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Will

I can always tell when testing season arrives here in New Jersey as I start getting e-mails from parents wanting to know more about my experiences in opting my son Tucker out of the test. It’s not a deluge, mind you, but one or two a week that I try to reply to with more info and links. Some are more than about testing, however. Some, like the one I’ve gotten permission to reprint below, get to the heart of the larger tension between schools as they’re currently constructed and learning. I’m not saying this is every person’s experience, but when I read e-mails like this, it gives me pause. I think it should give us all pause.

http://willrichardson.com/

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Mixed Messages And Simple Truths On Monday, I heard Dylan William say that computers don’t make a difference to learning in the classroom. On Thursday, I heard Gerry White say that technology is responsible for a 12% increase in achievement. Both asserted that their statements were backed by research. We’re Trying To Do “The Wrong Thing Right” in Schools We’re Trying To Do “The Wrong Thing Right” in Schools Whenever I think about the way most schools are structured today, I always come back to the same question: Do we do the things we do because they’re better for kids or because they are easier for us? For instance: separating kids by age in school. Is that something we do because kids learn better that way? Or do we do it because it’s just an easier way organizing our work?

:Roll up your sleeves and get messy “Reading” Sebastien Wiertz Close reading is one of the “strategies du jour”. From the Common Core State Standards in ELA: 1. Lucy West: Insights Into Effective Practice Lucy West: Insights Into Effective Practice On This Page: What Really Matters? Download QuickTimeDownload Windows Media Lucy West shares techniques that improve achievement and enable students who are struggling to contribute confidently to classroom dialogue. Types of Talk Schooling the World On Power, Knowledge, and the Re-Occupation of Common Sense photo by Carol Black One of the most profound changes that occurs when modern schooling is introduced into traditional societies around the world is a radical shift in the locus of power and control over learning from children, families, and communities to ever more centralized systems of authority. While all cultures are different, in many non-modernized societies children enjoy wide latitude to learn by free play, interaction with other children of multiple ages, immersion in nature, and direct participation in adult work and activities.

Developing a Growth Mindset in Teachers and Staff An idea that is beginning to gain a lot of favour in educational circles at the moment is the notion of fixed versus growth mindsets, and how they might relate to students and learning. Based on the work of Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck, the idea of mindset is related to our understanding of where ability comes from. It has recently been seized upon by educators as a tool to explore our knowledge of student achievement, and ways that such achievement might be improved. However, in my work, I have found that the notion of developing a growth mindset is as equally applicable to staff and teacher performance as it is to students. This article begins with a brief discussion about the difference between the two mindsets, what that means for education, and concludes with some ideas for how school leaders might seek to develop a growth mindset amongst their staff. According to Dweck:

Pedagogy vs. Andragogy Over this last year I have been fortunate to have been sent to many education conferences on behalf of SmartBrief in pursuit of content and guest bloggers for SmartBlog on Education. It is a dream job for a retired educator and an education blogger. The intent is to always keep the educator’s voice on SmartBlog authentic and relevant. In that capacity, I have attended and conducted a multitude of workshops on various education topics. Since I am no longer in the classroom, and have no need to apply what I learn about current teaching methods in a classroom setting, I often attend these workshops as an observer, or even a critical observer in some cases. In conference after conference, and workshop after workshop I have observed successes and failures in the methods employed by presenters to get their material across to their audiences.

About Paideia What is Paideia? Paideia is active learning—engaging students through thought-provoking seminar discussion, growth of intellectual skills, and mastery of information. Benefits of Paideia for students and educators Educators who use Paideia’s active learning approach find that: Don Burton, an elementary school teacher in Milwaukee, WI, said of the Paideia method, “This is what children need. It’s good for educators. The Local Internet School Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Yale professor David Gelernter in the Wall Street Journal, lengthy but important: A local Internet school sounds like a contradiction in terms: the Internet lets you discard geography and forget “local.” But the idea is simple. A one-classroom school, with 20 or so children of all ages between 6th and 12th grade, each sitting at a computer and wearing headsets. They all come from nearby.

150 Teaching Methods Lecture by teacher (and what else can you do!) Class discussion conducted by teacher (and what else!) Recitation oral questions by teacher answered orally by students (then what!) Discussion groups conducted by selected student chairpersons (yes, and what else!) Lecture-demonstration by teacher (and then what 145 other techniques!) Lecture-demonstration by another instructor(s) from a special field (guest speaker) Presentation by a panel of instructors or students Presentations by student panels from the class: class invited to participate Student reports by individuals Student-group reports by committees from the class Debate (informal) on current issues by students from class Class discussions conducted by a student or student committee Forums Bulletin boards Small groups such as task oriented, discussion, Socratic Choral speaking Collecting Textbook assignments Reading assignments in journals, monographs, etc.

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