Two years ago I talked about using Learning Styles in the Classroom. Since then, I have worked with many teachers who agree that teaching to varied styles is critical but wonder how to do it well when they don't have many resources, administrators don't think it is important, they worry the class will get out of control, and they have so many students they can't meet all their different needs. These are legitimate concerns that, if left unanswered, might prevent some teachers from promoting this … [Read more...]
Comments On “Confessions of a Bad Teacher”
There is really nothing surprising about William Johnson’s op ed in The New York Times Sunday Review. Mr. Johnson eloquently describes the plight of many teachers in contemporary urban American schools under the peculiar and confused pressure of state and national efforts to reform education through reliance on high stakes testing. Mr. Johnson has the courage and patience to work with some of the most difficult students encountered in a public high school. These students do not receive high … [Read more...]
Unequal and Unjust Public Schools in America
Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children's Defense Fund and vocal advocate for our nation's children, has pulled important data from the most recent Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection Survey. Citing the 2009-2010 version, she speaks to things we know all too well: "inequities in funding and educational resources place poor children in low-performing schools, with inadequate facilities and often ineffective teachers."The litany of practices that contribute to the … [Read more...]
A New Driver for Expanding Access to Early Education?
"Parents—and this is a real sea change—understand the infant-toddle years as learning years." —Betty Holcomb, Policy Director, Children's Initiatives An article recently posted in the Wall Street Journal focused on the growing competition to find excellent early childhood programs in New York City. The change in this case is that the demand appears to be driven by affluent parents who are newly convinced that their very young children need the stimulation and guided instruction available … [Read more...]
Creating a Culture of Collaborative Problem Solving at Seaport Academy
Seaport Academy was recently recognized in The Navy Yard News, a quarterly publication of the friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard, as emphasizing collaborative problem solving and a curriculum designed to be flexible enough to meet the wide variety of learning needs presented by their students.Here is the story: “We’ve scrapped the usual style of ‘reward-consequence’ learning in favor of collaboration — students identify issues and help solve problems together,” says Alex Tsonas, Director … [Read more...]
Educators Building Interpersonal Bridges
Boston University’s School of Psychiatric Rehabilitation provides a public resource to educators looking to build better relationships with students struggling with disabilities. On their How-to Tips for Educators page, they review interpersonal strategies that we feel can be seen as not only helpful to the student with disabilities but to all students in our nation's schools.The following tips are suggested to help educators:Interpersonal strategiesDevelop a working alliance with … [Read more...]
The Value of Military Schools
The value of a military style education for some students is well established and recognized by most educators. The inculcation of discipline, the value of giving oneself to a greater cause, the development of a selfless world view, the push toward excellence and achievement at a high level, all of these have great appeal and may be shown to be highly effective when paired with a population of students who are well equipped for this style of learning.Attempts have even been made to adopt … [Read more...]
Accepting Alternative Education Practices
There is tremendous variety in the many types of schools that are not in the mainstream of public education, but represent variations on traditional educational methods and models. A wide range of private schools, vocational schools, and exam schools offer programs geared towards students with particular interests and talents or parents who desire a different learning environment for their children.While many of these schools differ from the mainstream in the focus of their curriculum, the … [Read more...]
Can a Traditional Classroom Be Student-Centered?
The image of a traditional classroom is familiar to anyone with a modern education,and it often defines the limits of what we consider when we think about schooling. In this classic image of education, the teacher is literally front-and-center and what happens largely depends on her or him. Yet, it must be noted that there is nothing inherently student-centered in the organization of a traditional classroom. The focus is on the teacher and on the information to be passed from the teacher to the … [Read more...]
Part 2 – Do You Know What Inspires and Motivates Your Students?
In Part 2 of the brainstorming session at the NISCE Launch and Workshop event the focus was on the student perspective.Results paralleled each other in some interesting ways when the educators were asked to take on the role of students and respond to the question of what makes a student feel successful. The following were noted:Positive social interactions during the day Meaningful communication with peers, parents, and educators Having an 'aha' moment when tackling a problem or … [Read more...]