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?
From Door to Do Now
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
The Private School Penalty
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
Instructional Videos: Perfect for Learning Styles, Popular with Students, and THE FUTURE of Education!
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!
Is Classroom Management Based on a “Dim View” of Human Nature?
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?
Making Presentations More Permanent
A problem teachers face when delivering lectures is the issue of "transience." Information is transient when elements of information that must be processed by a learner disappear to be replaced by new elements
Can a Theory Improve Your Teaching?
If much of what we learned in teacher training was not very useful once we got to the classroom, and if some theories we were taught, like learning styles, were just plain false, it's tempting to conclude that theory has little to offer the busy teacher. Having used cognitive load theory to streamline my teaching, I can't agree.
Teach First, Ask Questions Second
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.
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