Friday, September 06, 2013

Educational Readings - creativity or conformity

By Allan Alach
I’m off to England this weekend and so will be taking a break from the world for the next month. This week’s list is longer than usual, to keep you busy until I return.
Enjoy your visit Allan
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at
This week’s homework!
Diversity or conformity?

Another article by Steve Wheeler:

Steve Wheeler

‘We live in a diverse world. We are all unique individuals. Each of us has his or her own specific abilities and talents, preferences, desires and aspirations. These should be nurtured and encouraged, especially during our formative years. And yet many schools are based on the Fordist principles of conformity and massification. State funded education, said Nietzsche, is often mediocre for the same reasons that cooking in large kitchens is poor. Even with the best teachers and the highest aspirations, state funded education is still about lack of attention to detail, and a push to serve up a 'one size fits all' education. Children are required to perform according to the expectations of the school system, teachers, parents, society. It doesn't start with the mind.’

Education Is a System of Indoctrination of the Young

Noam Chomsky kicking a few sacred cows.

Debunking the Genius Myth

“You would never put a child into the driver’s seat of a car, with no license and no drivers’ ed, and expect him to be able to cruise down the highway successfully, with no fear or hesitation,” said O’Brien. “And yet kids are sent to school with no manual on how to use their brains. Not what to learn but how to learn. The result is that everyone spends their days in school guessing what might be the best approach, the most effective technique…and the questioning about the how takes a lot of time and attention away from what needs to be learned.”

Be-ing Different, Disruptive and Deviant! (via Bruce Hammonds)

A look at how students who are labelled as disruptive, rebellious etc (the ones who suffer the most from GERM) can go on to change the world.

‘By being rebellious, “disruptive” and “deviant” many of them changed both their game and ultimately, the world! They did this by thinking what no-one else was thinking and doing what no-one else was doing, by taking conventions and turning them on their head, by making the ordinary unexpected.’

Separating neuromyths from science in education

More sacred cow kicking

‘….historically, claims linked to neuroscience have often turned out to be backed by scant evidence.’

What We Know Now (and How It Doesn't Matter)

‘Well into the second decade of the twenty-first century, then, education reform continues a failed tradition of honoring messaging over evidence. Neither the claims made about educational failures, nor the solutions for education reform policy today are supported by large bodies of compelling research.’


American Schools Are Failing Nonconformist Kids: In defense of the wild child.
Not much room for creativity

‘As a consumer of education—both as a child and a parent—I’d never thought much about classroom management. The field sounds technical and dull, inside baseball for teachers. Scratch two inches below the surface, however, and it becomes fascinating, political philosophy writ small. Is individuality to be contained or nurtured? What relationship to authority do teachers seek to create?’

The right’s toxic back-to-school disaster

‘As students return this week, there will be teacher jobs cut and mass shootings unaddressed. Here's the big problem.’

An article for all the USA readers, with lessons for other countries as well.

‘The creation of an underskilled, uneducated, anti-intellectual citizenry is a threat to our very existence, and we should not stand by and watch it happen.’

The Mis-Education Of My Son

A warning story from USA about charter schools. Something for New Zealand and, Australian parents (post election) to look forward to.

The Only Thing You Need To Be A 21st Century Teacher (via Bruce Hammonds)

If there was one and only one thing you needed to be the best 21st-century educator you could possibly be, what would you think that one thing is? It's a ponderous question and it's hard to narrow down the defining characteristic of what makes a teacher of the digital age most effective. Terry Heick challenges you to discover it for yourself in the following TeachThought article.”

We have lost so much in the past 50 years. We need to return leadership back to creative teachers. (via Bruce Hammonds).

In recent years the myth of the principal as the key to school transformation became persuasive and as result the principal's status has gone up commensurably. Crowther questions this myth, believing that the reality has not lived up to the rhetoric. The so called 'heroic leader' may effect short term change but all too often this is a temporary transformation. It is ironic, believes Crowther that the image of the school principal as the centre of school reform has contributed to the lowering of the status of teachers.


‘It is time for creative teachers to take their rightful place at the centre stage of educational reform; they have been waiting in the wings long enough.’

Here are a couple of links forwarded to Phil Cullen by Mary MacKay, Amsterdam.
How Poverty Taxes the Brain

‘Researchers publishing some groundbreaking findings today in the journal Science have concluded that poverty imposes such a massive cognitive load on the poor that they have little bandwidth left over to do many of the things that might lift them out of poverty – like go to night school, or search for a new job, or even remember to pay bills on time.’

There are two implications for children living in poverty - first, their parents don’t have the energy to be fully involved in their upbringing, and second, the same cognitive loads will impact their own development and performance.

China Enters “Testing-free” Zone: The New Ten Commandments of Education Reform

How long before GERM becomes an endangered species?


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