Friday, May 18, 2018

The power of creativity and imagination / teacher 'burnout'/ Modern Learning Environments? / introducing technology ?......

Art from Elwyn Richardson's students
Education Readings

 By Allan Alach

Every week Bruce Hammonds and I collect articles to share with teachers to encourage a creative approach to teaching and learning. I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

Why Adults Need Social and Emotional Support, Too

‘We learned quickly that educators must consider themselves and their own care in order to
prevent burnout or "compassion fatigue." Working with high-needs populations can take a toll on you physically and emotionally. Creating a school culture of reciprocal adult support is imperative for success. Teachers must be operating in a healthy way, both physically and mentally, in order to consistently meet the needs of students.’

Modern classrooms won’t fix education

‘Unless educational leaders recognise that significant changes in practice require time, ongoing support, and effective use of evidence and data for future improvements, modern learning environments may well be a multi-million dollar missed opportunity.’

Thinking about Thinking about Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner
‘Is Howard Gardner the most misunderstood and misappropriated educationalist (his preferred term) in the world today or he just the only theorist most educators have heard of?’

Secret Teacher: the exodus of older teachers is draining schools of expertise

This article is from England but applies to New Zealand and most likely many other countries.

‘There is an experience vacuum being created in our schools that robs junior teachers of the role models they need to help them improve. Formal teacher training is the equivalent of being told how your parachute works before being chucked out of a plane at 12,000 feet. Becoming a teacher takes years: it’s a lifelong apprenticeship, with best practice passed from experienced colleagues to new recruits.’

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

The key to fixing inequality in education? Teach kids to be curious

‘The team at Michigan defines “curiosity” as “the joy of discovery, and the motivation to seek answers to what is unknown.” Some kids might be naturally curious about dinosaurs or ancient history. But parents and educators can also teach kids to have a curious outlook on learning, notably by having them “engage in activities that are personally meaningful.”

Technology :Don’t add. Make better.

‘Having just received an email from someone starting a new “technology” position in their school, they asked me what advice I would give.  I shared the following advice:’

Ten obvious truths about educating kids that keep getting ignored- Alfie Kohn

There is no end to the debate about school reform, but there are certain things about education that seem like no-brainers. The problem is that they continue to be ignored by policymakers and in schools. Alfie Kohn lists 10 of them in the following post, which he first published in the American School Board Journal in 2011, but which holds as true today as it did then.’

Design Thinking – What is it and how can it support 21st century education?

‘Design thinking is a methodology which encourages creativity and innovation through rapid (and cheap) prototyping early in the design process. It encourages risk taking, accepts failure and depends on testing and feedback in order to reach the best final outcome. But perhaps the most important aspect of design thinking is its human-centric focus.  The design thinking process focuses on reconnecting to a person or community and to truly understanding their fundamental needs.'

An Integral Curriculum at Amesbury School

‘Ensuring that learning is real life and takes place in an authentic learning context is one of the
commonly touted characteristics of 21st century learning.  The main thinking behind this is that students will learn best when there is a real purpose for their learning. I am sure this is true. However, I am coming to understand that a much more important reason is that the complex times our children are growing into will require a much greater ability to make decisions which are very complex in nature.’

Sir Ken Robinson on the Power of the Imaginative Mind (Part One)

The internationally renowned innovation consultant calls for transformation, not just
reformation, of public education.

‘It's the most unique capacity that human beings possess, and it's the one thing we'll rely upon to take us safely forward into the twenty-first century. And the irony is that I believe in education we spend most of our times-- most of our time trying to stifle it, or to inhibit it in some way. Not deliberately, but systematically. What I mean is the power of imagination.

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Creative teaching - timeless

Kelvin Smythe reflects on Elwyn Richardson  - pioneer New Zealand creative teacher 1950-60s.

An excellent book (NZCER)
‘Forget the research and current conformist 'best practice', go back and see what teachers like Elwyn did that we have forgotten about. According to Kelvin Smythe, and I agree with him, creative 'teaching in its fundamentals has hardly changed, nor is it likely to change.' Kelvin has written widely about Elwyn Richardson, a pioneer New Zealand teacher from the 1950/60s on his site and, for those curious, it is well worth reading what he has to say.

Back to the future: class organisation for student centred learning 

‘The other day I had the opportunity to visit a school I began my career in 1960 During  a discussion with the principal she mentioned the classrooms had been developed into innovative ( or flexible) learning environments. I couldn't help suggest that  I bet the daily classroom programmes/timetables haven't changed much since I first visited the school 40 plus years ago .If anything the current emphasis on literacy and numeracy had reinforced the timetables of earlier times taking up the morning time with the rest of the Learning Areas squeezed into the afternoon period. Hardly flexible teaching? Hardly progress?

Large painting from Elwyn Richardson's NZ class 1950s

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