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Michael Rosen: Secondary school teacher explains why he has to teach to the test
On a post below about Nick Gibb urging teachers to help their children read for pleasure by taking them to the library (wot library, nick?) and get away from teaching to the test (that's what your test-crazy regime gave birth to, Nick), someone called David Gould wrote this:
"Secondary school teachers do this [David's referring to 'teach to the test'] because since the early 1990s school shave been forced to measure progress on National Curriculum levels which assumed close analytical responses to texts to gain a basic level 5. If you dictate and brainwash a profession to act in one way, then why question it when the process has become institutionalized? And since GCSE is the benchmark we are told to aim for, why would you NOT help students early to cope with what is to come. If Education Ministers (I always think that is an oxymoron) want assessment to reflect real education practice perhaps they had better design exams that allow students to read for pleasure and let them write about their thinking and personal responses to texts that appeal to them. It might mean that the 'correct answers' would not be able to be written on exam mark schemes and we would have to assess insight and understanding. We used to have exams like that and they were excellent at motivating students to read and respond but they were deemed too easy as they had generic questions." via Secondary school teacher explains why he has to teach to the test
IFTTT  Secondary  school  teacher  explains  why  he  has  to  teach  the  test 
21 hours ago by davidmarsden
Giveaway of the Day. Vintager 2.0 - Vintager gives spirit to ordinary photos!
iPhone app giveaways » Word² Word² is a challenging game where you must unscramble each word not just once, but... $0.99 ➞ free today A to Z Monsters -Alphabet Learning for Kids Teach your kids alphabets the fun way with 26 different monsters!Touch,swipe and... $2. via Pocket
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yesterday by dcolanduno
Chapter VII: The Age of Reunion | Charles Eisenstein
The Currency of Cooperation Prosperity is relating, not acquiring.— Tom Brown, Jr. The “irremediable structural flaw” in our civilization that has inspired… via Chapter VII: The Age of Reunion | Charles Eisenstein
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yesterday by davidmarsden
We Need to Rewrite the Textbook on How to Teach Teachers | Big Think
Neurobonkers about 21 hours ago We need to completely rewrite the textbooks on how to teach teachers. That’s according to a new report just published by the… via We Need to Rewrite the Textbook on How to Teach Teachers | Big Think
IFTTT  We  Need  to  Rewrite  the  Textbook  on  How  Teach  Teachers  |  Big  Think 
yesterday by davidmarsden
Game Giveaway of the Day – The Spell
Shape shifting evil lurks and lives in the dark house within the gloomy forest. Take shelter here, but beware of the threats that lie in wait in The Spell, a gothic match 3 adventure that will keep you on your toes. via Pocket
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2 days ago by dcolanduno
Giveaway of the Day. Total Mail Converter 4.1 - Turn emails into more shareable documents and convert them!
Turn emails into more shareable documents with Total Mail Converter from Coolutils. It converts emails (MSG, EML, EMLX, MIM files) to PDF, DOC, TXT, HTML, TIFF, JPEG files. All data including attachments is strictly preserved. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket  giveaway  of  the  day 
2 days ago by dcolanduno
Will the “real” Dietary Guidelines please stand up? — Life Tips. — Medium
Will the “real” Dietary Guidelines please stand up?
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The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), which inform the $16 billion dollar school lunch program, federal procurement, and our national health education programs, have been a point of contention among industry representatives, government officials, medical professionals, environmental scientists and civil society.
Last May, we asked the questions: Who are these guidelines really for? Should dietary guidelines prioritize the right of all Americans to have access to nutritious, affordable and sustainable food? Or should they prioritize increasing demand for the foods produced by the industry groups with the most pester power? Yesterday, we got our answer when the final 2015 DGA’s were published. “If I were the meat industry I would break out the champagne,” said Marion Nestle, a leading food politics expert and nutrition professor at New York University. While much of the discussion has been about whether or not the DGA’s should “keep their hands off our hotdogs,” the heart of this saga isn’t really about meat at all. It’s bigger than that.
For the first time ever, the official scientific body that recommends updates to the scientific basis of the dietary guidelines, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), considered the environmental underpinnings of healthy diets. Beyond this, the report took the most cutting-edge approach to integrating the best of what we know about ecological public health. The recommendations, published in February 2015, stated that:
“Linking health, dietary guidance, and the environment will promote human health and the sustainability of natural resources and ensure current and long-term food security.”
The gargantuan 18-month undertaking and rigorous synthesis of mountains of data cannot be understated. Crucially, the recommendations were made, free of the political pressure that resulted in the neutered version published by the USDA and HHS on the 7th Jan. For real guidelines, free from industry pressure, we should all look no further than the DGAC’s report which stated:
“Sustainable diets are a pattern of eating that promotes health and well-being and provides food security for the present population while sustaining human and natural resources for future generations… As the focus of the dietary guidelines is to shift consumer eating habits toward healthier alternatives, it is imperative that, in this context, the shift also must involve movoment toward less-resource intensive diets. Individual and population-level adoption of more sustainable diets can change consumer demand away from more resource-intensive food. ”
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DGAC 2015 model for sustainable diets
But despite unprecedented support from environmental and public health organizations, and the overwhelming majority of public comments in support of the inclusion of sustainability, due to industry pressure, ‘sustainability’ became a dirty word.
Politicians representing industry interests immediately acted to censor the science, by passing a congressional directive instructing United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to “ensure that the advisory committee … not pursue an environmental agenda” and to reject the inclusion of ‘environmental or production factors’ in the 2015 DGAs.
This didn’t stop the DGAC publishing their report, but shortly afterwards, Sec. Vilsack duly bent the knee by echoing industry’s argument that sustainability was ‘outside of the scope’ of the guideline’s legal mandate; later using the same — seemingly apolitical — pretext to rule out sustainability in a blog, published jointly with Secretary Sylvia Burwell of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
However, it’s clear that the decision was entirely political. If true, the pretext given, would also have ruled out physical activity, which has been an important feature of dietary guidelines for over a decade. A legal analysis by public health attorney Michele Simon concluded that the statutory language, Congressional intent, and previous versions of the guidelines all clearly demonstrate that the USDA and HHS would be well within its mandate to incorporate sustainability in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Disregarding this, in October 2015, it was determined that environmental concerns would be removed from the final guidelines. Nevertheless, the fight over this year’s guidelines set a precedent for public debate about the sustainability of our diets.
Rapidly advancing science now shows that, on average, diets higher in plant-based foods and lower in red and processed meat are better for human health and the stability of the environment. This ‘inconvenient truth’ represents a threat to the meat industry, whose elite fear changes in multi-billion dollar federal spending on food, health and nutrition programs. In addition they fear government sending a ‘signal to consumers that such (healthy) foods are preferred’. Both could reduce profits. In response, industry representatives are doing everything in their power to discourage the American people and government from changing behavior or policy based on this science.
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Image: www.foodchoicetaskforce.com
Unfortunately this power is considerable. The meat industry has long been able to bend the arm of government to manipulate dietary recommendations that might impact sales. As early as 1977, a reduction in meat was recommended, but at the protest of industry the report was amended to suggest a decrease in ‘animal fat’. At the time, the chair of the committee, Senator George McGovern said he “did not want to disrupt the economic situation of the meat industry and engage in a battle with that industry that we could not win.”
Almost 40 years later, little has changed. Legally binding language in the 2015 annual spending bill threatened to cut funding for guidelines that include content outside of ‘nutritional and dietary information’. Despite overwhelming and unprecedented public support, where, according to HHS Sec. Burwell, more than 97% of the 19,000 public comments on sustainability supported it, the political power of agricultural interests still overrules public interest.
A case in point can be found in House Agriculture Committee Chairman, Texas Republican Mike Conaway’s opening statement at the October dietary guidelines committee hearing. Conaway said,“The inclusion of these issues [sustainability] in this process could have resulted in misguided recommendations that could have ill effects on consumer habits and agricultural production.”
For too many lawmakers, guidelines are seen as a marketing tool for industry. It’s not hard to understand why. Analysis by the Center for Science in the Public Interest shows the 71 GOP representatives and 20 senators that signed critical letters of the recommendations collectively received more than $3 million in donations from food-related donors in 2013/2014. Of note, the senators received almost half a million from beef and cattle industries.
The role of the USDA itself is convoluted with disparate and conflicting goals. On the one hand, it is charged with promoting production and demand for agricultural commodities, and on the other, providing dietary and nutritional advice aimed at the prevention of ill health. This inability to take a systemic perspective on food, demanded by modern science, has recently led experts such as Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan to advocate for the restructuring of the organization responsible for producing the DGA,“with a name that clearly identifies what must become its foremost mission…The U.S. Department of Food, Health and Well-being.”
Industry, in contrast, is well aware of that symbolism and providing information on sustainability does matter: especially when provided by scientists, who are generally the most trusted sources among the public. Although the DGAC’s report bore little resemblance to the final guidelines, it has certainly changed the national conversation (with assistance from an active civil society) and has an authoritative status in and of itself, separate from the final guidelines.
For industry and their representatives, independent science-based recommendations, purely in the public’s interest, are dangerous and unacceptable. For this reason, they are taking active steps to disparage the ‘integrity of the process’ and police the boundaries of which scientific findings may be permitted as relevant to the guidelines.
The tactics used by the (primarily meat) industry to discredit science that threatens profits has an uncanny resemblance to the strategies used by big tobacco and carbon intensive energy industries. Paradigm shifts take time. Science and debate often precede change. But the direction of travel is now firmly set.
Just as society at large has accepted that smoking causes cancer and burning coal, oil and gas cause global warming, the public and government must accept that eating healthier more sustainable diets is necessary for public health and for the preservation of our planet. It will take substantial efforts to stop corporate takeover of fundamental nutrition policies that can have political, economic, social and environmental repercussions for years.
But there is something we can do. Go back to the source.
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Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, reminds us in his … [more]
*for  a  quick  analysis  of  the  DGAs_  check  out  Marion  Nestle’s  blog  from iphone
2 days ago by jamrock
Tom Ford Cancels New York Fashion Week Show (Vogue.co.uk)
TOM FORD has announced that he has cancelled his planned presentations at New York Fashion Week
First  Burbs  now  TF.  Less  time  between  show  and  launch  =  for  imo  garms  to  appear  in  the  shops  rest  of  us  buy! 
2 days ago by beckymcmichael
Laura Poitras at the Whitney: redrawing the war on terror | The Verge
Laura Poitras at the Whitney: redrawing the war on terror: On the eighth floor of a tony new art museum on the west side of Manhattan, I'm watching the interrogation of an enemy combatant. Filmed in 2002, the footage shows Osama bin Laden's driver, Salim Hamdan, shortly after his capture in Afghanistan. via Pocket, added at:February 05, 2016 at 12:58PM
IFTTT  Pocket  the  verge 
2 days ago by LordEnzo
Ask the iTunes Guy: Apple Music library, new releases, audiobooks, and more | Macworld
It’s time for another grab-bag edition of this column. This week’s questions include one about adding music to an Apple Music library, getting information about all the new releases in a given genre, viewing lots of audiobooks from Audible and the iTunes Store, and more. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket  ask  the  itunes  guy 
2 days ago by RosemaryJayne

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