Friday, August 02, 2013

Educational Readings - new thinking

By Allan Alach

All teachers should reflect on these ‘thunking’ points that are raised by Tony Gurr….

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at
This week’s homework!
How to Create Nonreaders: Reflections on Motivation, Learning, and Sharing Power
Another gem from Alfie Kohn.
“But if we're serious about helping students to fall in love with literature, to get a kick out of making words fall together in just the right order, then we have to be attentive to what makes these things more, and less, likely to happen.  It may take us awhile, but ultimately our classrooms should turn the usual default setting on its head so the motto becomes:  Let the students decide except when there's a good reason why we have to decide for them.”

A Glimpse into the future of learning.
Here’s an interesting infographic.
Theories for the digital age: Connectivism
Steve Wheeler, discussing a 21st century learning theory. Do you agree? Is constructivism  dead, or is it part of connectivism? Behaviourism? Cognitivism?
Jo Boaler

Helping Children Love Mathematics  – Jo Boaler; and the need to question ability grouping in our schools. (via Bruce Hammonds)
Dan Murphy, the very competent principal of Winchester School (Palmerston North), made the decision a couple of years back, to break away from the Ministry of Education’s Numeracy Project, and for the school to develop its own mathematics programme. A major resource for this was the book ‘The Elephant in the Classroom: Helping Children Learn and Love Maths’. Dan lent this to Bruce Hammonds, who wrote this article. (NB Dan has contributed to Kelvin Smythe’s excellent booklets “The Primary School Diaries - Curriculum.” )

Give Them a Hand: Gesturing Children Perform Well On Cognitive Tasks
‘Studies have shown that gesturing can help older children learn new math concepts, for example. "Really, though, there is evidence that gesturing helps with difficult cognitive tasks at any age.."’
Nah, politicians, economists, business experts and media moguls know the answer lies in didactic instruction and lots of testing.

11 things missing (via David Kinane)

“What follows are the first eleven things that leapt to my mind while sitting in a mainstream classroom that were utterly absent, and which I believe to be absolutely essential to any useful practice of education ….”


Pedagogy v Education
Australian educator Greg Whitby with some thought provoking observations. I may never use ‘pedagogy’ again!
‘Pedagogues are enthusiasts for measurement and precision and look for certain outcomes.  Educators assume that the most important elements in human life are uncertain and speculative, defying precise calibration.’
Curriculum - Could a stitch in time save Finland's international rank?
Its education system has been hailed as the best in the world, but Finland is facing increasing competition in international league tables that compare performance in reading, mathematics and science. So how does the country respond? By voting for more time in the curriculum for non-academic subjects, including physical education, music, and arts and crafts.’
American 'bubble tests' - high tech!!!!!
Nah, they’ve got it wrong. Testing, testing and more testing is the answer…
What about this bit?
‘Ultimately, however, Finland is not concerned about being overtaken in international comparisons and it remains confident that its methods are right for students, she said.”
Right on!
Is Pisa fundamentally flawed?
The smoking gun, that destroys the basis for GERM!
‘They are the world’s most trusted education league tables. But academics say the Programme for International Student Assessment rankings are based on a ‘profound conceptual error’. So should countries be basing reforms on them?’
Why We Need To Value Students’ Spatial Creativity
‘Not everyone is going to be an Einstein, Tesla, or Edison, but if we identify the many spatially talented students who have been neglected in our school systems we might discover many brilliant kids who are just waiting to develop their creative potential.  We need to help them.  After all, we will ultimately depend on their visions to help create our future.’
How Thinking in 3D Can Improve Math and Science Skills (via Jedd Barlett)
‘All of us, children included, live in a three-dimensional universe—but too often parents and teachers act as if the physical world is as flat as a worksheet or the page of a book. We call kids’ attention to numbers and letters, but we neglect to remark upon the spatial properties of the objects around us: how tall or short they are, how round or pointy, how close or far. Growing evidence suggests that a focus on these characteristics of the material world can help children hone their spatial thinking skills—and that such skills, in turn, support achievement in subjects like science and math.’

1 comment:

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