Friday, September 02, 2016

It''s about learning/ assessment/ the arts/ creativity and how boys learn

Education Readings

By Allan Alach

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

It’s not about the tablets. It’s about the learning
José Picardo: when schools buy tablets, they must put learning first.
‘Providing pupils with mobile devices is an enormous decision for any school, and it is one that
No 'silver bullet' 
must be considered carefully
. If you start from the assumption that providing pupils and staff with shiny slabs of aluminium and glass is all that is required and that everything else will take care of itself afterwards because
the children know how to use them anyway”, then you are in for a shock. Bringing in hundreds of mobile devices and only then worrying about the pillars that will prop up your mobile learning project is a recipe for disaster.’

The 'halo effect' that helps beautiful students get better marks
Thanks to Phil Cullen for this link.
‘Good-looking boys have hit the jackpot when it comes to success at school and university. But girls who perhaps aren't known for their looks could be in trouble. It's called the "halo effect" and it's having a noticeable impact on students' grades.’

Focusing on tests and invalid assessments is the wrong way to measure teacher quality
Another link from Phil Cullen:
Trust teacher- let kids learn
Recent policies such as the rise of the inspectorate and the use of graduation tests for students and teachers in Australia seem to be taking us back to the old world of external, invalid measures. The assessment of teaching should start with respecting teachers rather than inspecting them.’

Change your thinking, change your mindset
Tom Barrett:
‘A maxim that I have been testing, applying and thinking about a great deal over the last few years is that nothing changes unless mindset changes.” On reflection, admittedly it is a little extreme, however it does present an urgent (and often much needed) provocation regarding the way we are thinking about learning in schools and other organisations.’

What Kind of Work?
What kind of work are students doing in your classroom? To what end? What is the purpose of the work they are doing? Do they even know? Do you know why you are assigning the things you assign? (Sorry, that last bit sounded nasty, but we need to talk about this.) Think about the last thing you set before your students, whether as an in-class task, or as homework. What was the purpose of that work? The ready answer is perhaps, "To help them learn <fill in the blank with appropriate content>." Okay, sure. I'm with you there. But my question remains, and it really is more philosophical, I guess: What is the real purpose of that work?

The HeART of the Matter - the Gordon Tovey Experiment.
A review of a movie about a very influential New Zealand educator whose affect on Arts and Crafts was immense, back in the day before New Zealand was severely damaged by the current neoliberal agenda.
 Gordon Tovey:  A most influential educator

‘The film explains how Tovey hand picked high performing students from various teacher training colleges, invited them to an interview and then had conversations with them about what they liked doing artwise.  He then selected a group to take to Dunedin to train as Art Specialists. These Art Specialists were then sent all over the country to run workshops for teachers and do demonstrations in classrooms to encourage teachers to have the confidence to teach art.  This was part of Beeby's plan to change the appearance of classrooms in accordance with his modernisation of the education system.

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

What the modern world has forgotten about children and teaching, and solutions to ensure all students learn.
Bruce’s latest article.
‘Modern Western learning and teaching based on 'collecting data on human learning  of children's behaviour in school is like collecting data on killer whales based on their behavior at Sea World.’

5 Steps to Unleash Your Creativity
Nearly all great ideas follow a similar creative process and this article explains how this process works. Understanding this is important because creative thinking is one of the most useful skills you can possess. Nearly every problem you face in work and in life can benefit from creative solutions, lateral thinking and innovative ideas.

7 Ways to Destroy Your Creativity
On the other hand …
The biggest assassin, though, the not-silent-killer of creativity is this:
Doing nothing.
Plenty of novels are abandoned, canvases left blank, photos left untaken, and word documents left with the cursor blinking serenely through this one easy hack.
By doing nothing, you too can kill your creativity for a lifetime.
In fact, it’s the only way to assure you do.’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Why schools don't educate.
John Taylor Gatto: Why schools don't educate. If you’ve not read his work, now’s a good time to start.
‘We live in a time of great school crises, Gatto began his presentation, ‘and we need to define and redefine endlessly what the word education should mean. Something is wrong. Our school crisis is a reflection of a wider social crisis – a society that lives in the constant present, based on narcotic consumption’ In his 25 years of teaching Gatto has noticed that schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant. The truth is, he believes, schools don’t teach anything but how to obey orders not withstanding the efforts of countless human caring teachers. In spite of the teachers hard work the institution of school is psychopathic – it has no conscience. Every thing revolves around the bell, timetable and fragmented learning.’

Leave the learning to the kids!
‘Education is too important for adults to take so seriously - such seriousness kills the creative spirit that is every child's evolutionary inheritance. Schools, like doctors should at least do no harm! Progress depends on first imagining possibilities. As Einstein said,'Imagination is more important than knowledge for knowledge is limited whereas imagination embraces the entire world stimulating progress giving birth to evolution'.He also said it was a miracle that children's' sense of wonder was not crushed by modern schooling.’

Educating Boys...and girls?
‘Sometimes it seems easier to think about who succeeds at schools than who don't. All too often schooling does not suit boys. This is the thesis of a book, yet to be published, by Massey University Education Lecturer Michael Irwin. My blog is simply an edited extract published in the Sunday Times. It would seem to be a book well worth acquiring. Much of what the extract says reflects what those who have long believed important - an activity/inquiry arts based programme is the basis of productive learning. And such programmes would also suit girls by making them more adventurous? And it makes light of the Government’s current push to focus even more on literacy and numeracy with their reactionary National Standards!’

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