Friday, October 20, 2017

What Pixar can teach education about creativity/ school rules / maths education / daydreamimg and time for educational heresy.....and a new Prime Minister for New Zealand


New Zealand has a new Prime Minister - great news for education


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

Why I Don’t Have Classroom Rules

A high school teacher tries a classroom management experiment thinking it will fail. Years later, he’s still at it.

‘Although I encouraged my students to think critically and challenged myself to develop new methods of instruction, the actual conduct of the class seemed at odds with all that. I wanted my students to do more than just follow rules handed down to them. I wanted them to understand why those rules exist, and be willing to interrogate ones that didn’t seem valuable, meaningful, or useful.’


Ten Things Pixar Can Teach Us About Creativity

‘For the last two decades, Pixar has produced some of the most creative and epic films of this era. But this is the result of a culture of creative collaboration built on ideas of being frank, taking chances, and failing forward. So, what can educators learn from Pixar as we design collaborative projects?'


The fantastic new ways to teach math that most schools aren’t even using


At the level of the individual teacher, we have found that preparing teachers to make small changes in status quo practices and tools can be a successful approach that is both manageable for teachers and meaningful for their students. In my work with novice teachers, the small changes I emphasize most include:'



Schools Must Get The Basics Right Before Splashing Out On Technology

For years, schools and education experts have debated whether technology belongs in the
classroom. Now the discussion has shifted and even schools that had thus far resisted the educational tech revolution are being swept into what’s become a multi-billion-dollar market. The question now isn’t whether technology has a place in schools, but which devices would work best: laptops, tablets, smartphones or something else entirely? However, maybe it’s not the device that schools should be preoccupied with – but rather how students use them to learn.’


How a British School Improved Its Math Scores without Teaching a Single Math Lesson More

Singing your way to maths
“We could have gone down the route where we said we need to get results up
, we’re going to do more English, more maths, more booster classes, but we didn’t.” Instead, they took a gamble: They added two hours a week of music for every student, and the results have been stunning.”'


The Fisheye Syndrome - Is Every Student Really Participating?

‘Greta doesn’t realize that she is suffering from the Fisheye Syndrome. It’s a condition that impacts our perception, as if we’re looking through a fisheye lens – the kind they use in peepholes. To those afflicted with fisheye, some students appear “larger” than others. They take up more energy and grab more of our attention, making the others fade into the periphery. We have a vague sense that the others are there, and we nag ourselves to include them, but those magnified students are just too hard to resist.’



Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Lauren Child: ‘We should let children dawdle and dream’

Children are often told what’s good for them, but the advice of the new children’s laureate may take them by surprise. Lauren Child, speaking for the first time since her investiture in Hull this summer, has a simple message: just stare into space. In an age of prescriptive talk about targets and aspirations, Child, the creator of Charlie and Lola, plans to make a stand against the theorising and goal-setting during her two-year tenure.’


Why Daydreaming is Critical to Effective Learning


Rather than trying to do everything at the same time, the most productive people prioritize and block off their schedules to focus on one task at a time. “The idea is that if you become more efficient in time management, it allows for more spontaneity and creativity in the day, every day.”’


What Creativity Really Is – and Why Schools Need It


Although educators claim to value creativity, they don’t always prioritize it.Teachers often have biases against creative students, fearing that creativity in the classroom will be disruptive. They devalue creative personality attributes such as risk taking, impulsivity and independence. They inhibit creativity by focusing on the reproduction of knowledge and obedience in class.Why the disconnect between educators’ official stance toward creativity, and what actually happens in school?’


Why the right answer should not be the primary aim in maths

‘In maths, the journey to the answer should be just as important as the answer, in maths is really important, it should not be the most important thing that we look for from our pupils.That's not to say that we are going to start rewarding pupils for getting everything wrong in maths, but how pupils come to obtain an answer should be a quality that we regard highly.’


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file

Slow food movement - and teaching as well!

The ‘slow food’ movement was reaction against this industrialized approach to living. Followers believe one should take time over food and enjoy the subtlety of the cooking;take the time to try out new dishes and to enjoy the conversation and the wine. Or at the very least enjoy a home cooked meal around the table interacting with members of the family or friends We now need an educational equivalent of the ‘slow food movement’ so as to value the richness and relevance of any learning experience. Students need to appreciate that the act of learning is at the very heart of their identity and a high quality life and as such should not be rushed.’


Time for some heresy?

‘If we want to develop 21stC education systems then we will have no choice but to re-imagine education dramatically. We need to implement some heretical alternative thoughts to transform current systems with their genesis in an industrial age an age well past its use by date. Strangely enough none of the idea being considered are new it is just that few school have put them all together. School are inherently conservative and some schools, secondary ones in particular, seem impervious to change.’

Friday, October 13, 2017

Modern Learning Environments / creative teachers at risk / the problem with ability grouping / developing students gifts and does your classroom have the 'wow' factor



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

More than bricks and mortar: A critical examination of school property under the National-led Government

An article I posted last week referenced an article by Dr Leon Benade, School of Education, Auckland University of Technology. Here is Leon’s full article.

Teachers are largely unprepared for flexible learning spaces that bring together multiple teachers and students (see my earlier blog on MLE/ILE). These (enforced) changes require students to master new learning habits and routines, while parents’ most recent school memory may have been of sitting in rows or possibly in grouped desks, in so-called ‘single cell’ classrooms with one teacher and no more than 30 or 35 students. So, where has this policy come from, and what does it look like in action?’


Is Math Art? Dream or Nightmare?

I was blown away by this remarkable (and strangely empowering) critique about math education:  how we view it as a culture; how teachers are teaching it (or not teaching it); how and why some students struggle with it; how some students who apparently "get it" don't; how parents perceive it; how testing may not be showing us what we want to know, and how we can change math education for the better.’


FORCE & FLUNK: Destroying a Child’s Love of Reading—and Their Life

‘A frenzy surrounding reading is caused by school reformers and the media, claiming children are
not learning to read fast enough. Kindergarten is the new first grade, automatically making preschool the new kindergarten. If we aren’t careful, obstetricians will show newborns an alphabet chart immediately after babies are born! We’re told that reading is an emergency, and if it’s not addressed by reading programs produced by individuals, companies, and technology, children won’t learn to read—and they won’t be ready for the global economy.'


Most everything you need to know about creativity

‘It is about knowing what and how to observe and directing your attention accordingly: what details do you focus on? What details do you omit? And how do you take in and capture those details that you do choose to zoom in on? In other words, how do you maximize your brain attic’s potential? …Everything we choose to notice has the potential to become a future furnishing of our attics.’



s.

Stop Forcing Introverts To Speak In Class. There Are Better Way

‘Class participation is often a significant portion of a student’s grade, and I have felt pressured to force myself to speak in order to meet the participation requirements, as do many introverts. But I
was fortunate to have a teacher who offered an alternative, and I strongly encourage other teachers to do the same. How can a teacher recognize an introverted student and support him or her?


What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

Negative consequences, timeouts, and punishment just make bad behavior worse. But a new approach really works.


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Malcolm Dixon: Time to discuss Primary school education

'I don't know if anyone else noticed but primary school education was seldom mentioned throughout the election campaign and yet for everyone with children or grandchildren education plays an extremely important part in their lives. Why didn't the Government mention it? In my opinion it was the legacy of the Parata regime and there is very little to celebrate and the current minister is completely out of touch with reality.


This Is What Teachers Need And Aren’t Getting

‘An important category of educators: teachers with a high level of
professional freedom will be extinct by 2033 if the current rate of loss continues. Like most endangered creatures, their habitat is threatened. When you were a child they were present in every city and town in the United States, but now their world has changed. They can be found only in rare, hospitable environments’


Raising the bar with flexible grouping

Professor Christine Rubie-Davies, a leading researcher in the field of teacher expectations, is based at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work. In this blog Christine challenges the practice of grouping students by ability, arguing that it constrains learning.




We Need to Trust Teachers to Innovate

If we want to see innovation happening in our schools, we need to trust, encourage, and empower teachers to transform their practice. Too often, teachers are forced to teach inside the box and it can feel frustrating. In this post, I explore why teachers are the innovators, what’s getting in the way, and what we can do about it.’



From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:


Einstein, Darwin, da Vinci & Mozart et all - lessons from the Masters. Based on the book 'Mastery' by Robert Greene.

An education to develop the gifts and talents of all students.

Developing an education system premised on developing the talents and gifts of all students has always been my vision. Unfortunately schooling has been more about standardisation and conformity – sorting and grading of students. National Standards with its emphasis on literacy and numeracy at the expense of other areas of endeavour, is the most recent iteration of this standardised approach.’


Does your classroom have the 'wow' factor?

'The first sign of ‘wow’ is the overall first impression the room gives you. The feeling you get is that you are indeed in special place. There is a feeling of positive relationships between teacher and learners and often parents are to be seen quietly helping students. Other students seem to be working without supervision. A quick look around the walls, covered with students creativity gives an impression that this is a room dedicated to the students themselves.’

http://bit.ly/1FxlCvx

Each piece of art the result of student research

Friday, October 06, 2017

Modern Learning Environments?/ The Right wing Education Reforms / John Dewey / Helicopter parents / and being average



We need creativity not  standardisation!



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

How to improve the school results: not extra maths but music, loads of it

Thanks to Al Ingham for this article.

'But at Feversham, the headteacher, Naveed Idrees, has embedded music, drama and art into every part of the school day, with up to six hours of music a week for every child, and with remarkable results. Seven years ago Feversham was in special measures and making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Today it is rated “good” by Ofsted and is in the top 10% nationally for pupil progress in reading, writing and maths, according to the most recent data.’


Helicopter Parents Need To Let Teachers Do Their Jobs

‘Ms. Streeter realized that "one of the greatest challenges for teachers and principals is dealing with stressed, over-reaching parents who, like me, can't see the bigger picture. What ostensibly counts as supportive parenting can sometimes inadvertently disadvantage a child.”’


Education "Reform" Is a Right-Wing Movement

Support for charter proliferation goes hand-in-hand with a lack of support for adequate and equitable public school funding. No wonder the political right, which has set the accumulation of
wealth for a small elite as its highest priority, loves the charter movement. Second, the ties between SA and the political right highlight a clear reality: The charter school movement is, at its core, an anti-teachers union movement. Unions have been the backbone of the Democratic Party for years -- especially public sector unions. And the teachers unions have been pretty much the last vestige of professional unionism.’


How modern are ‘modern’ or ‘innovative’ learning environments in NZ?

Not very …

Hobsonville Point School
‘As Benade argues, a school is not a school until/unless it is about the quality of the learning that goes on inside it. Examples like Strachan’s and Somerset’s show us that these conceptions of modern learning had their roots firmly planted a long time ago in the educational soil of New Zealand. When educators dare to innovate, then conceptions of modern and innovative learning can flourish and thrive.’


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.’


Caution: Chromebooks

This article by Gary Stager has sure got people talking.
‘The Chromebook might be sufficient if you believe that the primary purpose of school to be taking notes, looking stuff up, completing forms, and communication. I find this to be an impoverished view of both learning and computing. Children need and deserve more. If you find such uses compelling, kids already own cellphones capable of performing such tasks.’


Education Isn't the Key to a Good Income

A growing body of research debunks the idea that school quality is the main determinant of economic mobility.  Another neoliberal tenet bites the dust.

A myth?
'This “rags to riches” tale embodies one of America’s most sacred narratives: that no matter who you are, what your parents do, or where you grow up, with enough education and hard work, you too can rise the economic ladder. A body of research has since emerged to challenge this national story, casting the United States not as a meritocracy but as a country where castes are reinforced by factors like the race of one’s childhood neighbors and how unequally income is distributed throughout society.


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

National Standards Plus

Current negotiations to establish the next government in New Zealand have a good likelihood of bringing about the end of national standards. However, if this fails to happen, then this is what we will be seeing.
No time left to teach!

‘The government would have parents being updated in real time every and any progress their child is making in National Standards throughout the school day. They’re calling thisNational Standards Plus’, largely because of the additional time and energy that is going to be chewing into teachers already busy schedule. The additional testing, the additional data gathering, the additional reporting and notifying and uploading to the app’s system. All this PLUS actually teaching the children.’


Consider yourself a 'visual' or 'auditory' learner? Turns out, there’s not much science behind learning styles.

The idea that people have different styles of learning — that the visually inclined do best by seeing new information, for example, or others by hearing it — has been around since the 1950s, and recent research suggests it’s still widely believed by teachers and laypeople alike. But is there scientific evidence that learning styles exist?’


Children considered 'average' miss out as teachers focus elsewhere, report warns


Children labelled "average" by teachers are missing out because more focus goes on those at the bottom of the class, a report has found.Experts say children who are classified in the middle range risk having late-blooming ability ignored as teachers assume they are neither struggling nor overachieving.’


Bigger classrooms, bigger problems

ILE designs are flexible, allowing for multiple learning areas and activities within the one large space. Generally they are open-plan and can encompass several year groups within the one space.The Ministry’s intention is that by 2021 all classrooms will be modernised according to its prescribed ILE standards.Support for this policy is far from universal among education academics and teachers, with many highly critical of ILEs and how they are being implemented.’


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file

Signs of a creative classroom

‘One thing seems obvious to me, after several decades visiting primary classrooms, is that real I
An exciting environment
nnovation only comes from creative teachers and not from imposed programmes
. Unfortunately,  all too often, creative teachers are the last ones to be listened to in this era of school consistency and formulaic 'best practices'. It seem we are moving towards a standardised approach to learning at the very time when we need to value (and protect) our creative teachers and their creative students.’


Teaching in Modern Learning Environments (MLEs)/ Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs)

A number of trends have influenced the way schools and classrooms have been organised over the decades; trends moving from traditional classroom teaching to  a more student centred learning - from 'the sage on the stage to the guide on the side' .Today we now have the concept of 'innovative learning environments'  linked with the development of 'modern learning environments’.'

Friday, September 29, 2017

Stressed principals in NZ / Less is more / coding and mindfulness / poverty and education / new thinking required



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

Preschool teachers need better training in science

Not just preschool teachers

‘Gerde said preschool teachers may struggle with science due to lack of quality training, preparation or an aversion to science. Teachers may also feel pressure from policymakers and school administrators to focus on literacy -- to the possible exclusion of science.’

http://bit.ly/2fAmqd6

Another Example of Less Teaching Leading to More Learning

Delinquent boys made huge academic gains when freed from classroom lessons.

Teach less - observe more
‘The experiment was started in January, 1924, and lasted until the beginning of June that year. During that period the boys were excused from regular school classes and, instead, were assigned to a special room created for them in a technical school. The room was equipped with desks, blackboards, a large table, and a collection of books, including storybooks, nonfiction works, and textbooks for the various grades. The boys were given standard academic achievement tests in January and again, four months later, in May.’


Could You Teach Naked?

Don’t panic - its not what you think!
Every September it seems like there’s a new Whole School Initiative hitting the fan. As the Headteacher takes the podium on that first inset day, you hold your breath, waiting to find out what new, quirky trend will permeate your staff meetings for the year ahead…
But what if your headteacher stood up and told you that this month is all about Naked Teaching?…Are you game for it?’


11 Research-Based Classroom Management Strategies

Do unresolved behavior issues keep you awake at night thinking about what strategies might enhance responsible decision making and increase academic learning time? It’s natural to feel personally and professionally challenged—as I have, too many times to count.
The good news is that there are some research-based strategies called kernels that you can add to your classroom management toolkit.’


Those Who Can’t

Variation of the original, supposedly written by George Bernard Shaw.
T’hose who can’t,
Teach.
For example,
Those who can’t sit alone at a desk all day,
Whose energy demands movement and interaction,
Teach ….’



Tech's push to teach coding isn't about kids' success – it's about cutting wages

Just in case you were wondering why coding has jumped on the bandwagon:
'Yet it rests on a fundamentally flawed premise. Contrary to public perception, the economy doesn’t actually need that many more programmers. As a result, teaching millions of kids to code won’t make them all middle-class. Rather, it will proletarianize the profession by flooding the market and forcing wages down – and that’s precisely the point.’


Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Does Mindfulness Actually Work in Schools?

A research team in Chicago has spent a year studying whether students who are taught to be in touch with their emotions do better academically. And they say the initial results are promising.Perhaps counterintuitively, when kids take a break from a classroom lesson on the solar system to spend a quiet moment alone watching a three-minute nature video, or participate in a teacher-guided breathing exercise with their class after lunch, they seem to become better overall students. That’s likely because the children have a renewed sense of focus.’


The Curious Incident of the Choice-Based Classroom

‘Don't touch things without permission. Only ask questions when it's appropriate. Generally, by the middle of 2nd grade, our students have internalized these messages regarding respect and orderliness in the classroom. As a K–8 visual arts teacher, I've noticed how students' innate curiosity about their surroundings diminishes as the years go by, often at the prompting of well-intentioned teachers reminding students to "wait and see" what materials they'll need before touching anything. Although I do appreciate the lesson in respect, I sympathize with my students, knowing that feeling that paint brush on their hand or squishing the clay with their fingers would pique their curiosity for learning.’


Increased stress pushing New Zealand principals away, departing school leader says

The principal of a top Taranaki school has resigned after 12 years in the role - and says other school leaders have congratulated him for getting out of an increasingly stressful profession. Charles Gibson is one of five Taranaki principals and deputy principals leaving their posts this year.While Gibson said he was mostly leaving Lepperton Primary School because it is "the right time to do something a little different", he warned the stresses of the job, national standards, and a lack of respect for teachers from the Ministry of Education had all been contributing factors and were putting others off taking up top positions.


Facts Don’t Change People’s Minds. Here’s What Does

Something to consider when debating education with others:
Drowning the other person with facts, I assumed, was the best way to prove that global warming is real, the war on drugs has failed, or the current business strategy adopted by your risk-averse boss with zero imagination is not working.
Since then, I’ve discovered a significant problem with this approach.
It doesn’t work.’


From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

A living world - the end of industrial aged thinking.
Linear thinking

‘It is time we appreciated that the 'machine age' is over. The idea that ‘man’ can control and dominate everything has had terrible environmental and social consequences. It is far better to see the world, and all our organizations, as living systems and to see our role as part of a range of integrated systems than underpin all life. This ‘systems thinking’ is the new 'world view' that we all need to learn to appreciate. Strangely enough the concept has direct links with earlier indigenous wisdom that everything is interrelated, often in ways we can’t at first recognize.’


Educational failure - it is all about poverty

‘In recent years, though, we have gained considerable insights into the pre-requisites for human fulfilment. Health and security may be at the top of the list, but we also thrive on community, fairness, bonding, altruism, playfulness and celebration. Politicians would do well to look to these biological principals.’