Greater Test Scores Often Mean Less Authentic Learning – Education Article

 The main goal of schooling is no longer learning.   It is test scores.   Raising them. Measuring growth. Determining what each score means in terms of future instruction, opportunities, class placement, special education services, funding incentives and punishments, and judging the effectiveness of individual teachers, administrators, buildings and districts.   We’ve become so obsessed with these scores – a set of discrete numbers – that we’ve lost sight of what they always were supposed to be about in the…

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Six Problems with a Growth Mindset in Education – Education Article

  Sometimes the truth is not enough.   Especially if you misunderstand its meaning.   That seems to be the main problem with a growth mindset.   It’s one of the trendiest concepts in education today, and – though it’s based on an authentic insight into how kids learn – it’s been shackled and monetized into an excuse to support a sterile status quo.   The basic idea goes like this: academic ability isn’t something students have or do not…

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The Absurdity of Standardized Testing: Caught Between Prediction and Assessment – Education Article

 Standardized testing is truly absurd.  It’s both a prediction and an assessment.   You take a test to determine what you’ve learned and that will in turn predict what you will be able to learn in the future.   We hardly ever do this anywhere else in life.   We don’t measure babies’ leg muscles to predict whether they’re ready to walk. We let them do what they do, possibly with some encouragement and positive models of locomotion, and they…

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Inside Bill Gates’ Hubris: Propaganda to Make America Neoliberal Again – Education Article

 Once upon a time, the world was run by rich men.   And all was good.   But then the world was conquered by other rich men.   And that is something the first group of rich men could not allow.   That is the reason behind Netflix’s new film “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates.”   The three-part documentary goes live on Sept. 20. But the film’s aims are clear from the trailer.   It’s a vanity project about…

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The Last Day of School – Education Article

On the last day of school this year, my 8th grade students gave me one of the greatest salutes a teacher can get.   They reenacted the closing scene of “The Dead Poets Society.”   You know. The one where Robin Williams’ Mr. Keating has been fired from a boarding school for teaching his students to embrace life, and as he collects his things and leaves, the students get up on their desks as a testament to his impact and…

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Standardized Tests Are Not Objective Measures of Anything – Education Article

 When it comes to standardized tests, most people are blinded by science.   Or at least the appearance of science.   Because there is little about these assessments that is scientific, factual or unbiased.   And that has real world implications when it comes to education policy.   First of all, the federal government requires that all public school children take these assessments in 3-8th grade and once in high school. Second, many states require teachers be evaluated by their…

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Moving at the Speed of Creativity – Education Article

I have been doing quite a bit of soul-searching in the past few weeks and months, and I have played with several ideas for my future that are worth noting. One of these is my desire to write fiction, to unleash my creative imagination in a channel detached almost entirely from education and educational technology. I am not saying I am going to seriously do this in the upcoming weeks and months, but it is something which I have thought…

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Michael Gove’s legacy and his No 10 destiny | Brief letters | Education

Last week we witnessed one of the saddest responses from a primary school child (aged seven) that we’ve ever heard. The class was involved in a philosophy for children session when they were asked: “What is a feeling?” A hand shot up and immediately came the answer: “It’s an abstract noun!” All around nodded in agreement. Gove’s legacy?David NattrassKings Meaburn, Cumbria • Visitors to Mulhouse (Letters, 27 May) should not miss the Musée du Papier Peint (Wallpaper History Museum) in…

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Moving at the Speed of Creativity – Education Article

As a teacher, you may have not considered yourself to be a “prophet.” When we recognize, call out, and encourage special and unique giftedness in our students, however, I believe we can act as prophets in their lives. The verb “prophesy” (pronounced “PROF-a-sigh”) means “to predict something.” Have you ever recognized one of your students has a particularly strong aptitude for something? It could be writing. Or empathetically listening to and understanding others. Or using computational thinking skills to creatively…

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The Forgotten Disaster of America’s First Standardized Test – Education Article

  The merry-go-round of history continues to spin because the riders forget they are free to get off at any time.   But we rarely do it. We keep to our seats and commit the same stupid mistakes over and over again.   Take high stakes standardized testing.   It was a disaster the very first time it was attempted in America – in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1845.   Yet we continue to prescribe the same error to students in…

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The L&D maturity curve | E-Learning Provocateur – Education Article

Over the course of my career, I’ve witnessed a slow but steady shift away from formal learning to informal learning. Of course, remnants of the “formal first” philosophy still exist, whereby every conceivable problem is attempted to be fixed by a training solution, typically in the form of a course. Over time, the traditional classroom-based delivery of such courses has increasingly given way to online modules, but that’s merely a change in format – not strategy. While courses certainly have…

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The Best School Innovation Would Be More People – Education Article

  Public schools thrive on innovation.   In nearly every classroom around the country you’ll find teachers discovering new ways to reach students and foster skills, understanding and creativity.   But if you pan out to the macro level, the overwhelming majority of innovations aren’t organic. They’re imposed on us by bureaucrats and functionaries from outside the classroom:   Education Technologies.   School privatization.   Standardized tests and Common Core.   For the last two decades, these are the kinds…

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How Many Decisions Do Teachers Make Every Day? – Education Article

  Teaching is an exhausting job.   If you’re a parent, you know how tiring it is with just one or two kids.   Imagine having a room full of them — Twenty to thirty children, each demanding your attention, each requiring your urgent help – every minute, every day, for hours at a time.     Back in the late 1980s, before education became totally absorbed by standardized testing and school privatization, we used to wonder about the effects…

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