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A Christmas Carol | Marking was dead time-consuming: to begin with.

Totally fabulous – do read it all. Merry Christmas 🙂

“Stave One: Marking’s Ghost

Marking was dead time-consuming: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. But then the new marking craze was embraced by all, despite Ofsted’s protestations that it had nothing to do with them. New marking was born: triple impact, verbal feedback stamps, dialogic, five different coloured-pens… the list went on. Old Marking was as dead as a door-nail.

Scrooge’s name was on all of the department emails and he worked his department to the grindstone.

But it was Christmas and, at length, the hour of shutting up the school arrived. With an ill-will Scrooge dismounted his stool, and tacitly admitted the fact to his expectant department, who instantly packed up their marking and put on their coats.

“You won’t be finishing that marking over the break, I suppose?” Scrooge said to his second in department.

“No, sir. I have family coming to visit,” came the reply.

“A poor excuse. Humbug. Make sure you are in early on the first day back to make up for it then.”

The second in department promised he would be; and Scrooge walked out with a growl.

Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in the usual melancholy Greggs; and having read all his emails, and beguiled the rest of the evening at home with some more data analysis, went to bed…..”

Read the rest by clicking below.  It just gets better and better.

~ Dianne

Othmar's Trombone

Stave One: Marking’s Ghost

Marking was dead time-consuming: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. But then the new marking craze was embraced by all, despite Ofsted’s protestations that it had nothing to do with them. New marking was born: triple impact, verbal feedback stamps, dialogic, five different coloured-pens… the list went on. Old Marking was as dead as a door-nail.

Scrooge’s name was on all of the department emails and he worked his department to the grindstone.

But it was Christmas and, at length, the hour of shutting up the school arrived. With an ill-will Scrooge dismounted his stool, and tacitly admitted the fact to his expectant department, who instantly packed up their marking and put on their coats.

“You won’t be finishing that marking over the break, I suppose?” Scrooge said to his second in department.

“No, sir. I have family coming to visit,” came the reply.

“A…

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Beanbags: An Alternative Statement of Intent Possibly from the Minister of Education (or perhaps not)

hekia_parata_maniacleKia ora, Hekia here.  I have a feeling I’ve not been coming over too well in the live education forums so I thought I’d write to you all to outline my fabulous vision for NZ education Inc (USA).

You know, this Government is committed to raising achievement for five out of five students.

Unless they have special education needs or live in Labour supporting areas of Christchurch, because, you know, the embedded goal for all students is of the utmost importance to this government, but, well, oh look over there, some ultra fast fibre computery stuff.

We want to create a shift that places children and young people at the centre of the education system, because, you know, those horrid teachers don’t do that at the moment.

In fact I have it on excellent authority from some people who would like to run a few charter schools that the average Kiwi teacher actually eats children live with classic Kiwi dip.

It’s true.  A friend told me she got an email about it from a very reliable source with an unverifiable IP address.

So, you know, standards, targets, improvement, better things, strengthen the system, renewal, and stuff….

The performance of the education system for priority students – Māori students, Pasifika students, students with special education needs and students from low socio-economic areas – needs to improve rapidly.

But we can’t do anything radical like look at the teensy mountain of evidence that indicates that factors outside of school account for around 80% of a student’s chances of success.

beanbags 2 Because, you know, we can’t measure poverty.  Largely because we don’t want to.  Oooh, look over there, a 21st Century Learning Hub with beanbags!

We continue to work towards our Better Public Services targets of 98% of new entrants knowing where to put an apostrophe.  This will serve them far better than social skills or food. Or shoes.  Or heating. Or any of that other fluffy rubbish.

My main priorities continue to be delivering on the Better Public Services education targets so that I can use the data to put performance pay in place.  I know it’s proven to be unreliable and even lower student achievement, but who could pass up a chance to toy with those nasty teachers?

Did I mention the beanbags?

I am also forging ahead with my plans for the Greater Christchurch Education Renewal Programme.

This largely means shutting down schools in Loony Leftie areas and ignoring the people who live there, because, you know, they are, well, just not on side and seem to think schools are some sort of social focus for the community or something, which is just plain ridiculous.

I am so focused on ensuring the passage of the Education Amendment Bill, undertaking the review of the New Zealand Teachers Council and supporting my Ministerial Cross-Sector Forum that I am fair giddy with excitement.

Of course, I am consulting with all relevant stakeholders so that I can use their submissions as kindling in the wood fire at my wee bach in Titahi Bay. Saves a fortune on paying for it at New World, and Nikki and I have such a giggle reading them beforehand.  Consultation, listening, no pre-conceived ideas, and other exciting words.

We are aiming for a greater use of public data and information, because we’ve heard there’s gong to be a good market for all of that as soon as the TPPA paperwork is signed, sealed and delivered to my good friends in charge of creating costly testing regimes that earn them lots of money.  It’s all for your own good, because I say so.

Our response to the recommendations from the Select Committee Inquiry into 21st Century Learning Environments and Digital Literacy was the same as it is to all such select committees, insomuch as we will listen then forge ahead with whatever we planned to do in the first place.

Our Government is committed to supporting the profession through a range of initiatives such as criticising them continuously, refusing to listen to their feedback via select committees, taking away their right to elect a representative or two to their own professional body, and of course, mocking them whenever possible. It’s good for them. Creates backbone.

Greater choice for parents, families and whānau is super really very, like mega, important.  Not actual choice, just using the words “greater choice”.  That’s the important bit – to keep saying it, so that people think they are actually getting it.  People are so very easily lead along, just ask my friend Judith.  Greater Choice.  See.  Very important.

beanbags 1Over the next 10 years, we are investing up to $1,000 million to toy with the education system across greater Christchurch. We will support new and innovative teaching, and buy beanbags and primary-coloured desks and stuff.  Ooh and lots of open plan.

No new funding for the kids themselves, though.  But hey, beanbags, what’s not to like?

The priorities set out in this Statement of Intent represent my wish to fulfil my own potential by hanging onto my job long enough to get something overseas, maybe ambassador or something, so that I am nowhere near when it all hits the fan.

Because, lord above, the last thing this government wants is any of the “accountability’ silliness.

Ministerial Statement of Responsibility

I am satisfied that I will get away with it.  After all, it seems like John’s got his hands full at the moment.

Toodles,

Hekia P.

I need a laugh: Education jokes and memes

Hekia washing her hands again

nisbet-national-standards

meme-why-do-we-keep-them

in good faith - Hekia Parata - Inigo Montoya

judging a teacher by test restults

 

 

sosnz-assessment-parata-quote-meme

 

wonka asks Hekia have you got an answer

 

hekia school funding

Carl Sagan truth

Student tests to begin in utero

fetus-in-a-wombUnhappy with news that England is to begin testing its 4 year olds and even 2 year olds, New Zealand Education Minister Hekia Parata has been busy this weekend not only avoiding the mounting calls for her to resign but also trying to figure out how to win in this increasingly tricky race for data.

After careful and open consultation with people she knew would agree with her, she has decided that henceforth all children should be tested in utero.

Face-distorting-lens-helmet-04To avoid cheating and ensure the data is rigorous enough to share with businesses, mothers will be blindfolded and gagged so they can’t give their progeny help with the tests. Consideration is also being given to the idea of putting mothers’ heads in vacuum flasks so that they cannot pass on information by telepathy.

ACT raised the very real concern that twin and triplicate pregnancies could lead to siblings cheating.  In has been agreed that, in this instance, the babies may be induced early so that they can be tested in separate rooms.

Education and medical specialists have raised concerns, which Hekia dismissed as “The usual hoohah from those with a vested interest in the status quo,” adding that it is “essential that five out of five unborn children have the right to know where to put an apostrophe and how to share a pizza fairly between five people.”

pregnancy_test_positive_faintNational Standards data will be published by Stuff.co.nz so that would-be parents can judge which doctors would give their unborn children the best chance of success.  Doctors and midwives may, admitted Parata, be paid according to how clever the babies they deliver are.

Fetuses will also be allocated National Student Numbers (NSN) as soon as the little blue line appears on the stick, so they can be tracked through the system.

Parata was heard to mutter, as she walked out of the press conference, “Beat that Gove.”

 

 

Kid President is Spreading Some Awesome

“No matter who you are, somebody is learning from you”

Word.

That guy knows how to inspire.

Now go spread some awesome of your own 🙂

Expert Sweepers to identify minor problems in schools such as poverty

Sometimes humour says it best, and this says it brilliantly:

“Outlined sweeping changes to education. It’s my belief that schools will function a lot better once we roll out changes to sweeping. The floors of many of our schools need to be swept regularly. It’s not good enough to run a broom over the floors once or even twice a week; dust and dirt builds up quickly, and it doesn’t look nice.

I came from a family that didn’t have much. But my mother taught me the value of a clean floor.

I went on to have a successful career, and enjoy wonderful and relaxing summer holidays in Hawaii. Unfortunately too few of today’s children will ever pick themselves up off the floor, especially if it hasn’t been swept.

My government will combat the problem by creating four new roles.

Executive Sweepers will provide new brooms.

Change Sweepers will recycle old brooms.

Lead Sweepers will act as role models to students who aspire to join the sweeping workforce.

Expert Sweepers will be responsible for identifying minor problems in schools such as poverty, hunger, violence, and a deep sense of futility, and sweeping them under the carpet.”

Read the whole piece here.

sweeping

Testing, testing…

Testing, testing...

Testing should inform the teacher and student about where the student is now, and allow them to plan where to go next.

It should not be a stick with which to beat either the student or the teacher.

Oh my sides, hahahah, no stop, no really….

Yeah, if only they were selfless like those nice Wall St and banking guys and gals ...

Yeah, if only they were selfless like those nice Wall St and banking guys and gals …

Education Minister on “a mission that sometimes floats free of the evidence”

bored at schoolUnfortunately, when it comes to the old education reform palava, the UK and NZ seem often to be living parallel lives.

There’s fierce opposition at the moment to UK Education Minister, Mr Gove’s curriculum tinkerings, but as The Guardian pointed outLike many politicians, Mr Gove prefers the disaster narrative” and will forge ahead no matter what the actual evidence or need.

Or as The Guardian editorial so eloquently put it “Mr Gove is a man with a mission that sometimes floats free of the evidence.”

I think he and Hekia would get on famously!

Anyhoo, I found this satirical blog post about Gove’s changes to the UK curriculum, and thought it was worth sharing.  It is on one hand completely hilarious, and on the other hand … <sigh>.

Among the changes being introduced are a requirement for more interminably monotonous tones to be used by teachers in design and technology lessons, as well as subjects such as history and geography to include a lot more soul-destroyingly dull lessons full of irrelevant facts that young children will learn to hate by heart.

According to a Whitehall source:

The introduction of pointless tedium into the national curriculum will prepare state education children much better for the kind of monotonous work such as shelf-stacking and burger flipping which probably awaits them when they leave school.

Boredom and monotony will become the standard in our schools – and this combined with spiritless, fed-up teachers will ensure all schools will be falling over themselves to become academies or free schools just to escape the mind-numbingly tedious national curriculum we’ve introduced.

Key skills such as whinging and carping in many subjects have been brought forward in a child’s school career, so primary-age pupils will be given a lot more annoyingly dull tasks for them to complain about from a much younger age.

Read the rest of this blog post here.

Thank goodness NZ still has its great, flexible curriculum.  So, maybe we are no so parallel after all.

At least for now.

If education reformers ran art galleries…

If Ed reformers ran art galleries...

Flummoxed? Translate your edu-speak here.

flummoxEver wondered what on earth all those phrases, terms and acronyms in education mean?  Who knows their PaCT from their aSStle, their Data Drive Assessment from their GERM?  And just what is Quality Teaching?

I found this fantastic post that makes at least some of it clear.

Below is just a wee sample – pop over to the blog to see the rest.  They are very funny, in an I-laugh-but-I-wanna-cry kind of way.

 

Assessment (noun): A test made by a corporation and protected from peer review and public scrutiny by intellectual property laws and strict confidentiality agreements.

 

Data Driven Assessment (noun): A test made by a corporation and protected from peer review by intellectual property laws and strict confidentiality agreements whose purpose is to provide numbers too complicated and nuanced for the general public to understand, but vague enough that they can be molded into a variety of purposes as the need for “data” to support reforms arises.

 

Reformer (noun): A person who really wants to win an election or get paid by somebody who won an election.

 

Value-Added Score (noun): The application of a scientific, statistical model designed for predicting outcomes to assessment scores.  A model allows constants to become variables and vice versa.  When applied in real time, in real life, with attached consequences for the resulting data, this becomes a synonym for “self-fulfilling prophesy.”

 

My addition is this:

National Standards (noun, pl.):  fuzzy benchmarks pertaining to nothing in particular but which allow students, schools and teachers to be judged as failing, okay or adequate depending on how near the country is to an election.

 

We really need some for New Zealand edu-speak, I think.

Maybe you could suggest more in the comments below?

~ Dianne

Some Stuff I Used To Know – time for a well needed laugh, I think

It’s been a hard time for teachers of late – so I thought for once we could do with a laugh (and one that doesn’t involve mocking politicians)

So here you go

The more you watch, the funnier it gets.

Enjoy 🙂

Groucho Knows Best

politicians

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