Friday, March 28, 2014

Educational Readings - Scott McLeod / Sir Michael Barber!!/ Jamie McKenzie /PISA/Dianne Khan and Bruce Hammonds

By Allan Alach

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

This weeks homework!

To Foster Your Creativity, Don't Learn To Code; Learn To Paint
And if you want to foster those creative, problem solving skills, the solution isnt learning to code its learning to paint. Or play an instrument. Or write poetry. Or sculpt. The field doesnt matter: the key thing is that if you want to foster your own innovative creativity, the best way to do it is to seriously pursue an artistic endeavor.

Closedv. opensystems of knowing   Scott McLeod:

To fully prepare most students for life and, arguably, to reengage many of them in the learning, not just social, aspects of their schooling they need greater immersion in open systems of learning where questions are raised, answers arent fixed, and solutions are often contextual. This is true for all grade levels, not just secondary. So far most schools dont do a great job with this.

Pearson's Vision for the World
Real scary stuff Welcome to Sir Michael Barbers version of Huxleys Brave New World. Warning to teachers, everywhere

The "digital ocean" that this paper introduces is coming. Just as "big data" is transforming other industries such as insurance, finance, retail, and professional sport, in time, it will transform education. And when it does, it will resolve long-standing dilemmas for educators and enable that long-term aspiration for evidence-informed policy at every level, from classroom to the whole system, to be realized.

What have we done?
US educator Jamie McKenzie reflecting on 20 years of the internet in classrooms
The Internet came to schools with much fanfare in 1994-95, as browsers converted the previously text-based World Wide Web into something far more user-friendly and attractive. Some of us felt these information technologies might transform schools in dramatic ways as students would have wide open access to information much richer than what was available previously. We hoped the Internet would foster independent thinking and originality. Two decades later, how many of these
possibilities came true?

Lessons from Disney Pixar on how creativity leads to more summative success
Ewan McIntosh:
Pixar, since it was purchased by Disney, gives off an air of resilient creative and commercial success, but the journey is rarely that smooth. In fact, the more creative the output, the more commercially successful it is, for Pixar at least, and the processes used by the teams is remarkably close to what we see in highly effective classrooms.

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 3): Creating Illusory Models of Excellence
Part 3 of Zong Zhaos series on PISA.
The product of most public value, the national league tables, are based on so many weak links that they should be abandoned right away. If only a few of the methodological issues raised in this volume are on target, the league tables depend on assumptions about the validity and reliability which are unattainable.

Not choice, bro I want to opt out
A tale from New Zealand mother (and very active anti-GERM campaigner) Dianne Khan, about her son who has just started school.

He has been allocated a National Student Number to track him throughout his education.  His results, standards, and lord knows what else is being stored against this number. I cant opt him out of this trust me I have asked.  He and every child in or entering the system as of the 2014 school year is in the system, and god only knows what they are recording about him.

This weeks contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

Like a Wood Duck: Finding Peace in the Classroom
After a hard day of teaching, I often plop down on my desk chair at home and gaze up at a framed drawing hanging on the wall above my desk that a dear friend of mine gave me. It is a detailed
A Wood duck

Concerns about Use of Standardized Tests a Constant over the Years
Bruces comment: Politicians determining education shades of TVs House of Cards!!!!
I think we can generally agree that standardized tests dont have a good reputation today and that some of the criticism is merited,said U.S. secretary of Education Arne Duncan last April during the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Policymakers and researchers have to listen very carefully and take very seriously the concerns of educators, parents, and students about assessment.

New School Year - what has been achieved ?
Bruces reflections after visiting classrooms six weeks into the 2014 New Zealand school year what was to be seen? Care to make a guess?
I wasn't expecting miracles on my visits. I was just hoping for the early signs of the beginning of quality learning the beginning of the class being a home for mutual studies by teachers and their students. Students as 'seekers, users and creators of their own knowledge'. ( New Zealand Curriculum, 2007)\\

   Check out this blog.  Just to prove Bruce wrong!!!!   

Whats Your Learning Disposition? How to Foster Students’ Mindsets
Stanford psychologist Carol Dwecks work on growth mindsets has dominated much of the attention around how students can influence their own learning. But there are other ways to help students tap into their own motivation, too. Here are a few other important mindsets to consider.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New School Year - what has been achieved ?

It is now six weeks into the new school year - what is to be seen?

I have had the opportunity to look around a number of classrooms. I have to say I was disappointed with what I saw – or rather what I didn't see.

Many years ago the group of innovative teachers I worked with, teachers  used to believe that a glimpse of any classroom, the work on display and student book-work, could instantly tell you about what the teacher felt important.

This ‘blink’ approach has been well written about by Malcolm Gladwell – such insight however only applied if the observer (or wine taster!) had long experience to call on

The impression I got from my flying visits indicated that teachers were simply doing what is currently being expected.

I suppose many were also just coming to terms with their new classes –we used to believe that really excellent work appeared in Term Three when a culture of high expectations was well established. Teaching is one career where there is no shallow end!

I appreciate that I am no longer in a position to give advice but my past has experience provided me with useful ideas that I can't resist sharing.

In the late 60s (after a decade of being an adviser in science) I took my first class in the UK.  My first position was in very formal streamed school in South London where as long as my students kept out of trouble no one seemed to care.  For me, survival was the name of the game.

Creative English junior schools of the 60s.

My second school in the UK was a complete contrast – a wonderful child centred school like nothing I had ever seen in New Zealand. I did my best to learn by doing the approach expected by this school. I was lucky to be able to gain help with an exciting group of creative teachers.  Essentially their programmes were based around four rotating groups – mathematics (based mainly on activity often integrated with the current study); language (reading instruction, as I knew it  in NZ, was a bit light so this was mainly language experiences); art and craft and topic. The current study topic, drawing heavily on the immediate environment was the unifying element. Work in all areas was integrated by teacher arranged displays these (and the classroom walls) featured the finished work of the students as completed.  Displaying of student work was a real feature.
Quality work by a 10 year old ( by slowing pace)
Slow pace of work - do fewer things well.

A phase I absorbed was the need to ‘slow the pace’ of student work and the need to ‘come alongside the child’ if quality thinking, language and maths was to result ( today known as feedback). Also the idea of doing ‘fewer thing well’.  Depth rather coverage.At this time there were no national curricula to 'deliver'. The educational scene in the UK has changed dramatically with a National Curriculums, targets, tests and league tables and, in the process, the baby was thrown out with the bathwater.

In the 60s there were creative teachers in New Zealand, mainly in rural schools, who were developing similar creative programmes - the most well known being Elwyn Richardson.
Elwyn Richardson

Taranaki quality teaching approach.

In the 70s/80s I worked closely with a small group of local teachers in Taranaki introducing some of the ideas that impressed me – close observational drawing ( NZ teachers at their time were well ahead of UK teachers I observed when it came to creative art); introducing studies through displays; well-presented wall displays of student work; integrated studies; making use of the immediate environment and a rotary way of working but limited to current studies. Language and maths were integrated as much as possible.

In the late 70s I taught a class  ( it is a good lesson for advisers to return to the classroom) and applied idea learnt from my UK experience and from creative New Zealand teachers I had worked with. I refused to use ability grouping and integrated all learning as best I could.. I had a lot to prove and after a very tiring first term felt I had done well but I had the support of teachers I had worked with.
Study booklets from my class

When, as principal in the 80s/90s I did my best to introduce similar  ideas gained across a school. Other local principals worked along similar whole school  lines.

Unfortunately most of the ideas we implemented have all but been lost – as confirmed by my recent class visits.

Since the late 80s NZ has gone down the same top down compliance technocratic lines as the UK.

Back to my recent classroom ‘flying visits ‘and what I would've liked to have seen.

I would've liked to have seen:

Evidence of a simple environmental study - based on students’ questions, valuing their ‘prior ideas’ including some observational drawings, language work and creative art. To ensure quality teachers need to teach simple presentation techniques/’scaffolds’.

I would've liked to have seen the above work well displayed with appropriate captions.

I would've also liked to have seen some focused personal writing about something the students’’ had experienced during their holidays. I would have liked to have seen these displayed well along with portraits or drawing featuring some aspect of the experience. To ensure students achieve best results teachers need to teach their students some simple presentation skills.

First weeks difficult settling in time.
Teaching is not easy!!

I do appreciate that the first few weeks can be a difficult settling in time for both teacher and students. As mentioned there is no shallow end!

At the beginning of the year it is important to establish routines to give both teacher and students a sense of security.  I have always liked the advice that wing walkers used when balancing on the wings of ex WW1 planes  at air shows after the war , ‘Never let go of anything until  you have got hold of something else’.

I also believe it is important to accept students as they are and then to slowly set about helping them achieve better work – to slowly develop a sense of personal quality. It is my experience that many students will not have gained this appreciation from their previous classes.

Teaching is the 'canny art of intellectual temptation'.

I believe strongly in the idea ‘people get good at what they get good at’ (Jerome Bruner) and that ‘teaching is the canny art of intellectual temptation’. If students are given tasks that think are reasonable, and if students are given all the help required (the concept of ‘scaffolding’), then they are all  capable of improvement – even in the first term of the year. Some students may take a long time to show improvement – but with time and support they will surprise themselves. Some students, in my experience, will only show dramatic growth if they continue with the teacher for a second year.

Importance of respectful relationships.

Achieving quality learning depends on positive respectful relationships, interesting relevant things to become involved in and teachers working really hard to help each learner improve. In some cases, for mutual survival, it will be necessary to do things because ‘we have to’ – students will understand this.

I wasn't expecting miracles - maybe I visited too early!
I wasn't expecting miracles on my visits. I was just hoping for the early signs of the beginning of quality learning – the beginning of the class being a home for mutual studies by teachers and their students. Students as 'seekers, users and creators of their own knowledge'. ( NZC 2007)

Anyway – what would I know!
It’s not too late to start the quality journey.

Here are some practical links;

Inquiry approach - see co-constructivist model below
Room environment
Wall display ideas.

Just to prove me wrong!!!!  Take look at this great blog!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Educational Readings: Maths Wars, Creativity, PISA (education at risk), 'true grit' and language deficit!

By Allan Alach

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

This weeks homework!

Return of the Math Wars

Great blog on constructivist mathematics by Canadian teacher Joe Bower: If I had to distill the math wars down to a simple idea, I would probably say that constructivist math calls for an increase emphasis on understanding while simultaneously calling
Maths project
for a decrease emphasis on direct instruction of facts and algorithms
 The math wars get heated when critics come to see these changes to mean an elimination of basic skills and precise answers.

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently. Dont expect school reform to foster these! "Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

Leaning tower of PISA
How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 2): Glorifying Educational Authoritarianism. Part 2 of Zong Zhaos series on PISA.Because some authoritarian education systems seem to generate better PISA rankings, it has been concluded that educational authoritarianism, the systemic arrangements designed to enforce government-prescribed, uniform standards upon all children, should be emulated by the rest

of the world.
First, national standards and national curriculumenforced by high stakes testingcan at best teach students what is prescribed by the curriculum and expected by the standards. This system fails to expose students to content and skills in other areas. As a result, students talented in other areas never have the opportunity to discover those talents. Students with broader interests are discouraged, not rewarded. The system results in a population with similar skills in a narrow spectrum of talents.

50 Crazy Ideas To Change Education

What do you think of these? Which ones do you agree/disagree

Value creativity
with? What changes would you make?
Below are 50 ideas for a new education. Note, most of these are about education as a system rather than learning itself, but thats okay. Its often the infrastructure of learning that obscures anyway. Few of them may work; even fewer would work together, and thats okay too. As long as were dreaming anyway, lets get a little crazy.

Teachers: life inside the exam factory
A story from England that will start to ring true in New Zealand and probably elsewhere if present GERM based policies are fully implemented.As a lot of teachers see it, they are the focus of bitter hostility from ministers and educational high-ups, and the victims of an increasingly oppressive machine. Schools are swamping their pupils and staff in data and targets, leaving no room for the kind of human values that were once at the centre of what teachers did. These aspects of education, teachers say, also distort their priorities, so filling in spreadsheets sometimes takes precedence over actually teaching kids.

The Long Death of Creative Teaching
An article for USA readers but as usual applicable all over.
Imagine your brain surgeon having to "follow the book" while operating on you or lose his job. While you are on the table, he discovers an unforeseen problem that, because of his experience and practical wisdom, calls for a spontaneous change of plan, yet he can't do what he knows will work. You die on the table. So have students. He retires early, frustrated with conditions. So have the best teachers.

The DNA of GREAT Teachers 3 listiclesyou have to read!
What does the DNAof a great teacher look like?

This weeks contributions from Bruce Hammonds:

New Problems, New Approaches: The Rise of the Generalist
Bruce’s comment: I like the ideas of the gifted generalist (dot joiner) as against the narrow specialist. Kind of secondary versus primary thinking?“The new Generalist is in fact a master of their trade. They bring expertise and experience in several areas, fueled by insatiable curiosity and the ability to hyper-learnnew concepts and ideas. They practice empathy to fully understand and break down the nature of complex problems and collaboratively engage specialists in reframing the problem in order to arrive at potential solutions.”

Teachers at risk!!!!
25 Tricks to Stop Teacher Burnout
“Theres a reason why teachers receive a sad, knowing nod from others at a dinner party or when meeting new people. The profession kicks us around and often kicks hardest when were down. We teach for the pleasure of sharing a subject or skill that we love and hope to infuse a passion in someone else. We dont teach for the pounding headaches or the late nights grading. We dont teach because we like low pay and instability. So, in the light of how teachers are treated, its only natural to see teachers burnout more quickly than in any other profession. Thats why we need to take steps to protect ourselves from the inevitable because it can be prevented and controlled.”

Does Teaching Kids To Get 'Gritty' Help Them Get Ahead?
Around the nation, schools are beginning to see grit as key to students' success and just as
important to teach as reading and math. Experts define grit as persistence, determination and resilience; it's that je ne sais quoi that drives one kid to practice trumpet or study Spanish for hours or years on end, while another quits after the first setback.

Bridging the Language Deficit Gap appreciating that before the word comes the experience! Bruces latest blog article:
Teachers need to value their studentsviews, thoughts and questions by entering into dialogue with their students to extend, elaborate and enrich their ideas (Hatties rich conversations). The model of teaching encouraged was a co-constructivistone challenging studentsideas and clarifying their views.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bridging the Language Deficit Gap – appreciating that before the word comes the experience!

John Hattie
Alexandra Horowitz
& the
'The need for rich conversations'

In a recent article in the New Zealand Listener ( Feb 23 2014) research by  educationalist John Hattie  stated  ‘that infants start building their knowledge from day one – and that the nature and volume of that learning can set up a child for lifelong learning success or failure.’ I think we all knew that?

Another Hattie study confirmed that in reading at least, ‘the poor get poorer the rich get richer….if you don’t read by eight you don’t catch up.’

Research states ‘if you look at the number of words some kids know when they start compared with others – the catch up can’t be done –it’s almost impossible.’ Some children hear 5000 or 6000 words a day, while others may hear a couple of hundred

'Openness to experiences'

Hattie recommends parents become involved in ‘rich conversations  with pre-schoolers – reminding them of things they already know and asking them questions to slowly build on that – is even more valuable’  so as to enlarge children’s vocabularies.

Another important factor, the article stated, is a child’s openness to new experiences. Unfortunately, the article continues, many children are very cautious about entering into learning, are risk averse and give up all too quickly. ‘What every child needs’, Hattie comments, ‘is a significant adult to express positive regard about him or her.’ 

This language deficit and lack of openness to learning made me think. If babies are born with a default mode to learn what has happened to the students at risk, and can it be recovered?

'Before the word the experience'

It also made me remember a presentation I gave in 1985 titled ‘Before the word the Experience’. In this presentation I covered the below territory:

1    1    That we need to appreciate the sensory and emotional basis of language development – that ‘before the word came the experience’; that students are born ‘meaning makers’ programmed to make the best sense of things they can.

2     That we need to savour any experience, to slow the pace of observation and to educate the senses so as to develop reflective thinking – a chance for curiosity  and wonder to be expressed.

3   3 That there are a number of ways to explore any experience – the more ways a learner has the more aware they become – and this leads to a wider vocabulary. Children can explore as young
Expressing feeling through art (Age 9)
scientists (which they are), as historians, artists, poets etc. Each providing a framework to explore an experience. All experiences need to be seen as holistic or integrated and not become unnaturally fragmented by adult conceptions of subjects

4    As well there are also a number of ways to express or interpret any experience – not just through words

      With the above in mind teachers  need to provide students (of any age) with authentic, or realistic, learning experiences.

      6 Finally such an approach requires that teachers interact with their students to help them explore and interpret any experience; adults to become involved in ‘rich conversations’ always keeping in mind that it is the student’s role to make their own meaning. Students must, at all costs, remain in control of their own learning.

'Schools favour certain pupils'

 I went on to say that our school system benefits those children who enter with such reflective thinking in place (Hattie’s point), that schools unfortunately judge students on a narrow range of academic skills, and in the process, downplay the vital role of intuition, creative expression and imagination and, finally, gives students the idea (the ‘hidden curriculum’) that knowledge comes from the teacher and not from their own efforts to make sense of their experiences.

Schools unintentionally seem to add to their student’s language gap.

I suggested in my presentation that teachers need to value sensory awareness as the basis of all learning and that to help them make sense of any experience children need to be encouraged to focus their attention on the important things.

Imagine, for example, how to help students experience sitting in a piece of bush, or trees full of cicadas, or by waves at the seashore. An important phrase in my presentation was to ‘slow the pace of looking’ (or any work); students often think ‘first finished is best’.

 Such ‘slow’ experiences enrich their visual curiosity and, in turn, enrich their vocabulary and bring to mind questions that have the potential to lead to explorations in a range of learning areas.

Drawing//reflecting about a dead bird
I also suggested the importance of developing students’observational drawing skills as an ideal way to ‘slow their pace of work’ and to develop reflective thinking – and once again in the process developing both vocabulary and ideas for further studies.

Teachers need to value their students’ views, thoughts and questions by entering into dialogue with their students to extend, elaborate and enrich their ideas (Hattie’s ‘rich conversations’). The model of teaching encouraged was a ‘co-constructivist’ one – challenging students’ ideas and clarifying their views.

'Exploring through a range of viewpoints/frameworks'

As mentioned the teacher’s role is to help students’ explore and express their ideas through a range of ‘frameworks’ or ‘viewpoints’. For example a bridge could be interpreted aesthetically or metaphorically through the ideas of an artist or poet, or through the eyes of a scientist, mathematician or
How many ways to view the bridge?
engineer, or even through historian’s eyes.

Each way of interpreting has the potential of being a mind altering experience. This multiple interpretation idea has been well expressed by educationists EliotEisner, Art Costa and Howard Gardener and also by creative teachers such as Elwyn Richardson. It is also aligned to the intent of the all but side-lined New Zealand Curriculum.

Ideally when visiting a school dedicated to developing ‘rich conversation’ and sensory awareness one should see countless evidence (true ‘evidence based learning’!) of students’ exploring and expressing their ideas through a range of    Learning Areas. Students’ ‘voice’, identity and interests should be paramount.

I don’t think this is often the case –  a situation made worse by the current over emphasis on literacy and numeracy standards and the ‘silver bullet’ of current education, computers.

 By ignoring students’ personal concerns and their environment their real world becomes increasingly divorced from school.

Imagine - first dip in the sea for these boys!
If students’ are to bridge the gap Hattie talks about, the deficit in vocabulary of many children entering school, then the answer is to focus teaching on helping  students probe, explore, challenge, extend and deepen their ideas and, in the process, keeping alive  students openness to learning.

 As I mentioned I  was motivated to write this blog by Hattie’s Listener article and the presentation I gave in the 1980s but if teachers want inspiration to develop their environmental awareness then I recommend a book I have just read: ‘On Looking – Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes’, by Alexandra Horowitz.

'On Looking - Eleven walks with Expert Eyes'

In this book Alexandra shows how to see the spectacular in the ordinary. The book is structured around a series of walks the author takes with experts in diverse range of subjects including an urban sociologist, an artist, a geologist,  a blind person, a physician a sound engineer, a child and lastly her dog to see the world as they perceive it. Her book shows how much more there is to see – if only we would really look.

 It is a book all about paying attention to our taken for granted experiences and was originally motivated through taking her dog for a walk! It is about seeing what is hidden in plain sight in front of us; about making the familiar become unfamiliar; the old new. She writes that once being exposed to a new viewpoint the world is changed forever – we become ‘seers’.

'Learning to pay attention'.

Teachers are always asking their students to pay attention – but to the wrong things! After her experiences with experts her perceptual field is opened, each expert offering a selective enhancing and highlighting. It is about learning to being ‘mindful’.

 She writes that the walks ‘re-awakened in me a sense of perceptual wonder in my surroundings ….. (perception) available only to experts and the very young (not yet expert in being people)’. The results of her walks, she writes, ‘refined what I can see’  and developed ‘a sense of wonder that I, and we all, have a predisposition to but have forgotten to enjoy’.
Exploring a down pipe ( age 9)

Her book is an example of Hattie’s ‘rich conversations’ and ‘openness to learning’ that might well solve the language deficits that Hattie has brought to our attention.

The answer, it seems, is not more literacy and numeracy but a greater respect for the real world our students live in – one it seems being side-lined by the almost overpowering ‘virtual world’ provided by computers.  ‘Our culture’, writes Horowitz, ‘fosters inattention; we are all creature of that culture’. The ‘unbelievable strata of trifling, tremendous things to observe are there for the observing. Look!’

All students are born to explore and learn through their senses driven by their curiosity. When this default drive to make meaning is subverted by difficult home and school experiences we inherit the students with deprived learning abilities brought to our attention by Hattie.

The solution is obvious if we stop to think about it
Learning recovery.

As Alexandra’s book shows it is never too late but, for children, only if teachers change their minds first.

Bush lino cut by boy non reader age 9rs

Friday, March 14, 2014

Educational Readings : John Hattie, PISA , Steve Wheeler, Vygotsky, and Zong Zhao et all

By Allan Alach

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

This weeks homework!

Promoting a Culture of Learning

Learning is a culture. It starts as a culture with the students as human beings needing to understand their environment. And it ends as a culture with students taking what we give them and using it in those physical and digital environments they call home.

Even the practices that promote or undermine the learning process itself are first and foremost human and cultural artifacts. Literacy, curiosity, self-efficacy, ambition and other important agents of learning are born in the native environments of studentshomes.

Further, learning is ongoing, perishable and alive just like culture.

Creativity in the young learner classroom

A creative classroom is a joyful and motivating place where children feel empowered to learn, where all ideas are welcomed, and where learning is deep and meaningful. Children
Need to tap creativity
who are allowed to be creative are better learners, and they are more aware of their own learning styles. Creativity is a lifelong skill that our students will take with them into their adult lives to solve problems and help build a better world.

If Not for Those Darn Kids

I have long considered that the Masters of Reforming Our Nation's Schools view children as widgets, as little programmable devices, as interchangeable gears, as nothing more than Data Generation Units. I had considered that these MoRONS were indifferent to children. What I had not considered was that reformers are actively hostile to children.

The Right Questions, The Right Way

What do the questions teachers ask in class really reveal about student learning?

The fundamental flaw in the traditional questioning model is that it makes participation voluntary. The confident students engage by raising their handsand by engaging in classroom discussion, they become smarter. But others decline the invitation to participate and thus miss out on the chance to get smarter.

Vygotsky, Piaget and YouTube - Steve Wheeler:

Today, the bold claim is that anyone can learn anything they wish, because social media channels can provide that scaffolding. It's open to discussion, but whatever way we look at it, tools such as YouTube are opening up unprecedented and very rich learning opportunities for anyone who has access to the Web. Informal learning will never be the same again.

The Universe of Learning and a Sense of Wonder

There is no body of knowledge that all students need to learn.  We do not have scientific evidence for this.  In this standards-based era of education, weve been convinced that all kids need to learn the same set of standards or same set of content. We shouldnt support this idea. Instead learning should be about a sense of wonder.

New leaning tower!
How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 1): Romanticizing Misery  -  Zong Zhao:

PISA, the OECDs triennial international assessment of 15 year olds in math, reading, and science, has become one of the most destructive forces in education today. It creates illusory models of excellence, romanticizes misery, glorifies educational
Zong Zhao
authoritarianism, and most serious, directs the world
s attention to the past instead of pointing to the future. In the coming weeks, I will publish five blog posts detailing each of my charges, adapted from parts of my book Whos Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education.

This weeks contribution from Bruce Hammonds:

The educational world according to John Hattie. - controversial conservative?

John Hattie
Bruces latest and very good blog article:

It is not that I disagree with all he says but I find him contradictory and very much in the conservative camp for all his criticism of current teaching. At times over such things as National Standards he seems to hunt with the hounds and run with the hares.

Contributed by Phil Cullen

New era of accountability: Reducing students to "anonymous data points.

Data, instead of informing decisions about real kids, serve instead to displace those real people, substituting virtual representations based on selective bureaucratic decisions about what is important to know about them, often based on what is easiest to measure and classify about them. When these selectively constructed virtual students
replace real kids as the focus of education, teaching and learning veer off the tracks. Most fundamentally, as data points, these young people and their teachers lose their humanity…’