From Meetings to Prototypes: The Importance of Being Experimental

Educators are problem-solvers in a profession riddled with instructional and non-instructional problems. In any one school, countless problems need to be solved concurrently; Maybe one grade level needs help with improving students' decoding skills, while the specialist teachers are curious how adjusting class periods would affect learning, while at the same time, despite heavy investment … Continue reading From Meetings to Prototypes: The Importance of Being Experimental

The Unproductive Debate of Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning

Like millions of people around the globe right now, I am practicing social distancing. One valid point that has been brought up online is that the term should really be physical distancing rather than social distancing; Of course self-isolation and quarantine separate us geographically, but the psychological space between us doesn't have to be so … Continue reading The Unproductive Debate of Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning

Has the Coronavirus Online Period Proven that all Teachers can use Technology?

I love online learning. I love it so much that I decided to get an online degree in it. Working in a physical brick-and-mortar school is a pleasure, for sure, but I've long been interested in bringing the best of online learning into the face-to-face classroom. This is not because I think these tools are … Continue reading Has the Coronavirus Online Period Proven that all Teachers can use Technology?

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.

Education Rickshaw sees 2020

It's 2020 and we are still keeping up this blog. Doing this is massive feat, I feel, considering that we also have to juggle the various responsibilities of parenthood, doctoral homework, and teaching duties. New years call for new resolutions, so I thought I would briefly outline some of my (Zach's) intentions for this blog … Continue reading Education Rickshaw sees 2020

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. It also includes … 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