Friday, October 18, 2013

Educational Readings - learning styles, innovation, project based learning and more. Pass on to other teachers to read


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

This week’s homework!

Set the Learning Free
Art - from mess comes creativity
Learning is messy. It does not occur in a vacuum. It is different for each individual. The structure that works for one learner may hinder the innovative approach that another needs to thrive.’
Someone get this message to the GERMers!
Teachers on strike: a struggle for the future of teaching?
Be warned…. this is a MUST READ.
‘In this article I want to set out the issues over which teachers are in dispute, and around which their action is focused.  These are issues of workload, pay and pensions, but at the heart of the conflict is the effective dismantling of a national framework of teachers’ pay and conditions of service.  On their
own, the changes currently being implemented by government represent an attack on teachers’ entitlements on an unprecedented scale. However, I want to argue that the changes being imposed are pivotal to the government’s wider objective of reconfiguring public education in England as a largely privatised system. Central to achieving this objective is the creation of a low-cost, flexible and fragmented workforce without the organisational capacity to challenge dominant policy agendas.’
Learnacy – A curriculum for the Future
 Distinguished Australian Educator Phil Cullen (13 years Director of Primary Education in the state of Queensland):
Still fighting the good fight!!
Testucators are now deliberately using their debased version of the language of learning , their pseudo-technical woo, in order to destroy schooling’s cognitive base. They use words like ‘achievement’, ‘improved performance’, ‘better outcomes’ as they universally describe the mechanical, robotically contrived, useless results from deceptively unreliable and invalid testing programs. They talk educational gibberish using PISA-style measurement bullshit. At no time in the history of GERM countries has schooling been so debased; its teachers devalued and abused by flat-earth policies, miseducated ‘experts’ and test-publishing profiteers.’

Tech Time vs. Wild Time for Kids (via Steve Mouldey)
This follows on from the article by George Mondiot in last week’s readings. While not strictly educational, this article does provide a comprehensive set of suggestions for how technology and outdoor activities can be blended together - useful when planning outdoor education programmes!
‘As a parent and educator (I make the distinction, but all parents are educators) I always struggled with finding the right balance between my son’s screen time vs other activities. While some children are deprived of ‘wild time’ connected to nature, so too are some children deprived of important ‘screen time’ to technology. Wild and screen time are often pitched against each other in a simplistic and dichotomised way, but the reality is far more complex.’

How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses
Extending ….Sugata Mitra

Beyond learning styles
This week’s sacred cow...
The scientific research on learning styles is “so weak and unconvincing,” concluded a group of distinguished psychologists in a 2008 review, that it is not possible “to justify incorporating learning-styles assessments into general educational practice.” A 2010 article was even more blunt: “There is no credible evidence that learning styles exist…”’

Howard Gardner: ‘Multiple intelligences’ are not ‘learning styles’
On the other hand…..
‘The theory became highly popular with K-12 educators around the world seeking ways to reach students who did not respond to traditional approaches, but over time, “multiple intelligences” somehow became synonymous with the concept of “learning styles.” In this important post, Gardner explains why the former is not the latter.’

This week’s contributions from Bruce Hammonds:
Elementary School Children Need More Time to Learn
Give us back our time! Elementary school children need more time to learn as scientists, social scientists and artists.
To Innovate We Must be Willing to Learn a Lot!
A vital message for all principals and teachers….
Learning new things means admitting that we are not experts in all areas and that we are willing to improve our learning agility. Yes, we all have great excuses why we don’t learn new things (if we are willing to be honest)! But, here is the reality: the rate and intensity of innovation is directly related to our agility and willingness to learn.’

George Lucas is a fan - his site Edutopia
PROJECT-BASED LEARNING:Bringing Authenticity to the Classroom
Authenticity -- we know it works! There is research to support the value of authentic reading and writing. When students are engaged in real-world problems, scenarios and challenges, they find relevance in the work and become engaged in learning important skills and content.’
PROJECT-BASED LEARNING: What Does It Take for a Project to Be "Authentic"?
‘Everyone thinks that Project-Based Learning has something to do with "authentic" learning. But not everyone agrees what this means.’

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