Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Are we heading down the same failure track in NZ?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

National Standards or political dogma

School principals need to have a vision, no matter how undefined, and a set of shared beliefs to propel their imagined waka into an unknown future. Imposed distractions must be ignored.

I am off to the far north this week to share my ideas of the dangers implicit in politically imposed national standards which will take schools attention away from the New Zealand Curriculum.

This blog is an attempt to clarify what I want to say.

I used to be totally opposed to the previous New Zealand Curriculum (NZCF) and all those who 'delivered' it to schools through predefined Ministry contracts. It was an incoherent curriculum; a futile attempt to impose an impossible confusion of strands, levels and countless learning objectives. It was all about accountability, measurement and and efficiency. This all changed for me with the introduction of the 2007 New Zealand Curriculum (NZC).

Since the introduction of the earlier NZCF the creativity of teachers has been at risk as formulaic 'best practices' have been imposed on schools; practices devised by distant 'experts' seeing clearly what is need in their Ivory towers.

Sharing the ideas of creative teachers has aways been the driving force in the work I do in schools. Interestingly the far North was the home of our most important pioneer creative teacher - Elwyn Richardson. It is to such teachers we should be looking to for inspiration. If we are not alert national standards could well be the last straw for such creativity.

We must do everything we can to ensure the implementation of such standards do not distort, distract, or divert us from belief in the creativity of teachers and students.

Let's be clear national standards are pure political dogma. A political interference that has not worked in countries that it has been introduced notably the UK where , combined with demeaning 'league tables' it has all but destroyed their education system to the point that a recent report( the Cambridge Review) is asking their government to introduce a curriculum which looks very much like our own new NZC.

Ironically the Cambridge Review was announced in the same week our government presented its reactionary standards policy.

It seems the Ministry can find few 'experts' to back up 'their' standards implementation. My impression is that the technocrats who work for the Ministry are too busy learning to dance to the tunes of their new masters - and in the process putting their personal integrity at risk. Even John Hattie, once a Ministry favourite, has come out against the standards. Who are their tame experts?

Lester Flockton writes that, make no mistake, the standards are not neutral; they reflect the ideology of those who wish to implement them. Kelvin Smythe has said that 'the standards will become the de facto curriculum enforced by the Education Review Office'.

And what is the rationale for the standards? If it is to find out which children are currently failing (our 'achievement tail')well we know that already through the National Monitoring Programme (NEMP).And we know this 'tail' represents wider issues of poverty beyond the scope of the school to solve by themselves. And we know that it is the quality of teachers that make the biggest difference. This is where we ought to be putting our emphasis. Terry Crooks (of NEMP) has said that the issue is not one of testing it is one of motivation - and motivation depends on the insight creative teachers.

The government is determined to place dogma ahead of creativity and imagination, qualities that are already at risk by a decade or so of Ministry imposed formulaic conforming 'best practices. Elwyn Richardson would be appalled if he were to see what currently passes for creative art, language or student research.

Andy Hargreaves has written about Four Worlds of Change since the Second World War. The first the 60s/70s an age of creativity but all too often determined by the 'lottery' of getting a creative teacher. The Second World was the result of the Market Forces Efficiency model - all those measurable strands levels and objectives. Rationality gone mad - led by the same Ministry technocrats we now are being led by! As this proved impossible this morphed into the Third World with its narrowing focus on literacy and numeracy targets. With targets it is not what you hit that counts it is what you miss because you weren't looking! As a result literacy and numeracy have, according to one commentator, have 'all but gobbled up the rest of the curriculum'. Creativity was now at at real risk.

And then the Fourth World represented well by our 'new' New Zealand Curriculum.
Elwyn, and his creative antecedents would see this curriculum as 'back to the future!'. Creativity and imagination seemed poised to return to centre stage.It was to be the 60s again but this time to be done better through schools networking with each other.

And along comes the National Standards and New Zealand seems set to lose its leadership role in developing a 21st Century education system. National standards have more than a 'whiff of the Victorian Era about them' no matter what the ministry apologists say. At best it is a 'big brother' imposition - 'free market Stalinism'.

All the art advisers, and the like, that add valuable dimensions to student learning and teacher education, are to be replaced by literacy and numeracy advisers - referred to as 'literacy Nazis' in the USA. All so sad and misguided.

This narrow minded approach neglects the power of transformational experiences, the essence of creative teaching, that can turn failing students into learners - the motivation of Terry Crooks. Teaching, Jerome Bruner writes,' is the canny art of intellectual temptation'. The Te Kotahitanga research of Russell Bishop has shown it is about valuing students' voice, identity and culture; about respectful relationships

Guy Claxton in his book, aptly named 'Whats the Point of School', believes that the desire to learn ( he calls this 'learnacy') is as important as literacy and numeracy. Creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson, writes that 'creativity is as important as literacy and numeracy' and that schools need to focus on finding what every learner is good at and then amplifying their gifts and talents.

Simple stuff and yet the government, without real evidence , is set on imposed their failed national standards. They, of course, say they have developed a better model! it is simplicity disguised as truth - one dimension thinking lacking any real debate. What it will mean is that every student will be tested twice year ( 16 times at primary school). Many will be found below average and will stay there - that is unless our Minister thinks that we can make them all above average with good teaching! Failure will stick and society will pay the price for such idiocy.

I am for standing up against such simplistic educational nonsense. It panders to the public anxiety stirred by the current government for their own ends. It will prove to be giant error no matter the Ministry's justifications. It will not solve the growing disengagement of our students who simply can't see the point of our antiquated school system with its genesis in a past century. The standards are a reversion to the failed market forces model. Standardisation is over - we now live in an age of ideas and imagination, some are calling it a 'second Renaissance; our schools need to reflect such exciting future thinking.

I am for creative teaching - it was once the New Zealand way. We need an updated vision building on the ideas of Dr Beeby ( who developed such ideas in the 1940s) - a creative personalised learning pathway is required for every student.

I am for the intent of the 'new' NZC.

Our students are entering a new millennium - they will need 'new minds', new dispositions, to thrive, to face up future uncertainty and ambiguity, and to solve problems we currently seem unable to face up to. Literacy and numeracy are important but they will not be enough and an over emphasis on them will distort our teaching and sacrifice our very students survival. They deserve better. We deserve better.

With apologies to Martin Luther King, I have a dream of a creative education that releases the gifts and talents of all our students. And, like folk singer Pete Seeger's hymn of the 60s civil rights movement, if we stick together 'we shall overcome some day'.

We will need real leadership. Creative teaching - developing the gifts and talents of all our students is 'worth fighting for'.

Our kids deserve our best efforts.

Kia kaha

Friday, November 13, 2009

More information please: National Standards

It all seems so simple but does it give a true picture of a learners progress and what will be neglected while the focus goes on improving the graphs? With the 'real' plunket graphs parent could at least feed their child to improve height and weight.

Newspaper editors and opinion writer have had a field day with the national standards 'debate'. Actually 'debate' there hasn't been. Opinion has held sway fed by Ministry of Education spin.

Where are the investigative journalists these days are are papers just worried about pandering to the prejudices of their readers?

Anyway I was motivated to write to our local paper after a poorly written editorial featuring the full range of shallow writing that seems to have taken the place for editorials these days.

Maybe others should write to their local papers?

Dear Sir

I guess it is in the nature of editorials to be full of generalizations and to be provocative. I refer to your editorial of the Friday 6th of November about the misinformation about the proposed national standards. Most of it, you state, coming from educators with vested interests.

If parents are not to be left, as you say, ‘languishing and wondering’ who is right in this ‘fiery nasty debate’ about national standards then this surely is an opportunity for some real in depth investigative journalism?

There is no doubt on the surface national standards do seem a sensible idea but what do they really mean beyond the simplistic ‘plunket style’ graphs showing student progress in a few defined areas?

If your paper is interested in enlightening parents and readers I suggest your education reporter researches:

1. What evidence can the Minister, or the Ministry of Education, provide to support the introduction of such standards? Can they point to other countries using them successfully without any distorting side effects?

2. What countries do best in international testing and do they use national testing in the areas to be covered by national standards? And where do New Zealand students stand in these tests?

3. What does the three year Cambridge Study of Primary Education say about the effects of national testing (and ‘league tables’) in the UK? What does it say about the levels of anxiety and stress for students, teachers and parents?

4. What do internationally recognized New Zealand assessment experts say about national testing? Or international experts for that matter?

5. What current testing going on in primary schools around literacy and numeracy and the time spend each week on such important areas of learning?

6. What did the recently released NZCER research say about the feeling of parents re national standards?

I am also curious to know what you mean about by the ‘softer focus and broader learning’ that you mentioned in your editorial. How does it relate to the exciting demands of the recently published and internationally acclaimed New Zealand Curriculum?

Is education to be a debate between the Right’s narrow accountability culture and the Left’s soft focus (whatever that means) as you seem to think it is all about?

As you say in your editorial there is a great deal of misinformation about but I do not agree that it is coming from the educators. In my experience teachers work hard on behalf of their students and not, as you infer, for their own vested interests.

Maybe your paper can help sort all this misinformation out for your readers?

Yours faithfully

Bruce Hammonds

If we are to enter the debate we ought to know the answers to most of the above questions?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Creativity places creativity further at risk.

New Zealand creative teachers about to be straitjacketed by the imposition of the failed concept of national standards.

NZ is introducing national standards in education. This is akin to shifting the deck challenges on the Titanic! It will finally destroy what is left of creativity in the system after a decade of conformist ‘best practices’. We need a better vision of what the world can be and then to develop education systems to develop all the gifts and talents of our students to help this vision be realized.

In NZ we have a futurist curriculum but it is now being sidelined by reactionary national standards.

New Zealand currently sits in the company of the best in the world educationally yet the populist (and thus popular) conservatist government is determined to introduce the failed concept of national standards.

Our Minister seems set to destroy the creative spirit of New Zealand teachers.

Educationalists know the damage that will result: a narrowing of the curriculum, distortion of teaching and a limiting of teacher creativity and innovation. All this will create confusion just as schools are introducing a new innovative future orientated curriculum.

Kelvin Smythe has written that the pressure created by national standards will in effect make the standards the ‘de facto’ curriculum.

Lester Flockton makes the valid point that national standards are not ‘neither good nor bad’ and that it is nonsense to say that the standards are neutral; they represent the political mindset of those who construct them.

New Zealand assessment expert Terry Crooks, after a lifetime in educational assessment, says there is little evidence that students actually improve when testing is in place. ‘The answer isn’t measurement’, he says, ‘it is one of motivation’. ‘What we want is better teaching to engage all learners. We need’, he says, ‘to compliment their interests and find ways to broaden them. This is the prime purpose of education.’

US critic Alfie Kohn gives us further inspiration for us to fight back writing, ‘A plague has been sweeping through our schools wiping out the most innovative instruction and beating down some of the best teachers…ironically this has been in the name of improving schools invoking such terms as tougher standards. This heavy handed, top down, test driven version of school reform is turning schools into test prep centres, effectively closing off intellectual inquiry, and undermining enthusiasm for learning…this is a political movement that must be opposed.’

Herbert Kohl (an inspirational voice from the creative 60s/70s) recently wrote to President Obama about the President’s misguided intention to develop USA wide standards, saying, ‘this teaching towards standards naturally leads to boredom and alienation from school based learning. This impoverishment is reinforced by cutting programmes in the arts The free play of imagination, which is so crucial for problem solving, is discouraged in a basic programmes lacking in substantial artistic and human content,’

Frank Smith (Literacy expert) says. ‘I discovered the brutally simple motivation behind the imposition of all systematic programmes and tests – a lack of trust that teachers can teach and children can learn’.

I am with Kohn, Kohn, Smith, Smythe,Flockton and Crooks. Even John Hattie ambivalent about the value of national standards -I guess he wants to protect his own testing marketing. Who is actually is on the other side other than politicians?

We are faced with ‘Free market Stalinism’; the ‘big brother state’ will become the NZ Way!

Are we to prepare our kids for a life of testing or the tests of life?’ Our schools are already over testing for little lasting effect; the tail is already wagging the dog’!

If only politicians would listen!

The creativity of New Zealand teachers, having had to put up with recent formulaic 'best practice' teaching, is now at real risk.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Guy Claxton - building learning power.

Anyone who has attended one of Guy Claxton' presentations ( as I did yesterday) ought to buy his book 'What's the Point of School'. This book is powerful and timely examination of why our schools are built to fail, and how to redesign them to meet the needs of the modern world.' The challenge of redesigning schools is a big ask but the book gives lots of very practical advice about how to create enthusiastic learners and more effective teaching. In particular the 'learning power' ideas gives guidance to how New Zealand teachers can implement the 'key competencies' of the new curriculum.

I have just spent an enjoyable day listening to Guy Claxton talk about 'Building Learning Power'.All the more enjoyable because I have long been an avid reader of his many books and find myself often quoting him.

After such a day the question is what will those attending do when they get back to their schools? He asked us all to consider the ideas he was sharing and to place them into three baskets : 'We already do it', Maybe? Or we used to'; and 'ridiculous'. Good advice.

With the onset of National Standards the day was even more valuable.Although not mentioned at any great length the message was that by focusing on developing students 'learning power' ( our 'key competencies') teachers and their students will cope the standards without too much anxiety. As Claxton quoted, 'Are we preparing our students for a life of tests or the tests of life?'

We need , he said, 'To provide our students with the emotional and cognitive resources to become the 'confident, connected, life long learners'; the vision of the NZC. To achieve this is all about powerful pedagogy

The important thing, he said ,was to infuse the Key competencies into every thing that happens at school and not see them as a 'bolt on'. Those who have attended presentations by Art Costa will recognise this 'infusing' approach. Costa's habits of mind are another version of the future orientated key competencies. Such capacities, or dispositions, need to become part of the culture of the school. It is about what Claxton sometimes calls 'learnacy' - the openness to continually learn. This 'learnacy must be at the forefront of all teaching in any subject area. Powerful thinking classrooms could have student generated 'What to do if you are stuck' charts.

At center is the belief that all students can develop their learning power? How do your students see their ability - one one fixed by birth and set for life ( a 'fixed bucket') or one that can be continually expanded ( a 'learning muscle'). The 'mindset' a student holds will effect all their future learning - or non learning. We need, he said, to ask our students about their mindset about learning. 'Bucket thinkers', high or low achievers, do not like taking risks for fear of failing. 'Learning muscle' students are 'have a go thinkers' - the right mindset for National Standard testing!

Both teachers and students need to know what habits of mind ( learning muscles) that they need to exercise, stretch and strengthen. These 'learning power' capacities need, as mentioned, to be part of all learning. They must be a permeate of the culture of the school. 'Messages' that learning power is important ought to be obvious to all. Everone at the school should speak 'learnish' - using common thinking phases .

When we introduce content to our students they need to experience it as a means to develop such habits, to be skeptical and questioning, to use their imagination, develop empathy ( what Kelvin Smythe call a 'feeling for') as well as in depth understanding. This is process and content.

I agreed with Guy Claxton when he said that much of what is seen in many classes makes little impact: thinking styles -we all have our own style; de Bono's hats - more displayed than used; and mind maps - poorly used. Not that, he said, they all can't be useful. And all that drinking of water! With much isolated thinking skill teaching their is little evidence of transfer into new situations. Teachers have to help their students develop this facility in new situations; use it or lose it. An excellent metaphor Claxton introduced was that of 'split screen'; teaching where the teacher interacts with their students ( say when experimenting with magnets) providing prompts to support students process/science thinking and as also developing in depth content thinking.

Claxton repeated, what we all know, that it is the quality of the individual teacher that counts - that, 'there is a fourfold difference between the most effective and least effective classrooms( Dylan Williams)'. And this is backed by John Hattie's 'meta research'. Teachers have to be the best learners in their classroom. Students pick up 'learning power' by example as much as anything. How teachers demonstrate how they struggle though a problem is an excellent lesson for their students!

The language we use is also important. We need to say 'you could do' rather than 'this is the way' makes a big difference. Even replacing the use of the word 'work' for 'learning' makes a big difference. Worth trying as school?

The room environment should also celebrate children's thinking, their prototypes, as well as their completed projects. I like the idea of students having 'thinking journals' ( 'process folios') where they draft out ideas to help them sort out their thinking. Such a book would be a vital means for teacher,students and parent dialogue.

Students and teachers, Claxton suggested, could discuss what makes a powerful learner -and a teacher. These could be displayed and shared with parents. The key competencies would provide ideas for such an activity. Students , Claxton said, after compiling such a list of dispositions, could then self-assess themselves to see how good a learner they are. Resiliency would be top of my list.

As for reporting on students progress towards being powerful thinkers ( with key competencies in place) the suggestion was to write narratives indicating strengths and areas to focus on for individual students - plus of course the results of National Standards testing!

'Learning power ( the key competencies) is the lifeblood of happy life.' Happiness' quoting Csikszentmihalyi, 'arises ...from engaging in a worthwhile challenge'. 'Where there is hope of success'.'Progress is made'.'Full absorption is possible'.'Feedback is clear'

Today wasn't about worthwhile challenges it was about giving students the power to 'seek, use and create their own learning'.

'Things won are done; the joy's soul lies in the doing',Claxton quotes Shakespeare. I agree with this but the feeling of achieving something great lasts forever as well.

I am sure all who attended left with their 'practical thoughts and possibilities' baskets full.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Are we brave enough to live for the future?

The past seems a simpler place to think about - the future is so messy and unpredictable.

Years ago educational philosopher John Dewey wrote that the best preparation for the future is to live well today. Good advice.

A while ago I listened to an interview about such things.

Hindsight bias, it seems, drains the uncertainty from the past while looking into the future is just so unpredictable. This uncertainly interferes with our judgment and provides us with a bias to conservatism.

Our conservative autious minds tend to see minor changes as progress but most of such changes are inconsequential. We, it seems have two sorts of minds - a reasoning one and an emotional one. Over the centuries we have learnt to distrust our emotions but they still underpin our actions. Unconsciously our minds decide quickly if any event brings a feeling of fear or is positive. Reasoning is just too slow so we need to learn to value our emotions positively.

Research shows that it is our unconscious minds that make all the decisions - our intuitions - our gut feelings. The trouble is that this goes against what we have been taught to believe. After our mind has been made up ( by itself) we go over the event and reconstruct it as if we actually planned our actions and then we make up rules for the future.

This quick response comes from our stone age past when decision had to be made fast for pure survival.The trouble is today we do not live in this ancient world. Today electronic media 'burn' memories, such as stranger danger, into the brain making us fearful.

As a result we are becoming a risk averse society. Our media is full of bad news to be worried about and all well beyond our immediate experience- this is in contrast to our stone age ancestors.

Reality is being distorted.

Our risk averse habits widen. We need to be aware of this development and be more critical. We must learn to examine our emotions. We need real information, to debate issues and examine feelings. Stone age primitive 'on /off' thinking is no longer appropriate although our politicians revel in such simplistic thinking.As emotions rule our lives we need to make sense of them - emotional control/ awareness needs to be seen as positive.

Our stone age minds saw 9/11 in vivid colour in our living room. This tended to make us afraid of flying irrationality but it more dangerous to travel by car. After 9/11 people travelled in cars rather than flying and far more were killed than if they had flown.

Learning to adapt to new fears is both a blessing and a curse. We get habituated to such things as nuclear war and climate change. This is why so many don't care about climate warming.It is too big for our stone age brains to comprehend. Too abstract. But with stranger danger we over emphasize the danger.

As a result of being risk averse we have become a 'cotton wool' society.

We need a more realistic approach

We need the confidence to take more risks, to stop being so compliant, and this can only be done by really examining the situation, the facts, and not being side tracked superficially by our emotions, or fears, as if we still lived in simplistic immediate stone age world.

The future needs us to be risk takers.

Seems to make sense to me.

Life is safer than we have come to believe about some things and more dangerous about some big things we can't comprehend. We need to take risks to cope with both.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Creativity or back to the past?

If you haven't heard Sir Ken Robinson speak about creativity you have missed a treat. A great antidote to the current back to the past diversion of national standards. Google him and listen to his TED Talk video.

Teachers' attention seem to have been taken up of late by the issue of national standards where all students in the future will be reported on to their parent about where they stand in comparison to their age group.

There is little research or evidence that students actually achieve better when such testing is in place as in the United Kingdom. The opposite is almost true as initial improvements have plateaued and are now trending down. And to make matters worse students attitudes towards the tested subjects is falling and , as well, considerable anxiety has been created for teachers, students and parents alike. Those who are interested in some in depth thinking around the topic should read the UK Cambridge Review summary which is very critical of national standards.

And it is not even that UK students outperform kiwi kids. The big issue, as in most countries, is the so called 'achievement tail'. Evidence suggests that this 'tail' is the result of poverty combined with ethnicity. Schools can only do so much when the playing field is so uneven for the students who enter. New Zealand assessment expert Terry Crooks has written that the answer isn't measurement it is one of motivation.

Let's be honest national standards is more about populist politics than education.

But it is a done deal and teachers will have to cope with the consequences.Overseas the collateral damage has been : the narrowing of the curriculum; teaching to the tests; and stress and anxiety all round. Simplistic as it all is it is a good vote winner for a society trying to survive in difficult times. The worst aspect has been the sidelining of the highly regarded 'new' New Zealand Curriculum before it even got started.

The good thing is that overseas teachers who have kept faith with creative integrated inquiry teaching, based around relevant learning challenges, have done well in the 'high stake tests' -with of course a little bit of teaching towards the tests!
The answer is for schools to keep their nerve and think hard about developing positive engaging inquiry learning and integrating literacy and numeracy skills into such learning. This once was the New Zealand way. It is now at risk. Do we have the leadership to ensure teachers are not overwhelmed by all the pressures involved with national standards? Time will tell?
Sir Ken Robinson, an international expert in creativity is well aware of the consequences of such a narrow back to basics movement and he believes the emphasis needs to be placed on developing every learners creativity and love of learning. He writes that creativity and critical thinking are as important as literacy and numeracy in the 21stC; they are, he says, 'the crucial 21st C skills we'll need to solve pressing problems'.

He says, in an interview in the recent ascd magazine ( Sept 09),' You can be creative in math, science, music, dance, cuisine, running a family, or engineering ...because creativity is a process of having original ideas that have value...looking at new ways of doing things.' And, he makes the point, it is wrong to associate creativity with being totally free and unstructured. 'An essential bit of every creative process is evaluation.If you are working on a mathematical problem , you're constantly evaluating it, thinking ,"does that feel right?"'Does that work?" "Is that going in a good direction?"'
And it important he says to realize creativity it not just for "special people" and that "everybody has tremendous creative capabilities".

Now developing all students creative capabilities, their specialist of gifts and talents, would be true 21st challenge - it is the basis of our new curriculum. Wouldn't parents, if asked want this for their children -along with literacy and numeracy? We live in 'and' not an 'either or' world!

Creativity,Sir Ken says, 'is not about letting yourself go, kind of running around the room and going a bit crazy. Really , creativity is a disciplined process that requires knowledge, and control. Obviously it also requires imagination and inspiration...but it is a disciplined path of daily education'.
As for the unprecedented environment and economic challenges we face now we will need, he says, 'every ounce of ingenuity, imagination, and creativity to confront these problems.' He say , 'we are living in times of massive one has got a clue what the world will look like in in five years, or even the next year actually, and yet it is the job of education to help kids make sense of the world they're going to live in.'
And that is the real challenge ; the future orientated 'key competencies' of our new curriculum.

And Sir Ken says currently, with our literacy and numeracy emphasis, 'we are systematically educating ( creativity) out of them'
Speaking about the school failure rate - the 'underachieving tail' -the disengaged students - he says, 'there is something wrong with the system'...students are 'not discovering the things that impassion them or invigorate them or turn them on.'
And this brings him back to the culture of standardized testing ( he is talking about the USA). This approach he says is totally counterproductive. 'You become alive', he says, 'when you do things you are good at, you tend to get better at everything because your confidence is up and your attitude is different' As Kelvin Smythe would say, students get a 'feeling for' learning.

'Too often' Sir Ken continues, ' now we are systematically alienating people from their own talents and, therefore from the whole process of education....It is a fundamental human truth that people perform better when they're in touch with things that inspire them.'
'We know human culture is so diverse and rich - and our education system is becoming dreary and monotonous' ( referring to the USA but this is the track we are heading down in NZ). He is 'not surprised so many kids are pulling out of school. Even the ones who stay are detached Only a few people benefit from the process.But it is far too few to justify the waste.'
Education , Sir Ken says, 'is becoming dominated by the this culture of standardized teaching, by a particular view of intelligence and a narrow curriculum..we're flattening and stifling some of the basic skills and processes that creative achievement depends on'.
And in New Zealand we are being led down the standardized track.
Sir Ken talks about teaching for creativity where he says, 'the pedagogy is designed to encourage other people to think differently. You encourage them to experiment, to innovate, them the tools they need to find out what the answers might be or to explore new avenues.'
You can't reduce all learning to a number ( or a simplistic 'plunket type graph).

Standardized teaching has led us to believe everything can be measured. This is a myth of past thinking.

We need creativity as much as we need literacy and numeracy even if it is harder to quantify.

This is what makes teaching a creative art - or did until national standards came along.

If teachers lose their creativity the students will be the real losers.