Friday, 8 July 2016

Creative teacher readings: autodidacts/ creative classrooms/ inquiry learning and Asterix

Education Readings
By Allan Alach

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

The Golden Age of Autodidacts

Thanks to Ben Rachinger for this link.
‘There are several components, but the real shocker is that more of us aren't embracing the current age of access to mastery of any topic. But that may not be so surprising—most of us were taught to be passive learners, to just "get through" school. It's easy to be lazy. The rewards of becoming an autodidact, though, include igniting inner fires, making new connections to knowledge and skills you already have, advancing in your career, meeting kindred spirits, and cultivating an overall zest for life and its riches.’

How Good Are Your TEACHers?
Tony Gurr is back….
‘It’s not a bad question to kick off with, if you believe (as I do) that the talents, skills and savvy of language teachers is one of the critical determining factors in determining the level of LEARNing and success that LEARNers ultimately achieve.
Some TEACHers do not like it!’

Unleashing the Power of the Creative Classroom

‘What is a creative classroom? Creative learners are not linear thinkers. Contrary to popular belief, while others have a plan from the beginning, creative learners are different. They might need to play first and experience the medium before they begin to come up with ideas of their own. That’s why the students in a creative classroom strive for innovative solutions to unexpected problems.’

The Intervention That Works Across Settings With All Children
If you learned there was an intervention to improve student outcomes that worked for nearly all children across communities, what would stop you from using it? This intervention has closed learning gaps, both in urban communities serving predominantly low-income minority students and in
isolated rural areas with large numbers of white and Native American students living in poverty. It has worked in suburban, urban, and rural settings with white, African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, and multi-racial students. That intervention is collaboration.’

How should reading be taught in schools?
‘When my son was nine years old, he put aside the large Harry Potter novel he had been slowly, but enthusiastically, reading each evening and instead began ploughing through lots of fairly
uninspiring books that he brought home from school each day. It turned out the Year 4 teachers had devised a competition at his school - whichever class read the most books would be rewarded with an end of term pizza party. The aim, I presume, was to motivate the children to read. It is ironic then that the effect was that my son stopped reading for pleasure and instead began reading for the numbers. Reading is now increasingly being reduced to a numbers game in schools.’

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Students as evaluators in inquiry-based classrooms
‘When we provide open-ended, authentic tasks, students are placed in the role of evaluators, thus allowing them to see the varied ways that these problems can be solved. What resources did this student consider? Which parts of her solution were effective? Which parts have not been addressed?’

Connecting iGeneration to the Natural World
Mobile technology was a powerful teaching tool to introduce and encourage core scientific practices such as observing, hypothesizing, identifying, and sharing information, all while submerged in nature. There was a spark in the air, and it was contagious. All students were pining to go into the field again with the devices. Students were self-identifying and using the app on weekends. With this developing connection also came a growing sense of stewardship about the natural world around them.’

A Capitalist Command Economy
George Monbiot
George Monbiot:
‘This is a story about England’s schools, but it could just as well describe the razing of state provision throughout the world. In the name of freedom, public assets are being forcibly removed from popular control and handed to unelected oligarchs.’

Rewild the Child
George Monbiot:
‘What is the best way to knacker a child’s education? Force him or her to spend too long in the classroom.An overview of research into outdoor education by King’s College London found that children who spend time learning in natural environments perform better in reading, mathematics, science and social studies.” Exploring the natural world makes other school subjects rich and relevant and gets apathetic students excited about learning.”

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Asterix theory of talent development
In the well known cartoon, about a Gaul village resisting the Roman Empire, there is a very neatly drawn set of roles.
The village comprises of a strong man ( Obelix), a chief ( Vitalstatisitix), a druid (Getafix), a bard (Cacophonix), a blacksmith (Fulliautomix), a fishmonger( Unhygenix) and a man with bright ideas ( Asterix). The harmony of the village owes something to the fact that each man respects the others’ talents - with the exception of Cacophonix, the bard whose songs are universally dreaded.No human being is rich in all talents in the same way but all have potential talents to develop as has been explored by Howard Gardner in his theory of multiple intelligences.

Developing a democratic curriculum.
James Beane
James Beane.: developing a democratic curriculum.
‘Relating back to the ideas of John Dewey Beane believes that if people are to live democratic lives they must have the opportunity to learn what that way of life means. His ideas are based on the ability of students to participate in their own education. Democratic schools share a child centred approach but their larger goal is to change the undemocratic conditions of school themselves and in turn to reach out to the wider community.’
Education to realize the talents of all - students and teachers.
‘This post, is all about tapping the power of teachers to enable all students to succeed. It is about helping teachers learn rather than telling them what to do; about putting student learning at the heart of the educational process; about developing a explicit inquiry approach to learning for teachers, students and principals;  about engagement not compliance. It seems like common sense -  but well researched common sense.’

from leading and learning

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