Friday, July 25, 2014

Educational Readings - the creativity of teachers. Leonard Cohen /Ray Bradbury

By Allan Alach

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

This weeks homework!

Is Education as We Know it On its Way Out?

Your thoughts?

Call me old-fashioned, but in my mind, I still feel teachers have their place in the world. Setting aside other considerations, there is something intangible that a one-to-one interaction with a teacher brings that cannot be replaced. Every person I've ever met has a story about at least one teacher who played a significant role in shaping who this person is. Not all teachers are the same, and it is telling that every person mentions this one teacher who made an impact.

How One Designer Bridged the Gap Between Play and Learning

How can we reflect this in primary schooling?

Boston Chlidren's Museum
When we talk about playing and learning, we naturally think of childrens museums. Most major cities offer some experience like this, where kids are able to get their hands dirty, and shocking! learn something at the same time. The museums at least the good ones are always both engaging and interactive in a way thats fun for kids, but theyre also fun for grown-ups too. As weve been reporting for our series on play next month, it got me wondering: What goes into creating great museum experiences, and how do designers go about them?

Leonard Cohen on Creativity, Hard Work, and Why You Should Never Quit Before You Know What It Is Youre Quitting

Not strictly educational but Im sure you will be able to make the connections. This is a gem.

Before I can discard the verse, I have to write itI cant discard a verse before it is written because it is the writing of the verse that produces whatever delights or interests or facets that are going to catch the light. The cutting of the gem has to be finished before you can see whether it shines.

Ray Bradbury on Failure, Why We Hate Work, and the Importance of Love in Creative Endeavors

On a similar vein to the above article

I can only suggest that we often indulge in made work, in false business, to keep from being bored. Or worse still we conceive the idea of working for money. The money becomes the object, the target, the end-all and be-all. Thus work, being important only as a means to that end, degenerates into boredom. Can we wonder then that we hate it so?

An Open Letter to My Sons Kindergarten Teacher

This is good!

It concerns me a bit that you are going to require him to With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers. I appreciate the guidance and support from adults, in fact I expect it, but Im confused about him publishing his writing. You see, he cant write.

This is educational innovation?

If you still have any notion that the OECD/PISA manipulation of education has any beneficial features, this article should put an end to that. More madness
Find New Zealand!

The ability to measure innovation is essential to an improvement strategy in education. Knowing whether, and how much, practices are changing within classrooms and educational organisations, how teachers develop and use their pedagogical resources, and to what extent change can be linked to improvements would provide a substantial increase in the international education knowledge base. Measuring Innovation in Education offers new perspectives to address this need for measurement.

Stuck in the past?

UK academic Steve Wheeler:

“… there is conflicting evidence that technology has actually delivered any significant change to the pedagogy practiced in school classrooms. The answer to the question for many schools, is that technology brings very little change to the way teachers educate. The mass production pedagogy model stubbornly persists, and personalised learning seems far from the reach of many young people.

Marion Brady: We Need the Right Kind of Standards, Not CCSS

Another excellent article by Marion.

School subjects are just toolsmeans to an end. We dont tell surgeons which scalpels
and clamps to use; what we want to know is their kill/cure rate. We dont check the toolbox of the plumber weve called to see if he (or she) brought a basin wrench and propane torch; we want to know that when the jobs done the stuff goes down when we flush. We dont kick the tires of the airliner were about to board; we trust the judgment of the people on the flight deck.

This weeks contributions from

The Neuroscience Behind Stress and Learning

Bruce: The real oil about brain friendly learning

The realities of standardized tests and increasingly structured, if not synchronized, curriculum continue to build classroom stress levels. Neuroimaging research reveals the disturbances in the brain's learning circuits and neurotransmitters that accompany stressful learning environments. The neuroscientific research about learning has revealed the negative impact of stress and anxiety and the qualitative improvement of the brain circuitry involved in memory and executive function that accompanies positive motivation and engagement.

Classrooms Flooded with Devices

Article from New Zealand with relevance all over!

‘“It is increasingly important,says the ministrys head of student achievementRowena Phair, that school leavers have the skills to succeed in the digital age. A student with their own device can learn any time and anywhere, and connect and collaboratewith students and experts outside the school. Plus there are loads of great educational resources online. That sounds fair enough, yet theres something naggingly familiar about some of the rhetoric. Sixty years ago, Skinner said his Teaching Machine offered vastly improved conditions for effective study. Last month, a report from the ministry-backed 21st-Century Learning Reference Group told us that digitally-based education can significantly improve learning outcomes”’.

But is that really true?

Edutopia - a great site for creative teachers

George Lucas
Posted by Bruce on his blog.

A site that regularly supplies us with interesting ( and practical ) links is Edutopia. Edutopia is a site set up by George Lucas of Star Wars fame. I recommend you joining their  newsletter add your e-mail on the Edutopia site.

Chipping Away: Reforms That Don't Make a Difference

A sculptor was once asked how he could start with a big block of marble and create a
beautiful statue of a horse. The answer: "I just take my hammer and chisel, and I knock off everything that doesn't look like a horse.”’

Among a plethora of bad ideas being shoved at educators today, here are five myths that we should knock off:

From Bruces oldies but goodies file:

Educating for Creativity

Bruce: An oldie always good to read/listen to what Sir Ken has to say.

It is a shame that schools, secondary schools in particular, have such fixed routines that ensure their students receive an outdated fragmented view of learning and in the process that deaden the human spirit.

Linda-Darling Hammond: Lessons for New Zealand from America

Bruces comment: Perfect pre election reading (New Zealand has a general election on September 20, which we hope will bring the end of GERM in New Zealand).

“‘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.

Learning is about constructing meaning.

Dame Marie Clay
An oldie:Wise words from Dame Marie Clay.

I was pleased, many years ago, to read an article by Marie Clay in which she wrote about the importance of the creative arts in the learning process. All too often, as soon as children enter school, early attempts to write and draw are subsumed by a sect like obsession with literacy. It may be time to redress the balance? In earlier, more creative times, it was common to see 'language experience' and 'related arts' approaches to learning.

This weeks contributions from Phil Cullen

Corporal Punishment

Australia, under the Tony Abbott led government, is returning to the 19th century in many ways. This includes suggesting that corporal punishment has a place in 21st century schools.

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