Saturday, November 02, 2013

Educational Readings -Steve Jobs, Diane Ravitch, John Hattie, Michael Gove

By Allan Alach

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

This week’s homework!

Excellent article by Diane Ravitch that has immense significance all over, seeing as GERMers use PISA scores to justify school reform.

International test scores do not predict the economic future. Once a nation is above a basic threshold of literacy, the numbers reflect how good that nation is at test-taking. They are meaningless as economic predictors.’

Steve Jobs: Liberal Arts Essential for Innovation

We need to revolutionize education to encourage creativity and need to teach our kids to play, take a chance and create.  By not teaching our children liberal arts we will hinder their capacity to innovate.’

The Pedagogy of Freedom (via Michael Fawcett)

The pedagogy promoted by Hirsch often becomes reduced to a transmission model of teaching which instills a culture of conformity and passive absorption of knowledge. It creates ‘cheerful robots’ devoid of critical thought, questioning and the desire to challenge the assumptions, practices, and outcomes taken for granted in dominant culture and in conventional education.’

Teacher quality, Wiggins and Hattie: More doing the wrong things the right ways

Runs with the hares hunts with the hounds!
Another article debunking St John Hattie and his like minded compatriots.

‘Hattie’s influence in New Zealand, in fact, prompted this:

The political and media stir caused by professor John Hattie’s research on student achievement has prompted a group of academics to look closely at his work.

The authors were particularly concerned that politicians might use Hattie’s work to justify ill-informed policy decisions.

Hattie’s work [1] is poised to support in NZ and the U.S. increasing class size and implementing merit pay, for example—both of which are not supported by large bodies of research. Wiggins and Hattie are trapped, then, in the measurable and the visible—paralyzed by a world in which we focus on control.’

Letter to Parents about Testing

Parents, teachers and administrators are increasingly concerned about the testing that is taking place -- and how the testing is being used -- in New York State. Below, please find a copy of a letter expressing the concerns of many principals. The letter is written to parents by principals. We hope you can support the letter by signing your name to it. To sign the letter, please follow this link: Support the Testing Letter

What Schools Can Do to Help Boys Succeed

Being a boy can be a serious liability in today’s classroom. As a group, boys are noisy, rowdy and hard to manage. Many are messy, disorganized and won’t sit still. Young male rambunctiousness, according to a recent study, leads teachers to underestimate schools their intellectual and academic abilities. “Girl behavior is the gold standard in ,” says psychologist Michael Thompson. “Boys are treated like defective girls.

Here’s three articles with an English theme, all attacking the ‘free school’ (aka charter schools aka partnership schools in New Zealand) ideology.

Nick Clegg turns on Michael Gove over his 'ideological' school reforms

‘Liberal Democrat leader says that all state teachers should be qualified, in rebuff to Tory education policy.’
Michael Gove - who needs him?

The tide is slowly turning in Britain….

“Must Try Harder:” Free School Report

Seems that English ‘free’ schools (are a failing concept…. are you surprised?

Labour criticises government's 'false' data on free schools

‘Shadow education minister says Lord Nash misled parliament with claim free schools outperform others in state sector.’

Are you surprised?

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

TED Talk: All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes

‘When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions.’

The Blue School

A blog article that Bruce wrote back in 2010, about a school in New York.

Blue School believes in an integrated, emergent child-centred curriculum. The school has curriculum essence statements for the usual range of learning areas including language and mathematics. They all represent a creative approach to learning.’

What do good learners do?

An article written by Bruce in 2005, that references Postman’s and Weingartner’s book ‘Teaching as a Subversive Activity’ that provides an excellent outline of a good learner.

What we need to do as teachers is to create an environment in our schools and classrooms that such behaviors can flourish. Obviously this cannot happen in school with fragmented teaching and subjects. We are talking about an environment in which the full spectrum of learning behaviors – both attitudes and skills – being employed all the time; from problem to problem, from kindergarten to graduate school.’

Bringing Authenticity to the Classroom

Authenticity—that is the name of the game! It's the powerful force that makes teaching relevant for students. Students aren't being impossible; they are being practical. Why would they want to learn something they will never have use for? Using authentic, real-world connections or scenarios demonstrates the need for students to learn the content or skill. ‘

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