Do We Want Our Students to Struggle?

Like so many buzzwords in education, it's hard to pin down what people mean by the term "Productive Struggle". Of the two meanings of Productive Struggle I've heard being used most often, the good meaning is uncontroversial, and the bad - and more popular - meaning encourages teachers to abandon principles of effective instruction. The … Continue reading Do We Want Our Students to Struggle?

Why I memorize by educationrickshaw

Why I Memorize

One little-known aspect of international teaching is that very few expat teachers end up learning the local language in the countries where they teach. This may vary by language, of course; I've heard that far more international teachers pick up Spanish than Kazakh, for example; but by and large it seems that most international teachers, … Continue reading Why I Memorize

Immersion Learning Fails Students In More Ways Than One

When I was 16, I attended high school in the French city of Rennes. Like many foreign exchange students before me, I was assigned the same classes as local French students - literature, math and science classes - all, of course, entirely taught in French. Despite my (and my parents') hopes that I would quickly … Continue reading Immersion Learning Fails Students In More Ways Than One

Biologically Primary vs. Biologically Secondary Knowledge

Help! I’m Trying to Teach My 9-Month-Old How to Crawl and it isn’t Working.

I have a 9-month-old daughter who still cannot crawl. I've tried having her build up her strength through various leg and abdominal exercises. I've shown her interactive diagrams and YouTube videos of babies crawling, and I've read her the definition of crawling from the dictionary. I've modeled the correct way to crawl so many times … Continue reading Help! I’m Trying to Teach My 9-Month-Old How to Crawl and it isn’t Working.

Why Do Those Who Hate “Boring Phonics” Endorse Boring Comprehension Strategies?

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?

Lessons from Cognitive Science that I’ve Used to Improve my Teaching

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

11 Books to Start a Book Club for Teachers

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

What constitutes “Balanced Literacy” depends on who you’re talking to.

I recently finished reading Dan Willingham’s book, Raising Kids who Read: What Parents and Teachers can do. Of particular interest to me (Zach) was the chapter in which Willingham described the infamous “Reading Wars”. Having just facilitated design thinking around literacy at my school, during which we started a discourse (Described in this recent post) … Continue reading What constitutes “Balanced Literacy” depends on who you’re talking to.

Top Barriers for Not Using Tech in The Classroom

Something became clear to me at AISA Conference 2017 when keynote speaker, Dr. Sonny Magana, asked the educators in the audience to raise their hands if they felt content about the state of educational technology in their schools. For a brief moment a room full of educators from a variety of schools, backgrounds, and teaching positions was … Continue reading Top Barriers for Not Using Tech in The Classroom