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Showing posts from February, 2016

Why some kids can’t spell and why spelling tests won’t help

Misty Adoniou, University of CanberraA couple of years ago, early one morning, I received an SMS advising “resadents to stay indoors because of a nearby insadent”. I was shocked by the spelling, as much as the message. Surely, I thought, if it was a real message then the spelling would be correct.Spelling matters. In a text message from a friend teeing up a night out “c u at 8” is fine - but in an emergency warning text from a government agency, I expect the spelling to be standard. But why is it that some people struggle with standard spelling?Spelling remains the most relentlessly tested of all the literacy skills, but it is the least taught.Sending a list of words home on Monday to be tested on Friday is not teaching. Nor is getting children to write their spelling words out 10 times, even if they have to do it in rainbow colours.Looking, covering, writing and checking does not teach spelling. Looking for little words inside other words, and doing word searches are just time filler…

What happens when LIGO texts you to say it's detected one of Einstein's predicted gravitational waves

Chad Hanna, Pennsylvania State UniversityThe best thing about a day in my life on the lookout for gravitational waves is that I never know when it will begin.Like many of my colleagues working for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), the morning of Monday, September 14, 2015 caught me completely off-guard. For years, we’ve been joking that Advanced LIGO would be so sensitive we might just detect one the very first day it turns on. In retrospect, it’s remarkable how close to reality that joke turned out to be.LIGO is listening for gravitational waves – one of the last unproven predictions of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. In his view of the universe, space and time are fluid things that depend on an observer’s frame of reference. For example, time passes just a (very) little bit more slowly for those who work on the ground floor of an office building as compared to their peers on the 101st floor. Why? They’re deeper in Earth’s gravitational pull.Gra…

9 Books Subversive Teachers Must Read

If you are a responsible subversive teacher like me, you know well how hard it is to swim against the torrential current of institutional school systems backed up by business models, oblivious educators, and short-gain parents. Yet, you are not alone, many other educators have had the same ordeals, and they still do because it is a never ending battle of the enlightened minds. Below are 9 books written by, more of less, such responsible subversive educators for educators and parents. The books are not in order or preference, for they are all significant to any educator or parent who would like  a better way to raise their children. 1- Dumbing Us Down (by John Taylor Gatto)This radical treatise on public education has been a New Society Publishers' bestseller for 10 years! Thirty years of award-winning teaching in New York City's public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders as cogs…