Archive for the ‘Teachers’ Category

Moving from the Potential of Teacher Improvement to its Passionate Reality

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I want to make an argument for a system of support for teachers. I spent a decade in the classroom in large urban districts. During that time, I encountered many passionate teachers who worked relentlessly to improve, but often without support or direction. For the last seven years, I have travelled the country providing technical … Read more »

Real Change or the Next Illusion: Coding, Robotics and Makerspaces

It’s here and coming to a school near you. Coding, Robotics and Makerspaces (CRAM) comprise the latest trend in educational reform. Is CRAM the marketing hype of an information technology industry? Is it the next new thing for grantmakers, the hope—and perhaps fear—of K-12 educators, or the reasonable expert estimate of a sea change in … Read more »

The Crisis in Civility

Photo by Jay L. Baker, Office of the Maryland Governor; https://flic.kr/p/jHQUNd; CC by 2.0

  The country faces a severe civility deficit. A survey administered annually since 2010 finds that Americans believe civility to be at crisis levels and that the nation has lost stature because of it. Survey respondents say that the responsibility for the civility crisis lies largely with politicians (75%), the internet/social media (69%), and the … Read more »

Professional Development: On the Chopping Block

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I love the definition of insanity often attributed to Einstein: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I think of that often when I am trying to put together one of my grandson’s new toys without success. So does this definition of insanity resonate with educators? In education, we often struggle with … Read more »

Teaching Citizenship in a Divided America

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  The past several decades have marked an era of “college and career” in America’s schools. The two C’s echo in school hallways, driven by a political priority on economic competitiveness. But since the tectonic presidential election, as we’ve seen the ascendancy of attacks on our institutions and been stunned by the march of hate … Read more »

Arming Students Against Bad Information

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All consumers of information need to be able to distinguish fact from opinion and recognize any bias, including one’s own, that may influence the quality or depth of understanding what we are reading or hearing. For this reason, these skills are staples of the language arts and social studies curricula. Yet, with new forms of … Read more »

Argumentation Redux

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Argumentative discourse is the hallmark of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. The reading and writing of arguments greatly benefits students by asking them to think deeply, use evidence credibly, and write with discipline. The emphasis on argument bespeaks the character of the new standards, which represent the best opportunity in recent … Read more »

What to Do Next With Teacher Evaluations

  Teacher evaluation is a contentious issue. It tends to be more so when evaluation systems must show evidence of a teacher’s contribution to student learning, as federal initiatives have recently required. The stakes are high, since how a teacher is rated affects his or her continued employment, advancement, and even compensation. In the wake … Read more »