Friday, November 17, 2017

Inspiration from New Zealand's pioneer educationalists  (and Einstein)/  integrated learning from Northland / school libraries / What's the point of school  ?- asks Guy Claxton  and more joy in learning ......





Education Readings

By Allan Alach

Now that the curse of national standards is being removed from New Zealand education, the way is clear for schools and teachers to really let loose. Bruce Hammonds’ two articles on Elwyn Richardson provide a really good insight into this teaching genius of the 1950s, whose work is very relevant today in the post national standards world.

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

The Northland school teaching with art

Oturu School Northland NZ
There is a place for the arts in the teaching of all subjects across the curriculum. Teaching becomes lively and fun; children are ‘doing’ rather than sitting, and the classroom becomes an environment where students love to learn. This is a simple definition of ‘arts integration’ which is being researched by educators globally: A small school in Northland has taken the ideas on board and the results are proving remarkable.’


Teaching to Forget - Will Richardson

Much of the ‘learning’ children do at school each day is gone by the time they walk out of the
school gate

The truth that we all know but are loathe to discuss is that the vast majority of what kids "learn" in our classrooms will soon be forgotten. We know this because we ourselves forgot the vast majority of what we learned in classrooms when we were in school.

And the other truth that we don't want to admit is that the grades that we give that are supposed to show what a student has "learned" are pretty meaningless considering that student will forget most of the "learning" once the grade is given.’


Engaging Practice: Making in English Language Arts

Use creative technology tools to engage struggling readers and writers.

Creative multimedia tools allow for multiple forms of representation, providing an opportunity for students to demonstrate understanding while practicing literacy skills through writing (text), reading (audio), and illustration (picture walks and visualization). “When students publish their own books, you tap into their innate desire for recognition as they learn to connect to literature, play with language, and beam with pride at their accomplishments,” shares California educator Linda Oaks.


It’s Time for a New Core Curriculum

'If we were starting the American school system from scratch today, knowing what skills our students will need, we could change the subjects and not base them on what big-time publishers want us to focus on with our students.  Building on some of the great work from FutureReady.org, the ISTE NETS for Students and keeping in mind those most desired future job skills from above, I would propose the development of the following 7 courses for every student:’



6 Strategies For Dealing With ‘DifficultStudents

‘As a new school year approaches, the guidance offered by six “pillars” can help you stay at the top of your game by dramatically influencing even your most challenging students to want to behave and achieve. Each pillar is explained followed by a few hands-on suggestions. Add or substitute other methods within each pillar to reflect your style and preference.'



A Surprising Strategy Makes Kids Persevere at Boring Tasks

‘With the onset of early childhood and attending preschool, increased demands are placed on the self-regulatory skills of kids. Children need to start completing tasks that may be much less interesting than the myriad of entertaining distractions around them. Researchers have been interested in how to develop self-control and perseverance in children by teaching them tactics like averting their attention away from distractions.'


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:


Use Einstein’s Educational Philosophy to Boost Your Learning

Although he overall did well in school, Einstein was skeptical of the schooling system and strongly disliked academia’s restrictions on learning. Here are 10 things we can learn from Albert Einstein about school and education: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”’


Why This Second Grade Handout Should Be Your New Creative Manifesto

'Last week, I attended curriculum night at my daughter’s school. In discussing the things the kids will be learning this year, the teachers handed us the chart below. My first thought was, what an amazing thing to give a bunch of second graders. I am sharing it with you. I feel like this is as good a guideline for a creative department I’ve ever seen. A simple chart for all teachers at all levels.’



How This School Library Increased Student Use by 1,000 Percent

To adapt to changing student needs, some school libraries are reinventing themselves as makerspaces, but this Ohio library took a slightly different approach. Now they’re seeing incredible results. A library as a place where students did hands-on work, an extension of what was happening their classrooms toward more personalized learning.'


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

What's the Point of School?
What's the Point of School asks Guy Claxton

Guy Claxton
'The purpose of education' Claxton writes, is to prepare young people for the future.Schools should be helping Young people to develop the capacities they will need to thrive.What they need and want, is the confidence to talk to strangers, to try things out, to handle tricky situations, to stand up for themselves, to ask for help, to think new thoughts' 'This is not to much to ask', says Claxton, 'but they are not getting it.’


Reclaiming the joy of learning

and also

A new inspirational book about Elwyn Richardson - New Zealand's pioneer teacher

A must for all teachers NZCER
Two articles about the great NZ teacher Elwyn Richardson that all teachers should read.

‘What matters is a curriculum that places children’s natural curiosity at the heart, so that they are encouraged to explore who they are and the world around them.This is evident in Elwyn’s use of an integrated curriculum, focusing on intriguing questions that motivated children to pursue avenues of enquiry. He encouraged the freedom to explore, the opportunity to observe closely, and the discipline to record findings in various ways. He also upheld the value of the arts as a vivid means of expression and not secondary to other subjects. He also realised that one subject informs another; that scientific understanding is enhanced by the aesthetic, and vice versa.'



Looking back
Dr Beeby and the first Labour Government set an example for today


Today teachers need to look back to ideas that have been sidelined by the imposition of the current technocratic curriculums of the 90s and to appreciate that it is these curriculums that have caused our current confusion and distress. Dr Beeby believed in a creative role for education. He reminded those present in 1983 that the most important thing realized about education in the previous decades had been the discovery of the individual child. It is not that individuality wasn't appreciated earlier but that the school system was based on a mass education vision which made realizing such an idea impossible.’






Dr Beeby, Gordon Tovey and the Art Advisers

Friday, November 10, 2017

Education for the future / listening to kids not testing / primary science / Modern Learning Environments / the 'F' words / a rebirth of education and more joy!


Education Readings

By Allan Alach

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

What every teacher should know about ... memory
‘There is a wealth of psychology research that can help teachers to improve how they work with students – but academic studies of this kind aren’t always easy to access, or to translate into the realities of classroom practice. This series seeks to redress that, by taking a selection of studies and making sense of the important information for teachers.’


Walking backwards into the future
Steve Wheeler:

'When we consider the future we tend to strain our minds to imagine what will come next. And usually we fail miserably. Perhaps instead we should follow the Maori tradition and build our own future on the shoulders of giants. In the case of education and the future of learning we should consider what those who have gone before us have achieved, the lessons they learnt and the trajectory they have set us on.’


Listening, Not Testing, Will Improve Children’s Vocabulary
‘While we may actively teach our children to read, oral language skills (the ability to learn words, form sentences and to communicate abstract ideas) is a defining human characteristic and, of these, it is vocabulary which is the pivotal skill. Children grow up acquiring these skills driven by, in Canadian telly-don Stephen Pinker’s words an “instinct” for language.'

http://bit.ly/2iFdiBo

Mouldy cheese and minibeasts: tips for teaching science in primary schools

‘Classroom teachers have a lot of freedom to teach investigative science frequently and creatively, and some do so beautifully. However, in general, there is not enough help for teachers in this area, with just under a third of primary school teachers saying they had no support for science in the past year, and a quarter saying they were concerned they might not be able to answer pupils’ science questions. So what can teachers do to increase the focus on science at primary level?’


Math Class Doesn’t Work. Here’s the Solution


Until we change the way we teach math to emphasize learning and exploration, rather than performance, we’ll continue to produce students who describe their math experience as a hamster wheel, or worse, a prison. We’ll continue to produce anxious students who experience fear when they see numbers. The performance culture of mathematics has destroyed a vibrant, essential subject for so many people.’


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Modern Learning Environments … innovation or disaster?

With glass walls, funky furniture and 60 children in a big open plan room where two teachers share the space, education consultants’ will explain the trend in classroom design as an open, flexible learning environment in which inquiries are shared and interventions are devised collaboratively. Ask some of the men and women at the coal face of the modern learning environment about their experience teaching in buildings like this, and the answer is often less complicated.’


Comparison is the Thief of Joy

‘Learning is about discovering your purpose and passion in life. Schools should provide diverse pathways and opportunities for students to develop and unleash their special abilities and unique talents…not standardize them.’


Change, Beliefs, And The ‘F’ Words
Some advice if you are serious about transforming your school. Here is a summary of the main
Derek Wenmouth
messages of the latest  uLearn Conference. The new Minister is removing National Standards and lightening the assessment load but if this is all that happens it will be a lost opportunity
.

‘The annual uLearn conference is over for another year, and as the new term begins it’s worth taking a little time to reflect on the ‘big ideas’ we came away with — the overarching themes and messages that persisted through the various keynote, spotlight, and workshop presentations. I had the privilege of doing a quick summary at the end of this year’s conference, and want to share that in this blog post as an ‘aide memoire’ for those who are interested. For me, there were three ‘big ideas’ that kept surfacing (four if you count my two “F” words) which are expanded on below:’

How School Leaders Can Attend to the Emotional Side of Change

'“All of us respond to a change that someone says or does not because of what it is, but in terms of what it means to us,”“Resistance to change is normal and necessary,” Evans said. “If you are part of some big change in your school and you aren’t expecting resistance, there’s something wrong with your plan.” But he also points out that resistance can be overcome when leaders understand its source and empathize with teachers. Evans shared several tips on how to manage change.'


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The rebirth of education - a real Renaissance

‘If we want to be recognised as a creative and innovative country, a country at the leading edge of change, then the most important asset we have is the talent and creativity of our citizens. Once such a vision has been defined then schools can follow the lead or better still be seen as leaders.’


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

(This blog not for traditional school principals!)

‘Organisations that want to develop innovative cultures that enable leaders to be intentionally disruptive and deviant will flourish in the 21stC. And schools should be at the forefront  of developing innovative cultures. Risk adversity and fear of failure gets in the way of embracing disruption and deviance as the basis of developing innovation.’


Joyful Learning

Wolk introduces his article by saying, 'joyful learning can flourish in your school if you give joy a chance'. John Dewey, in 1936, wrote that 'to what avail if students absorb prescribed amounts of information.... if in the process the individual loses his own soul'. More recently, in 1984, John Goodland in his book 'A Place called School' after surveying high schools, wrote that he found an 'extraordinary sameness' and that 'boredom was a disease of endemic proportions, ' he asked, ,why are schools not places of joy?

Friday, November 03, 2017

New directions for New Zealand education / technology/ creativity / real maths / the power of interest/ and some wisdom from the past



Bill Guild's classroom - see the last readings
Education Readings

By Allan Alach

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


Now What: Recovering from the Standards Era

‘The damage caused by the National Standards policy of the previous government will not be easily undone.  The side effects have had somewhat of a cancerous impact on our education system, and a careful approach will be needed in order to support teachers through this next transition.’


The end of National Standards and the role of researchers and academics

Article by Professor Martin Thrupp, one of the loudest academic voices who battled against
Enuf measuring - time to taste the apple
national standards.

‘It’s great, though, that New Zealand primary schools will now be able to spend less time shoring up judgements about children – judgements that have often been pointless or harmful – and instead spend more time making learning relevant and interesting for each child. Removing National Standards should also allow teachers to be less burdened, contributing to making teaching a more attractive career again.’


Longworth Forest selected as part of Finnish "HundrED’s 100 Global Education Innovations Project”

Longworth Forest was established in Poraiti, Napier, in 2014 by Linda and Bruce Cheer, and seeks to provide children 5 - 7 years of age with safe and semi structured opportunities to experience risk and challenge, to problem solve and enterprise, all at the child’s own pace. It is a child led approach which gives children the power to initiate and drive their own learning, to make meaningful choices and to discover and develop their interests. Through regular outdoor play, children learn to develop positive relationships with themselves and others as well as a bond with nature and an understanding of their place in the natural world.’


My Students Are Addicted to Screens

In my kids’ everyday lives, this type of constant technology reliance doesn’t make them better students. It doesn’t give them access to more information. It makes them dependent on instant gratification and sensory overload. Their minds are submerged in a soup of constant noise and conflicting demands for their attention. Stringing together thoughts and coming to reasoned opinions becomes increasingly difficult. This isn’t to say that technology has no place in the classroom.’


Teaching kids real maths

‘I've been doing some research about teaching mathematics, and decided to start by reading and l have been listening to the thoughts of the British technologist Conrad Wolfram, who for a number of years has been arguing that we need to rebuild a maths curriculum for the computer age and that students should be calculating "just like everyone does in the real world".  His argument is that school maths is very disconnected from the maths used to solve problems in the real world, and that it needs to be more practical, more conceptual and less mechanical.’


A Troubling Side Effect of Praise

‘Teachers often use praise to reward good behavior or correct answers. But there’s a potential downside to this common choice: Praising young children for being smart can increase the likelihood that they’ll cheat, according to a new study in Psychological Science by an international team of researchers.’


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Are We Innovating, or Just Digitizing Traditional Teaching?

‘A few months ago, I noticed an increased amount of discussion around the notion of blended learning. Many of these conversations started on a similar note: “We’re blended—all of our teachers use Google Classroom” (or Edmodo, Schoology, Canvas, Moodle, etc.). However, in probing further, I often discovered that these tools had merely digitized existing content and classroom procedures.’


10 Tips for Creating a Fertile Environment for Kids’ Creativity and Growth

‘There’s a common misconception that the best way to encourage children’s creativity is simply to get out of the way and let them be creative. Although it’s certainly true that children are naturally curious and inquisitive, they need support to develop their creative capacities and reach their full creative potential.Supporting children’s development is always a balancing act: how much structure, how much freedom; when to step in, when to step back; when to show, when to tell, when to ask, when to listen.’


Why Learning and People Should Come First

‘My primary objective for all multiday workshops is to illustrate the vital role that technology can play in improving teaching, learning, and leadership.  Most of the first day is spent on emphasizing the importance of a pedagogy first, technology second mindset. The bottom line is that if we don’t get the instructional design right first, then the chances of technology improving learning outcomes is slim to none.’


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The transformative Power of Interest : Annie Murphy Paul - Dan Pink and Carol Dweck

Anne Murphy
‘If there is just one message I could share with parents, educators, and managers, it would be about the transformative power of interest.’ Annie Murphy Paul. The development of every student’s unique set of talents and gifts is the challenge for a 21stC of education and so far few schools have yet to appreciate this challenge.’


The rise and fall and rise again of teacher expertise

‘Schools need to be seen as 'professional learning communities' that respect creative teachers as true co-leaders with ‘principals who can develop such learning communities can create creative schools with extraordinary teachers, and make learning stretching, creative, fun and successful.’ A new sense of excitement could well be on the horizon. Only those who have been around long enough will know this sense of possibility is not new – but this time perhaps the time is right?


Back to the future.

‘Twenty five years after retiring Bill Guild ( currently  91 and still an enthusiast) has been invited back to his old school to share his ideas about quality teaching and learning. It is a half a century since Bill took up his appointment at the school.. Tapping into the wisdom of the past is a powerful idea - and it turns out Bill's wisdom is very current .Bill was part of a small group of Taranaki teachers who worked hard to develop creative classrooms in the 1970s.’





Bill complied a marvellous booklet for the school reunion

Friday, October 27, 2017

Creativity in education / power of story & drama / solving teacher stress / Reggio Emilia and play / exciting maths and project based learning



Education Readings

By Allan Alach

Chris Hipkins

New Zealand’s new government has now been sworn in and is now getting down to work. The new Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, has made it clear that national standards are going, so that teachers can focus on teaching rather than testing. While I’m sure that there will be policy decisions that we don’t agree with, the overall direction will be positive. Because of this, there will be a subtle change of emphasis in these readings, with more articles focussing on enhancing quality teaching and learning. The odd ‘anti-GERM’ article will still appear, to inform less fortunate teachers overseas, and also as a warning to New Zealand not to go back down that path.


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


Please forward these readings to other teachers,
schools and interested people.

Building Resilience, Preventing Burnout



Are you putting your health and well-being first? You can’t do the best for your classes if you don’t look after yourself. 
Burnout is physical and emotional exhaustion. It can manifest as low-level depression. It’s what happens as a result of unrelenting stress—both physical and emotional. And you can prevent it. You can recognize the indicators of burnout, you can boost your emotional resilience, and you can draw boundaries around what you do so that you can tend to your physical and emotional well-being.’


Researchers confirm what parents have suspected for decades… Some old school playing really is better for kids than
PE
For generations, it has been the go-to instruction for harassed parents pestered by bored and fractious children: “Go outside and play”. Now researchers have confirmed the long-held suspicion that playing outside is better for children than formal physical education classes. The trial at seven Glasgow schools found that encouraging pupils to not only play sport but also create their own games increased their activity by more than half an hour every day.’

Once upon a time: starting at the beginning

‘This might be an issue that is quite specific to our school, but I have realised that the vast majority of our pupils just don’t understand stories. Many of them have not been brought up with stories, not had stories read to them as young children and don’t really understand the point of stories, which makes developing a genuine understanding of what people are trying to do when they write difficult. Pupils could diligently learn all the different language and structural features and sentence starters, and churn out versions of the model answers we’d worked through, but did not have a real feel for why any of it was important.'


How Teachers Can Integrate Drama Into Other Lessons

‘There are few better ways to learn than to do and in a way, adding drama to lessons gives the learner a greater sense of doing. For teachers, adding drama to their teaching and not limiting it to be used as a separate subject, can have notable benefits in the classroom. So, we thought we would compile some ways that educators can include teaching in and also outside of drama class.’

5 Ways Gifted Students Learn Differently

'What distinguishes gifted children from other children? This question has been under debate for some time. However, as educators, understanding how gifted students learn in comparison to their peers is necessary for the success of their learning experience and your ability to connect with them through teaching.’


Pedagogy before technology

Thanks to Phil Cullen for this article.

'Central Queensland University senior lecturer, Dr Michael Cowling, breaks down the factors
schools should consider when incorporating mixed reality technology into the classroom.’

‘Mixed reality is an emerging and exciting field that is only just starting to break into education. When you consider the variety of hardware and software available, and the ability of students to develop user-generated content, a focus on “pedagogy before technology” becomes important. When applied to the classroom appropriately, mixed reality solutions can make a positive difference to student learning.’


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

The Reggio Emilia Approach To Early Childhood Education: An Overview

The Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education originated in the city of Reggio Emilia in Italy. Since its development in the 1940's, this inspiring and innovative educational approach to early childhood learning has since been used worldwide.

The Reggio Approach fosters the children’s intellectual development through encouraging young children to explore their environment and express themselves through all of their available “expressive, communicative and cognitive languages.’


A Starter’s Guide to PBL Fieldwork

Five tips to help you get started with taking students out for fieldwork—a powerful component of project-based learning.’




Math Class Doesn’t Work. Here’s the Solution

Jo Boaler:

Jo Boaler
‘I love math, but I know that I’m unusual. Math anxiety is a rampant problem across the country. Researchers now know that when people with math anxiety encounter numbers, a fear center in the brain lights up — the same fear center that lights up when people see snakes or spiders. Anxiety is not limited to low-achieving students.



Seymour Papert on How Computers Fundamentally Change the Way Kids Learn

Seymour Papert
Seymour Papert died at the age of 88 in 2016 (see obituary in New York Times). The following description of  Papert was written to introduce the interview he gave to Dan Schwartz in 1999. Seymour] Papert is the co-founder of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence and Media Labs, professor of Media Technology at MIT, and one of the world’s foremost experts on the impact of computers on learning. He is the current elder statesman in a lineage of educational reformers that include John Dewey and Jean Piaget.’



From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The corporate takeover of society and education.

Thankfully this will no longer fully apply to New Zealand now that we have a new government.

‘Any kind of testing/ranking system is aimed at ensuring that the children of the 'deserving' (i.e
rich) are advantaged and thus prepared to continue the hegemony in the future. The extensive research about the effects of poverty and socio-economic issues on learning shows that the probability is that the children of the rich will 'achieve.' As in the past, the system is designed to sift children into levels of 'achievement'. The socio-economic influences will mean that the 'deserving' get a rich education, while the rest just get the 3Rs. Workers in this model are seen as intelligent machines, and, indeed, are replaced by machines as soon as possible. The alternative, of course, is the New Zealand Curriculum.’


Transforming schools through Project Based Learning (PBL) .

‘Terms such as Inquiry Learning, Integrated Learning, Related Arts or holistic learning are well known to New Zealand teachers and are all similar to Project Based Learning. Such approaches were once an important in New Zealand schools.

http://bit.ly/18lBlLJ



NZ Goodbye standardisation in education welcome creativity