Friday, March 04, 2016

Creative teaching readings .Down with algebra? Educational myths.

By Allan Alach

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

Does Algebra Get in the Way of Student Success?/ Down With Algebra II!
Here are a couple of links that discuss Andrew Hacker’s book ‘The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions.
Hacker’s central argument is that advanced mathematics requirements, like algebra, trigonometry
and calculus, are a harsh and senseless hurdle” keeping far too many Americans from completing their educations and leading productive lives.
He also maintains that there is no proof for a STEM shortage or a skills gap; and that we should pursue numeracy” in education rather than mathematics knowledge.”

Teachers And Professional Collaboration: How Sweden Has Become The ABBA Of Educational Change
Andy Hargreves
Another Andy Hargreaves article:
:Competing reasons have been advanced for Sweden’s educational decline – see here and here. Most have targeted the country’s for-profit free schools and the promotion of divisive parental choice. Opponents blame poor classroom management and failure to control students’ use of mobile phones. But among the most worrying explanations have been those that refer to statistics associated with poor teacher quality. But how do we interpret these data?  “

It’s time to stop wasting money on interactive boards
I investigated these during a sabbatical some years back and came to the same conclusion.
Interactive screens, albeit whiteboards or touch-screen monitors mounted to a wall, are a waste of time and money when you have mobile devices in the classroom.”

Memory, tradition and myths
“The belief that having more information available to us atrophies our brains and that technology is making us stupid is widespread. But is it true?”

Cédric Villani on the 7 Ingredients of Creativity
What does it take to come up with a new idea? In this beautifully illustrated RSA Short, award-
winning mathematician Cédric Villani reveals the seven key ingredients that come together to create breakthrough moments in human knowledge and innovation.”

Farming Children for Profit
A comment on the state on what passes for early childhood education in New Zealand.
“We have increased the numbers within the ECE industry by
promoting quantity, not quality. We have not focused on adding value so that the end product is not something that will provide a good return. We have also ignored the external effects on what we are doing that will have costly implications later. It may be a little callous to refer to children as commodities, but it seems like our world now operates through the language of economics rather than the humanities.

A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love’
An article from England that will resonate with teachers all over.
“This is compounded by utter frustration that the reason I'm scrabbling around frantically when it's still dark outside, and exhausted and stressed during lessons, is that I was prevented from doing the basics of my job by the aforementioned administrative burden.”

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Why Is It 'Eleven, Twelve' Instead of 'Oneteen, Twoteen’?
Some interesting historical maths to think about.
Kids always notice the weird bits about language better than grownups. Thanks to five-year-old Katie English for this fabulous question!”

5 Tips for Teaching the Tough Kids
“I've had the privilege of teaching some tough kids. I say "privilege" for a reason. Teaching these students pushed me to be a better educator and a more compassionate person. I've detailed below five methods that have reduced misbehavior in my
classroom and, better still, helped transform these students into leaders among their peers.”

Strategies for Reaching Quiet, Disengaged, Struggling, and Troublemaking Students
“Now, after nine years in the classroom and learning from numerous failures, I still don't claim to have mastered the art of teaching or connecting with every kind of student, but I do have some thoughts on how to avoid my rookie mistakes.”

Tapping the Power of Personalized Learning
An introduction to a new book on personalised learning
“This book is about transforming the learning ecosystem we have inherited from our parents and grandparents to better prepare learners for their futures. The world has changed and continues to change dramatically—we can't afford to prepare todays learners for yesterday's challenges or even for today's. Over the past five years, our colleagues in the network and we at the Institute for Personalized Learning have learned a lot about what works in schools and what doesn't. We understand and appreciate the crucial role that education leaders play in determining whether to consider, implement, and sustain transformational change; our purpose is to help you maximize the likelihood of success.”

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

What is a 'committed sardine'?
What we need are committed sardines ( creative teachers) and less blue whales ( Ministry directives)
“Compare the way a blue whale turns around (slowly) with how a school of…. Sardines- which is the same or even greater mass than a blue whale... A school of sardines can almost turn instantly
around – how do they do it?The answer is simple. ‘If you take a careful look at a school of sardines you will notice that although all the fish appear to be swimming in the same direction, at any one time, there will be a small group of sardines swimming in the opposite direction against the flow. As they swim in the opposite direction they create conflict, friction, and discomfort for the rest of the school.’

Listening to silenced voices.
“Who should tell a schools story? Who knows best about what happens in the classrooms? Who is best to judge the quality and effectiveness of teaching For the last decade or so the only voices that have been heard are those of the technocrats of the various Ministries of education as they have imposed their so called ‘efficient' measurable curriculums – this is certainly the case in New Zealand. Students in the process have been turned into consumers and teachers asked to ‘deliver’ the curriculum!”

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