Friday, March 30, 2018

Mathematics / authentic learning the beginning of a new era for education/ the end of the corporate influence and educational books for creative teachers


Lets see the end of our financial rulers!

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

Mathematics Part 1: The mathematics pendulum

Here’s a two part series by Kelvin Smythe on the teaching of mathematics.

‘I have long wanted to have Charlotte Wilkinson, an independent mathematics consultant, set out her ideas on mathematics but, in the previous education environment, any association with me would have been dangerous for her work. With that changed, I am delighted to present two writings from her which are an overview of nearly everything in mathematics.’ 


Mathematics Part 2: Producing literate and numerate children
‘An increasing amount of information is shared in a digital format, therefore there is an ever increasing need for people to be numerate, not just able to carry out set procedures. Being numerate requires an understanding of basic arithmetic, the properties and
manipulation of whole numbers, and rational numbers. It requires using number sense to reason whether answers are correct. When a point is reached in solving a problem, knowing which operation or formula is required is still essential, but completing the procedure has been superseded in reality by technology.’


Authentic Learning Begins With Student-Designed Curriculum

‘But then I fought my obsessive need for control and took a giant step closer to my ultimate end goal of a fully authentic learning environment by empowering my students to generate our curriculum.’


Constructivism vs. Constructivism vs. Constructionism

Valuing students views
I’d like to offer my take on the meaning of these words. I hear them used in so many ways that I often get confused what others mean by them.’


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:



We are at the beginning of a new educational era. The challenge now is to reimagining the school day to ensue all students’ gifts and talents are identified, amplified and valued.

Another gem from Bruce:

Lester Flockton
Lester wrote that 30 years later we have wasted excessive amounts of time and resources replacing approaches of the past that weren’t broken and didn’t need fixing.
It’s time, says Lester “to put the shine back on teaching’ to create a nurturing environment for both teachers and students. For too long our system has suffered from those who mistakenly think they know better.”’

So what is the ‘end in mind’ for teachers in the 21stC?



Yes, Project-Based Learning Gets Kids Ready for the Test (and so much more)

I was worried the first time I tried a project-based learning unit with
my students. As a young teacher, I had prided myself on running a challenging class and had focused much of my attention on getting my students prepared for what we were both going to be assessed on: the test.

I was not doing test prep. I didn’t believe that giving students sample test questions would make them do any better on our state standardized scores (and still don’t).'



Occupying Their Brains With Our Stupid Questions

'They say there's no such thing as a stupid question, but I beg to differ. We hear stupid questions almost every time adults and young children are together.’


44 Practices That Are "Fixing" Education Today

Here is a list of at least 44 different positive practices (in no specific order - just the way they flowed out of my head) unfolding in education today that I have seen with my very own eyes…’


'We must stop trying to apply a sticking plaster to the gaping wound that is teacher workload’

We need a root-and-branch review of the professionalism, accountability and expectations placed upon the teacher workforce. Anything less is a waste of time. A UK article but applicable to NZ?‘But
it is not just teacher recruitment that is the government’s problem. Teacher retention is even more serious as wastage rates (teachers putting down their whiteboard markers and leaving the profession) are rising at every career stage – and most worryingly right at the start of teachers’ careers, after three to five years.’


Embracing the Whole Child


Fully engaging students can include using their interests in lessons, checking in on them emotionally, and being ourselves.

‘In embracing a more whole-child, humanizing approach to teaching and learning, Salazar
proposes specific ways educators can express care and engage students in a more humanizing pedagogy. Among her suggestions, I’d like to explore the following four, offering suggestions for each, as I have found them particularly useful to establishing a harmonious community of learners in the classroom.'


When “Big Data” Goes to School

Alfie Kohn:

‘The data in question typically are just standardized test scores — even though that’s not the only reason to be disturbed by this datamongering. But here’s today’s question: If collecting and sorting through data about students makes us uneasy, how should we feel about the growing role of Big Data?’


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The corporate takeover of society and education.

Time to ditch the corporate influence

'Since the early 90s society has been reshaped by a neo liberal corporate ideology. An emphasis on private enterprise and self-centered individualism has replaced an earlier concern for collective good of all members of society.   As a result of this ideological shift a wider gap has been created between the rich and poor causing a number of social concerns. Schools as part of this shift have been transformed from a community orientation to being part of a competitive cut throat ideology.


Educational Books for Creative Teaching - to develop the gifts and talents of all students

‘Over the years I have a lot of feedback from teachers thanking me for drawing their attention to
books that I have written about on my blog. With this in mind I have searched through my postings for some of the best books that provide courage for teachers to make stand against the current anti educational approaches of a market forces competitive ideology.’

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

We are at the beginning of a new educational era. The challenge now is to reimagine the school day to ensure all students’ gifts and talents are identified, amplified and valued.



In the latest Principals’ magazine the National President of the NZ Principal Federation Whetu
Whetu Cormack
Cormack
writes that we are at the ‘start of a new educational era’. ‘Standardisation has gone along with the competition it engendered, the narrowed curriculum, the obsession with data, and the endless comparison.’

Business ‘guru’ Steven Covey’s advice, writing about habits of effective leadership, was to ‘begin with end in mind’. What do we want our schools to achieve for their students? What do we need to change to ensure the unique range of gifts and talents of our students?
 Lester Flockton , in the same principals’ magazine, makes the point that New Zealand’s rankings in international tests have been falling commenting ironically that this is at a time of considerable literacy
Lester Flockton
and  numeracy intensification.  In the 70s New Zealand was a world leader in literacy – now, it seems, we are 32nd Tomorrow’sSchools (1986), Flockton reflects was implemented by the then Labour Prime Minister David Lange on the grounds ‘good people poor system’.
Lester write that 30 years later we have wasted excessive amounts of time and resources replacing approaches of the past that weren’t broken and didn’t need fixing. It time, says Lester ‘to put the shine back on teaching’ to create a nurturing environment for both teachers and students. ‘For too long our system has suffered from those who mistakenly think they know better’.

So what is the ‘end in mind’ for teachers in the 21stC?

 A respected educationalist Sir Ken Robinson, who has recentlypresented in New Zealand. Says that creativity is as important as literacy and numeracy’. Another educationalist, well known to many New Zealand teachers, Guy Claxton writes that learnacy is more important that literacy and numeracy.’

 New Zealand pioneer creative teacher Elwyn Richardson proves inspiration forteachers today.

His book ‘In the Early World’ should be in every primary classroom and thankfully has been reprinted by the NZCER 2012. Elwyn saw his class 'functioning as a community of artists-scientists- each person counted and was expected to make a contribution to the class community'. Elwyn Richardson gave his students 'the opportunity to
Elwyn Richardson
reach their full height as artist, as craftsmen, as scientists, and as students, through the establishment of a community based on mutual self-respect'.

The last three decades have compromised the unique child centred approach that was highly respected world-wide up until the introduction of Tomorrows Schools followed by technocratic curriculum and National Standards and the associated assessment requirements.

If schools were to focus on developing their classrooms as communities of learning based on developing the gifts and talents of all students what would need to change?

A brief visit to most classrooms will illustrate that literacy and numeracy rule supreme. As one commentator has written ‘the evil twins of literacy and numeracy have gobbled up the entire day’. The shape of the daily programme provides a message of what is seen to be important and this is reinforced by the narrow scope of achievement data collected.

I
http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz/2015/01/john-holt-quotes-on-learning-more.html
John Holt
n the 1970s progressive educator John Holt wrote
, ‘school must become communities in which children learn, not by being preached at, but by living and doing, to become aware of the needs of other people.’ There is a need to make schools, 'a place in which a child has so much respect for his own work that he will respect the work of others and will be naturally concerned to make the school a place where everyone can do best at whatever kind of work he wants to do.

 John Holt was once asked a question. 'If schools were to take one giant step forward this year towards a better tomorrow, what would it be?

'Holt replied, ' it would be to let every child be the planner, director and assessor of his own education, to allow and encourage him, with the inspiration and guidance of more experienced and expert people, an as much help as he asked for, to decide what he is to learn, when he is to learn it, and how well he is learning. It would make our schools....a resource for free and independent learning’.

Guy Claxton
The writings of Sir Ken, Guy Claxton, Elwyn Richardson, John Holt and many others ask for a transformation of our classrooms. 

There are those who believe that this might be beyond the capabilities of teachers whose only experience is post Tomorrow’s Schools (1986) but, in contrast, there are others who believe that many teachers are teachers are looking for a ‘new direction’, one that really values their professional involvement.
Jerome Bruner, another resected educationalist, wrote many years ago that teaching is the canny art of intellectual temptation bringing up the question how can we ‘tempt’ our students so that they can realise the ideas expressed by John Holt. This would be an ideal topic for a school Teacher Only Day.
Transferring this ideal of a community of learners to the daily programme is the challenge.
I
http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/forgotten-genesis-of-progressive-early.html
Jerome Bruner
n the60/70s many teachers (mostly in junior classes) were experimenting with whatwas called developmental programmes in an attempt to extend the way young children learnt before formal schooling. Classrooms were set up with stimulating activities for students to become involved with. Later in the morning the day morphed into language arts activities and maths tasks. Centres of interest studies provided motivation and natural involved language, creative arts, maths.

Such organisations still form the basis of many junior classrooms and align well with modern ‘play based’ programmes.

Developmental education forms the basis of Kelvin Smythe’s writings.

Kelvin is an ex Senior Inspector of Schools and shares his ideas through his Netkonnect Website.  Kelvin sees learning as a holistic or integrated experience and has dedicated much of his efforts sharing the ideas of Elwyn Richardson, Sylvia Ashton Warner and creative teachers he has worked with. He believes that it is the sharing of the 
deas of creative that is the best way to move forward. He worries that in past decades we have sacrificed the affective side of learning by overemphasizing cognitive achievement.

Link to Kelvin's Attack documents mentioned below
.
See Attack 6 for Sylvia Ashton Warner's approach.
For developmental junior classroom programme Attack 71 72 73 74 75 76 77
For senior room developmental programmes see Attack 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85
Threshold timetables are described in Attack 87 88 89 90
.The transition to a community of learners
It’s obvious that developing a classroom as a community of learners along developmental /holistic lines is difficult to define as it depends on a number of factors, the teacher’s confidence in various learning areas, the independent learning skills of the students and, most importantly the leadership of the school. Programmes will necessarily be evolutionary and it is good advice to proceed slowly – as Steven Covey says to keep the end in mind’
Some good advice about class programmes
Creative class management is the art, or craft, of creating the conditions that provide students with enough security and structure for them to take the learning risks required to develop personalised learning. Too much chaos leads to disorder - too much structure reduces the learner’s ability to
Class management
make decisions and choices. Most current classroom management procedures are determined by unquestioned routines and habits that reflect a past age.
'If there is any other situations fraught with danger for mental health as that of a class held rigid by fear, it is a class exposed to the anxieties engendered by unlimited freedom. There is nothing as terrifying to the immature human being as a completely unstructured situation. Without a recognisable structure they feel the teacher has abandoned them - and so he has- to their own impulses, all of which are by no means always constructive.' B Morris
'I would caution student teachers to always be flexible with kids, but not to leave them with no structure, because many times we are the only structure these kids have.' Kouzes and Postner 
'It is significant to realise that the most creative environments in our society are not the ever-changing ones. The artist's studio, the researcher's laboratory, the scholar's library are each kept deliberately simple so as to support the complexities of the work in progress. They are deliberately
kept predictable so the unpredictable can happen.' Lucy Calkins

'Without containment, spontaneity, exhalation and freedom of the mind could seep into license and anarchy, where all day has no shape. A benign routine helps our child to gain responsibility and our school to stability.' Sylvia Ashton Warner  
'The word 'freedom' can never be uttered unless accompanied hand in hand with the word responsibility. It is kinder to keep the lid on the school for a start, lifting it little by little, simultaneously teaching responsibility, until the time comes when the lid can be cast entirely aside and only two conditions remain - freedom and responsibility'. Sylvia Ashton Warner
The need to ‘reframe’ literacy and numeracy.
One easy step to take would be integrate literacy and numeracy (renamed language arts and
Creativity as important as literacy
mathematics?) into the current class research study. Ability grouping is counterproductive to the development of a learning community and students need to be helped at point of need individually or in small groups as required.  Many language and maths tasks can themselves be research based but, sounding heretical, if maths is activity based it is better to do fewer things well.
The key role of the inquiry programme.
In a learning community the main source of intellectual energy is provided by the studies the class undertakes. Such studies need to cover the main strands of the Learning Areas – many studies will integrate a number of strands from different subject areas. 
In line with a developmental approach inquires might need to be, at first, determined by the teachers, but as teachers confidence develops more choice and responsibility can be passed on to the students.
The New Zealand Curriculum (2007) asks teachers to help their students become ‘seekers, users and creators of their own knowledge’ which is in line with the thoughts of John Holt expressed
earlier.  This problem solving approach underlines the requirements of all the NZC Learning Areas.
There are a range of inquiry models for schools to make use of.

The wider the range of content explored the more opportunity to tap into, uncover, or amplify students’ unique gifts and talents.
It is good advice to do fewer things well and in depth than to cover lightly many areas and it is also good advice to ‘slow the pace of students work’ to give you time to come alongside them to assist then to challenge them  dig deeper as needed. Much work is spoiled because many students have internalised the idea that first finished is best. Process is important but so then is the quality of the finished product.
John Dewey wrote about his experimental school  early last century, 'every child in some sense was turned into a researcher whose duty was to discover and satisfy his or her own capacities and needs and then, also to discover how this had been done.'
The need to reimagine group work.


Ability grouping needs to be replaced with more focussed group work – each group requiring different requirements. Four groups seem a sensible arrangement. One group working with a teachers doing an introductory activity – perhaps a science experiment relating to the current study; a following group writing up their findings; a group researching using computers; and another doing a creative activity based on the study.


Two great practical books


Some classes have experimented with four groups rotating through the day: language arts group; a maths group; a group completing work for presentation; and a group doing creative work.  Group
More than literacy and numeracy
tasks will depend on what is currently being studied. 

With expertise some teachers might, for brief times when independent learning skills are in place, move into a free choice integrated day.
It is good advice to move into experimental organisation in the last weeks of a term giving time to assess progress over the holidays!
Teacher displays and room environments.
Part of the tempting learners (Jerome Bruner) can be achieved by setting up a range of displays to capture students’ curiosity. Every Learning Area provide ideas for displays.  From such displays students’ questions arise and can be added to the display. As students computer tasks these questions (and later researched answers) can be added to the displays to inform visitors of class
learning.
I see the a modern school as an amalgam of an artist’s studio, a media centre, a science laboratory, an art gallery;  an educational Te Papa with students being the researcher planning and developing displays
John Dewey wrote early in the 20thC  The only way in which adults consciously control the kind of education the immature get is by controlling the environment in which they act and feel. We never
educate directly, but indirectly by means of the environment. Whether we permit chance environments to do the work, or whether we design environments to the purpose makes a great difference.’

Guy Claxton’s ‘learnacy’ and the New Zealand Curriculum’s competencies

The New Zealand Curriculum emphasizes the need to develop in all students the key competencies to become lifelong learners. In a class undertaking a community of learners’ model such competencies are implicit but students’ attention needs to be drawn to them when appropriate.
Claxton’s message is that schools must change. ‘We ought not to put up with students enduring a passive depersonalised assembly line experience’. 'We now know enough that no student need fail if we' , as Claxton says, 'attend more successfully to cultivating the qualities of character and mind that modern life demands; curiosity, imagination, disciplined thinking, a love of genuine debate, scepticism. These are the learning dispositions that students can use their whole lives’.

If education has lost the plot', Claxton writes, ‘we need 'a narrative for education that can engage and inspire children and their families - a tale of trials and adventure, of learning derring-do and learning heroism. Let's fire the kids up with the deep satisfaction of discovery and exploration. They are born with learning zeal; let us recognise, celebrate and protect it, but also stretch, strengthen and diversify it’
 Jerry Starratt, an expert on school leadership, has written. 'In a very real sense...human being create themselves and school can be stage on which children work through the plot, rehearse their roles, learn the cues, create social functions, try out their 'ideal selves' for size, play hero parts which demonstrate their capability for greatness.' This is the essence of personalised education
Final words to American business ‘guru’ Tom Peters (who has holiday home in Golden Bay) from his book ‘Re-Imagine.
'I imagine a school system that recognizes learning is natural, that a love of learning is normal, and that real learning is passionate learning. A school curriculum that values questions above answers…creativity above fact regurgitation…individuality above conformity... and excellence above standardized performance….. And we must reject all notions of 'reform' that serve up more of the same: more testing, more 'standards', more uniformity, more conformity, and more bureaucracy’.

How do you imagine the shape of education system able to ensure all students thrive in an ever changing, uncertain but potentially exciting future?


Friday, March 23, 2018

Online learning / coding / creative teaching / scaffolding inquiry / and are we brave enough to face a new educational future?


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

Why is online learning ‘all fur coat and no knickers’? We design to forget.

‘Online learning has gone down the ‘all fur coat and no knickers’ route. It’s more presentation than pedagogy, more look and feel than learning. Rather than focus on what makes learning a success in terms of retention and recall, it allows the learner to skate across the surface of a thin layer of nicely designed but thin ice. It often creates the illusion of learning by illustrative graphics/animation that, as Mayer often showed, actually inhibit rather than help retention.’



3 Ways to Combat Recipe Learning

‘Rubrics were all the rage so I thought that by giving all the same project
and using the rubric I was differentiating for my students because they got to decide where they fit on the rubric. What I didn’t know at the time was I was expecting all the same level of work. I hadn’t designed an effective summative assessment.

I had assigned a recipe.’


What Are The Benefits Of Learning To Code As A Child?

What are your thoughts about this? I’m not convinced.

‘So instead of watching people jump on the coding bandwagon because we said so, we decided to write an article that discusses the benefits of learning how to
code as a child. That way parents and schools can make an informed decision. Believe it or not, some of the advantages that we are about to share may shock you. Well, without further ado, here is our list of the benefits of learning to code as a child.’



Creativity is a distinct mental state that you can train

“Our results suggest that creativity can be characterized as a distinct mental state—one that can be nurtured through training, and that can reflect the quality of the finished product.”



Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Teach Kids When They’re Ready

A new book for parents on developing their kids’ sense of autonomy has some useful insights f
or teachers as well.

‘The measuring stick is out, comparing one kid to another, before they even start formal schooling. Academic benchmarks are being pushed earlier and earlier, based on the mistaken assumption that starting earlier means that kids will do better later.

We now teach reading to 5-year-olds even though evidence shows it’s more efficient to teach them to read at age 7, and that any advantage gained by kids who learn to read early washes out later in childhood.’


How To Ease Students Into Independent Inquiry Projects

Too often teachers enter the inquiry pool in the deep end, heading straight to Free Inquiry, as I
had done with Chris. We can’t blame them; the essential questions students ask and the demonstrations of learning students create are incredibly meaningful and resonate with their audience. But beginning your adoption of inquiry by diving right into Free Inquiry could result in overwhelmed and underprepared inquiry students. In our experience, without flipping control in the classroom, empowering student learning, and scaffolding with the Types of Student Inquiry, students will not feel as confident, supported, or empowered through our inquiry journey.’


The 5th ‘C’ of 21st Century Skills? Try Computational Thinking (Not Coding)

‘There is growing recognition in the education systems around the globe that being able to problem-solve computationally—that is, to think logically and algorithmically, and use computational tools for creating artifacts including models and data visualizations—is rapidly becoming a prerequisite competency for all fields.’


Creative thinking and the new Digital Technologies curriculum


In this book, Resnick states that kindergarten (where students are free to follow their own interests and direct their own learning) nurtures creative thinking because it allows students to
naturally iterate through a creative learning spiral: learning how to start with an idea, build
prototypes, share them with others, run experiments, and revise these based on feedback. In contrast, the current education model (which was made in—and for—the industrial era) restricts teachers’ ability to create lifelong kindergarten type environments.'



Embracing the Whole Child

Fully engaging students can include using their interests in lessons, checking in on them emotionally, and being ourselves.

According to education researcher Maria del Carmen Salazar, an overuse of such things as scripted and mandated instructional curricula can hinder educators and students from developing meaningful relationships. And that rigid, standardized approach to teaching contradicts so much of what we know from whole-child education research. It can sabotage the humanness of all those beings growing and exploring daily together in one room.’



From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Linda-Darling Hammond: Lessons for New Zealand from America

‘“The Flat World and Education’,  a book by Linda Darling-Hammond is a must read for educationalists and politicians who want to develop an alternative to the technocratic style of education that has been slowly destroying the creativity of students and teachers  in New Zealand and, in turn, the social fabric of our increasingly troubled society.”


Are we brave enough to live for the future?

The past seems a simpler place to think about - the future is so
messy and unpredictable. Years ago educational philosopher John Dewey wrote that the best preparation for the future is to live well today. Good advice. Hindsight bias, it seems, drains the uncertainty from the past while looking into the future is just so unpredictable. This uncertainly interferes with our judgment and provides us with a bias to conservatism.’


Re-imaging education; lessons from Galileo and Brazil.

‘Education stands at a crossroad caught in the lights of market forces ideology which blinds all but a few to beginnings of a new era some call the Second Renaissance – a new creative era.’


Time to ditch the technocrats!!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Sir Ken Robinson - currently visiting New Zealand. 'Creativity is as important as literacy and numeracy'


Education Readings
This week featuring Sir Ken Robinson




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

Here are some links to acknowledge Sir Ken Robinson who is currently in New Zealand.

Sir Ken Robinson: creative thought leader in education

Interview on Radio New Zealand on Sunday 4th March.


Summerhill School: learning as students choose

Sir Ken referenced this school in his interview, so here is an interview with Zoe Readhead, daughter of A.S. Neill - a must listen.

‘Summerhill is an alternative free school in Suffolk, England, started by educational leader A.S. Neill in 1921. The pupils are free to come to lessons as they choose, and students and teachers have an equal voice in decision making.’


Ken Robinson: Government “Standardization” Blocks Innovative Education Reform

“I never blame teachers or schools… But there is this deadly culture of standardizing, that’s being pushed on them, politically. My core message here is that we have to personalize education, not standardize it. That all children are different, and we have to find their talents and cultivate them.”


Do Schools Kill Creativity?

If you’ve never watching Sir Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk from 2006, or if you’ve not seen it for  a while, here it is. Either way, it is a must watch.


Sir Ken Robinson - Can Creativity Be Taught?

Links to many other Sir Ken videos can also be found here.


“Modern ADHD Epidemic is Fiction” – Ken Robinson

‘Our children are living in the most intensive stimulating period in the history of the earth. They’re being besieged with information and coerced for attention from every platform: computers, from IPhones, from advertising hoardings, from hundreds of television channels. And we’re penalizing them now for getting distracted. From what? Boring stuff. At school, for the most part. It seems to me not a coincidence, totally, that the instance of ADHD has risen in parallel with the growth of the standardized testing. Now these kids are being given Ritalin and Aderol and all manner of things, often quite dangerous drugs, to get them focused and calm them down… It’s a fictitious epidemic.'



Moving on:

Does writing by hand still matter in the digital age?

Technology is having an impact on children’s handwriting ability. But what does this mean for learning and development?

‘But what of the role that handwriting plays in learning and development? And with technology changing how we live and work, what place does handwriting have in the modern classroom? These were the questions put to the teachers, academics and specialists in education and technology at the Guardian’s roundtable event on 27 February.’


But is there even a correct way to hold a pen?

‘It's true that handwriting employs our hand muscles differently from the swiping and tapping motions we use to navigate the online world of today.
But when it comes to scrawling words on the page, the idea of 'correct' pencil grasp is actually way older than the iPhone - and science shows that there appears to be more than one way to correctly hold a pen.'


Arts integration: Turning teaching on its head
‘Sometimes the arts are used alongside a lesson being taught – for
example, students might turn their writing into a performance and ‘act it out’ or perhaps draw a picture of what they have learned. We consider that in these instances, arts are simply being used alongside other subject areas, and while we like this idea, it is not what we mean by arts integrationIn our view, arts integration is a method of teaching, a pedagogical approach that focuses on the [non-arts] subject being taught, and not necessarily on the art form.’


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Learning from one of New Zealand's pioneer teacher - Elwyn Richardson
(Author of 'In The Early World ' possibly the best book written about education anywhere. ..)

Bruce’s article here is the perfect follow-on from the Sir Ken Robinson links and shows a way to Elwyn Richardson took creative primary education to a new and, I suspect, still unsurpassed level. long before Sir Ken's rise to fame.


‘Elwyn expressed concern that due to learning becoming over intellectualized ( and therefore available to be assessed), that intuitive thought was in danger of being neglected. There was, he felt, a danger of learning becoming too conceptualized and that this would result in damaging students' intuition and creativity. That it would result in the neglect or downplaying of the creative arts.’


Bill Gates Admits His Common Core Experiment Is A Failure

This comes on the heels of New Zealand abandoning their rather similar national standards. Maybe non-educators should stick to their knitting…

Wrong Bill Gates
After spending $400 million on forcing schools around the country to adopt Common Core, Bill Gates has finally admitted that the controversial teaching method is a failure, and significantly less effective than traditional teaching methods. 

Parents and teachers across the nation have been urging schools to dump the toxic Common Core curriculum, arguing that it deliberately dumbs down children and creates unnecessary and complicated methods for working out relatively simple problems.’

Assessment in the early years…

‘A recent story I heard talked about a display that pitted children against each other in a race to be
reading at a certain level.  This kind of practice breaks my heart.  I don't for a moment think that these teachers are doing this to hurt children, but I don't think they have taken time to think about how the children feel.  How does this shape their view of what reading is or even learning is?   How does it promote a culture of shared learning and journey?  How does it speak to these children about failure and mistakes?’


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:
Here’s a collection of all Bruce’s articles about Sir Ken Robinson.
Out of Our Minds

‘A book to read for all who believe in creative education. 'Out of Our Minds' by Sir Ken Robinson. Introductory keynote speaker at the 07 NZPPF Conference to be held in Auckland.’

Importance of Creativity

'Sir Ken talks about the importance of nurturing innovative solutions in the classrooms - indeed in every aspect of life. Sir Ken is now senior adviser to the Paul Getty Trust and was knighted in 2003 for his commitment to the creative arts and education in the UK.  is set to become the 'buzz' word of the future. Sir Ken sees creativity as essential for students as they seek jobs in the future.’

‘Creative Schools’ a book by Sir Ken Robinson

‘A must read for anyone who believes in an education system that aims at developing the gifts and talents of all students. Read this article about Sir Ken's latest book My plea is for creative teachers, particularly those in New Zealand, to share this with as many teachers and schools as they can because the message is so important.’


The need to transform schools – Sir Ken Robinson

‘One writer school leaders could get behind to give support is Sir Ken Robinson who is well known to many schools. And there are many others. It is also ironic that while Western countries follow neo liberal ideology leading to testing, standardization and privatization Asian counties are working hard to break out of high stake testing and introduce more creativity into their systems!’

National Standards gone – now it’s time for creativity says Sir Ken

‘The previous Nationals  Government was right in believing schools should do a lot better. No
student should leave school feeling a failure. The trouble is their approach is wrong, and ironically, with its desire for all students to be assessed against National Standards, is creating ‘winners and losers’ environment and in the process narrowing the curriculum and encourages teaching to the tests. Sir Ken Robinson call this standardization a fast food approach; an  approach that has its genesis in the past industrial age.’


Sir Ken Robinson and Tony Wagner

‘While schools are distracted by ensuring they are seen to do well in achieving / improving their National Standards and NCEA data they are creating the very hyper-accountability conditions that make it difficult for creative teachers.’



Time for teachers to escape the National Standards box - time for teachers to be creative!