Education Readings December 16th

By Allan Alach

Another year is ending, which means in New Zealand and Australia, it’s also the end of the school year, and time for teachers and children to have a long summer break away from the trials of teaching and learning. Make the most of the break – it’s the only real chance teachers get to have a ‘normal’ life. I will be taking my own advice and also having a break from sourcing education articles for these reading lists, until the end of January 2017. However I’m not letting you off that easy, so this week’s list is a bit longer than usual.

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

Brain-Based Learning: Pushing Children to Learn Faster—Why?

‘Brain-based learning promotes the idea that children learn faster if they are taught differently. But why push children to learn faster than ever before? Why turn children into adults before they are ready? What’s the purpose?

What right do educators and parents under the spell of indiscriminate brain-based learning hucksters have to destroy childhood?’

http://bit.ly/2hxrwTt

CRITICAL THINKING versus CRITICISM: Helping students know the difference

Recent world events suggest critical thinking is a skill that is sadly lacking.

‘Critical thinking is about thinking for yourself rather than accepting, without questioning, the thinking someone else presents to you. Critical thinking identifies and examines underlying assumptions and biases about a concept, a discourse, a work of art or written expression, or some other abstract idea. It involves judgement – your judgement, which is justified with reasons and evidence.’

http://bit.ly/2h2caFT

Why schools should not teach general critical-thinking skills

However …

‘Of course, critical thinking is an essential part of a student’s mental equipment. However, it cannot be detached from context. Teaching students generic ‘thinking skills’ separate from the rest of their curriculum is meaningless and ineffective.’ 

http://bit.ly/2gKZN5e

Play: The Four Letter Word in Primary School

‘Decades of research provides evidence that play is the most valuable and successful way in which children engage in learning.  Through play, children can build all the necessary skills and knowledge required of them in readiness for adulthood.  Social-learning theory, constructivism, cognitive development theories, socio-emotional theories and physical development theories all uphold the power play has in the holistic development of children.’

http://bit.ly/2gMNxiQ

What does the post-truth world hold for teachers and educational researchers?

‘I wonder about the correlation between increasing systems of surveillance and control over curriculum and pedagogy and the growing number of high stakes testing regimes, audit and accountability technologies, and the narrative of slipping standards, declining outcomes and an education system in crisis.’

http://bit.ly/2hH5Uar

The most important thing schools don’t do

By Marion Brady

‘On my list, one aim is paramount: “Maximize learner ability to make sense.” Not only does it enable every other legitimate aim of educating, it gives schooling its proper focus—maximizing human potential. No one needs to be taught how to make sense—to think. We’re born equipped to do it. The challenge is to do it better, to radically improve what are sometimes called “higher order” thinking skills, particularly those involved in tracing complex causal sequences and anticipating possible unintended consequences of well-intended policies and actions.’

http://bit.ly/2hy7RmQ

21st century challenges

Let’s face it “21st century skills” are a bit meh! Especially when they have no context.

‘So frequently is this phrase used in the discourse on education today that when uttered it generates involuntary winces amongst those listening. On the education conference circuit “21st century skills” is the certainty on the buzzword bingo card. Never mind that we’re almost at the end of the second decade of a century that is the only one that every child in school has ever known. To be fair, it’s a well-intentioned phrase used by well-intentioned people. I’m sure it’s a phrase that’s passed my lips on more than one occasion even before I saw the foolishness of it.’

http://bit.ly/2gL3QhQ

My Dream Job Destroyed My Dream: An Unoriginal Statement About Education

A sad story from USA which will ring true to teachers all over.

‘Five years ago, I got my first job as a teacher. My dream job. My dream school. I could not have been happier: life was good. Then, five months ago, despite my passion and idealism, I broke down and accepted that my dream for an education focused on divergent thinking, individuality, and genuine learning was horribly unrealistic, hindered by bureaucratic disconnect and systemic devaluation. It became clear that the job which originally brought me so much excitement, wasn’t at all as I thought. In fact, genuine creation and effective collaboration would be forever secondary to administrative agendas, systemic mandates, and a tireless effort to maintain the status quo.’

http://huff.to/2gL24NN

How useful are standards in helping teachers’ professional development?

Not very…

‘Governing texts such as national professional standards and a national curriculum can have the unintended effect of constraining opportunities for teachers to learn about their work. This occurs when they are interpreted in ways that encourage coverage of individual standards. However, I believe, when teachers are supported to engage in authentic, contextually appropriate professional learning that is focused on their learning needs in relation to the learning of their students, they can transform their practice.’

http://bit.ly/2hPyMJE

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

How to Integrate Growth Mindset Messages Into Every Part of Math Class

‘Catherine Good has experienced stereotype threat herself, although she didn’t know it at the time. She started her academic career in pure math, expecting to get a Ph.D. But somewhere along the way she started to feel like it just wasn’t for her, even though she was doing well in all her classes. Thinking that she’d just chosen the wrong application for her love of math, Good switched to math education, where she first encountered the idea of stereotype threat from a guest psychology speaker.’

http://bit.ly/2h28fsE

Learning Goals… Success Criteria… and Creativity?

While I am aware that setting clear standards are important, making sure we communicate our learning goals with students, co-creating success criteria… and that these have been shown to increase student achievement, I can’t help but wonder how often we take away our students’ thinking and decision making when we do this before students have had time to explore their own thoughts first.’
http://bit.ly/29WT7tf

If there’s a magic bullet to fix education outcomes, it starts with equity

Things aren’t good in Australia either.

‘Kids are disengaged, results are declining, school only works for a third of students. And in fortuitous timing, education ministers are meeting this week. With the end of the school education year comes the ritual release of end-of-school exam results. Once again we’ll parade the names of the top 100 schools and marvel at those that seem to do so well.

At the risk of raining on their parade it is all very predictable: two thirds of the top 100 are still there when the schools are ranked by the socio-educational level of the parents. Even the public/private school comparisons are largely spurious: results coming out of schools enrolling similar students don’t vary much between the school sectors.’

http://bit.ly/2h2i7CG

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

John Dewey – New thinking 1897!

‘John Dewey’s famous declaration concerning education was first published 1897 and is still as pertinent now as it was then. All school communities ought to declare their beliefs about education and then work towards aligning all their teaching to achieving what they believe in. If they do not determine their own destiny someone else will. Having clear beliefs provides both security and the basis of making all choices – or simply saying no as appropriate. The following are excerpts from Dewey’s declaration.’

http://bit.ly/1EeQDlT

The corporate takeover of society and education.

‘Since the early 90s society has been reshaped by a neo liberal corporate ideology. An emphasis on private enterprise and self-centred individualism has replaced an earlier concern for collective good of all members of society.   As a result of this ideological shift a wider gap has been created between the rich and poor causing a number of social concerns. Schools as part of this shift have been transformed from a community orientation to being part of a competitive cut throat ideology.’

http://bit.ly/1hARUnP

The surprising truth about what motivates us.

‘Daniel Pink’s latest book, ‘A whole New Mind: Drive’, subtitled ‘the surprising truth about what motivates us’, is truly exciting. He writes that for too long school have relied on an extrinsic ‘carrot and stick approach’ (or ‘name and blame’).The three things, he writes, that motivate us all are: autonomy, mastery and purpose. Real learning is achieved when the joy of learning is its own reward.’

http://bit.ly/2gMq29u

Signs of a creative classroom

‘One thing seems obvious to me, after several decades visiting primary classrooms, is that real innovation only comes from creative teachers and not from imposed programmes. Unfortunately,  all too often, creative teachers are the last ones to be listened to in this era of school consistency and formulaic ‘best practices’. It seem we are moving towards a standardised approach to learning at the very time when we need to value (and protect) our creative teachers and their creative students.’

http://bit.ly/2gMUlNg

For New Zealand readers (but may be of interest elsewhere):

Given the changes in New Zealand politics recently, such as the sudden resignation of prime minister John Key (my pet theory, which I’ve been espousing for many months, is that he timed this to ensure he would get a knighthood before the election next year), as well as a stampede of government ministers for the exit door, here are few articles from a few years back about the government’s national standards based education agenda.

A teacher’s response to National’s ‘Education in Schools’ policy

Those of us who spoke out against national standards (and in some cases losing their careers as a result) in 2010 and 2011 are being proved correct. There is an increasing amount of evidence that is demonstrating that the main outcomes has been harming children’s educational and therefore life opportunities. How immoral is that?

‘I am saddened that this is the direction National want to take with our education system. We have a world-leading curriculum and (as National agree) excellent performance from our top students. However, we also have a long tail of underachievement, primarily from our Maori and Pasifika students and those from poorer backgrounds. Teacher input is only one aspect of learning – it is difficult to learn if you are hungry, tired or worried.’

http://bit.ly/2hPb14E

John Key and Mrs Tolley turn education into a McDonalds – principals will now become managers complying to franchise regulations.

‘Time will show John Key and Mrs Tolley to be the simplistic wreckers they are. In the meantime creative teachers will have to cope by going underground  and if the remainder can’t see the problem then they will be seen as complying with the destruction of an education system once held in high esteem  by educators (if not politicians and technocrats) around the world.’

http://bit.ly/2hGMBhw

National’s ‘brighter future’ doesn’t include the students or their teachers!

‘The current National Government has ignored educators worldwide and opted for an accountants view of education turning students into products and schools into factories so as to give consumers a choice – but what a choice!What many feared has come to pass. Populist political simplicity has won the day!If you repeat a half truth (one in 5 students are failing) without also factoring in the effects of poverty and poor health of  unknown in other civilised countries. One fifth of our students live in distressing poverty (that is, of course, 1 in 5).’

http://bit.ly/2gMR3cT

Profiteering is more important

Profiteering is More Important

“Profiteering is more important to Australian people than helping children.” said the lady on TV, representing children in foster-care. It was a general statement that applies, not only to kids in foster care, but Australian kids generally.
We are certainly not very good at caring about children. Indeed, it is safe to say that all political parties dislike children. One thing is clear.  Each goes to some lengths to  approve of child exploitation and abuse through testucation stupidity.
Yes. Profits before child welfare is becoming more and more  endemic to the Australian way of life than we care to admit…..especially through the schooling system  The schooling system is now on the edge of a tsunami of money-making rackets… oops…small businesses……. relating to ‘fixing’ learning traits.
We don’t care much about children at school any more. Anything goes; and we can now lay claim to  a world-wide reputation for a negative attitude towards children,  for  our declining test  results in our schools, for  our fiddling with school curricula and for  our immature crush on private schooling; and….. as the lady added “We care more about animals than we do about children.”, presumably referring to the Griffith by-election, and the success of the shooters party. We sure are a weird mob.
Our slump in standards and our sloppy attitude to curriculum matters is not caused by the schools, neither private nor public.  There is no difference in the quality of schooling nor in their achievements. It does not matter what kind of school to which parents send their children. The government parties believe that private schools are better, despite the studies of ‘pathways and future success’  that reveal otherwise. A good school is one that cares for pupils as pupils and as people; and has a link with every pupil’s home.  That’s available at all schools.  If you want a good schooling at the right price, send your child to the local high school. If you want a good schooling – mutton dressed as lamb – and have lots of spare cash, try a private school.
To compensate for the devastation to learning,  caused by the peculiar testing antics of today’s forms of schooling, there will soon be thousands of money-making grab-it firms vying for the rest of your spare coin. Apart from Tutoring places that concentrate on test success, there should be a significant growth in Maths Specialists, Literacy Specialists and Science Specialist of doubtful background who will help you at a price. Some will sell the elixir in packaged form. For instance there are, presently,  some ‘literacy experts’ exploiting the age-old debate about the ‘teaching of phonics’ or the ‘teaching of whole word’ [The Australian 25/11/16] when, in fact, our teachers teach reading [through using these components and others]….and it works very well, thank you.
Both major political parties believe that they know more about curriculum than professionals do and so use inexperienced personnel to advise it on what to do.  They usually recommend that we test.  Australia is amazingly test-fixated. Each test sets a mediocre limit on what has been learned.  It has to, to fulfil the rationales of measurement. As a consequence, we have one of the most rag-tag systems of schooling on the planet.  Our government’s educational termites try to force schools to achieve the mediocre  through its wild testing programs, instead of aiming for the moon in terms of learning. And when they don’t get what they want – mediocrity – they turn on the screws with greater force. It all just so crazy.
There is nothing, however, that can replace a classroom teacher and talking with him or her as much as possible about your child’s welfare.
Australia has to go through these weird machinations because notable profiteering-supportive politicians force their colleagues to assist them in their assault on childhood.  They, in the first place, have been told by media barons and those who profit from school testing regimes, to make sure that education means testucation or there will be no more media support or hefty donations at election time.
The capture of child-centred politicians and figures-in-authority is essential to the cause of profiteering.  Some people have difficulty in comprehending the scale of such an operation.  Julia Gillard performed a major coupe with great neo-liberal aplomb. The success of the manner that kleinism was introduced into Australia is an intriguing political science expose.
It will have to be something very serious to reveal the present day chain of command for profiteering. It does not look like a parent uprising will occur. What will choke it as it deserves? ? Trumpism? Maybe! Things just don’t look too good, no matter what solution one looks for.
Think about it. The fact that such political skulduggery aka kleinism happens in America too, is more than coincidental. After all, we imported it from there in 2008.
The lady [‘profiteering is more important’ lady…] is not wrong…profiteering is more important to Australian people than helping children. To be rid of it, there is a clear need to create an atmosphere of thinking about what’s best for Australian children and how we can enrich their childhood, instead of deliberately stultifying their love for learning so that big business can increase their profits.  We need to keep talking about this sort of issue.  We need to…..Talk. Talk. Talk.
Question. Question .Question.
What do tests do to children?
What do tests do for children?
How do tests lead to improvement….. in preference to spending the time instilling a love of maths or literacy or science?
What do testucating managers know about classroom interaction and the variety of teaching/learning processes being used by teachers?
[For instance, Direct Instruction  -costing taxpayers $37m at last count – that bunch of teaching strategies at the far L-H end of an extensive teaching continuum – seems a little bit over-the-top]
Who decides that children should disregard music and art and health and sport and creativity and challenging problem-solving activities and spend endless hours and days and weeks on dull thought-less testing practice instead?
Why can’t Maths and Science and Literacy be regarded as beautiful subjects instead of being brutalised by being used as fear-based tests?
Who decides?  
Why do keen observers draw cartoons such as this ?  What is it revealing to us?
There are so many questions that need to be asked.
Phil Cullen
41 Cominan Avenue
Banora Point 2486
07 5524 6443
0407865999
cphilcullen@bigond.com
Refer”Who’s Who in Australia”

Basic Human Rights for Kids

It is said that you can judge a country by the way that it treats its children.  Most countries provide schools and teachers to help children cope with the world. Then….it happens. 

There are some basic tenets that become embedded within a country’s culture and are reflected in what they do with their children. Each one, each country is different. Australia’s organisation culture is quite unique, in an unpleasant and shameful kind of way, being  much closer to the US minimum competency culture than to any other, much closer to a shared  declining maverick kind than to successful schooling.

Our school  system is not based on UNESCO principles and arrogantly breaches aspects of UNESCO’s Rights of the Child. Says the UNESCO Convention: “The importance for the Convention of the general programmes of UNESCO should not be overlooked. Human rights are indivisible: the promotion of individual rights cannot be pursued in isolation from the advancement of social and economic rights nor will the rights of children be fully respected in situations where adults are denied fundamental freedoms.” Australia clearly and deliberately breaches these democratic conventions. It keeps its adults in the dark in regard to the nature of NAPLAN testing, for instance, and has no inclination to change the rule. Parents’ fundamental rights to know that they have a choice for their children to do the test or not do the test are deliberately hidden; and schools are expected to keep this information secret unless they are asked.  It is a shameful state of affairs.

On a scale that runs from “Care for kids” to “Abuse our kids” , Australia is much closer to the ‘abuse’ end than to the other. It abuses children by attacking their yen to learn, which is a natural instinct for children; and to make them uncertain about their abilities. Its centres for learning  aka schools, are being operated using non-love tactics and dirty tricks .  Fear has replaced Love as a motivator for learning; and is not working well.

Fear and its connection to wide-scale high-stakes testing, as introduced by the sandal makers. are embedded in school routines and the bunkum-based morphing  of NAPLAN. Its use barks at basic child rights.

We can, therefore,  add another dimension to Treehorn’s ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE table of Australia and compare it to democratic principled places rather than to Finland alone . If we stick to true-blue Aussie principles, we can donkey-lick the rest of the world in providing the richest life-style that there is, whenever we like……It’s such a pity that we have allowed the present state of affairs to happen.

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-10-12-38-am

 WORLD : Love children. Respect childhood. Care for Kids.  Provide holistic curriculum.  Teach well.  Do not abuse children. Educate them

AUSTRALIA: Gather children together. Keep critical information away from parents. Test pupils for literacy and numeracy levels. Keep testing and widen its influence. Hire people to check for        and attend to  shortfalls in achievement and mental health. Use every testucator available  to maintain outcomes at the normal mediocre level.

We cannot afford to be proud of our efforts during the past decade. We should feel ashamed; and attempt to provide a decent schooling based on high levels of human rights and ethical behaviour. We need to take pride in the way we care for kids.

We know that the attempt to control schooling  by fear has not worked.

________________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen, 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point, Australia 2486   07 5524 6443  0407865999 cphilculen@bigpond.com
Refer: ‘Who’s Who in Australia’

The Moral Crisis

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality. [Dante]

The Moral Crisis

How do we treat our children?

My twilight years are fading and my preciously held dreams of a schooling system where children will love learning for its own sake and be anxious to get to a school each day because of the wonderful, happy, play-ridden and challenging activities that the school provides, and that they would exit school with much more enthusiasm for learning than they did when they started, seem to have disappeared. Their teachers, I had foreseen, which we already have, will form a warm bond of cooperative learning, that is embedded in the true meaning of PUPIL, with each child anxious to learn because of the special bond with a person anxious to teach them. There would be no fear of learning, no restrictions on the limits, no stress that might effect anyone’s attitude to learning each and every day. Teachers would be trusted to teach in their own way and each school would be free to do the sorts of things it wanted. There would be ‘Freedom to Learn’

I had hoped to leave the place in better condition than when I entered it, but, bugger, the Australian system of schooling is declining rapidly….and it doesn’t give a fig about the way it treats its children. I’m truly saddened by what I see and hear. Its nasty, politically-driven way of ordering schools around is perilous. NAPLAN’s corruption of all the goodness in the curriculum is grossly immoral because it deliberately threatens the mental health of millions of young Australians. Recent extensions of testucation to the very young, to graduands and beginning teachers are ludicrous and downright stupid. They grow every year, madly uncontrolled.

The morality of the way our politicians tell schools how to treat children is gross. We must free our kids.
Our pollies can re-set the course tomorrow if we tell them to do so.
They need to cancel NAPLAN as a first step only.

We have the children and the teachers who want to share happy, effective learning experiences. They are there now in happy groups ready to GO; and they try hard despite the commands of those who still live in the dark ages, who prefer emetic methods of instruction and ‘tough love’ exchanges…all so that each ‘student’ [vis-a-vis ‘pupil’] can reach a mediocre standard in selected topics that are easily measureable. Data. Data. Data. That’s what teachers are expected to do these days…..generally, doing as they are told….. by the politico-corporate duopoly whose intentions have been suspect since the Testing Industry, as a separate entity from the Schooling Industry, assumed power over schooling processes in a number of western countries. Pollies have selected testucation over education.

The Testing Industry established itself in Australia in 2008 as a serious business enterprise, after Joel Klein, the New York lawyer who invented fear-based Kleinism, visited Australia as a guest of the banking industry. [Yes, the same big four!] Banks want to employ geniuses on their counters, not those from the lower base of the bell-shaped curve. Since they are stuck with selections from the honest school plodders, they applaud the use of crash-bang-wallop techniques in schools to force-feed higher measureable scores in numeracy…in the manner that Klein advocated. That kind of force, added to the Rudd-Gillard press for a new election trick, was exerted on the standard timidity of the teaching profession which succumbed very quckly. They produced NAPLAN…. a blunt weapon of the testucrats and their ‘godfathers’. To the ‘ho-hum’ of historians, they dug-up the old reliable tormentor: ‘Back to Basic Standards”, with a new face : More fear. Cunning parental deceit. Slick rhetoric. Cooperative media. Deafening media silence on important topics. Sham professional groups selling their souls for sponsorship. Unlimited public money for testing. Moral degeneracy was in the very air.

While ‘Back to Basics’ lobbies emerge every few years, this one is lasting much longer than usual….much longer than it should. I had thought that School principal groups and professional associations would have refused to have anything to do with it on ethical grounds from Day One – the maltreatment of children – and, having had a trial, the force of ethical opinion would cause NAPLAN to disappear at least by 2010. I was wrong….very, very, disappointingly wrong. The style of ‘client capture’ by managerialists had been refined; and some groups now remain hard-wired to willing corporate sponsors. Kids don’t matter any more.

[When I first heard of the NAPLAN requirements I suggested to the President of APPA that he should have said at the outset, “No way, Julia. We don’t do that sort of thing to children.” Great bloke. He had an answer, but …….]

The biggest effects of the GERM movement have been on child welfare. Never before, in modern times, have children been so maltreated by governments. Illness, depression, bullying, suicides, family disruption, diminishing family coffers…. all part of the 2016 school landscape, thanks to NAPLAN. The increase in the timidity of those who should be most concerned is mind-blowing; and the scandal that it is more than basic timidity, is mind-blowing.

The willy-nilly use of fear-based standardised testing – on 5-year olds in Year 1, 7 year-olds in Year 3, all pupils to Year 9, the linkage of Year 9 tests to Year 12 graduation; on neophyte teachers; on public money allocated to states……all in the interest of “getting more bang for the buck” [Bimingham] is a despicable, destructive way to conduct an education system.

WHEN WILL WE EVER THINK OF THE KIDS AND HOW THEY LEARN AND HOW THEY SHOULD BE TAUGHT…AND TALK ABOUT THESE THINGS WITHOUT FEAR … how happy they are at school, how much joy they find in learning, how ‘lasting’ their school experiences are, whether they leave school with much more interest and joy and zest for learning than they had when they started, whether the period leading up to and including NAPLAN week in May is as much learning-fun as the rest of the year. Schooling, after all, is about KIDS.

These are very serious issues.

Have you ever thought you would see the day when a mother would be so concerned about the effects that our test-crazy system of schooling was having on her child that she would do extensive research and probing and thinking and talking and pondering and then write a book about it? And that book would become a best seller? Even her article about the book received tens of thousands of ‘hits’ on Facebook. Yes, there have also been some stirring articles written in recent times by expert insider teachers that have drawn the attention of the public to the kind a schooling that has been introduced to Australia, but when have you ever read such a comprehensive description such as Lucy Clark’s on the experiences of her daughter? Its insight into schooling activities in this day and age is exceptional.

The public is awakening, Treehorn. Take heart.

Somebody cares.

The book, Beautiful Failures, is a classic. The author has remarkable insight into the subject of schooling. Some of her chapter headings are intriguing: Square Pegs, round holes. Darling, we just want to make you happy. Where’d I come from? The pressure pyramid. Adolescence, lost. Stealing childhood. A wedge between generations. What should education be? Welcome to Education Theory High. Because I say so. The mythical place down the road. Teachers, kindness and making time for compassion.

If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favour.

If, when you have finished it. and don’t think that we are on the edge of a deep national moral crisis, I despair totally.

_________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen, 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point, Australia 2486
o7 5524 6443        0407865999
cphilcullen@bigpond.com
Refer: ‘Who’s Who in Australia’

Education Readings October 14th

By Allan Alach

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

The problem of perfectionism: five tips to help your students

‘As well as affecting general well-being, perfectionism can lead to fear of failure. When your whole self-worth and identity are tied to your success, mistakes and setbacks are seen as a threat and you avoid taking risks.

We need to talk about these issues – but where to begin? Here are some tips for helping students manage and overcome perfectionism.’

http://bit.ly/2d8nzGh

Why For-Profit Education Fails

Good…

‘Indeed, over the past couple of decades, a veritable who’s who of investors and entrepreneurs has seen an opportunity to apply market discipline or new technology to a sector that often seems to shun both on principle. Yet as attractive and intuitive as these opportunities seemed, those who pursued them have, with surprising regularity, lost their shirts.’

http://theatln.tc/2dYEJ8M

Teachable Moment

What is a Teachable Moment?

Difficult to achieve in an education environment dominated by accountability/standards/raising achievement etc.

‘A teachable moment is an unplanned opportunity that arises in the classroom where a teacher has an ideal chance to offer insight to his or her students. A teachable moment is not something that you can plan for; rather, it is a fleeting opportunity that must be sensed and seized by the teacher. Often it will require a brief digression that temporarily sidetracks the original lesson plan so that the teacher can explain a concept that has inadvertently captured the students’ collective interest.’

http://abt.cm/2ddwFgi

Education in Africa

The Uberfication of Education by Bridge International Academies.

How a US for-profit, data-driven, education experiment is failing children from poor African families and homogenising culture.’

‘So bottom line. No reliable evidence of efficacy supported by independent academic research conducting randomised school trials.’

We live in a sick world…

http://bit.ly/2e8UVRh

Why do parents take such different approaches to their kids’ education?

Thanks to Phil Cullen for this article.

‘While some children spend the school holidays studying in tutoring centres, enrolled in sports camps or other structured activities, others are left to do their own thing.

So why is it that parents take such different approaches to education and how their children spend their time?’

http://bit.ly/2e97AnA

Getting Curious (Not Furious) With Students

‘When their students act out, I propose the novice teachers do the following: Get curious, not furious. Let’s explore what that means. Rather than a teacher resorting to traditional discipline measures, it behooves the student greatly for the teacher to realize classroom outbursts, verbal defiance, or volatile anger can be symptomatic of repeated exposure to neglect, abuse, or violence. Traumatic stress can also manifest as withdrawal or self-injury.’

http://edut.to/2dfrZWW

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

One best piece of advice to ensure students achieve quality learning and teachers time to teach: ‘Slow the Pace of Work’.

Bruce’s latest article:

‘Too many students spoil what they do by rushing through their tasks working on the principle that ‘first finished is best’. When teachers allow this ‘mindset’ to be an implicit part of the school culture students are not encouraged to stop and think (or reflect) about whatever they are undertaking and, as a result, a frenetic atmosphere can result. Slowing the pace  allows no time for teachers to give students (particularly those struggling) appropriate help.’

http://bit.ly/2dLWsyC

STEM to STEAM

‘Makerspaces are environments that foster passion for projects of all stripes and sizes. If you can dream it, a makerspace will help you breathe life into it.  I christened the makerspace the STEAMworks. The STEAM, as I told anyone who would listen, stood for science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The “works” came from what we accomplished there. Even though I was a science and math teacher, I realized a needed to integrate the arts into the science curriculum. The arts play a crucial role in child/learner development and can benefit the STEM classroom and workplace.’

http://bit.ly/2dlEjsl

Ten Tips for Mentoring a Student Teacher

If you have a student teacher in your room here is some good advice.

‘I remember the first time I was asked if I would be willing to have a student teacher. Looking back, I was totally unprepared, both by my experience and by the university, to know what to do as a cooperating teacher. I relied on the experience I had just a few years earlier and tried to model after the cooperating teacher I had—sort of the way some teachers teach today.If you are in the same boat I was in back then, I have a few tips that I hope will be useful.’

http://bit.ly/2dlFZ4I

Students Use Phones, iPads to Create Digital Biographies for Senior Citizens

A simple but powerful idea:

‘A group of Orange County fifth-graders isn’t only reading about history, they’re documenting it.

As part of the Fullerton School District’s narrative writing and listening curriculum, 100 students taking part in the “Story Angels” program have begun interviewing seniors and using technology to create digital biographies of their lives.’

http://bit.ly/2dxi0gG

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Creative Schools – an impossible dream?

‘If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses’ said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.It is hard to believe that something that starts so well results in so many students leaving school with little to show for their experience – and even those deemed successful still have talents and gifts unrealised.’

http://bit.ly/2dlEXWL

What’s wrong with Ability Grouping?

‘New areas of research started to focus what was happening in classrooms which showed that teachers themselves are implicated and maintaining persistent patterns of differential achievement; that ability grouping helps create the very disparities it purports to solve. It does this in subtle and unintended ways through the ways it has on teacher’s thinking and through the impact it has on self-image for children in the ‘lower’ ability groups. It is obvious that teachers do not set out to do their children harm but they also know that children live up or down to what is expected of them.’

http://bit.ly/2eaC6i2

Serious alert. Gonski & NAPLAN unite.

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality”  Dante

 AUSSIE FRIENDS OF TREEHORN

Gonski and NAPLAN unite

Serious alert

Gonski changes from its needs-based ethos to test-based.

NAPLAN increases its levels of debauchery.

 Australia’s sick obsession with numbers applied to the status of the country’s learning habits will certainly continue to push us down towards the lowest of the international ‘achievements’. It’s on the way now. The fake concern of our erstwhile politicians for child welfare and progress continues to be exposed. 

 Tests create disengagement. Disengagement creates failure in test results.  Failure creates mental health problems. Mental health problems create stress for pupils and parents.

The whole system gets sicker and sicker.

 One observation remains constant: Our politicians and their testucrats do not like public school kids.

 Now…..

 The federal minister of education has recently indicated that the levels of Gonksi needs-based funding from the Commonwealth to the States, will be linked to each state’s results on the previous NAPLAN  tests. 

 For many voters that’s raw fascism at work; and those politicians who remain silent on the issue need to be called to account in the public arena. Do they support this change of Gonski ideals….from needs-based to test-based? It’s a despicable way to fund schooling and will do nothing to repair our broken system. This use of fear as a weapon of social activity was a feature of the 1930s, as Pastor Martin Niemolier pointed out at the time.  It was introduced to Australia in 2008 with the intrusion of kleinism.  It destroys a country’s reputation and any learning ethos that it has.

 It’s fear-imbedded ideology is certainly getting out of hand in Australia….now.

 The latest extension to NAPLAN  is the decision to test the 4 and 5 year olds when they enter school [NSW], so that pollies can have a benchmark for all subsequent data gathering. They’ll brand each and every pupil with a number [unless a parent objects to it].

Then they will use NAPLAN tests for 7 and 8 years olds in Year 3…..at the same age as advanced countries lovingly introduce children to play learning at a school….and our testucrats check the brand  [unless a parent objects to it].

 Then they do the same for Years 5,7,9 encouraging professional teachers to provide  plenty of practice and tutoring and homework and  useful modes of cheating and pharmaceuticals for each two-year section of schooling [unless a parent objects to it].  

 One of the craziest is the recent official suggestion of a linkage of NAPLAN results at Year 9 to HSC graduation at Year 12.  That’s a doozy of creative testucation.

 AND

 NOW OUR TEACHERS HAVE TO CONTEST NAPLAN BEFORE  THEY CAN ENTER THE PROFESSION.  PROFESSION !!  WHAT A GREAT PROFESSION! WHERE IS THE TEACHING  PROFESSION?

 WHAT A MESS.         ( ♬ We’ll meet again….  ♬)

 It’s a provocative statement to make, but it does appear that, after nine years of sinking standards of all kinds,  only sensible parents consider the effects of true schooling, compared to those who participate in the artificial schooling according to numbers; and the more alert ones opt out of the use of NAPLAN,  the agent of schooling destruction. Many get in a real tizzy, take their kids to tutors, purchase mind-altering pharmaceuticals, hire counsellors,  pay enormous amounts of money to send their kids to a private school, where, they believe, schooling is better; and generally panic about the place of their kids  in the competition stakes.  Every child should be a winner, shouldn’t each one?

 That’s our system. Yes, Julia. Kleinism has certainly revolutionised schooling in Australia!

 Sadly, at standardised schools, those children, freed by their alert parents from the rigours of being tested and numbered, will, as a rule,  go through the same heavy test-prep routines as the others until the number of learners replaces the number of testees, as they do at advanced schools like Kimberley College where almost all the parents will not permit their children to contest NAPLAN. They, more than most, seem to be able to see through the stupidity and dangers of  standardised blanket testing and the school can get on with the business of learning. The NAPLAN system is absolutely crazy as it exists; and it exists because of the government’s obsession with scores and numbers and data. “No wonder kids keep getting more messed up.” says Lucy Clark –P. 20. “It’s because we judge every inch of their worth by a silly number.”  It’s true. Caring parents opt out.

 {By the way. Weren’t you impressed by the dramatic ending to Lucy Clark’s Beautiful Failures ?  What a remarkable young lady her daughter!}

 If NAPLAN continues, the time is coming when standardised schools will have to provide two levels of schooling.  One level establishes the passing of tests as its centre-point. The ‘fat controllers’ demand it.  The other level recognises the supremacy of the child’s holistic development and the pursuit of learning as its centre-point.  Their parents have pulled them out of the rat-race. Both groups will have to exist in each school, side by side.  The Naplanners and Non-naplanners.  Spare a thought for management.  Staffing arrangements will be tricky.

 Finally. …..while we are flinging NAPLAN tests around everywhere,  how do you think our politicians would  go on, say, the Year 7 NAPLAN tests, prior to selection . Join the teacher neophytes.

 Now. There’s a thought.

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

 

“They came first for the Communists,

and I did not speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I did not speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I did not speak up, because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,

and I did not speak up, because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,

and by that time, no one was left to speak up for me.”

— Pastor Martin Niemöller

Guide Our Nation’s School Kids Intelligently

 AUSSIE FRIENDS OF TREEHORN

 

Guide Our Nation’s School Kids Intelligently

GONSKI

 Dear Simon Birmingham.

You control the purse strings.   You are presently wasting enormous amounts on curbing the learning potential of our young by your maintenance of blanket testing:  NAPLAN.

 Please……

 Learn…..           to Guide Our Nation’s School Kids  Intelligently.

Encourage         states to get rid of all such nonsense items that inhibit  learning.

Think                     about the reasons for having schools.

Play Fair.

Think Kids

 Think Kids

 Think Kids

 _____________________________________

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

 

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