Education Readings March 24th

By Allan Alach

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

Why even the world’s highest-scoring schools need to change

‘Marion Brady is a veteran educator who has long argued that public schools in the United States need a paradigm shift. The core curriculum, he says, does not meet the needs of today’s students, and schools fail to do the most important thing they should be doing. He explains in the following post.’

http://wapo.st/2mUwwq0

You Probably Believe Some Learning Myths: Take Our Quiz To Find Out

‘We all want for our kids to have optimal learning experiences and, for ourselves, to stay competitive with lifelong learning. But how well do you think you understand what good learning looks like?

Ulrich Boser says, probably not very well.’ 

http://n.pr/2noFahe

We should be cautious about classroom tech

‘However, before we blithely fall off the digital cliff face like pixelated lemmings, we do need to assess the effect of our coming bout with the big gorilla. Education has always been about freeing ourselves from the coercive effect of ideology so that we can live informed lives free from superstition or marketing. However, today we are on the cusp of hitching ourselves to big business with very little empirical research on the effect of technology in schools.’

http://bit.ly/2mVYvDf

Most people are secretly threatened by creativity

‘Creativity is highly prized in Western society—much touted by cultures that claim to value individualism and the entrepreneurial spirit. But scratch beneath the surface, and it turns out that a lot of schools and businesses aren’t actually all that excited about bold new ideas. By and large, we tend to be threatened by creativity—and eager to shut it down.’

http://bit.ly/2nDPS3I

Finger painting as fun, learning and an act of resistance.

“Looking through some old pics of student art work I am reminded that one of the things that drove teacher-hating trolls the most nuts was that I, an elementary Art teacher, was paid a full teacher’s salary for “finger painting with kids.” So I always made sure that during the school year that is exactly what I did. And post it. Kids love to finger paint and it is messy! And I was paid in full.”

http://bit.ly/2neFyhO

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Personalising education by introducing the spiritual dimension – an antidote to linear standardised teaching

Bruce’s latest article:

‘I have just been looking at a book ,’Learning by Wandering: an Ancient Irish Perspective for a Digital World’  sent to me  because the Irish author Marie Martin had made use of some of my writing from an e-zine I wrote in 2009. I felt it a bit of a honour to be included in her book alongside well recognized international  educational writers she made reference to.

http://bit.ly/2noGBw0

Why high-flying Singapore wants more than grades

‘The next update of the education system will have to ensure that Singapore can create a more equitable society, build a stronger social compact among its people while at the same time develop capabilities for the new digital economy. Government policies are moving away from parents and students’ unhealthy obsession with grades and entry to top schools and want to put more emphasis on the importance of values. Schools have been encouraged, especially for the early elementary years, to scrap standardised examinations and focus on the development of the whole child.’

http://bbc.in/2mu91pf

Ignorance Might Be the Best Thing For Your Creative Mind

‘There is no right and standard prescription for creative work. Creativity requires some form of knowledge. But knowledge alone is not useful unless you can make meaningful connections. A more refined design and an efficient implementation are not absolute guarantees of success.

http://bit.ly/2nTbq9V

Educators argue creativity just as important as literacy and numeracy in national curriculum

‘The Federal Government-commissioned report released in October last year recommended Australia’s school curriculum should refocus teaching in early childhood years on literacy and numeracy. But some Sydney schools are worried if there is a shift away from fostering creative and critical thinking skills, students will not learn the skills needed when they enter the workforce.’

http://ab.co/2nKu9Yk

Is school ‘killing’ your child’s creativity? And does this matter?

‘Rote learning, controlling teachers and a “fixation” on standardised tests are crushing children’s creativity, according to a school principal who is on a mission to change things.’

http://ab.co/2noKJfH

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

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

‘These days learning using technology – exploring the ‘virtual’ world, seems to the latest ‘silver bullet’ and, all too often, this is at the expense of developing an awareness and appreciation of the real world.’

http://bit.ly/1xo3Ndi

The Way David Hockney Sees It.

‘Hockney’s skill has been his ability to make fresh pictures many based on real technical skill. While I was in England I picked up on an newspaper interview with Hockney and feel some of his ideas are worth sharing  with educators.’

http://bit.ly/2chHAYM

Education Readings March 17th

By Allan Alach

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

Writing is more beneficial for learning than typing, according to these scientists

‘”When the students were drawing the word we saw that the brain was active in larger areas and also in a very particular way that is indicative of being beneficial for learning,” said van der Weel. The researchers found that when your motor skills are involved, the way nerve cells communicated with each other was found to be better for processing information, he explained. Van der Meer added that using a pen in the process of writing or drawing is often slower than typing — forcing people to process what they’re hearing or seeing, compared with passively typing.’

http://on.mash.to/2nGsRd8

Flogging Dead Horses

‘Our model of schooling is more than 100 years old and has barely changed in that time

The rest of society – our industrial practices, technology, the media we use, our leisure activities, the global scope of our world, communication systems – has undergone a revolution.’

‘The original purpose of school – designed to sort and sift; to separate sheep and goats – is now redundant.  We need 100% of students to be skilled and capable citizens able to contribute positive agency to both their economic and social world.’

http://bit.ly/2nph6vd

Teacher Quality: A Reader in 2017

‘“The continual dumbing-down of the preparation of teachers is not without consequences.”

I would argue that the “dumbing-down” is about the false attack on “bad” teachers as the primary or even single cause of low student achievement among, specifically, vulnerable students. And the ugly consequence of that assault has been increasing accountability over teacher certification and teacher evaluation (such as using value-added methods) and thus demonizing teachers without improving teaching or learning.’

http://bit.ly/2npdHgf

Busting the attention span myth

‘You probably won’t get to the end of this article. Everyone knows our attention spans are getting shorter. It’s just obvious. Or is it?’

http://bbc.in/2mQmOVw

12 ways to really make Genius Hour work in your class

‘It’s a class unlike anything you’d see at almost any school. But at heart, it’s driven by the same thing that drives Genius Hour: helping kids pursue what’s important to them and what’s important to the people they serve. Genius Hour is the idea of giving students 20 percent of their class time to pursue projects related to their passions. The concept is broad and intentionally open-ended, and the results can be phenomenal.’

http://bit.ly/2mQjzxB

The changing skill set of the learning professional

‘It comes as a surprise to no-one that learning professionals are operating in a very different world to those of a generation ago. I’d like to highlight four changes in particular that impact heavily on the skill set of the learning professional.’

http://bit.ly/2nGsbV9

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

How Integrating Arts Into Other Subjects Makes Learning Come Alive

‘Art has long been recognized as an important part of a well-rounded education — but when it comes down to setting budget priorities, the arts rarely rise to the top. Many public schools saw their visual, performing and musical arts programs cut completely during the last recession. A few schools are taking the research to heart, weaving the arts into everything they do and finding that the approach not only boosts academic achievement but also promotes creativity, self-confidence and school pride.’

http://bit.ly/2npf1PX

Brava Art Press, Visual Art for Children, Teachers and Parents

An Art site schools might like to join?

‘Children who participate in the Brava Art Visual Art Program express their thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and at the same time, they develop their own symbols and techniques to create their art works.As artists, children are encouraged to rely on the concept of personal freedom and expression – utilizing a variety of both new and old materials – to transform this Visual Art Program into a very creative adventure.’

http://bit.ly/2ntQqGr

Seeing Struggling Math Learners as ‘Sense Makers,’ Not ‘Mistake Makers’

The need to develop an activity based maths programme.

’In discussions of progressive and constructivist teaching practices, math is often the odd subject out. Teachers and schools that are capable of creating real-world, contextualized, project-based learning activities in every other area of school often struggle to do the same for mathematics, even as prospective employers and universities put more emphasis on its importance.’

http://bit.ly/28LOvo8

Want to Raise Successful Boys? Science Says Do This (but their schools probably won’t)

‘This is a story about successful kids (especially boys), common sense, and research.

Most of us spend hours each day sitting at work. Science says it’s killing us, and we have developed all kinds of fads to combat it–from standing desks to smartphone alerts to get us up and moving. Armed with that knowledge, however, what do we force our kids to do each day at school? Sit still, for six or eight hours. Now researchers say that mistake leads us into a three-pronged, perfect storm of problems:’

http://on.inc.com/2muwwdS

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Mathematics in education and ability grouping

Bruce Hammonds  recently complied a recent blog with developing active maths programmes with links to practical resources for those interested.

‘Recently I had a discussion with some young teachers about the teaching of mathematics in schools – the teachers taught in the middle school area. It didn’t go to well! They have to do what’s expected of them – and that this was  sadly influenced by what the secondary school maths teachers wanted students to have covered! Change requires leadership and a whole school approach.’

http://bit.ly/2mQnaeZ

What do the learners think?

‘The people who know best about what attracts student’s curiosity, or things that worry them, are the students themselves. A visit to even the most child-centred classrooms will find very little reference to students’ questions, views and theories. All too often students are required to respond to what their teachers feel is important for them to learn.’

http://bit.ly/2m22JwW

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

Education Readings March 3rd

By Allan Alach

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

What Australia can learn from Finland’s forested classrooms

‘Children’s brains work better when they are moving, the master teacher explains. Not only do they concentrate better in class, but they are more successful at “negotiating, socialising, building teams and friendships together”.

Finland leads the world in its discovery that play is the most fundamental engine and efficiency-booster of children’s learning.’

http://bit.ly/2lYaq3U

Mainstream schools need to take back responsibility for educating disengaged students

Thanks to Phil Cullen for this article.

‘Exclusion from school places makes vulnerable young people at greater risk of long term unemployment, dependence on welfare, mental health issues and social isolation.

Young people unable to attend mainstream education then need to look for an educational alternative that addresses the complexity of their lives and needs.’

http://bit.ly/2lXBsbp

Our crisis of democracy is a crisis of education

‘I think the challenge is that we have an education system, globally, and very much so in the western world, which is geared towards things that we can measure: particularly ‘academic subjects’ – maths, science, and English. Because these are taught and tested in a way that is eminently measurable. The problem with standardisation is that you end up narrowing the curriculum and narrowing the tuition, so that we can measure success through a quite restrictive testing regime.’

http://bit.ly/2mfIbQG

Rescuing Education Reform from Decades of Post-Truth

‘For those of us involved in education and the education reform movement, however, the negative consequences of post-truth discourse have been around for more than a century—and during the past three decades, a harbinger of what the Trump phenomenon has brought to the U.S.’

http://bit.ly/2mfCzpr

A High School Math Teacher’s First Experience Teaching Elementary School

‘At a workshop in Alameda County last month, I made my standard request for classroom teachers to help me make good on my New Year’s resolution. I assumed all the teachers there taught middle- or high-school so I said yes to every teacher who invited me. Later, I’d find out that one of them taught fourth grade.

As a former high school math teacher, this was NIGHTMARE MATERIAL, Y’ALL.’

http://bit.ly/2mMwRID

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

The way we teach our children is truly crazy

Education in Australia is crazy – a parent’s view

‘Now I can say it.  With my youngest child having safely fled the school system, I can finally say, without fear of jinx or reprisal, that how we educate our kids is insane. It’s not the teachers, who show the normal human range from fine to feeble. Not the particular schools, which included public and private, selective and non-selective. What’s insane is the system and – feeding it, as fear feeds war – an intensifying cultural madness. Not theirs. Ours.’

http://bit.ly/2lUMyzy

Want to be a great parent? Let your children be bored

‘From books, arts and sports classes to iPads and television, many parents do everything in their power to entertain and educate their children. But what would happen if children were just left to be bored from time to time? How would it affect their development?’

http://bit.ly/2lAjsTx

‘An education in the arts is limited to the economically privileged. It is an unjust waste of national talent’

‘A good education should be a preparation for life. It requires the development of the whole child, not merely their intellect. It necessitates students becoming intrinsic learners with self-discipline and a genuine thirst for knowledge, rather than being goaded or corralled, which is what students may become with a single-minded focus on exam results.’

http://bit.ly/1GHLhwE

Stress Literally Shrinks Your Brain (7 Ways To Reverse The Damage)

Here’s an article for teachers:

‘It’s not impossible to reduce your stress levels; you just need to make managing stress a higher priority if you want to reverse this effect. The sooner you start managing your stress effectively, the easier it will be to keep unexpected stress from causing damage in the future.’

http://bit.ly/2lUFbZc

Teacher: A one-size-fits-all approach to instruction is stifling our classrooms

‘Everyone has an opinion about what’s wrong with American education. Classrooms are overcrowded. Funding is misallocated. Segregation persists. Politicians, principals, and academics have rancorous debates over how to best fix our schools. On at least one issue, however, everyone agrees: Students deserve great teachers. But how can we attract — let alone retain — them?’

http://wapo.st/2ldBRtq

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Don’t touch the bananas!!!!

What monkeys and bananas can teach us

“It is always amazing to see how exposure to an environment, or culture, can change how we think without us even knowing – I guess this is called conditioning. New ideas always rely on those individuals who can see reality without the blinkers.The truth however is not always welcome and it is always easier to go along. As Oscar Wilde once said, ‘The truth makes you very unpopular at the club.’”

http://bit.ly/1hLoV7C

Tapping into the student’s world

‘Every student brings with them memories and ideas gained from the experiences they have had. All too often this personal form of motivation is overlooked by teachers who seem to think they have better ideas to use – their own. It is as if students come to school as blank slates (tabula rosa) when instead they come with a wealth of ideas to share but to do their ideas need to be valued.’

http://bit.ly/1LwCrc8

Teachers’ key role in fostering creativity.

It is is worth thinking about the dispositions and pedagogical skills that make a creative teacher.The key attitude is a desire to help every individual student develop his ,or her, own particular set of interests and talents rather than simply ‘delivering’ the curriculum in an innovative way. The curriculum need to ’emerge’ from the students’ felt concerns.’

http://bit.ly/1EUJFm2

Education Readings February 24th

By Allan Alach

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

A new phonics test for Australian six year olds is a BAD idea

As renowned English author Michael Rosen explains, the difference between a phonics test and learning to read is that a phonics test merely requires children to pronounce a list of words, while learning to read is about making meaning of a text.  Phonics is only one part of the literacy story. And there is no evidence that phonics training should precede meaning making in literacy learning. It is much more productive to address decoding skills in meaningful contexts.’

http://bit.ly/2m5KnKM

Should Traditional Teachers Join the Revolution?

‘However my experience is that very few of colleagues make pedagogical choices on the basis of ideology or efficacy, they do what they do to get through the day. Effectively each teacher presents a personal mishmash of entrenched pedagogical styles. It is immensely difficult to persuade colleagues to break their particular pattern because the pattern is a coping strategy.’

http://bit.ly/2mnagSB

Give teaching back to teachers

‘We need to give back to teachers control of the learning agenda. They also need to be supported with high-quality professional experiences. I want to make clear that I am not advocating an ‘anything goes’ approach. Good teachers are prepared to be accountable and responsible for their work and the work of their colleagues. But making them jump through hoop after hoop to justify their existence is draining and disheartening.’

http://bit.ly/2la868t

What Works Can Hurt: Side Effects in Education

Yong Zhao:

‘Educational research has typically focused exclusively on the benefits, intended effects of products, programs, policies, and practices, as if there were no adverse side effects. But side effects exist the same way in education as in medicine. For many reasons, studying and reporting side effects simultaneously as has been mandated for medical products is not common in education.’

http://bit.ly/2lMWNXm

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Designing New Learning Environments to Support 21st Century Skills

A serious read about modern learning environments by Bob Pearlman

This chapter from a recent book outlines the development of creating 21stC learning environments. For schools moving in such directions it is worth the read. a key element of such schools is project base learning with students working collaboratively on authentic tasks to produce of quality. One message is not to put ‘old wine into new bottles’. Obviously purpose built buildings feature but it is the pedagogy that is most important.

http://bit.ly/2ma440X

How can the learning sciences inform the design of 21st century learning environments?

A short and valuable report about the teaching beliefs required to teach in a Innovative Learning Space.

‘Over recent years, learning has moved increasingly centre stage and for a range of powerful reasons. A primary driver has been the scale of change in our world the rapid advances in ICT, the shift to economies based on knowledge, and the emphasis on the skills required to thrive in them. Schools and education systems around the world are having to reconsider their design and approach to teaching and learning. What should schooling, teaching and, most especially, learning look like in this rapidly changing world?’

http://bit.ly/2kXa8YP

Rethinking classroom design to promote creativity and collaboration

‘Modern Learning Environments are the in thing but it’s what happens in them that counts!“The physical design of the space absolutely helps, especially when it comes to promoting collaboration. “It shouldn’t matter whether it’s for high school or college students,” he said. “We have to prepare students for a future that they can’t imagine, and how to succeed in the 21st century, using adaptability, creativity and empathy, along with ethics and problem-solving.”’

http://bit.ly/2m9drkK

Are Teachers Becoming Obsolete?

‘Leaving my school building the other day, I had an unexpected realization: Perhaps a computer was a more effective teacher than I currently was. The thought unnerved me, and still does as I’m writing this. I’m a nearly 13-year veteran educator dedicated to reflecting upon and refining my teaching craft. But I’m now considering the real possibility that, for at least part of a class period or school day, a computer could—and maybe should—replace me.’

http://bit.ly/2lJS7S4

Students Learn from Inquiry, Not Interrogation

‘Almost all students view follow-up questions as attempts to keep them on the “hot seat” and embarrass them for not knowing. And most perceive classroom questioning to be a competition that pits students against one another – Whose hand goes up first? Who answers most frequently? Very few students understand questioning as a process for collaborative exploration of ideas and a means by which teachers and students alike are able to find out where they are in their learning and decide on next step.’

http://bit.ly/2kX3NN5

Always Think Like a Student

‘There are many paths to success, but there is a common thread among them all: learning.The value of being a lifelong learner is immeasurable. We tend to forget this outside of the most obvious situations: at work or in school. What we all need to understand is that there is knowledge to be uncovered everywhere.’

http://bit.ly/2lJTDDP

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Modern Learning Environments (MLEs) are they so new?

‘My impressions of the schools I have visited are that they remind me of  technological futuristic factories and, in some ways, not really relating to real flesh and blood

children. Even the landscaping has been planned by ‘experts’ who like mass planting of natives that are forced to conform to their futuristic roles – amenity planting. Not really gardens – or even natural native gardens.’

http://bit.ly/1Dxahay

Teaching /learning in flexible spaces – Modern Learning Environments MLEs – New Tech High

A bit of history about modern learning environments – a NZ perspective.

“Modern School Environment are the latest iteration of 1970s open plan schools.I am not sure how they will be developed by teachers other than  by those who already have  an open approach to education. Time will tell but the flexibility of such buildings are a  great improvement on the limitations of self contained classrooms – sometimes disparagingly described as ‘single cell classrooms’.”

http://bit.ly/1NUH50e

Education Readings February 17th

By Allan Alach

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

The Writing Process Isn’t Linear. So Why Do Schools Keep Pretending That It Is?

Read this!

‘If you conduct an online image search for “writing process,” you’ll find many charts that lay out the steps—brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, publishing—in a nice linear fashion. It’s as if these visuals assert, “We brainstorm on Monday, draft on Tuesday, etc.”

However, professional writers don’t check off the steps of the writing process as they move through it. As any experienced writer will tell you, the writing process is recursive, not linear.’

http://bit.ly/2lIIxiO

Learning spaces of the third kind

First Steve Wheeler article of the year:

Students carry technology in their pockets, information floats through the air, and the they use their own devices to seek and capture it. There is a sense that learning can occur without the teacher being present in this same space, although the teacher may be there anyway, as a co-learner as much as a facilitator. Education is co-constructed, and the tools and technologies provide the scaffolding to support the learning. Students learn by creating, connecting, discovering and sharing.’

http://bit.ly/2l6os2J

Curiosity Is the Cat

Here’s a Will Richardson article that reminded me of this quote by Albert Einstein “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”

‘I’m becoming more curious about curiosity. I’m beginning to think it’s the only “C” that truly matters, and that it’s been badly disrespected in all the conversation around the 4Cs or 7Cs or howevermanyCs that people have been throwing around.I mean really, when it comes to learning, what comes before curiosity?

Critical thinking doesn’t, because if you’re not curious as to whether something is true or fake or accurate or real, you won’t really think very hard about it.’

http://bit.ly/2l6dIli

Five-Minute Montessori

Many of today’s hot topics in education were addressed by iconic educator Maria Montessori nearly a century ago. The video below (5 1/2 min) – along with this Wikipedia link – provide a quick overview of this method of schooling (the video is an adjunct to a book promotion but still works).’

http://bit.ly/2kvprYm

Why Creativity?

‘I would argue that without creativity there is the danger of not challenging what we do and why we do it. Possibly to go blindly along with what we are told without question for we have no drive, no vision of how things could be different, no need even, to do anything different. Without creativity in our lives, we risk seeing the world only as a series of things we are directed to achieve in the way we are shown to achieve them.  Should we forgo challenge and accept obedience?’

http://bit.ly/2kR3W7S

3 Ways To Encourage Creativity In Your Classroom This Year

‘As educators, when it comes to creativity in the classroom, we can take the path of least resistance and take creativity out of the learning process or we can create an environment that fosters creativity in learning and allow kids to explore their talents. Fostering creativity in learning in the classroom doesn’t have to be complex or complicated. Here are 3 ways you can encourage creativity in your classroom this year.’

http://bit.ly/2kvnwDq

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Breaking the Cycle of “Baby Stuff”

Challenging the Goldilocks Rule

‘For years, teachers have been using simple benchmarks, tests, or other assessment tools to select materials that attempt to align with students’ abilities. This is often known as the Goldilocks Rule—selected books are not too difficult and not too easy but supposedly just right. Unfortunately, this was how all three boys ended up confronting baby stuff at their schools.’

http://bit.ly/2lxw6lX

How to Combine Rigor with Engagement

‘The imperatives are clear. On the one hand, we have an obligation to equip all children with a baseline level of literacy and numeracy. Rooted in concerns about equity and given teeth by recent accountability policies, this obligation has become a central goal of schooling in the United States. On the other hand, however, we know that the basics are no longer enough. To successfully negotiate modern life, adults need the capacity to tackle open-ended problems in creative ways—a capacity that requires both critical-thinking skills and the disposition to persevere.’

http://bit.ly/2lxv4q4

Right-Sized Rigor

‘At the core of our quest to increase rigor is creating a common understanding of rigor that speaks to all students. Too often, we dismiss struggling students as unable to work at rigorous levels. In fact, “Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels; each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels; and each student demonstrates learning at high levels” (Blackburn, 2013).’

http://bit.ly/2kXuNQM

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

What has really changed in our schools the past 50 years?

Reflecting on teaching beliefs – are things better now?

‘The other day I had the opportunity to visit a school I began my career visiting in 1960. During  a discussion with the principal she mentioned the classrooms had been developed into innovative (or flexible) learning environments. I couldn’t help suggesting that I bet the daily classroom programmes/timetables haven’t changed much since I first visited the school 40 plus years ago ( with exception of availability of information technology). If anything the current emphasis on literacy and numeracy had reinforced the timetables of earlier times taking up the morning time with the rest of the Learning Areas squeezed into the afternoon period. Hardly flexible teaching? Hardly progress?’

http://bit.ly/2l1USO8

Educational Quotes 5: Leadership and Teamwork

Some quotes on leadership to think about.

‘Imposed bureaucratic ‘top down’ changes have resulted in school being ‘over managed and under led.’ Now is the time for courageous leaders, at all levels, to emerge and add their ‘voices’ to the debate. There are no experts with ‘the answer’ – we will have to invent the future ourselves together as we go along.’ 

http://bit.ly/1vGrNDD

The Treaty of Waitangi – what do your students’ know?

‘A wise teacher should take advantage of important events in New Zealand history such as the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

As the celebration comes early in the year it is a good opportunity to introduce the students to how they will be expected to learn in the class; how to work together to develop critical thinking; how to value their own ideas; how to deepen their understandings and how to apply lessons learnt to their own class.’

http://bit.ly/2kQYVdY

Education Readings February 10th

By Allan Alach

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

Schools are supposed to help students master the dominant information landscape of their time

‘Our new information landscape is digital bits in the ether instead of ink dots on paper. There is no foreseeable future in which we go back to analog. One of schools’ primary tasks is to help students master the dominant information landscape of their time. Schools are knowledge institutions preparing students to do knowledge work. So let’s be clear about what our new information landscape looks like:’

http://bit.ly/2jVRQvx

How Playing With Math Helps Teachers Better Empathize With Students

‘Unlike other professional development opportunities, the focus of these circles is not on lesson plans or pedagogy. Most of the time is spent working on and discussing a problem that the facilitators bring, with the hope that teachers will rediscover what they love about math and how it feels to be a learner.’

http://bit.ly/2kLVdnK

Teaching kids philosophy makes them smarter in Math and English

‘Nine- and 10-year-old children in England who participated in a philosophy class once a week over the course of a year significantly boosted their math and literacy skills, with disadvantaged students showing the most significant gains, according to a large and well-designed study.’

http://bit.ly/2kB5AZE

Piaget’s Constructivism, Papert’s Constructionism: What’s the difference?

What is the difference between Piaget’s constructivism and Papert’s “constructionism”? Beyond the mere play on the words, I think the distinction holds, and that integrating both views can enrich our understanding of how people learn and grow.’

http://bit.ly/2kkSktw

Skinning Cats Alive.

Phil Cullen:

‘A toxic form of managerialism hit the fan in the mid-80s; and we lost sight of the kids. These aliens organised and started running testing factories replacing real people who’d been-there-done-that ,organising schools of learning and mentoring others on the way. These good guys were cunningly dominated by absurdists who forced fear-laden testing on kids and have now done more damage to Australia than the Japanese could ever have done. Fear-laden swotting of a kind never known before has replaced decent teaching. The load on small pupils during normal learning time, the likes of which no previous generation has had to tolerate. is enormous. Kids are still our future, but you wouldn’t think so.’

http://bit.ly/2kkLoNc

Okay campers rise and shine and don’t forget your booties

Want to be an artist? Watch Groundhog Day.

‘Here’s a popular version of “The Creative Journey”: A genius comes to the end of his trip, closes his eyes, concentrates, and then the idea comes to him, fully formed.

When I’m working on my art, I don’t feel like Don Draper. No, when I’m working, I feel more like Phil Connors from the movie Groundhog Day.’

http://bit.ly/2kkXVjL

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

The HeART of the Matter – the Gordon Tovey Experiment.

‘The film was about the programmes Gordon Tovey implemented, while under CE Beeby, as the head of Arts and Crafts in the Department of Education from 1946 until 1966.  You may be familiar with the work of Elwyn Richardson at the Far North school Orauti, which was part of what was known as the Far North project or experiment. Part of the essence of the experiment was to nurture the creativity of children and allow them to explore and express themselves.  It was part of the child centred driven philosophy that emerged from the First World War and the Depression in the first Labour government’s education policy to give children better opportunities.’

http://bit.ly/2bHPMS2

What Would Be a Radically Different Vision of School?

‘In his vision of this third narrative, reformers would focus on creating an education system that supports inquiry-based, student-centered learning, where students are encouraged to find entry points into the mandated curriculum in ways that are meaningful to them. Technology is an integral part of Richardson’s vision because it allows students to create and demonstrate their knowledge.’

http://bit.ly/2kGvIVq

Task Library

Great ideas for Maths

Provided by Dan Murphy (ex Winchester)

‘A school without tasks is like a school without books.Students investigate books to explore literature and develop language concepts and skills in context.

Students investigate tasks to explore mathematics and develop mathematical concepts and skills in context.’

http://bit.ly/2lihLKY

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Slow learning needed for fast times!

‘Slow learning they believe is essential for our lives and learning by giving depth to our experiences and providing insight for creativity and ingenuity. All too often, in contrast, students are rushed through learning to cover curriculum material. First finished is best seems to be the order of the day. As a result ‘slow learning’ is neglected in schools.’

http://bit.ly/1GWw6E2

A future Vision for Education

Ideas for  schools developing modern or innovative learning environments

 Imagine a school where every child would see themselves as an investor in their own learning. Older children would frequently coach and mentor younger children. Those who were more advanced in a subject would help those lagging behind. Children would help teachers design learning programmes, their parents would be parties to these discussions .The children would see it as their responsibility to learn in their own time, often using online tools provided by the school .Although every child would have a personalized learning plan, most learning would be practiced in groups but these would not be organized into rigid year groups, class membership would be in part determined by aptitude and appetite’.

http://bit.ly/1pHqBCy

What the modern world has forgotten about children and teaching. and solutions to ensure all students learn

Is our ‘modern’ education system harmful to students?

‘Modern Western learning and teaching based on ‘collecting data on human learning  of children’s behaviour in school is like collecting data on killer whales based on their behaviour at Sea World.’

http://bit.ly/2bUnAZW