November 2006 Archives

"My general impression is one of extreme disappointment," Gerald Wheeler of the National Science Teachers Association told Education Week after the release this month of a federal study showing that students in urban schools struggled with relatively basic tasks in a test of their science skills. "I can't imagine these kids surviving in a scientifically literate society." Having grown up in a family of scientists (my father, now retired, was a chemistry professor and my older brother is a chemistry professor), I remember the many conversations my father and brother have had over the years about why so few U.S....

We recently published a commentary in Education Week titled "The Wounds of Schooling," which makes the argument that for many people school is a harsh, discouraging, rigid environment that kills their creativity and love of learning. A fascinating discussion about the article is underway on our site and I encourage you to go there to see what others are saying and submit your own comments. Here are my thoughts on this debate: Although we have all had our fair share of discouraging, motivation-killing experiences in school (some more than others), I have a hard time believing that most of us ...

I love book reviews that make you want to jump out of your office seat, walk to the nearest bookstore, and buy the book. That was the reaction I had to a recent review in TCRecord of a book titled Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck. Based on the review (I still have to make that trip to the bookstore), this is definitely a book that gets at the heart of matters related to student motivation. It examines, for instance, how people often operate under two different mindsets, the fixed mindset or the growth-oriented one. The ...

"One of the most sickening realities teachers face is when they hear of the awful things their little darlings do to each other while we sit thinking they are wholly engrossed in the school-world we create for them." That was a recent post by a teacher who writes a blog called From the Trenches. She goes on to tell a story about two boys harassing and bullying a girl during a field trip. It's a troubling tale, and a reminder to educators that what happens outside the realm of academics could have particularly damaging effects on student motivation. The teacher's ...


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