"Anything we’re trying to make happen as a leader involves other people, and the fact is, most people don’t have to follow us. They don’t have to believe in our great ideas, buy our great products, or do what we want them to do. Even when we have authority—as parents of teenagers will tell you—our power doesn’t go very far without others believing that what we want them to do is in their best interests. The pull of connecting to others and their interests is far more powerful than the push of control, especially when we find the intersection between their interests and our goals. How do we know what’s truly in someone else’s interests?
“Become the other person and go from there.” It’s the best piece of coaching advice I ever received, coming from Tanouye Roshi, and it applies equally to influence, negotiation, conflict, sales, teaching, and communication of all kinds. To become the other person is to listen so deeply that our own mind chatter stops; to listen with every pore on our body until we can sense how the other’s mind works. To become the other person is to feel into her emotional state, see through her eyes, think like she thinks, and see how she views us, our proposition, and the situation at hand. To write it out or read it in serial fashion makes it sound like a lengthy, time-consuming process, but in fact, deep empathy conveys its insights in a flash, and our ability to empathize deepens with practice, as we learn to quiet our own inner state."
"If you’re always on the hunt for new ideas to implement in the classroom or want to keep up with the latest news in education, then turn to Twitter. With teachers tweeting in droves, if determining whom to follow first is overwhelming, start by checking out these top 25 teachers, educators and experts on Twitter. By following their tweets, you will gain access to education news as it happens and numerous tips, activities and resources to use in your classroom or with your children.
"The Boston Student Advisory Council details the history of their campaign to get student voice's heard in teacher evaluations."
Excerpt - Final Regulations On Evaluation Of Educators
603 CMR 35.00 Evaluation of Educators
35.07: Evidence Used in Evaluation
"2. Student feedback collected by the district, starting in the 2013-2014 school year. On or before July 1, 2013, the Department shall identify one or more instruments for collecting student feedback and shall publish protocols for administering the instrument(s), protecting student confidentiality, and analyzing student feedback. In the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years, districts are encouraged to pilot new systems, and to continue using and refining existing systems, for collecting and analyzing student feedback as part of educator evaluation."
"When we tell students to study for the exam or, more to the point, to study so that they can do well on the exam, we powerfully reinforce that way of thinking. While faculty consistently complain about instrumentalism, our behavior and the entire system encourages and facilitates it.
On the one hand, we tell students to value learning for learning's sake; on the other, we tell students they'd better know this or that, or they'd better take notes, or they'd better read the book, because it will be on the next exam; if they don't do these things, they will pay a price in academic failure. This communicates to students that the process of intellectual inquiry, academic exploration, and acquiring knowledge is a purely instrumental activity—designed to ensure success on the next assessment.
Given all this, it is hardly surprising that students constantly ask us if this or that will be on the exam, or whether they really need to know this reading for the next test, or—the single most pressing question at every first class meeting of the term—"is the final cumulative"?
This dysfunctional system reaches its zenith with the cumulative "final" exam. We even go so far as to commemorate this sacred academic ritual by setting aside a specially designated "exam week" at the end of each term. This collective exercise in sadism encourages students to cram everything that they think they need to "know" (temporarily for the exam) into their brains, deprive themselves of sleep and leisure activities, complete (or more likely finally start) term papers, and memorize mounds of information. While this traditional exercise might prepare students for the inevitable bouts of unpleasantness they will face as working adults, its value as a learning process is dubious."
"'Best practices' is the worst practice. The idea that we should examine successful organizations and then imitate what they do if we also want to be successful is something that first took hold in the business world but has now unfortunately spread to the field of education. If imitation were the path to excellence, art museums would be filled with paint-by-number works.
The fundamental flaw of a 'best practices'approach, as any student in a half-decent research-design course would know, is that it suffers from what is called 'selection on the dependent variable.' If you only look at successful organizations, then you have no variation in the dependent variable: they all have good outcomes. When you look at the things that successful organizations are doing, you have no idea whether each one of those things caused the good outcomes, had no effect on success, or was actually an impediment that held organizations back from being even more successful. An appropriate research design would have variation in the dependent variable; some have good outcomes and some have bad ones. To identify factors that contribute to good outcomes, you would, at a minimum, want to see those factors more likely to be present where there was success and less so where there was not."
"But Surpassing Shanghai is even worse than the typical best-practices work, because Tucker’s concluding chapters, in which he summarizes the common best practices and draws policy recommendations, have almost no connection to the preceding chapters on each country. That is, the case studies of Shanghai, Finland, Japan, Singapore, and Canada attempt to identify the secrets to success in each country, a dubious-enough enterprise, and then Tucker promptly ignores all of the other chapters when making his general recommendations."
"The Palm Beach School System has an incredible wiki where members of the community share their favorite apps for specific disciplines. Below I’ve [Jeff Dunn, Executive Editor, edudemic.com] embedded their list for the top high school apps but they also have a curated list of apps for middle school and elementary school.
I wanted to give a mention to the people behind the project. Be sure to reach out to them if you have any questions or just want to let them know that you are benefiting from their hard work:
- John Shoemaker (John.Shoemaker@palmbeachschools.org) - Melissa Lander (Melissa.Lander@palmbeachschools.org) - John Long (John.Long.email@example.com)
(H/T to @rmbyrne for introducing me to this wiki! Be sure to follow him at the always wonderful Free Tech 4 Teachers site.) Most of the links below are to the iTunes store. It may open up iTunes on your computer."
"Once, animals at the university were the province of science. Rats ran through mazes in the psychology lab, cows mooed in the veterinary barns, the monkeys of neuroscience chattered in their cages. And on the dissecting tables of undergraduates, preserved frogs kept a deathly silence.
On the other side of campus, in the seminar rooms and lecture halls of the liberal arts and social sciences, where monkey chow is never served and all the mazes are made of words, the attention of scholars was firmly fixed on humans.
This spring, freshmen at Harvard can take “Human, Animals and Cyborgs.” Last year Dartmouth offered “Animals and Women in Western Literature: Nags, Bitches and Shrews.” New York University offers “Animals, People and Those in Between.”
The courses are part of the growing, but still undefined, field of animal studies. So far, according to Marc Bekoff, an emeritus professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, the field includes 'anything that has to do with the way humans and animals interact.' Art, literature, sociology, anthropology, film, theater, philosophy, religion — there are animals in all of them."
"Trying to escape the constant stream of too much information."
"About a year ago, I [This essay's author, Pico Iyer] flew to Singapore to join the writer Malcolm Gladwell, the fashion designer Marc Ecko and the graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister in addressing a group of advertising people on 'Marketing to the Child of Tomorrow.' Soon after I arrived, the chief executive of the agency that had invited us took me aside. What he was most interested in, he began — I braced myself for mention of some next-generation stealth campaign — was stillness.
A few months later, I read an interview with the perennially cutting-edge designer Philippe Starck. What allowed him to remain so consistently ahead of the curve? 'I never read any magazines or watch TV,' he said, perhaps a little hyperbolically. 'Nor do I go to cocktail parties, dinners or anything like that.” He lived outside conventional ideas, he implied, because “I live alone mostly, in the middle of nowhere.'
Around the same time, I noticed that those who part with $2,285 a night to stay in a cliff-top room at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur pay partly for the privilege of not having a TV in their rooms; the future of travel, I’m reliably told, lies in 'black-hole resorts,' which charge high prices precisely because you can’t get online in their rooms.
"...I’m still around, and this all comes around to what got me up this morning, an article posted by Tim Holt in his HOLT THINK tumblr blog. It’s number six of his 10 Bad Trends in Ed Tech 2011. He wrote it on the 21st, but I caught up yesterday, thanks to Stephanie Sandifer’s Tweet. His sixth bad trend is 'Ed tech gurus not offering solutions.'
I agree with some of what Holt says, but take exception with a great deal of it. Scott McLeod expresses much of what I would add to the conversation and brings a great deal of balance. Be sure to read the comments, to which I may add something after I’ve finished this post.
For 2¢ Worth, I’d like to turn it into a challenge, “What solutions would you have, David, if you were back in that rural North Carolina school district you left 22 years ago?” I would consider the following ten-action plan is based on my past and current knowledge of that school districts, and would almost surely be altered by a closer association. But here are the solutions that this challenge brings to mind."
1. Eliminate paper from the budget and remove all copiers and computer printers from schools and the central office (with exceptions of essential need). 'On this date, everything goes digital.'
2. Create a professional development plan where all faculty and staff learn to teach themselves within a networked, digital, and info-abundant environment — it’s about Learning-Literacy. Although workshops would not completely disappear, the goal would be a culture where casual, daily, and self-directed professional development is engaged, shared, and celebrated — everyday! Then extend the learning-literacy workshops to the greater adult community."
"Empathy and emotional intelligence are the keys to what our blogger calls "the T Factor."
"While watching a brilliant teacher in action, you too may have wondered: 'What is it that makes them excellent?'
Do we, as an educational community actually realise what makes a true teacher? Is it purely down to perfect pedagogy, rigorous planning and assessing, diligent resource making and clever behaviour management; or is there something more?
As important as all of the above are in excellent teaching, I believe that there is something else, something as of yet not commonly talked about, and it’s called the “T Factor!”
In my experience, teachers with the T Factor, run a happy, high achieving environment in which the pupils feel content, valued and achieve high respective standards academically and behaviourally. These teachers create a sense of awe and wonder to develop enquiring minds with an insatiable thirst for learning that endures.
'So, what is the mystical T Factor?' I hear you say. Well, put simply, the T Factor is ultimately the teacher’s ability to progressively build, maintain and reinforce high quality educational attachment relationships (linked to the principles of John Bowlby’s attachment theory http://goo.gl/xQEX ). This, in its infancy, can be termed rapport; however, as this is built upon, a quality psychological connection or attachment relationship conducive to learning and attuned interaction is developed and strengthened."
Duke is captivating, and he makes a clear argument that students don't learn what we think we teach because they're too busy learning what we're actually teaching, which is, often, that precision is more important than understanding and that grades matter. The solution, he argues, is to teach, over and over, the things that we actually want our students to remember after the semester is over. And, that we should not defer learning about "The Good Stuff" until after they've suffered through boring prerequisites. Instead, we should teach the good stuff first and teach what we really enjoy.
"Seven Top Leaders on Making Tough Calls and Serving for the Greater Good by Knowledge@Wharton, the online business journal of the Wharton School."
"On December 5, at historic Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., a diverse group of seven leaders notable in their respective fields, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Nobel Prize-winning scientist Ahmed Zewali, took to the stage to discuss their views of the qualities that make a leader. All seven received the 2011 Top American Leaders Award from the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Washington Post Live, honoring those who motivate people to "work collaboratively to accomplish great things."
'It's important to signify to others what is exemplary about people who make a difference in our lives,' said Michael Useem, a Wharton management professor and director of the Wharton Center for Leadership and Change Management, who served on the award's selection committee. 'Identifying why a leader deserves this distinction is a way to send a message to all of us to think about our own development and what to value when it comes to leadership.' Useem noted that the award's selection criteria reflect academic research on leadership qualities that emphasize strategic thinking and mission-setting, looking beyond one's self interest and inspiring others to act.
The seven Top American Leaders imparted their wisdom about leadership, including some very personal observations on how they came by the passion that inspires their work and on what irks them most about public life. Common in all their views is that leadership is about serving more than one's self. Insights from the winners [and the audio can be found here:]" http://goo.gl/BlomG
Look to your left and then to your right. Is that pretty girl Phi Beta Kappa? Marry her.
Class of 2012,
I became sick of commencement speeches at about your age. My first job out of college was writing speeches for the governor of Maine. Every spring, I would offer extraordinary tidbits of wisdom to 22-year-olds—which was quite a feat given that I was 23 at the time. In the decades since, I’ve spent most of my career teaching economics and public policy. In particular, I’ve studied happiness and well-being, about which we now know a great deal. And I’ve found that the saccharine and over-optimistic words of the typical commencement address hold few of the lessons young people really need to hear about what lies ahead. Here, then, is what I wish someone had told the Class of 1988:
1. Your time in fraternity basements was well spent."
"I love my three young children immensely. So it's hard for me to be fully rational about them. Of course they are the smartest, the best looking, and the most athletic. I'm not alone — all parents are irrational."
"Irrationality can be a strong asset. Sure, a vast majority of new businesses fail, so a fairly rational person could easily justify maintaining the status quo. But our world is — unquestionably — a better place because people take risks that don't quite make logical sense. Of course, irrationality presents challenges too. It can blind innovators to real problems and to important signals telling them to do something different. Yes, perseverance may be an underappreciated skill, but when paired with passion, it often leads to fanaticism.
So how can you toe the line between irrationality and fanaticism without pursuing a doomed idea?"
"This piece was written by a member of the Teaching Georgia Writing Collective , a group of educators, parents, and concerned citizens who engage in public writing and public teaching about education in Georgia. Members write anonymously because many fear there would be consequences to them or their children if their views were publicly known.
Goals of the collective include: 1) empowering educators to reclaim their workplace and professionalism, 2) empowering families to stand up for their children and shape the institutions their children attend each day, 3) empowering children and youth to have control over their education, and 4) enhancing the education of all Georgians."
When done right, evaluation in any career provides not only accountability, but also a welcome boost to the next level of excellence."
"ike other states across the country, mine (Massachusetts) is in the midst of piloting a new teacher evaluation system. I'm a teacher, so this matters deeply to me. But it also matters to anyone with any stake in education, as the impact of how we measure teacher effectiveness will be immense.
Now, how are these evaluations going so far? Last month, Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellows sent a survey to teachers in Massachusetts's Level 4 Turnaround Schools, who are currently piloting the new system. While the purpose of pilots is, of course, to iron out the kinks in something before rolling it out more broadly, the data compiled from the 112 responses is still concerning and eye-opening, and it points to some major areas for improvement:
• 41% of teachers rated their evaluator as fair or poor overall • 35% rated the quality of their evaluator's feedback as fair or poor • 45% rated their evaluator fair or poor in content knowledge
The flipped classroom is an exciting new instructional approach. As it is relatively new, much of the information about it only is available in the popular press. Little research can be found. On this page, I am pulling together what I can find relevant to flipped classrooms. Enjoy!
"Technology is a tool that can be used to help teachers facilitate learning experiences that address the diverse learning needs of all students and help them develop 21st Century Skills. At it's most basic level, digital tools can be used to help students find, understand and use information. When combined with student-driven learning experiences fueled by Essential Questions offering flexible learning paths, it can be the ticket to success. Here is a closer look at three components of effectively using technology as a tool for digital differentiation."
""Aspects of creative thinking that are not usually taught.
1. You are creative. 2. Creative thinking is work. 3. You must go through the motions of being creative. 4. Your brain is not a computer. 5. There is no one right answer. 6. Never stop with your first good idea. 7. Expect the experts to be negative. 8. Trust your instincts. 9. There is no such thing as failure. 10. You do not see things as they are; you see them as you are. 11. Always approach a problem on its own terms. 12. Learn to think unconventionally.
In the Brevia section of the 9 August 2002 issue of Science, Weir et al. report a remarkable observation: The toolmaking behavior of New Caledonian crows. In the experiments, a captive female crow, confronted with a task that required a curved tool (retrieving a food-containing bucket from a vertical pipe), spontaneously bent a piece of straight wire into a hooked shape -- and then repeated the behavior in nine out of ten subsequent trials.
"Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can follow to maintain, and improve, our vibrant brains."
1. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.
2. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake? As a general rule, you don’t need expensive ultra-sophisticated nutritional supplements, just make sure you don’t stuff yourself with the 'bad stuff.'"
The Resource for Education Technology Leaders focusing on K-12 educators. "Kids love having the opportunity to learn online but it’s not merely the medium or the technology that students enjoy. At the recent iNacol Virtual Schools Symposium I listened to high school students who have experience learning this way as well as teachers who have experience with these students, share some advice for making this type of learning even better.
"It is time for the annual year in review on the 21k12 blog. Over the past year I have posted just over 150 times, which is down a tad from 165 posts in 2010, but is meeting my goal of averaging 3 posts a week and about 12-15 a month."
"Now the list: Top Ten Posts from 2011 here at 21k12:
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.