Tag Archives: Assessments

How to Build a Teacher in 10 Steps


Introduction: On Touchstones and Magic Right now there is an aspiring teacher who is working on a 60-page paper based on some age-old education theory developed by some dead education professor wondering to herself what this task that she’s engaging … Continue reading

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Tailgunners, Falling Cats & Top Students: How to Overcome Survivorship Bias & Improve Schools


During World War 2 a study was conducted as to where best to reinforce aircraft in order to cut down on the amount of planes that were lost in incursions against the enemy. (The entire plane couldn’t be reinforced as … Continue reading

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‘UnEducation’: A Creative Path to Better Teaching and Learning


Question: What happens when you ‘un’ something? Answer: You turn it into its opposite. You flip it. Believable becomes unbelievable, blocked becomes unblocked and afraid becomes unafraid. Uning doesn’t make a thing disappear, it simply inverts it. It is not … Continue reading

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The Education Revolution vs The Scourge of Standardized Assessment: What Really Matters


Teachers: Let’s be brutally honest shall we: exam results are all that matters in education. Bottom line. Don’t misunderstand: What students can regurgitate and explain and do in a stress-fueled few hours should not be the ultimate end of their … Continue reading

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23 Reasons Why the FIFA World Cup is Like Traditional Old-School Education


****************************** This just in from the Half Tongue-in-Cheek Department: ******************************   The FIFA World Cup, said someone once, rather disparagingly, involves national teams of overpaid players with lovely haircuts kicking a ball around, falling elaborately for no particular reason and … Continue reading

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Does the Quest to Program an Intelligent Robot Provide a Model for 21st Century Education?


Processing Learning is a system with inputs, processes and outputs. There has been much discussion in recent years around how we need to improve the inputs so that the outputs become more relevant and meaningful in the modern world. We … Continue reading

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The Brave New World of Twenty-First Century Learning (A Retort)


Dear Margaret I read your article in The Globe and Mail (Saturday, Jun. 28 2014) with dismay. In the article, you assert that “21st century learning is nothing more than warmed-over romantic progressivism” with absolutely no evidence to support its … Continue reading

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How to Make a Zombie: Send a Kid to School


Exams + exams + exams + tests + tests …. = zombies Continue reading

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Why It’s Time for Machines to Take Over Marking High-Stakes Tests


Assessors of these collective, uniform exams have to mark their way through hundreds of submissions. They usually sit in a room with piles of exams around them and mark for days on end until those piles disappear. And often they are under-motivated, under-qualified, over-tired and not in the mood to look for insight, independent thinking and innovative thought. They just want to switch on their autonomic brains and send as many assessments through the marking conveyor belt as they can. Continue reading

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Why Declining National Assessment Standards Hurts Kids


You would think that lowering the standards of final national exams in South Africa would be good news for kids. Easier exams mean more of them pass more easily. And top students can clean up. You would be wrong. Easier … Continue reading

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Defending Mediocrity: Examiners and their Apologists in South Africa


Excuse me while I rant a bit… In South Africa, there are two alternative examination authorities: those set under the auspices of the Government (the National Senior Certificate – NSC) and those set by an Independent Examinations Board (the IEB). … Continue reading

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What’s Missing In Our Classrooms?


Providing a more relevant education to young people is one of the key issues we face in building a better world. By now, we are all aware that education must go beyond the rote memorization of disconnected facts, and must … Continue reading

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Teachers Are Not Doctors, We’re Builders


I confess to a blunder: I have often put forward that teachers should be regarded in the same light as medical professionals. I have argued that we are as important to society, and that we consequently need to ensure that … Continue reading

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40 Reasons Why I Will Never Be a Good Teacher


Here’s why, however hard I try, I will never be the great teacher I want to be…

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40 Ideas for ‘Thinking Teaching’ Hour… Add Yours.


Like many schools these days, mine has a Thinking Teaching group. We get together as often as we can to discuss ideas around teaching and best practice. The group is very diverse and very vocal and very stimulating.     … Continue reading

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The Emperor’s New Invisibility Achievement: Using Gamification to Obscure the Big Problems in Education


Why Gamify Classrooms? As I understand it, the ‘gamification‘ of the classroom aims to fuse the following benefits of computer or console gaming into learning: The attainment of levels and associated skills / powers / titles / rewards and the … Continue reading

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How Can You Teach If You Don’t Learn? (27 Things Teachers Can Learn About Students by Changing Roles.)


Nothing Like A MOOC. As I write this, I am finishing my first MOOC, titled ‘Think Again: How to Reason and Argue’*. The triumphs and failures I have experienced in this course have taught me a career-refreshing lesson about what … Continue reading

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20 Reasons Why (Some) Teachers Are What’s Wrong With Education


Some teachers are what is wrong with the system. They blame everyone else for the problems in modern-day schools: students, parents, school leaders and the government – but very seldom do they turn the bright lamp of accusation on themselves. … Continue reading

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Ulcers, Aliens & Mozart: Mr H’s List of Commonly Held Fallacies. (Critical Thinking Topics for Students.)


(Critical Thinking Topics for Class Discussions, Student Presentations, Research Assignments & Computer Skills Projects.) (Cue: Happy, Pop Infomercial Music) (Read in an over-excited pseudo-expert voice. Enthusiasm: 11/10) Tired of the same old topics when assigning research tasks? Tired of having … Continue reading

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Students to Teachers (Part 2): Education is Supposed to Produce Independent Thinkers, Not Answering Machines.


This is the second in the series of letters to teachers from students. This time, a young man in Grade 12 talks about how we are missing the point of education by obsessing about marks and assessments. He insists that his … Continue reading

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