Every School Needs a Research Group

I'm looking forward to 12:50 this Wednesday, the time that is usually reserved for teachers and students to eat lunch. Usually my lunch routine is to sign out, walk across the street (carefully), and choose between ma la tang or ma la xiang guo from one of the stalls that cater to mostly Chinese college … Continue reading Every School Needs a Research Group

“Beliefs” About How Students Learn can Only Get You So Far.

What are your beliefs about student learning? How do students best learn? If you're like me you've been asked at the start of a PD session or a faculty meeting to discuss your deeply-held beliefs about some aspect of student learning in a Think-Pair-Share or a gallery walk. Or maybe you were interviewed for a … Continue reading “Beliefs” About How Students Learn can Only Get You So Far.

How to Make the PYP Design Space Accessible, Flexible, Responsive?

Since moving into the role of PYP design teacher I have been playing with ideas about how to provide students access to their design space, which at my school we affectionately call The Pit. The students come to me two or three times every 8 day cycle for 45 minutes at a time and whenever … Continue reading How to Make the PYP Design Space Accessible, Flexible, Responsive?

The Worst Learning Environment I’ve Ever Seen and the Principal LOVED it!

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!

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?

Hands-on, Minds-on: Keeping Play Cognitive

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

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

Is Math Anxiety Totally Avoidable?

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?

Beyond Piaget and Vygotsky: Why Teachers’ Cognitive Science Education is Insufficient

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

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