The following core value statement of a Catholic high school in Massachusetts: “Preserving a strong Catholic identity by providing a faith-based education aiding students to see themselves as stewards of the life they live and promoting the values of community and service.”A thorough exploration of religious schools would certainly reveal a wide range of educational philosophy, with some programs being far more immersed in doctrine than others. As a whole though, religious education would … [Read more...]
The Value of Religious Schools
In religious schools, we may expect to encounter a very different conception of the role of education in a student’s life. Because there is often an essential and openly professed drive towards uniformity and the cultivation of religious values, the individual may appear to be secondary to the mission.However, a statement of purpose for one such school, the Covenant School in Arlington, MA, reflects the synergy between values formation and acquisition of knowledge (or wisdom): "We believe … [Read more...]
It’s Takes a Village to Be Student-Centered
“The kid in the back wants me todefine ‘logic.’ The girl next to him looks bewildered. The boy in front of medutifully takes notes even though he has severe auditory processing issues anddoesn't understand a word I'm saying. Eight kids forgot their essays, but onehas a good excuse because she had another epileptic seizure last night. Theshy, quiet girl next to me hasn't done homework for weeks, ever since she wasjumped by a knife-wielding gangbanger as she walked to school. The boy next toher is … [Read more...]
What Dumbledore and Other Can Teach Us about Positive Examples of Traditional Classroom
Stripped down to essentials, this is the basic image of a classroom with which we areall familiar. At its best, when students are actually listening and learning,and when the teacher is truly enthralled with the subject and the experience,the effect can be magic. We have only to consult our popular culture torecognize what this scene can produce in our imaginations, at least. Think of To Sir with Love, or Stand and Deliver, or even ProfessorDumbledore speaking at Hogwarts. Greatness in teaching … [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...]
What Maria Montessori Taught Us About Being ‘Student-Centered’
"Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences in the environment. The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment, and then refraining from obtrusive interference.” - Maria MontessoriThe research statement above from Maria … [Read more...]
Can A Child In India Teach You Something About Learning And Education?
When most of us think about education we assume the presence of at least one teacher and one student. More often, we imagine a teacher and a room full of students, the classic and ubiquitous model with which we are all familiar. Who of us imagines a room with no teacher?One answer to that would be Sugata Mitra, an education researcher from India who has done remarkable work in an unusual line of thinking. Mitra has made it his business to investigate a very difficult question: What can be done … [Read more...]
Self Teaching – Are you a genius yet?
A great deal of what we learn is self-taught. We learn through modeling, observation, trial and error, and pattern recognition, and we do all these things with or without the help of others.As evolving humans, this is what we do. As many philosophers of education point out, we are hungry for learning and will naturally develop many important skills and realms of knowledge with no more than the slightest nudge from those around us. In a very true sense, we are students of our world, … [Read more...]
6 Perspectives and Qualities of a Student-Centered Educator
What defines a student-centered educator? Is it enough to know the book, to know the drill, to know the test, to know the system, to know what the administration expects? We think not. A student-centered educator will manage this while saving his or her best energy for observing, appreciating, and considering deeply the one unique learner who sits before him or her, hoping to be understood.What else does it take to be a student-centered educator?The following is a set of perspectives and … [Read more...]
Quotes that Inspire Us
During our NISCE Launch and Workshop there were many quotes that stood out.Here are two that reflect on the simple and joyful moments that sustain an educators passion for teaching:Helping a struggling young student (16 years old)to read a clock for the first time, and watching his face light up when he did.I was talking to a student in counseling about him moving from the middle school and how he would be “fine without me.” He looked at me and said, “Are you kidding me?! You are the voice … [Read more...]