Friday, April 15, 2016

Transformational Education Readings

By Allan Alach

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

Why Kids Should Use Their Fingers in Math Class
I well remember being admonished by an inspector for allowing my pupils to use their fingers! Guess she was wrong, as she was about a number of other things.
“Researchers found that when 6-year-olds improved the quality of their finger representation, they improved in arithmetic knowledge, particularly skills such as counting and number ordering. In fact, the quality of the 6-year-old’s finger representation was a better predictor of future performance on math tests than their scores on tests of cognitive processing.”

Rethinking Intelligence: How Does Imagination Measure Up?
“An individual’s goals within the learning classroom and excitement about a topic affect how he or
she pursues learning, none of which is captured on IQ tests. Worse, those tests are often used to filter people in or out of special programs.”

Australian schools will never match Finland's unless teachers can tell the truth
Will never catch Finland
I’m sure that variations on this are to be found all over.
“We've just finished writing reports, making sure that we have reached "outcomes" that areincomprehensible to parents and students but fulfil a bureaucratic need for accountability. Instead of giving our students marks or, God forbid, rankings, we have disguised their results in generalities so their parents are saved from facing the truth about their children's real progress. We aren't allowed to tell it how it is.”

9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should Unsettle” Us
“One of the things I’ve come to realize in my many discussions with educators from around the globe is that there are a number of practices in our current systems of schooling that unsettle” us, primarily because they don’t comport with what Seymour Papert calls our stock of intuitive, empathic, common sense knowledge about learning.” But what’s also notable about those practices is that we rarely want to discuss them aloud, content instead to let them hover silently in the background of our work.”

Science Education Is Woefully Uncreative. That Has to Change
“When students (especially non-science majors) take required science classes, there is a reason. It’s not so that they can learn about the names of the planets or which plants you can eat (but that is useful to know). The primary reason that students are required to take a science class is to help them understand the nature of science.

Raising Creators, Not Consumers
“So when I saw the tribute by Motion and then read a comment on my blog about poetry from a parent homeschooling in order to raise children as artists, I was moved to think harder about our obsession in the U.S.
with college and career ready”—an obsession decades-long and really about career, or most factually about using public education to produce workers-as-consumers.”

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:
Dan's ;last days - an Irish themed farewell
Respected principal bows out - a great Irish farewell
Bruce’s tribute to retiring Palmerston North principal Dan Murphy.
“You have been  quiet, caring and determined revolutionary a person who believes strongly on educationally sound ideas - ideas often in opposition to the simplistic solutions imposed on schools by politicians.”

Four Common Sense Tenets of Brain-Based Learning
Our classrooms are teeming with young neuroscientists! They may not be expressing their findings with sophisticated expositions on the functions of neural pathways or the specific regions of the brain, but they are often aware of the circumstances and experiences that help them learn best. As we share with them the scientific findings that underscore what promotes effective and lasting learning, our students will likely offer us nods of understanding and agreement as they respond with something to the effect of, "That's what we've been trying to tell you!”'

Does ICT assist learning?
Derek Weymouth NZ
“Computers can be useful when teachers sufficiently understand the technology themselves, believe it will enhance learning, and have the power to shape their own curricula. But these conditions can’t be met without a broader and deeper commitment to public education beyond preparing workers. More attention needs to be paid to the civic and social goals of schooling, goals that make the question of how many computers are in classrooms trivial.”

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

What do you believe about teaching and learning?
“I believe we now know enough about learning and teaching that no students need fail; and that all students can learn given the appropriate task, time and help. Translating that into practice is the challenge. What is it that we all know about learning? What are appropriate tasks for students, and what is the role of the teachers in helping each individual learn? Answering these questions develops a sense of shared purpose or vision for a school.”

What's Worth Fighting For ?
Andy Hargreaves
Sadly, not much has changed in the last decade.
“These challenges are real for post industrial countries like New Zealand. The rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. As well schools are struggling to educate a growing diversity of students in schools that were designed for a simpler age. And so far there seems little awareness of the need for real systemic change; all the so called reform we have seen to date amounts to no more than tinkering. What we need is to develop a new consciousness about the importance of the need to transform our schools so all students leave with desire to learn intact.”
Am amazing book

Our amazing brain
An enlightening book written by by the 'owner' of one of the most remarkable brains on the planet - Daniel Trammet.
“It seems our role as adults is not so much to teach but to create the conditions for all sorts of innate talents to grow. Imagine a school system based on this premise. Such a system would be a truly creative one providing a range of experiences for student's brains to make their own meaning from. The role of the teacher is in such an environment, according to Jerome Bruner, 'is the canny art of intellectual temptation’.”

Down with standardized teaching!

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