Growing Bookworms Newsletter: New Year, New Focus Edition
Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: January 8

Some #JoyOfLearning Articles, w/ Quotes and Notes: January 7

JoyOFLearningLogoIn honor my new blog direction (see description here), I'm trying out a new feature. I'm rounding up articles specific to education and the joy of learning (or lack thereof) with quotes and my own notes. The idea is to go into a bit more depth than I'm able to do for my usual Friday Twitter links roundups. I would be interested to know if people find this useful. Here are three new links: 

Yes! "We need to (not) cheapen the act of learning w/ plastic trinkets" as rewards:

Pernille Ripp: "We need to stop teaching kids that when they learn, they earn something.  That when they learn they must be rewarded with a tangible thing to play with, rather than just the satisfaction of the knowledge they have gained. Because in our well-meaning intention of trying to help students feel accomplished, we are helping kill the love of learning itself."

Me: I agree with this. I have refrained from participating in Summer Reading programs for my daughter, because I don't want her needing prizes to want to read books. 

Big Changes in High School Testing Allowed in Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) -

Catherine Gewertz: "The Every Student Succeeds Act, now going by the nickname ESSA, allows states and districts to dump their current state tests to measure high school achievement, and use college entrance exams such as the ACT or SAT instead. This move might not sound like much on the surface, but it would represent a major shift in how achievement is measured, and in what kind of achievement is being measured. And in doing that, it would suggest an important change in what we think high school is for."

Me: On the one hand, I like the idea of fewer tests, and less school time taken for test prep. On the other hand, really? The SAT is supposed to measure what you've learned in high school? Results are highly correlated with parental income. I suspect that this move is going to have unintended consequences. The article has links to quite a bit of further discussion. 

The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids, they are working more but learning less in

Erika Christakis: "The real focus in the preschool years should be not just on vocabulary and reading, but on talking and listening. We forget how vital spontaneous, unstructured conversation is to young children’s understanding...The shift from an active and exploratory early-childhood pedagogy to a more scripted and instruction-based model does not involve a simple trade-off between play and work, or between joy and achievement. On the contrary, the preoccupation with accountability has led to a set of measures that favor shallow mimicry and recall behaviors, such as learning vocabulary lists and recognizing shapes and colors (something that a dog can do, by the way, but that is in fact an extraordinarily low bar for most curious 4-year-olds), while devaluing complex, integrative, and syncretic learning."

Me: Christakis suggests that what preschoolers need is not more academic training, but more time simply interacting and talking with qualified teachers, and more time exploring ideas. She also warns that kids who are in academic preschools may burn out earlier in elementary school, "losing their enthusiasm for learning." This is certainly food for thought. 

That's all for today! Happy reading!

© 2016 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This post contains affiliate links.