Local Editorial about Education

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I don’t think I have ever posted about an article – let alone an editorial – in the local Brandon Sun, but this editorial, which coincided with stats about suspensions in Brandon schools, was actually a good one. It praised the hard work of teachers, but also raised some valid concerns about zero tolerance and safety issues often prompted by fear and overreaction. An excerpt;

We believe that the hard-working teachers and staff who go in every day to face hormone-addled youth are doing a great job, too. Teaching is part science, part art — dealing with a few hundred teenagers every day is near wizardry.

We do worry about some of the zero-tolerance attitude that has cropped up among school administrators and political meddlers, however.

from the Editorial: The Kids Are Alright from the December 30, Brandon Sun.

Evaluating Teaching

An interesting article on how one teacher became ‘great’ and his reflections on teacher evaluation & education reform.

Is the present fixation on teacher characteristics reinforcing teacher-centered education rather than student-centered education? Are “effective” teacher qualities the same from kindergarten through 12th grade? Are the walls being erected by present reform efforts so high that real improvement is even farther out of reach?

And what explains the fascination with and faith in data and quantification that’s driving education “reform” … Is there something in our shared cultural heritage that causes us to think that everything can be measured and a useful number attached to it?

The new big thing in reform circles is that every education-related decision must be data driven. Why do we resist the fact that, more often than not, the inherent complexity of quality makes it impossible to quantify it?  Is resistance to that fact a crippling cultural trait?

from The Answer Sheet in the Washington Post.

One to one & BYOD?

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Dennis Callahan: http://flickr.com/photos/denniscallahan/9321465398/
cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Dennis Callahan: http://flickr.com/photos/denniscallahan/9321465398/

This is a terrific, thought provoking post about going to 1:1 or BYOD. Worth a read and good points if you are considering such a move. An excerpt:

It all comes back to your vision for and philosophy of learning. If you continue to see school as a top-down endeavor where knowledge is first owned by the teacher and then somehow magically transmitted into the brains of students, then that will guide (no: govern) your mission of bringing modern technology into classrooms. However, if research and experience have led you to the idea that perhaps real learning happens within the mind of the learner and is influenced by many inputs (one of which is a skilled teacher)… then you’ll likely make significantly different decisions for the future.

from: the blog ‘Nashworld’.

Pisa, Pisa, Pisa!

recite-6852--967746757-h0lxajWell the ‘big news’ this past week was all about the OECD international PISA test results from 2012. Well, the sky is falling! The usual simplistic solutions, blame game and over reaction is in full swing. In this post, I am not going to quote any excerpts, just link to a few blog posts – some are great at putting the results and the test into proper perspective.

First of all, links to PISA itself and to the Canadian results;

Some blog posts & articles;

Yong Zhao ; Diane Ravitch ; The Atlantic ; Quartz ; Joe Bower (he has a few posts on this); Will Richardson ; BBC (article on accuracy of PISA)