Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The New Zealand Curriculum (2007) - was lost but now is found.


We now have a new government in New Zealand led by the dynamic Jacinda Ardern. Chris Hipkins
Chris Hipkins -reviewing education
i
s now the new Educational Minister
and, as promised, the National Standards have gone and there is to be a review of education signalling the biggest change since Tomorrows Schools (1986).
Schools now have a great opportunity to add their voice to the educational debate – a voice that had been side-lined by the previous government.

For those schools that seem unsure about what to do now that National Standards (and all the associated testing and accountability demands) this is the time to search out and dust off the 2007 New Zealand Curriculum and put it into practice. The focus the past years on literacy and numeracy has solved nothing. In the 70s New Zealand was at the top of the international tables in literacy and doing well in mathematics. Now we are 32nd in the international reading tables.
2007 and  earlier 93 Curriculum

The 2007 NZC provides a new direction – one encouraging creativity, diversity and imagination. An opportunity to return to the holistic education introduced  post WW2 by the then Director of Education Dr Clarence Beeby best represented by Elwyn Richardson inhis book In The Early World 1964 ( thankfully reprinted by the NZCER 2012). The forward is worth the read.

Possibly the best book to get an insight into the development of create teaching in New Zealand is Elwyn Richardson and the Early World of Creative Teaching in New Zealand Margaret MacDonald NZCER 2016
.
Available NZCER
The 2007 NZC replaced the 1993 New Zealand Curriculum Framework which was the beginning of the end of creative teaching with its countless learning objectives to be assessed and reported on. As on commentator said a ‘mile wide and an inch deep’. National Standards were a politically inspired  attempt to focus on what the Ministry technocrats thought most important.  This emphasis on standardisation was enforced by the toxic surveillance of the Education Review Office.

Which brings us back to the 2007 New Zealand Curriculum.

A graphic metaphor, a nautilus shell, illustrates the document. This spiral image represents intellectual and spiritual growth; ‘one’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions’, Oliver Wendell Holmes physician, writer and poet.

nautilus visual metaphor
The curriculum takes as its starting point ‘a vision of young people as lifelong learners who are confident and creative, connected and actively involved’ (p 4). The curriculum expands on this vision outlining the values, key competencies, learning area and principles (p 7/8/9).

There are key phrases that provide the direction schools should take to develop young people as creative and enterprising lifelong learners but one that stands out for me  is for students to be ‘active seekers, users, and creators of knowledge’ – a phrase that is repeated in various forms in all the learning areas.

Putting this phrase into action would change the programmes of many classrooms where the current programme is determined by teachers by an overuse of such formulaic ‘best practices’ as WALTS (we are learning to) success criteria , teaching intentions and heavy handed use of feedback and feedforward. These practices have resulted in conformist standardised learning even in such an
Quality work well displayed
open ended subject as art.

The curriculum’s principles (p9) puts ‘students at the centre of teaching and learning’ one of ‘high expectations’ and ‘personal excellence

. A curriculum that ‘ensures that the students’ identities, languages, abilities, and talents are recognised and affirmed’ and requires a ‘curriculum that has meaning for them’ one that ‘connects with their wider lives’ and ‘opens up pathways for further learning.’

Although not mentioned explicitly the curriculum (and recent research) by being ‘non-discriminatory’ it questions ability grouping. The National Standards encouraged the use of ability grouping, narrowed the curriculum and, in particular the creative arts.

The Values (p10) - to be ‘encouraged, modelled and explored’.

Republished by NZCER 2016
Every decision a school makes ‘reflects the values’ held individually and collectively and are expressed in the ‘everyday actions within the school’.  Once again not mentioned explicitly would be the use of ability grouping, streaming or fragmented timetables. Important values the document encourages are ‘innovation, inquiry, and curiosity, by thinking critically, creatively, and reflectively’. Ecological sustainability, empathy and respect for themselves, each other and the environment are included.

Key Competencies (p12) – ‘capabilities for Living and Lifelong Learning’.

The competencies listed are the key to lifelong learning and their development are seen as both an end and a means and are to be developed in authentic contexts; ‘they develop over time, shaped by interactions with people places, ideas, and things’.

The ‘Thinking Competency’ is about making sense of experiences, constructing their own
knowledge. ‘Intellectual curiosity is at the heart of this competency. Students as ‘problem solvers actively (able) to seek, use, and create knowledge. They reflect on their own learning, draw on personal knowledge and intuitions, ask questions, and challenge the basis of assumptions and perceptions.’

The Language Competency is about representing and communicating ideas in all forms.  Managing Self is associated with ‘self-motivation, a “can- do” attitude, and with students seeing themselves as capable learners’ – about having ‘strategies’ for learning. Relating to Others is ‘about interacting effectively with others’. Participating and Contributing is about students having ‘a sense of belonging and the confidence to participate within new contexts’.

The Learning Areas (p 16/34) that are important for a broad general education.

 Guide lines for each level of the Learning Area are expanded in the fold out appendix.

Eight learning areas are identified, all laying ‘a foundation for later specialisation’. Like the Key Competencies they are ‘both end and means’.  Although presented as distinct ‘all learning should make use of the natural connections that exist between learning areas, values and key competencies.

Each Learning Areas has its own special contribution and the essence of each if clearly defined on page 17.  English (p20) is about ‘making meaning’ and ‘creating meaning’. The Arts (p20/21) are a means to ‘transform people’s creative ideas into expressive works’. Arts are seen as an important means to encourage students to ‘take risks’; to ‘creators, presenters, viewers, and listener, able to participate in ,interpret, value, and enjoy the arts’. Dance, Drama, Music and
the Visual Arts are included. They are all about appreciating, making and creating. The Visual Arts begin with children’s curiosity and delight in their senses’ – about ’aesthetic awareness’ – experimenting, exploring and creating, bringing their own experiences, sharing their re4sonses, and generation multiple interpretations.

The above couldn’t be further away from the current standardisation seen in many schools.

The other Learning areas are Health and Physical Education (p22.23) which includes Home Economics. Learning Languages (p24/25) Mathematics and Statistics. Mathematics emphasizes the ‘exploration and use of patterns and relationships – about thinking and solving problems through investigating, interpreting, explaining and making sense.’ Implicit is the need to develop a positive
attitude towards maths. Science once again emphasizes the need to ‘investigate, understand and explain. It involves ‘generating and testing ideas, gathering evidence’ and communicating ideas.  Several strands are identifies including the important How Scientists work; the Living World, Planet Earth and Beyond; and the Physical and Material World.

The Social Sciences is about developing a feeling for other societies from the past, present within and beyond New Zealand. Once again the inquiry /creative approach is emphasized - asking questions, exploring, considering and reflecting. The final learning Area is Technology – is a practical form of design science. Information Technology needs a new inclusion and this might be part of any proposed review but ideally information technology is ideally integrated to assist inquiry across the curriculum E-learning (p36) (ICT) ‘assists  the making of connections of connections by enabling students to enter and explore new learning environments, overcoming barriers of distance and time.’

In a post National Standards classroom the class inquiry studies take central place with the foundation skills of literacy and numeracy integrated where possible. Over a two year programme Learning Area Strands ought to be covered – with the proviso that many studies will integrate several strands.

Effective Pedagogy (p34) – teacher actions promoting student learning.

Goethe
Effective pedagogy occurs in a ‘supportive learning environment’ ; ‘one that encourages reflective thought and action’; ‘makes connection to prior learning’ ; and provides ‘opportunities to learn’. ‘Students learn best when they feel accepted, when they enjoy positive relationship with their fellow students and teachers, and when they are active, visible members of the learning community’. Such environments are ‘non –discriminatory’ – once again questioning the use of ability grouping.

Reflective thought and action is to be encouraged when students are able to ‘relate learning to what they already know’ (their prior ideas) and where they are able ‘to think about their own thinking’. Learning has to be relevant. ‘Students learn most effectively when they understand what they are learning, why they are learning it, and how they will be able to use their new learning.’  Students need opportunity to transfer new learning’ - in reality it is only when students can transfer learning that knowledge has been gained. This is about ‘ownership’ or, in a more recent term, ‘student agency’.

Students - true scientists
One phrase that stands out for me is the ‘need to cover less but cover it in greater depth.

Teachers are to be encouraged to inquire into their own teaching (Teaching as Inquiry p35) best visualised as a cyclical process that goes on moment by moment (as teaching takes place) day by day and over a longer term. My own phrase for this is teacher artistry – teachers continually observing students to provide assistance as and when necessary.

The School Curriculum: Design and Review (p37/43)

The Curriculum requires schools to develop curriculum to suit the needs of their community. The curriculum provides the framework and gives schools the scope, flexibility and authority to design
A rich curriculum
and shape their curriculum’ to suit their community with the proviso that’ all students should experience a rich and balanced education’ something that has been lost with the emphasis on the now abandoned National Standards.

Various ways are suggested about how to organise the curriculum around values, learning areas or competencies or around central themes integrating all aspects. The latter is my preference and the curriculum does say that ‘schools should design their curriculum so that learning crosses apparent boundaries’; a challenge for traditional secondary schools but ideal for Modern Learning Environments.

Achievement objectives are found in the appendix and the various levels represent progress to deeper learning. Schools are expected to show what it is they want their students to learn and how their curriculum is designed to achieve it but it NZC says (p39) that ‘each student’s ultimate learning success is more important than the covering of particular achievement objectives’.

The curriculum is based on ‘the premise that all students can learn and succeed and should recognise that, as all students are individuals, their learning may call for different approaches.’ This could well be a good description of personalised learning?

Assessment.

‘The primary purpose of assessment is to improve learning and teacher’s teaching’.  It is ‘best seen as an ongoing process that arises out of the interaction between teaching and learning’. ‘Much of this evidence is “of the moment”. Analyses of and interpretation often takes place in the mind of the teacher, who then uses the insights gained to shape their actions’. In my terms the artistry of the teacher.

Effective assessment should benefit students; should involve students and support further learning/teaching. The idea that outcomes ought to be known in advance of any learning (WALTs
etc.) can, if overdone, lead to limiting student creativity. What is missing is evaluating students work, their personal growth through portfolios etc. might be the best way.

Learning in Years 1-6 (p41)

Teaching and learning programmes are developed through a wide range of experiences across all learning areas, with a focus on literacy and numeracy along with the development of values and key competencies. I would prefer seeing literacy and numeracy and ‘foundation skills’ integral to inquiry learning. Too often, today, literacy and numeracy take up a disproportionate amount of time in contrast to inquiry learning across the curriculum (authentic learning experiences – rich, real and relevant)

Learning in Years 7-10 (p41)

‘During these years, students have opportunities to achieve to the best of their abilities across the breadth and depth of the New Zealand Curriculum’ through authentic learning experiences’ associated with ‘ongoing development of literacy and numeracy skills’. ‘These continue to need focussed teaching’ (but not ability grouping or streaming!)

Learning in Years 11-13.

Enuf of formulaic teaching WALTs etc
‘The curriculum allows for greater choice and specialisation as students end their school years’.

Board of Trustees (p44)

The BOT, through the principal and staff are required to develop a curriculum consistent with the vision, values, principals competencies, learning areas as outlined in the NZC. Each BOT is required to gather information that is sufficiently comprehensive to enable evaluation of student progress and achievement, and to identify students at risk or have special needs.

The new Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has stated that he wants school to avoid over assessment (resulting from narrow targets set by National Standards of NZCEA).

Sign of Growth


I am aware of a number interesting current developments that are heading in a creative/holistic
direction. Such things as ‘play based education ‘, ‘project based learning’, ‘passion based learning’ and ‘personalised learning’ that link back to earlier ‘developmental teaching’ and ‘holistic learning’. Approaches such as ‘related arts’ and ‘language experience teaching’, ‘centres of interests’, and ‘whole language’. I would be happy to rename ‘literacy time’ with ‘language arts’ blocks.

Final thoughts.

One quote comes to mind for me is from Jerome Bruner who said that, ‘teaching is the canny art of intellectual temptation’. Students’ have a genetic need to learn and make sense of their
Jerome Bruner
experiences. Nothing a school does should dent this need to learn – 'all students can learn', the NZC states, so it up to teachers to create learning environments that ‘tempt’ all learners.

Students’ altitudes to the learning experiences provided are all important rather than achieving doubtful standards. The emphasis ought to be on personal growth – personal best.

Finally the message about what is important is how the day is organised - -this link will provide ideas. The current emphasis on literacy and numeracy (and ability grouping) needs to be replaced by a focus on the studies being undertaken – integrating literacy and numeracy where possible.

I envisage classrooms as true learning communities of scientists and artists exploring their concerns, the local environment and the wider world past and present. Such classrooms I see as mini Te Papas ( or perpetual science, art, maths technology fair  type exhibits) with every available space covered with displays/exhibitions of quality research, art and language based on the themes, studies, topics and investigations.


Art work based on research into the lives of people in Medieval times Year5/6


Friday, February 23, 2018

Signs of change in the air for the New Zealand education system / time to rediscover John Dewey / the importance of the arts / time to question ability grouping and the 'Three Rs' and lots more.....

Time for teachers to add their voices to the debate

Education Readings

By Allan Alach

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

Yesterdays Schools
Chris Hipkins,  the new Minister of Education, has announced that there is to be a review of the New Zealand education Tomorrows Schools (1986) system. Not before time.

How Children Learn Bravery in an Age of Overprotection

Peter Gray:

‘I doubt if there has ever been any human culture, anywhere, at any time, that
underestimates children's abilities more than we North Americans do today.  Our underestimation becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, because, by depriving children of freedom, we deprive them of the opportunities they need to learn how to take control of their own behavior and emotions.


Reasons Today’s Kids Are Bored At School, Feel Entitled, Have Little Patience & Few Real Friends

I completely agree with this teacher’s message that our children are getting worse and worse in many aspects. I hear the same consistent message from every teacher I meet. Clearly, throughout my time as an Occupational Therapist, I have seen and continue to see a decline in kids’ social, emotional, and academic functioning, as well as a sharp increase in learning disabilities and other diagnoses.’


My Pedagogic Creed (1897)
by John Dewey

‘I believe that much of present education fails because it neglects this fundamental principle of the school as a form of community life. It conceives the school as a place where certain information is to be given, where certain lessons are to be learned, or where certain habits are to be formed. The value of these is conceived as lying largely in the remote future; the child must do these things for the sake of something else he is to do; they are mere preparation. As a result they do not become a part of the life experience of the child and so are not truly educative.'


'It's given the children a love of wildlife': the schools letting nature in

‘But the children have been taking an active interest in the wildlife at their school for a while. Since creating a garden in an unused corner of their field more than two years ago, the pupils have attracted a variety of birds. They’ve planted wildflower seeds, created a vegetable plot, made bird nests, and learned about biodiversity. The school has a wicker bird hide and has bought binoculars to encourage bird spotting all year round.'


To foster a love of art in children, we must teach it at primary school

If we want children to value art, we must give them access to it early on in life. Here’s how primary schools can make space for creativity.

‘Robust art curricula should cover a range of artists, styles, genres, websites, books and galleries. Look to design lessons that build on prior learning, can be connected to a wider context (historical or geographical, for example) and provide opportunities to further develop visual literacy. Teachers can be encouraged to help children to think critically about images by asking open and closed questions, and giving them sentence starters as a way to talk about art. For example, “I like the way the artist has ... ” or “In this artwork I can see ... ”’


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Great Pedagogy Trumps Ideology

‘Political ideologies may have indirect impacts on schools by the social and economic policies they enact and the impacts these have on learners’ lives, but the pedagogical approaches of teachers have so much more of an influence in schools. Teachers and schools have always looked at the constraints placed upon us by governments and then continued to design curriculum and learning in the best way they see fit.’


The Real Agenda of “So-Called” Education Reform

‘What if I told you that the hidden agenda of those controlling public education policy has actually been to crush innovation, make children more obedient, force teachers to “dull & dumb down” their instruction, and do whatever else is needed in order to snuff out young people’s natural creativity, curiosity, independence, freedom of thinking and love of learning?’



The Pedagogy Of John Dewey: A Summary

‘John Dewey is one of the giants in the history of educational theory, and it’s difficult to isolate one of his specific theories to discuss here. He was influential in so many areas of educational reform, that to choose one theme would do him a disservice, so I will highlight several of the areas in which he was ahead of his time.’


How should we group students in primary maths classrooms?

‘Grouping students in maths classrooms based on their ability or prior attainment is a notion that is increasingly being challenged by research . When we have engaged in so-called ‘ability grouping’ practices for so long, why should we think about changing? And what would the change involve? These are big questions that are concerning many teachers at the moment,  spurred by a nagging concern that traditional ability grouping may be missing the mark for a large group of students, along with wider conversations about equity issues in our school system.’


On the Edge of Chaos: Where Creativity Flourishes

‘If it’s true, in Sir Ken Robinson’s words, that “Creativity is not an option, it’s an absolute necessity,” then it’s that much more imperative to find ways to bring creativity to learning.But first, we have to understand what conditions foster true creativity. One definition that scientists have agreed upon for creativity is the ability to create something that’s both novel as compared to what came before, and has value. “It’s this intersection of novelty and value, a combination of those two features that’s particularly important,”


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The forgotten genesis of progressive early education

‘My own experience has taught me that all the best idea have come from those who teach the very young children rather than with those working at the 'higher' levels  but this seems to have been forgotten. As children move up through the school system their experiences, their sense of agency and voice are replaced by subject requirements and teacher intentions. At the secondary little has changed in hundred years.’


Seymour Papert : The obsolete 'Three Rs' - blocking real change in education

All this Victorian emphasis on the ‘three Rs’  according to people like Professor Seymour Papert, a highly respected MIT expert in learning and computers, ‘expresses the most obstinate block to change in education’.’ The role of the basics’, he writes, ‘is never discussed; it is considered obvious’. As a result other important educational developments are being ignored.



Friday, February 16, 2018

Readings for creative teachers: John Hattie ??/ maths ( Jo Boaler)/ John Holt / John Cunnningham / and lots more...


With a new government in NZ time to think out of the box!

Education Readings

By Allan Alach

If you are a creative teacher who has not yet read Bruce’s article below “Creative teaching:Learning from the past - John Cunningham teacher 1970s” I really suggest that you prioritise it.

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

‘The Cult of Hattie’: ‘wilful blindness’?

Yet another ‘debunking’ of Hattie - got the message yet?

Debunking John Hattie
‘Unfortunately, in reading Visible Learning and subsequent work by Hattie and his team, anybody who is knowledgeable in statistical analysis is quickly disillusioned. Why? Because data cannot be collected in any which way nor analysed or interpreted in any which way either. Yet, this summarises the New Zealander’s actual methodology. To believe Hattie is to have a blind spot in one’s critical thinking when assessing scientific rigour. To promote his work is to unfortunately fall into the promotion of pseudoscience.’


Five Ways To Shift Teaching Practice So Students Feel Less Math Anxious

‘Rather than focusing on the algorithms and procedures that make mathematics feel like a lock-step
Jo Boaler
process — with one right way of solving problems — Boaler encourages teachers to embrace the visual aspects of math. She encourages teachers to ask students to grapple with open-ended problems, to share ideas and to see math as a creative endeavor. She works with students every summer and says that when students are in a math environment that doesn’t focus on performance, speed, procedures, and right and wrong answers they thrive. They even begin to change their perceptions of whether they can or can’t do math.’


Why forcing kids to do things ‘sooner and
faster’ doesn’t get them further in school

Why do some children who learn to read earlier than their peers do so poorly in ways that matter later on? Why do children for whom every aspect of their education, from kindergarten onward, is tailored toward graduating from college often struggle to graduate from college?’


The Joy and Sorrow of Rereading Holt’s "How Children Learn


‘This clearly is a corollary of the point that children learn because they are motivated to do the things they see others do.  They are, of course, motivated to do whole things, not pieces abstracted out of the whole.  They are motivated to speak meaningful sentences, not phonemes. Nobody speaks phonemes.  They are motivated to read interesting stories, not memorize grapheme-phoneme relationships or be drilled on sight words.’



Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Creative teaching:Learning from the past - John Cunningham teacher 1970s

Diversity and creativity 1970
John wrote “It was the students themselves who effected the changing nature of the classrooms and I had to accept the children as who they are than what I wanted them to be”. Those who visited John's classroom could not but be impressed with the quality of students work on display and of the way they were able to work independently.’


Teaching: Just Like Performing Magic

Education, at its most engaging, is performance art. From the moment a teacher steps into the classroom, students look to him or her to set the tone and course of study for everyone, from the most enthusiastic to the most apathetic students. Even teachers
Teller - all about magic
who have moved away from the traditional lecture format, toward more learner autonomy-supportive approaches such as project-based and peer-to-peer learning, still need to engage students in the process, and serve as a vital conduit between learner and subject matter.’




Personalized Learning Vs Personalization of Learning

‘Before she started speaking, I was skeptical because I have seen the idea of “personalized” learning happening in many schools where a student jumped on a computer and based on the information they share, the technology creates a pathway for that student.  Although the technology is impressive, it doesn’t mean that it is good.  Seeing a student completely zone out in front of a screen and letting the computer lead the learning is not where I hope education is moving.’


Technology can hurt students’ learning, research shows

Giving school students access to iPads, laptops or e-books in the classroom appears to hurt their learning, new research has found.However, putting this technology in the hands of a teacher is associated with more positive results.’


Non-Math Essentials for Learning Math

Focusing on these five qualities of thriving classrooms can help foster confident young mathematicians.
'
As a math consultant, I’m in many classrooms, and I get to witness lots of math instruction. I find that there are similar qualities among the classrooms that are really thriving—and those qualities quite often don’t really have much to do with math. There are five non-math qualities I see in the best-run classrooms.’


The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids

(USA): Today’s young children are working more, but they’re learning less.

Until recently, school-readiness skills weren’t high on anyone’s agenda, nor was the idea that the youngest learners might be disqualified from moving on to a subsequent stage. But now that kindergarten serves as a gatekeeper, not a welcome mat, to elementary school, concerns about school preparedness kick in earlier and earlier. A child who’s supposed to read by the end of kindergarten had better be getting ready in preschool.’


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Control your own destiny - do something!

The answer is for principals and schools to work to share their expertise and insights and to
develop a group consciousness able to stand up to outside pressures. There will need to be courageous individual principals prepared to start the collaborative ball rolling. I can see problems with so called ‘successful schools’, or the competitive, ‘look at me' schools, wanting to share, and as well schools who are struggling ‘owning up ‘and agreeing to being helped. But, if someone starts the ball rolling then, as Dean Fink writes, schools can, ‘shake off the shackles of conformity and compliance and imagine and create.... do something. ‘So the answer to stress is to work with others to ‘do something’ and to develop, what Fullan calls, ‘local creative adaptability.


A new metaphor : Assessment tasks as performance.

“It is somewhat surprising that some educationalists have only just picked up on this way of assessing learning, one used naturally in the real world. The problem is that schools have been diverted from such an understanding by believing in tests, written exams divorced from reality, and an obsession with assessing atomised bits of learning. Such educationalists have not been able to see the wood for the trees. It is exiting to read, in a recent Ministry pamphlet 'Assessing Key Competencies' (written by Dr Rosemary Hipkins), that one way to think of assessment is to consider the demonstration of competency as a complex performance’.

Marina Bay students Auckland

Friday, February 09, 2018

John Hattie / Beware the technocrats / re-imagining secondary schooling / developing creativity and imagination / and the man who saved maths....



Horizons and .......
Education Readings

By Allan Alach

If you’re still a John Hattie fan I suggest you carefully read the article “The Politics of Education Policy: Even More Beware the Technocrats.


.....and whirlpools
The first reference listed at the foot of the article attempts to link to an article by Kelvin Smythe. This link no longer works and has been replaced by this one: Horizons, whirlpools, Sartrean secrets, John Hattie and other symptoms of the continuing education tragedy

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

Why I Want to Karate-Chop the SmartBoard and 19 Other Rants
‘I worked for a district who had the nicest SmartBoards and projectors around. I liked them, they were easy to use, and they were only there a few years. But, the darndest thing happened: the same year we took a forced pay freeze, the district purchased new equipment – because if they didn’t they’d lose the money. Socrates, one of the world’s greatest teachers, stood at a stone podium and gave his students one question to discuss for the entire day. Just give me the $5,000 it cost for that new tech equipment and let me be Socrates.


Piles of paperwork stopping teachers doing what they're good at

‘At the top of the list of the roadblocks are the piles of paperwork that increasingly stand in the way of good teaching. The teachers starting out this week didn't become teachers to fill in endless forms; they became teachers to change lives.’

What Do Schools Fostering A Teacher “Growth Mindset” Look Like?
Carol Dweck
‘Yet, school leaders and teachers scarcely talk about how to adopt a growth mindset for themselves—one that assumes that educators, not only the students they teach, can improve with support and practice. Many teachers find it hard to imagine working in a school with a professional culture designed to cultivate their development, rather than one in which their effectiveness is judged and addressed with rewards and sanctions.’


A Recipe for Inspiring Lifelong Learning
A veteran teacher reflects on his quest to inspire intrinsic motivation and curiosity in his students.

It made me reflect over my career as an educator, and what kinds of impressions I have left in the hearts and minds of the many students I have taught. I would like to hope that the impressions I left were favorable, even memorable. One of the impressions I hope to have left is that students had success in their learning when they were in my class.’ 


The Politics of Education Policy: Even More Beware the Technocrats

John Hattie
‘Coleman and Hattie work to control what counts and what matters—the ultimate in politics—and thus are welcomed resources for those benefitting from inequity and wishing to keep everyone’s gaze on anything except that inequity.'



Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

8 Ways to Help Older Kids Develop a Sense of Imagination

Because imaginative thinking hones creativity and improves students’ social and emotional skills, it’s something that teachers and schools should fold into their planning. Ostroff identified several strategies teachers can adopt to encourage older students to activate their dormant imaginations.’


Blue Sky High - five things every
Blue sky thinking by Claire Amos
secondary school should implement...now

'I believe that implementing the following five things would be a relatively easy way for any school to evolve so as to ensure students are gaining the skills needed now (not 100 years ago) and in the future. Whether you refer to them as the infuriatingly named "21st century skills" such as collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking, or simply as a way of genuinely fostering what the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) refer to as key competencies, particularly relating to others, managing self and participating and contributing.' Claire Amos

Real Learning is a Creative Process

‘Real and meaningful learning is a creative process. Skills and knowledge cannot be downloaded like computer software, they must be acquired, constructed and mastered– through long-term application and effort.Those who have studied successful skill mastery describe a common process that is followed, one that requires practice, effort, patience, experimentation and deep concentration.’


7 Reasons Why Differentiated Instruction Works

Differentiated instruction (DI) begins with an accurate understanding of what DI is—and is not.   You may be surprised how easy it is to incorporate into your classrooms.'


The Man Who Will Save Math

Dan Meyer, the most famous math teacher in America, wants to radically change the way we learn math.


Imagine aliens have abducted you. They’re kind enough creatures, however: Theirs is the slow-motion torture of trying to make you understand them. They flash their strange alphabet at you and prompt you with esoteric questions: Are you allowed to put this symbol here? To rearrange this into that? At first you struggle. Soon enough, though, you start to see patterns; eventually you begin to answer correctly.

This, Dan Meyer says, is how too many students experience mathematics.’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Living at the Creative Edge: School transformation

An Australian school that caters for ‘disadvantaged students’

‘Education is difficult in disadvantaged situations where it is pretty obvious that the old ways are not working so it was great to read about a school that seems to be beating the odds. The approaches they have developed provide guidance for all schools but particularly middle and secondary schools. And it is not that the ideas are even claimed to be new - the school involved just had both the leadership and the courage to put them into practice. Their approach is in opposition to the market driven imposed reforms of the past decades.’


The Power of Biography!

‘Too often personalized learning is missing; lost in all the teacher imposed curriculum and assessment requirements; too much teacher 'delivery' of curriculums and not enough 'designing' personalised studies. One idea to remedy this situation is to study the significant and personal greatness of our student’s lives through biography. This could lead into, or emerge out of, a study of the biography of famous people, or the recording of the oral history of their parents, or of local people of interest.’