Education Readings October 20th

By Allan Alach

News flash:

The new government in New Zealand means that the previous government’s National Standards & associated policies (our version of GERM) will be no more. Sanity is returning to New Zealand education.

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

Why I Don’t Have Classroom Rules

A high school teacher tries a classroom management experiment thinking it will fail. Years later, he’s still at it.

‘Although I encouraged my students to think critically and challenged myself to develop new methods of instruction, the actual conduct of the class seemed at odds with all that. I wanted my students to do more than just follow rules handed down to them. I wanted them to understand why those rules exist, and be willing to interrogate ones that didn’t seem valuable, meaningful, or useful.’

http://edut.to/2x6qd5w

Ten Things Pixar Can Teach Us About Creativity

‘For the last two decades, Pixar has produced some of the most creative and epic films of this era. But this is the result of a culture of creative collaboration built on ideas of being frank, taking chances, and failing forward. So, what can educators learn from Pixar as we design collaborative projects?’

http://bit.ly/2gPPACi

The fantastic new ways to teach math that most schools aren’t even using

‘At the level of the individual teacher, we have found that preparing teachers to make small changes in status quo practices and tools can be a successful approach that is both manageable for teachers and meaningful for their students. In my work with novice teachers, the small changes I emphasize most include:’

http://bit.ly/2l3f6ZB

Schools Must Get The Basics Right Before Splashing Out On Technology

‘For years, schools and education experts have debated whether technology belongs in the classroom. Now the discussion has shifted and even schools that had thus far resisted the educational tech revolution are being swept into what’s become a multi-billion-dollar market. The question now isn’t whether technology has a place in schools, but which devices would work best: laptops, tablets, smartphones or something else entirely? However, maybe it’s not the device that schools should be preoccupied with – but rather how students use them to learn.’

http://bit.ly/2xOVn0O

How a British School Improved Its Math Scores without Teaching a Single Math Lesson More

‘“We could have gone down the route where we said we need to get results up, we’re going to do more English, more maths, more booster classes, but we didn’t.” Instead, they took a gamble: They added two hours a week of music for every student, and the results have been stunning.”’

http://bit.ly/2yAypyr

The Fisheye Syndrome – Is Every Student Really Participating?

‘Greta doesn’t realize that she is suffering from the Fisheye Syndrome. It’s a condition that impacts our perception, as if we’re looking through a fisheye lens – the kind they use in peepholes. To those afflicted with fisheye, some students appear “larger” than others. They take up more energy and grab more of our attention, making the others fade into the periphery. We have a vague sense that the others are there, and we nag ourselves to include them, but those magnified students are just too hard to resist.’

http://bit.ly/2x7jSXk

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Lauren Child: ‘We should let children dawdle and dream’

‘Children are often told what’s good for them, but the advice of the new children’s laureate may take them by surprise. Lauren Child, speaking for the first time since her investiture in Hull this summer, has a simple message: just stare into space. In an age of prescriptive talk about targets and aspirations, Child, the creator of Charlie and Lola, plans to make a stand against the theorising and goal-setting during her two-year tenure.’

http://bit.ly/2imAZBX

Why Daydreaming is Critical to Effective Learning

‘Rather than trying to do everything at the same time, the most productive people prioritize and block off their schedules to focus on one task at a time. “The idea is that if you become more efficient in time management, it allows for more spontaneity and creativity in the day, every day.”’

http://bit.ly/2hOopHE

What Creativity Really Is – and Why Schools Need It

‘Although educators claim to value creativity, they don’t always prioritize it.Teachers often have biases against creative students, fearing that creativity in the classroom will be disruptive. They devalue creative personality attributes such as risk taking, impulsivity and independence. They inhibit creativity by focusing on the reproduction of knowledge and obedience in class.Why the disconnect between educators’ official stance toward creativity, and what actually happens in school?’

http://bit.ly/2xPpEMS

Why the right answer should not be the primary aim in maths

‘In maths, the journey to the answer should be just as important as the answer, in maths is really important, it should not be the most important thing that we look for from our pupils.That’s not to say that we are going to start rewarding pupils for getting everything wrong in maths, but how pupils come to obtain an answer should be a quality that we regard highly.’

http://bit.ly/2kYj1ql

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Slow food movement – and teaching as well!

‘The ‘slow food’ movement was reaction against this industrialized approach to living. Followers believe one should take time over food and enjoy the subtlety of the cooking;take the time to try out new dishes and to enjoy the conversation and the wine. Or at the very least enjoy a home cooked meal around the table interacting with members of the family or friends We now need an educational equivalent of the ‘slow food movement’ so as to value the richness and relevance of any learning experience. Students need to appreciate that the act of learning is at the very heart of their identity and a high quality life and as such should not be rushed.’

http://bit.ly/2rGpc4K\

Time for some heresy?

‘If we want to develop 21stC education systems then we will have no choice but to re-imagine education dramatically. We need to implement some heretical alternative thoughts to transform current systems with their genesis in an industrial age an age well past its use by date. Strangely enough none of the idea being considered are new it is just that few school have put them all together. School are inherently conservative and some schools, secondary ones in particular, seem impervious to change.’

http://bit.ly/1Cozmr3

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Education Readings October 13th

By Allan Alach

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

More than bricks and mortar: A critical examination of school property under the National-led Government

An article I posted last week referenced an article by Dr Leon Benade, School of Education, Auckland University of Technology. Here is Leon’s full article.

‘Teachers are largely unprepared for flexible learning spaces that bring together multiple teachers and students (see my earlier blog on MLE/ILE). These (enforced) changes require students to master new learning habits and routines, while parents’ most recent school memory may have been of sitting in rows or possibly in grouped desks, in so-called ‘single cell’ classrooms with one teacher and no more than 30 or 35 students. So, where has this policy come from, and what does it look like in action?’

http://bit.ly/2yZqQyg

Is Math Art? Dream or Nightmare?

‘I was blown away by this remarkable (and strangely empowering) critique about math education:  how we view it as a culture; how teachers are teaching it (or not teaching it); how and why some students struggle with it; how some students who apparently “get it” don’t; how parents perceive it; how testing may not be showing us what we want to know, and how we can change math education for the better.’

http://bit.ly/2xzU7mI

FORCE & FLUNK: Destroying a Child’s Love of Reading—and Their Life

‘A frenzy surrounding reading is caused by school reformers and the media, claiming children are not learning to read fast enough. Kindergarten is the new first grade, automatically making preschool the new kindergarten. If we aren’t careful, obstetricians will show newborns an alphabet chart immediately after babies are born! We’re told that reading is an emergency, and if it’s not addressed by reading programs produced by individuals, companies, and technology, children won’t learn to read—and they won’t be ready for the global economy.’

http://bit.ly/2zh6NMv

Most everything you need to know about creativity

‘It is about knowing what and how to observe and directing your attention accordingly: what details do you focus on? What details do you omit? And how do you take in and capture those details that you do choose to zoom in on? In other words, how do you maximize your brain attic’s potential? …Everything we choose to notice has the potential to become a future furnishing of our attics.’

http://bit.ly/2gb0jdo

Stop Forcing Introverts To Speak In Class. There Are Better Ways.

‘Class participation is often a significant portion of a student’s grade, and I have felt pressured to force myself to speak in order to meet the participation requirements, as do many introverts. But I was fortunate to have a teacher who offered an alternative, and I strongly encourage other teachers to do the same. How can a teacher recognize an introverted student and support him or her?’

http://bit.ly/2g2etd9

What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

‘Negative consequences, timeouts, and punishment just make bad behavior worse. But a new approach really works.’

http://bit.ly/2xyX6vM

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Malcolm Dixon: Time to discuss primary school education

‘I don’t know if anyone else noticed but primary school education was seldom mentioned throughout the election campaign and yet for everyone with children or grandchildren education plays an extremely important part in their lives. Why didn’t the Government mention it? In my opinion it was the legacy of the Parata regime and there is very little to celebrate and the current minister is completely out of touch with reality.’

http://bit.ly/2kHTQYU

This Is What Teachers Need And Aren’t Getting

‘An important category of educators: teachers with a high level of professional freedom will be extinct by 2033 if the current rate of loss continues. Like most endangered creatures, their habitat is threatened. When you were a child they were present in every city and town in the United States, but now their world has changed. They can be found only in rare, hospitable environments’

http://bit.ly/2xA7j6k

Raising the bar with flexible grouping

‘Professor Christine Rubie-Davies, a leading researcher in the field of teacher expectations, is based at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work. In this blog Christine challenges the practice of grouping students by ability, arguing that it constrains learning.’

http://bit.ly/2i6fTYu

We Need to Trust Teachers to Innovate

‘If we want to see innovation happening in our schools, we need to trust, encourage, and empower teachers to transform their practice. Too often, teachers are forced to teach inside the box and it can feel frustrating. In this post, I explore why teachers are the innovators, what’s getting in the way, and what we can do about it.’

http://bit.ly/2kIbcVv

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Einstein, Darwin, da Vinci & Mozart et all – lessons from the Masters. Based on the book ‘Mastery’ by Robert Greene.

An education to develop the gifts and talents of all students.

‘Developing an education system premised on developing the talents and gifts of all students has always been my vision. Unfortunately schooling has been more about standardisation and conformity – sorting and grading of students. National Standards with its emphasis on literacy and numeracy at the expense of other areas of endeavour, is the most recent iteration of this standardised approach.’

http://bit.ly/1ru4wpP

Does your classroom have the ‘wow’ factor?

The first sign of ‘wow’ is the overall first impression the room gives you. The feeling you get is that you are indeed in special place. There is a feeling of positive relationships between teacher and learners and often parents are to be seen quietly helping students. Other students seem to be working without supervision. A quick look around the walls, covered with students creativity gives an impression that this is a room dedicated to the students themselves.’

http://bit.ly/1FxlCvx

Education Readings October 6th

By Allan Alach

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

How to improve the school results: not extra maths but music, loads of it

Thanks to Al Ingham for this article.

‘But at Feversham, the headteacher, Naveed Idrees, has embedded music, drama and art into every part of the school day, with up to six hours of music a week for every child, and with remarkable results. Seven years ago Feversham was in special measures and making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Today it is rated “good” by Ofsted and is in the top 10% nationally for pupil progress in reading, writing and maths, according to the most recent data.’

http://bit.ly/2klQVoC

Helicopter Parents Need To Let Teachers Do Their Jobs

‘Ms. Streeter realized that “one of the greatest challenges for teachers and principals is dealing with stressed, over-reaching parents who, like me, can’t see the bigger picture. What ostensibly counts as supportive parenting can sometimes inadvertently disadvantage a child.”’

http://bit.ly/2kqWNx8

Education “Reform” Is a Right-Wing Movement

‘Support for charter proliferation goes hand-in-hand with a lack of support for adequate and equitable public school funding. No wonder the political right, which has set the accumulation of wealth for a small elite as its highest priority, loves the charter movement. Second, the ties between SA and the political right highlight a clear reality: The charter school movement is, at its core, an anti-teachers union movement. Unions have been the backbone of the Democratic Party for years — especially public sector unions. And the teachers unions have been pretty much the last vestige of professional unionism.’

http://bit.ly/2yHUkk4

How modern are ‘modern’ or ‘innovative’ learning environments in NZ?

Not very …

‘As Benade argues, a school is not a school until/unless it is about the quality of the learning that goes on inside it. Examples like Strachan’s and Somerset’s show us that these conceptions of modern learning had their roots firmly planted a long time ago in the educational soil of New Zealand. When educators dare to innovate, then conceptions of modern and innovative learning can flourish and thrive.’

http://bit.ly/2yHUo3i

The Pedagogy Of John Dewey: A Summary

‘John Dewey is one of the giants in the history of educational theory, and it’s difficult to isolate one of his specific theories to discuss here. He was influential in so many areas of educational reform, that to choose one theme would do him a disservice, so I will highlight several of the areas in which he was ahead of his time.’

http://bit.ly/2ypQ9x3

Caution: Chromebooks

This article by Gary Stager has sure got people talking.

‘The Chromebook might be sufficient if you believe that the primary purpose of school to be taking notes, looking stuff up, completing forms, and communication. I find this to be an impoverished view of both learning and computing. Children need and deserve more. If you find such uses compelling, kids already own cellphones capable of performing such tasks.’

http://bit.ly/2gcKU98

Education Isn’t the Key to a Good Income

A growing body of research debunks the idea that school quality is the main determinant of economic mobility.  Another neoliberal tenet bites the dust.

‘This “rags to riches” tale embodies one of America’s most sacred narratives: that no matter who you are, what your parents do, or where you grow up, with enough education and hard work, you too can rise the economic ladder. A body of research has since emerged to challenge this national story, casting the United States not as a meritocracy but as a country where castes are reinforced by factors like the race of one’s childhood neighbors and how unequally income is distributed throughout society.’

http://theatln.tc/2xi0mXo

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

National Standards Plus

Current negotiations to establish the next government in New Zealand have a good likelihood of bringing about the end of national standards. However, if this fails to happen, then this is what we will be seeing.

‘The government would have parents being updated in real time every and any progress their child is making in National Standards throughout the school day. They’re calling this ‘National Standards Plus’, largely because of the additional time and energy that is going to be chewing into teachers already busy schedule. The additional testing, the additional data gathering, the additional reporting and notifying and uploading to the app’s system. All this PLUS actually teaching the children.’

http://bit.ly/2xixnma

Consider yourself a ‘visual’ or ‘auditory’ learner? Turns out, there’s not much science behind learning styles.

‘The idea that people have different styles of learning — that the visually inclined do best by seeing new information, for example, or others by hearing it — has been around since the 1950s, and recent research suggests it’s still widely believed by teachers and laypeople alike. But is there scientific evidence that learning styles exist?’

http://bit.ly/2yHTK5S

Children considered ‘average’ miss out as teachers focus elsewhere, report warns

‘Children labelled “average” by teachers are missing out because more focus goes on those at the bottom of the class, a report has found.Experts say children who are classified in the middle range risk having late-blooming ability ignored as teachers assume they are neither struggling nor overachieving.’

http://bit.ly/2xTQ9SQ

Bigger classrooms, bigger problems

‘ILE designs are flexible, allowing for multiple learning areas and activities within the one large space. Generally they are open-plan and can encompass several year groups within the one space.The Ministry’s intention is that by 2021 all classrooms will be modernised according to its prescribed ILE standards.Support for this policy is far from universal among education academics and teachers, with many highly critical of ILEs and how they are being implemented.’

http://bit.ly/2xgD1Ky

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

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

Teaching in Modern Learning Environments (MLEs)/ Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs)

‘A number of trends have influenced the way schools and classrooms have been organised over the decades; trends moving from traditional classroom teaching to  a more student centred learning – from ‘the sage on the stage to the guide on the side’ .Today we now have the concept of ‘innovative learning environments’  linked with the development of ‘modern learning environments’.’

http://bit.ly/1VKweOv

Education Readings September 29th

By Allan Alach

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

Preschool teachers need better training in science

Not just preschool teachers …

‘Gerde said preschool teachers may struggle with science due to lack of quality training, preparation or an aversion to science. Teachers may also feel pressure from policymakers and school administrators to focus on literacy — to the possible exclusion of science.’

http://bit.ly/2fAmqd6

Another Example of Less Teaching Leading to More Learning

Delinquent boys made huge academic gains when freed from classroom lessons.

‘The experiment was started in January, 1924, and lasted until the beginning of June that year. During that period the boys were excused from regular school classes and, instead, were assigned to a special room created for them in a technical school. The room was equipped with desks, blackboards, a large table, and a collection of books, including storybooks, nonfiction works, and textbooks for the various grades. The boys were given standard academic achievement tests in January and again, four months later, in May.’

http://bit.ly/2xyclnP

Could You Teach Naked?

Don’t panic – its not what you think!

‘Every September it seems like there’s a new Whole School Initiative hitting the fan. As the Headteacher takes the podium on that first inset day, you hold your breath, waiting to find out what new, quirky trend will permeate your staff meetings for the year ahead…

But what if your headteacher stood up and told you that this month is all about #NakedTeaching?…

Are you game for it?’

http://bit.ly/2yIoqEY

11 Research-Based Classroom Management Strategies

‘Do unresolved behavior issues keep you awake at night thinking about what strategies might enhance responsible decision making and increase academic learning time? It’s natural to feel personally and professionally challenged—as I have, too many times to count.

The good news is that there are some research-based strategies called kernels that you can add to your classroom management toolkit.’

http://edut.to/2y9V9pC

Those Who Can’t

Variation of the original, supposedly written by George Bernard Shaw.

T’hose who can’t,

Teach.

For example,

Those who can’t sit alone at a desk all day,

Whose energy demands movement and interaction,

Teach ….’

http://bit.ly/2xMb7Fl

Tech’s push to teach coding isn’t about kids’ success – it’s about cutting wages

Just in case you were wondering why coding has jumped on the bandwagon:

‘Yet it rests on a fundamentally flawed premise. Contrary to public perception, the economy doesn’t actually need that many more programmers. As a result, teaching millions of kids to code won’t make them all middle-class. Rather, it will proletarianize the profession by flooding the market and forcing wages down – and that’s precisely the point.’

http://bit.ly/2xyps8B

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Does Mindfulness Actually Work in Schools?

‘A research team in Chicago has spent a year studying whether students who are taught to be in touch with their emotions do better academically. And they say the initial results are promising.Perhaps counterintuitively, when kids take a break from a classroom lesson on the solar system to spend a quiet moment alone watching a three-minute nature video, or participate in a teacher-guided breathing exercise with their class after lunch, they seem to become better overall students. That’s likely because the children have a renewed sense of focus.’

http://theatln.tc/2yaAH7W

The Curious Incident of the Choice-Based Classroom

‘Don’t touch things without permission. Only ask questions when it’s appropriate. Generally, by the middle of 2nd grade, our students have internalized these messages regarding respect and orderliness in the classroom. As a K–8 visual arts teacher, I’ve noticed how students’ innate curiosity about their surroundings diminishes as the years go by, often at the prompting of well-intentioned teachers reminding students to “wait and see” what materials they’ll need before touching anything. Although I do appreciate the lesson in respect, I sympathize with my students, knowing that feeling that paint brush on their hand or squishing the clay with their fingers would pique their curiosity for learning.’

http://bit.ly/2xGYpHt

Increased stress pushing principals away, departing school leader says

‘The principal of a top Taranaki school has resigned after 12 years in the role – and says other school leaders have congratulated him for getting out of an increasingly stressful profession. Charles Gibson is one of five Taranaki principals and deputy principals leaving their posts this year.While Gibson said he was mostly leaving Lepperton Primary School because it is “the right time to do something a little different”, he warned the stresses of the job, national standards, and a lack of respect for teachers from the Ministry of Education had all been contributing factors and were putting others off taking up top positions.’

http://bit.ly/2yaX25l

Facts Don’t Change People’s Minds. Here’s What Does

Something to consider when debating education with others:

‘Drowning the other person with facts, I assumed, was the best way to prove that global warming is real, the war on drugs has failed, or the current business strategy adopted by your risk-averse boss with zero imagination is not working.

Since then, I’ve discovered a significant problem with this approach.

It doesn’t work.’

http://bit.ly/2x001by

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

A living world – the end of industrial aged thinking.

‘It is time we appreciated that the ‘machine age’ is over. The idea that ‘man’ can control and dominate everything has had terrible environmental and social consequences. It is far better to see the world, and all our organizations, as living systems and to see our role as part of a range of integrated systems than underpin all life. This ‘systems thinking’ is the new ‘world view’ that we all need to learn to appreciate. Strangely enough the concept has direct links with earlier indigenous wisdom that everything is interrelated, often in ways we can’t at first recognize.’

http://bit.ly/2fRJlNJ

Educational failure – it is all about poverty

‘In recent years, though, we have gained considerable insights into the pre-requisites for human fulfilment. Health and security may be at the top of the list, but we also thrive on community, fairness, bonding, altruism, playfulness and celebration. Politicians would do well to look to these biological principals.’

http://bit.ly/1GBnzV9

Education Readings September 22nd

By Allan Alach

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

Don’t Say “Times” When Teaching Multiplication (And What to Say Instead)

‘Choosing our words carefully can have a big impact on student understanding, especially when it comes to multiplication. Make this small change to your multiplication vocabulary today, so students can better visualize and comprehend this important concept.

The word “times” doesn’t mean anything to students.’

http://bit.ly/2xkf8Pa

Should we ‘pupil’ kids or ‘NAPLAN’ them?

Phil Cullen:

‘Australia’s casual indifference to the effects of mass testing on the learning progress of its school children, and its penchant for using children for excessive periods of school time for ‘test-prep’, as if they are mere  inanimate objects available for the collection of  data, contains the seeds for its developing inabilities as a nation to mix with the world at large.’

http://bit.ly/2hhXmbl

Most primary classes ‘get less than two hours of science a week’

If I had my way, Science would be a major part of children’s learning experiences at school. The article is about England but I fear it applies all over.

‘Three in 10 primary teachers did not receive any support to teach science last year, according to Wellcome Trust study Many UK primary schools are teaching science for the equivalent of less than two hours a week, according to a study. A report commissioned by the Wellcome Trust argues that the subject is not being given enough priority or time by most of the nation’s primaries.’

http://bit.ly/2xgHnAK

Cooperative Conflict: Neither Concurrence Nor Debate

By Alfie Kohn.

I’ve been to a workshop run by the Johnson brothers – one of my best professional development experiences. I strongly recommend exploring their work.

‘The good news is that we aren’t forced to choose between creating a classroom in which students must arrive at an artificial consensus and one in which conflict is present but manifests itself as an adversarial exercise.  The alternative is to invite disagreement but nest it in caring and a framework of shared goals. This has been called cooperative conflict, constructive controversy, or, in a poetic turn of phrase by the brothers and social scientists Roger and David Johnson, “friendly excursions into disequilibrium.”’

http://bit.ly/2wHTwtR

Opinion: The value of ‘slow schools’

‘The “slow education” movement, was founded by Maurice Holt in the UK, who advocated that schools should provide students with time to engage in deep learning, curiosity and reflection. This led advocates of this approach to oppose the use of high-stakes testing and rapid improvement in favour of more time spent developing collaborative and supportive classroom relationships for learning.’

http://bit.ly/2xnTACD

A textbook dilemma: Digital or paper?

‘Do we learn better from printed books than digital versions? The answer from researchers is a qualified yes.’

http://bit.ly/2wHuXxq

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

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

Portfolios hold new promise for school

‘Decades ago, portfolio assessment—using samples of classroom work to document students’ progress toward learning goals—meant finding room for bulging binders stuffed with paper. But digital technologies that make it far easier to collect, curate, share and store student work have dismantled the physical barriers that once made portfolio assessment daunting. Schools are now taking a fresh look at the practice.’

http://bit.ly/2xgKLeR

10 Surefire Ideas to Remove Writing Roadblocks

‘So you want to teach writing well. It’s not as hard as you think. Yes, it’s a challenge, but it can be exhilarating.I believe writing – more than anything we teach – has the power to change students’ lives, for them to see themselves, sometimes for the first time, as smart thinkers and writers across the curriculum.’

http://bit.ly/2fbiGei

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Time for a rebirth of the creative spirit

‘In the early 50s primary education was a very formal and inflexible affair. By the 70s a major revolution had occurred and today we take for granted the colorful child centred classrooms of our primary schools. Early educational innovators came to believe in ‘education through art’. Such teachers embraced enthusiastically: the writing of poetry, movement, dance and drama, story telling, myths and legends, social studies and natural science, the making of creative music, and of course a wide experience of the arts and crafts, including clay and paint – and at the same time the arts of the Maori were introduced.’

http://bit.ly/1Vh3awH

Henry Giroux – lessons for New Zealand educators. Revitalizing the role of public education.

Time to call an end to neo liberal free market drivel before we ruin our country.

‘There is no doubt that current political leadership, influenced by a neo –liberal philosophy of small government, individualism and the need to privatise of all aspects of living has led to the erosion of the belief in the common good resulting in a growing gap between so called ‘winners and losers’.The winners are the financial and corporate elite – the one percent.The corporate and financial elite, right wing think tanks –and extreme fundamentalist political groups (the Tea Party in America and the ACT party in New Zealand) are increasingly focusing on privatisation.’

http://bit.ly/18ntJX8

Experience and Education – John Dewey 1938

Time to listen to John Dewey again?

Maybe, as the self centred greedy capitalism of the West is crumbling, the time is right to develop a new democratic vision for the 21st Century. John Dewey’s book Experience and Education provides idea to think about for the century ahead of us? Dewey wrote extensively about the relationship between education and democracy (1916) – a link that those in power today choose to ignore but what better place to establish democratic ideals through example than the school.’

http://bit.ly/17J12HR

Education Readings September 15th

By Allan Alach

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

Data Driven Into the Weeds

‘Having a data-driven school has been all the rage for a while now, because when you express your ideas, thoughts, and biases in numbers, they qualify as “facts,” whereas judgment expressed in words obviously lacks data-rich factiness, and so should be ignored. Yes, the fact that I am 100% an English teacher may make me about 62% bitter about the implied valuing of numbers over words; I’d say I’m at about 7 on the 11-point Bitterness Scale, and that’s a fact.’

http://bit.ly/2vUFcPc

Don’t Spend A Penny On Education Technology Until This Is Clear

‘This ‘keeping up with the Jones” is a familiar practice, especially in anything related to technology. That approach, though, can lead to imbalanced education policy, mediocre edtech programs, and a lot of wasted money. Integrating education technology is a complex thing that depends entirely on local and constantly changing factors.’

http://bit.ly/2h3tRGx

Why Students Should Take the Lead in Parent-Teacher Conferences

‘But at schools built on Deeper Learning principles, the meetings are often turned into student-led conferences, with students presenting their schoolwork, while their teachers, having helped them prepare, sit across the table, or even off to the side. The triad then sits together to review and discuss the work and the student’s progress. The message, once again, is that the students are responsible for their own success.’

http://bit.ly/2x24UUY

The Power of Visualization in Math

‘The power of this moment, the change in the learning environment, and the excitement of my fifth graders as they could not only understand but explain to others what the problem was about convinced me it was worth the effort to pursue visualization and try to answer these questions: Is there a process to unlock visualizations in math? And are there resources already available to help make mathematics visual?’

http://edut.to/2xzgzMH

How can teachers introduce forest school principles to their curriculum?

‘More commonly, forest school is part of a bigger educational mix in which pupils enjoy time outdoors perhaps once a week, but the same principles apply: a drive to build young people’s independence and self-esteem through experiencing the natural world. Lili Pluck, forest school assistant at Ashdon, says: “It’s about learning to realise what is around you, appreciate nature and enjoy the freedom, space and sense of peace.”’

http://bit.ly/2y6NKUH

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

The Internet Is Killing Creativity – And Analog Is About to Make a Comeback

‘In some ways, I think the internet has made it harder to become creative because it encourages us to be interested in all the wrong things. (Note: I differentiate between becoming smarter–educating yourself on every topic ever, which the internet is like freakin’ fantastic at, and being creative. Artistically putting yourself out there.) Why my negativity around creativity?’

http://bit.ly/2xZTCht

Sir Ken Robinson on how schools are stifling students’ creativity

‘While many Canadian educators struggle to find the solution to students’ declining math scores, there’s one expert who says we may be looking at the problem the wrong way. Sir Ken Robinson – education guru, author and adviser – says relentless testing and the push for standardized scores are destroying students’ imagination and talent. He argues that schools are stifling instead of nurturing kids’ creativity.’

http://bit.ly/2vUPnU2

Reasons Today’s Kids Are Bored At School, Feel Entitled, Have Little Patience & Few Real Friends

‘Today’s kids come to school emotionally unavailable for learning. There are many factors in our modern lifestyle that contribute to this. As we know, the brain is malleable. Through environment, we can make the brain “stronger” or make it “weaker”. I truly believe that, despite all our greatest intentions, we unfortunately remold our children’s brains in the wrong direction.’

http://bit.ly/2vV7Kbc

A Haeata student gives her view on modern learning

‘Three years ago when we knew some of our local schools would be closing, my school, Aranui Primary, started what was called “modern learning”. At first it was really weird and we didn’t know what we were doing, but then the teachers got trained in modern learning. Over three years we changed the way we learnt to the way that best suits us so we could self-manage, but not too much depending on how good you were at self-managing. We had stages: Manager, Self-Managed, Self-Directed, and Self-Driven.’

http://bit.ly/2vUgVsN

The Troubling Trend to Collect Behavioral Data on ALL Children

‘As school starts, many parents are being bombarded with information about behavioral data collection on their children. A lot of this is tied to the trendy push for social-emotional learning (SEL), and the attempt to connect behavior with a child’s ability to read and do well in school. But it’s troubling to see schools monitoring the behavior of every child so tightly. Children will not have perfect behavior.’

http://bit.ly/2vVc5vi

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Back to school to see what really happens in the classroom – Nigel Latta

‘In recent years politicians from the ‘right’ have given the impression that our schools are failing – our current Minister is fond of saying ‘one in five of our children are failing’ and that the introduction of National Standards will solve the situation.  ‘We so often hear stories about how standards have fallen,’ said Latta, ‘that you would be forgiven for thinking the sky has fallen in’.’

http://bit.ly/1C9DHuX

For New Zealand readers – a few articles to consider before the general election on September 23rd, which will hopefully see the end of national standards and charter schools.

National Standards – which Parties will keep them and which will ditch them?

‘It’s election time again, but before choosing which Party to vote for, make sure you know what their education policies are – and pay attention to what isn’t mentioned, too. This time we are looking at National Standards.’

http://bit.ly/2vVfSJ5

Election questions are for all of us

Before we settle on which political party to support this election, let’s ask a few questions of ourselves. An election is traditionally an opportunity to ask questions of would-be politicians. More fruitfully, it’s an opportunity to ask questions of ourselves. Questions to candidates will then follow, but the self-examination is actually the more valuable for democratic engagement.

http://bit.ly/2wYjZrw

Nigel Latta: The New ‘Haves and Have Nots’ – Time for Moral Leadership in New Zealand

As we begin to focus on the upcoming elections it is surely time to move away from on the personalities of leaders and to focus on the real issues facing our country.

The programme was a serious attempt to get to the core of inequality in NZ and its consequences for us all.Once NZ had one of the highest home ownership figures in the world and we didn’t see examples of extreme wealth. Latta is careful to say he is not against people doing well but he was stunned to learn that over the past decades the gap between the rich and poor in NZ has widened more than anywhere in the Western World.’

http://bit.ly/1slX9hB

Government gets an F for education

‘OPINION: My verdict on the Government’s track record in education is that it is an epic fail.

The reasons for this verdict are many and varied, but I will focus on three main areas:

1. Our student achievement data is declining nationally

2. Ideology is overriding evidence

3. Trust has been completely eroded in the sector achievement data’

http://bit.ly/2eXerD5

Education Readings September 8th

By Allan Alach

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

Why I Teach

‘Every action, every thought spent on these children is holy. The tiniest gesture is magnified through infinite time and space. When I help a child gain confidence in her reading, I help not just her. I help everyone she will ever come into contact with –her co-workers, her friends, family, even her own children if she someday has some.’

http://bit.ly/2wDDODx

How can teachers encourage more girls to study mathematics?

‘As a maths teacher at a large sixth form college, I’m concerned by the disproportion of female students in the department. I spoke to three groups of girls in year 12 about their experiences; one not studying maths, those studying single maths, and those studying double maths. Based on their feedback, I have the following suggestions for encouraging more girls to take the subject at A-level.’

http://bit.ly/2wDZcIO

Imagined futures 5: Robot teachers?

Steve Wheeler:

‘In a conversation with Sugata Mitra several years ago, the novelist Arthur C. Clarke stated: ‘Any teacher who can be replaced by a computer … should be.’ 

Clarke was right of course. Teachers cannot be compared to machines, and should certainly never function as such. If they do, then they aren’t teaching.’

http://bit.ly/2w4JKlo

Spinning Plates

‘Workload is the issue that won’t go away, perhaps quite rightly so, it is not sorted. As teachers, and leaders, we are plate spinners. However, we sometimes need to work out what plates we can afford to drop. This is perhaps the single most important question that all of us should be asking – if I don’t do this, what will happen?’

http://bit.ly/2f1WFih

Why Teaching Kindness in Schools Is Essential to Reduce Bullying

‘Kindness changes the brain by the experience of kindness. Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it. Kindness is best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it.’

http://edut.to/2w4ShVl

If I was teaching Social Studies today…

‘Some folks know that I started my education career as a middle school Social Studies teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina. If I was still doing that now, I would be incredibly excited because so many wonderful resources would be available to my classroom. For instance, if I was teaching Social Studies today…’

http://bit.ly/2wFcSDl

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Nine reasons National Standards aren’t working (and other issues with our education system)

‘Sometime during the 1970s, jet engines superseded propeller driven planes for most domestic air travel in New Zealand, as it had for pretty much all international flights. The same should now happen to an archaic back-to-basics system like National Standards, which a modern understanding of effective teaching and learning had rendered out of date before they were even introduced.’

http://bit.ly/2wDhbij

Embracing Failure: Building a Growth Mindset Through the Arts

“Students have to take risks,” says Cristina Gonzalez, the former chair of NMSA’s visual arts department. “That’s something that is so unique to learning in the arts. Great art comes from risk taking, from being willing to fail. Maybe it will work. Maybe I’ll discover something about myself, something about my capacity that I wasn’t even aware of, and that’s so exciting for a student.”

http://edut.to/2eD8jQ0

How To Weave Growth Mindset Into School Culture

‘The Academy of Health and Medicine, a small learning community within Arroyo High School in California, has been pioneering a focused approach to teaching growth mindset that starts with Strong Start, a summer institute that incoming ninth-graders are highly encouraged to attend.”We’ll purposefully try to put them in situations where they’ll be uncomfortable, and yet not feel vulnerable — it’s a kinda fine line we walk — and then provide opportunities for them to work their way through it and find some success,” said Jim Clark, who helped start the program.’

http://bit.ly/2eMBdAO

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The teacher’s role in the creative process.

‘Authentic problems are not hard to find if you listen to your students and enter into dialogue with them. Perhaps some favourite dog or cat has died. An older brother or sister is getting married. A new baby has been born. A grandparent is very sick. Dad has bought a new car. A tree has burst into bloom. There has been a flood.They mightn’t sound like a curriculum but they are things that really matter, they cause anxiety or delight, and need a resolution. This is the reality of the children in your classroom but how often do you see this world celebrated?’

http://bit.ly/2f4Vizo

Learning is about constructing meaning.

‘Marie Clay was ‘constructivist’ or more accurately a ‘co-constructivist’ believing, like such researchers as Jerome Bruner, Piaget and Vygotsky that students create their own meanings and that this is best achieved by sensitive teacher interaction, always leaving the responsibility of learning in the child’s hands. Holdaway(79)calls this need to make meaning a ‘semantic drive’ – one that it put at risk by insensitive teachers who do not value student creativity as the source for all learning.’

http://bit.ly/1kV5g08

Cathy Wylie outlines new wave of change for New Zealand Schools!

‘In the 1980s a new political ideology swept through Anglo American countries. It was a time of dramatic change as the democratic welfare state was replaced by  what has come to be known as a ‘Market Forces business oriented’ approach based on small government, valuing self-interest, privatisation, competition, choice and accountability. This neo liberal approach was believed to be the only way to cope with dramatic worsening worldwide economic circumstances. A common phrase at the time was TINA (there is no alternative).New Zealand was not immune.’

http://bit.ly/TNlnzy