Friday, June 23, 2017

How students learn/ test mania / stressed teachers / lessons from Leonardo da Vinci


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

To Help Students Learn, Engage the Emotions
Emotion is essential to learning, Dr. Immordino-Yang said, and should not be underestimated or misunderstood as a trend, or as merely the “E” in “SEL,” or social-emotional learning. Emotion is where learning begins, or, as is often the case, where it ends. Put simply, “It is literally neurobiologically impossible to think deeply about things that you don’t care about,” she said.’

Let’s Stop With The Worksheets And Create Engaged Readers
‘Picture a classroom full of youngsters. They could be darling, chubby-cheeked kindergartners or swaggering, confident high school seniors – or anything in between. Can you see them? Now, picture this class engrossed in reading. What does being engrossed in reading look like? What does it sound like? What evidence exists that true, engaged reading is taking place?


Children need to be in the right mental state to learn effectively
Taking action early enables vulnerable children to rebuild their self-esteem and take responsibility for their emotions, behaviour and learning. The outcome will be that they re-engage with education, perform well and are confident and happy young people.



Montessori Was the Original Personalized Learning. Now, 100 Years Later, Wildflower Is Reinventing the Model
‘Students guiding their own learning with minimal teacher direction — it’s a personalized learning dream. But this is a Montessori school, following a century-old model that has been doing personalized learning since before it even had a name. That model was the creation of physician and innovator Maria Montessori, who opened her first school in Rome in 1907 and built educational materials around her belief in children’s natural desire to explore their world.’

Saying ‘No’ To Best Practices
‘The worst best practice is to adhere to, or go searching for, best practices. I have been in countless rooms with teachers, technologists, instructional designers, and administrators calling for recommendations or a list of tools they should use, strategies that work, practices that cannot fail to produce results in the classroom. But digital tools, strategies, and best practices are a red herring in digital learning.’

A Brief History of the "Testocracy," Standardized Testing and Test-Defying
‘Who are these testocrats who would replace teaching with testing? The testocracy, in my view, does not only refer to the testing conglomerates—most notably the multibillion-dollar Pearson testing and textbook corporation—that directly profit from the sale of standardized exams. The testocracy is also the elite stratum of society that finances and promotes competition and privatization in public education rather than collaboration, critical thinking, and the public good.’


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Measuring What Matters: A Framework Review
Good habits are at least as important as basic skills when it comes to success in college and work. The ability to self-manage, interact successfully, and make good decisions (often called social emotional learning) pays big life dividends. The ability to apply creative know how in new situations is at least as important as historical and technical knowledge.
This post reviews several whole-student outcome frameworks, particularly those that attempt to describe and measure productive dispositions and habits.’

On Teaching Well: Five Lessons from Long Experience
‘Today I turned 70 years old. I have no idea how this happened. I was going along, struggling to do the best I could and then suddenly I woke up and this old guy was staring back at me from the mirror. Turning 70  I wanted to celebrate with you, my esteemed readers. And so I share five lessons I have learned from a career in education spanning nearly 50 years.’

The 5 Biggest Reasons Why Teachers Quit the Profession
‘Recently on our Facebook page, WeAreTeachers posted an infographic from the Learning Policy Institute which addressed many of the frustrations and issues teachers are dealing with in today’s education culture. The infographic illustrated the top reasons cited as to why teachers quit the profession.The topic definitely struck a chord with our readers. We received an overwhelming amount of feedback to the post, with teachers sounding off on issues from challenging physical and emotional work conditions to health and personal reasons.’

‘I wake at 2am worrying about the children’: the headteachers leaving Britain's schools
Leaving after 30 years
Why are head teachers leaving British schools? Coming soon to NZ!
‘On 31 August, after 29 years and 43 days first as a teacher, then a deputy, then a head, Sandell will be standing down in protest at what she sees as a crisis in education. “We are short-changing our children, and by that we are short-changing the nation,” she says.’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Straightjackets for creative teachers.
‘It is no fun being a creative teacher in what is essentially a conformist education system - the more so as you move up the levels of schooling. It is to creative teachers however we need to look to if we are ever to change the current focus from achievement to realizing the diverse talents of all students.’

The da Vinci Code
Leonardo  was a man for his time and for our own. Indeed some people call our current era the beginning of the 'second Renaissance' – or the 'new era of ideas and creativity’. We need to follow his example if we are to capitalize on the new understandings about learning and the immense power of information technology we now have available to us. Imagine if we could design schools that could tap into the questing intelligences of the young people who enter our schools today so full of hope and imagination.’



Friday, June 16, 2017

New Zealand Education / Helicopter parents / Achievement gaps / Finland and creative principals ?



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


Pass on to creative teachers you know

Helicopter Parents Are Raising Unemployable Children
‘Helicopter parents are in the news a lot these days. These are the parents who can't stop hovering around their kids. They practically wrap them in bubble wrap, creating a cohort of young adults who struggle to function in their jobs and in their lives. Helicopter parents think that they're doing what's best for their kids but actually, they're hurting their kids' chances at success. In particular, they're ruining their kids' chances of landing a job and keeping it.’

The Reading Achievement Gap: Why Do Poor Students Lag Behind Rich Students in
Reading Development?
What has become clear over the past 35 years is that low-income students learn as much during each school year as do middle-class students (Alexander, Entwisle & Olson, 2007: Hayes & Grether, 1983; Heyns, 1978). But every summer, when school is not in session, kids from low-income families lose two or three months of reading growth, and middle-class kids add a month of reading growth.’
http://bit.ly/2sCZSwR

Play Misunderstood: The Divide Between Primary Classroom Teachers And Senior Managers
Teachers of children in years 1–3 are now recognising the need to respond to their students in a more developmentally appropriate manner at a time when more and more children are struggling to fit the mould that once was the traditional classroom. Yet many of these teachers report a key barrier to effectively implementing a learning-through-play approach in their classroom to be that of their school management team and colleagues.’

Rock On! How I Taught Focus to a Class That Wouldn't Sit Still
‘As a teacher, every now and then we come across a class with an abundance of energy. Sometimes so much energy that teaching seems like an impossible mission. Students fidget with their hands, feet, dance in their stools and engage in constant side conversations with their classmates.’

The author
Your Pedagogy Might be More Aligned with Colonialism than You Realize
What if I told you that prevailing attitudes toward the language practices that students bring into the classroom are rooted in colonial, often racist, logic? What if I told you that by not disrupting these kinds of attitudes in your classroom, your pedagogy might be more aligned with colonialism than you realize?’

Paperwork
Paperwork!!!!
‘There is something childishly naive about the bureaucratic belief in the power of paperwork to bend reality. This is not a new feature in education. You may recall that Race To The Top and RttT Lite (More waivers, less money) both featured a required plan for moving high-quality teachers around to districts in need. Nobody ever figured out how such a thing could possibly be achieved-- but everybody had a plan about how to achieve it. The grandaddy of modern useless paperwork would have to be all the district plans for "aligning" curriculum…’

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

National Standards and the Damage Done, by Martin Thrupp
Martin Thrupp
‘We will all have our views on the pros and cons of the National Standards policy and there’s likely to be some truth in even highly divergent points of view because education is complex and contextualised and so much depends, doesn’t it – it depends on the school, the classroom, the teacher, even the individual child. But my argument will be that on balance the National Standards are taking us down a data-driven path that will be very damaging for the culture of our schools and classrooms and for the education of individual children.

Schools don’t prepare children for life. Here’s the education they really need
Lucy Cosslett
‘It’s only after you have left school and, in adulthood, gained a bit of distance, that you can be fully aware of the gaps in your education. History is a prime example. A group of British people together around a pub table and can probably weave together some kind of cohesive narrative across the centuries. In isolation, however, what you discover is that one person did the Romans, another the second world war, and a third spent two years on medieval crop rotation. Meaning that as a school leaver, you’ll have a vague idea about how it all fits together, but whole epochs remain shrouded in mystery.’

Finland's new, weird school 'courses' say a lot about how we teach our kids.
I don't know if you've noticed this, but there is no such job as “math."
‘Rather than teach subjects as dry, separate ingredients, from now on, it's all cooking together.Finland's concept is called "phenomenon-based learning." Here's how it works:Rather than focus on one subject like math, students and teachers sit down and pick a real-world topic that interests them — climate change, for example — which is then dissected from different angles. What's the science behind it? How are nations planning on dealing with it? What literature is there about it?’

Back to the Future: How has economic policy influenced the development of education policy and how the educational achievement of children in New Zealand primary schools is measured?
‘My final assignment for my Masters of Education paper, Education Policy traces the history of Standards in primary education and how we have come full circle from our original Standards
based education, when compulsory education was established in New Zealand in the late 19th century, to the disestablishment of the Standards in the 1950s, through the development of a variety of assessment tools from the 1960s through into the 2000s and then the reintroduction of Standards in 2009’


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Creative Leadership lessons from Stoll and Temperley
‘Creative schools depend on creative leadership. The trouble these days is that the pressures on
principals to: be seen by parents as doing what is expected, from analysing endless tests ( all too often in a narrow range of capabilities); coping with the imposition of National Standards; and most of all pressure to comply with Ministry and the  Education Review Office requirements,  being creative is the last thing on principals minds. And of course creativity was never something one thought of when thinking about school principals!’
Bring back the Jesters

Modern boards of directors are a bit like medieval courts where no one questions the king or the senior courtiers because they have become far too important to challenge. And as long as they can’t possibly be wrong, they can continue doing the wrong things all the time and never know it.The idea is worth spreading throughout all organizations to combat the blindness created by past success. It is one way to counteract the conformity which pervades top down management.

Friday, June 09, 2017

John Dewey /Mindfulness / Finland / Homework / Bullying and lots more



Education Readings for creative teachers

By Allan Alach

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

Finland Will Become The First Country In The World To Get Rid Of All School Subjects
Thanks to Phil Cullen:
‘How many times have you wondered if you were going to need subjects you were made to learn because the curriculum said so? Finland has decided to change this in their educational system and introduce something which is suitable for the 21st century.
By 2020, instead of classes in physics, math, literature, history or geography, Finland is going to introduce a different approach to life through education. Welcome to the phenomenon based learning!’

Persistent bullies: why some children can’t stop bullying
‘Persistent bullies continue bullying in spite of interventions and sanctions employed by schools. Why they persist remains unclear. These students were the focus of our research. We believe understanding their behaviour and why they may be resistant to change will be gained by accessing their lived experiences.’

Data Walls: Why you will never see one in my class.
New Zealand teacher Melanie Dorian:
Data wall hell
‘While I acknowledge that children will always know if they are bottom of the class or not, we can give them the dignity of some privacy.  To display their next learning step or what they have achieved on some reading rocket is garish in my opinion and unneccessary.  There are other ways of informing students of their achievements, next steps and goals that do not make them despondent about learning.  As one of the first photos I published at the top of this post says, "How would you like to be Norissa?”’

On the Wildness of Children
The revolution will not happen in the classroom!
‘We have forgotten that these were the original purposes of the factory-like institutions that most of us grew up in; we speak of our familiar school experience almost as though it were an integral part of nature itself, a natural and essential part of human childhood, rather than the vast and extremely recent experiment in social engineering that it actually is.

Research Finds The Effects Of Homework On Elementary School Students, And The Results Are Surprising
‘After over 25 years of studying and analyzing homework, Harris Coopers’ research demonstrates a clear conclusion: homework wrecks elementary school students.


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Black and brown boys don’t need to learn “grit,” they need schools to stop being racist
Everyone seems to think that a lack of “soft skills” is the reason why students of color aren’t ready for college and careers. More schools and after-school programs are teaching students how to have “grit,” compassion and a “growth mindset.” Rubbish! Soft skill training is disguised bootstrapping, which insidiously blames youth for failing in racist systems designed to block their success, and it abdicates the middle class from any responsibility to uproot inequality.’

Inside a Multiage Classroom
Dividing students by arbitrary birthdate ranges doesn’t make sense, advocates say.
Multiage education is not a return to the one-room schoolhouse of yore, in which students of all ages learned different subjects in one space. Instead, students from (typically) two grades learn together in an environment that, advocates say, encourages cooperation and mentoring while allowing struggling students enough time to master material.’

Finland is famous for its education system. What makes it different?
‘For as small and homogeneous as Finland may be, its repeated success in national education rankings means there are at least a few lessons the US can learn.For one, the tiny Nordic country places considerable weight on early education. Before Finnish kids learn their times tables, they learn simply how to be kids — how to play with one another, how to mend emotional wounds.’

How Design Thinking Became a Buzzword at School
‘At a recent teaching conference in Richmond, Virginia, a session on “design thinking” in education drew a capacity crowd. Two middle-school teachers demonstrated how they had used the concept to plan and execute an urban-design project in which students were asked to develop a hypothetical city or town given factors such as population, geography, the environment, and financial resources.’

Mindful in Middle School
One teacher’s experience incorporating mindfulness into her middle school curriculum.
‘Mindfulness is emerging as a technique adopted in education to address student anxiety and stress, increase focus and creativity, and foster stable behavior and patience. In this essay, I briefly discuss my journey in implementing mindfulness with my sixth and eighth grade students, implications for teaching practice, and lessons learned along the way.’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Negotiating the Curriculum
‘Learning is a process to deepen personal understanding or skill. This is best achieved with the assistance of a learning 'mentor'. Such a 'mentor' negotiates learning with the learner, always leaving the 'power' to learn with the learner.In the book 'Negotiating the Curriculum', edited by Garth Boomer, four steps are suggested to negotiate a study with students applicable for any level of schooling. Essentially it is an inquiry model that emphasizes valuing the 'voice' of students in the their own learning. It is very much in line with the 'co- constructivist' teaching philosophy.’

Experience and Education -John Dewey 1938
‘Such a lot of the ideas expressed today have their genesis in the ideas of John Dewey.That Dewey's ideas have yet to be fully realised says something for the power of conservatism in education. 'Experience in Education' is Dewey's most concise statement of his ideas written after criticism his theories received. In this book Dewey argues that neither 'traditional ' nor 'progressive ' ideas are adequate and he outlines a deeper point of view building on the best of both.’

Friday, June 02, 2017

Standardization or creativity / Henry Ford 'factory schools' or John Dewey experiential learning

'We don't need your education' Pink Floyd

Education Readings for Creative Teaching

By Allan Alach

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

Fidget spinner fad may point to deeper problem in the classroom
‘We need to look at making the curriculum more engaging so that fewer kids need fidgeting toys. Fidget spinners are the hottest new gadget among school children, and while they're billed as useful tools to help kids focus, a University of Ottawa professor believes schools need to better accommodate students who get fidgety and need to move.’

Arts-Based Research: Surprise and Self-Motivation
‘A sense of delight in learning comes as much from encountering what you hadn't expected as it does from seeing a project shake out the way you intended it. I love project-based learning for the sense of accomplishment it engenders in students, but I miss the sense of surprise -- the notion that anything can happen. While it's important to help kids see the path that will enable them to succeed, I also want them to get lost from time to time -- not to take the road less traveled, but to leave roads altogether in favor of the forest.

Education Technology as 'The New Normal’
I’m well known, I think, for fierce criticisms and cautions about education technology, and what I’ve prepared today is perhaps even darker and more polemical than I’d like, strikingly so on this beautiful campus. I confess: I am feeling incredibly concerned about the direction the world is taking – politically, environmentally, economically, intellectually, institutionally, technologically. Trump. Digital technologies, even education technologies, are implicated in all of this, and if we are not careful, we are going to make things worse.

Boxing Creativity
‘There is a major difference between telling someone they can be creative and telling someone how to be creative. I'm firmly in the Everyone Is Creative camp. I don't even mean that with the qualifier, "Until it's beaten out of them by school/work/life/the Trunchbull." I mean every single person on Earth, and everyone living in the secret moon base established by NASA in the '70s, has the innate ability to be creative. And every one of us uses that ability on a regular basis.’

OPINION: It’s time to stop the clock on math anxiety. Here’s the latest research on how
Jo Boaler
Jo Boaler:
‘Unfortunately math continues to be taught in ways that are far removed from the research evidence on ways to teach well, and many ineffective classroom practices – timed tests, speed pressure, procedural teaching – are the reasons for the vast numbers of children and adults with math anxiety. They are also the reason that so many high-achieving students leave not only mathematics but the numerous STEM courses that require mathematics.’

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Personalized Learning Pathways & the Gig Economy
Students need to be prepared for short-term jobs and not expect full-time employment. How empowering is that?  Sounds like the goal of this radical re-imagining of education is to produce workers willing to eek out a precarious existence in the gig economy.’

The Loose Parts Movement: Bringing Adventure, Nature and Imagination Back to Children’s Play Time
From Wayne Morris:
This is what is missing
‘It is a disappointing thing to see new playgrounds developed in city spaces sit there empty each day, or to walk in the park and hear no laughter. What is missing here is not the children per se, but materials and environments that create challenge, imagination, and creativity that make children want to play outdoors. The absence of such play environments is not only influencing the quantity and quality of children’s play, but also affecting children’s health and well-being.’

Sight Words Are So 2016: New Study Finds the Real Key to Early Literacy
This article supplied by Anne Mace  relates to what creative teachers in NZ  believe. Simply put, children who used invented spelling developed stronger reading skills over time, regardless of their existing vocabulary, alphabetic knowledge, or word reading skills.So, what exactly is invented spelling? Invented spelling refers to a young child’s beginning attempts to spell words. Using what they know and understand about letters and writing, children who use invented spelling are encouraged to create their own spellings based on their own phonetic knowledge.

Efficiency Can Cost Education
There are very good reasons to resist (or at least be skeptical of) efforts to drive "efficiency" in public education.
‘One of the biggest reasons is that any attempt to maximize efficiency automatically elevates
Efficiency kills creativity!
some might say inflates – the role of performance metrics. Once we decide which indicators are going to define success and then set people off to find the swiftest and cheapest way to get those outcomes, we can begin to distort complex enterprises. Other outcomes become expendable, even if those outcomes are important.

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Written in 76 - so what is new?
John Holt - still relevant
Making use of students own experiences, question and concerns as the basis for learning is still an important issue, as is making full use of the immediate environment. This is all the more important these days as far too many children spent too much time receiving a second hand edited world through TV and computer screens.From their own questions and concerns, and through environmental explorations, 'emerge' real reasons to write , read, to count and measure, and to make art. All students need are teachers with the 'artistry' and confidence to take advantage and amplify such learning opportunities.

Need to savoir the experience
Slow food movement - and teaching as well!
We need an educational equivalent of the ‘slow food’ movement
‘We now need an educational equivalent of the ‘slow food movement’ so as to value the richness and relevance of any learning experience. Students need to appreciate that the act of learning is at the very heart of their identity and a high quality life and as such should not be rushed.The standardized ‘fast education’, as exemplified by the curriculum statements of the past decades, has resulted in a loss of appetite for real learning. There is just no time.’

Putting the heart back into teaching.
‘Learning is about relationships. Relationships with content and with people who help us acquire it.
It is about having mind changing experiences that tap into our desire to make meaning and express what we know.To be attracted to an area of learning relates to what attracts our attention and whether or not we want to put in the energy in to learn more. Curiosity is at the basis of all learning.’




Time to end educational standardization  !