The conversation we should be having about our schools Sydney’s top five toughest schools Each year more than 13,000 kids sit a test for entry into one of NSW’s selective schools. If there’s one message that the education system should take from this election and recent world events, it is that the key focus of schooling must be on building quality relationships one with another. We can throw money at schools. We can improve our teacher/student ratios; put up new buildings and spend money on ever more laptops. But if the quality of our relationships is going backwards, our education will fail our young people. The way our politicians speak to the people and the effectiveness of our communication has been tested and found wanting during this Australian election campaign. It also has failed the people of Britain and it is being sorely tested in the US election campaign. Messages have been divisive, inconsistent, lacking in transparency, failing the sincerity test. A key focus of modern schooling should be on building strong relationships. A key focus of modern schooling should be on building strong relationships. Photo: Eddie Jim The way we communicate with one another is but one measure of the depth of our relationships. The way we demonstrate our care and compassion for one another is reflected in our comments and through our actions. Advertisement Our young people model themselves on our leaders. What is it that our young people will have seen in recent times? Ambition, aggression, competition and an almost total absence of humility, forgiveness and kindness are the qualities that young people have highlighted through my discussions with them. But in schools we reject these former qualities in the development of effective relationships. In many respects, these qualities are the opposite of what we encourage in our pre-schools, primaries and secondaries. Our politicians are doing us no favours. Yes, of course it is important to have well-resourced schools. Yes, we certainly have to have sufficiently trained teachers to meet the range of needs of all our school communities. There is no argument here. Politicians everywhere find this an easy line to promote. The funding argument is essentially one of quantum and distribution. It won’t go away. But what we haven’t had is a debate about values and standards. Not mathematics and literacy standards, but the equally, some would argue, more important standards: those of the hidden curriculum – values and issues which address relationships in schools. Those standards that are at the heart of the problems at Aurukun; in meeting the needs of our special schools; the violence confronting public school teachers in Western Australia; the nurturing of terrorist ambitions in some school-aged adolescents; the arrogance and born-to-rule mentality of some graduates of our most prestigious private schools. I have heard absolutely nothing about these issues. What do the various parties want of our schools? What standards do the leaders want our young people to form to give structural basis to their relationships? Relationships in the school grounds with their teachers and their school mates, with family and friends, with other communities, in their later business dealings, with the gay neighbour or the refugee who lives next door. Across the country, there is a need for us to develop a bank of mutually agreed standards that are at the heart of our schooling and thus at the heart of our nation’s citizenship. We all agree that education is the key to a happy and successful life. But what is the core of that education? What is it that we want our future to be? Our political leaders here and abroad are missing an opportunity to model and to give compelling, transparent and honest leadership to our young people and our schools. Dr William McKeith is the principal of the Inner Sydney Montessori School and former principal of PLCs Sydney and Armidale and Rissalah College, Lakemba.

From SMH 29-6-16

The conversation we should be having about our schools

Sydney’s top five toughest schools

Each year more than 13,000 kids sit a test for entry into one of NSW’s selective schools.

If there’s one message that the education system should take from this election and recent world events, it is that the key focus of schooling must be on building quality relationships one with another.

We can throw money at schools. We can improve our teacher/student ratios; put up new buildings and spend money on ever more laptops. But if the quality of our relationships is going backwards, our education will fail our young people.

The way our politicians speak to the people and the effectiveness of our communication has been tested and found wanting during this Australian election campaign. It also has failed the people of Britain and it is being sorely tested in the US election campaign. Messages have been divisive, inconsistent, lacking in transparency, failing the sincerity test.

A key focus of modern schooling should be on building strong relationships.
A key focus of modern schooling should be on building strong relationships. Photo: Eddie Jim

The way we communicate with one another is but one measure of the depth of our relationships. The way we demonstrate our care and compassion for one another is reflected in our comments and through our actions.

Advertisement
Our young people model themselves on our leaders. What is it that our young people will have seen in recent times? Ambition, aggression, competition and an almost total absence of humility, forgiveness and kindness are the qualities that young people have highlighted through my discussions with them. But in schools we reject these former qualities in the development of effective relationships. In many respects, these qualities are the opposite of what we encourage in our pre-schools, primaries and secondaries. Our politicians are doing us no favours.

Yes, of course it is important to have well-resourced schools. Yes, we certainly have to have sufficiently trained teachers to meet the range of needs of all our school communities. There is no argument here. Politicians everywhere find this an easy line to promote. The funding argument is essentially one of quantum and distribution. It won’t go away.

But what we haven’t had is a debate about values and standards. Not mathematics and literacy standards, but the equally, some would argue, more important standards: those of the hidden curriculum – values and issues which address relationships in schools. Those standards that are at the heart of the problems at Aurukun; in meeting the needs of our special schools; the violence confronting public school teachers in Western Australia; the nurturing of terrorist ambitions in some school-aged adolescents; the arrogance and born-to-rule mentality of some graduates of our most prestigious private schools.

I have heard absolutely nothing about these issues. What do the various parties want of our schools? What standards do the leaders want our young people to form to give structural basis to their relationships? Relationships in the school grounds with their teachers and their school mates, with family and friends, with other communities, in their later business dealings, with the gay neighbour or the refugee who lives next door.

Across the country, there is a need for us to develop a bank of mutually agreed standards that are at the heart of our schooling and thus at the heart of our nation’s citizenship.

We all agree that education is the key to a happy and successful life. But what is the core of that education? What is it that we want our future to be?

Our political leaders here and abroad are missing an opportunity to model and to give compelling, transparent and honest leadership to our young people and our schools.

Dr William McKeith is the principal of the Inner Sydney Montessori School and former principal of PLCs Sydney and Armidale and Rissalah College, Lakemba.

Wrapping Kids in Cotton Wool

 

 

Yesterday I was interviewed by the panel on Channel 10’s The Project with regard to ‘Cotton Wool’ kids…

It stemmed from a story in Melbourne where a father was suing a school because his son ran into a wall whilst playing tips. The father’s argument was – the school should ban running in the playground.

Hmm… I’m not so sure… as I said the panel, if the first thing we do when our kids do something ‘daft’ is look to blame someone else, then perhaps there’s the issue.

We have seen the evolution from Helicopter Parents to ‘Helicopter Gunship Parents’ who launch pre-emptive strikes against anything or anyone that might pose the risk of disappointment, risk, challenge or failure. That’s why so many parents do their kids’ homework for them, or why now – if you’ve attended a young child’s birthday party you’ll have seen this – EVERY layer of Pass the Parcel has a prize!

Helicopter Gunship Parenting

Learning from failure, a setback or a poor decision is a crucial aspect of growing up. It’s how kids learn to be resilient. It’s how they learn to take responsible risks and understand the consequences of their actions. You don’t learn these things simply by being told about them.

It’s as though parents want their kids to be happy all the time.

But being happy all the time is in itself a mental health concern.

In our bid to have happy kids, I wonder what we might be robbing from them later in life?

So, next time you want stop your child from “making the same mistakes you did” – we’ll assume those mistakes didn’t land you in jail or the emergency ward – why not let them learn a little by stuffing up*.

After all, those mistakes helped you become the person you are today. And you’re not all that bad are you?

From Dan Haesler.com 27/6/15

-Rural and Remote Education- Why it is important !

This week I was lucky enough to go to a Rural and Remote Conference in Bathurst (NSW)— strangely enough most of the state is classed as rural and or remote– the three big metro areas are Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong;

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In rural areas teachers often feel isolated in regard to their teaching practices and only have their colleagues for feedback or criticism of the way we do things; Or it is only when we see the way other teachers do things, that you have a lightbulb moment and think, “I could do that, or I could use that idea, or why haven’t I thought of that way of doing something”. Not only did this conference have a host of workshops that sparked my interest, but just the mere meeting of rural teachers in the one spot from a very diverse range of locations is just pure gold.

A lot of people often criticise the cost of teachers going to professional development activities— the fact that I spent two days in a car driving to and from Bathurst, and two days at the conference puts a huge drain on my own schools budget– in the past I have paid for and taken leave to attend professional development activities that I have counted as important for my OWN development. This is only the second conference that I have attended in over fifteen years of teaching. It really helps when you have a supportive boss who is willing to take a chance and allow you to attend such events. Usually it is mainly executive staff who attend events like this, so again I felt doubly special to be able to attend such an event.

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The conference was the first of its kind and overall I would say it was a great success and the organisers should be congratulated for their organisational skills; It was held on the legendary Mount Panorama in the Pit area, which is where all the press and corporate boxes are for the big race held in September (I think)– not being a huge fan of motor racing, but the race is iconic in Australia and everyone has heard of it not matter if you are a fan or not. When the races are not on the track is actually a normal road and anyone visiting Bathurst is always tempted to go for a lap just to say they have done it.

There were a couple of standouts for me during the conference;

1/ Two ladies from southern cross distance education presented a workshop on “engaging the disengaged”— it didn’t offer any magic bullets and it actually leads on from what I have been doing in the last couple of years; These ladies teach distance education to high school students all over the state, they send out packages that the students work through and they have contact with them over a video link; They have taken the Project based learning approach, where there is an over arching question and students work through sections and come up with a final model or item that along the path has enabled them to discover the content associated with over arching questions– it is a hands on approach that is favoured by boys especially and allows them to drive their own learning and pick out the direction that would like to take while. Considering that a lot of the students taking distance education have missed huge chunks of schooling these ladies are doing a brilliant job at attracting disengaged students. link to their presentation is here; https://goo.gl/ZNd3bb or their Powerpoint presentation is here;engaging the disengaged

Another comment they made was “Don’t confuse compliance with engagement” which I thought was a very astute for all educators.

twitter quote rnrc16– expectations of parents in rural and metro areas

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2/ Dan Haesler is an absolute legend, I wasn’t sure at the start of his keynote speech what to make of him, but he is very engaging and has a lot of wisdom to share. He spoke a lot about mindset (Carol Dweck) which is the basis for a lot of research out of Stanford University in the USA. Dan spoke at length about FIXED or GROWTH mindset and how teachers comments or feedback could be causing the reluctance of learners to attempt or do better in certain tasks

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Dan spoke about what students can achieve when praised the right way and how our comments can affect the way students see themselves. Like they can’t run a marathon… ……… YET ! they can’t fly a plane YET ! they can’t write a poem about shakespeare YET ! This is not only true for students, but also a lot of adults—- everyone gets to a certain point in their lives where they think…. I’ll never be able to …… fly a plane, run a marathon,  become a guitar player etc etc……. the important part is YET ! Dan’s website has lots more info about the things he talks about… see link above

 

I’ll add more in the next update !!  CM

Funding for private schools growing much faster than public schools, analysis shows May 16, 2016 12:30am TIM WILLIAMSEDUCATION REPORTERThe Advertiser

Funding for private schools growing much faster than public schools, analysis shows

FUNDING for South Australian private schools has grown much faster than for public schools, according to an analysis set to refuel debate over election pledges for education.

Using data from the national MySchool website from 2009-14, the Australian Education Union found recurrent government funding per student in public schools rose by $2237, or 20.3 per cent, to $13,240 a year.

Over the same period, an almost identical dollar amount rise to Catholic school students ($2240) was proportionally much larger, leaping 29.8 per cent to $9747.

The $1990 rise for independent school students was proportionally bigger still at 31.8 per cent, up to $8258.

The figures combine federal and state money. Nationally, the funding growth for private schools was more than 30 per cent, more than double the rise for public schools.

SA’s public and independent schools are slightly better funded than the national averages, while Catholic schools are slightly underfunded.

The union said the figures showed it was vital the Federal Government reversed plans to abandon the needs-based funding scheme known as Gonski after next year.

“Disadvantaged schools don’t need cuts to Gonski. They need the $4.5 billion in investment Labor and the Greens are promising, which will see all schools with the resources they need to educate their students,” federal president Correna Haythorpe said.

The Government has argued that Gonski, a former Labor scheme, was never fully funded and it has instead promised a $1.2 billion increase from 2018-20.

It has also argued that raising teacher quality is more important than throwing more money at schools, given Australia’s performance against other nations has slipped while funding has risen.

Once fees and other income are added, SA public schools had $13,877 recurrent income per student in 2014 and Catholics $13,718, both above national figures of less than $13,000.

SA independent schools had much higher income than other sectors at $15,691 per student, but this was well below the national average of $17,604.

The union said private schools had more resources despite teaching far smaller proportions of disadvantaged students.

Nationally, 30 per cent of public school students were from low socio-economic backgrounds, compared with 14 per cent in Catholic schools and 9 per cent in independent schools.

INTRINSIC MOTIVATION

HOW CAN WE SCALE PERSONALIZATION? FOCUS ON INTRINSIC MOTIVATION.

“Paul, I finished all of my steps for today!” my student exclaimed emphatically.

“Great!” I replied, mirroring his excitement. “What do you want to do with your time now? Choice time, or more steps?”

“I think I’ll do choice time,” he said, and off he went to play with blocks.

He had just started working on his own “passion project,” which was a bug house he decided to build. He placed a cup filled with dirt and some grass seeds in the middle of an old 6-pack beer can box. His steps for the day? Cutting off the top flaps of the box, filling the cup, planting the seed, and taping some of the base to make is stronger. He came to these steps and organized them with a bit of guidance from me and his Kanban board, a tool we use to help the kids plan their projects in small chunks.

I began by questioning him about the things he needed to do. To him, it was just one big task that he wanted to accomplished, but with some coaching, he learned just the opposite. It was a hard task for this five-year old, breaking his project down into parts, but when I questioned him about what he was going to do, he was able to list off a lot of things he could do to build this bug house.

“Oh, I didn’t know those were steps!” he exclaimed.

I modeled how to draw pictures to symbolize steps and then left him to his own devices. Meanwhile, I met with other children for math assessments or passion projects, helping collect research notes, gather proper materials, and determine next steps.

All the while, this child was working studiously on his project, completing step by step, just as we had planned. He was the driver of his process and pace, the sole contributor to the ideas for his project and steps he needed to take to complete it. And in this case, my role became a facilitator of thinking, an expert on project management, and a coach for executive functioning, persistence, goal-setting, and reflection.

Stories like this have built the narrative of my school year, and in many ways, have gotten me a step closer in answering the ever-so important question: How do we scale personalized learning?

In some ways, this idea of “scaling personalization” seems like somewhat of a paradox, for how could something that values the individual be scaled to such a great degree? Wouldn’t the individual get lost through the scaling?

Not necessarily.

In many schools across the country, educators and administrators alike are trying to achieve a scaled version of personalization through tech products like Khan Academy, Ten Marks, RazKids, or other adaptive web apps. And to a certain extent, these tools can be helpful in delivering personalized content, but there are several fatal flaws with the implicit assumptions related to these methods. These methods assume that (1) content delivery is the main source of personalization, and (2) that personalizing learning is the educator’s responsibility.

In fact, in this context and under these two fatal assumptions, I would argue it highly likely that the individual will, most certainly, get lost. He or she will be confined to his or her device, working in isolation, consuming information which will be translated into cold, hard numbers, as opposed to co-constructing a nuanced knowledge-base on a topic or area of interest with other children or with an educator. This automated approach robs children of social-emotional learning in academic contexts, and it hinders the development of their sense of agency and autonomy: Instead of making their own choices, choices are being made for them based on a series of binary decisions in the adaptive software they’re using or by an educator sending them prescribed curriculum. It is, for this reason, I’ve become an opponent of these automated programs, especially in the kindergarten and first-grades, where I teach this year.

But this made it harder. I couldn’t just click buttons. Instead, I’d have to invest a lot more, which led me down a path of even more questioning. If technology that delivers content isn’t the solution for scaling personalized learning, then what other inputs could I isolate and focus on in order to promote personalization in the classroom?

I started to think about the classroom as an ecosystem, much like I had written some two years ago. With the classroom modeled as an ecosystem, it made it essential to understand the energy source of this classroom ecosystem. This energy source?

Intrinsic motivation.

It was the most relevant and potent energy source I could think of. Why? Because intrinsic motivation allows for children to become the primary producers of information, the knowledge constructors within the classroom, much like the plants in a natural ecosystem produce food for the earth using the sun’s energy.

This theory, however, would be remiss without an even deeper understanding of where intrinsic motivation comes from, and for this we can continue to use the ecosystem metaphor by examining the flow of energy. Due to the fact that a plant’s main source of energy can be traced backwards to the sun, it’s important to consider how the sun creates its energy. This process is known as nuclear fusion, where hydrogen molecules fuse together due to high temperatures and an immense amount of pressure.

Just as the fusion of hydrogen molecules in the core of the sun causes combustion and the radiation of heat and energy, the heat of the fusion of love, autonomy, positive reinforcement, and joy, combined with the pressure of authentic, real-world experiences that promote empathy and a purpose for learning build intrinsic motivation. These components do not hinge on a technology tool’s ability to deliver content in an automated manner. Instead, these parts of the classroom ecosystem depend on the quality of a warm, compassionate, and loving learning environment, one that is created through relationship-building, through the serendipitous collision of minds, and through an environment that promotes and stimulates natural curiosities.

It is through this environment, and through building intrinsic motivation, that the learning environment comes one that is run on the children’s intrinsic motivation–on their agency and autonomy–not only freeing up the educator to focus more on habit-building and social-emotional coaching, but as a result, to focus on relationship and knowing children on a visceral level.

But how does one achieve this? Tune back in on Monday for some tricks and tools to create an environment where kids can personalize their own experience.

 

Paul Emerich France; InspirED 12/5/16

What is the problem with Australian schools?

Henrietta Cook, Education Reporter SMH 12/5/17

What is the problem with Australian schools?

The great schools funding debate

It’s shaping as a major election issue – Matthew Knott compares government and opposition policies on schools funding.

Australian schools are in deep trouble and students will continue to slip behind in reading, maths and science unless there is urgent action from all governments, a new report has warned.

It’s a grim picture of the country’s education system, where high school students lag behind global standards, there is growing inequity and teaching has become an increasingly unattractive career.

Australia was “drifting backwards”, said the author of the report Geoff Masters, chief executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research.

“We ignore these warning signs at our peril … Unless we can arrest and reverse those trends we will continue to see a decline in the quality and equity of schooling in this country,” he said.

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The decline in the maths skills of students was particularly alarming, Professor Masters said.

Australia’s results in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) – an international survey that pits the world’s education systems against each other – has steadily declined over the past decade.

The top 10 per cent of Australian 15-year-olds now perform at about the same level in maths as the top 40 to 50 per cent of students in Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

It coincides with a declining proportion of year 12 students taking up advanced maths and science subjects.

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“It means we won’t have the supply of people who are highly trained in mathematics and science that we are likely to need in the future,” Professor Masters said.

The report comes at a critical time, with education shaping up as a key election issue. The federal government has promised an extra $1.2 billion for schools and Labor has pledged $4.5 billion.

But the report, which was released on Thursday, found that increased spending on education had not led to better outcomes. It said funding needed to target “evidence-based strategies”.

“A decline in outcomes has often occurred in parallel with increased spending,” Professor Masters said.

“Money alone is not the answer, but to turn around current trends we may need more money.”

It also raised concerns about the drop in ATARs required for teaching courses.

In 2015, just 42 per cent of Australian students embarking on a teaching course had an ATAR above 70.

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It recommended that teaching courses become highly selective, and make the bulk of their offers to students with ATARs above 70.

“The world’s highest-performing nations in international achievement studies consistently attract more able people into teaching, resulting in better student outcomes,” the report said.

“In some of the world’s highest-performing countries, entry to teaching is now as competitive as entry to courses such as engineering, science, law and medicine.”

In Victoria, the government is considering a similar model to New South Wales where future teachers are sourced from the top 30 per cent of school leavers.

Professor Masters said federal and state governments needed to agree to a national action plan to halt these “worrying trends”.

He also took aim at “passive, reproductive learning” in schools which did not promote creativity.

Federal education minister Simon Birmingham said the report supported the Coalition’s approach.

“The Turnbull government’s back to basics Student Achievement Plan focuses on what ACER has called for, the better use of resources to target evidence-based initiatives,” he said.

“Our once-in-a-generation plan to lift school student achievement provides more money than ever before for Australian schools but most importantly it focuses on measures that improve student results through clear and targeted action.”

Victorian government spokesman David McNamara said many government initiatives were addressing concerns raised in this report – including the new Victorian Curriculum which teaches coding.

“The government knows that great teaching is the single most important factor for schools in improving student outcomes. It is always considering ways to ensure we attract and recruit the best teachers, including from among high achieving VCE students.”

In the sky above Melbourne, special needs teacher comes to the rescue

In the sky above Melbourne, special needs teacher comes to the rescue
Date
May 1, 2016 – 3:29PM

Konrad Marshall

When she first boarded Flight JQ527 from Sydney to Melbourne three weeks ago, Sophie Murphy felt an “awful tension” in the cabin.

It was 10pm on a Sunday and 180 tired, grumpy strangers were sniping and squabbling over luggage space inside the A320 Airbus.

A cabin announcement, mindful of the mood, implored the passengers to “be nice” to one another.

That’s when Murphy spotted the 14-year-old boy.

“He was perhaps 14 and had Down syndrome,” she says, sitting at home in Ashburton. “He walked onboard and he was just smiling and joyful. But he was the only one.”

The short journey after that was largely uneventful, until the cabin crew announced that they could not begin their descent. The equipment was fine. The weather was clear. So was the runway. But they could not land … because someone would not get into their seat.

“If it was a cartoon,” says Murphy, “there would have been smoke coming out of people’s ears.”

They circled the night sky above the suburbs north of Tullamarine, banking and waiting, and running low on fuel. Cabin manager John Chesson, 45, says this is when things got stressful. “Any longer and we would have to declare a fuel emergency, and then clear other aircraft out of the way. The captain was starting to get a little anxious himself.”

The problem was the little boy. He felt sick. He was laying on the floor and would not get up, not even with the help of his elderly parents or adult brother and sister.

Chesson has dealt with disruption before. He has kicked people off planes before takeoff because of drunkenness, or racial abuse, but problems in the air are different.

They call for doctors in cases of emergency, he thought. This seems like an emergency.

So he made a request over the loud speaker: “Is there a teacher on board this flight? Is there a special needs teacher on board?”

There was. Murphy, 42, is a teacher of two decades experience, including overseeing early years special education curriculum at Westbourne Grammar and Wesley College. She is now lecturing and completing a PhD at the University of Melbourne. She knew she could help.

“Teachers get such a bad rap,” she says. “I was proud to go back there, knowing I could help. This is what every single teacher does, every single day.”

She found the boy in the aisle, sprawled on his stomach, facing the front of the plane. She met the family, and then lay down on her stomach to face him. “We didn’t talk about the plane, or being on the floor,” she says. “It was just teacher mode, teacher talk, teacher voice.”

She asked his name. Shamran.

She asked where he was from. New Zealand. (He had come from there that day.)

She asked his favourite book. Winnie the Pooh.

He felt sad and itchy, he said, so she held his hand and they talked about Piglet and Eeyore, and SpongeBob SquarePants, too.

Eventually they sat together. His parents cried and nodded “Thank you.” The plane was silent.

Murphy asked for sick bags then held them – one after and another and another – while he vomited, including on her. “It’s OK,” she said. “I’m your friend. We’re OK. We’re going to do this together.”

She asked for something to clean them both up, and found tissues and wipes offered from a dozen hands. The rosiness came back into his face and he grabbed his sister’s long hair and sniffed it. They looked through the window at the lights of Melbourne, and he pointed out his favourite colours.

After taxiing to the gate, the seatbelt sign dinged and no one moved – no impatient stampede to get off and get home. The passengers let Shamran and his family walk down the aisle, quietly clapping and smiling as they disembarked.

Later, a young woman approached Murphy. She said she was sitting one row back during the entire ordeal, with her husband, a doctor.

“But he didn’t know what to do. Apparently he actually sat watching, taking notes,” says Murphy. “It was just a unique experience. Parents always tell teachers about the impact they have on their child, but the acknowledgement is rarely public or broad. I just want people to know that all teachers have these amazing, incredible skills that can be called on in many settings at any time. Teachers rock.”

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/in-the-sky-above-melbourne-special-needs-teacher-comes-to-the-rescue-20160501-goj8k7.html#ixzz47Qxjf9Kj

Parents have lost the plot’

For the past 40 years, maternity nurse Rachel Waddilove has been guiding women through the dense fog of new motherhood. Her methods, spelt out in her parenting manual The Baby Book, first published a decade ago, are controversially traditional – she advocates swaddling, controlled crying and formula – yet her client list includes Hollywood A-listers such as Minnie Driver and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Now Rachel, 68 and a grandmother of six, has decided to bring The Baby Book to a new generation. She has spent the past year compiling a new edition of the book, out this week, and which takes into account mothers’ evolving lifestyles.

“It’s not me who has changed,” she says, “it’s modern mothers. You’re all so busy, you travel so much and you scare yourselves by reading nonsense on the internet. I want to make my message even clearer.”

As a first-time mother three years ago, I was one of Rachel’s “girls”. She showed me how to swaddle Hector, my firstborn, and leave him to settle in his cot. The results were instantaneous: my husband and I began to get a lot more sleep.

Two babies later, however, and I’ve gone soft. My latest addition, Horatio, 12 weeks, is exclusively breastfed, he spends his days attached to me in a sling and has a special cot connected to our bed, which he usually shuns in favour of sleeping next to me.

As I tell Rachel this, she sighs. “Modern parenting is all about the child, and that’s what I don’t like about it,” she says. “I’m not belittling the fact that children are precious – they’re a gift – but we’re building a generation of little tin gods and it’s not creating a very nice society. We’ve lost the plot.”

It is mothers like me, confused by conflicting advice, who led her to rewrite her parenting manual, adding more detail on routine and sleep training and an additional chapter on travelling with a baby – something she has done a lot of with her high-profile clients.

Rachel started out at a Doctor Barnardo’s nursery training college in the 1960s and her down-to-earth advice is mother-, rather than baby-, led. She encourages women not to treat their baby as “kingpin” but to focus on their relationship with their partner and the rest of the family.

“Babies mustn’t think the world revolves around them. They’ll grow up thinking the world owes them a living.”

The key to a happy home life, according to Waddilove, is a loving, flexible routine. The feed and nap times she sets out in her book, while less prescriptive than those recommended by baby guru Gina Ford, encourage a baby to learn to settle themselves in their own bed. “I see myself as being halfway between Gina Ford and Baby Whisperer Tracy Hogg,” Waddilove says.
For Zara Tindall, brought up with horses and boarding school, I imagine Rachel’s training makes perfect sense; more surprising is how well “New Ager” Gwyneth Paltrow, who apparently feeds her children lemon-flavoured flax oil, took her no-nonsense, traditional values. In the foreword to The Baby Book, however, Paltrow happily admits that Rachel’s structured schedule saw Apple sleeping through for seven hours by six weeks. “Rachel’s advice on everything from breastfeeding to parenting was invaluable,” she gushes.

Waddilove turns pale when I mention the “attachment” style of parenting, where babies feed on demand and sleep with their parents. “It’s so constricting,” she says. “I don’t think it’s good for modern family life, where so many mothers have to go back to work.”

The hardest part of her job, Rachel tells me, is teaching mothers that it is OK for their babies to cry. “Very often a baby’s normal way to go to sleep is to have a shout, air their lungs,” she says in typical no-nonsense fashion. “If you rush to them you interrupt the pattern of them falling asleep.”

Once a baby is fed and settled, she advocates “controlled crying” – waiting a certain time before comforting your baby. “Babies should be taught to wait,” she continues. “It’s good training, we all have to fit in. That’s why twins are often nicer.”

And no, your baby is not going to be damaged if you don’t rush to pick them up, she insists. “You’re not leaving a cold, hungry, unloved child to cry for hours. That’s abuse. We’re talking about a baby with a full stomach in a comfy cot learning to self-settle and sleep. That’s parenting.”

Waddilove is similarly strict about co-sleeping, too, suggesting mothers sleep in the same room as their babies for just two or three weeks, rather than the recommended six months. “Babies need to learn to be on their own, in their own cot, rather than in bed with you,” she says. “It’s probably lovely in those early days, but I have mothers ringing me after two or three months because their babies won’t sleep anywhere else.”

Waddilove, who runs a toddler group and works at her local primary school, is adamant that a routine does not mean you ignore a baby’s spiritual and emotional needs.

The book encourages parents to bring love, joy and peace into their child’s lives, and Waddilove even suggests praying over their cots. “I see mothers giving their babies their iPhones, but you need to show children how they fit in to the world, that there is a higher order.”

After years on call to Britain’s most affluent new mothers, Rachel is now focusing on training others to do her job. “I want to pass on my wisdom,” she says. “At the local school I spot the children who don’t sleep at night. It’s better for everyone if they do.”

Does she worry about the backlash against her traditional views when the new book comes out? No, she says, squaring her shoulders, suddenly more farmer’s wife than celebrity maternity nurse. “Of course there will be negative comments, but there are also people out there who want to get some sleep.”

The Telegraph

Read more: http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/baby/life-with-a-baby/parents-have-lost-the-plot-controversial-author-updates-book-for-new-generation-20160430-

The reality is that technology is doing more harm than good in our schools

‘The reality is that technology is doing more harm than good in our schools’ says education chief

Schools snoop on all pupils’ online activity

School supplied computers, laptops and tablets are being watched closely for any sign of radicalisation or bullying according to Australian principals federation.

Private, Catholic and public schools are reducing their reliance on laptops and tablets following a damning international assessment and concerns over the impact of social media on learning.

“The reality is that technology is doing more harm than good in our schools today,” the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s education chief Andreas Schleicher told world leaders at a global education forum this month.

Last week, John Vallance, the principal of one of Sydney’s most expensive private schools, Sydney Grammar, said that laptops were not necessary in class and that more traditional teaching methods were more effective.

St Pauls students Aiden Helu, Bailey Miller and Jasper Toshack . Photo: James Brickwood

Schools in the Catholic sector are also moving away from laptop centred learning after an OECD report found that countries which have invested heavily in education technology have seen no noticeable improvement in their performances in results for reading, mathematics or science.

Australia has spent $2.4 billion putting
laptops in the bags of as many
schoolchildren as possible through the Digital Education Revolution of the Rudd and Gillard governments.

“Education is a bit like the stock market, it overshoots.” said St Paul’s Catholic College principal Mark Baker. “Computers have been oversold and there is no evidence that it improve outcomes. Giving out laptops was the educational equivalent of putting pink batts in people’s roofs”.

Mr Baker said every school in NSW has become a Google or an Apple school. “If I put McDonald’s signs all over the school saying McDonald’s was bringing you education, there would be an outcry.”

The Manly school has banned laptops for one day a week in an effort to get pupils out onto the sporting field and away from LCD screens. “If you say that at an education meeting you are branded as an educational dinosaur,” the principal of 17 years told Fairfax Media.

Public school Hunters Hill High also has a
relaxed approach to laptop based learning,
parents say, with students able to opt for
textbooks in the classroom and typing up
assessments at home, in line with Department of Education policy that allows decisions around technology to be made at a school level.

While laptops have brought a plethora of resources to the fingertips of students, educators remain concerned about their use as tools of distraction.

“The problem is maturity,” Mr Baker said. “They are very good at using technology for social interaction but not for learning.”

A new survey of 1000 young adults has found that 39 per cent obsessively compare their life and achievements to others on social media, according to the Optus Digital Thumbprint program.

Mother of three Katrina Chambers said that removing the technology from parts of the day was about teaching children to switch off.

 

Andreas Schleicher of the OECD is concerned about falling Australian standards. Photo: Jeffrey Glorfeld

“They can get really uptight about what everyone else is doing online, my eldest can get a bit agitated,” said Mrs Chambers, who has three boys aged under 14.

“You can tell them they can’t go out but then their Snapchat next day is full of 15 things that they missed out on.”

Mr Baker believes that removing the centrality of the laptop in the classroom might be the first step in getting that balance back.

“Parents expect schools to have the
technology,” he said. “The issue is the
appropriateness. Anyone who says we
should stop using textbooks is peddling dangerous nonsense.”

Education leaders agree: “If we want our children to be smarter than a smartphone then we have to think harder,” Mr Schleicher said.

St Pauls Principal Mark Baker. Photo: James Brickwood

10 Emerging Educational Technologies and How They Are Being Used Across the Globe

10 Emerging Educational Technologies and How They Are Being Used Across the Globe
By Saga Briggs
July 16th, 2013

For over a decade, the New Media Consortium (NMC) has been charting the landscape of emerging technologies in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry on a global scale. The NMC’s advisory board includes 750 technology experts and faculty members from colleges and universities in 40 countries, and is supported by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

The NMC’s latest research efforts, the NMC Horizon Report: 2013 K-12 Edition and the NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition, were released this spring, and together highlight ten emerging technologies that will impact education over the course of the next five years: cloud computing, mobile learning, learning analytics, open content, 3D printing, MOOCs, virtual and remote laboratories, games and gamification, tablet computing, and wearable technology.

As an educator, you have probably heard about many of these technologies, if not all of them. But the Horizon Report project pushes the discussion into fresh territory, predicting a timeframe for their implementation into mainstream education and presenting an impressive list of institutions and individuals who are already using them in every discipline imaginable.

Too often it is education’s own practices that limit the broader uptake of new technologies. Whether it’s insufficient ongoing professional development or the reluctance to accept the need for digital media literacy, significant challenges stand in the way of smooth assimilation.

What the Horizon reports show, however—even more than which technologies are rising to the top— is that smooth assimilation is possible, and that countless educators are making the move creatively and with admirable conviction.

Here is a little inspiration from the people who are doing it right:

1. Cloud Computing (12 Months or Less)
In 2011, cloud computing was listed in the 12-month-or-less category of the report, primarily because of the way it had become an essential part of collaboration in both schools and the workplace. This year, the placement of cloud computing on the near-term horizon for a second time underscores the fact that the impact of this technology continues to unfold in new and expanding ways.

Language: The cloud-based Brazilian Electronic Learning Organizer helps language teachers produce and share digital learning objects and activities for their students. The learning objects are created by the teacher or assembled from a resource repository created by other teachers in the network.

Science: California State University Northridge launched the Computer Supported Collaborative Science initiative to help science teachers in high-need Los Angeles-area schools to engage students in authentic research experiences through the use of cloud-based tools.

Social Studies: Powered by cloud computing, the Global Curriculum Project allows students to participate in a virtual exchange program with school across five different countries. Students select and explore their own topics, including cuisine and ambitions.

2. Mobile Learning (12 Months or Less)
By the end of this year, the mobile market is expected to consist of over 7 billion accounts (equating to about 3.4 billion users, or one in every two people on the planet); mobile traffic on the Internet is expected to surpass desktop traffic; and mobile users will have downloaded 70 billion apps across smartphones and tablets. Educational apps are the second-most downloaded in iTunes of all categories, surpassing both entertainment and business apps in popularity.

Mathematics: Year four students at St. Leonard’s College, a primary school in Australia, are using tablets loaded with math apps and e-textbooks to access information, receive instruction, record measurements, and conduct research.

Music: Students at Institut International de Lancy in Switzerland use their tablets to create music in the school’s first iPad Orchestra. The iPads have provided opportunities for students with little to no training to create their own music with classmates.

Storytelling: Ringwood North Primary School in Australia participated in “The Epic Citadel Challenge,” wherein students and teachers collaborated to write a digital story based on the Epic Citadel environment and turn it into an app accessible via iOS mobile devices.

3. Tablet Computing (12 Months or Less)
It is so easy for students to carry tablets from class to class, using them to seamlessly access textbook and other course material as needed, that schools and universities are rethinking the need for computer labs or even personal laptops. A student’s choice of apps makes it easy to build a personalized learning environment, with all the resources and tools they need on a single device. With their growing number of features, tablets give traction to other educational technologies— from facilitating the real-time data mining needed to support learning analytics to offering a plethora of game-based learning apps.

Art: At Plymouth University in the UK, students working toward their Illustration degree are using iPads with an illustration app called Brushes to produce drawings that can be played back as video. This activity is encouraging reflection and discussion on the drawing process and enabling students to contrast techniques and highlight and correct any bad habits.

Science: Students at Redlands College in Australia are using tablets to collect and share data on indigenous rocks; geology majors at the College of Wooster in Ohio are using them to take and annotate photos of Icelandic terrain; and instructors at Yale University are sharing images from their digital microscopes with students’ iPads through mobile apps so that they can annotate and capture images for future use.

Journalism: Professor Messner at Virginia Commonwealth University secured iPads for his students so they could create multimedia news stories from happenings on campus and in the surrounding community. The students learned the importance of social media in journalism and found the iPad useful for gathering news and sources.

Special Needs: Vanderbilt University graduate students are designing an Android app that enables visually impaired students to learn math. Using haptic technology integrated into new touchscreen devices, the vibrations and audio feedback help students feel and hear shapes and diagrams.

4. MOOCs (12 Months or Less)
A number of respected thought leaders believe that the current MOOC model has deviated significantly from the initial premise outlined by George Siemens and Stephen Downes in 2008, emphasizing lecture over connectivity, but either way, educators across the globe are doing some amazing things with MOOCs. The hope is that they will eventually strike a balance between automating the assessment process while delivering personalized, authentic learning opportunities.

Music: This spring, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Purdue University Department of Music and Arts Technology began offering their first MOOC, “Music for the Listener” that can be converted into credit. The learning environment is being delivered through Course Networking, with full translation features, rich media, and social networking tools.

Physics: An MOOC called “Landmarks in Physics,” pioneered by an MIT graduate and delivered through Udacity, takes students on a virtual tour through Italy, the Netherlands, and England while explaining the basic concepts of physics at the sites of important discoveries in world history.

Writing: Ohio State University has partnered with Coursera to create a course that engages participants as writers, reviewers, and editors in a series of interactive reading, composition, and research activities with assignments designed to help them become more efficient consumers and producers of alphabetic, visual, and multimodal texts.

5. Open Content (2-3 Years)
While open content has been available for a long time, the topic has received increased attention in recent years. The use of open content promotes a skill set that is critical in maintaining currency in any area of study—the ability to find, evaluate, and put new information to use. The same cannot be said for many textbooks, which can be cumbersome, slow to update, and particularly costly for K-12 schools. More educators are tapping into the wealth of content within open repositories and familiarizing themselves with the Creative Commons protocol.

History: Learn NC is a program developed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education to make resources and best practices in K-12 freely and widely available. Their digital textbook for eighth grade history contains a collection of primary sources, readings, and multimedia that can be searched and rearranged.

Mathematics: Arizona instructor James Sousa, who has been teaching math for 15 years at both the community college and K-12 levels, developed more than 2,600 video tutorials on topics from arithmetic to calculus, all of which are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution.

Science: A partnership between Bringham Young University’s David Wiley and the Hewlett Foundation sparked a project in which teachers from 18 districts and four charter schools across Utah pulled together science resources to create free digital textbooks.

6. Learning Analytics (2-3 Years)
learning analytics

While analyzing student data is not a new practice, the field of learning analytics has only recently gained wide support among data scientists and education professionals. In the coming years, as learning analytics platforms become increasingly complex and effective, outcomes of learning analytics will have a significant impact on the evolution and refinement of both K-12 and higher education, especially in the design of personalized and online learning platforms.

Mathematics: Developed by a group of educators, programmers, and data scientists, Mathspace is an online program that meets the demands of the NSW syllabus and Australian National Curriculum for students aged seven to ten. The platform monitors how students reason through math problems and provides personalized feedback as well as analytics reports for teachers.

Reading: Kno, an e-textbook company, launched the “Kno Me” tool, which provides students with insights into their study habits and behaviors while using e-textbooks. Students can also better pace themselves by looking at data that shows them how much time they spent working through specific texts, and where they are in relation to their goals.

Writing: The University of North Carolina Greensboro uses the Mobius Social Learning Information Platform to create intensive writing courses which facilitate anonymous, peer-to-peer feedback and grading. When students submit an essay, it is automatically distributed to the rest of their randomly chosen peer group, and an algorithm turns their feedback into statistics and performance reports.

Special Education: Constant Therapy is a mobile platform that leverages data analytics and mobile technology to provide personalized therapy for people with cognitive, language, communication, and learning disorders. With 15 years’ worth of content developed by Boston University, Constant Therapy’s lessons adapt to meet the needs of learners while allowing language educators to monitor their progress via an analytics dashboard.

7. Games and Gamification (2-3 Years)
Game play has traversed the realm of recreation and infiltrated commerce, productivity, and education, proving to be a useful training and motivation tool. Referred to as “Game-Based Learning” in previous NMC Horizon reports, this field of practice has expanded far beyond integrating digital and online games into the curriculum. The updated category title reflects the perspective that while games are effective tools for scaffolding concepts and simulating real world experiences, it should also include the larger canvas of gamer culture and game design.

Architecture: SimArchitect is a simulation game and social connection site for architects developed by IBM Center for Advanced Learning. Players are issued a request for proposal by a fictitious client and must respond, conducting meetings with the client and team and then proposing a solution. IBM created a performance scorecard that evaluates the player’s communication, architectural methods, and more.

History: The Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative project at the University of Florida is an effort to create an interactive fictional game in which the geography, culture, and characters of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia will be brought to life. Functional maps show the early architecture of the buildings, and interactive scenarios with characters like George Washington and Patrick Henry allow students to participate in discussions of the times.

Nursing: The University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing has partnered with the Minnesota Hospital Association and the technology firm, VitalSims, to develop web-based interactive games that engage nursing students with real-life scenarios. With initial versions of the game already completed, health care educators are expecting to launch these digital learning tools later in 2013.

8. 3D Printing (4-5 Years)
While 3D printing is four to five years away from widespread adoption in schools, it is easy to pinpoint the practical applications that will take hold. Geology and anthropology students, for instance, can make and interact with models of fossils and other artifacts, and organic chemistry students can print out models of complex proteins and other molecules through rapid prototyping and production tools. Even more compelling are institutions that are using 3D technology to develop brand new tools.

Archaeology: Harvard University’s Semitic Museum uses 3D printing technology to restore damaged artifacts from its collection. For example, by 3D scanning existing fragments of an Egyptian lion’s legs, researchers can create computer models that will be used to print a scale foam replica of the complete structure, even though it was originally missing its body and head.

Astronomy: In an effort to engage inner-city students in STEM-related fields, Minnesota non-profit STARBASE has created an aerospace-themed curriculum where students plan a mission to Mars. A highlight of the project is the use of 3D printing technology to create a working rocket that students launch on the final day of the program.

Business: In early 2013, Darwin High School in Australia initiated a project intended to expose students to micro-business concepts through product development and workflow analysis. Using 3D printers, students rapidly prototype ideas, explore product design, and learn how to market their goods.

Computer Science: Students at Glacier Peak High School in Washington can receive college credit for taking computer-aided design classes featuring the incorporation of 3D printers for rapid prototype development. The courses include modeling and design, tolerance specification, documentation drawing, and assembly modeling.

9. Virtual and Remote Laboratories (4-5 Years)
Virtual and remote laboratories reflect the current trend in K-12 education toward more authentic online education. Though technology is four to five years away from mainstream use in schools, the benefits of implementation are already clear. Virtual and remote labs offer flexibility, as students can run experiments as many times as they like, both in and out of school. Because these labs are designed to allow for easy repetition of experiments, students feel less pressure to execute perfectly the first time. In the controlled environments of these labs, students are safe, even if they make an error.

Chemistry: Dr. David Yaron, Associate Professor Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University, developed ChemCollective, a project of the National Science Digital Library, to create flexible interactive learning environments in which high school students can approach chemistry more like practicing scientists.

Marine Biology: In Lysekil, Sweden, high school students use virtual tools to explore the marine environment of Gullmar Fjord on the Swedish west coast, learning in the process how scientific knowledge is created. The students use a virtual ocean acidification laboratory to conduct studies on the acidification of the marine environment.

Mathematics: High School students in North Carolina are using Geometer’s Sketchpad to understand how theorems are developed. The software is accessed through North Carolina State University’s virtual computing lab, a cloud-based learning environment with an interactive online community where teachers share tips on the software used as well as the projects undertaken.

10. Wearable Technology (4-5 Years)
Perhaps the least educationally applicable but most complex technology of the NMC report is wearable technology. Google’s “Project Glass” is one of the most talked-about current examples. One of the most promising potential outcomes of wearable technology in higher education is productivity: tools that could automatically send information via text, e-mail, and social networks on behalf of the user—based on voice commands, gestures, and other indicators— that would help students and educators communicate with one another, keep track of updates, and better organize notifications.

Chemistry: A team from the Centre for Sensor Web Technologies at Dublin City University is building a wearable sensor that detects hazardous gases and immediately alerts the user of these conditions.

Geology: Wearable cameras like Memoto, a tiny GPS-enabled camera that clips to a user’s shirt collar or button and takes two five-megapixel shots per minute, could benefit geologists or archaeologists in the field, capturing hundreds of photographs or data about a user’s surroundings on an offsite dig which can later be accessed via e-mail or social media.

Neuroscience: A new brain-sensing headband called Muse displays a user’s brain activity directly onto their smartphone or tablet, in effect making it possible to control actions with one’s thoughts and to collect data about the brain’s reaction to various stimuli.

Note: Passages of the original report were repurposed here with express permission from the authors.
About Saga Briggs

Saga has taught and tutored writing at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. Her educational interests include psychology, creativity, and system reform. She earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from Oberlin College and lives in Portland, Oregon, USA.