Education Experts Notice the Disintegrating Dyke, and Advocate More Fingers

Yesterday, the Grattan Institute released a report:

Tackling under-achievement: Why Australia should embed high-quality small-group tuition in schools

Great idea. While you’re at it, maybe give each kid their own pony. Continue reading “Education Experts Notice the Disintegrating Dyke, and Advocate More Fingers”

Selling Teachers Short

A few days a ago, an occasional commenter told us about the teacher shortage at their school. They suggested the shortage was going to “play havoc” with their teaching load. We’re not quite sure how that works, since we thought there were strong and weird restrictions on what could be demanded of teachers, but we’re not doubting the reality on the ground. Our teacher correspondent also offered tentative reasons for the shortage: boomer teachers retiring, both naturally and motivated by covid; little incentive for people become new teachers; new teachers not lasting.

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Into the Voigt of ChatGPT

So far, there have been about a million columns written on ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that was launched a couple months ago. About half a million of these columns have been devoted to predictions on ChatGPT’s implications for education, both in schools and universities. Many of the columns have been fearful, but a few are bright-eyed, talking up the Brave New Possibilities that ChatGPT will offer, and will demand. Continue reading “Into the Voigt of ChatGPT”

WitCH 92: The Webs VCAA Weaves

This is a continuation of a previous WitCH. To provide teachers with some guidance on the new VCE Specialist Mathematics curriculum (Word, idiots, and see comments here), VCAA had posted two webinars, on proof by contradiction and proof by induction; we WitCHed it. (31/01/24 Webinar link updated.) VCAA has now added four new webinars, which can be viewed here, and with companion documents as indicated below. (31/01/24 Webinar link updated.)

Get to work.

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The Producers

Or maybe we should have titled the post Springtime for Shitler. Whatever. The Productivity Commission has come out with its Final Report on the National School Reform Agreement. We made a submission, and we remarked upon the Interim Report, and so we feel obligated to write something now. But our heart isn’t in it. (And since there’s little else here, readers may as well enjoy the song.)

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Marshalling Resources

My family and I are just back from a week at the beach. Content from winning the Port Fairy boogie boarding championship,* I’ll soon get back to bashing the Australian curriculum and to other topics. First, a quick one, on some old books.

As is typical, the beach house where we stayed contained an odd assortment of games and DVDs and books. Oddest of the books was a selection from “The Marshall Cavendish Learning System”. These books are from the late 60s and rang the vaguest of bells, but I have no idea what the “learning system” was, if anything other than marketing, nor for whom the books were intended. The books, with no distinguishable authors, were published by the UK company Marshall Cavendish, which is now a Singaporean entity, or part of a Thai brewery, or something. God knows.

What is notable is that the books are good.

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Witch 91: Engaging With Reality

Following on from Adam Carey’s report on the decline of enrolments in Specialist Mathematics, Radio National held an interview-discussionHow to re-engage students in mathematics. The interview was with the president of the MAV and the Chief Engineer of Engineers Australia. We haven’t the energy to document or analyse their various diagnoses and caveats and solutions. Go for it. Continue reading “Witch 91: Engaging With Reality”

A Special Decline

Adam Carey has a report in The Age today, on Victoria’s declining enrolments in Specialist Mathematics. Which is quite the puzzle. After all, if an “advanced mathematics subject” is a prerequisite for tertiary studies, and if on top of that the subject is well constructed and offers serious and interesting mathematics, then student numbers should be very healthy. Oh, wait. Continue reading “A Special Decline”

Rishi Rich’s New Maths Problem

Of course, Rishi Sunak’s original maths problem was how to hide God knows how many millions of pounds from the UK tax authorities. Rishi’s new maths problem is convincing anyone that his idea for school kids to study “maths” until they’re eighteen isn’t monumentally stupid.

On the other hand, if anyone commenting on Sunak’s latest idiocy wrote anything remotely intelligent, we failed to see it. (But thank God for Michael Spicer.)

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