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Don Doehla

Addressing Chronic Absenteeism | Edutopia - 29 views

  • It is now late October. Have any of your students already missed more than a month of school? Are any on track to? Can you even know? Educators understand the importance of school attendance -- as we often say, "You can't teach an empty desk." And schools have mechanisms in place to track it, including average daily attendance (ADA) and truancy. But neither of those measures addresses chronic absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism is typically defined as missing 10 percent or more of a school year -- approximately 18 days a year, or just two days every month. And across the nation, 5 to 7.5 million students are chronically absent.
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    It is now late October. Have any of your students already missed more than a month of school? Are any on track to? Can you even know? Educators understand the importance of school attendance -- as we often say, "You can't teach an empty desk." And schools have mechanisms in place to track it, including average daily attendance (ADA) and truancy. But neither of those measures addresses chronic absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism is typically defined as missing 10 percent or more of a school year -- approximately 18 days a year, or just two days every month. And across the nation, 5 to 7.5 million students are chronically absent.
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    It is now late October. Have any of your students already missed more than a month of school? Are any on track to? Can you even know? Educators understand the importance of school attendance -- as we often say, "You can't teach an empty desk." And schools have mechanisms in place to track it, including average daily attendance (ADA) and truancy. But neither of those measures addresses chronic absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism is typically defined as missing 10 percent or more of a school year -- approximately 18 days a year, or just two days every month. And across the nation, 5 to 7.5 million students are chronically absent.
Carol Ansel

The Daring Librarian: Wikipedia is not wicked! - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post - 70 views

  • Teaching Wikipedia in 5 Easy Steps: *Use it as background information *Use it for technology terms *Use it for current pop cultural literacy *Use it for the Keywords *Use it for the REFERENCES at the bottom of the page!
  • 4 ways to use Wikipedia (hint: never cite it) Teachers: Please stop prohibiting the use of Wikipedia 20 Little Known Ways to Use Wikipedia Study: Wikipedia as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica Schiff, Stacy. “Know it all: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?” The New Yorker, February 26, 2006 And: Yes students, there’s a world beyond Wikipedia **Several years ago, Nature magazine did a comparison of material available on Wikipedia and Brittanica and concluded that Brittanica was somewhat, but not overwhelmingly, more accurate than Wikipedia. Brittanica lodged a complaint, and here, you can see what it complained about as well as Nature’s response. Nature compared articles from both organizations on various topics and sent them to experts to review. Per article, the averages were: 2.92 mistakes per article for Britannica and 3.86 for Wikipedia. -0- Follow The Answer Sheet every day by bookmarking http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our Higher Education page. Bookmark it! var entrycat = ' ' By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 09/07/2011 .connect_widget .connect_widget_text .connect_widget_connected_text a {display:block;} #center {overflow:visible;} /*.override-width iframe {width:274px !important;}*/ Tumblr Reddit Stumbleupon Digg Delicious LinkedIn http://platform.twitter.com/widgets/tweet_button.html#_=1315504289567&count=horizontal&counturl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fblogs%2Fanswer-sheet%2Fpost%2F
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    Excellent perspective on "The 'W' Word" - use it wisely for what it is - high school and college kids shouldn't be citing any general knowledge encyclopedias for serious research - but that doesn't mean there aren't some excellent uses for it.
tab_ras

50 Best Education Technology Blogs You Aren't Reading Yet - 173 views

  • Early EFL: Leahn is located in Spain, where she works as a freelance language assistant teacher and as a teacher trainer in workshops for primary and secondary school teachers.
  • Box of Chocolates: Join this EFL teacher from Recife, Brazil, who is very passionate about teaching
  • Neslihan Durmusoglu: This blog reflects on the world of EFL and about being a 21st-century learner and teacher.
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  • Reflections of a Teacher and Learner: David teaches kids at a private college in Turkey and he also is a distance student on the University of Manchester’s MA in EdTech & TESOL programme
  • An A-Z of ELT: This blog is managed by the man who wrote An A-Z of ELT in 2006, Scott Thornbury.
  • Authentic Teaching: This blogger has taught EFL in Brazil, and taught ELT for several years as well. He now is earning an MA in Education in London
  • Jeremy Harmer’s Blog: Jeremy is a writer and teacher/teacher-trainer for English to speakers of other languages, and he Blogs about presentation.
  • Marisa Constantinides — TEFL Matters: This blogger runs CELT Athens, a teacher development center based in Greece.
  • Shaun Wilden’s Blog: Shaun has been involved in English language teaching for almost twenty years. He also maintains several online teaching sites including ihonlinetraining.net.
  • So this is English… This blog is filled with ideas, thoughts, discoveries, feedback and more about the teaching and learning of English.
  • Teaching Village: Barbara is an English teacher currently living in Kitakyushu, Japan, and using Web 2.0 tools and virtual worlds.
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    Technology and teaching - two words that seem to fit together perfectly today for most teachers and learners. So much so that a slew of new blogs have come on board to talk about education technology - or, edTech. This list of the 50 best education technology blogs are not inclusive, as there are so many new blogs available; however, if you look at links provided by many of these blogs to other edTech blogs, you may learn about even more blog that you aren't reading yet.
Kathy Malsbenden

A List of the Top 200 Education Blogs - 89 views

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    The Top 200 Education Blogs All those interested in education-we've got you covered. From humor Blogs on college life to one stop shops for Blog athletics to Blogs all about education policy and new technologies, if there's a good education Blog out there, you can bet it made our list. We've also mixed in a handful of exceptional web tools and sites that we thought deserved a spot in the top 200. News & Trends  -  Teaching  -  Learning  -  Professor Blogs  -  College  -  Campus Life  -  Blog Athletics  -  International & Study Abroad  -  E-Learning  -  Administrators and Departments  -  Technology & Innovation  -  Admissions & Rankings  -  Internet Culture  -  Education Policy  -  Specialty  -  Library & Research  -  Librarian Blogs  -  Miscellaneous
Ed Webb

Please Sir, how do you re-tweet? - Twitter to be taught in UK primary schools - 2 views

  • The British government is proposing that Twitter is to be taught in primary (elementary) schools as part of a wider push to make online communication and social media a permanent part of the UK’s education system. And that’s not all. Kids will be taught schoolging, podcasting and how to use Wikipedia alongside Maths, English and Science.
  • Traditional education in areas like phonics, the chronology of history and mental arithmetic remain but modern media and web-based skills and environmental education now feature.
  • The skills that let kids use Internet technologies effectively also work in the real world: being able to evaluate resources critically, communicating well, being careful with strangers and your personal information, conducting yourself in a manner appropriate to your environment. Those things are, and should be, taught in schools. It’s also a good idea to teach kids how to use computers, including web browsers etc, and how those real-world skills translate online.
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  • I think teaching kids HOW TO use Wikipedia is a step forward from ordering them NOT TO use it, as they presently do in many North American classrooms.
  • Open Source software is the future and therefore we need to concentrate on the wheels and not the vehicle!
  • Core skills is very important. Anyone and everyone can learn Photoshop & Word Processing at any stage of their life, but if core skills are missed from an early age, then evidence has shown that there has always been less chance that the missing knowledge could be learnt at a later stage in life.
  • Schools shouldn’t be about teaching content, but about learning to learn, getting the kind of critical skills that can be used in all kinds of contexts, and generating motivation for lifelong learning. Finnish Schools are rated the best in the world according to the OECD/PISA ratings, and they have totally de-emphasised the role of content in the curriculum. Twitter could indeed help in the process as it helps children to learn to write in a precise, concise style - absolutely nothing wrong with that from a pedagogical point of view. Encouraging children to write is never a bad thing, no matter what the platform.
  • Front end stuff shouldn’t be taught. If anything it should be the back end gubbins that should be taught, databases and coding.
  • So what’s more important, to me at least, is not to know all kinds of useless facts, but to know the general info and to know how to think and how to search for information. In other words, I think children should get lessons in thinking and in information retrieval. Yes, they should still be taught about history, etc. Yes, it’s important they learn stuff that they could need ‘on the spot’ - like calculating skills. However, we can go a little bit easier on drilling the information in - by the time they’re 25, augmented reality will be a fact and not even a luxury.
  • Schools should focus more on teaching kids on how to think creatively so they can create innovative products like twitter rather then teaching on how to use it….
  • Schools should focus more on teaching kids on how to think creatively so they can create innovative products like twitter rather then teaching on how to use it….
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    The British government is proposing that Twitter is to be taught in primary (elementary) schools as part of a wider push to make online communication and social media a permanent part of the UK's education system. And that's not all. Kids will be taught schoolging, podcasting and how to use Wikipedia alongside Maths, English and Science.
Roland Gesthuizen

Education Outrage: Back to School: A message to high School students who hate high School; Here is why you hate it - 21 views

  • I say in this interview that the only way we can learn is by doing and to do that we must practice constantly. Schools rarely teach doing, mostly teaching abstract theories that will never matter to 99% of the population.
  • So, my advice. Know what matters to you. Learn that. Temporarily memorize nonsense if you want to graduate but have a proper perspective on it. Nothing you learn in high school will matter in your future life.
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    "I believe that every single subject taught in high school is a mistake. What I write here will infuriate teachers, but teachers are not my enemy. It isn't their fault. They are cogs in a system over which they have no control. I believe there are many great teachers, and I believe that teaching and teachers are very important."
Lucas Cittadino

World Class - What is World Class? - 42 views

  • BBC World Class helps UK schools to twin with schools around the globe as part of its educational legacy for the 2012 Olympics. Our mission is to support teachers in developing school-to-school partnerships, encouraging pupils to share creative work inspired by the Olympics. World Class encourages and helps children and schools get their stories on-air and online across the BBC. We provide the inspiration and resources to help teachers bring their projects to life through reports, schools and features. schools can also use our wealth of assembly resources - film clips, scripts and discussion ideas - on topics inspired both by the Olympics and international stories. The schools World Service provides stories every month for schools to share. We work in partnership with the British Council and other organisations outside the BBC which facilitate school twinning. BBC World Class offers support and advice to help schools twin successfully.
Sigrid Murphy

Five U.S. innovations that helped Finland's schools improve but that American reformers now ignore - 64 views

    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Interesting Top Five
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Answer explanation is almost as important as mathematic problem solving.  If we really want to know if a student understands ANY concept, we need to ask him/her to write their explanation.  Sometimes the understanding comes from the thinking required to do the writing - writing to make it make sense!
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Why don't we consider relating almost every lesson to everyday life?  Seems like an obvious thing to do to me!
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    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Wow!  I think the concept of doing less of something in order to make time for experimentation is a fabulous idea!  Do you mean there are different aspects of student assessment and testing beyond a bubble sheet?  :)
  • Most of them have studied psychology, teaching methods, curriculum theories, assessment models, and classroom management researched and designed in the United States
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Finland's successful practices are something they learned here in the U.S.  So, why aren't our teachers here in the U.S. employing those same practices successfully?
  • Professional development and school improvement courses and programs often include visitors from the U.S. universities to teach and work with Finnish teachers and leaders.
  • in an ideal classroom, pupils speak more than the teacher
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Hooray!
  • the entire Finnish school system looks like John Dewey’s laboratory school in the U.S.
  • cooperative learning has become a pedagogical approach that is widely practiced throughout Finnish education system
  • Finnish teachers believe that over 90 percent of students can learn successfully in their own classrooms if given the opportunity to evolve in a holistic manner.
  • After abolishing all streaming and tracking of students in the mid-1980s, both education policies and school practices adopted the principle that all children have different kinds of intelligences and that schools must find ways how to cultivate these different individual aspects in balanced ways.
  • it is ironic that many of these methods were developed at U.S. universities and are yet far more popular in Finland than in the United States. These include portfolio assessment, performance assessment, self-assessment and self-reflection, and assessment for learning methods.
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Alternative assessments!  Performance, portfolio, self-assessment, self-reflection, and assessment of learning methods...
  • Peer coaching—that is, a confidential process through which teachers work together to reflect on current practices, expand, improve, and learn new skills, exchange ideas, conduct classroom research and solve problems together in school
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Working together and reflecting on current practices - Reflection helps to expand, improve, and provides an opportunity to learn and exchange ideas to solve problems
  • the work of the school in the United States is so much steered by bureaucracies, test-based accountability and competition that schools are simply doing what they must do
    • Beverly Ozburn
       
      Sadness Abounds!  We are teaching folks what works best.  Then, they enter the classroom and get wrapped up in bureaucracies and test-based accountability to the point that teachers are just going through the motions instead of facilitating quality learning
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    Pasi Sahlberg Blog Finnish education reform Originally published in Washington Post, 24 July 2014 An intriguing question whether innovation in education can be measured has an answer now. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development in its recent report "Measuring Innovation in Education: A New Perspective, Educational Research and Innovation" measures Innovation in Education in 22 countries and 6 jurisdictions, among them the U.S.
Nancy Bollingberg

5 Critical Mistakes Schools Make With iPads (And How To Correct Them) - From Tom on Edudemic | Leading Change in Changing Times - 166 views

  • technology needs to be — above everything else — in the service of learning. Administrators who fail to articulate the connection between iPads and learning often hamper their iPad initiative.
    • Nancy Bollingberg
       
      Why Ipads
  • put the iPads in the hands of teachers who understand that active learners learn best
  • Focusing on iPad-versus.-laptop comparisons stifles the ability to see how the iPad facilitates student-centered learning
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  • Simply handing a teacher an iPad in advance won’t serve to address these challenges when the school year starts
  • Teachers need instruction on how to incorporate the devices into the learning process, which is quite different than trying out a few apps
  • School administrators should be explaining to their constituents that the iPad supports essential skill areas — complex communication, new media literacy, creativity, and self-directed learning. Instead of focusing on the convenience of ebooks, they should instead be emphasizing the incredibly immersive and active learning environment the iPad engenders and the unprecedented opportunities to develop personalized, student-centered learning. They should highlight some of the beneficial consumption, curation, and creativity activities the iPad facilitates — as well as the student empowerment it inspires.
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    "While we've witnessed many effective approaches to incorporating iPads successfully in the classroom, we're struck by the common mistakes many schools are making with iPads, mistakes that are in some cases crippling the success of these initiatives. We're sharing these common challenges with you, so your school doesn't have to make them. "
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    "While we've witnessed many effective approaches to incorporating iPads successfully in the classroom, we're struck by the common mistakes many schools are making with iPads, mistakes that are in some cases crippling the success of these initiatives. We're sharing these common challenges with you, so your school doesn't have to make them. "
Amy Roediger

Reading Strategies for 'Informational Text' - NYTimes.com - 172 views

  • Four Corners and Anticipation Guides:Both of these techniques “activate schema” by asking students to react in some way to a series of controversial statements about a topic they are about to study. In Four Corners, students move around the room to show their degree of agreement or disagreement with various statements — about, for instance, the health risks of tanning, or the purpose of college, or dystopian teen literature. An anticipation guide does the same thing, though generally students simply react in writing to a list of statements on a handout. In this warm-up to a lesson on some of the controversies currently raging over school reform, students can use the statements we provide in either of these ways.
  • Gallery Walks:A rich way to build background on a topic at the beginning of a unit (or showcase learning at the end), Gallery Walks for this purpose are usually teacher-created collections of images, articles, maps, quotations, graphs and other written and visual texts that can immerse students in information about a broad subject. Students circulate through the gallery, reading, writing and talking about what they see.
  • Graphic Organizers:
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  • Making Text-to-Text/Text-to-Self/Text-to-World connectionsCharting Debatable IssuesListing Facts/Questions/ResponsesIdentifying Cause and EffectSupporting Opinions With FactsTracking The Five W’s and an HIdentifying Multiple Points of ViewIdentifying a Problem and SolutionComparing With a Venn Diagram
  • The One-Pager:Almost any student can find a “way in” with this strategy, which involves reacting to a text by creating one page that shows an illustration, question and quote that sum up some key aspect of what a student learned.
  • “Popcorn Reads”:Invite students to choose significant words, phrases or whole sentences from a text or texts to read aloud in random fashion, without explanation. Though this may sound pointless until you try it, it is an excellent way for students to “hear” some of the high points or themes of a text emerge, and has the added benefit of being an activity any reader can participate in easily.
  • Illustrations:Have students create illustrations for texts they’re reading, either in the margins as they go along, or after they’ve finished. The point of the exercise is not, of course, to create beautiful drawings, but to help them understand and retain the information they learn.
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    Update | Feb. 2012: We'll be exploring the new Common Core State Standards, and how teaching with The Times can address them, through a series of blog posts. You can find them all here, tagged "the NYT and the CCSS."
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    A good list of reading strategies for informational text from the New York Times.
Martha Hickson

Free Technology for Teachers: A Complete Guide to Using Blogger In Blog - 81 Page Free PDF - 10 views

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    A Complete Guide to Using Blogger In Blog covers everything from Blogging terminology to Blogging activities to the nuts and bolts of using Blogger. You'll learn where to find media to use in Blog posts, how to use media in Blog posts, and get ideas for media-based Blog posts. You'll also learn how to set-up your Blog for multiple authors and how to manage comments.
Randolph Hollingsworth

K12 Inc., Virginia-based virtual schools operator, reports third quarter growth - Washington Post - 0 views

  •  
    record growth in profits (from failing public schools and from charter schools) despite bad NYT press and class-action lawsuit by stakeholders
Peter Beens

Drop Everything and Blog « doug - off the record - 26 views

  •  
    Both schools have been supporters of the "Drop Everything and Read" concept. Observations over time have been that it has become a relatively passive activity - a good one - but still in need of something. So, they're going to experiment with a concept that they're calling "Drop Everything and school". The logic is one of scaffolding the concept. You can't really school unless you have something to school about. So, the initial attempt will be to have students and teachers school about favourite books that they've read. Once schoolged, classmates will be encouraged to read the original post and comment on it.
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    Bring your "drop everything and read" literacy sessions up a notch -- how about "stop everything and blog". My personal suggestion with this -- use Google Documents and allow the option of simultaneous collaboration.
Roland Gesthuizen

What if you're the New Kid at school? | Annie Fox's school - 25 views

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    "If you are the New Kid in school, this school is for you. (It's part of my upcoming Girls' Friendship Q&A Book. ) If you're not the New Kid, read on anyway. Then, hopefully you'll be on the look-out for anyone at school (new or old) who needs a friend. "
Christina Melly

A dozen ways to teach ethical and safe technology use - Home - Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk Blog - 142 views

  • Responsible teachers recognize that schools must give students the understandings and skills they need to stay safe not just in school, but outside of school where most Internet use by young people occurs. Over-filtered school networks set up a false sense of security; the real world of the Internet is quite different from the Internet at school.
    • Rob Weston
       
      Can't agree enough with this, the over-use of filters in schools is making everybody complacent when it comes to teaching students to self-filter.
    • Christina Melly
       
      Right -- if students don't take ownership of their own messages, we see a lot more of those inappropriate messages when the "babysitter" is taken away.
  • A district’s current acceptable use policy should include language about posting private information about both oneself and others
  • A district’s current acceptable use policy should include language about posting private information about both oneself and others
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  • Verbalization of how we personally make decisions is a very powerful teaching tool, but it’s useless to lecture about safe and appropriate use when we ourselves might not follow our own rules.
  • If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything
  • 9. Create environments that help students avoid temptations
  • Assess children’s understanding of ethical concepts. Do not give technology-use privileges until a student has demonstrated that he or she knows and can apply school policies. Test appropriate use prior to students gaining online access.
  • Privacy - I will protect my privacy and respect the privacy of others. Property - I will protect my property and respect the property of others. a(P)propriate Use - I will use technology in constructive ways and in ways which do not break the rules of my family, church, school, or government.
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    2. Stress the consideration and application of principles rather than relying on a detailed set of rules. Although sometimes more difficult to enforce in a consistent manner, a set of a few guidelines* rather than lengthy set of specific rules is more beneficial to students in the long run. By applying guidelines rather than following rules, students engage in higher level thinking processes and learn behaviors that will continue into their next classroom, their homes, and their adult lives.
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    Teaching ethical and safe use of ICTs.
Roland Gesthuizen

Ravitch: No Child Left Behind and the damage done - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post - 59 views

  • with the active support of the Obama administration, the NCLB wrecking ball has become a means of promoting privatization and community fragmentation
  • NCLB cannot be fixed. It has failed. It has imposed a sterile and mean-spirited regime on the schools. It represents the dead hand of conformity and regulation from afar. It is time to abandon the status quo of test-based accountability and seek fresh and innovative thinking to support and strengthen our nation's schools.
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    "This was written by education historian Diane Ravitch for her Bridging Differences blog, which she co-authors with Deborah Meier on the Education Week website. Ravitch and Meier exchange letters about what matters most in education. Ravitch, a research professor at New York University, is the author of the bestselling "The Death and Life of the Great American blog System," an important critique of the flaws in the modern blog reform movement that she just updated."
Roland Gesthuizen

13 Sacred Cows in Schools (and what to do about them) « Looking Up - 173 views

  • The aim is to start people thinking about those things we accept as part of schools, but no longer make sense
  • schools need to change, and quickly. The shift from standardization and conformity has already begun, and schools are too slow to respond
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    "Educators must look critically at the "sacred cows" in schools, the vestiges of industrial age thinking, and decide if they have any place in an education system that tries to foster independent thinking and individuality."
Don Doehla

Restorative Justice: Resources for Schools | Edutopia - 19 views

  •  
    "Restorative justice empowers students to resolve conflicts on their own, and it's growing in practice at schools around the country. Essentially, the idea is to bring students together in peer-mediated small groups to talk, ask questions and air their grievances. (This overview from Fix school Discipline is a wonderful primer.)"
  •  
    Restorative justice empowers students to resolve conflicts on their own, and it's growing in practice at schools around the country. Essentially, the idea is to bring students together in peer-mediated small groups to talk, ask questions and air their grievances. (This overview from Fix school Discipline is a wonderful primer.)
Sharin Tebo

High School Graduates Feel Unprepared For College and Work, Survey Finds - College Bound - Education Week - 44 views

  • 5. Have an assessment late in high school so students can find out what they need for college (77 percent.)
    • Sharin Tebo
       
      What kind of assessment? I mean, if it is a standardized test, does that really help students prepare for life, whether college-bound or not? 
  • So, how can high schools better serve students and bridge this divide? Respondents' top suggestions for change: 1. Provide opportunities for real-world learning (90 percent);
  • A recent survey of public high school graduates finds about half feel they are unprepared for life after high school and most would have worked harder if they had realized the expectations of college and the workplace.
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    I'm not so sure that I believe that less than 1,500 graduates nationwide over the span of just three graduating classes is exactly representative of all high school grads in America, but at least it was conducted by a nonprofit and not one of our education deformer companies or a textbook publisher. Also, isn't a certain amount of laissez-faire attitude a normal teenage brain condition? "I wish I'd paid more attention in high school" was a major theme of conversation at *my* 20 year high school reunion last year (did I just date myself)  BUT I did feel better prepared in study skills and habits, perhaps because in 1993 we weren't so test-centered. Just sayin' Thanks for sharing!
Andrew McCluskey

Occupy Your Brain - 111 views

  • 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.
  • Once learning is institutionalized under a central authority, both freedom for the individual and respect for the local are radically curtailed.  The child in a classroom generally finds herself in a situation where she may not move, speak, laugh, sing, eat, drink, read, think her own thoughts, or even  use the toilet without explicit permission from an authority figure.
  • In what should be considered a chilling development, there are murmurings of the idea of creating global standards for education – in other words, the creation of a single centralized authority dictating what every child on the planet must learn.
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  • In “developed” societies, we are so accustomed to centralized control over learning that it has become functionally invisible to us, and most people accept it as natural, inevitable, and consistent with the principles of freedom and democracy.   We assume that this central authority, because it is associated with something that seems like an unequivocal good – “education” – must itself be fundamentally good, a sort of benevolent dictatorship of the intellect. 
  • We endorse strict legal codes which render this process compulsory, and in a truly Orwellian twist, many of us now view it as a fundamental human right to be legally compelled to learn what a higher authority tells us to learn.
  • And yet the idea of centrally-controlled education is as problematic as the idea of centrally-controlled media – and for exactly the same reasons.
  • The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was designed to protect all forms of communication, information-sharing, knowledge, opinion and belief – what the Supreme Court has termed “the sphere of intellect and spirit” – from government control.
  • by the mid-19th century, with Indians still to conquer and waves of immigrants to assimilate, the temptation to find a way to manage the minds of an increasingly diverse and independent-minded population became too great to resist, and the idea of the Common School was born.
  • We would keep our freedom of speech and press, but first we would all be well-schooled by those in power.
  • A deeply democratic idea — the free and equal education of every child — was wedded to a deeply anti-democratic idea — that this education would be controlled from the top down by state-appointed educrats.
  • The fundamental point of the Occupy Wall Street movement is that the apparatus of democratic government has been completely bought and paid for by a tiny number of grotesquely wealthy individuals, corporations, and lobbying groups.  Our votes no longer matter.  Our wishes no longer count.  Our power as citizens has been sold to the highest bidder.
  • Our kids are so drowned in disconnected information that it becomes quite random what they do and don’t remember, and they’re so overburdened with endless homework and tests that they have little time or energy to pay attention to what’s happening in the world around them.
  • If in ten years we can create Wikipedia out of thin air, what could we create if we trusted our children, our teachers, our parents, our neighbors, to generate community learning webs that are open, alive, and responsive to individual needs and aspirations?  What could we create if instead of trying to “scale up” every innovation into a monolithic bureaucracy we “scaled down” to allow local and individual control, freedom, experimentation, and diversity?
  • The most academically “gifted” students excel at obedience, instinctively shaping their thinking to the prescribed curriculum and unconsciously framing out of their awareness ideas that won’t earn the praise of their superiors.  Those who resist sitting still for this process are marginalized, labeled as less intelligent or even as mildly brain-damaged, and, increasingly, drugged into compliance.
  • the very root, the very essence, of any theory of democratic liberty is a basic trust in the fundamental intelligence of the ordinary person.   Democracy rests on the premise that the ordinary person — the waitress, the carpenter, the shopkeeper — is competent to make her own judgments about matters of domestic policy, international affairs, taxes, justice, peace, and war, and that the government must abide by the decisions of ordinary people, not vice versa.  Of course that’s not the way our system really works, and never has been.   But most of us recall at some deep level of our beings that any vision of a just world relies on this fundamental respect for the common sense of the ordinary human being.
  • This is what we spend our childhood in school unlearning. 
  • If before we reach the age of majority we must submit our brains for twelve years of evaluation and control by government experts, are we then truly free to exercise our vote according to the dictates of our own common sense and conscience?  Do we even know what our own common sense is anymore?
  • We live in a country where a serious candidate for the Presidency is unaware that China has nuclear weapons, where half the population does not understand that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, where nobody pays attention as Congress dismantles the securities regulations that limit the power of the banks, where 45% of American high school students graduate without knowing that the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press.   At what point do we begin to ask ourselves if we are trying to control quality in the wrong way?
  • Human beings, collaborating with one another in voluntary relationships, communicating and checking and counter-checking and elaborating and expanding on one another’s knowledge and intelligence, have created a collective public resource more vast and more alive than anything that has ever existed on the planet.
  • But this is not a paeon to technology; this is about what human intelligence is capable of when people are free to interact in open, horizontal, non-hierarchical networks of communication and collaboration.
  • Positive social change has occurred not through top-down, hierarchically controlled organizations, but through what the Berkana Institute calls “emergence,” where people begin networking and forming voluntary communities of practice. When the goal is to maximize the functioning of human intelligence, you need to activate the unique skills, talents, and knowledge bases of diverse individuals, not put everybody through a uniform mill to produce uniform results. 
  • You need a non-punitive structure that encourages collaboration rather than competition, risk-taking rather than mistake-avoidance, and innovation rather than repetition of known quantities.
  • if we really want to return power to the 99% in a lasting, stable, sustainable way, we need to begin the work of creating open, egalitarian, horizontal networks of learning in our communities.
  • They are taught to focus on competing with each other and gaming the system rather than on gaining a deep understanding of the way power flows through their world.
  • And what could we create, what ecological problems could we solve, what despair might we alleviate, if instead of imposing our rigid curriculum and the destructive economy it serves on the entire world, we embraced as part of our vast collective intelligence the wisdom and knowledge of the world’s thousands of sustainable indigenous cultures?
  • They knew this about their situation: nobody was on their side.  Certainly not the moneyed classes and the economic system, and not the government, either.  So if they were going to change anything, it had to come out of themselves.
  • As our climate heats up, as mountaintops are removed from Orissa to West Virginia, as the oceans fill with plastic and soils become too contaminated to grow food, as the economy crumbles and children go hungry and the 0.001% grows so concentrated, so powerful, so wealthy that democracy becomes impossible, it’s time to ask ourselves; who’s educating us?  To what end?  The Adivasis are occupying their forests and mountains as our children are occupying our cities and parks.  But they understand that the first thing they must take back is their common sense. 
  • They must occupy their brains.
  • Isn’t it time for us to do the same?
  •  
    Carol Black, creator of the documentary, "Schooling the World" discusses the conflicting ideas of centralized control of education and standardization against the so-called freedom to think independently--"what the Supreme Court has termed 'the sphere of intellect and spirit" (Black, 2012). Root questions: "who's educating us? to what end?" (Black, 2012).
  •  
    This is a must read. Carol Black echoes here many of the ideas of Paulo Freire, John Taylor Gatto and the like.
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