Take a look at the featured image of this post. This bizarre juxtaposition of two teachers teaching a combined 50+ kids from two opposite ends of a room is 100% real. It was also my (Zach's) first student teaching experience. Bear with me as I describe what was going on in that classroom in detail, … Continue reading The Worst Learning Environment I’ve Ever Seen and the Principal LOVED it!
Things often come to my attention in education that make no sense. One of these has do to with the current state of the "Reading Wars", which has changed slightly since the days when it was characterized as a battle between phonics vs. whole language advocates. The phonics people won, but conceded the point that … Continue reading Why Do Those Who Hate “Boring Phonics” Endorse Boring Comprehension Strategies?
Note: For participants of this workshop, here's the presentation: Hands on MINDS on Final I'm excited to announce a new workshop that I'm leading at The Future of Education Now Conference (#FOEN2019) at Western Academy of Beijing. It is one based around some my recent explorations in cognitive science research, and creativity & design. The description can … Continue reading Hands-on, Minds-on: Keeping Play Cognitive
I recently gave a presentation called The Cognitive Science of Creative Subjects at Learning2Asia, a conference which I thought was an incredibly well-run by Nanjing International School. The format of the workshop was really fun: Teachers do mostly hands-on, design-related experiments on themselves to sort of demonstrate how different principles in cognitive science work. I also … Continue reading Lessons from Cognitive Science that I’ve Used to Improve my Teaching
Instructional design (ID) is the systematic design, development, and implementation of efficient and effective instructional solutions for the purpose of improving learning and performance. Put more simply, instructional design is a reliable way of thinking and acting to design quality instruction. Instructional designers design instructional and performance solutions in a variety of settings, from private corporations … Continue reading What is Instructional Design and does it Matter for K-12 Education?
Math and me have had a tumultuous relationship. When I (Zach) was in high school I had a pretty bad math teacher, whose cynicism and poor teaching skills - students were meant to “discover” the solutions to problems before receiving proper instruction - played a role in my decision at the time to never pursue … Continue reading Is Math Anxiety Totally Avoidable?
I have a challenge for you readers. Name two psychologists/cognitive scientists whose research has impacted education in the past twenty years. Were you able to? Perhaps that was too easy. New challenge! Name two psychologists/cognitive scientists who have published impactful work in the past twenty years AND were also featured at a workshop or PD session that … Continue reading Beyond Piaget and Vygotsky: Why Teachers’ Cognitive Science Education is Insufficient
I'm (Zach) excited to share that I will be presenting at yet another conference, this time at Learning2 in Nanjing, China. Take a look at the description of the workshop below, which I hope will merge some of my passion for utilizing research to inform teaching with my work in creativity. Hope to see you … Continue reading NEW WORKSHOP: The Cognitive Science of Creative Subjects at Learning2 2019!
I love professional book clubs. If schools are serious about teacher agency and differentiating professional learning for teachers, administrators should consider teacher book clubs as an option. The following is an updated list of 10 books for professional book clubs that I've had the pleasure of either facilitating, attending, or just think could be great if … Continue reading 11 Books to Start a Book Club for Teachers
I get the sense from some in the creative subjects that the simple practice of putting something down in the form of a written curriculum is too restrictive or too cold and methodical to be worth doing. While schools tend to provide math and reading teachers things like off-the-shelf resources, scope and sequences, and pacing … Continue reading Does Design/MakerED/STEM even need a curriculum?