Friday, March 01, 2013

Educational Readings - supporting creative teachers.

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This week’s homework!

Is It Time We Threw Standardized Testing Out the Door?

‘Teachers and parents across the country [USA] are banding together to protest high-stakes testing.’

The end is nigh, people. May take a couple of years, so keep up the activism. The tipping point (Gladwell) will come. Politicians listen to voters when they see their jobs on the line.

Assessing Creativity (via Bruce Hammonds)

‘We can assess creativity—and, in the process, help students become more creative.’

However we can’t mandate creativity through standards, nor measure it with rubrics, so I don’t fully agree with some points in this article. How do we avoid subjectivity? What’s creative to one person may not be to another?  What is quality anyhow?  Your thoughts?

The lesson you never got taught in school: How to learn!

Good point. This article is especially useful for secondary and tertiary students.

In Praise of (English) Teachers

Warm fuzzies all round.

What’s worth learning?

Another valuable article from Marion Brady:

‘Sensible education reform begins with a serious, society-wide dialogue about what’s worth learning. It’s a dialogue we’ve yet to have.’

Educators outside the USA need to play close attention to this, given that so much of GERM originates in the USA, slavishly followed by our politicians. Of particular concern is the unbelievable emphasis placed in the USA on textbooks, derived from a view of education as the learning of facts/information (the pitcher method ‘Open your mouths, kids, and I’ll pour the information down your throats.’).

As Marion observes, the immediate concern is the debate of what should be included in the textbooks, or, to put it another way, how should learners’ minds be controlled? 

“School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.” Ivan Illich “

Old school is way to go, says Pyne

Following directly on from Marion’s article is this piece of wisdom from Australia:

‘Child-centred learning should be abandoned for a return to more explicit instruction driven by teachers, the Liberal education spokesman, Christopher Pyne, says.’

Yes Chris, the 19th century was wonderful. The poor knew their place and didn’t challenge the status quo. Poor Australia - stuck with Labor and NAPLAN on one hand, and the Liberals, NAPLAN, and a dinosaur on the other.

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