Category Archives: English

When will we EVER learn?

Could it be that the apparent decline in educational standards in Literacy and Numeracy here in Australia is just a temporary aberration?

Could it that a few simple decisions — applied within just weeks — could bring about a genuine lift in student (and teacher) outcomes in these two vital curriculum areas?

And, could it be that significant improvement, not only in academic performance, but also in developing all-important positive attitudes to learning in primary schools, could come at NO additional financial cost? Just better stewardship of the funding that’s already there?

Could it be that today’s “Holy Educational Grail” — technology — is actually getting in the way of real, effective learning in real time?”

Well, the answers are “Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes”.

Improvement?

Students want it, teachers want it, Principals want it, parents want it, and the community would relish it!

So, let’s support curriculum innovation that makes the very BEST use of the skills, enthusiasm and commitment of today’s teachers, by providing them with curricula that actually allows time for the “Big C” — consolidation — to take place in the classroom.

Time to allow students to DIGEST what is being taught, to ponder it, to get a real feel for it — a “Vibe” — that will help them build on their present knowledge, and challenge them to strive to learn more! Or, as perhaps Telstra would say, to “Thrive On!”

Let’s encourage everyone to move from the known to the unknown, and by giving them the time and tools to help new learning “mature” in their minds.

Not difficult! Not expensive! Just SOUND pedagogical practice.

Advertisements

When Maths Skills and Reading Skills Collide

Robin Pic

What a shame!

Too many of our students are perfectly capable of “doing” maths.

But they can’t!

Why?

Because they can’t read the worded problems.

It’s a READING skill they lack, not a maths skill!

So, what are we teachers meant to do about THAT?

Practise. Practise. Practise!

Develop a “maths reading vocab” that will stand them in good stead.

AND, have them solving maths problems THAT CHILDREN HAVE A NATURAL INTEREST IN!

AND, have them solving maths problems at a level appropriate to their reading and maths skill levels.

EVERYONE likes to succeed!

So, let’s give our students the very tools that will help them succeed RIGHT NOW, as well as build a solid foundation for the future.

Such materials DO exist!

Take THIS WEEK’S Worksheets, for example! They include problems on the Winter Solstice in Australia (June 21st), runner Ron Clarke’s record-breaking run, the new children’s holiday movie “Inside out,” and loads more.

Some of them are RIGHT HERE — all you need to do is ASK!

Enjoy!

Why Primary Teachers Deserve — a Fair Break!

Robin Pic

Once upon a time there was a curriculum — Maths, English, etc. — in primary schools that clearly set out a standard towards which all students should strive.

Sure, some students would well and truly exceed that standard, while others would struggle, but, under the teacher’s guidance, do the very best they could with what they had!

But, today, what do we have?

Some pretty books, some whiz-bang technology, some amazingly-equipped buildings, and heaps of kids who don’t know their tables!

Oh, yes, and we have homework sheets galore that seem to challenge parents and students alike.

Maybe the old ways weren’t so bad!

Maybe a solid curriculum that DEMANDS students and teachers to stretch, to challenge themselves without having to design and redesign their particular school’s approach to the learning essentials, would be a GREAT THING for all.

But, maybe that’s just Pollyanna stuff!

We’ve done our bit, with our interest-packed homework and worded problem sheets.

But teachers and schools need to be given permission, and a concrete curriculum, that actually makes teaching more manageable for all.

Better outcomes would be the ASSURED result!

And isn’t that what we ALL want?

NAPLAN — and why parents should LOVE it!

Yes, the controversy rages on!

But, the TRUE (but often-hidden) values of NAPLAN are often ignored.

Value 1: NAPLAN gives at least SOME structure to a curriculum that, at the very least, leaves much to be desired. It actually suggests standards at which students at Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 should, or could, or maybe are within arms reach of, attaining in the areas of Maths, English, spelling, grammar and written expression. Yes, admittedly it’s only a “suggestion”, a “hint” if you like. But at least it’s SOMETHING!

Value 2: NAPLAN gives a simple, straight-forward, one-page report. Big on graphics, small on text. Not that 15-page mumbo-jumbo, copy and pasted school report that numbs the imagination and provides little in the way of factual reporting on student progress. Now, no-one should be mislead into believing everything showing on the NAPLAN student report sheet. But, by golly, it’s a good start for parents to check it out, and then ask some truly meaningful questions of teachers and school.

Value 3: School comparisons. Some of us are not too sure of the value of the ranking of schools in accordance with NAPLAN results. So many variables, so many value-related implications!

So, there it is. A defence, sort of, of the TRUE VALUE of NAPLAN testing, from one who sits on the edge of the world of schools and observes parents, teachers and students as they prepare for the 2015 week of NAPLAN.

Have a good one!