Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Social Services

Education is the basis for all we have in society. We were taught by good people who did their best to help us to learn the fundamentals of life. They exercised our brains to take us to places we never would have gone without them. Schools are the backbones of society.

While being the backbone of society, societies issues are affecting children more than ever before. While we may envision children in kindergarten and Grades 1 - 3 as having sweet smiling faces and who are compliant, the facts show that there is growing violence in those areas. Children are coming to school with issues few demonstrated while we were growing up. Spitting, kicking, and punching, to verbal abuse the likes of which we should never hear from anyone let alone children have become too common in today’s classrooms. Yet there it is in schools everyday for other children to learn from. Teachers are ill equipped to deal with these issues while trying to teach the other children in the class.

I believe that there need to be social services in the school building to help the students and their parents deal with the societal issues they face on a daily basis. What good is there in having social services in a building far away from the community where they live? It needs to be within walking distance and where the parents go to pick up their children. Being accessible is the key word here. If schools are the soul of the community then the services need to be where the need is. There should not be a wait time for social services. When children need them social services should be immediately available.  

If we value our children as much as society believes then it is time to step forward and make our schools the safe havens they should be. We need to give each child the best possible chance to become a productive and valuable member of our society. Every child is promised this chance through schools. Let’s fulfill this promise. Bring all the social services to the schools.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Recommendations Follow Up


In a follow up to yesterday’s blog about What The Best Educational Systems Do Right here are some of my recommendations that would help make all educational systems stronger.

  1. Within 5 years every teacher graduating from teacher’s college should have a masters degree.

The thought behind this is that right now having a Bachelor’s Degree and a B Ed are nice but if you want real commitment to education you need to demand that your teachers are highly qualified and are indeed experts in their knowledge area. The days of Gym teachers teaching Math are over. Make sure everyone is an expert.

  1. Every memorandum/ correspondence from the educational body should reflect a positive attitude demonstrating support for their teachers and schools. Parents need to become aware of this too.
We must get everyone on board, from politicians and media to the children in the school. It must be communicated loud and clear the purpose of education and the desire to make it right. When issues of conflict arise it must be seen that everyone is working to make the world a better place. This includes the bashing of unions. Most unions care deeply about the state of education and those working in it. Unions and school boards need to demonstrate they are working together towards a common goal. The commitment must be total.

  1. Assessments should in the area of application of knowledge. When this occurs we can better understand the student’s growth.

Having tests where students either regurgitate facts or simply pick the correct answer is not a test of their knowledge. It is a test of their knowing the facts they have been taught. Students need to be applying their knowledge to solve real problems that demonstrate their thinking skills. The application of those skills across many platforms to create realistic solutions of develop ideas to fruition is more important in this day and age.

  1. That schools should become the home base of social services that children can receive all the support the need to succeed. This should include parental support where necessary. If schools are the soul of the community then all the resources to ensure the success of children should be found there.

Let’s be realistic here. Whatever problems adults are facing in their community their children are also facing. Why is it then that these services are so removed from the local community? Why is there not a team of experts in every community who are on the frontline where people can access them? They should be not only to help those children who need counselling but also for families to access when their need is at it’s greatest. They should not have to wait months to access social sercices.

  1. Every school should make inquiry research the basis for their education with the interests of the children being the springboard for their education.

Inquiry research is thought of as the new thing in education. The reality is it is not new. It has been the basis of education for a long time but has been shunted aside as people focussed on the skills they perceived children to need in areas such as math and language. Inquiry research has the ability to infuse students with many of the skills they will need to be effective in their lives and careers. If used properly it allows students to explore and solve problems that are rooted in the world around them. Kids see problems clearer than adults do and seek solutions based on research infused with meaningful discussion.
  1. That two years of special education training should become mandatory to help teachers understand how to help weaker students become the best they can be in their lives.

This, when crossed with a masters program, gives the teacher a much stronger understanding of autism, behaviour problems, slow learners and other learning disabilities. It gives them ideas of how to work with these children rather than using a guess method.

Children deserve the best we can give them. It is time to replace the war machine with education. The benefits are astronomical. We must get past the fears we have and look at education with a new reality: that it is the most important part of our lives. Education makes us strong and helps us grow. Without education we are merely weeds in a vegetable patch.  

Monday, February 13, 2017

The message from the top educational systems in the world

Education is the measuring post of a society. The success of the students in school has a strong impact on an economy. The more educated students are the more successful an economy is. Today I explore what makes a great educational system.

There are a number of studies that document good educational systems. The countries I looked at are almost always near the top of the educational standards lists. Finland, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, China, Shanghai, Taiwan, and Poland among others. All have amazing similarities.  

Most countries have 3 abiding principles that are at the core of their beliefs. The first is getting the right people to become teachers. They do this by recruiting people right out of high school. They believe that those who have the right attitude for learning need to be given the opportunity to become leaders in education. In giving them this chance it leads to the second principle, that educators need to be developed into effective instructors. These countries spend much time and money doing this. Countries, like Finland have such a great belief in this that they expect their educators to all have a Masters Degree and to have a strong foundation in special education.  Thirdly in supporting their educators they also believe that they need to ensure that the system is able to deliver the best possible instruction for every child. Every teacher is an expert teacher. Every country delivers on their promises to education.

To support education the society in each country believes that teachers are important for the country’s growth and are treated with the utmost of respect. The teachers are thought of in positive ways and work to support their communities. Countries in Asia and in Finland feel very strongly about this. Supporting teachers and the successes of the students demonstrates a more positive way of life. By providing the best teachers possible, providing the resources necessary to do the job and providing a vibrant curriculum that allows the teachers to deliver it with strength they are committed to being the best they can be.
These school systems set high expectations for what each and every child should achieve, and then monitor performance. They do this because they understand that the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow in all the different fields that are available to them. These countries see that success and innovation make their country stronger. Children struggling in school is not acceptable. These countries have in place effective interventions at the level of the school to help these struggling children. Teachers in South Korea spend extra hours after school and on weekends providing extra courses for those struggling. Finland has Special Education teachers in every school, 1 for every 7 classes. They also have Social Services within the school to help make sure all children are given the essentials to succeed. Special education teachers work with a wider support team – psychologists, nurses, special needs advisors to help ensure the success of their children. Canada has a number of programs that allow students struggling with reading to succeed.

Countries with strong school systems also identify schools that are not performing satisfactorily, and intervene to raise the standards of performance. The very best systems intervene at the level of the individual student, developing processes and structures within schools that are able to identify whenever a student is starting to fall behind, and then intervening to improve that child’s performance. They also target schools which are underperforming and spend additional money and give resources and retraining to help them become more successful.

These countries also recognize that testing students on their knowledge alone is not an effective marker of their knowledge level. Every class is designed to develop the student’s thinking skills. They are asked to take their knowledge and apply it to everyday situations that require them to use the higher levels of thinking and apply them to the problem. They are able to analyse and criticize effectively as well as come up with solutions. Students are able to defend their work with sound reasoning.  This represents a movement from the instruction of facts to a model which focuses on competencies such as critical thinking, character, creativity, innovation, as well as digital and computer literacy as well as personal skills, like time management, and communication. Some countries have moved from rote memorization to higher level thinking skills. Students now are tested not only with traditional assessments, but also with real life applications.

The Hong Kong educational system values constructivist based learning and students get hands on training and practice with many skills. Shanghai has integrated science and humanities courses. This is a move towards becoming inquiry based. Students no longer just acquire information. They work to gather and use their knowledge in productive ways. Taiwan considers itself a knowledge economy. The learning and application of knowledge across subject areas is seen as widening the base which students can grow from.

Some countries are working towards engaging families more in their child’s education. Together this demonstrates to children that education is important. Others are working towards erasing the number of dropouts from their systems by engaging the students in participating more in class through dialogue and differentiated instruction. Some countries believe that early learning pays off with better outcomes later in school and life by involving children in school at early ages. They are able to earlier correct areas of difficult with the necessary structures they have to help overcome this.  

Asian countries believe that their programs need to be rigourous and dense. Japanese students are under enormous pressure to be successful. Their country demands success. Finland on the other hand does not have students start school until 7 years old, has no homework until high school and has the lowest number of hours in school among the countries we looked at.

  1. Within 5 years every teacher graduating from teacher’s college should have a masters degree.
  2. Every memorandum/ correspondence from the educational body should reflect a positive attitude demonstrating support for their teachers and schools. Parents need to become aware of this too.
  3. Assessments should in the area of application of knowledge. When this occurs we can better understand the students growth.
  4. That schools should become the home base of social services that children can receive all the support the need to succeed. This should include parental support where necessary. If schools are the soul of the community then all the resources to ensure the success of children should be found there.
  5. Every school should make inquiry research the basis for their education with the interests of the children being the springboard for their education.
  6. That two years of special education training should become mandatory to help teachers understand how to help weaker students become the best they can be.

For education to be at its best every country needs to make education their primary focus, with health care. The two are intertwined and balance each other out. Countries with the best health care and education will become stronger as they go forward. I don’t believe it is hard to do. It is time to make the change.

The skills needed for a successful student by effective school systems.

During my recent research I recently came across these lists of things that are required for a successful school system. This information is from a power point by Linda Darling-Hammond.

  1. Skills students need
    1. Ability to communicate  
    2. Adaptability to change  
    3. Ability to work in teams  
    4. Preparedness to solve problems  
    5. Ability to analyse and conceptualise  
    6. Ability to reflect on and improve performance  
    7. Ability to manage oneself  
    8. Ability to create, innovate and criticise  
    9. Ability to engage in learning new things at all times  
    10. Ability to cross specialist borders.

  1. 21st Century learning requires:  
    1. An understanding of the meaning and relevance of ideas to concrete problems  
    2. An ability to apply core concepts and modes of inquiry to complex real-world tasks  
    3. A capacity to transfer knowledge and skills to new situations, to build on and use them  
    4. Abilities to communicate ideas and to collaborate in problem solving  
    5. An ongoing ability to learn to learn

  1. What do effective teachers know and do? Effective teachers…  
    1. Engage students in active learning  
    2. Create intellectually ambitious tasks  
    3. Use a variety of teaching strategies  
    4. Assess student learning continuously and adapt teaching to student needs  
    5. Create effective scaffolds and supports  
    6. Provide clear standards, constant feedback, and opportunities for revising work  
    7. Develop and effectively manage a collaborative classroom in which all students have membership.

  1. What are the highest-achieving nations doing?  
    1. Societal supports for children’s welfare  
    2. Equitable resources with greater investments in high -need schools and students  
    3. Substantial investments in initial teacher education and ongoing support  
    4. Schools designed to support teacher and student learning  
    5. Equitable access to a rich, thinking curriculum  
    6. Performance assessments focused on higher order skills

Linda Darling Hamilton

Saturday, February 11, 2017



We have learned along the way, mostly through self deprecation that creativity is something that belongs to the arts. In truth we are creative every day. The way we see things, the way we solve problems, the way we discuss thoughts and feelings all involve us being creative. Creativity is the way we are and have been since we were quite young.

What happened along the way is that we are told that there are rules to follow. And most of us, not being rule breakers, followed along with what we have been told. When we go to school there are small bouts of creativity that is put down to work rather than being insightful or helpful. We are not encouraged to be creative unless we are in certain classes and even then our creativity is bogged down by the rules of that class. We are controlled by our friendships where creativity may not be valued because it involves individual values over group values.  

Yet creativity is the most sought after commodity in the workplace. It shows we are thinking deeper about thoughts and ideas, willing to explore opportunities and possibilities. It allows us to develop interesting ideas and follow thought processes to see outcomes. Creativity is what allows us to live happy lives.

Use technology in schools

When education changes it changes slowly. Often it is caught in a conflict between advancement, staying current and traditional education. Traditional education is where the problem lies. Students are advancing at such a furious pace that staying traditional can never keep pace with the advancements the students are exposed to, especially with technology and its uses. Teachers still teach the skills students need using books. Using blogging, podcasting, online video and social networking allows students to explore the same themes and ideas in ways that will help the students to understand by visually seeing and applying what is being taught. It allows for the use of creativity to demonstrate learning. This is far more powerful than any standardized test could be.

How ever teachers are caught in a trap. They are required to provide a structured learning environment, using the same teaching techniques that have been successfully passed down through the years. While there are a few enlightened administrators who see the benefits of the new way of reaching students many still enforce the "this is the way it is done" idea. Teachers need to make strong arguments for using technology and demonstrate not only its appeal, but its strength in reaching kids. The other problem with this lies in the idea that standardized tests are the new norm and they definitely do not allow for technology to to help demonstrate the understanding a child possesses. A child's knowledge is not defined by a test. It is defined by their ability to produce evidence creatively of what they have learned in life.

It is time to strengthen students by creatively using technology to develop strong, intellectually aware individuals. Have them explore the world and creatively use the technology to present what they see. Then we will have a society that can be just and learning.

Friday, February 10, 2017

How Do We View Education?

I have been reading recently about how we are not meeting the needs of certain portions of the population when educating students: girls, boys, blacks, natives, lower class kids, kids with learning disabilities. It seems to me we are not reaching a lot of kids, regardless of who they are. Why is this? Why are we not reaching kids?

Many jump to blame teachers right away. This is a misguided view. Teachers are the employees who carry out the wishes of those who are truly in charge of education, the school board and the government. Teachers may be the most visible and easiest to access but this does not mean they control policy.  

It is more about the way we as adults view education and children. From our point of view we went through it and came out okay so we expect better for our kids. We, as adults have a tendency to lump all children together as if they are all the same. We believe they have the same reading and writing levels, that they are able to all do the math and that they all think the same. Unfortunately this is so far from the truth that it doesn’t even begin to underlie the problems children face everyday.  

You see the issues children face today are different from those we had to face growing up. Because of the use of technology they are growing up faster than ever. They are better connected and better informed. That also means that the problems we faced, such as bullying, are multiplied because it is coming at them in new and different ways. They are more sensitive to homelife issues, more aware of the fact that certain things should not be happening and wanting to change it. They are cut off from discussions and thinking because we as adults think they are not able to handle it, when it is the adults who do not know how to explain it.  

And then there are learning difficulties. Who knows why there are more children with them but there are. Children who have trouble with numbers and letters. Children who cannot read. Teachers used to say kids will find their reading ability. Now a days some children never learn to read at a satisfactory level.  Yet there they are all crammed into classrooms with one teacher and the hope they will all be cured. It doesn’t work that way.

Children of any age need a warm and caring home environment. The same goes for schools. But this is hard to come by in schools these days because of the level of stress infused into every school. The pressure on teachers is intense: from the students, the administration, the parents, the media and the teachers themselves. It is not , as some say if you cannot handle the stress get out of the job. These are some of the warmest, most caring individuals you would ever want to meet, yet after years of dealing with this stress they are burning themselves out. It affects how they do the job. They want to be the best they can be.

Are there solutions? Sure there are but for now we as adults need to face the crisis point and ask ourselves how do we help everyone? We cannot continue to put bandaids on the problem and hope it will go away. We must ask all the right questions and seek the best answers. Keeping on going the way we are is self defeating.

Experts and Kids

school2bstaffing.jpg (500×303)

One picture says it all. For every teacher there an infinite number of experts whose interest, research, experience outside the classroom have them pushing thoughts and ideas that get in the way of teachers reaching their students. Teachers know what the focus of their attentions should be yet reaching out to help the kids by these so called experts places undo added stress on teachers to achieve goals some in the class will not ever achieve. Why will some students not achieve these goals? It is because the amount of time that needs to be devoted to one student currently outstrips the amount of time needed to reach everyone in the class. If you have 5 students out of 30 who need a minimum of 10 minutes of your time during a 40 minute class you will never have enough time to reach the other 25. That is 50 minutes required for 5 students when a period is 40 minutes long. You do the math. It doesn't take much to see that time will always be an issue. There are a number of solutions available but all cost money, something that no one wants to devote more of to education. It requires teachers to be hired. It requires smaller classes. It requires a stronger understanding of subject areas, especially learning difficulties and how to reach them.  It requires an understanding that school is not a factory assembly line and that just churning out kids at the end of it does not mean they have an education. Until we decide that we need to reach every child, on every level possible, we will never produce a strong education system.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Finland part 3

The more I read about the Finnish educational system the more impressed I become. They work to develop the student from learner to an employee. They do this by working closely with business to encourage children to choose job paths that embrace the skills the child needs to be successful. and tailor their learning outcomes to meet those needs. They teach the children about what working life entails by having them work in their chosen field at times. This helps foster the desire to do well because the child knows what is expected of them in their work.

The educational system works to help make information clear, logical and consistent with the needs of the community. They want everyone to be successful so they create individual learning and qualification pathways, not one system fits all. This allows students to flow with their needs, as well as meeting the needs of the community.  In the end there is success which has resulted in one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world with a strongly educated work force.

Who could ask for anything more.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Counsellors need to be in every school.

Education is a shambles. We hear it all the time. And it’s true, parts of it are in shambles. By continuing to reinforce the idea that we need university graduates to be made out of every student we are sealing the fate of our country. By not providing the necessary resources to help our slow learners and our behaviour students we are letting them down.

Not every student is meant to graduate from university. Some would be far better off going straight into apprenticeship programs to learn the tools of the trade from the masters of it. Once upon a time these trades were the backbone of our country. They supplied the necessary pieces that kept our country running efficiently. Now they are frowned upon because they are manual labour. Yet they keep our country from falling into chaos. It is time we supplied enough apprentices to keep this world functioning.   

In our classrooms everyday our children are subjects to a wide range of behaviours. These behaviours escalate during the day and encourage others to misbehave. Soon our classrooms are spending more time dealing with behaviours than they are actually learning the lessons they are there for. They are many reasons for these behaviours ranging from anxiety disorders, defiant opposition, severe behavioural disorders to simply reflecting their outside of school attitude about learning. Yet teachers are expected to conduct classes every day as well as deal with the myriad of issues their students face. It is time for school to reconsider what is important, the learning, and provide the resources necessary to help the students understand what they can do to help them be successful. Every child will not reach their potential without some guidance.  A classroom teacher does not have the time to do that.

It is time to bring school based counsellors into the fray. Every school needs it.

Failure Builds Us

Failure builds us. The more we fail the more success we can have. Through failure comes strength.

All ideas we have contain a built in failure yet if we only look at it that way we can never succeed.The brilliance is learning resiliency so we can see our failures as stepping stones on the journey of life. We take these steps to improve ourselves and those around us. We build from failures to see the positives that can occur. And then we have success

Check out these two videos that echo this sentiment. 

Bike riding

The following youtube video  talks about why bike riding is important to kids with ADHD.

I believe bike riding is good for everyone, whether it is an e-bike, which allows you to go further afield, or regular bikes. There is a freedom to riding bikes that challenges the brain. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Finland part 2

More about Finland’s education system. This is taken directly from their education website.

Education guarantee – a study place for everyone finishing basic education

The Youth Guarantee came into force from the start of 2013. It will offer everyone under the age of 25, as well as recent graduates under 30, a job, on-the-job training, a study place or rehabilitation within three months of becoming unemployed. The aim is to avoid a situation where young people are left without a study place or work for a long time, as this increases their risk of social exclusion.


Quantitative anticipation of educational needs has a long tradition in Finland, dating back to the 1960s. Today also qualitative anticipation is considered essential for developing curricula and content of education. Finnish National Agency for Education has been responsible for developing models for both quantitative and qualitative anticipation.
The national education authorities cooperate with the enterprises as well as employee and employer organisations to monitor and anticipate the developments in skills needs in the labour market. Key actors in this work are the National Education and Training Committees, tripartite bodies established for each occupational field.

Quality Assurance National Reference Point

Quality assurance and evaluation

In Finland the quality of education and training is seen as a key factor related to the efficiency and excellence of education and training as well as the equality of individuals.
Quality assurance in Finland comprises the quality management of education providers, the national steering of VET and external evaluation.
Local autonomy in education is extensive in Finland. In addition to practical teaching arrangements education providers are responsible for the effectiveness and quality of the education provided.
The evolution towards today’s system started already in the early 1990s when the education administration was decentralised. At the same time, school and textbook inspections were abolished.
Until the early 1990s, quality assurance was largely based on norms and inspections. The inspections were carried out to ensure that regulations were observed, to provide guidance and to make proposals for improvements.
Today, the ideology is to steer through information, support and funding. The activities of education providers are guided by objectives laid down in legislation as well as the national core curricula. In addition, education providers are encouraged to develop quality on a voluntary basis. National authorities support this by providing tools and support, such as quality awards in VET and quality recommendations.
The system also relies on the proficiency of teachers and other personnel. Teaching personnel are required to hold a master’s degree. All personnel are encouraged to develop their work as well as participate in the quality improvement of their institutions.
Quality assurance is one of the main policy priorities. For example in VET, education providers were obligated to have systems for effective quality assurance and improvement from 2015.

Quality strategy for vocational education and training (VET)

A committee appointed by the Ministry of Education and Culture has prepared a proposal for a quality strategy for vocational education and training (VET), covering all sectors of the national quality assurance (QA) system and all forms of VET provision.

Finland has long been at the forefront of educational change. The following are from their developing curriculum, in which this is the last year of their plan. They will have a new plan for the future. I can’t wait to see it.

Curriculum reform in Finland
More information: Mrs. IrmelĂ­ Halinen, Head of Curriculum Development

More participatory, physically active, creative and linguistically enriched schools and integrated teaching and learning

We will work together to create better opportunities :
For educational work at schools
For meaningful learning for all pupils
For a sustainable future

The school will be developed both as a growth community and as a learning environment

Why? What? How?
• If you want to increase curiosity, allow questioning
• If you want to develop problem-solving skills, link school knowledge to real-life problems and encourage pupils to work together to seek solutions
• If you want to increase understanding, combine knowledge and skills from different subjects
• If you want to raise citizens who will develop society, promote inclusiveness and participation, give opportunities to make a difference, and facilitate positive - not negative - critical thinking
• If you want to strengthen learners' self-confidence and learning motivation, give constructive and honest feedback. Never humiliate or put down a learner.

Relationship of education and schools to a changing society

Strengthening the value basis
• Uniqueness of every child, and high quality education as the basic right
• Relationship with a changing society More detailed description of the tasks
• Tasks include both teaching and educating (raising up)
• Taking care of the completion of compulsory education of all students
• Basic education as a basis of a solid all-round education
• Solid foundation for all for entering upper secondary education To be considered in organising school work:
• Increasing need for cooperation, role and participation of pupils
• The educating and guiding influence of all school activities
• Importance of varied learning environments and, for example, opportunities for remote teaching

Saturday, February 4, 2017


I have always believed that children are capable of learning without adult intervention. We see this everyday in so many ways. For years, as a teacher, I felt caught between what I believe and what the system demanded. I was teaching but not really feeling fulfilled because I could only do so much to reach my weakest students. One day a friend of mine suggested I watch a video about Sugata Mitra's Ted Talk. From that day forward everything changed. I immediately saw what he was saying and upon reading his toolkit realized how easy it would be to adapt this type of learning to my classroom. So I did. They very next day I tried it out. It was amazing. There was such a great commitment to working together to solve the Big Question they proposed. This was serious. They were so focussed and committed to finding the answers and presenting their information. I tried it in many different forms the first half year of SOLE. I asked big curriculum questions and allowed them to form their own questions. All were extremely successful. I knew the challenge was going to come from other educators about its value. So I tested the students reading levels. All students showed improvement. The weaker students showed greater improvement. Colleagues the next year said that students were struggling. I explained that when we teach students the regular curriculum they are bored and will not perform. Give them interesting topics and they bloom. My test scores every year bore this out. Even my shyest students would stand up and present their information with their group. Success was all around except that I was not following directives to teach students in an approved way. After retiring, when I see the students, they still ask me about SOLE, stating how it finally made them feel like they belonged in school.
One of the things I noticed right away when my students were working on a SOLE is that not only were they all reading the material they found on the internet but they were discussing it passionately. Therein lies the underlying achievement, all students, including the weak readers, were reading and discussing the topic. Articles are written at a Grade 4 level and above. Some of these students were tested reading at a Grade 1 or 2 level. Still they participated as equals, making strong connections with the topic. They were discussing topics they knew little about but were making strong opinions and insights based on the material they were discovering. The challenge of the harder texts did not phase them. To further check this idea I found that in some SOLE’s groups of weaker students that were formed had the same results.
During my second year of teaching, before we had computers, I had 45 students in my class. I decided that my brighter students needed independent projects because so many of the others needed my help that I couldn’t get around to them. They ran with their independent projects much the same way as a SOLE runs today, only using textbooks to do this. They discussed their projects with each other and gathered new information from the discussions. They learned from each other by discussing their projects and receiving feedback.
One of the major problems I faced was the idea that teachers had to teach a certain way because that was how it was done. You follow the curriculum and bore the daylights out of the students. What I found was that when students were motivated by their own thoughts and learning they were picking up clues how to do things themselves. If they are reading passages that are in paragraphs that motivate them they will want paragraphs so they look like they know what they are talking about. The same with spelling. It is all right there on the page if they pay attention to it. And on a computer they will pay attention because they don’t like the red lines in their work. My weaker students challenged themselves to improve. They asked more questions, enriched their vocabulary and generally saw themselves as being successful, in some cases for the first times in their lives.
The use of SOLE in traditional classrooms is all that is happening at the moment. Those who are in the power to make changes are going in a totally different direction, the forcing of children to become adept at what they deem is necessary to have a good education, learning the basics of reading and writing. While there is some moderate success in this method it does not invest in the child ownership of their reading. It does not encourage them to develop their skills and maintain those skills. It wants the child to fit in better to a teacher directed program so they can all be taught the same material. This neither meets the children’s needs nor invests in developing the skills they need to have a successful life. In short it meets the government criteria of doing a good job.

To conclude I believe that SOLE is the best thing that could happen to education. Teachers in every country are employing to help their students become better people. SOLE works.