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Evolving Education

An interesting read on the evolution of education analyzing where we started:

In terms of human evolution, formal education arrived quite late to the party. For millennia, young Homo sapiens essentially educated themselves: They observed, they imitated, they played, they tried, and they erred. The world around them was their classroom.

And where we got stuck:

The model changed remarkably little over the centuries. Curiosity and play were out, discipline was in. Desks were in straight rows, bolted to the floor, in boxy classrooms with a teacher calling the shots. The instructor instructed, and the students listened. The day was long and likely tedious, just as the days to come in the fields or factories or at domestic duties would be.

Maybe we need to start the cycle over again and see if we can’t get it right this time.

Fending of Facebook =Fired


If schools held teachers and administrators to the same expectations, there’d be a lot of job openings:

 In March, one student started fiddling with her device at the front of the class while in the middle of an acrobatic half-moon pose, MSNBC reports.

Although Van Ness didn’t say anything to the student, she did give a disapproving look. And the look didn’t go unnoticed.

“I’m sure my face said it all,” the 35-year-old teacher later wrote in a blog post. “Previously, I had been asked by management to just let the students do whatever they wanted.”

What happens when teacher lose inspiration?

What happens when teachers lose their inspiration?

But it can’t be good news that a survey of teachers released in March by MetLife found the lowest job satisfaction numbers since 1989, with just 44 percent of respondents describing themselves as “very satisfied” with their classroom careers, down from 59 percent in 2009 and 62 percent in 2008

But a review of the best evidence on teachers’ sentiments shows that educators are not unhappy because they resent the new emphasis on teacher evaluations.

But polling shows teachers are depressed by the increasing reliance on standardized tests to measure student learning—the “high stakes” testing regime that the standards and accountability movement has put in place across the country and that Race to the Top has reinforced in some states and districts.

If you are a parent or an administration, this should be a series of red flags. Just as student success is tied to engagement, so too is teacher success. If your school community isn’t alive and thriving, then more and more teachers are going to leave. Teaching requires too much after hour work and too many sleepless nights to continue in an oppressive environment.

Teachers are resilient, but resilience doesn’t last forever. If you push to hard, teachers will start falling over from burn out and just like a series of dominoes, the impact won’t be on just one teacher.

Everyone wants something

Writing isn’t entering an unknown world.

Even in futuristic societies and the unknown worlds of Ender’s Games and Hunger Games, there is a connection that readers can make to the experiences the characters are having and the way that they are relating to one another.

Rosenblatt calls this a “living through” experience that enables readers to experience situations and feelings that they themselves might not be willing to admit they want to experience.

It’s hard for me to imagine that the templates I have seen for the Common Core Standards hold to this caliber of writing, but let’s not trust writers like Kurt Vonnegut, Louise Rosenblatt, Orson Scott Card or Suzanne Collins for our writing advice. Let’s stick with policymakers’ ideas of how to nurture developing writers.

Things aren’t what they used to be

What we often teach students is to work hard so that they can go to college and get a good job, but what about this:

High unemployment is hurting many young people as they languish without developing job skills. The United States added just 80,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department reported on Friday: This amount is less than half of what would be needed for the economy to recover in a timely fashion, according to economists.

Older people are benefiting the most from the economic recovery, as they are snatching up a disproportionate share of the new jobs created, some economists say.Workers older than 55 have taken 58 percent of all new jobs in the past year, according to Dean Baker, codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

We can ignore these stats and ignore this reality telling ourselves that things will be different once our students, our kids get to that point, but there has to be a breaking point somewhere. When will that be?


Open Window

Wow the second article in a week that reminds me to be comfortable being different, being me:

He said “Stop worrying about what you’re bad at. Focus on what you’re good at and do more of that. Swim downstream. That’s how you become successful. Play to your strengths.”

I’ve never forgotten that conversation. It still took a few years for it to properly sink in, and during those years I did finally become a CEO. I was lucky enough to have a right hand guy who ran things internally for me, though, so my management weaknesses didn’t hinder things.

So maybe instead of worrying about all the things that I’m not doing well, it’s time to start admitting that I am good at some things and figuring out how I can do things to earn a living.

It’s like a window’s opened and I can see the sky for the first time.

Embrace Your Inner Troublemaker

I needed this reminder this morning. Thanks to Michael Smith, for posting it on his blog so that others like me who are heading into the second month of summer wondering and waiting for something to break for next school year.

I needed the reminder that it’s not impossible to change. I needed the reminder that the world is not a terrible place, but rather it is a place full of innovators and dream givers. I needed the reminder to embrace my inner troublemaker.

Because if you sit back quiet and let other take your voice, then you can’t blame anyone else but yourself.