21 July 2014

Items to Share: 20 July 2014

Education Focus
  • Stop this educational madness [spiked] (Kathryn Ecclestone) 'Beyond the trivial or cynical claims being made with regard to mental health, more people seem to find everyday life and education a constant source of distress. The idea that almost all people are psychologically and emotionally vulnerable is everywhere, and we need a wider debate about what impact this has had on how we teach and how we relate to people. We need to resist calls for more support and more intervention and start rethinking how education and other meaningful activities can lead to a world outside the self.'
  • Hard Evidence: at what age are children ready for school? [theconversation.com] 'When are children “ready” for school? There is much debate about when the transition between play-based pre-school and the start of “formal” schooling should begin. The trend in the UK primary school curriculum over recent decades has been towards an earlier start to formal instruction, and an erosion of learning through play. [] But the evidence from international comparisons and psychological research of young children’s development all points to the advantages of a later start to formal instruction, particularly in relation to literacy.'
  • Direct Instruction and the teaching of reading [theconversation.com] 'Direct Instruction is a teaching method developed in the United States in the 1960s, focused particularly on the needs of children with learning difficulties. Building on behaviourist learning theory, Direct Instruction breaks each learning task down into its smallest component and requires mastery of simpler skills before proceeding to more difficult skills. Students are grouped according to their achievement, teachers are provided with closely scripted lesson plans, students respond to the teacher orally and as a group, and the group does not move on until everyone understands the material.'
  • For lecturers, there is life beyond Death by PowerPoint  [Times Higher Education] 'By harnessing the power of images, academics can fully exploit students’ learning potential, says David Roberts.'  But my reason for selecting this is that it is totally unoriginal. People knew all this in the days of hand-written "overheads" (transparencies) and even using the black- green- white-board... And the Higher Education Academy are interested in his work? What does this say about the dissemination of the scholarship of teaching and learning, however banal?
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