Friday, May 30, 2014

Educational Readings - for critical educators

Enjoy the short break
By Allan Alach

Ill be out of action next week, so you can have some time off.

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

This weeks homework!

If a student learns.
Help students dig deeper
In education a common misconception is to believe that significant learning only happens when students are taught.  In reality students are born learning machines, they learn all the time, everywhere. But teachers are needed to enhance those individual learning experiences and help students to dive deeper into the subject or the area of their interest. Documenting and testing should not be the primary focus of teaching.

Stop The False Generalizations About Personalized Learning

Todays factory-model education system, which was built to standardize the way we teach, falls short in educating successfully each child for the simple reason that just because two children are the same age, it does not mean they learn at the same pace or should follow the same pathway. Each child has different learning needs at different times. Although academics, including cognitive
One test fits all -yeah right!
scientists, neuroscientists, and education researchers, have waged fierce debates about what these different needs are
some talk about multiple intelligences and learning styles whereas others point to research that undermines these notionswhat no one disputes is that each student learns at a different pace.

Latest research shows class size DOES make a difference

An article written for an Australian readership, but its applicable all over (John Hattie take note)
I found that reducing class size in the first four years of school can have an important and lasting affect on student achievement. The more years students spend in small classes during grades K-3, the longer the benefits for achievement last during grades 4-8.
Smaller class sizes are especially important for children who come from disadvantaged families. I need not point out these children are overwhelming the responsibility of public schools in Australia.

How can teachers introduce forest school principles to their curriculum?

Forest schools help students develop confidence and creativity by teaching practical, outdoor skills and teachers don't need a woodland on their doorstep to incorporate the ideas.

This weeks contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Ellen Langer explains the concept of mindful learning.

Bruce comments: Good advice for teaching or just living.
I agree - this is well worth watching, mindfully of course.
Harvard psychology professor Ellen Langer is the author of "The Power of Mindful Learning". Langer says mindful learning is more than just paying attention; it is making a conscious effort to be "in the moment.

Numbers never tell the whole story.

An article by Bill Ferriter (always worth reading) discussing lessons from baseball that can be related to education.
The lesson to be learned:  Professions that celebrate numbers above all are inadvertently incentivizing the wrong behaviors.

The handcuffs holding us back

Another from Bill Ferriter:
But the simple truth is that practitioners are all-too-often handcuffed by the #edpolicy choices made by legislators working a thousand miles from the classroom.  Until that reality changes, Im hesitant to lay the blame for a stagnant system at the feet of principals and teachers.

Cultivating Passionate Learners in Common Core Classrooms

An article that suggests ways to work around the deadening effects of standards based education.
Some may feel that the standards or curriculum being cast upon us and our students stifle any form of creativity. I dont agree. While these things certainly establish limits, I believe we have to find our own freedom and creativity within them.

Passionate Learners by Pernille Ripp

Bruce comments: A review of an interesting book
Passionate Learners asks incredibly important questions of teachers. One of the most difficult pieces of the profession today is keeping up with the pace of change and adjusting classroom methods to reflect the tools and resources available now. Early on, the reader is challenged to consider one of the most important questions any teacher can be asked: Would you like being a student in your own classroom?

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