Humanity-free Education.

“When the U.S. Chiefs of Staff meet, their chests are emblazoned with colourful medals that they give to each other for killing people.  While our leaders want us to treat children as the enemy and keep trying to destroy their intellectual and creative spirit, our leaders should do the same.” (Susan O)

HUMANITY-FREE EDUCATION

In the test-prep run up to the Noplan Tests in May, observers of how we run our schools won’t get a better example of Humanity-Free Education than we have before us, now. The season is open on children’s intellectual and creative talents.

Child-care and welfare are ignored. Schools must make a concerted attempt to destroy children’s natural zest for learning.  Of historical origin, the collective conscience of Australian voters seems to support our politicians in their drive to acculturise our children to hate school and ignore learning, but maintain an abiding interest in passing tests.  There can be no other reason for the tests. Testing controls the Nation!  Our schools must be run in the best traditions of our model testucator, Mr Thomas Gradgrind.

Mr Thomas Gradgrind is the notorious school board Superintendent in Dickens‘s novel Hard Times who is dedicated to the pursuit of profitable enterprise. His name is now used generically to refer to someone who is hard and only concerned with cold facts and numbers…..according to W-pedia

 While some fair-dinkum educators try to ignore the nastiness, the Gradgrinds in Australian schools are already geared up to observe the rituals of  Naplanic Testucation.  Testucation is an outcome of Kleinism, a fear-based system introduced in 2008 and continued by formal decree.

 The creation of high levels [some extreme] of anxiety, fear, sleeplessness and mental illness is a form of child abuse that is encouraged as a teaching method during this Noplan period of schooling. It can only cease when enough parents say ‘No’.

1. The test starts on May 9, but schools have not sought permission from parents for children to undertake these experiments on their children. Humane schools can offer this choice…nothing to stop them…but they don’t…they  do as they are told and thumb their noses at parents…scaredy cats they are, too cautious of the bureaucratic consequences.  Yes. It is an EXPERIMENT. What else ?  It keeps failing. We keep going in case it works

2. Because of this, parents assume that Noplan is part of normal school routine. IT IS NOT AND NEVER HAS BEEN. State authorities, threatened by loss of revenue,  have given their permission to federal authorities for all state and private schools to use their children to gather data. It takes 3 days of learning time each May. Completing the tests is , clearly, an optional extra, nothing to do with learning the traditional curriculum.

3. Parents have to inform the school that they do not want their children to take part in experiments that risk their attitude to and their aptitude for learning. Some parents don’t even know that they have this democratic right io say ‘no’. Schools are instructed by federal and state authorities  not to tell the public……to ‘keep mum ‘ .

4. When parents do inform the school that they do not want their child to participate, the Gradgrinds of this world still continue to force all children to participate in the venomous test-prep, in clear breech of honour and integrity and dignity and ethics.  No means NO in other institutions.

5. Journalists and columnists are not allowed to inform the public of their rights; and none has yet been brave enough to buck the system and reveal the truth. Control by  the Murdoch/Klein enterprises scares the whole media force. In ten years there has not been a newspaper article nor TV commentary that informs the public of its rights under NAPLAN. Not one.

6. The established holistic curriculum covering as many life- enhancing learnings as possible,  is allowed to be fiddled. Subjects such as Phys.Ed., Music, Art, Health are denied to pupils.

7. PISA and TIMSS international results to date have provided no joy, but authorities continue as if nothing has happened. Noplan should be stopped forthwith. It’s failed.

We all allow these things to happen right under our noses. n

We don’t care much for kids. “The environment you live in, is the environment that lives in you.”  We are perpetuating a schooling environment of fear, deceit and mediocrity.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486  07 5524 6443   0407865999  cphilcullen@bigpond.com

If the affective is secure, the cognitive is inevitable.

         WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW TO RID US OF THIS NAPLAN CONTAMINATION?

Never Allow Pupils Learn Anything Necessary

Education Readings March 9th

By Allan Alach

A day earlier this week, as we’re moving house…

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

Networkonnet education manifesto for the 2017 election

Kelvin Smythe has produced this document setting out his vision for education for the coming New Zealand general election in September this year. There’s much in this that could be adapted for other countries.

‘The propagandising and spinning of education ‘achievement’ that dominates our current system, the scapegoating, disenfranchising, privatisation, and financial and spiritual impoverishment is not government whim or a series of unrelated actions, but ingrained ideological policy as part of global capitalism and a shift against democracy.’

http://bit.ly/2mzD7Gt

Five Reasons Why Performance Pay for Teachers is Dangerous Territory

Here’s a discussion paper from New Zealand’s newest political party:

‘The New Zealand Initiative’s new report calls for performance pay for teachers. It is an alluring concept, and one that intuitively appeals, after all we can all agree that good performers should be rewarded for their effort. However, when it comes to teaching that idea falls down on a detailed examination. Here’s 5 reasons why.’

http://bit.ly/2mhmPQB

‘To retain our best teachers we need to stop killing them with planning, marking and meetings’

‘Just about every teacher will recognise the sad truth: they are working longer and longer hours week after week. (It would appear that this is now recognised by the Department for Education, too). The most profound question to address is whether these extra hours spent in the school are actually improving the quality of teaching and learning. Sadly, it would seem, this is not the case. It is rather more likely that we are spending endless hours perfuming menial tasks because that’s just what is expected of us…’

http://bit.ly/2mkaEEc

The good, the bad and the ugly: Technology and 21st Century Learning

There are many in the world of education (not to forget the corporate powerhouses in the technology industry) who believe that the world was re-created on 1st January 2000 but it is necessary for educators to recognize that there is not a single story and to think critically about the place of technology in our schools. Tom Bennett, the recently appointed advisor to the UK government on issues relating to behavior in schools, has pointed out that schools have been “dazzled” by computers.’

http://bit.ly/2mzI6XF

A Pedagogical Shift Needed for Digital Success

On a similar theme:

‘I get the fact that technology can increase engagement, but if that engagement does not lead to evidence of learning then what’s the point?’

http://bit.ly/2mW8bBr

Three Myths About “Reading Levels”

And why you shouldn’t fall for them…

‘However measured, reading levels can be a generally useful guide to whether a particular text is going to be far too difficult for a particular reader. For example, the student who scored at 4.6 on a recent, valid reading test will probably have significant difficulty reading and understanding that text at an 8.1 reading level.  Unfortunately, though, the ubiquity and precision with which these reading levels are now being tested and reported has led to their increasingly inappropriate use, especially in schools.’

‘Such misguided policies and practices are based on three very prevalent myths about reading levels.’

http://bit.ly/2mkeahQ

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

‘You somehow imposed your own prejudices on education’ – one primary teacher’s extraordinary open letter to Michael Gove

Letter to former UK Minister of Education, which also applies to New Zealand, USA, and Australia.

‘The most shocking thing about Michael Gove’s reign as education secretary was that one individual was able to change the system so much for the worse, writes this primary teacher.’

http://bit.ly/2mh7T4Z

Teaching as a Subversive Activity

‘If you were educated to be a teacher in the 60’s – as I was – you were groomed to see “teaching as a subversive activity” after the leading education prep book of the time by the same name, authored by Charles Weingartner and Neil Postman. Their approach to schooling, known as inquiry education, emphasized student questions more than teacher answers. Teaching was characterized as a tool for questioning the status quo, as a means to talk truth to power and as a salvo against the all too often stultifying effects of the establishment.’

http://huff.to/2n43en4

Lesson in stupidity: Savage chop in classroom as schools face first real-terms cuts in 20 years

Does this seem familiar in your country?

‘School budgets are failing to keep pace with inflation, meaning rising prices outstrip the amount of cash they have to spend. A new funding formals will also see some schools robbed of hundreds of thousands of pounds. And experts have warned classrooms could see more pupils while the number of teachers drops and the loss of teaching assistants altogether. Subsidised school trips would face being axed and equipment budgets could also be slashed, forcing kids to study old textbooks and education chiefs to impose a freeze on buying new computers.Schools are already scrapping music lessons, turning off heating and planning to charge parents for children’s sessions with mental health counsellors.”

http://bit.ly/2mzGkFY

In an age of robots, schools are teaching our children to be redundant

‘In the future, if you want a job, you must be as unlike a machine as possible: creative, critical and socially skilled. So why are children being taught to behave like machines?

Children learn best when teaching aligns with their natural exuberance, energy and curiosity. So why are they dragooned into rows and made to sit still while they are stuffed with facts? We succeed in adulthood through collaboration. So why is collaboration in tests and exams called cheating?’

http://bit.ly/2mWdAsn

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Pride through personal excellence

‘It seems these days teachers rush through tasks to ‘deliver’ or ‘cover’ the curriculum.The idea of doing things well has been lost in this rush yet we all know that pride of achievement comes from succeeding so well at a task we even surprise ourselves.As a result students produce little of real substance. Teachers are too busy proving what they have done to focus on the more important need to see each student does the very best work they can.’

http://bit.ly/2eSotEs

Environmental awareness for pre-schoolers – from ‘On Looking’ by Alexandra Horowitz

On Looking – Eleven walks with expert ideas. A wonderful book that reflects the multiple intelligences of Howard Gardner and the importance of different frameworks to interpret the environment.  Love the walk with the four year old and the dog. Or culture fosters inattention but this book will help you uncover the unbelievable things to observe in your environment.

‘Alexandra Horowitz, who trained as a cognitive scientist, explains the startling power of human attention and what it means to be an expert observer.’

http://bit.ly/1xo3Ndi

Heads Down: Abandon Naplan for the abandoned.

Heads Down

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NAPLAN For Abandoned* Kids

10 Weeks only to May 9

It’s swot time.

Scoreboard

Latest NAPLAN results :  Stagnation. Flat-lined.

                Latest PISA results:  Slipping back, relative to other countries

Relative to the promise of higher PISA results (‘top 5 by 25’), once NAPLAN has supposedly fixed the phantom Rudd/Gillard fantasies:  NAPLAN has failed miserably. See PISA results.

Cause : NAPLAN’s high success rate at ensuring that kids dislike Maths., Science, Reading as well as hate general learning and schooling.

‘Political’ cause: Poor teaching.

Political plans for the future : Get tougher. Create more anxiety. Keep blaming teachers. Keep parental choice secret.

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Statements concerning the NAPLAN era

At  a cost of billions of dollars over the past decade, NAPLAN has been a miserable failure.

It’s not about money or disadavantage. It’s about the way we treat our young.

Despite its failure and dire consequences, we continue with it. We used to be amongst very the top in PISA result before NAPLAN was introduced

Political and media spin try to maintain  the furphy that its diagnostic fantasies can point the way to improvement in test results.

Machiavellian cunning has corralled influential education associations and deleted their codes of professional conduct so that they now do as they are told, despite professional ethics.

SCHOOLING and LEARNING in our schools have never been regarded as decision-making imperatives by our politicians and their testucrats.They are consumed by an intense political predisposition towards testing only.

NAPLAN operations de-dignifies the humanity of the teaching-learning exchange.

Abuse of children’s mental health is part of the ethos of NAPLAN testing. The creation of fear and anxiety are essential elements of the entire process.  They will continue since both are part of the dna of the testing process. .

UNESCO’s Rights of the Child are being ignored. The dignity of the child is not respected under the required conditions.

Part of Australia’s penchant for the ancient British traditions of maintaining  a surfeit of public blanket tests and examinations, it is causing consternation in the medical and other caring professions by its close connection to serious social  and mental p and to the increases in teen suicide.

Parents can refuse to participate in the NAPLAN processes, but schools are not allowed to tell them that they can do this.

Conducted under the auspices  of the Murdoch press, the Institute of Public Affairs and the Australian Banking Association with their links to major political parties, there is little likelihood of any change for some time.

Change can only be enacted by large numbers of parents refusing to have their children ‘treated’ by NAPLAN; or by principals’ associations refusing to participate in such unethical political activities; or a push by a political party – for votes or for altruistic reasons which will earn it votes.

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To be noted

If NAPLAN continues this year, betcha there’s a panic about which schools have sufficient computers to cope with the tests and the level of proficiency of the various Year levels for  those who use them.  

During this test-prep period, official notices from various authorities to their schools will emphasise the importance of better NAPLAN results this year, with little mention of other more important curriculum issues.

If our NAPLAN and PISA reults continue of the present downward paths, what does our government do?

The kids are rejecting the modus operandi and they will reveal this in the results, despite the testucating ‘Tactics’ that are being planned. The pupils prefer to enjoy learning and to learn as much as they can about the whole curriculum…. in which  they are supposed to be properly pupilled during school hours.

There is now panic amongst the unclean testucators :“We need to focus on evidence based measures that will get results for our students because  results once again show that, despite significant funding growth, we are not getting sufficient improvements in student outcomes,” said Minister Simon Birmingham.  Whatever that means. It’s obviously a childish crack at funding by someone who knows little about schooling, of course. Someone should tell him that love for learning particular subjects ensures significant increased outcomes for any school subject….and that the banning of NAPLAN will bring great joy to his colleague Scott Morrison.  Billions ! [now being wasted on a once-per-year unreliable test] saved. Wow. Win-Win. More in success terms for kids; more in dollar terms for Scotty.

AND…Simon, you have sufficient evidence, young chap.  If you don’t know what causes test results to fall and how to make them rise, you’re in the wrong job. NAPLAN stinks and causes terrible outcomes in test results, disenchanment with learning, mental health, teacher unhappiness and parental concern, friend Morrison’s budget and general professional wreckage,  Haven’t you noticed? 

Get rid of it. Our kids’ schooling welfare has been abandoned for too long, now.

________________________________________________________________________________

*Abandone”:  Those left to contest  NAPLAN after all others have been pulled out.by concerned parents.

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

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Kids and Elections

Our children are our future.  A country’s concern for its future is reflected in the way that it treats its school children.

Some countries treat this dictum seriously.

Australia doesn’t.  In the minds of our traditional political parties, it doesn’t have to do so.  Build schools, stick some teachers in them, force them to teach, test and examine the kids in British Grammar School style with a large dollop of American know-how and all will be well.

Countries [e.g. Finland] and states that dare to arrange for their future in learning terms, with sincere concern for the holistic development of their young and pride in achievements in fundamentals,  arrange their schooling differently.  They are proudly high in accomplishments and professional regard for excellence. We can be.

Treehorn maintains that the Australian style, to its credit,  has the remnants of some sturdy traditions of having-a-go under difficult circumstances and other colonial graces that would serve Ausdtralia well should it ever decide to help its children to learn as much as possible, in an effective style as part of an holistic and meaningful curriculum…and as happily as possible.  It is so bloody obvious. By doing so, it would become capable of punching well above its weight in world affairs. We could move from being a little- known underachieving squirt down-under to being a well-respected nation. We can do it if we have a mind to do it.

And…..there are a few million voters our there available for political parties who care about kids….. available from thousands of disillusioned teachers and many, many millions of disappointed parents. It’s a rich list of child supporters, measuring millions.

One Nation or Green? 

Recovering from the neo-conservative attitudes of the older traditional political parties  will take some serious thought and  dedicated political action. Anxiety and fear are so embedded in our schooling system and we have been on a dangerously steep downward path during the past decade, we are now stuck with mediocrity.  We don’t dare to think about the crisis too much.  We are fearful of altering our testing tradition and basic conservatism or of hurting the feelings of our superiors and those who control them.  Introduced by Labor, supported and maintained by the Liberals, our present yankified, fear-based klein system of schooling is a dismal failure. It went too far. It was not warranted. It was not necessary. It was a scam. No party now seems brave enough to test the chain of command and the disastrous outcomes at a curriculum level or on social and mental health grounds.  Either the Greens or the One Nations can fix things. They’re new to the schooling game and need basic policies that mean something. We now  know that the NAPLAN control of traditional schooling was not the way to go. Our schooling system is sinking on all counts, mainly because the traditional parties just do not care about kids and insist on teaching them the wrong way and with the wrong intentions.

The Lib-Lab conservative tradition will find these parties  difficult to change. They are too old. too like each other; and too worn out to think positively. Their political  tactis behaviour have degenerated abysmally and thoughts of learning progress for children are beyond them. There should be more hope in the latter day political parties that have already challenged the political system by their existence.  Think of a One Nation or Green party taking over government.  The door is wide open for them.  However, the following points should be  made……

If either Pauline Hanson’s party, now rising remarkably in electoral favour….or the Greens, who have yet to sort themselves out ….. proposes the banning of NAPLAN….. either  party  will be in power in Queensland soon, working with the astute Libs in W.A.; and then taking over in Canberra later  If you did not believe that Donald would make it, up over, you won’t believe this either.

However.

The Right Reasons
When the Rt.Hon. Pauline Hanson P.M. does take control, parents and teachers and children should still be concerned….

Will it ban NAPLAN and thus improve educational opportunities in schools for the right reasons?  No replacements or additions. Just ‘OUT!’ with the monster!
The concerned parties and candidates will certainly get sufficient votes because…

  • NAPLAN has failed.  On international rating [e.g PISA and TIMMS] we are heading way down below less affluent countries from being in the top three or four in the world in the past.
  • It has wasted billions and billions of dollars.  Its been a complete mega-waste.
  • Empirical evidence shows that over 80% of Australia’s population hates NAPLAN, while the cautious are uneasy. It’s now a dirty word.
  • It teaches kids to hate learning, hate basic subjects and hate schooling.
  • It deliberately hides its dirty process tactics from parents who prefer to have a choice. That’s a really dirty trick. Whom can we trust
  • It prostitutes the role of school administration by forcing professionals to indulge in unethical behaviours.
  • It promotes unprofessional conduct in schools that suffer feelings of inadequacy, by having to advertise that they are good at NAPLAN.
  • Its linkage with the New York publishing  and programming mafia  and the silenced Australian press  is too obvious. It’s not healthy politics.
  • The medical profession’s concern for the mental health of NAPLAN candidates is real. The abundance of referrals by teachers for mental care is now staggering.

The critical condition is that we must ban NAPLAN FOR THE RIGHT REASONS because of its nastiness and uselessness; its attitude to children.
It has no regard for the mental health of children and disrespects schools that want to get on with the task of pupilling.

I’ll be voting for the party that demonstrates the best reason for the banning.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen, 41 Cominan Avenue   Banora Point  Australia 2486   07 5524 6443  9397865999   cphilcullen@bigpond.com 
Refer:  Who’s Who in Australia

What If?

Treehorn recently speculated as to what would happen if Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party included the banning of NAPLAN as part of its policy.


If it did, it would be ‘London to a brick’ that she would become Prime Minister, the  Honourable Pauline Hanson at the next election. Wouldn’t it? There are a few million teachers and parents and others who just don’t like what NAPLAN does to our kids, how it contributes to our lowering of status and ‘standards’ on international tests, what it does to the mental health of our young and the blatant waste of  billions of dollars  through ACARA’s  assault on our schools each year.

Pauline has a leadership style that is different.  While neo-con business corporations and bankers will try to ‘persuade’ her to join their other units – Liberal and Labor – she seems most likely to resist.

No.  She’s not my cup of tea; but dissatisfaction with major parties seems to be increasing.  If she was able to get rid of NAPLAN, one of the greatest threats to our nation’s progress ever, she’s worth considering….just because of that.

It’s a very real possibility, don’t you think?

As our squirming, nervous  kids get closer to the May NAPLAN testocaust, things should get interesting.

In the meantime……

A thought.

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


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”