Friday, September 28, 2018

The power of imagination / getting creative / teaching as an art / Reggio Emilia / school vision..

Time to refresh your energy

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

Time for art and history to rhyme
Peter OConnor:
‘The international evidence is crystal clear on the value of the arts in education.  Children in arts rich schools do better academically across all areas of the curriculum. They are more engaged and motivated to come to school.  Children who play musical instruments do better at maths, children who do drama are better at writing. Children who have access to the arts begin to understand and value the power of the imagination.'

School walls are oozing with unhelpful growth
mindset cheese….
Get these slogans blown up and laminated and plaster your corridors and walls in them… Bingo! Go Growth Mindset.
What’s it all for?  Here’s my hunch: You could replace all of these posters and slogans with pictures of cute cats or Harry Styles and it would have the same effect: No effect.’

Is The Big Standardized Test A Big Standardized Flop?
‘After almost two decades of its use, we've raised an entire generation of students around the notion of test-based accountability, and yet the fruits ofthat seem.... well, elusive. Where are the waves of students now arriving on college campuses super-prepared? Where are the businesses proclaiming that today's grads are the most awesome in history? Where is the increase in citizens with great-paying jobs? Where are any visible signs that the test-based accountability system has worked?’

How Genius Hour Helps Kids Connect What They’re Learning
in School to Their Future Goals
“'It bothers me that I am not learning things in school that will help me become what I want to be.” This is the most sobering and common response to one of three questions I ask my students before we start Genius Hour: What bothers you? What do you love? What do you wonder about?'

Designing a Public School from Scratch
‘The offer sounded too good to pass up—a paid year off from teaching to create a new public school with a mission to “change the way we do school The opportunity to build the school they had always dreamed of, working alongside educators who shared a commitment to innovation.’

Education research is great but never forget teaching is a complex art form
'Research, research, research. Everyone is talking about education research. The movement for
“evidence-based practice” has become somewhat of a phenomenon in recent times, embraced by teachers, bloggers, education media, politicians and even the school’s inspectorate. If you want to get a teaching job in the next year or two, bandying around the terms “retrieval practice, metacognition and spaced learning” will be a bad start.’

Get Creative – Find the artist inside
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso“When we are involved in creativity, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi We are all creative beings, but like anything the less we use it the harder it is to access it.

Teach Kids When They’re Ready
‘A new book for parents on developing their kids’ sense of autonomy has some useful insights for teachers as well. We now teach reading to 5-year-olds even though evidence shows it’s more efficient to teach them to read at age 7, and that any advantage gained by kids who learn to read early washes out later in childhood.’

Opinion | Charter schools have done more harm than good
‘Why is it that every time I chat with a charter school cheerleader  (such as privatization, school choice, competition, school closings, vouchers, teacher tenure, funding, regulations, testing) , they are unable to muster a defense of those policies.’ 

What do I need to know about Reggio?
So why is ‘everyone’ talking about Reggio Emilia? Probably because ‘it’ was identified by Newsweek magazine in 1991 as ‘the best’ early childhood education in the world – or at least a noteworthy form of excellence catching the attention of some senior American educators.’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The Interactive inquiry - Learning in Science  Project (LISP)
‘In the 80s a university physics professor became worried that the knowledge he thought his students ought to have been taught seemed to be missing in his classes. He found that it had been 'taught' , but that the students had been taught in way that their 'prior ideas' had not been changed in the process, or that they did not have the confidence to use what they 'knew' in practical situations. Some call this 'fragile' learning and it exists throughout the curriculum.’
Developing a powerful school vision
‘All schools these days have Visions, Missions and Strategy Plans but all too often few people can articulate them let alone say what they really mean in action. No matter how well they are drawn up if no one knows what they mean they are not worth the paper they are written on. For all this I still believe that a vision, properly developed with all involved, is a powerful idea. There is no more important work than the development of an inspiring vision that provides a clear sense of mission for the staff.’

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