Education Readings June 16th

By Allan Alach

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

Helicopter Parents Are Raising Unemployable Children

‘Helicopter parents are in the news a lot these days. These are the parents who can’t stop hovering around their kids. They practically wrap them in bubble wrap, creating a cohort of young adults who struggle to function in their jobs and in their lives. Helicopter parents think that they’re doing what’s best for their kids but actually, they’re hurting their kids’ chances at success. In particular, they’re ruining their kids’ chances of landing a job and keeping it.’

http://bit.ly/2sv2EED

The Reading Achievement Gap: Why Do Poor Students Lag Behind Rich Students in Reading Development?

What has become clear over the past 35 years is that low-income students learn as much during each school year as do middle-class students (Alexander, Entwisle & Olson, 2007: Hayes & Grether, 1983; Heyns, 1978). But every summer, when school is not in session, kids from low-income families lose two or three months of reading growth, and middle-class kids add a month of reading growth.’
http://bit.ly/2sCZSwR

Play Misunderstood: The Divide Between Primary Classroom Teachers And Senior Managers

‘Teachers of children in years 1–3 are now recognising the need to respond to their students in a more developmentally appropriate manner at a time when more and more children are struggling to fit the mould that once was the traditional classroom. Yet many of these teachers report a key barrier to effectively implementing a learning-through-play approach in their classroom to be that of their school management team and colleagues.’

http://bit.ly/2s3WOZD

Rock On! How I Taught Focus to a Class That Wouldn’t Sit Still

‘As a teacher, every now and then we come across a class with an abundance of energy. Sometimes so much energy that teaching seems like an impossible mission. Students fidget with their hands, feet, dance in their stools and engage in constant side conversations with their classmates.’

http://edut.to/2ryKGfw

Your Pedagogy Might be More Aligned with Colonialism than You Realize

‘What if I told you that prevailing attitudes toward the language practices that students bring into the classroom are rooted in colonial, often racist, logic? What if I told you that by not disrupting these kinds of attitudes in your classroom, your pedagogy might be more aligned with colonialism than you realize?’

http://bit.ly/2ryG74V

Paperwork

‘There is something childishly naive about the bureaucratic belief in the power of paperwork to bend reality. This is not a new feature in education. You may recall that Race To The Top and RttT Lite (More waivers, less money) both featured a required plan for moving high-quality teachers around to districts in need. Nobody ever figured out how such a thing could possibly be achieved– but everybody had a plan about how to achieve it. The grandaddy of modern useless paperwork would have to be all the district plans for “aligning” curriculum…’

http://bit.ly/2t4L730

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

National Standards and the Damage Done, by Martin Thrupp

‘We will all have our views on the pros and cons of the National Standards policy and there’s likely to be some truth in even highly divergent points of view because education is complex and contextualised and so much depends, doesn’t it – it depends on the school, the classroom, the teacher, even the individual child. But my argument will be that on balance the National Standards are taking us down a data-driven path that will be very damaging for the culture of our schools and classrooms and for the education of individual children.’

http://bit.ly/2rtNkbt

Schools don’t prepare children for life. Here’s the education they really need

‘It’s only after you have left school and, in adulthood, gained a bit of distance, that you can be fully aware of the gaps in your education. History is a prime example. A group of British people together around a pub table and can probably weave together some kind of cohesive narrative across the centuries. In isolation, however, what you discover is that one person did the Romans, another the second world war, and a third spent two years on medieval crop rotation. Meaning that as a school leaver, you’ll have a vague idea about how it all fits together, but whole epochs remain shrouded in mystery.’

http://bit.ly/2srp6xt

Finland’s new, weird school ‘courses’ say a lot about how we teach our kids.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but there is no such job as “math.”

‘Rather than teach subjects as dry, separate ingredients, from now on, it’s all cooking together.Finland’s concept is called “phenomenon-based learning.” Here’s how it works:Rather than focus on one subject like math, students and teachers sit down and pick a real-world topic that interests them — climate change, for example — which is then dissected from different angles. What’s the science behind it? How are nations planning on dealing with it? What literature is there about it?’

http://u.pw/2suQGea

Back to the Future: How has economic policy influenced the development of education policy and how the educational achievement of children in New Zealand primary schools is measured?

‘My final assignment for my Masters of Education paper, Education Policy traces the history of Standards in primary education and how we have come full circle from our original Standards based education, when compulsory education was established in New Zealand in the late 19th century, to the disestablishment of the Standards in the 1950s, through the development of a variety of assessment tools from the 1960s through into the 2000s and then the reintroduction of Standards in 2009’

http://bit.ly/2sv27m8

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Creative Leadership lessons from Stoll and Temperley

‘Creative schools depend on creative leadership. The trouble these days is that the pressures on principals to: be seen by parents as doing what is expected, from analysing endless tests ( all too often in a narrow range of capabilities); coping with the imposition of National Standards; and most of all pressure to comply with Ministry and the  Education Review Office requirements,  being creative is the last thing on principals minds. And of course creativity was never something one thought of when thinking about school principals!’

http://bit.ly/2sru7Gn

Bring back the Jesters!

Modern boards of directors are a bit like mediaeval courts where no one questions the king or the senior courtiers because they have become far too important to challenge. And as long as they can’t possibly be wrong, they can continue doing the wrong things all the time and never know it.The idea is worth spreading throughout all organizations to combat the blindness created by past success. It is one way to counteract the conformity which pervades top down management.

http://bit.ly/1PbtD8g

Advertisements

NO PLAN

PLEASE SHARE WITH PARENTS

A TIMELY MESSAGE FROM TREEHORN & RAY ARMSTRONG, former proud NSW primary school principal.

Parents, Your Kids Don’t Have To Do NAPLAN If They Don’t Want To

With May just around the corner, so too is NAPLAN, The National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy. Australia wide, students in Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 will be assessed over the course of three days to determine if their reading, writing and numeracy skills are up to scratch.

If your own child is in one of these year levels, you may be feeling curious as to how they will measure up or consumed with nerves about whether their test-taking anxiety will raise its ugly head. Like me, maybe you’re still hung up on the relevance of NAPLAN and why it exists in the first place.

We’re told that NAPLAN produces valuable data, essential for initiating improvements in student learning. However the statistics provided are somewhat limited in use, partly due to their four month turnaround. More significantly, the data compiled can’t compete with the rich observations made by an experienced teacher, which evolves over time and in different contexts.

We’re told that NAPLAN is just a little test, a part of life that children need to adapt to. Education critic Alfie Kohn refers to this mindset as the ‘Better Get Used To It’ principle. Sure, the experts in child development may be recommending against young children’s participation in standardised testing but with it lingering in their future, we prioritise getting them ready nonetheless, with little concern for the damage.

Eight-year-old Keli, first-time NAPLAN participant, said: “The teacher told us that we need to practice getting it all done otherwise we won’t be able to in the real test. I sat there and cried and thought about how hard tests are going to be in high school.”

We’re told that NAPLAN doesn’t dominate classroom learning. However, as you read this, classrooms across the country are knee deep in NAPLAN preparation. They may be revising content or they may be taking mock tests. The sad truth is that there’s too much riding on the results not to.

Accountability is a huge driver behind NAPLAN. The data is used to give schools and teachers a gold star or a giant red cross. But it ignores the obvious truth that we can’t make children learn if they’re not ready. Nor should we only value the style of teaching and learning that can be assessed in a written test.

Stephanie, an educator, said: “I don’t know a teacher that doesn’t give the students some practice of this test taking. We should be teaching concepts that make a difference, are relevant and motivate students for lifelong learning.”

Anthony, an ex teacher, adds: “Kids get less of an education because so much time is spent teaching to the test.”

Schools want your child to participate. The government wants your child to participate. But do you? And, even more importantly, does your child?

Here’s where things get interesting. Did you know NAPLAN isn’t compulsory?

Schools want your child to participate. The government wants your child to participate. But do you? And, even more importantly, does your child?

It’s time to make a decision. To support NAPLAN this year or to avoid it? My advice is simple. Ask your child: “Do you want to participate in NAPLAN this year?”

If he or she says “yes”, let them. Reduce the pressure surrounding the results and allow them to experience the process. If she or he says “no”, support them. Ask for a withdrawal form at your school’s front office. This one-page document simply requires you to write your child’s name, school and year level, tick a box for which parts of NAPLAN are being sat out (all) and sign it.

Repeat this conversation each year that NAPLAN rolls around. Your child’s answer may be the same or it may change. With their feelings valued and their decision empowered, the big hairy monster that is NAPLAN need no longer be a thing of nightmares.

Parents – Do It Now!

Parents – Do it NOW

Carrie Starbuck, Managing Director of ‘Learning Performance’ says : ” Pupils frequently display signs of stress, despite often not realising this is what they’re suffering from. 

Aside from a whole host of emotions that young people would rather not be experiencing, stress and anxiety have a significant impact on the brain’s ability to process, learn and retain information. Stressed students don’t make the most effective learners and this creates a negative cycle that we must work to prevent” 

How to help
        students cope with stress

“During childhood and adolescence, the brain goes through lots of change because it is highly malleable. Adolescence is triggered by the release of the protein kisspeptin into the brain. This affects the amygdala, which is the control centre for our emotions, making feelings more intense. This is why there is an increase in impulsive, emotional and emotive reactions during the teenage years”

Yes. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. Stress is not good for you….and the NAPLAN kind can damage kids for life….without your realising it.

NAPLAN was founded on the belief that the creation of stress and anxiety in school children would force them to try harder in their tests. NAPLAN preparaton and operation is a very real form of child abuse.

We should not be treating our children this way.

Parents should think very, very carefully about the timing of their child’s withdrawal from participation.

It is strongly recommended that they drop a note to their teacher NOW, withdrawing their child from any further NAPLAN activity.

__________________________________________________________________________

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

THE SOONER THE BETTER FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR CHILD’S MENTAL HEALTH.

NAPLAN for Mummies. What is the purpose of NAPLAN?

The future of our nation depends on our attitude towards children and their schooling

NAPLAN

FOR MUMMIES

What is the purpose of NAPLAN?

A cynic would respond, “To line the pockets of Rupert Murdoch, Joel Klein and other captains of the Testing Industry.”

There is some truth in this. It appears that, some years ago,  Rupert Murdoch saw the future of schooling  [and other education enterprises] to be almost totally digital. Digital education was the future! Any need for schools? In 2012, through his News Corp. organisation, he purchased, for $US371 million, Wireless Generation, a company producing digitised curriculum and assessment material. He enlarged the enterprise , employed over 1200 writers, called it Amplify and appointed Joel Klein, the founder of Australia’s schooling system in 2008, to direct the business of digitising education products and services.  News Corp’s foray into the digitised education business is notable.  We aren’t allowed to talk about it much in Australia, even though we are a critical part of the empire .  It is prudent of News Corp. representatives down-under, to play-down the human stuff-ups of schooling caused by testing regimes; and not to make too much mention of NAPLAN’s failures and peculiarities. Media silence on important issues is part of the scenery down under. This has given NAPLAN and kleinism aka fear-based schooling a pretty free run since 2008. Since News Corp controls most of Australia’s media outlets and, it could be said, has a close linkage with our test-based schooling system, the cynic must have a point.  NAPLAN testing in Australia is  completely digitised this year and we are on the way to fulfilling Rupert’s business vision.  The cost of a tablet for each child completing the test has not been publicised. Financial matters are cunningly operated  by the states using federal taxpayers’ grant money conditionally tied for their diligence to NAPLAN.   It’s very tricky.

There are numerous doctoral theses that can be undertaken: : unravelling the payments made for NAPLAN, by whom to whom, how much, how planned, how organised; the whole scandal of its establishment and who wins. If students and universities are brave enough to examine the various exigencies of NAPLAN testing and they are able to obtain the information,  each thesis should provide interesting reading.

Australian measurers are about to enjoy the use of computer tablets and the purring of the CAT phase of naplanning – Computer Adaptive Testing;   and its UCD – User Centred Design from the field of datafication.  In classroom-speak, that means  the intense  gathering of a variety of data from as many pupils as possible to add it all to a pile of measurement algorithms for deep measurement seances at high levels, holding hands with the high priests of measurement who once gave statisticians their great glory.  Improvement in classroom activities and particularly in pupil attitudes towards learning is purely speculative….and unlikely.  The use of educational technology can be of enormous assistance to classroom learning, but the use of technology merely to streamline the gathering of data is a prostitution of its potential.  Why is it so?

Schooling in Australia is now big business, Mum. Schooling ain’t the well-meaning public service it once was andought to beTesting and datafication are major growth industries.  Schooling ceased being an altruistic, public spirited, humane, community welfare service when NAPLAN hit the fan and spread its testing muck in 2008.  A change of public attitude could bring testing to an end tomorrow, but we do not have the political spunk to challenge those who now tell us what to do and how to think. They are very good at controlling political attitudes. The indoctrination of a disinterested public has been very successful….until now. 

Meanwhile, back at the school gate, parents are unsure.  They wonder what it would be like if schools concentrated on the usual operations  of teaching and learning and not bother with all this super-imposed bally-hoo, Those who care seriously about the full future of their child, must wonder about the effects of testing and the other extra-curricular compulsions, on their child’s overall development. They wonder what kind of person their child will become, what kind of job they will have,  how  their child will cope with doing  jobs that don’t exist yet.   What sort of schooling should they require?  Should they  only need to pass tests of basic standards and little else,  or  should they learn how to evaluate their own progress in whatever they do and be able to make serious decisions; undertake challenges with zest, achieve as high as possible; and partake of art and music and play and sport in a really enjoyable and productive way; and enjoy life,  Gaining high marks in the kind of topics that NAPLAN targets is a piece of cake, if one develops an interest in the subject…the opposite of the naplanning kind of motivation; but the use of fear and despair now built into the testing procedures as part of it, is preferred by our obedient politicians.  We can get PISA scores much higher than we ever have, if we are only able to understand what we are doing and helping schools to develop positive attitudes to learning, instead of wasting time on all this testing. muck.

ACARA describes NAPLAN as follows…

“The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It has been an everyday part of the school calendar since 2008.

NAPLAN tests the sorts of skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life, such as reading, 
writing, spelling and numeracy. The assessments are undertaken nationwide, every year, in the second full week in May.

NAPLAN is made up http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/naplan-is-driving-our-students-backwards-20130514-2jk5p.html of tests in the four areas (or ‘domains’) of reading etc.”

This  pronouncement that schools teach NAPLAN every day of the school year is a worry….but…that’s it.  It’s been a take-over of the system, without a doubt.  Has it done any good?

Sorry, Mums.  NAPLAN testing results have been flat-lining or heading down hill.  Quality teachers attribute this to the kleinist philosophy of fear and punishment pervading the intense test preparation that NAPLAN requires.  It certainly ‘turns kids off’ learning. It certainly teaches them to ‘hate’ some subjects and/or to ‘hate’ school. If you allow your child to take part in the rigours of NAPLAN test preparation, you do take a risk, Mum. Ask Lucy Clark. Children always do better at doing something that they like to do…and NAPLAN certainly discourages teaching children from appreciating the beauty of Maths., the magic of Science, the joy of enticing literature. NAPLAN is causing declining, mediocre results in its own tests and in the international PISA tests and in TIMMS!The slides are getting slipperer!

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/naplan-is-driving-our-students-backwards-20130514-2jk5p.html

There is a field of thought that believes that children should be taught to evaluate things themselves using themselves as the rating unit….anything but a silly numeral!  It is immoral, surely,  to impose damaging  high stakes tests on individuals without their permission.  Self-evaluation is an outcome of shared evaluation and is based on the belief that anything we expect others to do requires a close, critical, encouraging audience, and the only one we should share it with is someone whom the learner respects…..teacher, mum, dad, big brother, sister, aunt…. or all of them.

The concept of pupilling is one that testucators have a problem with. They don’t seem to know what it means. They use the word ‘student’ to cover up their inexperience.   Hey, testucator!  It is the reason we send our kids to school! It is a contract between a learner….”I will learn. You will teach. We will both do our best.” and a teacher ….”I will teach. You will learn. We will both do our best.”  No need for any interference, unless requested.  We didn’t ask you to poke your noses into our decent, effective, professional, ethical learning efforts, Mr. Testucator. You weren’t invited to our daily learning fests. We evaluate as we learn. Get outa here!

Might I earnestly suggest, Mums,  that you talk seriously about such issues with a thinking  teacher, other mums and dads about NAPLAN before you make up your mind.  You have until early May, but the best advice is to remove the burden from your child’s shoulders asap.  Let him or her enjoy the good parts of schooling. Your school cannot offer you the choice. It isn’t allowed for obvious totalitarian, testucating reasons.

Please telephone or talk with your local members to determine their attitude to our kleinist form of schooling…….and they will ban it if they are fair dinkum…..and Australia will be better off

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486 07 5524 443           0407865999   cphilcullen@bigpond.com

Refer: “Who’s Who in Australia’ 

Parents’ alert

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
Does my child have to ‘do’ NAPLAN tests?
NO!
Let’s all make sure that, during the month of April, each parent of every child in Years 3,5.7.9 in every single Australian schools knows that they have a choice.  
While our government is being deliberately deceitful in this matter and does not tell parents in any clear manner that they have the right to say “Yes” or “No”, and try to make things as difficult as possible when they have to, parents still do  have this right. Keeping such secrets gives Australian politicians and school officials no credit for honesty or ethical behaviour. 
Ethical democratic principles are at stake here.  
All a parent needs to do is drop a short note to their child’s teacher or to the principal, despite the way in which ACARA expresses its requirements. Nothing more.  
Principals and teachers also have an obligation to express their opinion of NAPLAN testing in the public arena; and are professionally obliged to inform the parents of their pupils of their rights. They need to do so asap prior to their pre-NAPLAN teaching program for this year, or give the reasons why they don’t ‘indulge’ in test-prep. It’s April.
There has never been an official instruction to prohibit principals from offering the choice to parents.  There is a furphy abroad that they are not allowed to do so. It is now clear, that this furphy was perpetrated by a few brown-nosing non-school state departmental executives in regional areas. No self-respecting school-oriented educator would try to deceive parents in this way. 
Even some professional organisations are fearful of mentioning that parents have a choice.
Offering parents the democratic right to say “Yes’ or “NO – not just ‘No’
is just good-manners.  Not to offer the choice is crude and insulting.
Ethical principals should publically inform all parents of this right through normal school communications.  Some will provide a pro forma, offering the choice to their parents. It doesn’t matter which one is used. [ACARA has a copy that requires a statement of a religous belief or philosophical stance. No need for it. Use anything….as long as the school hears of your intentions.]
If one is not supplied by schools, parents who  prefer to be more ‘official’, will find a pro forma in the Literacy Educators’ site, mentioned below. The need for special ACARA documents to withdraw from NAPLAN is quite untrue. A short note is sufficient.
Educational authorities have the same obligations of transparency.  So do media outlets.  The right of choice, under the present circumstances needs to be a media responsibility. If media outlets had more autonomy and believed seriously in the concept of a free press, NAPLAN would not be here now. 
Since it is unlikely that public exposure of parental rights will occur in the short term, principals and teachers must take the initiative…for the kids sake. Tell parents.  
Let’s do it now.  Tell the world…
 School pupils do not have to do NAPLAN tests.
____________________________________________________________________

Cunning deceit.

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.

Democratic Principles Abused

Will Simon Birmingham or ACARA please explain….

Who instituted the rule of hiding information from parents, the knowledge that their children need not contest NAPLAN?

and, especially,

Explain why it should be maintained.

  1. Principals of schools are not allowed to announce to parents that they have a choice: Yes or No to the rigours of NAPLAN.                       (Why require this undemocratic rule on schools once proud of their ethical behaviour?)
  2. No State Department nor school system nor school offers the choice as a matter of courtesy to parents, prior to the test.               (Very strange behaviour for a ‘democratic’ institution)
  3. Children are  expected to prepare diligently for some months beforehand to the neglect of normal learning activities.                          (It’s a form of child abuse.)
  4. NAPLAN activities were an unwelcomed add-on to the school curriculum in 2008, never a part of school routines before 2008.                    (It does not belong in a normal school curriculum)

Shouldn’t parents give permission for their children to undertake the Naplanning processes?

Either the rules were written the wrong way around or ACARA speaks with a forked tongue when it says :

“Signed parent/carer consent forms are required for students to be exempted from the tests. All Australian governments have committed to promoting maximum participation of students in the national assessment process. “  [ACARA information]    {This is an outright lie, by the way. All that a parents needs to do in such circumstances, is to phone the school or drop a note to their child’s teacher.just to tell the school that their child is not to do the test nor the test-prep. This is normal routine in  circumstances that seriously differ from normal activities}

Parents: This is a time of large-scale educational deceit. If you care seriously about your child’s education, you will think seriously about what NAPLAN is doing to your children and to our system of schooling and to our long-held ethical principles.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

2016 – The Year to get Rid of NAPLAN – The Great Year for Kids.

Vote for Kids. Opt out of NAPLAN

____________________________________
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