Friday, August 16, 2013

Educational Readings - ideas to think about

By Allan Alach
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at
This week’s homework!
Is core curriculum rotten?
Common core in the USA is like national standards in New Zealand, although possibly worse, given the reliance on standardised testing. This infographic looks at the relationship between common core and college preparedness.
Secret Teacher: schools have got lesson observations all wrong
‘With teachers playing the system and students clamming up in observations, surely schools can find a better way to assess teaching and progress?’
I agree - once the teacher and children become aware they are being observed, the classroom is no longer functioning as it usually would. The validity of any conclusions is suspect. The current emphasis on accountability, performance pay, etc, just makes it worse.
I know I have to be observed and I know that observations are important. But I long for the day when I will be trusted to do my job and people can just wander in when they want to instead of sitting there, po-faced and unsmiling, writing everything down when I so much as breathe.’
The ultimate abomination is Bill Gates’ proposal of video cameras in all classrooms, recording every event of every day.
The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries
This article is about the USA; however there’s much of relevance to teachers all over.
‘We have a rare chance now, with many teachers near retirement, to prove we’re serious about education. The first step is to make the teaching profession more attractive to college graduates. This will take some doing.’
End the ping-pong in education
Excellent RSA Animate style video from the Post Primary Teachers Association about the effects of ‘reform’ and restructuring on New Zealand education.
Babies and Bath Water
Australian/US educator Pat Buoncristiani writing on the difference between reading books and reading online.
‘I am reading a fascinating book: ‘The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains’ by Nicholas Carr. I strongly recommend it. I was particularly drawn to his analysis of the differences between ‘deep reading’ and the kind of interconnected, hyperlink driven reading that we engage with when we read on the internet.’
Some years back, I tried, without success, to make similar points to a Massey University reading ‘expert’ but my observations were dismissed.
Piaget’s four stages of cognitive development
Remember this? C’mon, be honest….
Why we should stop talking about ‘delivering’ the curriculum (via Tony Gurr)
That phrase has irritated me for years, and is an example that illustrates how we should be very mindful not to use jargon that originates outside education.
Here's Why Competition Doesn't Work in Public Education
‘While the quality of other people's refrigerators doesn't affect ME in a deep and meaningful way, the quality of their education most certainly does.  Ensuring that ALL children -- including "those people living in the poor section of town" -- have access to Subzero schools means ensuring that ALL children will grow up to be competent citizens capable of making positive economic and social contributions to our communities.’
The forgotten concept of ‘public good’ needs to be reintroduced into our dialogue.
The LQ rich environment
‘The challenge to the teacher then is not to teach in a manner that seeks to meet significant strengths or preferences that have been developed (thereby further promoting them) but to provide the conditions whereby the learner is guided and given permission to go exploring their learning needs and how to meet them.’

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