Every now and then, I like to go back through my old Diigo bookmarks and look at articles that I have shared in the past in the “You Should Read” category as I know many readers will have missed these at the time when they are posted. It is truly hard to become a “classic” on the Internet with the number of articles coming your way, but I think through the use of social bookmarking sites such as Diigo (which is how I have always used to compile these lists), we can easily come back and revisit these posts.
With that being said, here are some articles that I have shared previously that I think are worthy of revisiting.
1. The Creativity Crisis – I loved this article and often come back to it in the work that I am doing. The term “creativity” is something that is being used by schools and many organizations, and seen as an essential skill.
The potential consequences are sweeping. The necessity of human ingenuity is undisputed. A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 “leadership competency” of the future. Yet it’s not just about sustaining our nation’s economic growth. All around us are matters of national and international importance that are crying out for creative solutions, from saving the Gulf of Mexico to bringing peace to Afghanistan to delivering health care. Such solutions emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others.
Yet many say that with the structure of schools, creativity is something that we struggle with, yet the author offers a different perspective:
Researchers say creativity should be taken out of the art room and put into homeroom. The argument that we can’t teach creativity because kids already have too much to learn is a false trade-off. Creativity isn’t about freedom from concrete facts. Rather, fact-finding and deep research are vital stages in the creative process. Scholars argue that current curriculum standards can still be met, if taught in a different way.
This is a great article to discuss at a staff meeting. Ask the question, “how do you promote creativity in your classroom?”, and then have them make that thinking visible. It is imperative that we share these practices. (As an addition to this, watch this video on the importance of giving time when wanting our students to be creative.)
2. The Top 10 Ways to Improve Student Achievement and Create Learners – One of the key words that I have seen overtake conversations has been the word “learning”, which is something that we should focus on in schools. Although that should be the focus, regurgitation of facts is still the norm with many.
One of the major negatives is that change is rarely welcome. People tend to like the status quo and do not want the apple cart overturned. Our first year was fraught with change; change in vision, strategies, instructional methods and materials. Through it all, our staff preserved as we worked on our improvement.
Here are a couple of the interesting ways that were shared in the article:
8. Teach Students How to Learn – Students are taught what to learn. In order for them to be successful as learners, they also have to discover how to learn and to develop an appetite for learning. I’m convinced that one of the reasons some students do not succeed in college is that they sail through high school learning the prescribed curriculum, but never learn how to learn.
9. Teachers as Learners Environment – Teachers are all about instructing their students. Teachers should also invest in themselves. I’m referring to teachers actively pursuing knowledge because they want to know more. The best teachers continue to grow and don’t rely solely on school designated professional development hours as their outlet to learn new concepts and ideas about education. This could include reading professional development books, blogs, or articles online. One powerful way to continue to grow as an educator is to join an online personal learning network and/or develop one on Twitter.
How do you focus on creating a “learning environment” in your school?
3. Pupils do get better at school if teachers are not fixated on test results – Just coming back from the US where, unfortunately, the talk often turns to the “Common Core” and standardized testing, I still think this is a valid argument on how you can focus on other things as opposed to tests and still have students do relatively well. If students become “learners”, can they still not do well in exams?
“Nowhere is this more apparent than in science learning where relentless preparation for tests and exams drives out the important and engaging aspects, especially the practical work,” he said. “All the evidence suggests that ‘teaching to the test’ results in superficial learning and a level of boredom that can turn pupils away from science.
As a final video, I wanted to share this Arnold Schwarzenegger video below. The words are powerful yet his character (rightfully so) is often questioned. His words are inspirational, but because of his past, would you share this video with students? I would love your thoughts.
Have a great week!