Friday, April 03, 2015

Easter Education Readings - innovative ideas to consider

The price to pay for holding contrary beliefs

By Allan Alach

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

This weeks homework!

Would you try competency-based education in your class?
First listen then help me learn
Time is the first element of individualization of learning or at least it should be. We all have our own ways of processing the information that is thrown at us in formal education. It is foolishness to imagine that all students would take exactly the same time to process things to be learned. This is exactly why I LOVE competency based education: when you are done learning one concept/topic, you can move on.

There Is No Proper English: Never mind the grammar scolds. If people say it, its the right way to speak.
It's about communicating
Interesting article that makes the idea of English standards even more unsound.
The grammatical rules invoked by pedants arent real rules of grammar at all. They are, at best, just stylistic conventions: An example would be the use of a double negative (I cant get no satisfaction). It makes complete grammatical sense, as an intensifier. Its just a convention that we dont use double negatives of that form in Standard English.

The Writing Paradox
I started looking at the responses of the survey that OUP ran regarding writing in the classroom, the comments from around the world had a similar theme, they dont even write in their own language, pace of life is very fast and they dont have time to write, writing is a bore.  This created a curious paradox in my mind.
The written word is becoming more and more important in terms of communication emails, texts, tweets, Facebook updates, YouTube comments all require writing skills. Yet students dont see a link between these and what they are doing in class.  So what are the differences?

The choice to lead, follow or hide 
Learning in Flocks, Hives and Swarms
In a world of new tools, evolving curriculum expectations and innovative learning strategies, the learning of any single teacher triggers ripple effects that impact the entire learning community. Now more than ever, there is incredible potential for the inspired individual to influence the whole. Using models of group behaviour from the natural world, lets consider the many ways an individual might participate in and subsequently impact a learning community.  

How to design a primary school where learning has no limits
Interesting article from Cambridge, England.
Taking inspiration from the book Creating Learning without Limits, based on a Cambridge University project focusing on teaching and learning without ability labelling, Barfield sought to create a school with a strong presence at the centre of its community, and democratic feel within where every voice mattered. The desire to ensure the school had a heartled her to the notion of a courtyard, linking the school architecturally to the Cambridge college courts.

The tip of the iceberg
This article looks at the contrast between public perceptions of teachers, and need for ensuring the best quality teachers work in our classrooms.
Teaching needs to be seen as a profession not a job so that teachers themselves are responsible for making the best decisions for learning and teaching.
As Finland has demonstrated, minimum academic standards for teaching are just the tip of the iceberg.

For the Love of Reading: Engaging Students in a Lifelong Pursuit
Reading will hold little appeal if a student has trouble decoding or has problems with comprehension.
But what if a student is a fluent decoder and generally understands texts that she tackles? What if she just doesnt often choose to read? What might be done to motivate her, both at school and at home?

The idea you can put a number against a child's ability is flawed and dangerous
UK Headteacher - uses no grades
This is not about being soft and fluffy. Its about believing that listening to pupils matters, she says. The assumption that you can reliably put a number against what a child is capable of is flawed and dangerous. Potentially, it leads to the individual and the people around them having a very limited set of expectations.

This weeks contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Bruce - the teacher
101 Things Ive Learned So Far In Teaching
Bruce’s comment: This is a great list to quickly read what would be your top 10 or 20?
“The title is self-explanatory and the context is fairly clear. Well, actually it probably shouldve been title 101 things I think I think about teaching,because what I think I think changes almost daily. Here we are nonetheless.”

Fostering Critical Thinking Skills with Online Tools
Bruce’s comment: ICT and thinking skills
“Fostering critical thinking skills is always a challenge in teaching. Educators still honor Blooms Taxonomy as the basis of learning. But with that giving way to its revised and updated interpretations, we now have tools that can help in all of the key components of critical thinking skills.”

12 Ways to Teach Critical Thinking Skills
Heres a question to critically think about: What exactly are critical thinking skills, anyways? Its more than just thinking clearly or rationally—its about thinking independently.
The idea with critically thinking about something is to formulate your own opinions and draw your own conclusions about it, regardless of outside influence. Its also about the mental discipline of analysis, and being able to see the connections between ideas.”

Why Creativity Now? A Conversation with Sir Ken Robinson
Bruce’s comment: One more to throw into the mix an interview with Sir Ken Robinson.
‘But creativity isn't just about coming up with new ideas; some ideas might be completely crazy and impractical. So an essential bit of every creative process is evaluation. If you're working on a mathematical problem, you're constantly evaluating it, thinking, "Does that feel right?" If you're composing a piece on the piano, part of you is listening to what you're doing and thinking, "Does that work? Is that going in a good direction?”’

 Why Arts Education Is Crucial, and Who's Doing It Best
Bruce’s comment: The importance of the arts as ‘basicto school achievement.
‘"Art does not solve problems, but makes us aware of their existence," sculptor Magdalena
Abakanowicz has said. Arts education, on the other hand, does solve problems. Years of research show that it's closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our children and demand from our schools: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity.’

Nine Dangerous Things You Were Taught In School
And now for something different
“5. There is a very clear, single path to success.
s called college. Everyone can join the top 1% if they do well enough in school and ignore the basic math problem inherent in that idea.”

From Bruce’s oldies but goodies file

Guy Claxton - building learning power.
Good question
Bruce’s comment: Guy Claxton, well known to many NZ teachers, provides good advice to engage learners- to help them see the point of school( the title of his excellent book)
“I agreed with Guy Claxton when he said that much of what is seen in many classes makes little impact: thinking styles -we all have our own style; de Bono's hats - more displayed than used; and mind maps - poorly used. Not that, he
 said, they all can't be useful. And all that drinking of water! With much isolated thinking skill teaching their is little evidence of transfer into new situations. Teachers have to help their students develop this facility in new situations; use it or lose it.”

Power through reading!
Bruce’s comment: Literacy is all too often these days is reduced to measuring achievement levels and arguments about the place of such things as phonics when really it is all about empowering learners. It is as much a political act as it is an educational one in reality it ought to be one and the same thing. Dictators know about the power of reading thats why the first thing they do is burn books and hunt down alternative thinkers. Creative teachers see reading as a means to an end ensuring all students see themselves as meaning hunters.
“In New Zealand, one such pioneer, was Sylvia Ashton Warner who developed her ideas in the 50s. Thankfully there are still some creative teachers who still utilize aspects of her ideas. She called her approach 'Key Vocabulary' and started her students reading and writing with words from their own experiences. She saw her young students as having a mind 'inhabited by instincts; wants, fears, desires and loves, hates and happiness.”

Are you a creative thinker?
Bruce’s comment: Recently I attended a stimulating presentation  in my home town by a visiting lecturer whose thesis was the value of the integration of the arts and the sciences. This ‘oldblog reflected his ideas.

 Prof Bruce  Sheridan   ( born in our own province) is now the Director of the biggest media centre in the US ( Chicago). His studies showed that brain research shows integration , creativity, making, play and collaboration are vital to develop modern thinkers. That schools do not feature such things is a real concern - they unintentionally mis-educate. More about his ideas to come.  
“Schools ought to be about fostering creativity of all students rather than focusing on academic achievement. If they were to foster creativity they would value their students curiosity, passions and talents and to assist them push the boundaries of their own personal discoveries.”


College Reine Marie said...

My easter was a bit boring lol but thanks to this compilation of books. I'll check each. God bless

viswa said...

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Help Online Class said...

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