Friday, July 13, 2018

How we learn / slow education / Hattie's research? / teacher stress / and Tomorrow's Schools Review

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

What if we don’t know what we don’t know?
‘A glaring obstacle to change and hopefully improvement in our education system, which needs to be addressed, is that educators don’t always know what they don’t know, but make decisions with the information they have. Making decisions with limited information often limits the potential of progress.’

How Unlearning Helps Us Grow
The world is changing faster than ever before. If you are not ready or willing to practice unlearning, to change our habits and reject that which is easy for that which is necessary, than success will always be out of reach. It is time to redefine the way we learn, to take a step back, and give ourselves room to grow.’

‘Slow Education’ and its links to sustainability
‘Slow Education’ is more than just slowing down. It is an educational approach that seeks to achieve healthy relational bonds between and across people, as well as connectedness to the local and wider environment. It asks us to pause before we buy something for use in our teaching and to instead consider whether we might make do with the resources that we have on hand. In addition, it asks us to build our own skills and capacities to meet these ends. It prioritises care, quality, and enjoyment.”

Schools are buying ‘growth mindset’ interventions despite scant evidence that they work well
What is it about growth mindset interventions that hold so much appeal? And how much of a
Carol Dweck
difference do these interventions actually make when it comes to academic achievement? I am a psychology professor who researches learning and achievement, so these are interesting questions to me. To shine the light on these issues, several colleagues and I set out to examine the effectiveness of growth mindset interventions on students’ academic achievement.'

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

'Open to new ideas': What does teacher's report really mean?
It's that time of year again. Teachers up and down the land have been slaving over their end-of-year reports and parents are eagerly awaiting to hear whether or not their little angels are top of the class. But what does "full of self-confidence" or "lively and enthusiastic" really mean? We asked one teacher - who goes under the name of Mrs Smith - to let us know what those positive-spin comments actually mean.’

Hattie’s Effect Size: A pseudoscience or critics just being critics?

To believe Hattie is to have a blind spot in one’s critical thinking when assessing scientific rigor. To promote his work is to unfortunately fall into the promotion of pseudoscience. Finally, to persist in defending Hattie after becoming aware of the serious critique of his methodology constitutes willful blindness.’

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have always shared this big red flag on technology - screen time for kids is dangerous
Which begs the question as to why both developed their companies to exploit screen time in education?
‘It should be telling, Clement and Miles argue, that the two biggest tech figures in recent history — Bill Gates and Steve Jobs — seldom let their kids play with the very products they helped create.
“What is it these wealthy tech executives know about their own products that their consumers don’t?” the authors wrote. The answer, according to a growing body of evidence, is the addictive power of digital technology.’

Creating a Positive School Climate For Teachers
‘I spent 8 years as a school principal, and I define school climate as how we feel when we walk into a school building. Do we feel like part of the community or an unwelcome guest? When I say “we”, I mean students, teachers, leaders and families. It begins by understanding that not all teachers, students and family members are at a place where they have the same focus and that has everything to do with self-efficacy.’

'We're not being trusted': Teachers drowning in paperwork at expense of teaching
A survey from Australia that is sadly true all over.
Teaching students is the best bit; the paperwork is by far the worst.
Like many of his colleagues, he struggles with the increasing amount of time he is being asked to spend on data entry. It's a quagmire of buzzwords; evidence gathering, validation, and the long, after-school meetings about school plans.’

Bali Haque: Tomorrows Schools review must deal with the market's failure
‘However, pretty soon after the system was established it became clear that we cannot actually run a schooling system like a commercial business. Some schools
have large numbers of children who experience disadvantage whilst other schools have large numbers of children who are advantaged. While we know all students can make significant gains in learning and achievement, regardless of their circumstances, it is clear we are not starting on a level playing field by any means.’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Creative teaching at Opunake Primary.Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Numberland
A visit to Opunake Primary School is always an inspirational experience. The  blogs below provide some insight to the programme of this small rural town low decile school. The first is about a school wide theme of technology, the other about a school wide theme “Alice in Numberland.

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