Posts Tagged ‘Julia Gillard’

I’m Just Gonna Say It: Standardised Tests Suck!

March 4, 2012

I completely and utterly detest standardised testing. My Grade 3 students are just 8 years old. How unbelievable insensitive of our Federal Government to subject these kids to a week-long torturous array of formal testing!  These kids have had little to no experience with test papers and exam conditions, and no matter how calm and stress free I am trying to make my classroom, my students know that it’s coming and they don’t like it one bit!

HIGH STAKE standardised tests, such as NAPLAN, are having a negative impact on children with experts saying such examinations reduce the ability to learn.

Nationwide testing of students in years 3, 5, 7, and 9 was introduced by the federal government four years ago to allow parents and teachers to benchmark the numeracy and literacy levels of individual children and specific schools.

But a review of academic literature on the issue released by the University of Western Sydney’s Whitlam Institute revealed national testing programs such as NAPLAN were a source of significant stress for young people and their families.

Institute director Eric Sidotti said schools can become ”emotional cauldrons”.”It should come as no surprise that the introduction of a national regime of standardised external testing would become a lightning rod of claim and counter-claim and a battleground for competing educational philosophies,” he said.

The review found ”a range of concerns” about the reliability of standardised testing, quality of learning experiences, structure of the curriculum and health and well-being of children.

There is also evidence of negative effects on service delivery; professional-parent relationships; and stress, anxiety, pressure and fear experienced by students.

Research also found a negative impact on teaching, with standardised tests putting pressure on teachers to emphasise results over holistic learning.

”Teachers will focus on the areas in which students will be tested, while reducing the proportion of class time devoted to curriculum areas not included in state tests,” the review notes.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said tests measuring the progress of more than a million Australian students over the past four years allowed parents to identify schools where students achieve comparative improvement over peers of a similar background.

Ms Gillard said NAPLAN lifted the academic performance of students, giving teachers feedback on education strategies and providing disadvantaged schools with access to extra funding.

”We want every child in Australia to have access to a world class education,” she said.

”My School is pivotal to this. It helps us see what works and which schools need support to improve.”

There is nothing positive to come out of these tests. It negatively affects the way my students view learning, it affects the way I teach and it prevents what should be a fun year from eventuating. If you want to test high school kids, go ahead. But leave my Grade 3’s out of your mean experiment!

Let’s Teach 4-Year Olds How To Drive

December 20, 2011

Before you disagree with my proposal let me explain the rationale. At some point people need to know how to drive. We all want capable drivers on our roads, so what better time to teach them the intricacies of driving than when they are young.

Right?

Of course not.

Not only are 4-year olds too young to drive but they are also too young to learn other important life skills such as cyber safety. Why the Government expects kinder teachers to educate their young pupils on proper use of internet and the dangers of purchasing goods online beats me.

KINDERGARTENS will be urged to teach cyber safety to four-year-olds amid fears they could fall prey to online predators and bullies.

The Gillard Government will write to state education heads to encourage the take-up of cyber safety programs that teach children not to be mean online and keep their private information to themselves.

It comes amid revelations Victorian primary school children are “sexting” their friends and posting hate messages about their teachers on social networking sites.

A parliamentary committee report earlier this year recommended the Government consider the feasibility of helping deliver programs in preschools and kindergartens.

The Government yesterday accepted the recommendation in principle, but was waiting for a paper on cyber issues to be released in mid-2012 to give a detailed answer.

 In the meantime, it will encourage use of Australian Communication and Media Authority programs, including Cybersmart for Young Kids.

It features a bottlenose dolphin called Hector Protector and his friends teaching young children to keep “special information” private and tell mum or dad if they see anything scary or upsetting online.

It also encourages children to share passwords with their parents and to “be nice” to others.

And parents can download a “safety button” that children can click on to cover up anything upsetting they see online with a friendly picture.

Cyber safety expert Susan McLean said flexible, compulsory education should begin as soon as children switched on a computer, from kindergarten onwards.

“I’ve seen cyber bullying in grade 2. I’ve seen kids buying things on the internet at age seven after their parents have told them not to. That’s commonplace.”

Teaching kids skills too early is like not teaching them at all. I can’t see the value of making young children endure a program that will surely be too advanced for them and doesn’t relate to their present day lives.

Whats next? Teaching four-year olds how to work an electric drill?

Education on Climate Change, Not Scare Tactics

July 10, 2011

No matter how strongly teachers may feel on the subject of climate change, there is no place for scare tactics in a Primary classroom.

PRIMARY school children are being terrified by lessons claiming climate change will bring “death, injury and destruction” to the world unless they take action.

On the eve of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s carbon tax package announcement, psychologists and scientists said the lessons were alarmist, created unneeded anxiety among school children and endangered their mental health.

Climate change as a “Doomsday scenario” is being taught in classrooms across Australia.

Resource material produced by the Gillard government for primary school teachers and students states climate change will cause “devastating disasters”.

Australian National University’s Centre for the Public Awareness of Science director Dr Sue Stocklmayer said climate change had been portrayed as “Doomsday scenarios with no way out”.

The fear campaign must stop.  It is a manipulative and immature tactic by a desperate Government.  Our job as educators is to empower and motivate not scare our students senseless.

I refuse to teach Government resource material that has the potential to frighten my students.


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