Saturday, November 22, 2014

Educational Readings - the Maker Movement/purpose of education/Seth Godin and need for creative teachers

By Allan Alach

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at

This weeks homework!

Good thinking in this article by Gary Stager.

Piaget teaches us that knowledge is a consequence of experience.Schools and teachers serve students best when the emphasis is on action, not hypothetical conversations about what one might do if afforded the opportunity.
Papert was sadly correct when he said, “When ideas go to school, they lose their power.”’

Self-Directed Learning: Lessons from the Maker Movement in Education
Continuing the Piaget theme
Learning through the making of things is a concept as old as education. As psychologist Jean Piaget argued, knowledge is a consequence of experience. But somehow, with the exception of a
The Maker Movement manifesto
small number of schools and vocational education programs dedicated to experiential inquiry-based learning, our nation
s schools strayed from this hands-on approach to education, spending much of the past 50 years focusing intensely on the memorization of information. Information matters, of course, but a growing number of schools and educators are reclaiming our educational roots, aiming to help kids learn by making stuff but this time with a technological twist.

The Purpose Of Education
Ivan Snook NZ
Somehow we need to reassert the traditional belief in education for its own sake(which really means for life in all its complexity) rather than for conformity, jobs and the national economy. I dare to hope that teachers themselves, who have kept so many educational ideals alive despite constant attacks, might lead the way to an enlightened view of the purpose of education.
Derek Weymouth NZ

The conflict continues
Heres a response to the call from England for a return to chalk and talk teaching.
So that's it then let's sit back and watch the pendulum swing. With politicians and university professors professing it to be so it must be correct right? Wrong. Let's put a bit of perspective on things shall we.

The worst possible model” – how charter schools have been introduced in New Zealand
Associate Professor Peter OConnor takes another look at NZ charter schools 3 years after they
were first announced. Here, he discusses the model, funding, conflicting messages from government, the way charter schools are being rolled out into high growth areas in place of state schools, and more.

Rethinking The Use Of Simple Achievement Gap Measures In School Accountability Systems
Albert Shanker USA
This is a very important article.
Finally, we should also stop using gaps and gap trends in our public discourse about school performance per se. They are measures of student performance (and, when measured within schools, limited ones at that). The goal should be to provide educational opportunity for all, not try clumsily to ensure equal outcomes by rewarding and punishing schools based on the degree to which they exhibit those equal outcomes. In an accountability context, there is a crucial difference.
Nick Meier USA

Emotional Intelligence
This leads me to challenge what we just take for grantedwhat is the purpose of schools. Most of use rarely think deeply about this question, and assume it is self evidentand that it is primarilyacademic. But how about this thought experiment; What if we turned this on its head? What if we thought the primary responsibility of schools was to get a citizenry that has a strong social/emotional education?

New Research: Students Benefit from Learning That Intelligence Is Not Fixed
Teaching students that intelligence can grow and blossom with effort rather than being a fixed
Check out link to Carol Dweck
trait they
re just born with
is gaining traction in progressive education circles. And new research from Stanford is helping to build the case that nurturing a growth mindsetcan help many kids understand their true potential.
This weeks contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Time to return the focus back to encouraging creative teachers - the only real way to transform our education system.
Creative classroom from the 70s!
Bruce has been a leading voice in promoting real education in New Zealand for many years, and was a major inspiration to me in my own school principalship. In this article he reviews things as they were, before GERM arrived, and stresses the need for creative teachers to reclaim education.
I believe it is vitally important to encourage creative teachers who focus on providing engaging programmes and who develop personalised programmes able to develop the gifts and talents of all students.

Project Wildthing
Bruce's comment:
Real learning through senses
Great movement to reconnect children with nature. Children need to swap screen time for wild time. Are our children overprotected? There is need to match an hour outside with an hour on screen. Technology is stealing childhood from our children. We need to get back to the nature habit even just a few minutes a day to encourage observational awareness. Check out the website Project Wildthing. We need to cut back on the indoor time.

Bruce continues: Read the below blogs for further inspiration.

Dear Time Magazine
I am furious, incensed, and irate at your November 3, 2014, cover depicting every American public school educator as a Rotten Apple and a billionaire from Silicon Valley as the savior of American public schools. So forgive me, if this Rotten Apple, tells you exactly what I think of your reporting since you never bothered to interview a public school teacher for your piece.
States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an F

Test crazy systems killing learning
Bruces comment: WARNING! Tested to death in the USA time to change directions and certainly a path not to follow. Who would want to be a student or a teacher?

Florida embraced the school accountability movement early and enthusiastically, but that was hard to remember at a parent meeting in a high school auditorium here not long ago.
Parents railed at a system that they said was overrun by new tests coming from all levels district, state and federal. Some wept as they described teenagers who take Xanax to cope with test stress, children who refuse to go to school and teachers who retire rather than promote a culture that seems to value testing over learning.

Secrets of the Creative Brain
Not always easy in our School system
A leading neuroscientist who has spent decades studying creativity shares her research on where genius comes from, whether it is dependent on high IQand why it is so often accompanied by mental illness. “
Bruces comment: A rather long but important read. Do schools foster the creative brain I think not. And schools are certainly no place for creative teachers.

From Bruces oldies but goodiesfile:

Do we have the wrong schools for an age based on connections? Seth Godin
Seth sees schools reflecting the needs of a past factory based  industrial age - one that provides workers who were compliant, schools where productivity can be defined and measured.The development of such factory like schools, he believes,  is not a coincidence. Now,  he writes, is the time for a new set of questions and demands  and to consider how schools need to change to develop the new dispositions young workers need in a connected age.

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