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S2E8: Kristin Simmers and Andrew Watson on the Role of Neuroscience in Education

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

A banner that reads Dead Ends from the Explicit Teaching vs. Inquiry-Based Learning Debate, and educationrickshaw.com

Dead Ends from the Explicit Teaching vs. Inquiry-Based Learning Debate

I've learned a lot from engaging in the "teaching wars" that pit teacher-led explicit teaching approaches against student-led inquiry (IBL) and discovery (DL) approaches. I even created a podcast to explore these ideas with other teachers and researchers. Recently, however, I've noticed that the conversation tends to circle around the same territories, often leading to … Continue reading Dead Ends from the Explicit Teaching vs. Inquiry-Based Learning Debate

Playing Around with Kids’ 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

Different Schools for Different Fools

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

The Sad, Sad Story of the Hollow Curriculum

The Sad, Sad Story of the Hollow Curriculum

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

Beliefs, Evidence, and Educational Technology

Frequent readers of this blog will know that I am the Director of Educational Technology at a 6-12 independent school. My role is to design and implement the strategy around online learning and train teachers how to integrate various online tools into their lessons. This post is a reflection on whether my beliefs about teaching … Continue reading Beliefs, Evidence, and Educational Technology

5 Meanings of Student-Centered Instruction

There's an interesting essay called "Five Meanings of Direct Instruction" where the author (Rosenshine, 2008) shows how even a term as commonly used as direct instruction can take on different meanings depending on who you talk to. Some people use it in the pejorative to refer to non-stop passive lecturing, while those familiar with the … Continue reading 5 Meanings of Student-Centered Instruction

A Fence at the Top or an Ambulance at the Bottom?

As a school leader, I'm often asked to read things that contain strong claims about the nature of learning. I was recently asked what I thought about a blog post by Robert Kaplinsky. I don't know anything about Mr. Kaplinsky, and I don't aim to disparage him or his work, but I was struck by … Continue reading A Fence at the Top or an Ambulance at the Bottom?

Memories of a warm-strict “DI-KR” teacher

My first grade teacher's name was Ms. Wee. Other than her last name, there wasn't much else funny about her. Ms. Wee was someone I would characterize as a warm-strict, traditional teacher. I still remember the contrast between how carefully she controlled our entry into the classroom on the first day of school compared to … Continue reading Memories of a warm-strict “DI-KR” teacher

5 EdTech Myths We Should Leave Behind

This week I led a reading group session at my school on the article, "Have Technology and Multitasking Rewired How Students Learn?" by Daniel Willingham (here). Having led a lot of these, I'm convinced that reading groups are a more effective and enjoyable form of professional learning than ones that do not focus on a … Continue reading 5 EdTech Myths We Should Leave Behind