Education Readings April 21st

By Allan Alach

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

The hidden dangers of caring about your career too much

‘This is one of the most important social justice and economic issues of our time. Until teachers feel valued and supported in their pursuit of their calling, they will continue to leave the classroom—and our most vulnerable children will suffer as a result.’

http://bit.ly/2oPsekK

Why School Makes Us Stupid

‘If you’ve ever thought school sucks, is a waste of time, or the education system is stupid, then this video is for you.’

http://bit.ly/2ovMEeY

A Look at 6 Digital Citizenship Myths That Must Be Dispelled

When digital citizenship cemented itself into the public consciousness only a few years ago, it definitely had its critics. That remains true even today as we strive to understand what it means and how to practice it in our homes and classrooms. Many digital citizenship myths still have some of us doubting the intrinsic need for its practices.’

http://bit.ly/2p0qHsw

7 Suggestions For How To Treat Wilful Digital Illiteracy In Education

‘A teacher I know asked me last week if I could create a Word document for him so that he could type a list of dates. He has been teaching, I believe, for over 20 years, and is in a senior position in her school. Why has he been allowed to get away with such a basic lack of knowledge for so long?

In this particular instance it doesn’t have any direct effect on the children he teaches, or the staff he manages. Or does it? I am a firm believer in what has been called the “hidden curriculum”, in which what you teach and what the kids learn may be rather different. What are his children and staff learning from his behaviour? ‘

http://bit.ly/2pk3kLu

Why Kids Shouldn’t Sit Still in Class

‘Sit still. It’s the mantra of every classroom.

But that is changing as evidence builds that taking brief activity breaks during the day helps children learn and be more attentive in class, and a growing number of programs designed to promote movement are being adopted in schools.’

http://nyti.ms/2pk5WZZ

What Student Test-Takers Share with Ejected Airline Passengers

By Alfie Kohn

‘Consider the sport of ranking the U.S. against other nations on standardized exams.  Even if these tests were meaningful indicators of intellectual proficiency, which is doubtful, specifying how well one country’s students perform relative to those elsewhere tells us nothing of interest. If all countries did reasonably well in absolute terms, there would be no shame in (and, perhaps, no statistical significance to) being at the bottom.  If all countries did poorly, there would be no glory in being at the top.’

http://bit.ly/2pHZ1GK

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Why Giving Effective Feedback Is Trickier Than It Seems

‘But giving effective feedback in the classroom can be trickier than it seems. It’s more of an art than a simple practice and requires the teacher to be disciplined and thoughtful about what is worthy of feedback, as well as when to give it.’

http://bit.ly/2oVltMC

More to good schools than ranked pass results

‘When choosing schools we need to prioritise much more than ranked test results. Choosing a school is infinitely more serious than scanning ranked examination percentages. We need to know the human heart of a school because design for learning is a complex thing.’

http://bit.ly/2oVuKnY

Computers in class ‘a scandalous waste’: Sydney Grammar head

Is there some truth in this?

‘A top Australian school has banned laptops in class, warning that technology “distracts’’ from old-school quality teaching.The headmaster of Sydney Grammar School, John Vallance, yesterday described the billions of dollars spent on computers in Australian schools over the past seven years as a “scandalous waste of money’’.’

http://bit.ly/2ortBn1

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Learning to be ‘creatively rebellious’. The importance of the Three Ds: being Different, Disruptive and Deviant.

‘Organisations (and this includes schools if they are to be true “learning organisations”) need to become ‘courageous’ and adopt a ‘rebellious instinct’ and to discard old habits and safety nets to remake themselves as 21st C  adaptive organisations. Unfortunately all this is beyond the timid leadership of most primary schools or the industrial aged straightjackets secondary schools operate under.’

http://bit.ly/2pI6e9L

Fundamentals in education

The real fundamentals in education – the creation of a creative mind

‘In recent years education has become more and more cognitive or rational; learning that can be seen and measured so as to prove evidence of growth.

In the process real fundamentals have been overlooked.The creation of the mind is more than simply cognitive. The mind is a unified, active, constructive, self creating, and symbol making organ; it feels as well as thinks- feelings and emotions are a kind of thought. Attitudes are created from feelings and emotions.’

http://bit.ly/13b5vRO

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 fun-crazed year with HSC & NAPLAN

The Union of HSC and Naplan

An unhappy affair.


As the corporate giants [like Amplify, the Education Unit of News Corp., run by Joel Klein; and Enhanced EText owned by Pearson, previous owner of Amplify] rub their greedy hands together with happy feverishness, NAPLAN will come into its own this year, with the chance of eventually replacing the HSC in NSW,…..as one of our teacher-readers suggests.  She  was discussing the ‘merits’ of NAPLAN, describing it as robotised testicular mayhem, constructed and supported by neo-liberal scio-testucrats. She doesn’t seem to like it.

As an unwanted and unusual appendage to the HSC examinations in NSW, it will certainly provide an anxious year for Year 9 pupils culminating with a long lasting anti-subject syndrome being fostered for a further three years; set to last forever…..no second chance……despite any post-test gimmicks masked as supplementary. Check it out…..

http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/naplan-half-of-nsw-students-would-fail-first-hsc-test-20161209-gt7tix.html

SO. Machiavelli is alive and well.  Fear is  scripted as an endemic part of naplan-style schooling  for ever.   The creation of FEAR and ANXIETY is already written into the Code of Conduct for Naplanners as an essential component of the instructional process.

There is really no need to go to such lengths at the Year 9 level to ensure that children will leave school with a lasting distaste and hatred for Maths, Science and Literature.  Years 3,5,7 tests are ensuring this already , very effectively.  HATING SUBJECTS 101 starts at seven years of age. Get ’em early….and we are good at promoting it, as PISA results demonstrate.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/a-dire-lack-of-interest-in-students-wanting-to-pursue-maths-careers-20170330-gv9pwa.html

YES. Pupils must achieve scores at Band 8 level in NAPLAN 2017or it’s ‘OUT!” for HSC 2020….. as if they were competing in the ABC ‘s ‘Hard Quiz’.  [NAPLAN is  fast  becoming  useless junk and a pedagogical joke. It’s only achievement so far is the creation of anxiety in kids.]

Aussie kids, as bright as any on the planet, have shown their displeasure for these weird tactics by adopting a revolutionary stance. It’s the Aussie Kids’ Eureka Stockade, reacting to nasty control. They react, naturally, to the force-fed nature of preparing for the tests and the stand-over tactics of the Wallopers, by disliking  certain subjects so much that it eventually turns to hate for these subjects and, of course, they express this by doing poorly on the NAPLAN and PISA tests……those things that testucratic wallopers  pretend will reveal useful information. The kids have no other forum to express their feelings. This weird example of standardised blanket testing is certainly bruising their mental health. It  has been a monumental sham for ten years and it is time for it to finish.

While this kind of reaction is not deliberate, the subliminal effects are profound.  Disliking targeted subjects is the kids’ only way to react against the pathological compulsion of testucators to assault children’s mental strength during instruction in those essential school subjects. Potential scholars may be quiet and respectful at test-prep time, but still waters can run very, very deep.  School pupils have no advocates in any political party where the buck is supposed to stop, and they are ‘treehorned’ by the general public. They’re completely on their own. Even though we adults don’t take much notice, we are being told in so many ways…and…despite the message that our schooling system is going down the gurgler accompanying  those PISA results, we prefer not to notice.  Bye, bye, future.
The Aussie Kids’ Eureka Stockade needs more adults, using their votes at the barricades. First, we need to refuse to have the kids do the Year 9 NAPLAN tests; and then make sure that the whole silly testing business is tidied up. Then, at the ballot box, we need to consider the disposition of all candidates in their attitude to and treatment of kids at school.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

For 2017, there is only one recourse for the wallopers, but it is not appropriate to mention it. Even if they make tests easier, the scores might improve but the psychological damage will not go away.

Education Readings April 14th

By Allan Alach

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

Apostrophe vigilantes: who cares?

Think you’re an expert on apostrophes?

‘The Apostrophe Police are everywhere. Not only do they want you to get apostrophes in what they think are the right places, they are also ready to mock you if you get it wrong. The general message is that the rules for apostrophes are very easy, and only a fool could make a mistake.’

http://bit.ly/2ougcNA

Standardized Testing Creates Captive Markets

‘For example, school children as young as 8-years-old are forced to take a battery of standardized tests in public schools. Would educators prescribe such assessments if it were up to them? Would parents demand children be treated this way if they were consulted? Or is this just a corporate scam perpetrated by our government for the sole benefit of a particular industry that funnels a portion of the profits to our lawmakers as political donations?’

http://bit.ly/2oBEzcG

The one question to ask yourself the next time you’re facing a difficult problem

Can you adapt this for your classroom?

‘A lot of us have trouble dealing with conflict. But there’s an effective strategy for solving problems at work and at home. The only downside? It makes you sound a bit like a toddler on a road trip. The secret to resolving conflict, as first outlined by former Toyota executive Taiichi Ohno, is to “ask why five times.” The idea is that by continuously asking “why,” you’ll eventually arrive at a root cause and learn from the problem—the better to avoid repeating unproductive or ignorant behavior.’

http://bit.ly/2o80ncP

To Become a Better Problem-Solver, Try Thinking Like a Toddler

Following on (references previous article):

‘As Science of Us has previously reported, one analysis found that preschoolers ask an average of 76 questions per hour. That’s a lot of why, especially when you consider the fact that most of the time, they don’t even care much about the explanation.

http://sciof.us/2pwcY9V

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

The Age of Uncertainty: Who is Bold?

‘Why School?- What are the conditions for optimal, sticky learning? What are we doing in school that can not be Khanified?- What do students need to learn in school when they can learn so much without us? What are the skills that our students need now to succeed?Where do we start?I used to think I knew the answers to those questions. I am not sure (maybe a bit uncertain) as to what the future holds for our concept of “education.”’

http://bit.ly/2o7D82C

School doubles in size after curriculum change brings learning into 21st century

‘A school has doubled in size since changing its curriculum to a utopia-like educational system. Patea Area School’s role now sits at 154 pupils since a “massive overhaul” trialled last year appealed to a large number of people. School principal Nicola Ngarewa said the school now “focuses on preparing children for the 21st century, beyond the school gates”.’

http://bit.ly/2p8nmrX

Teachers struggle with modern learning environments

‘If there’s a pot of gold at the end of the collaborative teaching rainbow, Dave* thinks it’s a small one. He’s struggled with 50-child classrooms at his Christchurch primary school over the past few years and says he’s not the only one, with at least half his colleagues exhausted by what’s supposed to be the future of education. Endless collaboration between teachers sharing the spaces has distracted them from teaching pupils, who are in turn distracted by each other. Learning outcomes have gone down, not up, but no one wants to discuss the elephant in the room, he says.’

http://bit.ly/2o8iiiD

Brian Cox: Don’t use children as ‘measurement probes’ to test schools

‘Science presenter and particle physicist Professor Brian Cox has called for testing in schools to be minimised – and only used when the positive benefits can be proven.There has been concern that too much focus on maths and English – particularly in Year 6 in the run-up to Sats – can narrow the curriculum, leaving less time for other subjects.’

http://bit.ly/2oZmXbq

Education Kills Our Creativity, Here Is How We Can Regain It

‘Scholars have identified two thinking process: convergent thinking and divergent thinking. Education focuses on convergent thinking — emphasizes on finding definite, absolute answers. But in reality, we actually need divergent thinking more, which is the ability to find more than one way to solve problems, and it is essential to creativity.’

http://bit.ly/2o7CSk9

How Do We Define and Measure “Deeper Learning”?

‘In preparing students for the world outside school, what skills are important to learn. Simply defined, “deeper learning” is the “process of learning for transfer,” meaning it allows a student to take what’s learned in one situation and apply it to another.’

http://bit.ly/2oB6fOV

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The balance between consistency and creativity.

For three days the Gisborne principals visited selected schools in Taranaki. Their task was to look for each schools ‘cc’ rating: consistency and conversely creativity across classrooms. Consistency because this indicates shared language of expectations and creativity, for without celebrating each teacher and child’s creativity, it all can become mediocre.The balance between the two is vital.’

http://bit.ly/2p8Itdt

Learning styles

Developing a personalised educational approach

Developing a ‘personalised learning’ approach, tailoring learning to the needs of each students ( as against the ‘one size fits all’), is not as easy as it sounds. In the real world, outside of school, people make use of whatever ways of learning that do the job. For many such people school learning is of little use to them.’

http://bit.ly/1GgidNa

NO PLAN

PLEASE SHARE WITH PARENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skinning Cats Alive.

I had convinced myself during the 1980s that, within twenty years, Australia would have a schooling system that was like no other…..built purely on love for learning and a zest for achievement in all things. At the time, things were on the up-and-up and school leadership was more ethical and professional and thoughtful than it had ever been. Teachers were proving their academic and professional worth in the big arena. Bureaucrats were learning to pull their heads in and were releasing the power of a truly caring profession. There was ‘Pride in Primary’ – real fair-dinkum pride in being a primary teacher -a catch-phrase that the good guys used at the time during their professional and personal activities. Classrooms looked like exciting learning places…‘Living, Learning Laboratories’ as Bob Pashen called them – inviting children to come in and join in the joy of learning. Things felt good. We had a lot of wrinkles to iron out that would take some doing and a lot more independence to be grasped … but we knew we could do it. We felt so tall and so proud of being primary.

Bugger! We couldn’t. A special form of heavy-handed totalitarian political control grew alien antennae that made some powerful politico-weirdos believe they knew everything about everything.,..and they took over the activities of governments.

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. 

Now we have a take-over of schooling by the most ruthless gang of kid-bashing monsters ever. Schools, intended to be the centres of schooling excellence that our children deserve, were set up on Day 1 of schooling … ,last Monday…. to be an examination centre for happy, anxious young kids who’d been dreaming of something else on their first day. 

What an introduction to a lifetime of learning!

The little ones were kept quiet and submissive, we’ve been told, waiting for a teacher to give them a series of literacy and mathematical encounters, the results of which were scored and recorded and forwarded to an all-powerful pooh-bah who will keep the data for statistical purposes. The school will be expected to keep the results until the poor little folk contest the really earnest NAPLAN test in Year 3, when they are about 7 years of age. The branding done and intellectual expectations set in place in the minds of those adults whom the child respects at this point, will mark their progress for many years, Day 2 marked the beginning of ‘getting to know you’ activities, starting to ‘down play’ the implications of the day before, and to start the pupilling….fair-dinkum schooling. No one will have time to try to see what effect the testing had on the pupil, how the pupil felt, The effects could be profound, but we big people will pretend that negativity can be patted away and all will be okay. We will also pretend on behalf of those who did not do well, that it doesn’t matter. The kids are so young. They’ll get over it. We’ve sorted them out early, as far as NAPLAN goes, anyhow. 

Remember that page in one of the most wonderful books on education :ThGeranium on the Window Sill Just Died but Teacher you went right on” by Albert Cullum : 

Where is my place in your puzzle, teach?

Do I fit?

Or am I one piece too many?

Tell me for real, teach!

I know there’s no room for me on the bulletin board,

but do I have a place in your puzzle?

When the advisers and special helpers move in to remind the slow or poor-scoring child of his or her inadequacies, we will be sure to get an increase in scores, by Year 3, because that’s what this kind of schooling is all about. By test time in Year 3 0r 5, many pupils will be saying, in Albert Cullum talk :

was good at everything

– honest, everything –

until I started being here with you.

I was good at laughing, 

playing dead, being king.

Yeah, I was good at everything!

But now I’m only good at everything

on Saturdays and Sundays…

It’s certainly useful to know how your pupil stacks up against others and against certain criteria. …and against their own views of themselves. It’s also critical , however, that the information is obtained as part of the learning operation. Those who would kill a cat by skinning it alive, would approve of the way that some schools conducted the operation last Monday. “Hello Sam. Here’s a little fun thing I’d like you to do. Bye Sam”

The media will pile on the plaudits for the kids and the teachers for the first day. It makes good copy. Parents will scurry home to learn how to do it better with the next child. After all, kids talk. The disgrace of having to seek remediation for what I did to my kid! OMG.

I should like to make one point. The way that this operation was carried out, the organisational mode was a disgrace. Only cold and calculating beasts , excuses for humanity, would dream this sort of thing

Teachers will learn more about each child during the first week or two of schooling and use it for each child’s welfare; in the way things ought to operateand;, hopefully, repair some of the damage done by mean-spirited adults who enjoy skinning cats alive,

Phil Culllen, Emeritus Director of Primary Education, Q’ld.., 41 Cominan Avenue, Banora Point. Australia 2486. 07 5524 6443 0407865999 cphilcullen@bigpond.com

Datafication

THIS IS AN EXTREMELY SERIOUS TOPIC.  IGNORE ITS INTENTIONS AT OUR NATION’S PERIL; AND THEN PRAY FOR ITS KIDS.

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

DATAFICATION

It’s here. It’s the end of schooling as an interpersonal teacher-pupil interactive learning enterprise.
During this century there has been a distinct movement in schooling from Education to Testucation to Datafication.

To the everlasting credit of a remarkable work force, Australiam teachers have maintained an amazing standard of pupilling excellence, of which, despite the debilitating interruptions by blanket testing, Australians can be proud. The future of schooling will be much tougher for pupils, teachers and parents, however, if we continue on our present course.

DATAFICATION

IT’S SERIOUS. “What it simply means is this: from our actions to our thoughts, everything is getting transformed into a numerically transformed format or ‘Data’….from sports to finance and from entertainment to healthcare, everything around us is converting into data.” [Sawinder Kaur]. Get used to it.

“Datafication refers to the collective tools, technologies and processes used to transfer an organisation to a data-driven enterprise. This buzzword describes an organisational trend of defining the key to core business operations through a reliance on data and its related infrastructure.”[Technopedia]

“Datafication is the method behind the madness of Big Data.”  [Mark Sylvestor]

It’s a later day technological trend that involves the collection of data and transforming the information into new forms of value. It’s the sort of thing that Rupert has dreamed of for years.  Seen to be of benefit for core business operations, it has invaded schooling systems to destroy the vigorous spirit of established institutionalised learning and to turn its citadels into business operations and testing factories in which a gullible public will spend big money to enrol their children. The recent rise in the standard of marketing and lobbying  skills will ensure this.   Datification has been able to take over from the testucation processes attached to NAPLAN because our testing industry had difficulty in understanding the consequences of certain unwelcome schooling behaviours that were introduced rudely into Australia in 2008; and this makes things easier for schools to become digitised and datafied testing factories.  It’s more than just using laptops at school for learning purposes. It’s a debauched use of technology merely to supply data to measurers for judgmental causes and maladjusted, political control.

Data collection is driving our schools….now….and the intensity is about to increase.  The shape and infrastructure of schooling and our attitude to it have changed. We need to stop the nonsense and talk. Testucation and datafication are draining the humanity of learning from our schools.

If we want this trend to continue, we should do nothing.  We are used to doing nothing. Ignoring the plight of school children is a major Australian cultural meme.  “She’ll be right, Jack.”  We allowed managerialism to take over from experienced-based organisational designs in the 1980s, then ignored the change to testucation in 2008, now to datafication.  Are you happy with the trend? Within the school setting, it meant changing from challenging styles of maieutic pupilling to didactic chalk-talk test practice, practice, practice that pupils usually detest. It has produced mediocre results in national and international tests as expected and should continue to do so.  It’s the pupils who decide how well they will do on tests, for goodness sake. How do we treat them in a productive, learning sense?

This may not have been  the Gillard-Klein intention when they introduced fear and obsession with test scores to supplant pupilled love of learning in 2008, but it happened.  They certainly set out to be data-centric, nasty and tough, but I should think that they did not intend things to go so far. They thought that they were just testing what had been taught, as we all used to do in our schools. It all went pear-shaped and the kids are now doing worse than ever before  at basic operations, because of the tests themselves…. but the modus operandi of using NAPLAN to gather data has been maintained!  […and it’s the bogey that contains the seeds of lowering standards! It actually causes the slump!] This has suited the datafying hawks, however,  who are presently taking over  from both kleinish testucators and former educators, ‘…using rapid speed and amazing tools to store, manipulate and analyse  information”,  for other-than-schooling purposes. Almost the whole population will, in the future,  be data-nailed as soon as they enter school and be branded through  datafying routines now being used by industry.  Schooling is not what it used to be; and we should fear for the kids at the chalk-face of the 21st century.   With creativity, problem solving, thinking, decision making, zest, acceptance  of challenges and pupilling,  all removed from the school scene, the kids don’t have much chance to enjoy a happy, challenging, creative, healthy life full of satisfying achievements as they could have expected from basic pupilling conditions at a humanity-based learning school.

Eagerly supported by the big corporate boys, the testucrats have set no limits to the expenditure of tax-payers’ money on new organisational arrangements.  If someone had said to you, some years ago, that education departments in Australia would, one day, spend $A24.7million dollars for computerised tablets, just to do a few tests of basic standards over a one-hit three-day period, because it’s quicker than using paper and pencil…..what would the electorate have said?   OUT!

Just to score tests faster !!!!   You can also be sure that much more than that will be spent over the next few years on increasing ‘how’ and ‘what’ we collect in our next lot of data-drives.

If you approve of totalitarian tactics, creation of fear, sleepnessness, depression and arrogant child abuse to obtain better scores on unreliable tests, that those such as NAPLAN now provide, with the expectation of more datafication procedures,   you must belong to some kind of moronic religion or terror group that ignores humanity and children and fair-play and equality.  Get outa here. Go back home to dataland.

__________________________________________
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443 407865999 cphilcullen@bigpond.com  REFER :”Who’s Who in Australia.”

ATTITUDE

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

Hardening of attitudes is one one the world’s must serious diseases – Zig Zigler

 

  • ATTITUDE is a human condition defined by Jung as “…the readiness of a person’s psyche to act or react in a certain way.”  This psychic reaction is usually the result of a personal evaluation of the circumstances that surround our social experiences.   In the workplace, a person adjusts control over his/her feelings once the affective domain checks out what is being demanded by somebody else….each using his or her esoteric knowledge and experience to develop a specific attitude.  Each person decodes the messages coming through the work-a-day system in his/her own way and reacts with enthusiasm or ennui or rejection. If the motives of those in charge  run counter to the ethics of the professional operator at the work-face or their attitude is not to give two hoots about the underling’s attitude, there will be problems. Attitudes will clash. System-wide ennui is guaranteed….. prior to rejection. Systems, especially schooling ones, hope that everybody….administrators, assistants of all kinds, teachers, teacher- aides, children become enthusiastic and demonstrate positive similar attitudes to learning [the only business of schooling] per se. The Finns adopted this attitude years ago. It’s an intense, involved business….esoteric in a very real sense….. so it is important for a country’s development that everybody is on a similar wave-length about the best ways, allowing for variety  of course, to teach children how to learn. Think of Finland’s all-as-one attitude to learners and teachers.  However, if wires are crossed as to the purpose of schooling and there is a serious divergence of attitudes in the ways that schools and schooling authorities teach and evaluate , all is lost…for sure. Think Australia

Distinguished psychologist, Gordon Allport describes ATTITUDE as “…the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary society”.

Let’s look at Australia’s attitude to schooling. It is sadly in need of a major overhaul as this example shows: We were, to a person, impressed by Finland’s mode of schooling because it does well at PISA tests for 15 year olds every three years; NOT because its schools value the learning habits of its children, and the country highly values what teachers do in the teaching-learning-classroom context.  We were impressed by its high scores because weprefer to use bang-crash modes of instruction and have a  penchant for using numerals to describe human endeavour. It’s a post millennium form of pagan idolatry…adoration of numerals.  That’s true, isn’t it? What is going on? How come the Finns don’t use our crash-bang-rigid techniques? What do they know, that we don’t? Do people really do better when they like learning? Fear makes people do as they are told in concentration camps, correction centres, battle procedures and the like. It should work in schools. That’s our forte…our attitude to learning. Be big and strong and commanding. Finland seems to work back-to-front. The whole country likes the idea of learning.

Monopath, Julia Gillard, representing our entrenched screwball attitude to schooling and teating when she chose the Klein system of fear-based learning in 2007, did so with confidence that Australia’s attitude to schooling and scoring is of the bang-crash-wallop-fear kind. Attitude! With her attitude embedded in looking for a malevolent solution rather than a tender, inclusive one for Australia to conduct an  evaluation of its schooling system, she only went for one extreme view. She only looked at one, using the Stuart Firestein technique of ‘farting around in the dark’; but, she grabbed the kind her friend Kevin wanted. Since then, of course, it has been shown that she boo-booed,  that the use of NAPLAN testing to judge the standard of schooling is the work of fools, but we are stuck with it because she and her political and corporate friends said that we must do as we are told….despite our professional desires to exert true ethics and esoteric knowledge that will benefit children…..and avoid the kind of  serious damage that NAPLAN inflicts.

Now, we Aussies also tend to judge a country’s world ranking only by its three-yearly scores on extreme PISA tests for 15 year olds.  That, in normal circumstances, is a pretty big ask….and a sick one….and another sample of the work of fools.  It presumes that what is tested has been taught and that each question means the same things for each contestant country.

If this was a reliable method of making judgements, Australia would never have changed to kleinism back in 2008. We were amongst the worlds best then; and have only moved down to the failing section of low-level-learning countries, since we introduced naplanish fear-based operations. Our pollies took too much notice of the local malcontents who seldom have anything nice or useful to say about the ‘present generation’; and treat ‘childhood’ as if it was someone else’s problem. Attitude.  Wouldn’t it be more reliable and valid to judge our system, not on PISA scores, but on the quality of our contributions to world science, medicine, music, mathematics, art, social sciences, world politics,  literature, sport and recreation….the kinds of things that schools do?  Don’t our measurers know enough about measurement to be able to do this?  They need to see a teacher!

The jury rests.

You will have noted…..

The fear-bang-crash attitude is now so well entrenched in the Aussie psyche, that a change of government does not make any difference.  They all join in the work of fools. Federal parliament sorely needs some politicians who are concerned about the plight of children at school. There is none in the chamber, at present,  who cares,   The atmosphere at federal parliament has been attitude-free about decent schooling for a very long time…and…our weak state pollies have handed schooling responsibilities to people at the federal level who don’t seem to give two hoots about child welfare and intellectual progress. [So much for the power of COAG!] The change from Labor to Liberal saw more of the same; and there is no political party policy at present – anywhere- suggesting any change towards a child-oriented-high achievement- learning system. Check their policy documents.  Find the word ‘naplan’, if you can. Make sure you take a good look at the policies of the Labor, Liberal, Green and National parties.  Is there any state party which is proud enough to want to go for positive change?  It  would not be too difficult to organise a state system that is prepared to think and challenge the rest of the world, but everybody is afraid. They would have to THINK first, and that seems to be a pretty difficult thing for political parties to do.

Tragically, our children cannot expect to enjoy and extend their natural love for learning while the Australian attitude towards acceptance of the fear-based, kleinish high stakes bashing of kids and teachers’ mind-sets of learning, remains.

At the classroom level, we know that each  of those children staring out the window  or fiddling under the desk or  leaning with their chins on their hands, while the teacher is trying to introduce some new topic , is saying, “I’m not interested in learning this stuff; and there is nothing that you can do to make me if you keep going this way. You can’t force me to learn if I don’t want to.” The child has attitude. Too many, like this victim of high stakes testing,  prefer to be bludgers; under present conditions of schooling, an attitude forced on our kids because our pollies don’t care what our testucrats are doing to them. Together, the pollies and the testucrats have no conceptual grasp of what happens in the classroom, They have no idea of the effectiveness of pupilling or of the importance of the intimacy and power of the pupilling contract. All pupils have an attitude to whatever happens at school.  Theirs is a healthy attitude. They want to learn.  We’d all like all school experiences to be meaningful and wholesome and effective…..but ‘there’s those NAPLAN rules’.

Think of the beautiful young seven-year-olds after two years of school learning….having learned more than they will ever learn in any other two years of their lives,  being forced into the front line of fear and mental abuse about to be used on them for the first time in their lives. This will happen in Australia in a few weeks time.  Naplan neurosis, the only predictable outcome of a testing program for children so young, is a serious social malady, highly contagious, that causes learning insecurity, anxiety, depression and fear of accepting challenges; and it remains with them for the rest of their lives.  The testucrats, suffering from delusions of adequacy, believe that they properly reflect the community attitude of a need for the stern quantification of schooling, thus  denying children of the love and support that true learning needs. Their holier-than-thou attitude to teachers wishing to pupil their classes shows that they are out of their depth…..they’re over their heads in a car-park puddle.

That, by the way, is what measurement freaks have never learned.  “You can’t teach me anything, if I don’t want to learn.”   “Negativity turns me off.”

That’s where Australia’s office-bound testors have completely buggered-up the system. They think that frightening kids, threatening teachers, making kids practise, practise, practise test-taking; sanctioning after-school attendance at tutoring shops, doing plenty of homework is what schooling is about and enlivens the learning psyche.  Bulldust. That’s a testucator’s attitude. THE ATTITUDE OF OUR QUALITY, EXPERIENCED TEACHERS IS MILES AWAY FROM THIS.   ATTITUDE.  Quality teachers don’t like abusing children and turning them into robots to get a score. They prefer to treat children as pupils…… pure teaching.

Testucators don’t care how kids feel.  Their attitude, based on the fundamentals of measurement and statistics, is that hard data must be collected at any cost. Measuring is their profession….and they rule the roost. They think that heavy blanket-type, three-days-long collection of data every second-year  from pupils who prefer to be learning, is a legitimate pursuit. Children can be treated as robots. The testor’s  God ,’Statistics’, reigns. Rigidity is supreme.

So, Australia is  now in a very precarious position. Testucrats only want children  to learn what can be recorded on a piece of paper.   Teachers want to teach  their pupils all that they need to know, while testors only want them to learn only what can be  tested by PISA and other unreliable instruments.    Kids want to learn. Sadly, Aussie teachers must do as testors require.  Kids must do as they are told by both. No choice. Parents have to be the adjudicator. if they ever learn that they have plenty of  power. ‘  in their hidden right to say ‘NO’. ….even though federal politicians make the most of parents’ gullability by hiding the option of choice from them.  Attitudes, during this naplan period of history, are so far from a healthy teaching-learning reality, that things are  positively dangerous for Australia’s future. There are no expectations of change or of discussing the need for change during 2017.  We can’t shift the PISA guideposts, so we must accept that the inevitability of our official attitudes through forced NAPLAN testing will remain the same. As parents, we have been told to shut-up. We are all cooked, buggered, flattened, finished, done, however, if we continue with  such antique attitudes in 2017.

The only sensible attitude is to go back to tors – to 2007 – and do what should have been done then. Give back the decent professional ethics to real school administrators and scrap stupid NAPLAN.  Talk about the purposes of schooling.  I repeat. TALK. We are getting further and further away. We are slipping further down the gurgler of international repute; and our nastiness to children [Read “Beautiful Failures”?] is widely known and internationally deprecated.  Australians continues to adopt a very, very, very unhealthy attitude to schooling. On the world stage, that’s the kind of people we are becoming…..nasty bastards.

‘Experts’ from beyond the schooling hemisphere….especially those Aussie journos and commentators and Institutes, with out-of-context opinions and no firm  schooling attitude …..have some way-out solutions. *Bring in Gonski or any needs-based model  quickly!* Leave everything to COAG! * Do whatever Finland, Germany, Singapore or the US is doing! *Let’s talk about something else to do with schools. They seem to be saying :”We don’t know much about schooling, but we’d like to express an opinion. We are the elite. We set the agenda for discussion every day. and we prefer to be blase about school things…..pretend we know all about it.   Such opinions will be useful , however, if ever we get around to talking seriously with The Lucy Clarks, the Kathy Magolis and Gabriel Strouds of this world, who know what is going on; and don’t mind telling it as it is. You and I know dozens of worthy educators who have ‘been there, done that’ – from Kununurra to Collingwood – who can help us sort out our attitude to learning while at school.

Do we have an identifiable, united Australian attitude towards schooling as the Finns and other progressive countries appear to do? No.

It a mixed mess at present, reflecting only the attitude of Julia Gillard, Joel Klein, Chris Pyne and Simon Birmingham and their measurement hard-line disciples who would only suggest the following….

DON’T  bother asking Australian teachers what effects NAPLAN has in the classroom.  Don’t risk finding out about their attitude to fear-controlled schooling….nor the results of this. Teachers must be kept silent and obedient.

DON’T ask parents if they want the choice of saying “Yes’ or ‘No’ to their children’s endurance of the test-prep period each year. January to May.   What is their attitude to being left out of it all? Must we continues to keep the real truth from parents?

DON’T ask the community-care professionals or the general public if they see NAPLAN as a form of child abuse.  What is the attitude of the mental-care-professionals to the fear, anxiety, sleepnessness and depression suffered by NAPLAN victims?  Don’t mention what it can lead to.

Feel sorry forthose about to enter Year 3 and the world of testucation.

What is Australia’s attitude towards fair-dinkum schooling?  REALLY!