Note from the Editor: While this piece is related to business practices and targeted to managers and business leaders, the parallels to education and student learning are striking. Teachers, curricula developers, and education leaders can find plenty herein to ponder, reflect on, and apply in practice. It was originally posted at Switch and Shift. Managers [...]
The Economist article, “In praise of misfits,” lays out the business-related benefits of what the author calls “creatives,” “anti-social geeks,” “oddball quants,” and “rule-breaking entrepreneurs.” While the entire article is well worth the read, we have pulled out a few quotes to help frame the idea that we should work tirelessly to help our school [...]
The NYTimes recently published a piece on teacher evaluation. I submitted the following comment (which they did not post) to the online forum: I searched through NYTimes’ archive of medical / law / finance / congressional / military reform articles looking for pieces that fail to quote a doctor / lawyer / banker / policy-maker / [...]
Every year in the United States, an estimated 500,000 teachers leave their schools, with only 16% of the departures the result of retirement. The bulk of teachers leave for a variety of other reasons, including whether or not they perceive their school’s leadership to be effective. Without strong leadership, it is much easier for good [...]
Below is the speech Matt Damon gave at the Save Our Schools March on July 30, 2012 in Washington, DC. I had incredible teachers. And as I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself — my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my [...]
Painting a picture that was both harrowing and hopeful, Van Jones titillated the gathering of educators on the final morning of ASCD’s 2013 Annual Conference with both the peril and promise of tomorrow. In short, despite the copious challenges we find ourselves in today, we can look to the generation currently in our schools to [...]
I envy Thomas Paine’s way with language. I’ve been searching for years for words that would have the impact of those he penned in his 1776 pamphlet, “The Crisis.” Admittedly, “These are the times that try men’s souls,” and the words that followed, weren’t a howling success. Only about a third of the colonists agreed with Paine’s call for [...]
In a recent commentary piece at Education Week, author, speaker and educator Dr. Thomas Armstrong argues for tipping from a deficit model to a more inclusive (and enlightened) model that values students’ strengths, regardless of their learning profiles. He writes, I believe it’s time for a paradigm shift in the field of special education. Fortunately, [...]
There are several dimensions taken together in varying levels of degree that embody the effective teacher. Since teachers range from preschool through post secondary levels, and are unique people, no two teachers will have the same combination nor will all of them be present in every excellent teacher. There are also qualities that effective teachers [...]
Over reported research leads to “brain-based” products, perhaps at the cost of student learning. Under reported related research might provide an answer.
Marquin Parks shares the story of learning that a former student has decided to follow in his footsteps and become a teacher.
There was Mr. White in middle school. He taught a Social Studies class that had an extra spoonful of African and African American experiences and influences on the world. A lot of his talking points and teachings were in line with many of the events and ideologies that my own father talked about with us [...]
With well over 60% of Americans supporting spending cuts at a federal level and budget cuts becoming one of the key issues in the Presidential election, it stands to reason that fiscal responsibility will be a top priority, regardless of who is elected in November. If Obama wins, there will be massive pressure from the [...]
When we talk about education reform and fail to mention race, we leave the opportunity to face a central piece of the racial achievement gap at the door. And that is not putting students first.
It is hard to imagine that a person’s rights are only granted when there is money to pay for them. Seriously, how would it go if people were given the freedom of religion only if there happened to be enough money to build the churches and pay for the preachers? When times are tough, there [...]
Let’s just be clear for a second: Millions of children living below the poverty line have NO access to quality early childcare to nurture their minds. They enter school already well behind their more affluent peers. That deficit is minimized (not solved, just lessened) by the quality programming on PBS, the flagship of which is [...]
We debate testing, tenure, and “great teachers” ad nauseum. We one up each other over who is putting students more first than anyone else. We parse choice, accountability, and common core until we can barely stand one another. We do this, not because we are gluttons for punishment, but because we know learning matters, and [...]
While in DC this past week for the Bammy Awards I had the chance to tour the Holocaust Museum with a few colleagues. It was powerful, moving, and saddening. I left convinced more than ever that what we do matters, and matters mightily. Wandering the beautifully and hauntingly constructed museum, the visceral taste of blind bigotry [...]
People are learners. Yes, all of us. Sometimes we learn what others want us to, other times we learn what we want to, and more often than not, we learn what we construct based on our experiences. These experiences with learning shape the architecture of our brains. In this way, educators are mind benders and [...]