About Thinks

Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.

These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.

These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.

Think long, think on.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Teachers in control of their PD

Wouldn't it be cool if teachers could choose their own PD? Instead of BOTs and Senior Management deciding what (or even IF) they would benefit from?

Different teachers could chose different pathways depending on their needs. One teacher could choose to do a tour of all the Educamps, another could choose to blow the majority at uLearn, some could do a combo of MOOCs and smaller skill based stuff through night courses. It would be up to them!

Some may choose to go to a conference to connect with their PLN (as they would get more out of it than going with their school).

Some principals may have compelling arguments for why the staff should all go to a conference (but it would be up to them to make a good enough case for that).

Maybe teachers could 'save' their PD for up to two years to attend an international conference.

There could be a system that rewarded the sharing of ideas, where those who present at conference get PD credits (as opposed to paying full conference fees for the honour). If PD credits were available, this could also lift the quality of presenter.

If (after 2 years?) a teacher had not claimed all their PD could the excess be put into a contestable fund for other teachers to apply for extra PD funding?

I would like to see teachers taking control of learning, budgeting, taking risks, making bad decisions and learning. I would like to see management giving up control, showing teachers what is out there and acting as advisors (as opposed to the 'Santa Claus' role). I would like to see PD organisations marketing to teachers, offering PD credits for presenters, offering discounts for PLN bookings. But ultimately, I would like to see teachers in control of their own PD.

I don't know much about the government's 'PD for teachers' budget. It probably goes into one big school pot and is discretionary, but that doesn't really concern me. We can let the ministry accountants figure that out (much like what Ewan McIntosh said in his ICOT2013 keynote - it's the accountants job to get cheap buttons, it's not the concern of the creative clothes designer).

So I'm going to throw the figure $1000.00 per teacher per year out there (theory still stands ... figure can be adjusted to more or less).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Could this be the future of Maths?

Calculation and Meat

Will the time come
where one can refuse
the forcing of calculation into our brains
like meat into our gut?

Of course one should have the skills
to detect when there is a problem

To know when meat is off
is wise
To know when calculation is off
is Maths

At which point
did it become acceptable
to pass on the butchering skills
to machines and experts
and not declare it a basic life-skill?

Forcing meat
onto our vegetarian friends
is cruel

could this be the future
of Maths?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Valuing iNconSistenCies

A couple of notes on some holiday reading.

1. Teacher 'bias' gives better marks to favourite pupils, research reveals
Can you believe that People actually get paid to do this kind of research?
Well of course they do. Such research fits the government's agenda.   The agenda is that there is a consistency problem in education. If there is a problem it needs to be fixed... with an expensive tool

What astounds me about this piece is the assumption that all the 'favorites' are the high achievers.  Um I'm sorry, I know that we are teachers, but we do actually have different preferences!  For example, my favorite food will be different to yours (no, we dont all like apples) my favorite movie will be different to yours (no, we dont all like dangerous minds). So it stands to reason that our favorite students will be different too.  And who really has favorites anyway? I dont know about you, but I am yet to meet the perfect child...Different kids float our different boats for different reasons at different times. We're an inconsistent bunch, and you know what?  WE SHOULD BE.

2. Can You Measure an Education? Can You Define Life’s Meaning? via @traintheteacher

This post takes us back to the origins and purpose of schooling (reading and memorizing bible passages, the factory model of education, you know the story) and then asks:

"What, really, should be the purpose of education? Or, put otherwise, what are our goals for our children’s development? Most of us today don’t want our children to become unquestioning followers of authority figures. We have seen the evil that can happen from that orientation. And I don’t think most of us see the proper goal of education as that of performing well on the television show, “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” We know that the trivia fifth graders (or any other graders) are supposed to know has little to do with life success. But what do we want? Or, maybe I should put it this way: What do YOU want, and what do I want? It is quite possible that you and I have different views of the meaning of life and hope for different things for our children..."

I think that it is these different hopes and dreams that we as teachers need to learn about and help create and achieve.

Standards (oh yes I did...)  are CRUSHING these hopes and dreams and it is all in the name of BIG business. 

Consistency is the enemy of education!(Which makes PaCT (what is pact?PURE eVil)

I think we should pride ourselves on being inconsistent.  

I want my kid to get his own education - not the same one as the kids in his arbitrary reading group.  For sure - stretch him and challenge him.  Teach him how to voice politely that things seem irrelevant to him.  
PLEASE Be inconsistent - show him that somedays things will not go to plan, somedays you'll be pissed off for no apparent reason, somedays you'll encourage one kid do something on the computer (when the day before you said NO to him).  Somedays you'll reward a kid for doing something he did a week ago Somedays he'll be rewarded for something that he didn't actually find that difficult to do (writing often does this to us).  It'll frustrate the hell out of him. Teach him how to deal with that kind of stuff. That's a relevant skill.

We need to ask ourselves EVERY SINGLE DAY... 
WHY are we learning this? 

AND (if you dare) start asking questions of teachers and schools who produce classes of children that are all at the same (desirable) level. What are you doing in there?