Time for cultural understanding as a priority – and Tomorrows School Review

Readings 22nd March 1980
It’s a week from the tragedy of Christchurch. So much has

been said but what is that schools can do to develop greater cultural awareness, understanding and respect?

This is a wakeup call to move away from the technocratic approach of the past decades towards a focus on developing a more humanitarian appreciation of the different cultures that are part of our New Zealand society – ‘cultural literacy’.  It is obvious that racism, prejudice, and intolerance underlies many of the problems we face in New Zealand and this has been amplified by the inequality created by three decades of a neo-liberal politics with its emphasis on ‘me first’ individual rights over community obligations.
The New Zealand Curriculum is light in respect to this area particularly in the second half where the curriculum

defines the expectations for the various levels. All that is provided is a list of bullet points. All other learning areas provide greater definition.

Is it time to return to the older term Social Studies – the term used prior to Tomorrows Schools? This older syllabus provided broad directions of cultures past and present for students to study leaving plenty of room for teacher choice.
One practical recommendation is for principals and teachers to read the publications and writings of the late Kelvin Smythe and reintroduce his ‘feelings for’

approach to respect and value other cultures past and present. Kelvin wrote powerfully about the need to appreciate the attitudinal aspects of education in contrast to the current one dimensional achievement bias.

The following links will download eight articles on ‘feelings for’ Social Studies that Kelvin reworked for his legacy publication:  The File
If you want to explore more of Kelvin’s writings, check out these two websites:
Bruce  Hammonds and Allan Alach

Opinion Piece: Tomorrow’s School Review – little to lose and much to gain
‘The only real concern is we are not brave enough nor selfless enough to support changes that might benefit our entire educational system for fear of relinquishing

Claire Amos

perceived notions of control. Of course no report is perfect, and with 32 recommendations to consider the devil will be in the detail and the proof will be in the pudding. There is always the risk of unintended consequences (as there was with the Picot Report in 1988) and there is the very real risk of some of the richness of these recommendations being lost in implementation and any plans being so slow to roll out that little, if any, gain is seen or felt for years to come. But on reflection, even when we consider all of these factors, the Tomorrow’s School Report creates a vision for tomorrow where there is little to lose and much to gain’ Claire Amos

The Tomorrow’s School Review – A Quiet Optimism – Part One
This is the first post in a series, and seeks to look at some of the things that concern me with the TSR.  The things that give me cause for concern. Going forward, I am cautiously optimistic.  Whilst I have concerns, I am heartened by the Minister who informed leaders at

Time for fresh thinking

the NZPF Moot that he was genuine in wanting to work in collaboration with the sector.  There is an opportunity here to be innovative and futures focused, and most importantly, better equipped to resource schools and ensure there is equity in the system! I think there is potential here.  If the sector is fully engaged, and collaborative co constructors in the architecture of this re imagined new educational landscape, then we have the opportunity to create something quite amazing. To do this, we need to leave our mistrust, our cynicisms and our hurts from the dark days of educational persecution, behind us.  We cannot let the bad experiences of our yesterday colour us into a foul mood for today and the educational future of tomorrow.’

Strong panel drives debate on Tomorrow’s Schools Review
Prof. Peter O’Conner

Education Central ChalkTalks panel discussion on the Tomorrow’s Schools Review last night was one of the most robust debates on the proposed reforms to date. The debate darted across various aspects of the report, but most attention was given to the issues at the heart of the review: essentially tackling the inequality in our education system.

How to Develop a Greater Sense of Motivation in Students
Teachers can know their content backwards and forwards. They might have put

hours into their lesson plans. But if their students aren’t motivated, learning won’t happen. Often, childhood experiences may make motivation harder for students, according to a new working paper . The paper takes a look at the machinery of motivation: what’s going on in children’s brains when they’re motivated, and what’s holding them back? The researchers identify two types of motivation: approach motivation, which steers us toward a reward, and avoidance motivation, which prompts us to avoid damage. Ideally, they balance each other out.’

The Absurd Structure of High School
We are married to a system that has not been properly re-evaluated for 21st-century capabilities and capacities.’
How Algebra Ruins Lives
‘Raise your hand if your child feels tyrannized by abstract math. Raise your hand if you think our society would be better served if we spent more time learning skills that solve real-life problems — like finance, budgeting, and the ultimate life-skill: How not to be an asshole.’
#3quotes from Papert
Saymour Papert

Steve Wheeler:

‘MIT professor Seymour Papert wanted to turn education on its head. He was disillusioned with the idea that we should ‘instruct’ children and that they would learn solely from content delivery. He was particularly critical of the use of computers as ‘replacements’ for teachers.’
The growth mindset problem
‘Despite extraordinary claims for the efficacy of a growth mindset, however, it’s increasingly unclear whether attempts

Carol Dweck

to change students’ mindsets about their abilities have any positive effect on their learning at all. And the story of the growth mindset is a cautionary tale about what happens when psychological theories are translated into the reality of the classroom, no matter how well-intentioned.’

Stimulate Wonder: Make Curriculum Strange

‘The sense of wonder is a powerful learning tool that fuels creativity and innovation. Find out how to engage it in teaching to maximize student learning.’

The Key To Raising A Happy Child
‘For much of the past half-century, children, adolescents

and young adults in the U.S. have been saying they feel as though their lives are increasingly out of their control. At the same time, rates of anxiety and depression have risen steadily.What’s the fix? Feeling in control of your own destiny. Let’s call it “agency.”’

Why schools don’t educate – from  John Gatto a US  Teacher of the Year
Gatto concludes saying we have to bi pass the vested interests that support the

status quo and get grass roots thinking to demand that ‘new voices and new ideas get a hearing’; that, ‘we have had a bellyful of authorized voices’. That, ‘we need a decade long free-for-all debate…not more “expert” solutions’; “experts” in education have never got it right’. ‘Enough’ he says, ‘time for a return to democracy, individuality, and family.

 Savants : Beautiful minds – ‘in a world of their own’
Savants are   special individuals that have one amazing passion. Possibly the most

well known savant was featured in the film ‘Rain man’ portrayed by Dustin Hoffman. Based on a particular individual who had an amazing mind for mathematics and, in common with other savants, was very limited in social and relationship areas.The programme made viewers wonder about the amazing potential that lies within us all.

Categories: Education