Digital vs book reading

I have just been listening to a radio talk (November 2018) with a neuroscientist Mary Anne Wolfe on the difference between skim reading on screen vs deep reading in print. The screen develops faster processing of information and so can cover larger areas of a topic while print develops slower processing and deeper reading which is good for comprehension and critical analysis.
This may mean less time on checking facts and alternative viewpoints but she noted that teachers can teach deep reading on screen. The teacher must ask "What is the purpose of the learning" and match purpose to mode as students need to have skills in both skimming and deep reading.

When I started working in a paperless school with Beginning teachers, I noticed the difficulties they were having in keeping students on task and not being distracted by the digital media. I suggested that perhaps in the afternoon periods when the students are usually less alert that they use textbooks and paper. It was like…

Assessment & NCEA

There has been much talk about reviewing NCEA. NCEA was implemented in the 2002-2004 and has been changed, upgraded and the like over time to make it more equitable. But NCEA is a qualification based on given standards not a true reflection of a students' strengths and capabilities.

NCEA is supposedly an assessment of what students can do. But we know that there are students that do amazing things outside of NCEA but these abilities do not count.

Unfortunately NCEA has led to some degree to over-assessment, credit counting (if it doesn't give me credits, it doesn't count) and extraordinary pressure on schools, teachers and students.
NZAI was set up this year to look at quality assessment across the education system.

Schools came together in seminars across NZ to look at positive ways of assessing student progress.
Avonside Girls' High School suggested integrating learning across multiple standards to minimise the NCEA effect using connected learning across multiple lea…

Does technology make us antisocial?

A provocative statement!
Younger people socialise more through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any new technology that comes along.
Older people perhaps stay close to their roots and stick with Facebook or Blogger which can be akin to writing a letter.

Many people use Facebook as a way of connecting with others and keeping in touch particularly when family are living overseas. I use instagram as a way of developing my photography skills and get to see what people in other countries are doing artistically and how others see my work. NZ is a long way from the rest of the world but not a long way from the internet.

Know and understand the learner's culture

Working in a school that is made up of mainly Pasifika (62%) & Māori  students (33%) means getting to know and understand the Pasifika & Māori cultures that the students have come from and are enveloped in. New teachers to the school, especially non certificated teachers, sometimes have difficulties in getting the students engaged and motivated.

This video "Strengthening Relationships" with teachers from Aorere College, McAuley High School, Mangere Bridge School, Sylvia Park School, Mary MacKillop School and Wymondley Road Primary School gives helpful advice and strategies on accelerating the learning of Pasifika students.

"Where teachers and Pasifika students develop strong relationships with each other , they each gain a more holistic view of the other person as an individual. Teachers who integrate cultural values and socio-cultural norms explicitly into their pedagogy increase levels of trust, acceptance, sharing and mutual support between students."

The …

How to get students talking & discussing more

Hattie (2012) “teachers need to change to far less talk and much more listening”  Visible Learning for Teachers (p. 80). 

“Teachers talk between 70 and 80 percent of class time (p. 80)Student engagement is higher when teachers talk less, this is especially true for at-risk students Only “5-10 per cent of teacher talk triggers more conversation or dialogue engaging the student” (p. 81) Research shows that “when highly effective and other teachers were compared, the former had more general class talk and less directive talk” (p. 81) How do we light the fire within students to express their thinking?
Dr Aaron Wilson and Jacinta Oldehaver in their research in Talking about Text (TaT) worked to change traditional patterns of teacher dominated talk in the classroom and found that achievement rates in TaT classes were higher than in previous years and also higher than students in non TaT classes because of the changes in teacher talk. They found that students really benefit from more rich talk…

Collaborative sense-making

What is collaborative sense-making?
I've come to that part of my appraisal where I need to show evidence of my collaborative sense-making this year. It does sound like more of education jargon but at the same time needs to be investigated in order to get it right. It is one of the 6 components of the appraisal cycle put out by the Education Council. Luckily I went to their workshop this year and this was explained as: How you collaborate with others who have different perspectives from yours eg experts, colleagues, mentors etc through conversation to look at different perspectives on a situation. From these conversations you share findings, learning and implications for changes in practice. An example given was to use another person eg have a conversation with the Te Reo teacher to give you feedback on your work with Standard 1 (Treaty)

Questions from ERO include:
What do we already know about this?
What do we need to find out?
How might we do this?

Catalysts that lead you to ask …

Portfolios for certification

I have just been re-reading the notes I took at the Education Council (EC) workshop on the new standards at the beginning of this year. Provisionally certificated teachers (PCTs) are always worried about having enough evidence and what to record. I currently mentor 7 PCTs, 3 of whom are coming up for certification this year. What the EC has said is that they do not want voluminous portfolios of stuff and that they want to shift the emphasis from the showing of evidence to improvement of practice done through discussion and documentation.
Teachers engaging in “learning talk” analyse, critique and challenge their current teaching practices to find and/or create more effective ways of teaching. (Annan, Lai & Robinson 2003)

The current situation is that ERO will audit the documentation for certification of teachers recently certificated. They are looking to see that the school has a robust system well founded in evidence. They will be looking at the level of support and induction for P…