Warning, these readings may contain educational heresy



Readings for creative teachers

 Saturday 11th May 1980

Bruce and I have long left the ‘chalkface’ but we still have a passion for an education system that is based on democratic classrooms that focus on developing the gifts and talents of all students.
Sadly most classrooms are neither democratic (valuing the identity, voice, questions, theories and culture of students) nor focused on

talent development. If anything education has become standardised and formulaic focused on assessing and documenting achievement in literacy and numeracy.

So maybe our views are irrelevant but we take heart that we know there are still creative teachers out their battling for views that align with the holistic, creative and integrated learning that we hold.
For us we see the book In the Early World written by Elwyn Richardson as central to the provision of a creative education

Thankfully it has been reprinted by the NZCER and the new foreword itself is worth a read. Elwyn saw his class as a community of artists and scientists exploring their environment and personal concerns and he believed they were his teachers as much as he was their teacher.  There was nothing formulaic or standardised in his classroom.
We are not sure of who current teachers hold as important in their educational philosophies but we think we are in good company. John Dewey who wrote about progressive democratic education early last century wrote ‘children grow in to tomorrow as they live today’ and although he believed in experiential learning he also wrote that it’s not just experience it reflecting on experience that is vital to learning.
There are a number of other educationalists that back up our own beliefs. Jerome Bruner who wrote that ‘teaching is the canny

art of intellectual temptation’ giving teachers the challenge of creating learning environments that challenge students by providing  ‘tempting’ displays from all learning areas; displays that as students become involved sees  their  research, language and art added.

An MLE !!

We see classrooms as a mini Te Papa – an amalgam of an artist’s studio, a science technology laboratory, a media centre andexhibitions to celebrate, challenge and inform. An important thing, we believe, is to do fewer things well and judge success by students achieving their personal best in any area of learning.

These are aspects the vision that we hold to. We believe, as Frank Smith (our reading guru)  writes, we learn from the company we keep; we learn to read if we want to not just because someone thinks we should. Smith’s book

Reading” is a must read for any open minded teacher. Look online for this. Also check the link below for a pdf version of another Smith book.

We learn anything if we see the point – the title of Guy Claxton’s book ‘What’s the point of School’.
In our ideal classroom students enter the classroom to pick up work they have previously committed to. When teachers see a need to provide assistance with missing skills they come alongside the learners (or work with a small groups) to provide the help needed so students can return to’ the game of learning’ (the advice of David Perkins). No need for ability groups in maths and literacy to get in the way taking up valuable learning time.  

When it comes to talent development the views of Sir Ken Robinson are well known, admired by many teachers but in practice largely ignored. Sir Ken believes in educational transformation. The idea that we all have our own mix of talents and gifts brings us to the multiple intelligences of Howard Gardner. Another educator with an interest in the creative arts, Eliot Eisner, makes the point that each art form interprets the world in its own way and that all are important.

Elwyn Richardson

All this brings us back to the ideas of Elwyn Richardson and the art advisers of yesteryear who led the way into developmental creative related arts programme.

l lifelong learners, confident in their own unique talents. We both believe we do not have an achievement gap but rather an opportunity gap.
With current discussions about play based and place based learning, about students’ agency, environmental awareness, the need to trust learners, the valuing of cultural differences, inquiry learning integrating a sensible use of new technology, and the new flexible learning environments,  maybe the revolution is beginning?
We hope so. This is why we take the time to collect and share reading that emphasize creative teaching.
Allan Alach and Bruce Hammonds



 Today’s Readings
Creative Teaching And Teaching Creativity: How To Foster Creativity In The Classroom
Creativity is often paid lip service, but in reality, most schools are currently experiencing a “creativity gap”—with significantly more creative activity occurring outside of school. Numerous psychologists argue that creativity is not just an enrichment or add-on in the classroom: It is a set of psychological skills that enhance learning and will be necessary in the 21st-century workforce.’
Treating Reflection as a Habit, Not an Event
Regular reflection helps students learn, and some simple strategies can make it a regular and meaningful routine.’
Six Key Takeaways from A Day with Professor Jo Boaler
Claudelands Event Centre was buzzing on April 24th, with 520 motivated mathematics educators who were eagerly awaiting Professor Jo Boaler and youcubed co-director Cathy Williams to deliver their new workshop Limitless: The 6 keys that unlock potential and transform pathways.
Jo Boaler

Seven is the age of wonder, not the age for formal testing

We must also ask why. What are the tests for? So we can measure and monitor students’ progress? So we can pigeon hole who they are and who they will become early on? So we can fiddle the books and make our school brochure statistics look even glossier in the competitive culture that is devouring our national education system?’
Dalai Lama: We need an education of the heart
My wish is that, one day, formal education will pay attention to the education of the heart, teaching love, compassion, justice, forgiveness, mindfulness, tolerance and peace. This education is necessary, from kindergarten to secondary schools and universities. I mean social, emotional and ethical learning. We need a worldwide initiative for educating heart and mind in this modern age.’
Dave Armstrong: Don’t stop the music at school

Having visited the school recently, I’m aware it has a comprehensive music programme and understands the value of students learning not just the “basics” of numeracy and literacy, but music and the other arts as well.’

What is a truly creative education?
( An earlier blog that relate to today’s theme)
 ‘Links to New Zealand creative teachesr, early influences  and the writings of John Dewey, Sir Ken Robinson, John Holt, Guy Claxton,  et al.’
Can reading problems affect mental health?
“Slow reading acquisition has cognitive, behavioral, and motivational consequences that slow the development of other cognitive skills and inhibit performance on many academic tasks. . . . The

longer this developmental sequence is allowed to continue, the more generalized the deficits will become, seeping into more and more areas of cognition and behavior. Or . . . ‘reading affects everything you do.’

Teaching Students to Read Metacognitively
‘A mini-lesson and anchor chart for showing early elementary students how to monitor their comprehension as they read.’
Comprehension And Learning by Frank Smith
This is primarily a book about children. It is addressed to teachers and written from the point of view of a cognitive psychologist. In this book I attempt to analyze those mysterious and complex

facets of human thought that are labelled “comprehension” and ‘learning”, by drawing on insights from a number of specialized disciplines while endeavoring to maintain a coherence that will be both comprehensible and useful to practising or prospective teachers.’

National Writing Project:Digested reads: Frank Smith.
“As long as writing remains a natural and purposeful activity, made available without threat, then children will be willing to practice it and consequently will learn.
3quotes from Freire
Freire is critical of the transmission method found in schools, in which what he calls the ‘banking concept’, is consistently applied. This is where teachers play the role of the ‘knowledgable’, and students adopt the role of the ‘ignorant’. It’s a prevalent technique that teachers everywhere can fall into the trap of perpetrating on their students.’

Categories: Education