Saturday, May 18, 2013

Educational Readings - Sir Ken Robinson, Kelvin Smythe,Diane Khan,Bruce Hammonds et all

By Allan Alach

One of the zillions of overseas websites that I follow includes a weekly ‘Secret Teacher’ blog. It strikes me that there maybe many teachers out there who have very strong feelings about educational matters in their own country, but who are naturally afraid to speak out due to employment matters. Having been hit by the clobbering machine myself in late 2011, I can sympathise with this.

Darwin finally had a good idea!

I’d like to offer the chance for any disaffected teacher to sound off in absolute anonymity. If you would like to do this, email your article to me and I will post it as a Secret Teacher posting on The Treehorn Express. Avoid defamatory and abusive language, both for legal reasons, and also because that’s the approach beloved of right wing trolls - we don’t need to descend to their level. Rational, well reasoned and well referenced articles are much more powerful!

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

This week’s homework!

The Current School Reform Landscape: Christopher H. Tienken (via Kevin Woodley).

-      Christopher Tienken, Ed.D. is an assistant professor of Education Administration at Seton Hall University in the College of Education and Human Services, Department of Education Management, Policy, and Leadership.

This video is about the USA educational scene, however it is very relevant, in most part, to New Zealand and Australia. A great watch.

‘Is it necessary to have every child master the same exact material at the same level of difficulty?’

Spelling and grammar test for all 11-year-olds to tackle poor literacy

-      Up to 600,000 (English) schoolchildren will be required to sit a new exam in spelling, punctuation and grammar amid fears that almost a quarter of pupils are starting secondary education with substandard literacy skills.

While GERM down under may be causing grief, things could be much worse.

The Power of Metaphor

A commonly expressed concern of the intensely limited focus on the 3Rs that is implicit in GERM, is the neglect of the arts. This article by Pat Buoncristiani provides another window on how this will affect vulnerable children’s development.

How to escape education’s death valley

Sir Ken Robinson - no other introduction needed.


Could it be our understanding of ‘Quality’…that is BROKEN, perhaps?

Blogger Tony Gurr, writing from Turkey ( proof of the international nature of the battle for true education) touches on a vitally important issue - what is ‘Quality’? Tony includes the vital reference here, Robert Pirsig’s ‘Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance,  a discussion of Quality. If you’ve not
read that book recently, or not read it at all, then you have some homework. I’m on my 3rd copy, having read the preceding copies so many times that they fell apart. This understanding of quality underpins the battle for holistic, rich, child centred education. You will note, in Pirsig’s book, many similarities between standardised education and the lack of quality that he contends is destructive to modern life.

Shonky Data and Shabby Journalism – Must Be National Standards Time Again

Save Our Schools NZ blogger Dianne Khan has joined the ranks of contributors to The Daily Blog. Here’s her excellent first contribution.

Education Should Liberate, Not Indoctrinate

Another excellent link to Yong Zhao - one of the main players in the international anti-GERM disinfectant battle.


How do Finnish kids excel without rote learning and standardized testing?

More of the same but no less valuable for that. Finland remains our most effective tool in the battle to disinfect schools from GERMs.

The biggest topic in New Zealand education this week was the debate in parliament on the Education Amendment bill that will pass legislation to establish charter school. Here are postings by Bruce Hammonds and Kelvin Smythe about this.

New Zealand education. A choice between Creativity and Charter Schools

Charter schools are …

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