Tag Archives: change

Hands Up if you think that “Hands Up” is an Offensive Classroom Practice!

Sometimes the sheer STUPIDITY of an idea seems totally incredible!

Hands up if you agree!

Oh, dear, some of you haven’t raised your hands.

Are you uncertain of the answer? Are you anxious about it? Is it inducing depression?

Apparently so!

The latest deep and meaningful idea to hit the world of education suggests irreparable damage to the psyche of students by sheer public humiliation. How? By asking students who KNOW the answer to NOT put their hands up, so that those who DON’T know the answer don’t feel like second-rate classroom citizens.

Is THIS what we’ve come to?

How very pathetic!

What an insult to teachers Australia-wide!

Teachers, you see, are clever people. Perceptive people. Sensitive people. They understand the students in their classroom. They know when to push for an answer, when to glide around a student to avoid embarrassment, when to push and push and push to challenge a student to extend himself or herself.

Teachers, I repeat, are clever people.

Let’s give them the ENORMOUS credit that they deserve.


Hands up if you agree!

Oops! I forgot to teach that!

With technology in everyone’s pocket these days, it’s a temptation to think that children know far more than they actually do!

Mr Google, that wonderful machine, is never far away.

And Cirri is there, ever present, to answer their every need. Well, almost!

But we teachers have to see through this mist, this subterfuge, and use our special “teacher-detector-facility” to get to the bottom of the reality — that many children these days can cope with the superficial stuff — the research (copy and paste), the investigation (group work and so-called “teamwork”), the tests in which students can take in with them texts, cheat sheets, calculators that have the capacity to land a person on the moon . . .

And yet they can’t give you change from $10 without a machine telling them how much to give.

Yes, sure, things have changed. But is that change better?

To be sure, in some ways it is. The English curriculum has done it well! It is a prime example of an approach, relatively recently adopted, that GENUINELY teaches students how to express themselves, how to identify manipulation in texts and newspaper columns, how to present their arguments in public in a competent, interesting and fluent manner.

Great! But, Maths?

Are we preparing our students, not just for a career, but for a life in which calculations are a daily necessity?

Maybe not!

Another look at the curriculum, perhaps?

Here’s hoping!

Who Teaches Maths Best — Schools or McDonalds?

Sometimes the so-called “experts” get in the way.
And that’s ESPECIALLY true in education.
Spelling standards? Out the window!
Grammar? What’s that?
Tables mastery? Oh, so boring!
Automatic response? Why? We have calculators and iPads to do that!

Well, some of us think that this is a tragedy! A REAL tragedy.

We’re TRYING to do something about it through our website.

But, really and truly, it’s up to “the experts” to reverse the trends, to remedy their ways, to reform the curriculum so that it actually addresses some of the weaknesses that are so GLARINGLY OBVIOUS to anyone who cares to check.

SO . . . Good on McDonalds for training the teenagers working for them. For enforcing standards of work and efficiency and honesty and reliability and . . . I could go on!

May our schools take on some of the McDonalds attitudes and values. Not a popular thought, but a GREAT one!

Thanks, McDonalds!

New Technology — What Parents and Teachers Should Be Buying

What’s a parent, or a professional person, to do in an age of ever-changing technology?

We have MP3 players, mobile phones, laptops, big tablets, small tablets and 2 in 1 computers. How can a parent decide wisely on the technology in which to invest?

Well, the good news is that parents don’t have to decide that alone.

Recent advice via the electronic media suggests that maybe, just maybe, it won’t be quite as difficult as it seems.

A major “silicone valley” manufacturer, and a major software developer, have together recently (December, 2014) suggested the following as guidelines:

1. For the early learners in our primary schools (and maybe even pre-schoolers!), the advice is that a tablet, or a 2 in 1 computer, could be the go. This allows for a large screen size in both cases, but the 2 in 1 offers the increased flexibility for a family of a laptop at no extra cost.

2. For the creative users — publishing, videoing, music, creative arts — the more expensive, but highly powerful ultrabook is the professional suggestion. In wide use in the advertising and publishing and media industries, the software available for these machines is second to none.

3. More technical (and in a sense more basic) users would be best served by a powerful laptop computer. those involved in software development, IT, business studies or science/mathematical areas of the curriculum would do well to follow this recommendation (especially as prices for laptops have come down amazingly in the past few years).

4. And for those academics, teachers, researchers, ambitious senior students and anyone else who hasn’t quite decided which form of technology to invest in for the next few years, the advice is to “go with the 2 in 1”. The flexibility of tablet and laptop combined into one unit has so much to offer the thinking person.

So, there it is. That’s the recommendation from the experts.

But, what would they know? Do you agree with them?

The new school year is just around the corner here in Australia, so school stationery and equipment purchases are imminent. Good luck with that!

Let’s know what you think of their recommendations. Helpful, misleading or just plain crap?

Is Facebook for Real?

What are “Facebook Friends”?

Are they REAL friends?

Or are they part of a large number of …

Well, the answer is, “It depends!”

We maths teachers reckon that, by and large, 3 = 3  and  4+3 = 7

There, I’ve said it! Good solid, predictable, accurate facts.

BUT, let’s look at Facebook.

Maybe not all Facebook Friends are equal!

Could it be?

Maybe, then, there needs to be a RATING of friends — you know,
“best friends”,
“almost best friends”,
“could be best friends”,
“just an acquaintance”,
“a nobody who got on my friends’ list somehow”,
and so on.

In some ways Facebook has brought about a DILUTION of the wonderful, significant, traditional meaning of that term “friend”.

Maybe “friend” now needs to be redefined. But to WHAT?

But, as we maths teachers know, no redefining of 7 + 2 = 9 is necessary. None at all!

Well, do you agree, or am I on totally the wrong track here?