Friday, December 08, 2017

An education for all not the few - facing up to inequality / what is personalised learning?/ an end of term survey /education for the future







Education Readings

By Allan Alach

As the New Zealand school year is coming to an end, Bruce and I are taking a break from producing these education readings. We hope you all have a great festive season and we’ll be back at the end of January.

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

A Special Letter From Santa … Why Teachers Must Be Magic!

‘Please take a moment to read this very special letter from Santa! He takes a moment to describe the
magic that you as an educator make happen every day!'


3 Signs Of Gender Discrimination In The Classroom You Need To Know

There are 3 signs of gender discrimination in the classroom that you need to know which are behavioral discriminations, achievement discrimination, and developmental discrimination. This articles discusses each sign and provides key components you need to know to avoid discrimination against boys and girls in the classroom.


Why Reading Aloud Helps You Remember More Information

‘The research, published in the journal Memory, finds that the act of reading and speaking text aloud is a more effective way to remember information than reading it silently or just hearing it read aloud. The dual effect of both speaking and hearing helps encode the memory more strongly, the study reports.'


National Standards in NZ to go !!

Is your school feeding inequality?

Education is meant to be society’s great leveller. Offering public education supposedly gives everyone a fair chance to succeed in life in any capacity they might choose, but in reality … it doesn’t. In fact, I would go as far to say that it barely tries to. Now, If you’re an educator, that might upset you as I’m sure you are thinking “I try really hard to help all my students!” I know many teachers who are inclusive, flexible and cater for individual needs, but that doesn’t stop the systems they work within, undoing much of the progress they make.’


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

To 'seek, use and create their own knowledge' NZC 2007


Students can ‘own Their Learning Through Creating Questions

A simple read but important.


Dr Ann Milne – Why not White Boys’ Writing?

Do we think White boys have an additional writing or reading gene that our Maori kids missed
out on? Or do we think they had better parenting perhaps – you know, bedtime stories, books in the home, and all that? Or, here’s a thought, could it be that the whole system, the way we set up and structure schools, our teacher training, our obsession with copying failed policy from other countries which also marginalise their indigenous learners, the knowledge we value—and measure—is also White and it, therefore, benefits the children whose values match, and whose values are embedded in and reproduced by our schools?’



What Do We Really Mean When We Say ‘Personalized
Learning’?

‘The idea of personalized learning is seductive – it implies moving away from the industrialized form of education   that pumps out cookie-cutter students with the same knowledge and skills. After decades of this approach, it is clear that all children don’t learn the same way and personalization seems to honor those differences. However, that term has taken on several different meanings.


'We help them flourish and bloom': using nature to keep
students in education

There is evidence to back this idea up. In 2015, Mind’s report Feel Better Outside, Feel Better Inside (pdf) found that activities such as gardening boosted self-esteem, improved physical health and benefited those at risk of developing mental health problems.’


Our education systems must focus on developing underlying human capabilities, not just knowledge and skills

It is absolutely clear that better, broader education will be essential in creating a positive future of work. However we still need to work out precisely what is the education that will be most relevant for tomorrow’s world.’


'Collaborative problem solving must be placed at the heart of our curriculum’

‘The latest Pisa rankings prove that if our pupils are to thrive in future workplaces, the importance of collaborative problem-solving, creativity and teamwork must be emphasised in schools, writes one educationalist.’


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Time for a rebirth of the creative spirit.

Make the most of the end of national standar
‘The time is right for a true educational revolution! We need to listen to lost voices and rediscover our own The spirits of creative teachers, long gone, will be with us. The secret is to seek out and network with creative teachers in your own areas to share their wisdom.’ http://bit.ly/1Vh3awH

Lester Flockton. Nothing wrong with being critical!

Lester wisely suggest that we need to reflect carefully on the 'over stated claims' based on this thing called 'evidence'. It is almost impossible these days to avoid 'evidence based', or 'best practice' whatever, in any Ministry document! 'Best practice', when imposed through heavy handed contracts, can 'mutate' into, what educationalist Dean Fink calls, 'educational sects' that make it all but impossible for teachers to develop new creative approaches. If we are to be creative then there will be times that we can't wait for the 'evidence'. Schools must feel free to create their own 'best practice' through their own actions. Such an approach is what some scientists call, 'enlightened trial and error' - or simply common sense.’


End of year survey – tapping the wisdom of your class/school/community

At the end of the school year it is a good idea to gather information from the students you are passing on. Not only is this a chance for you to get some insight about your teaching but it is also a great way to value the ‘voice’ of your students. What are your students’ attitudes towards areas of learning?’


Creative schools – schools as true learning communities.

When schools develop a culture of approved  ‘best practices’ such schools can be defined as ‘best practice learning
communities’. Where schools value the creativity of both students and teachers they fit the ‘learning organisation ‘definition.  Michael Fullan has written that it is ironic that few sc  hools are true learning organisations. A ‘community of best practice’ follows the guidance of experts from outside of the school or classroom while ‘learning organisations’ value the inspiration of creative teachers. The emphasis chosen makes a big difference.’


We need a new story for our future.

What we need, as we make our way into the new millennium, is a new way of thinking to align our thoughts behind. We need a new story, myth, narrative, or metaphor, to replace current thinking - thinking based on a mechanistic emphasis on economic progress, exploitation and short term thinking.’




Friday, December 01, 2017

Creative teaching: Getting back to John Dewey / Alfie Kohn on discipline / phonics! / maths and class management..


 2017 Kelvin Smythe and John Dewey 1897
Education Readings

By Allan Alach

Two important articles bookend this set of readings. If you’re not familiar with John Dewey, I recommend you read Bruce Hammonds’ article: “John Dewey - New thinking 1897!” If you want to see how Dewey’s vision can be expressed in a school, read the first article from Kelvin Smythe: “A schoolwide science experience.’

I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at allanalach@inspire.net.nz

A NZ schoolwide science experience

This is a must read!
My intention was to provide an opportunity and context where children could engage to make
connections with science in their environment, to learn how science activity affects life, indeed their life. I delighted in the idea that that in the process of undertaking this science, the children were keenly telling their parents what they were doing, why they were doing it, and the ambitions they had for the outcome.’


Tes talks to… Alfie Kohn

‘Everything you think you know about behaviour management in schools is wrong, according to Alfie Kohn. For example, if you believe that the use of rewards and punishment improves children’s behaviour, think again, he says. In fact, the American former teacher and author of books including Punished by Rewards and Beyond Discipline believes that using these traditional techniques only makes matters worse.’


Some Schools Are Abolishing Homework In Favor Of Reading, And That's A Good Thing

‘While there is no solid evidence that homework is beneficial for academic success in younger kids, there is plenty of evidence that reading is.'


Teaching of synthetic phonics in Australia based on flawed evidence

I’ll toss this contentious topic into the fire and then stand well back…

What is phonics for? Where does it fit into an overall pedagogy of literacy? Without clear answers to these questions, the contestants in the phonics debate will continue to circle each other like blindfolded prizefighters.’


The Brain Is Wired for Math—Sort Of

While genetics and gender play a role in math achievement, classroom teaching can pick up the slack and help kids soar. Three keys? Make math understandable, useful, and beautiful. This is no small task, but you have 23 (or so) helpers in your classroom who can make the job manageable if you work with their natural abilities and motivations.’


The State of Being Stuck

‘Last year, I got the high school math teacher’s version of a wish on a magic lamp: a chance to ask a question of the world’s most famous mathematician.

The essence of Wiles’ answer can be boiled down to just six words: “Accepting the state of being stuck.”’


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

6 Problems with our School System

The traditional system of education was designed in the industrial age and is now outdated and ineffective. Learn about the 6 major problems with the system.’


5 Principles of Outstanding Classroom Management

Effective classroom management requires awareness, patience, good timing, boundaries, and instinct. There’s nothing easy about shepherding a large group of easily distractible young people with different skills and temperaments along a meaningful learning journey.So how do master teachers do it?’



Critical Thinking: Keeping Our Minds Open

Critical thinking is the ability to apply reasoning and logic to new or unfamiliar ideas, opinions, and situations. Thinking critically involves seeing things in an open-minded way and examining an idea or concept from as many angles as possible. This important skill allows people to look past their own views of the world and to better understand the opinions of others. It is often used in debates, to form more cogent and well-rounded arguments, and in science.’


Neuroeducation Will Lead to Big Breakthroughs in Learning

‘All human abilities, including learning, are a result of our brain activity. Hence, a better understanding of how our brains operate can result in a better understanding of learning.


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Tapping into the student's world
Every student brings with them memories and ideas gained from the experiences they have had. All too often this personal form of motivation is overlooked by teachers who seem to think they have better ideas to use - their own. It is as if students come to school as blank slates (tabula rosa) when instead they come with a wealth of ideas to share but to do so their ideas need to be valued.’


John Dewey - New thinking 1897!

If you’ve not read about John Dewey, this is a good place to start.
‘John Dewey's famous declaration concerning education was first
published 1897 and is still as pertinent now as it was then. All school communities ought to declare their beliefs about education and then work towards aligning all their teaching to achieving what they believe in. If they do not determine their own destiny someone else will. Having clear beliefs provides both security and the basis of making all choices - or simply saying no as appropriate.'