Friday, July 06, 2018

Smart phones / ability grouping in maths? / behaviour management / Smart Schools ......

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

Teachers lacking educational background in science use inquiry-oriented instruction least
‘A new study shows that eighth-grade science teachers without an educational background in science are less likely to practice inquiry-oriented science instruction, a pedagogical approach that develops students' understanding of scientific concepts and engages students in hands-on science projects.’

The Benefits of Cultivating Curiosity in Kids
‘Far from driving the demise of cats, curiosity comes with many benefits. Studies suggest it’s linked to joy on the job, social skills and even a happy disposition. And in an academic context, greater curiosity generally predicts greater success.’

How Entitled Parents Hurt Schools
‘Motivated by a fierce desire to protect their children and themselves from difficulty, and armed with a robust sense of entitlement as well as ample economic, cultural and social resources, affluent parents can create conflict and interfere with school districts on a scale that is rarely acknowledged.’

This innocent question we ask boys is putting more pressure on them than we realize.
‘For example, the first get-to-know-you question they are inevitably asked by well-meaning grown-ups is, "So, do you play sports?" When they say, "No, not really," the adult usually continues brightly,
"Oh, so what do you like to do, then?” No one explicitly says it's bad for a boy not to play sports. But when it's always the first question asked, the implication is clear: playing sports is normal; therefore, not playing them is not.’

 Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

14 Smart Ways to Use Smartphone Cameras in the Classroom
‘With a smartphone camera you can look forward to features like plenty of megapixels, image stabilization, and improved low-light photo capability. Videos are also better than they’ve ever been. It’s a growing trend, and one we can make good use of in education. All these great advances in technology have exceptional uses in the classroom. Students who have the current technology (or will be snatching up the new) can access these powerful tools for producing great school projects. Areas like PBL and STEM learning call for imaginative and innovative solutions to complex problems.’

Looking at learning through the eyes of a child
‘There's no hugely mystical reason, basically I have chosen to channel each and everything I do through the eyes of the child.  Because I have never really grown up, I find this quite easy.  The other thing that makes it incredibly easy is that I know my children, I spend a lot of time talking to them, play-based learning makes that possible.’ 

Miss Snuffy and Mr Snake Oil on 21st-century learning
Lyall Lukey, convener of Education Leaders Forum 2018, examines some of the views expressed by, among others, London headmistress Katharine Birbalsingh and her host Roger Partridge of the New Zealand Initiative, before, during and after the recent researchED conference.’

How should we group students in primary maths classrooms?
‘Grouping students in maths classrooms based on their ability or prior attainment is a notion that is increasingly being challenged by research (see also here and here). When we have engaged in so-called ‘ability grouping’ practices for so long, why should we think about changing? And what would the change involve?’

Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities
‘Associate Professor Bobbie Hunter explains how cultural reticence and ability grouping have had unfortunate consequences for Pasifika children. She advocates a collectivist ethos, de-emphasising speed, repositioning mistakes as a necessary and desirable part of learning, and teaching the skills of friendly arguing/respectful engagement.’

A Deeper Look at the Whole School Approach to Behavior
‘Classroom management is an essential tool for an effective teacher, but it’s not always easy to do
well. Without an orderly classroom it’s hard for teachers with upward of 25 kids in their classrooms to lead effective lessons, help students who are struggling, and perhaps most important, to trust students. That’s why getting behavior under control was Michael Essien’s number one goal when he started as the assistant principal at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Middle School (MLK) in San Francisco.'

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Creating Conditions for Creativity. Steven Johnson's 'Where Good Ideas Come From’
‘Johnson writes about why some environments squelch new ideas; some environments seem to breed them effortlessly; environments that are powerfully suited to the creation, diffusion and adoption of new ideas. Where does your class or school fit?’

Smart Schools
“‘We want our schools to deliver a great deal of knowledge and understanding to a great many people of differing talents with a great range of interests and a great variety of cultural and family backgrounds.
Quite a challenge – and why aren’t we better at it. ’Some, he would say, is because ‘We don’t know enough.’ Perkin’s, though, thinks they’re wrong, ‘We know enough now to do a much better job’. The problem comes down to this, ‘we are not putting to work what we know.”

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