Friday, September 30, 2016

Teaching strategies/ virtual classrooms/ developing cognitive flexibility/ teaching inquiry and creativity

Education Readings

By Allan Alach

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

The education system would fall over without many hours of teacher overtime. How long until this goodwill is withdrawn?
This article is from the UK; however it sure applies to New Zealand, and, I suspect, to many
Colin Harris - former primary principal
other countries as well.
There is no doubt that the vast majority of teachers do far more work than they are either contracted or paid to do. Recent BBC research showed that the average primary class teacher, if there is such a thing, worked 59 hours per week. If we consider that only 20 hours of this time is actually in front of a class, then it means a phenomenal amount of time is spent on preparation or marking or taking on the many additional responsibilities a class teacher now has.’

Author Ron Ritchart
How Clear Expectations Can Inhibit Genuine Thinking in Students
Time to rethink WALTs, learning outcomes, etc?
‘Karen did have very clear expectations, communicated effectively and upheld relentlessly in an admirable fashion. But somehow these expectations, the clearest manifestation of what Karen’s classroom was like, seemed to be standing in the way of creating a culture of thinking. How could that be? Why would having such clear expectations for students’ behavior and performance inhibit their development as thinkers?’

The Bonus Effect
One Kind of Interest that Rewards Don’t Kill
Alfie Kohn:
Alas, too many parents, teachers, and managers persist in treating people like pets, offering the equivalent of a doggie biscuit to children, students, and employees in an effort to get them to jump through hoops. (Rewards are tools used by people with more power on those with less.) The more familiar you are with the mountain of research on this topic, the more depressed you’ll be to find, for example, that schools continue to rely on Skinnerian programs such as PBIS, Class Dojo, Accelerated Reader, and the like. It’s not just that they’re manipulative, or even that they’re ultimately unsuccessful. It’s that they’re actively harmful.’

Virtual Classrooms Can Be as Unequal as Real Ones
Online courses are praised for their potential to make education accessible to everyone—but they’re leaving students behind.
Think harder Hekia
So much for the latest brainwave from New Zealand’s Minister of Education …
“The same factors that have held back low-income or minority students in physical classrooms also plague virtual ones. Studies have found that online-learning resources had trouble attracting low-income students—or, in the case of school-age children, their parents—and that those who did participate in online classes performed more poorly than their peers.”

Educational Malpractice – The Child Manufacturing Process
An educational 'product'
‘Over the last decades, research in education and child development indicates that the factory model is based on several faulty assumptions. It assumes that learning can be measured by standardized tests, and that all children will learn at the same rate and in the same manner. This is just not true. The fact that children learn best when something is meaningful, enjoyable and interesting for them is ignored. The importance of learning in groups and from slightly older children is also not considered relevant.’

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Building Students' Cognitive Flexibility
Develop cognitive flexibility
‘In today's world, the skillsets of cognitive flexibility are more critical and valuable than ever before. These skillsets include:Open-minded evaluation of different opinions, perspectives, and points of view.Willingness to risk mistakes.Consideration of multiple ways to solve problems.Engagement in learning, discovery, and problem solving with innovative creativity.’

Why Are Some People Better at Drawing than Others?
Since the dawn of human art-making, the divide has been clear: There are people who can effortlessly sketch an object's likeness, and people who struggle for hours just to get the angles and proportions right (by which point the picture is scarred by eraser marks, anyway). What separates the drawers from the drawer-nots?’

7 Simple Ways To Teach Creativity In The Classroom
‘In the 20th century creativity as valued in society as it is today.It wasn’t important for landing a job, nor was it crucial for building a successful business; the industrial revolution did emerge thanks to some creative out-of-the-box thinking, but it was hard graft and monotonous work that kept it alive and thriving.Skip forward to 2016 and creativity is a highly prized trait. No longer can you depend on conventional thinking to get you by in life; modern society demands ever more creative and innovation solutions — and you’re students can be the ones to provide them.’

Our children aren't ready for class, so we are 'worldschooling' them instead 
‘Over a decade later, I can answer my own question unhesitatingly: my daughter, like thousands of others her age, is simply not ready for the pressures of formal schooling. On first teaching a Year One class, I was shocked and had a crisis of integrity: it felt wrong to expect all these five-year-olds to read and write when they were clearly programmed for play.’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Beautiful minds - 'in a world of their own’
Russell Crowe as John Nash
The capacity of the brain is infinite. Lucky for most of us so called 'normal' people our brains suppress, or filter out, most of the information coming our way but for the savants their brains take in everything in their particular sphere of interest without interference. It is as if they have no ‘delete’ button; their mind, like a ‘google’ search, recalls everything! And as a result they miss out on capacities such as social and practical skills that we all take for granted.

Finding a real curriculum
My cat - as good as Picasso?
‘By the age five, when children arrive in elementary schools, they have evolved definite selves.....they have their passionate interests, concerns, topics,humour; a style that is theirs'.In other words their own personal curriculum for teachers to tap into , amplify and challenge. Unfortunately, even from a very early age this curriculum is subsumed by topics teachers want to study with their class. Nothing wrong with this but it ought not be at the expense of children's interests and concerns. Eventually teacher imposed curriculums lead to the disengagement of many older students.’

Why are schools not implementing authentic inquiry learning? By Allan Alach
I wish I had a magic wand
‘I wish there was a magic wand to get this message of authentic inquiry learning  into all schools and into all teachers' heads around the country, and beyond them, our politicians. Sadly I fear we are losing the battle, bit by bit. The rot set in during the 1990s and seems to be spreading, in spite of the best intentions of the New Zealand Curriculum. I guess it hasn't helped having 'standards' imposed upon schools to meet yet to be announced political agendas. I used the quote marks, deliberately as labelling these vague statements as 'standards' is an oxymoron of the highest degree. Setting 'standards' aside, why are schools and teachers not taking advantage of the NZC?

Standardized teaching is destroying student  creativity

Friday, September 23, 2016

No Silver Bullets in Education/ the Curse of the Bell Curve/ Building Trust/ Creativity/ and Developing Talent

Education Readings

By Allan Alach

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

Author Steven Lewis (Aust)
Fast policy: when educational research morphs into quick fixes and ‘silver bullets
‘These new ‘actors’ in the field produce and promote usually short, easy-to-read and easy-to-implement glossy reports, which offer simplified evidence and give definitive solutions involving ‘best practice’, and where research knowledge is orchestrated to best influence government policy. Evidence is tailored to the needs of policymakers but also fits within the report generator’s own interests and agendas.
We call this type of report ‘fast policy’; that is, policy shortcuts via readymade examples of ‘what works’, which are often borrowed from other countries (or systems) and cherry picked to meet political needs.’

We are in Deep” Doo Doo: Latest Buzz Word of Caution
Beware ….when will this arrive in your location?
Read all about it - deep learning
‘Here it is: DEEP LEARNING
It’s something we can all start following/investigating.
It’s a word… like GRIT, PERSONALIZED LEARNING, CHOICE, and 21st c LEARNING…words that are code for corporate colonization… meet deep learning.”’

The Curse Of The Bell Curve
The curse of the bell curve
‘On a crisp July winter’s morning, I had the pleasure of spending 45 minutes listening to the fabulous Yong Zhao (YZ). For all 2700 seconds, I sat on the edge of my chair enthralled by what he said, the synapses in my brain tingling with passion and purpose. A few weeks later, my mind is left buzzing; his words still ringing in my ears. Which is why this blog post exists; my way of re-gifting these key messages (and calls to action) from such an inspirational gentleman.
So, sitting from the comfort of my chair, in the warmth of my wee house, it feels fitting to tell the ‘Sherlock-Holmes’-style tale of, The curse of the bell curve”. Cue: the typical murder mystery introductory style music….’

The Child Predator We Invite into Our Schools
‘There is a good chance a predator is in the classroom with your child right now. He is reading her homework assignments, quizzes and emails. He is timing how long it takes her to answer questions, noting her right and wrong answers. He’s even watching her body language to determine if she’s engaged in the lesson. He has given her a full battery of psychological assessments, and she doesn’t even notice. He knows her academic strengths and weaknesses, when she’ll give up, when she’ll preserver, how she thinks. And he’s not a teacher, counselor or even another student. In fact, your child can’t even see him – he’s on her computer or hand-held device. It’s called data mining, and it’s one of the major revenue sources of ed-tech companies.’

The rearview mirror
Unfortunately what I continue to see is a vicious cycle where teachers don’t trust the administration when improvement is advocated, where governments want students to be creative and innovative but continue to support high stakes testing and where parents want more engaging learning experiences without schools daring to be innovative in teacher practice and school design. All these come together in the perfect storm alongside publication of  international test rankings and federal and state elections.

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

What About the Rules? A Lesson Plan for Building Trust First
Ideal teacher
‘Before I start my second reading of the poem, I ask students to think about a teacher who has been one of their "hands-down favorites." When the poem concludes, students turn their notebooks to page two to find their first task:
Your first homework assignment is connected to the poem I read to you today: "Dear Mrs. McKinney of the Sixth Grade." For me to understand the type of teacher who motivates you to do your best work, I want you to write about a "good" teacher from your K–8 school life. Include specific examples from his or her class. Remember, first homework = first impression. Spend time writing your story. I am looking for the details in the story, not punctuation and spelling (at least not this time).’

How Creativity Works
‘What differentiates humans from other species is their ability to think, imagine, create and shape the nature. It is the creative fire that every human being carries within itself. Creativity is the ability to create the new, which does not already exist in our physical world. . Every human being is born creative, while children we live immersed in creativity, and along our growth, we are led to abandon it and follow patterns.’

Why Learning Should Be Messy
‘Can creativity be taught? Absolutely. The real question is: How do we teach it?” In school, instead of crossing subjects and classes, we teach them in a very rigid manner. Very rarely do you witness math and science teachers or English and history teachers collaborating with each other. Sticking in your silo, shell, and expertise is comfortable. Well, it’s time to crack that shell.

Messy Works: How to Apply Self-Organized Learning in the Classroom
SOLEs are short forays into the kind of self-organized learning that Sugata Mitra found to be so powerful.
In a classroom SOLE, Bechtel asks her students a messy question,” something that doesn’t have just one right answer, then sets them loose to research the question in small groups. Students choose who they work with, find their own information, draw their own conclusions and present their findings to the whole class. It can be a bit chaotic, but Bechtel says that’s often good.’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

Tapping into the student's world
Schools to develop the talents of all students.
‘The stance taken about how children learn is vital. Those who think they know more than the child work out prescribed curriculums and, as part of this, develop elaborate systems to see thing as
Tapping into the students' world
are being learnt - including National testing. This is the 'jug and mug' theory of learning where the teacher is the full jug and the teachers job is to pour knowledge from the full jug to the empty mug.For others the aim is to do everything to keep alive the innate desire to learn - or to 'recover' it if it has been subverted by prior experiences.’

Developing talent in young people?
Benjamin Bloom is well known to teachers for his taxonomy of questioning. In the late 80s Bloom
Dr Bloom
wrote a book called 'Developing Talent in Young People'. Bloom was interested in what contributed to the greatness of talented individuals and what role did schools play in their success.’

A new creative agenda for education required
In 2013 New Zealand teachers stood out against the Government’s agenda, and recently they did so again.
‘Teachers, it seems, have woken up to the true agenda of the government which began with the introduction of ‘Tomorrows Schools in 1986.The agenda is summed up in the acronym GERM (Global Education Reform Movement) - an agenda that will, when in place, will lead to the privatisation of education – the beginnings of which are to be seen in the push for Charter Schools. The corporate thinkers behind the GERM agenda see education as a fertile ground for private enterprise. As part of this agenda we have National Standards which will lead to National Testing and League tables all to allow for school comparison performance pay and parent choice. Choice, it seems, for only for those who can afford it. The trouble is that the standards will have the effect of narrowing the curriculum and eventually teaching to the tests.’

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What has really changed on our school the past 50 years?

Back to the future: class organisation for student centred learning 

The other day I had the opportunity to visit a school I began my career visiting in 1960

During  a discussion with the principal she mentioned the classrooms had been developed into innovative ( or flexible) learning environments.

Teachers teach students learn
I couldn't help suggest that  I bet the daily classroom programmes/timetables haven't changed much since I first visited the school 40 plus years ago ( with exception of availability of information technology).. If anything the current emphasis on literacy and numeracy had reinforced the timetables of earlier times taking up the morning time with the rest of the Learning Areas squeezed into the afternoon period. Hardly flexible teaching? Hardly progress?

What would I do if I were teaching today?

My visit made me think of what I would do if I were to be responsible for teaching in one of the classroom spaces. It is always easier to give advice than it is to put ideas into practice; classroom organisational pattern are hard to change. Teaching is a conservative occupation.

Precursors to child centred learning

Student centred learning has along history. For me John Dewey is one of the important educators with his encouragement of student led learning. In the 1950s child centred developmental programmes were
Dr  Beeby
introduced in junior classrooms but they didn't reach up to standard classrooms. Such programmes were encouraged by the philosophy of Dr Clarence Beeby, the innovative Director of Education, and by Peter Fraser Minister of Education in the first Labour Government.

Dr Beeby established the advisory service and appointed Gordon Tovey as. Director of Art Education Gordon Tovey with his team of art advisers developed  creative art programmes  in schools and later related, or integrated, arts programmes. I was lucky to have attended two such courses in the 60s.. Such courses  inspired many teachers (mainly in rural schools) to develop integrated prgrammes the best known of which was Elwyn Richardson teaching in an isolated small rural school in Northland.   His book In the Early World published 1964  has recently been republished by the NZCER and is well worth inquiring.
Gordon Tovey

Taranaki Environmental student centred project 1970  -1980

Following teaching in a progressive primary school in England in 1969;; a school where the whole day was integrated around a variety of curriculum challenges based on four rotational groups  On rteturning to NZ I began working  with a small group of local teachers to put ideas into practice  We  previously were all impressed with the Nuffield Junior Science Project which challenged us to develop open ended science studies - often with different groups studying different topics. .

Marion Keeble
Inspirational UK teacher 69
At the end of the year we published our findings in small booklet which itself  was problematic as it was not permissable for advisers to publish  without  prior approval of the Education Department. Ironically, five years later, we  were asked to republish it  and to present the ideas at the  1975 Auckland NZEI 100 Year Centennial Conference held at the Elleslie Racecourse

Below are the main ideas that evolved.

Recently I found a battered copy of our conference booklet and it was interesting to read the thoughts we had developed 1970-75

The curriculum
Our small booklet 1970

We were all dissatisfied with the  traditional compartmentalised programmes of the day and also the emphasis on using ability grouping in reading and maths; integrated studies was our emphasis..

We thought it vital to centre learning around real experiences  of the students but we also appreciated that this interest could be motivated by teachers by means of interesting displays to arouse student curiosity and questions

We believed using the rich immediate environment as a major source for studies -natural history, heritage and social studies. Other distant studies in time and place were also to be included.
Studying wasp nest

When a study was agreed to students brainstorm questions and ideas they might like to study and often a flo chart of ideas placed on the blackboard - an ideas from the Nuffield Science Project As ideas were completed they were checked off.

The teacher and class then  planned activities to complete in group work - art ideas, maths, language and activities related directly to the content chosen. We all believed t was important  to do fewer things well; in depth. A simple checklist of Learning Areas covered  enabled teachers to note areas needing future coverage,

Teaching skills at point of need.

Importance of observation
The importance of teaching skills at point of need in all areas of learning was vital to ensure all students achieve their 'personal best' and to help all students take a growing responsibility for their own learning and behaviour. One skill we thought important was 'to slow the pace' of students' work  so as to allow space for teachers to come alongside the learner to ensure all students were able to achieve their 'personal best'. The role of the teacher was to be a guide and facilitator to at as a learning coach  .. .

Class organisation and room environment

We had in our minds the metaphor of classrooms as a synthesis of a workshop, museum, science laboratory and art gallery - the  room environment we saw as the main influence on the students; the major 'message system'

We arranged the desks  to suit the pattern of work and the classroom was to more or less divided into learning areas - one for maths challenges;  one for language activities;  and one for the current study .Areas in the classroom we believed should not be rigid but  basically where students  do art activities, reading and research centres,  maths challenges and areas featuring the current study.

Some form of organisation we felt still important and teachers involved made use of group rotations with timetables and activities made explicit on the blackboard.  At first maths and language would be undertaken in the morning, moving away from ability grouping, and integrated , where possible, providing content and skills to used during the  afternoon activity time
Workshop art gallery
Groups varied but essentially a research reading/writing group;  an activity group doing practical things; a group working on their finished booklet and an art group. .e.

At various times the whole day focused on the four group  changing three or four times during the day; a fully integrated day

Each study unit lasted three or four weeks with  week one introducing the study ( usually motivated by a teacher display)  planning activities and shared experiences. The second week  introduced rotational group work and following week (s) students working independently finishing off work.

'Slowing the pace of work' to develop quality.

One of the main ideas we felt important was to 'slow the pace of students ' to allow teachers to assist those in need  and to ensure quality results in any area of learning. We believed too many students worked with the belief 'that first finished is best' and spoilt their work by rushing. It was, we felt, important to develop a sense of craftsmanship and pride of achievement. We wanted all students to feel the satisfaction of doing something really well.
Careful observational of a pheasant - doing something realky well

As part of this 'slowing of the pace of work' was the idea to develop a sense of aesthetic craftsmanship /design in all activities . One important idea was to introduce the idea of focused observation through drawing  , not only for its own sake, but also to encourage questioning, ideas for language and to be re-imagined through the creative arts.

Student records of learning - 'portfolios' 

Am important element of programmes was the introduction of a personal writing book in which students process one piece of quality writing about their own lives weekly. As well another book  featured recorded ideas from content studies. Along with other books thees books were seen as student portfolios in which students and their parents can visually see progress. All books were expected to show qualitative improvement..
A study of church architecture

Each study led to the development of a student booklet or chart Students were given deign help to ensure  quality work.

The room environment

We all believed in the importance of developing the classroom environment to celebrate student achievement. Visitors to the classrooms were impressed with the students' achievements in all areas of learning.,As part of this environment student work to be suitably framed and displayed by the teachers.
Teacher motivational displays - student work added as study is completed

The total classroom we saw as the major 'message system' of the classroom.

Transition time

We appreciated that time would be required for teachers and students to make full use of such a programme.  Transition would depend on teacher and student readiness and skill and teacher confidence in the areas being studied. It was a difficult task for teachers and students to unlearn past  procedures. The best time to experiment with new ideas would be at the end of term where the holidays could be used to rethink success and failure.  Abandoning  all past security could well bring about chaos which would be detrimental to students.

Nothing was perfect - a work in progress.

Our published  booklet featured teachers comments on the development of their programmes and it wasn't all plain sailing. One problem was  for teachers to move too fast before they and theirstudents had gained the skills necessary for independent work. Giving students too much choice is as almost as bad as having no choice at all. The need for gradual change soon became apparent and that students could only handle greater choice when they had the skills to do work of quality - many of the skills required were best introduced to groups with similar needs.
Colonial;l  display

With time a sense of shared ownership developed in all the classrooms as students and teachers grew in skill and confidence. Most important were the various studies that were introduced and researched by the students - studies that were integrated with poetic writing, art and language. When studies were completed they were shared with parents and visitors.

Later on one teacher developed the ideas very successfully  in an open plan building ( the  modern. innovative or flexible buildings of today).

All teachers continued with the approach until retirement and some of the ideas are still to be seen in local classrooms today - mainly the emphasis on quality work and stimulating classroom environments celebrating student work.

What would such teachers think about today?

The teachers involved would be impressed with the intent of the 2007  New Zealand Curriculum and with the purpose built flexible buildings that are a feature of schools today and all would enjoy the challenge of integrating modern information technology.
Quality book work

They, however. would be less than impressed with the imposition of National Standards which would remind them of an education system they thought they had left well behind.

.An they would not be impressed with the narrowing of the curriculum as a result of the Standards and the neglect of creativity that  results form formulaic teaching.

 And most of all they would resent the lack of trust and respect given teachers and the oppressive audit and evaluation requirements. They would be really concerned with the workload placed on today's teachers to assess and record progress..

If I were to return to teaching today!
An excellent document

If I were return to a classroom today I would further develop ideas we explored at the time. As a  principal, and later as Massey College of Education adviser, I found the most difficult thing  to change were the teachers belief in the need for ability grouping in literacy and numeracy. The best answer was to 're- frame' these areas so as to integrate them as much as possible with current class studies developing a connection between the morning and afternoon programmes.

 I believe ideas developed are just as relevant now and for  the future as we thought they were in those days particularly  if we want to ensure schools are to develop the talents and dispositions for all students to be life long learners required by the New Zealand Curriculum

 The ideas we developed  would be ideal to develop the life long active learners, able to 'seek, use and create their own knowledge' as stated in New Zealand Curriculum.

Ideal for  today's Modern Learning Environments?

With the addition of modern information technology ideas we introduced decades ago would be ideal now to develop personalized learning and and particularly in today's  modern  flexible learning environments

Quality student records

 Innovative Schools  currently pushing the boundaries are .

A school I admire is New Tech High School in California.

Check out Elwyn Richardson's book 'In the Early World'.

One teachers journey - Bill Guild. Students as scientists and artists


Friday, September 16, 2016

Mathematics/ school memories/ tablets/recognizing genius/ and lessons from David Hockney and NZ Junior teachers

Education Readings

By Allan Alach

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

Ambitious Mathematics Curriculum
‘What about curriculum? We all know that children enter classrooms in many different shapes and sizes, and that their understanding of the content we intend to teach is as varied, and yet we design curricular resources that mostly aim to support an average child. What if there is no such average child? The curriculum that aims to best support the average child may in fact support no one best. It is well-known, for example, that students need multiple opportunities to both learn a mathematical idea and to access their memory of the idea in order to strengthen their memories. Almost no curricula deliberately interleave practice or offer opportunities for spaced retrieval practice. What if a curriculum deliberately included ideas from cognitive science into its construction?

What Students Really Remember Learning in School
John Holt
Food for thought from Will Richardson.
“Very little of what I was taught in school did I actually learn, and very little of what I learned do I remember, and very little of what I do remember do I now use. The things I’ve learned, remembered, and used are the things I’ve sought out or met in the daily, serious, non school part of my life.”

Why school is a ‘confusing mental mish-mash’ for kids
More food for thought, this time from Marion Brady.
Marion Brady
Learners discover and deepen their understanding of such relationships by inferring, imagining, hypothesizing, predicting, sequencing, extrapolating, valuing, generalizing, and so on—thought processes too complex and interwoven to be evaluated by standardized tests. Billions of dollars, trillions of hours, and intellectual potential beyond measure, are being wasted on tests that dumb kids down because they can’t measure complex thought.

Tablets in Schools: Case Study in Success
I think that great teachers and great teaching are the key factor in successful learning and technology is the servant to great teaching and learning, not vice versa. I don’t think that technology will ever substitute teachers in a formal school environment but I do think that technology can amplify the reach and impact of great teachers.

Discover Genius In Your Students: The First 30 Days.
Lisa Nielsen 
When teachers celebrate student genius, the focus in class moves to student strengths and the ongoing internal conversation with your students and external conversation in the class, is to think about what their particular genius is.’

Contributed by Bruce Hammonds:

Creativity is GREAT : so why would Britain cut its nose to spite its face?
Same applies in New Zealand.
Watch his video in the article
Creative new ways of working and innovation fuel our economy, whether it’s GSK, Dyson or ARM (you know the company who make the computer chip in just about everything from your washing machine to smartphones and tablets. The company that was just sold to the Japanese).So why are creativity and creative ways of teaching our children in UK schools such dirty words to many educators, commentators and policy makers? And why don’t parents value it and head teachers lead it?’

Can Morality Be Taught?
The key to molding well-adjusted students: experiential learning.
‘So how can educators and parents retaliate against black and white thinking and the need to
create enemies in the other? For my classroom and me, I will focus on cultivating a culture of learning and respect that is focused on human beings and not just content. I will provide authentic opportunities for my students to grow as people, and I will challenge them to do so, even when they are reluctant.’

4 Habits Of Highly Creative People
While creativity is often considered the domain of artists, everyone can utilize more creativity in his or her professional life. Achieving something that is truly fulfilling will come with difficulties and challenges. The only way around these challenges is to face them with the help of creativity. The question then becomes how we incorporate more creativity into our lives and how we create the space for the "muse" to flow through us. Here are a few habits from the most creative people I know.’

Getting Restless At The Head Of The Class
Facing up to a standardised system in the USA
‘Every classroom has a few overachievers who perform above their grade level and don't feel challenged by the status quo. A new report suggests they are surprisingly common — in some cases, nearly half of all students in a given grade.’

From Bruce’s ‘goldie oldies’ file:

The Way David Hockney Sees It.
Hockney began his interest in art playing around with drawing exploring a range of media when really young as do most young people. Young people, Hockney says, all want to draw
David Hockney
something that's in front of them which he suggests they have a deep desire to depict what they see. Children and artists gain great pleasure making and looking at pictures and this desire to capture images goes as far back as the cave artists. It is a 
shame in our literacy orientated schools that all forms of art are not taken seriously as they might except by those teachers who retain a more creative approach to learning.’

The forgotten genesis of progressive early education
‘Progressive ideas that helped New Zealand lead the world in education, particularly in reading, were developed by creative early education teachers who were well aware of the modern educational ideas of the time. The history of progressive education in New Zealand (now at risk) is the subject of a new book, 'I am five and I go to school,’ written by Helen May.’

Julie Diamond
Looking at Art - Julie Diamond
Ideas about art by Julie Diamond from her excellent book ‘Welcome to the Aquarium’
‘A critical component of art an acceptance of the unknowability of the end product....I have had to learn that mistakes are not only inevitable but necessary and useful, and that dealing with them - untangling some knot- takes us somewhere unexpected.' Once again in contrast with all the 'intentional teaching' now seen as 'best practice' in our schools resulting in a conformity of product devoid of personality. And as well the importance of art as a form of expression is demeaned.’