetical city or town given factors such as population, geography, the environment, and financial resources.’

http://theatln.tc/2r6MAZF

Mindful in Middle School

One teacher’s experience incorporating mindfulness into her middle school curriculum.

‘Mindfulness is emerging as a technique adopted in education to address student anxiety and stress, increase focus and creativity, and foster stable behavior and patience. In this essay, I briefly discuss my journey in implementing mindfulness with my sixth and eighth grade students, implications for teaching practice, and lessons learned along the way.’

http://edut.to/2s16owL

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Negotiating the Curriculum

‘Learning is a process to deepen personal understanding or skill. This is best achieved with the assistance of a learning ‘mentor’. Such a ‘mentor’ negotiates learning with the learner, always leaving the ‘power’ to learn with the learner.In the book ‘Negotiating the Curriculum’, edited by Garth Boomer, four steps are suggested to negotiate a study with students applicable for any level of schooling. Essentially it is an inquiry model that emphasizes valuing the ‘voice’ of students in the their own learning. It is very much in line with the ‘co- constructivist’ teaching philosophy.’

http://bit.ly/1Kc8Kd3

Experience and Education -John Dewey 1938

‘Such a lot of the ideas expressed today have their genesis in the ideas of John Dewey.That Dewey’s ideas have yet to be fully realised says something for the power of conservatism in education. ‘Experience in Education’ is Dewey’s most concise statement of his ideas written after criticism his theories received. In this book Dewey argues that neither ‘traditional ‘ nor ‘progressive ‘ ideas are adequate and he outlines a deeper point of view building on the best of both.’

http://bit.ly/17J12HR

Michael Moore: Where do we invade next?

“Where to Invade Next?”

You know Michael Moore, that sloppy looking bloke whose fond of stirring the possum.

On Monday, 26 February 2017 he presented a documentary on SBS, which can be found of your TV’s “SBS on Demand”, called  Where to Invade Next? in which he ‘invades’ countries on the continent that have the most outstanding  ways of combating social issues and conducting some of society’s most successful social institutions.

His ‘invasion’ of Finland’s education system is outstanding. He queries some of their more preciously held beliefs on the nature of schooling The looks on the faces of those Finns amazed at the ways we treat our school children, is worth the effort of watching.

It’s a pity that a video clip of this section of his documentary cannot be sent to every schools in Australia. It says so much.  The reference below is not as easy to follow [poor sound] as that available on TV’s  ‘SBS on demand’.

But, no matter how you access it, please make sure you do.

You will note…
Schooling starts at 7 years of age.
No ‘rich’ [aka ‘private’] schools.  Rich kids must mix with lower class kids. No distinctions are noted nor made between neighbourhood schools.  Each one is proficient.
“Less is More’.  Allow time for kids to be happy, to be ‘hands on’, to be problem solving learners.
[You will note the surprise on Moore’s face when the Maths teacher said that his pupils have to be happy with learning Maths. Please consider the NAPLAN view of how the teaching of Maths ought to be handled!]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRJ1hgN7uAU

If you should like to find more, another handy video clip that gives 5 reasons for Finland’s supremacy, is useful. Any authority can copy them….or….at least….talk about them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfmFIEh2QjU

1. No standardised tests during schooling …only one at end of schooling.
2. More time for play and socialising. School week is only 20 hours at school.  No homework.
3. Teaching is the highest and most respected profession in the country. A Masters Degree is required for entry.
4. Post-schooling college and university education is free.
5. Pre-schooling is universal.

Treehorn insists : Australian schooling, now near the bottom of the international scale of effective schooling, has the potential and the intellectual power to leave Finland and other top-rated systems way behind in schooling achievements. It only lacks drive and initiative and thought..
  1. It needs to get rid of NAPLAN
  2. It needs to consider whether there is any social merit in Public Examinations generally. After all, they contain the elements of serious threat to teen-age well-being; suicide being only one of them.
  3. It needs to consider whether the creation of fear and anxiety in young children is preferable to the creation of play and being happy.
  4. It needs to think about the reasons for schooling.
  5. It needs to wonder why the kind of Finnish élan for learning works comprehensively better than the Australian macabre disposition for driving learning by fear.

    ________________________________________________________________________________
    Thanks Gavin.

    Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point Australia 2486   07 5524 6443   0407865999   cphilcullen@bigpond.com  REFER: Who’s Who in Australia.

    Which do you think is more important for Australia’s future……  Its Schooling or its Defence by submarines?

    [It’s a trick question.]


Education Readings January 27th

By Allan Alach

Well, here we are at the start of another year, which in New Zealand and Australia is also the start of the school year. I wonder what 2017 will bring as far as education is concerned. I fear that little that is good will happen, especially in the USA, given the suggested Secretary of Education. The possible exception could be a change of government in New Zealand when the elections are held later this year. Such a change should mean the end of the current standards based nonsense, but we will have to wait and see.

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

Burnout’s devastating impact on teachers who can’t switch off

Burnout sneaks up on you, as I found to my cost. Beware.

‘Defined as the process of collapse attributed to excessive and continuous demands on energy, strength and other physical, psychological and emotional resources, burnout develops across time and can be viewed through a lens of ever reducing levels of passion and compassion, self-efficacy and effectiveness.’

http://bit.ly/2k1PbiL

Sometimes Misbehavior Is Not What It Seems

‘The following are examples of seeing misbehavior from a new perspective. In each of these cases, diagnosis is very difficult — as are the remedies. For chronic misbehaving students, pay close attention to their home situations, the type of misbehavior, when it occurs, and whether they behave differently with other adults. Be advised that the best responses to these situations sound easier than they are to put into practice.’

http://edut.to/2kuuGvY

To Encourage Creativity in Kids, Ask Them: ‘What if’?

‘I explained to them that these two words are a kind of secret tunnel into the world of new ideas. In fact, I told them, I only came up with the booger story after asking myself: What if a family picked their noses so much that they create a monstrous booger? And what if the snot rocket rolled out the window and gained so much steam it threatened to roll over the town? And what if the whole story rhymed?’

http://nyti.ms/2kuD5iS

21st Century Skills Don’t Exist. So Why Do We Need Them?

‘This is a very good point and even if you don’t agree at first, we encourage you to chew, swallow, and then slowly digest it. Listen up (confession: all examples here are stolen from Rotherham and Willingham). Do you really think that in the ‘old days’ – whenever they were – we didn’t need to think critically and solve problems? What about the development of tools, agricultural advancements, discovery of vaccines, or land and sea explorations? And don’t you think the lads and gals back in the old days would have to communicate and collaborate to progress?’

http://bit.ly/2kusOiN

How to Teach a Middle School Class in 49 Easy Steps

Funny…

http://bit.ly/2kuqBYD

Why Schools Should NOT Be Run Like Businesses

‘It’s absurd. Not everything benefits from being sold for a profit. Imagine if your spouse suggested running your marriage that way. It would turn you both into prostitutes selling yourselves at ever cheaper rates while any self respect, dignity and love disappeared.’

http://bit.ly/2j6miTl

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Why A More Creative School System Might Be The Solution We’ve Been Looking For

Let’s start the 2017 year with Sir Ken Robinson:

‘If you think of it, children starting school this year will be retiring in 2065,” he tells an enrapt audience in a video captured at the Monterey, California event. “Nobody has a clue, despite all the expertise that’s been on parade for the past four days, what the world will look like in five years’ time. And yet we’re meant to be educating them for it. So the unpredictability, I think, is extraordinary.”In his talk, Robinson describes the unpredictability of the market and the jobs it creates as an opportunity. But insofar as it is seen as a challenge, a problem, he says he’s identified the solution: build an educational system that celebrates and encourages creative thinkers and out-of-the-box problem-solvers.Making our job a little easier, he suggests, is that kids are ready-made to come up with weird and wonderful ideas. We’re just currently teaching them not to.’

http://bit.ly/2jSTef0

The Beauty and Chaos of Free Play

‘I love the joyful learning that I see when children are engaged in free play, exploration and creative thought with materials, using them in their own innovative ways as loose parts. I often find any carefully presented centres I try to create are soon used in novel and other-than-intended ways and I have to resist (not always with success) the urge to say, ‘but wait…”. And while resisting the urge often results in a gigantic tidying time, it also results in unexpected and joyful learning.I often have to ask myself, is it more important for children to engage in this exploratory free play or to engage with the lovely provocation I have so carefully laid out?’

http://bit.ly/2kudNxz

Finnish-ing touches on education

New Zealand needs to learn from Finland.

‘Education is also a national priority, funded well, with more than 55 percent in federal dollars, and catering to working families. Free meals, health care and outside-of-class child care are available to all students, who start formal schooling at age 7 after state-sponsored compulsory kindergarten that features outdoor play and exploration.School is mandatory through grade 9, or age 16, with two tracks in high school—general academic and vocational. Nearly 40 percent of students choose the vocational side, which is geared toward what the country expects to need in the next decade in terms of skilled workers, such as computer coding and engineering.’

http://bit.ly/2k56AY1

3 Types of Unintentional Learning (And How to Make Them Intentional)

‘We are all aware of the teachable moment, and most of you reading this have experienced it firsthand. We know that one of the best opportunities for students to learn is when they are asking questions, so we make time for this in each lesson. Some questions can be off topic, and just like unwanted weeds, we pull them out and redirect the students’ attention to continue our planned and deliberate teaching (gardening). But most questions bring forth deeper clarity for the learners in the room, and sometimes there’s the ripe question that elicits deeper questions and understanding. There’s nothing like that moment when a revelation happens for multiple students in the room.’

http://edut.to/2k1NMsr

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Creative Schools – an impossible dream?

‘Educators who believe that education is more of a process of creating stimulating environments to allow students to begin the process of helping the young explore what it is that they are best suited for have always been in the minority. Most teachers have little choice to put programmes into place that have been defined by their school, by those distant ‘experts’ that determine the curriculum and, most invasive of all, by those who determine the means of assessing students learning. When the latter is in the hands of the politicians supported by compliant principals then the possibility of creativity is all but lost.’

http://bit.ly/2dlEXWL

Checking out your class, or school, for quality learning.

Something to think about for the year ahead.

‘Is your classroom a quality learning environment where students are able to ‘seek, use and create their own knowledge’ as it states in the ‘new’ New Zealand Curriculum?

Here are some questions to focus on.’

http://bit.ly/2kupgRQ

Education Readings October 7th

By Allan Alach

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

If I Were Secretary of Education – A Classroom Teacher’s Fantasy

If only teachers were given the chance to run education.

Steven Singer:

‘I’m only a classroom teacher. The powers that be don’t trust someone like me with that kind of responsibility. It’s okay to give me a roomful of impressionable children everyday, but there’s no confidence I can make sound policy decisions. For that we need someone with experience in management – not schools, pedagogy, children or psychology.’

http://bit.ly/2dTnW4R

Creativity and Academics: The Power of an Arts Education

‘The arts are as important as academics, and they should be treated that way in school curriculum. This is what we believe and practice at New Mexico School for the Arts (NMSA). While the positive impact of the arts on academic achievement is worthwhile in itself, it’s also the tip of the iceberg when looking at the whole child. Learning art goes beyond creating more successful students. We believe that it creates more successful human beings.’

http://edut.to/2dyPKeZ

Government hell-bent on dismantling public education, says Auckland professor

New Zealand education is also under attack, as the government follows the overseas rule book.

‘Make no mistake, Minister of Education Hekia Parata is on a mission to systematically dismantle public education. Changes already in place and those planned will radically alter the education landscape in New Zealand. Public education serves many purposes. It prepares young people for a life of work, teaching basic skills in literacy and numeracy. This is seen as its primary purpose by the minister.’

http://bit.ly/2dyozkN

Why I Threw Away My Rubrics

‘It was only when I was on the receiving end of a rubric, while taking a graduate-level education class, that I had my first critical thought about rubrics. After looking at the rubric the professor had completed for me, I wondered, where is the human response in all of this?’

http://bit.ly/2dwcVs2

The Problem with Exemplars

‘While I believe showing examples of quality work can be useful, many students immediately shut down when they perceive too great a gap between their current ability and what is deemed exemplary. I’m certainly not against the use of high quality exemplars but caution against too few examples as well as a lack of scaffolding to see where incremental success can be found. In addition, the power comes when the student decides what they want their work to be.’

http://bit.ly/2e6Bj4u

Charters and Choice: Research Shows Negative Impact

So much for the ‘school choice’ ideology:

‘The press continually gets eye-fulls of graphics indicating that accountability and charter schools can increase student performance. Rarely are these studies peer reviewed and almost none ask the questions that policy researchers should investigate. Few ask what will be the most likely results of reforms.  These papers shout out the supposed benefits of favored policies while ignoring their inherent costs.’

http://bit.ly/2dyoTA8

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Modern Learning Environments (MLEs) – pedagogy from Jerome Bruner

Bruce’s latest blog posting:

‘Bruner’s ideas are in opposition to the standardized direction being imposed on our schools but are surely the essence of what a modern learning environment is all about? ‘Towards a Theory of Instruction’  is the book, first published 1969, I want to share today..’

http://bit.ly/2dt7igI

Finnish education: a system based on equity, trust & responsibility

Yet another article on Finland for the reformers to ignore. Why is this? Maybe this is the answer:

‘Teaching is a respected profession In Finland, and teachers have a great deal of autonomy in the delivery of the curriculum and caring for their students’ welfare and learning.’

http://bit.ly/2duRCGq

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:

Why are teachers so reluctant to change?

‘Changing entrenched mindsets is a difficult task even for those in charge. Leaders are more conditioned that those lesser mortal working at the fringes. The idea of getting to the top to change things is a myth. Creative ideas are always watered down by what is possible – the art of compromise.’

http://bit.ly/1Pfwbnk

An amoeba – a model for future change!

‘It seems strange to think of one of natures most simplistic animals as metaphor for an organizational model for the future but the amoeba is a good choice, as it has survived almost as long as life has been on the planet. It is able to sense environmental threats through its semi permeable membrane and move away from threats – it is also able to equally sense the opportunity to move to a better environment or to seek out food which it simply engulfs. The intelligence of the organism is centred in its nucleus and a deeper look indicates it is not as simple as it first looks.’

http://bit.ly/1hRC8eF

The killing of creativity by the technocrats.

The killing of creativity by John Hattie

As I visit classrooms I have become increasingly concerned about the use of a number of strategies as defined by John Hattie and promulgated by the contracted advisers spreading the word about his ‘best practices’.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

The only real test

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
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.enough
 
The Only Real Test
“The only real test is whether children are happy and healthy writes William Doyle located at the University of Eastern Finland. He states, “…for five months, my wife, my son and I have experienced a stunningly stress-free and stunningly good, school system.”  [S.M.H. 26/03/16 P.34]
“Let children be children,” “The work of a child is to play,” and “Children learn best through play,” are well-held beliefs in Finland, he says. “Finland doesn’t waste time or money on low-quality mass standardised testing. Instead children are assessed every day, through direct observation, check-ins and quizzes by the highest-quality “personalised learning devices” ever created – flesh and blood teachers.” 
The Treehorn Express” and its fellow crusaders have been repeating this ad initio but Australian politicians, bureaucrats and testucators are so hard-wired to the Murdoch/Klein/Gillard belief that children should be kept anxious and tense and fearful when they have to learn something that is easy to test, like basic maths and English.  Treehorn, the ignored child and his cobbers, are having very little success in getting rid of NAPLAN testing, which must go if Australia is to experience any commercial, cultural or academic success is to be reached.
The use of shared evaluation, as Doyle is suggesting, cannot be overlooked. For schooling to be successful and important in the eyes of the learner, modes of shared evaluation must be used constantly. If anything at all is important enough to be learned, it’s important enough to learn how well one learns it. Self evaluation, it could be called.  Evaluation is an essential part of learning.  The use of shared evaluation, about which I’ve written elsewhere, is based on a partnership between two human beings, whereas NAPLAN is based on the creation of fear and of opposition to each others’ frame of reference, leading to dislike for particular subjects, of each other, of school, of learning.
Finland is considered to be at the top of the world pole of outstanding schooling as far as world opinion is concerned. Australia is said to be 14th [says even our testucrats] and has slipped rapidly during the life of NAPLAN. standardised testing.
Any messages in that for us, do you think?  
[See any “Treehorn Express” during the past five years or so…..joy of learning, love, play, shared evaluation, classroom teacher expertise, holistic curriculum, professional ethics]
Why are our politicians too frightened to discuss such matters in public “?
Why doesn’t any political party provide a comment on NAPLAN, since this particular form of standardised blanket testing drives our present-day schooling?
Will any political party be brave enough to sever its links to Murdoch and Pearson and Klein  and the BCA, for long enough to discuss ‘schooling’ in depth, in public;  and listen to its experts – the classroom teachers [while we still have some quality ones left].
As one Finnish professor said, “Our mission as adults is to protect our children from politicians. We also have an ethical and moral responsibility to tell business people to stay out of our building.” Any Finnish citizen is free to visit any school whenever they like, but her message was clear : Educators are the ultimate authorities on education, not bureaucrats, and not technology vendors.”
____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 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

 

Are you sick of Finland?

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided

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.

 

Are You Sick of Hearing How Good Finland is?

I’m getting tired of hearing about Finland’s great school education system, aren’t you?

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/3942249/3942249-6119624312593858563

I’m jealous, really.  It just wonderful to discuss what one country, like Finland,  can do for its future citizens; but I know that Australia can do better. Why don’t we  try?

Finland seems to have a Rolls Royce system while Australia is still trying to shove a bent crank-handle in a T-model to get it to move. It uses NAPLAN oil, as well, and so the vehicle is moving alright …being shoved…backwards.

The structural differences are startling……

Finnish teachers all have masters degrees and are paid very well; children don’t start school until they are seven years of age; tests of the NAPLAN kind are banned because of their corrosive nature; and their curriculum documents feature the learning of how to love  a particular subject rather that parroting stale facts from the subject in order to pass a test, Aussie style.

Australian education is stuck with the British Grammar school examination system, based on sorting out the plebs so that the survivors can go to a university and get a good job. This has been traditional and is based on the I’m-aussie-and-I’m-tough tenet, ‘if it was good enough for me, it’s good enough for present-day kids.’

Finland wants each of its pupils, even the ‘slow’ ones [those who’d be slow at scoring well on Aussie style tests, that is] to extend their learning abilities as far as they possibly can and to enjoy learning….and to be happy. Australia prefers that ‘light’ and ‘mid-strength’ pupils  stay at home during testing because judgements are made about schools and systems based on unreliable scores of a few testable-questionable items. It’s crazy and upside-down. How often have you read rubbish like “Penrith out-performed Toorak “ sometimes with a passing ‘based on NAPLAN’; both comments grossly stupid and erroneous and sickly?

That’s just the way we do things. Our educratic adult mafia, operating on behalf of their US godfather are in control….not serious educators from the work-face.

It really borders on criminal, the way we treat our children. It’s only when we compare what we do with other places that the rottenness reveals itself.

The Australian system became really bastardised, more so than other system, when politicians interfered and introduced the klein scheme,  with the ‘sorting process’ starting much earlier, like Year 3. The testing mentality went into over-drive. That started in Australia in 2008 and it has since wrecked the learning processes of a few million potential ‘lovers of learning’ who have been unfortunate enough to have attended school between 2008 and 2016.  They deserved better. If they had attended school in Finland during this period, the world would quite different for them.

That’s not what I wanted to say when I started this. That’s just the introduction. I wanted to say…..

Australia Can Have the Best School System in the World

if it wants one.

The problem is that we don’t appreciate the quality of the teaching force that we have. They have been ridden rough-shod for too long; and advantage taken of their busy-ness and their tendency to cooperate rather than to question…….by people who know sweet f-a about learning in classrooms.

PMs Julia and Kevin overplayed their role   Uni. graduates of the old school, they thought that they had all the answers. They treated the teaching force shabbily by imposing a system of schooling that few would ever approve of, if they had been given a chance to comment. The political twins were captured by the giants of greed; and had to rely on sweet-talking measurement folk to tell them what to do.  PMs since them don’t know what to do either, so they have just left the processes in place, hoping that not too many parents complain, and NAPLAN might just go away of its own accord.

Australian teachers have proven themselves in the classroom for ages.  Their teaching skills are in demand in other countries because they seem to know how to teach children to love learning better than most. During the naplanning of learning in our schools, they have maintained a quality of schooling that should make us all proud. They seem to be particularly skilled at controlling the million little interactions between teacher and learner that occur each hour in each classroom. Australian Michael Dunkin, with USers Bruce Biddle and N. Gage studied the complexities of the interpersonal relationships that teachers use to inspire their learners for some years. Their descriptions are still salient. Primary school classroom teaching is a helluva task but its one that many people love to undertake. Love for kids is the main criterion.  Measurement junkies, who prefer to frighten kids, have a hide, trying to tell experts classroom teachers what they should do.

Australia needs to start again. [https://www.facebook.com/groups/educationreinventors/     Just follow the reinventors.

Here’s what I would do…

I would assemble a hundred or so of Australia’s best classroom teachers……100 primary, 100 secondary…..and just encourage them to talk to each other for a few days about schooling per se. No set topics, except that they would know that they will be talking afterwards about classroom learning,  holistic curriculum, shared evaluation and any other topic that they think is important. They would share their visions of healthy classrooms and the tricks they use.

Then, using some sorts of interactive techniques, spend a few more days discussing the nature of learning in particular classroom settings and assembling a statement of some kind.

If deemed useful, a visit to some O.S.  authority  known for lively learning classrooms should be arranged.    It might be preferred to keep isolated and develop something unique.

A report from such a group could then be forwarded to every school in Australia, inviting comment.  A special unit would be required to process the interactions and compile a final statement.  The unit should be, as Churchill said,  ‘on tap, not on top.’ On top might be any one of our Directors’- General who has had wide experience at the chalk-face, in a supervisory role.

What could we lose?

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486     cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
07 5524 6443          0407865999

PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT A POLITICAL CANDIDATE RECEIVES A COPY………