Friday, 19 August 2016

Education Readings / innovative schools/ creativity/ Estonia the new Finland/ and the art of play

Entering the creative era

By Allan Alach

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

Which Is More Difficult: World’s Toughest Sport Or Teaching?
‘Speaking of deforming and fracturing, the figures for teachers’ careers are starting to look scarily more like the short-lived careers of elite athletes. Not because they ‘get old and slow’ and lose the
A world wide issue
athletic edge but simply because they get bruised and drained by the emotional highs and lows, the expectations, shaped largely by societal expectations but (soon) internalised as their own, incessant demands on their mental and physical capacities and more.’

A true educational warrior
My Epiphany Moment. A story.
‘My thinking moments changed to considering the differences between assessment and testing and evaluation and appraisement and teaching. I needed to sort myself out. Here I was:  professing to be a teacher, a lover of learning, a pillar of a thinking community and I was violating the sensitivities of children, defying the  conventions of confidentially and of morality, treating kids like robots; while, in other situations, I was constantly preaching that primary education was  the most intense, busiest, most noble caring profession the world had ever seen.’

The 13 most innovative schools in the world
Thanks to Tessa Calder for this article.
A floating school
‘Innovation in education can look like lots of things, like incorporating new technology or teaching methods, going on field trips, rejecting social norms, partnering with the local community. It can be a floating school in an impoverished region, like the one in Lagos, Nigeria. Or it can be a school that's blind to gender, like Egalia, in Stockholm, Sweden.
Keep scrolling to see what the future of education can, and probably should, look like.’

Research Finds The Effects Of Homework On Elementary School Students, And The Results Are Surprising
‘While homework has a significant benefit at the high school level, the benefit drops off for middle school students and there’s no benefit at the elementary school level,” agrees Etta Kralovec, an education professor at the University of Arizona.’

How to Become and Remain a Transformational Teacher
However talented, no one is a natural-born teacher. Honing the craft takes significant care and effort, not just by the individual, but also by the school at large. Though experience does matter, it matters only to the extent that a teacher -- regardless of how long he or she has been in the classroom --commits to continued professional development to refresh his or her status as a transformational teacher.’

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Why mastery matters and creativity shouldn’t be easy
‘Being creative makes us happy – that’s true – but not just because we just enjoy dreaming up new ideas and having flights of fancy. In fact, research tells us that what we really love about creativity is the daily drudgery – the slow and frequently painful trudge towards getting it done and mastering it.

13+ unusually simple techniques to get creative when you are in a rut
Very applicable in your classroom.
‘For businesses and content writers, such creativity and originality can often be a distant thought as
we battle with deadlines and other pressing needs. Yet most people desperately want to know how to be creative. Especially on days that seem like you are totally uninspired or stuck in a creative rut.

Is Estonia the new Finland?
‘Most educators and policymakers can rattle off a list of international educational powerhouses: Korea. Singapore. Japan. Finland.
But there’s an overlooked member of the list: Estonia. Even as educators from around the world flock to Finland to discover its magic formula, Estonia, just a two-hour ferry ride away, has not aroused the same degree of interest.’

Doodling with Dr Seuss: how the cat got his hat
Do we fully appreciate his work?
‘In teaching millions the joy of literature, Geisel also opened up a wonderfully unique perspective on the world, where life is funny and beautiful, and where topsy-turviness shows us how things should be.  As the author himself once said: If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.”’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Tapping the wisdom between schools.
Tap into local creative teachers - the real innovators
‘Over the decades innovation and creativity has shifted from isolated creative often misunderstood individuals, who network with each other for mutual support, to whole schools development where schools develop a common language or learning culture across the school.The future development is for teachers to share ideas between schools. Ministries of Education worldwide, after experimenting with the ideas of competing schools and 'top down change,’ have now realised the real power is to be gained through collaboration at the lowest level.’

Losing the art of play
Have you been in a toy shop recently? Very uninspiring.
‘A cultural historian, Howard Chudwell, believes that from 1955 , due to the marketing of toys, children's play became focused on the toys themselves. Toys have replaced imaginative improvised activity as the focus of play. New commercial toys provide restricted scripts 'shrinking the size of children's imaginative space' - and owning such toys becomes all important.’
Most valuable resource

School Reform: more political than educational
‘I would think that if we had focused on recognising, and sharing, the ideas of creative teachers and innovative schools in the first place, and if the various governments had seen their role as creating the conditions and providing resources, we would be in a far better position than we are in now. And, as well, we would have teachers who have faith in their ability to develop new approaches to teaching and learning without distorting and disabling the total system.’

from leading and learning

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