Saturday, January 31, 2015

Educational Readings - first readings for 2015.'Begin with the end in mind'.

By Allan Alach

Another New Zealand school year is about to start, so I guess that means I need to unpack my brain and get started on this years education readings.

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

This weeks homework!

Can Lego Help Return Play to Childrens Lives and Education?
Peter Gray commenting on a Lego Foundation conference - a good read.
..there was no real discussion of the meaning of play(at least none that I heard), and I wish there
.Importance of play neglected
had been, because many speakers used the term to refer to activities that neither I nor most children would class as play. They used the term to describe activities that teachers could bring into the classroom for the explicit purpose of teaching certain lessons, lessons that are part of the school curriculum and would ultimately be measured by scores on tests.

When you innovate are you a puzzle builder or quilt maker?
Are you a quilt maker?
Interesting video:
When you don't 'get' something, when there's something you've not got that gets in the way of building your idea, do you put your hands up and wait until the next piece in your puzzle becomes available, or do you just make stuff happen with the resources you've got - are you a puzzle maker who struggles when a piece is missing or a quilt maker who makes the best out of what you have?

Workload forcing new teachers out of the profession, survey suggests
An article from England, however from what I read online this is a widespread concern.
Almost three quarters (73%) of trainee and newly qualified teachers (NQTs) have considered leaving the profession, according to a new survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. Heavy workloads are wreaking havoc among new recruits as 76% of respondents cited this as the main reason they considered quitting.

What's Worth Learning in School?
Thanks to Ivon Prefontaine for the link to this. Ivons Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity site is well worth following.
‘“Youve been teaching long enough to be pretty sure that hand is going to go up as soon as you got started on this topic, and so it does, with an annoying indolence. All right. You gesture toward the hand, Lets hear it.
The student: Why do we need to know this?’”

Seven ways schools kill the love of reading in kids and 4 principles to help restore it
This post by Alfie Kohn explains all the ways that school actually kills a desire to read in many kids, and how that can be remedied.” 

Great Research
Jamie McKenzie:
Students must make answers. The research is like a shopping trip to find the raw ingredients that will be chopped up and combined to cook a great stew or sauce. Cooking should involve more than heating up "store bought" dishes in the microwave.

5 Devastating Facts About Charter Schools You Won't Hear from the 'National School Choice Week' Propaganda Campaign
Children who are better resourced with more family support are the winners in the school choice game. Children from disorganized families dont even enter the lottery. Children with significant special needs are not well served in charter schools that lack the appropriate resources. The privatization of our schools puts public schools at a huge disadvantage, stranding the least advantaged and disabled in underfunded, under-resourced schools.

This weeks contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Beginning the school year with the end in mind ( Steven Covey)
Bruce wrote this article for New Zealand teachers who are about to enter the fray for the new school year; however it has relevance all over.
A few years ago Steven Covey wrote a popular book called 'The Seven Habits of Effective People'. One of Covey's effective habits  was  to 'begin with the end in mind'.I think it very important advice for teachers starting with a new class. What would you like the class to be like at the end of the year? What habits, dispositions, attitudes, competencies and behaviours would you ideally like to be in place?

Insights into Student Motivation
Motivating students is always a hot topic among education writers and researchers, but never more so than the last several years. This MiddleWeb Resource Roundup gathers blog posts, interviews and studies centering on some of the recent commentary on intrinsic and extrinsic sources of motivation.

My Longstanding Beef with Instructional Leaders
Bruces comment: Are principals reallyinstructional leaders’  orlead teachers? Do you go to your principal for help or to an admired fellow teacher? The reality of the principal's role is to create conditions to encourage creativity and to trust teachers.
When the mic finally came to me, I pushed back at the notion that principals are truly the instructional leaders of any school.  "How can you REALLY be the instructional leaders," I argued, "when no one has ever seen you teach?!”’

The Past, Present And Future Of High-Stakes Testing
Bruces comment: The state of testing is USA the model to follow? This testing obsession must never take over New Zealand schools!
I've just written a book on this topic, The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing But You Don't Have to Be, and Steve Inskeep sat down with me to ask me a few questions about it.

Andrew McAfee: What will future jobs look like?
Bruces comment: This  TED talk by the author of The Second Machine Age  is a must to watch about the future of jobs in the coming decades. It is a positive message. Schools need to be about encouraging exploration, imagination and creativity not the current push towards standardisation ( which has more to do with the first Industrial Age. Be great to show to staff and senior students.  Andrew Mcafee gives a powerful quote about education I learnt in Montessori school that the world was interesting and it was my job to explore it. Then I went to public school it was like being in the Gulag.

8 Myths That Undermine Educational Effectiveness
.Educational myths
Bruces comment: The real truth myths about education. How many apply in NZ? (or in your location, wherever that may be).
Certain widely-shared myths and lies about education are destructive for all of us as educators, and destructive for our educational institutions. This is the subject of 50 Myths & Lies That Threaten Americas Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education, a new book by David Berliner and Gene Glass, two of the countrys most highly respected educational researchers. Although the book deserves to be read in its entirety, I want to focus on eight of the myths that I think are relevant to most teachers, administrators, and parents.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a wonderful set of readings - a good start to the year.