One of my biggest triggers is when a presenter at an education conference will claim, without being able to point to an article or a body of research, that x, y or z is research-based. And more often than not, their research-free claim is accompanied by weird brain-based language. "We know that play-based learning works … Continue reading S2E8: Kristin Simmers and Andrew Watson on the Role of Neuroscience in Education
As I've written before, replacing explicit instruction (not just lecturing, but a scaffolded combination of interactive modeling, questioning, and practice) with fun but trivial activities is not the key to students' hearts. If anything, this causes disillusionment and resentment. Kids are smart enough to recognize that their education is being wasted. In this post, I'd … Continue reading Playing Around with Kids’ Education
To celebrate the completion of my dissertation and my contribution to a new book, I allowed myself back onto Twitter. I had been tweeting via Hootsuite and self-blocking Twitter on my technology so that I could focus on these projects, free from the weight of the nonsense that tends to dominate the platform. My return … Continue reading Different Schools for Different Fools
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?
When I coach teachers who struggle with classroom management, I often begin by helping them focus on the things that happen just prior to the actual lesson: The way students move and interact in the hallways, the way students line up at the door and enter, and the design of the task students are meant … Continue reading From Door to Do Now
For the past 9 years, I've worked in private independent and international schools, and before that, I trained and worked in public schools. As I've written before, the challenges that teachers experience in each of these contexts are vastly different. A pedagogy consisting largely of unstructured tasks with ill-defined goals, coupled with a laissez-faire approach … Continue reading The Private School Penalty
Last week I attended a government-sponsored training on instructional video that began with three weird reasons for why teachers should use more instructional video: Instructional videos cater to students' learning stylesInstructional videos are more popular with students (i.e., they like them) than alternative methodsInstructional videos are the future of learning I'm sure fans of this … Continue reading Instructional Videos: Perfect for Learning Styles, Popular with Students, and THE FUTURE of Education!
One of my favorite episodes of the Progressively Incorrect podcast is the one in which we discuss an opinion piece by Alfie Kohn on classroom management. Consistent with his past writing, Kohn takes issue with the idea that schools should concern themselves with externally regulating students’ behaviors, saying that classroom management is based on a … Continue reading Is Classroom Management Based on a “Dim View” of Human Nature?
Somewhere along the way I developed the habit of using an unproductive questioning pattern called "guess what's in my head." This is when I ask questions that the students couldn't possibly respond to because they haven't yet learned the material required to answer the questions.
When I first started teaching 4th grade, I inherited a social studies unit on Ancient Egypt, a topic that is universally adored by students at this age level. Over the years of teaching this unit, the 4th grade teachers had developed a document - what we'd now call a knowledge organizer - of all of … Continue reading The Sad, Sad Story of the Hollow Curriculum