Generation Alpha


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Paul Inkles

New research from Mark McCrindle reported in the Herald Sun today that 300,000 Australian babies born in the past year – Generation Alpha – will be “smarter, richer, healthier – and lonelier” than previous generations.

That’s an interesting list.  Especially the part about being lonelier.  With all the extra education, lifestyle and health on offer, why on earth would they be lonelier?  Living alone and less likely to marry? With house prices and expenses continuing to rise, will multi-generational households become more common for future generations of Australians, I wonder, so that living alone actually becomes less common. We really need to continue to promote wellbeing and positive relationships in our schools and in society generally.  Many of those relationships may be online, but we also need that human connection – with our loved ones, workmates, pets or even the person you meet as you go about your business today.

I think the name ‘Alpha’ was a clever choice for this new generation.  To me, it signals a sense of mastery in their lives.  I hope that their interest in all things healthy and successful includes a sense of mastery in looking after their happiness and wellbeing too.

Best Blogs in Education


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Vivian Evans
As a newcomer to the world of blogging, I have been very keen to find interesting blogs in the fields of education, leadership and positive psychology. I’m sure I will add to this list of interests over time and look for different blogs on a wider range of subjects.

One site I found really interesting was Teach.com. Teach 100 ranks and scores hundreds of education blogs. Check out the top 100.

Some of my favourite blogs so far have been:

The Principal of Change (currently No. 32)

Teach Amazing (couldn’t find it listed?)

Teachthought  (currently No. 8)

Edudemic (currently No. 3)

Edutopia (currently No. 4)

The list is extensive and I could spend many hours browsing the different sites.

I’m curious – what is your favourite blog and what do you like about it?

School improvement – what matters most?

On Friday 10 May, Education Ministers from across Australia endorsed the Initial Teacher Education: Data Report, complied by AITSL.  

You can read a summary from the AITSL website – Initial Teacher Education – or the full report here  Initial Teacher Education: Data Report

Trying to reconcile this with the views of Pasi Salberg What if Finland’s great teachers taught in U.S. schools?

I enjoy a healthy debate and it is good to weigh up the different viewpoints surrounding school improvement.

This post and the previous one from Dr Jackie Gerstein encapsulate many parts of it – student family context, initial and ongoing teacher education, teacher effectiveness, school leadership and school climate.

What other things do you think are important to consider in terms of school improvement?

The Other 21st Century Skills

What a post! So much information here to digest.

User Generated Education

skills

Many have attempted to identify the skills important for a learner today in this era of the 21st century (I know it is an overused phrase).  I have an affinity towards the skills identified by Tony Wagner:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and analyzing information
  • Curiosity and imagination   http://www.tonywagner.com/7-survival-skills

Today I viewed a slideshow created by Gallup entitled, The Economics of Human Development: The Path to Winning Again in Education.

Here are some slides from this presentation.

2013-05-21_1100

This presentation sparked my thinking about what other skills and attributes would serve the learners (of all ages) in this era of learning.  Some other ones that I believe important based on what I hear at conferences, read via blogs and other social networks include:

  • Perseverance
  • Resilience
  • Hope and Optimism
  • Vision
  • Self-Regulation
  • Empathy and Global…

View original post 1,155 more words

New Bill of Rights for Students

The New Bill of Rights for All Students

Excerpts from Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Gallup Education

Gallup has a silver bullet for solving many of the world’s problems. Here it is: Every student in the world, from pre-K to higher ed, needs:

  • Someone who cares about their development 
  • To do what they like to do each day
  • To do what they are best at every day

That’s it. It should be the new bill of rights for all students — and frankly, all people — worldwide.

This insight is rooted in Gallup’s most important findings — everyone in the world wants a good job, and no one ever became successful by trying to improve their weaknesses. They became great by playing to their strengths and leveraging their innate talents. These two findings have absolutely everything in common with the new bill of rights.

and

 Imagine what the world would look like if we found a way to maximize human potential by everyone doing what they are best at every day. The impact is unfathomable.  

Gallup estimates that — at most — 30% of the United State’s workforce is actively engaged in their work. We also know the outlook is pretty miserable in schools; in elementary school, engagement peaks at 76%, but then decreases each year students are in school — down to 61% in middle school and then 44% in high school. If schools focused on students’ strengths rather than their weaknesses, students would be more engaged throughout their entire education.  

The excerpts above gives a real focus to the purpose of positive education and the reasons why we should pursue it at the system level. The three rights may sound like motherhood statements, but it challenges me to stop and think for a moment before every lesson I teach – Do they know that I and others at school care about them? Will they do something they like in this lesson? Will they feel the success of doing something they are good at?  If 44% is reflected in Australian statistics then we each have a part to play in lifting engagement in schools and positive education practices are a great place to start.

Twitter for educators

I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter.  Since it’s inception, I think I have ‘tried’ it half a dozen times but never really stuck with it.  Increasingly, I have found that conferences for educators are running Twitter feeds live as the presentation proceeds.  At first I found this quite odd.  I mean – aren’t you supposed to be paying attention to the speaker? Taking notes?  But as I have become more used to it, I have reopened my account @katecutts and joined in.  What drew me in was the sharing between the silent. Being at one with a group of other people. Being in the moment with them and learning from their observations.  It’s like a multiplier of my learning.

Then today I read this blogpost from George Couros: What should a networked educational leader tweet about? It gives a great snapshot of the kinds of learning and professional networking that comes from tweeting.

Love to hear your thoughts on Twitter.