Friday, November 23, 2018

Teachers strike / Creativity at Spotswood College NP / outdoor educ. / future education - Sir Ken Robinson

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

Teacher strike. Put yourself in teachers' shoes
‘Teacher strikes are an inconvenience to parents for all of one day but I wonder if those who moan have really put themselves in the shoes of the teachers. Have they asked why they're doing it? As the teachers say, they are doing it for the future of our children.

Our teachers earn apples and oranges so let's bring back the 1970's way of offering them free housing
‘The day the teachers went on strike, someone put a simple graphic on Facebook. It set out two sets of salary numbers.: MP $18,000 - Teacher $17,360; Today: MP $160,024 - Teacher $78,000.This was something I'd been lamenting for ages, possibly even in this column: when I was at school, the pay for an MP and a teacher was about the same. Not any more.’

Wellness centre and new curriculum part of college revamp
Nicola Ngarewa took over at Spotswood College, New Plymouth, at the start of term four and is already making changes to align the school with the best learning institutes in New Zealand.Among the new initiatives are a new curriculum, based on international research, where students can create their own timetables around their own interests, and an optional wellness centre.’

The great outdoors: What our young people need
‘This alienation, referred to by Louv as nature deficit disorder, has become increasingly acknowledged as detrimental. Conversely, research is increasingly showing that time spent in nature is beneficial. Not only does time spent in nature increase general well-being, but it improves certain types of thinking, stimulating creative thinking in particular.’

Educating for an unknown future
Marion Brady:
Marion Brady
‘What lies ahead for students are major messes — global warming, nonstop wars, disposing of radioactive waste, reversing wealth concentration, and dozens of other problems they didn’t create but have to try to clean up or figure out how to live with.To do that, they’ll need to generate new knowledge, but they aren’t being taught how. Instead, they are spending most of the school day cramming existing information into short-term memory.’

Questioning: The Real Technology
Jamie McKenzie:
‘This article contends that questions and questioning (mindware) are critically important human technologies that might enable young people to solve problems, make smart decisions and score well on the tests of life as well all the other tests that loom in a child's world. Without strong questioning skills, information technologies contribute little to understanding or insight. There is even some chance that they might dilute understanding and interfere with thinking.’

Abandoning the Factory Model of Education
‘Still, the question remains: Why are many educators still necessitating the silence, conformity, and traditionalism of the factory model of schooling? Is it fear of change or sheer stubbornness that is holding us back from embracing this much-needed cultural shift in education to meet the ever-changing needs of our world?’

Why Kids Should Use Their Fingers in Math Class
‘Evidence from brain science suggests that far from being “babyish,” the technique is essential for mathematical achievement.

Ways of Thinking, Not School Subjects
‘I think the concern arises because we wrongly think of things like math, history, and science as subjects. But they are not. They are ways of thinking, and once we treat them that way, the answer to the question becomes more obvious: self-directed learners learn things like math and history when they encounter things they want to do that require those ways of thinking.’

It Really is Time to Change School
‘So what’s changed in our schools? For too many, not much, but for an increasing number the past four years have meant a big shift in thinking about what school could and should be. Hopefully that’s you, but then maybe you’ve been in that space for longer than four years, so the exciting thing for you is… now you’re not alone.’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Transform Education? Yes we must. Lets listen to Sir Ken Robinson
If educationalists were to stand up they already have the ideal supporting document – the, all but side-lined, 2007 New Zealand Curriculum. To do this would means breaking out of compliance mode which sees schools focussing on looking after their own self-interest.’

A great little study: The Flax bush
There are few schools do not have flax bushes in their school grounds - or , if not ,they ought to.
November is an ideal time for a class to study them as they are in full flower. A good idea is for teachers to learn with their class as 'co-explorers' and the easiest way to begin is to simply visit a plant and observe through the senses.’

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