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Articles on Learning

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Some have suggested there’s a rise in the use of so called ‘smart drugs’ – but how much do we know about their use and effects? Brain image from www.shutterstock.com

Drugs for grades: the realities of academic doping

The use of drugs to improve academic performance goes by a number of names – “academic doping”, “cosmetic neurology”, “neuroenhancement”. A recent survey suggested that Australian university students are…
Does poor literacy come down to a matter of teaching bias? Reading image from www.shutterstock.com

My first ideology: teaching reading falls victim to the culture wars

When teaching students how to read, teachers are ignoring the best, scientifically-proven approaches according to a report out this week from libertarian research institute the Centre for Independent Studies…
What matters more when it comes to intelligence: nature or nurture? Brain image from www.shutterstock.com

Are genes really the reason more poor kids do badly at school?

A news report recently informed readers that the reason children from poorer backgrounds struggle is due to genetic “inherited abilities”. According to the article, a new Productivity Commission report…
How do NAPLAN tests compare? Test image from www.shutterstock.com

NAPLAN doesn’t stand up to international tests

A new parliamentary report on the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) finally takes a long, hard look at the calibre of these controversial tests. As part of the committee process…
We’re shortchanging our students by waiting to introduce the big scientific ideas until high school. Young mozart image from www.shutterstock.com

Searching for scientific Mozarts: get em’ while they’re young

MATHS AND SCIENCE EDUCATION: We’ve asked our authors about the state of maths and science education in Australia and its future direction. In this instalment, Jennifer Donovan, Carole Haeusler and Ian…
Hands-on problem solving methods will help students become - and stay - engaged with maths and science. Thompson Rivers

Let’s be practical here: active learners are most engaged

MATHS AND SCIENCE EDUCATION: We’ve asked our authors about the state of maths and science education in Australia and its future direction. In this instalment, Chancellor of Monash University Alan Finkel…
A longer academic year would have serious drawbacks for university students and staff. Academic image from www.shutterstock.com

Idle time? Why we don’t need a longer academic year

This week Coalition MP Alan Tudge wrote a piece in the Australian Financial Review calling for an end to the 26-week academic year. In his article, he said students were spending the remainder of their…
What are you paying for when you choose a private, non-government school? Private school image from www.shutterstock.com

Buyer beware: are you really purchasing a ‘better’ education?

Australian parents are increasingly choosing to spend more money on their children’s education. A report released last week showed parents who chose private education for their child were paying an average…
Getting the mix right: we need to take a closer look at the future of science education. Science education image from www.shutterstock.com

Science in schools: can we choose a better future?

Every now and then we manufacture a crisis in Australian school science. People write reports. These recommend change, including curriculum change, and point out the ways in which current patterns of school…
Let children run wild, run free: that’s the message of a new education movement called “unschooling”. Children image from www.shutterstock.com

‘Unschooling’ – education fad or real alternative?

What do you think about the idea of allowing your children to stay at home all day and do whatever they like? Do you think you could trust them to learn without teachers or parents telling them what, when…
Education used to be about striving towards the light of knowledge but this is increasingly less important. Cave image from www.shutterstock.com

Out from the cave: have we lost the purpose of education?

It’s nothing new to say we have a problem in education. But I’m not here to discuss the usual gripes with teachers and test scores. I believe we have a more fundamental problem with defining what we want…
Here’s why the old teaching methods are not necessarily the best. School image from www.shutterstock.com

Why we should never return to the three Rs

Ongoing calls for a rejection of “intellectual fads” and a return to “more traditional teaching methods” seem to be ramping up in the education debate. But if these advocates were talking about rejecting…
Storytelling is increasingly being left behind in a crowded curriculum. Storytelling image from www.shutterstock.com

Once upon a time: reclaiming storytelling in schools

With high stakes testing and a crowded curriculum, something fundamental is being left behind in education – storytelling. Some might argue that speaking and listening have always been undervalued in schools…
There is a clear link between communication disorders and young offenders – but what can we do about it? Youth justice image from www.shutterstock.com

Young offenders need a verbal toolkit to unlock literacy

Half of Australia’s young male offenders have a clinically significant, previously unidentified language deficit. It’s a shocking figure that comes after ten years worth of research into the oral language…
Teachers are taking their own steps to learn more about their profession through social media networks. Flickr/Corey Leopold

A teachers’ show and tell: professional learning unplugged

It’s been a long time since I have been in a pub at 10.30am but that’s where you would have found me last Saturday at the Great Northern Hotel in Chatswood, Sydney. I wasn’t there to get on the punt or…
Universities campuses need to adapt to the new reality of mobile students and online education. Flickr/Jill

The university campus of the future: what will it look like?

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: We continue our series on the rise of online and blended learning and how free online courses are set to transform the higher education sector. Today Victoria University’s David…
Are you motivated or do you need a social setting and role models to keep you driven? Exercise bike image from www.shutterstock.com

MOOCs and exercise bikes – more in common than you’d think

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: The rise of online and blended learning and the development of free online courses is set to transform the higher education sector. We’ve asked our authors how to remake the…
The evidence to support brain-training programs is too thin to be trialling them in our school system. Brain image from www.shutterstock.com

Brain-Training’ … or learning, as we like to call it

The Catholic Education Office in Sydney has announced that from 2013 it will trial the controversial Arrowsmith Program for children with learning difficulties. Arrowsmith is one of a number of “brain-training…

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