Friday, January 18, 2019

Some quotes to think about before beginning the school year.


Something to think about before you return to school

Short quotes I've collected using the screensaver facility on my smart phone I think they are worth a quick read - they may confirm ( or challenge ) your teaching philosophy.  Obviously I've chosen quotes that  reflect my own view. Unfortunately I didn't think to note the authors or source of the quotes. The Modern Learners site is a great source of quotes.



About current assessment



There are those that seem to think that knowledge is no longer important as it can be accessed through the internet but I, for one, don't agree.

Many current ideas have a long history. For me John Dewey is as relevant as ever and possibly the best book on children learning as a community of scientists and learners is Elwyn Richardson's In the Early World first published in the 60s and recently republished by the NZCER



Now is the time to see the schools role as one of identifying and nurturing student talent 


Time to see identifying and nurturing of student talent as the number one role of the school

Giving the students' voice and choice
What happens to students' innate curiosity - their desire to make sense of their world?



An excellent quote from Modern Learners. The teachers' role is to create the conditions for students to do their own learning. As Jerome Bruner says  the teachers' role is 'the canny art of intellectual temptation'



How might we  provoke learning?


Promoting and provoking curious minds.



The inquiry model - it's not 'rocket science'





Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Dawn of a new creative era / Tomorrows Schools Review / For and against MLEs



Education Readings

By Allan Alach

Readings set Two 2019
The dawn of a new creative era in education
Our next set of readings will feature practical activities to begin the school year but this set provides reflective readings Bruce Hammonds and I have found that might to help you clarify your teaching philosophy.
In the latest Principals’ Magazine ( Nov 2018) the president Whetu Cormack makes the point, with the move away from standardisation with the change of government ( and their
Whetu Cormick - an exciting new era
removal of National Standards), that we are entering into a more creative era – an era that many teachers, he writes, have not experienced. He believes schools are no being given the freedom to rethink what learning experiences they want to offer young people. In particular, he writes about the importance of the creative arts and their role in developing the imagination. As he says that the ‘decades of neo-liberalism has almost suffocated the life out of the arts ‘We have a chance to ‘rebuild our battered
The importance of creativity
and bruised education system
;. Another writer, in the same magazine, talks about the opportunity to have a ‘broader, deeper, richer curriculum’ and that a ‘fresh breeze is rising’ and that teachers need to be ready ‘to take up the challenge’. For teachers to ‘promote a bit more surprise, and dreaming, and wondering and creating in our classrooms'.
http://bit.ly/2FtkoXv


The Tomorrows School Review.  The end of a neoliberal experiment – don’t forget to have your say!
If Minister of Education Chris Hipkins needs confirmation that the Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce
Chris Hipkins
report had got it right, the negative comments of several prominent Auckland secondary school principals will have him absolutely convinced the review is on the right track. .  Thirty years of a business model approach to education has wreaked havoc on our schooling system. It has created some schools as winners at significant expense to the poorest and most vulnerable communities. We have seen this two tiered education system mirror and then reinforce growing inequality, and the creation of an increasingly rigid class system.’


Our schooling system needs changing - and here's why by Bali  Haque
Bali Haque - Review Chair
The Tomorrow's Schools Independent Taskforce spent almost six months looking at the evidence and held over 200 meetings all over the country. So is our current education system still relevant? Does it work for you as a parent or school board member? Does it meet the needs of our children today?’
Forget literacy and numeracy – it’s all about talent development.
Surely our first task in schools should be to identify what each one of our students can do. What
talents do they have?  There’s increasing evidence that suggests that if students show a preference, passion or natural aptitude for a certain area, then ultimately, despite what “school” might think, there’s a very good chance that it will be those areas that will provide them with their best career and life choices. And then we have to have the discussion around expertise. To what extent do we provide our students with the opportunity to become exceptional? To be able to go deep.’
The importance of inquiry, imagination and agency.
‘The public debate around what our schools could and should be has finally reached a tipping
point.  It’s a tipping point where talk becomes action, a point when the need for change becomes so overwhelming that school leaders across the country are now urgently wanting to be better informed about the choices they now have and critically, the pathways to get there. The overwhelming pace of change in our personal lives can inhibit our ability to reflect on the consequences for our professional lives. Too often it causes us to hesitate or postpone making the necessary commitment to make changes in our practice and in our schools.’
 How Curious Are You? What happens to students’ curiosity?
‘If we assume our young people arrive on the planet curious about the world around them, asking
questions about anything and everything, what happens to them? Do they just ‘lose’ their natural curiosity and ‘grow out of it’, or is it that we really do manage to teach the curiosity out of them? If curiosity is really the essential food of learning, then the obvious question is, why don’t we focus more on developing searchingly curious minds as a priority in our students?’
Inside an ‘Innovative Learning Environment  -  For.
‘Next year a fresh cadre of bright-eyed and refreshed students will enter schools around the
What are your thoughts?
country. For many, at both primary and secondary level, they will be walking into a sleek modern building.  Welcome to the Innovative Learning Environment, or ‘
ILE’.  The Ministry of Education is committed to giving every school access to ‘a learning environment that best supports educational success. So what’s it like behind the glass? What goes on for students and teachers? Well, first of all there’s a terminology to master.’
Modern teaching trends a “monstrous threat to social justice” What do you think about this? 
Kevin Knight isn't keen!
‘Some of today’s school settings, typified by open-concept classrooms and heavy use of digital devices, are “downright dangerous and causing harm”, according to a leading New Zealand educationalist. Kevin Knight, a director of the New Zealand Graduate School of Education leader says despite good use of 21st century learning concepts, he has concerns about extreme interpretation and the wholesale promotion of the 21st century learning movement, and the denigration of traditional practice.’
Rethinking Data: How to Create a Holistic View of Students
‘For at least a decade now, the driving force behind education reform has been data. We talk about collecting data, analyzing data, and making data-driven decisions. All of this data can certainly be useful, helping us notice patterns we might not have seen. And yet, we know this is not enough. We know our students bring with them so many other kinds of data. So many other factors contribute to academic success.’
 What if personalized learning was less about me and more about us?
‘The project in this article typifies the mix of personalized and social learning that has been a mainstay for 25 years at King, a founding member of a school network called EL Education. The network sets these schools apart from a more recent wave of personalized learning, which has been dominated by technology and dogged by criticism that it isolates students from each other and from larger purpose of learning.’
 We Need to Make Kindergarten Engaging Again
‘Across the country, kindergartners are being told what to do and how to do it, every single step along the way, all day long. They play less and study more than they did 20 years ago. This is what kindergarten has become, and it’s not a good thing. Besides diminishing children’s sense of wonder and their ability to see themselves as learners, this constant push for children to learn academics through routinized activities can negatively impact their learning.’
Make Your Classroom More Like a Playground Than a Playpen Using ‘Hard Fun
I often use the metaphor of “playgrounds versus playpens” to distinguish between learning experiences that are likely to have a wealth of benefits and those that are less useful.’
A message to high school students who hate school and why you hate it!

I believe that every single subject taught in high school is a mistake. What I write here will
infuriate teachers,
but teachers are not my enemy. It isn’t their fault. They are cogs in a system over which they have no control.’


Friday, January 11, 2019



Holiday readings

Education Readings

By Allan Alach

Start your year with some reflective readings.

Bruce Hammonds and I search out articles about creative teaching to share with teachers who might be interested in a progressive or holistic approach to education. This first set for 2019 includes general reading to think about for beginning the new term. Please share with others.

If you come across articles worth sharing send them to  - Allan Alach   allanalach@inspire.net.nz

Making Learning Whole – an excellent book about learning.
‘Recently, I've had the pleasure of reading a text that validated many things that I have experienced in the classroom with actual research. David Perkins' Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education was full of ideas and research that demonstrated why project-based learning or other embedded learning experiences produce more impactful and lasting learning.’

Student-Centred Learning: It Starts With the Teacher - a short read.
‘Teachers encourage student-centred learning by allowing students to share in decisions, believing in their capacity to lead, and remembering how it feels to learn.’
How to Use Problem-Based Learning in the Classroom
‘What Is Problem-Based Learning? The roots of problem-based learning can be traced to the
progressive movement, especially to John Dewey's belief that teachers should teach by appealing to students' natural instincts to investigate and create. Dewey wrote that “the first approach to any subject in school is to  organize education so that natural active tendencies shall be fully enlisted in doing something, while seeing to it that the doing requires observation, the acquisition of information, and the use of a constructive imagination, is what needs to be done to improve social conditions’. Dewey 1916, 1944, p. 13
How children learn naturally. A great pre term read


 ‘In order for educational settings to be successful they need to be aligned with how children naturally learn. Children’s innate curiosity, enthusiasm, creativity, playfulness, individuality, imaginativeness, resourcefulness, social intelligence, and love of learning need to be respected and supported. It isn’t rocket science, it’s just basic wise parenting and effective teaching. Most of us have helped children develop skills and learn informally, before they went off to school. And all of us mastered skills on our own, so this is something we understand intuitively.’
Why Kids Need Wilderness And Adventure More Than Ever ( for your own kids! )
‘Our younger kids and teenagers need wilderness and adventure in their lives and who better to model it to them than us, their parents. I would actually argue that it is more important than a lot of the scheduled activities we have them in now. Wilderness and adventure will help develop them into well-rounded young adults.’
How the Outdoors Makes Your Kids Smarter – a quick read.
‘The freedom to move and play outside inspires creativity and improved brain function.’

‘What is a teacher’s most important quality? Likeability’
‘This head says it is crucial for teachers to be liked by students, and to see themselves more as coaches than educators’