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 ...


A few posts ago, Set Them Free, I basically said that students who are happier are more likely to work hard in school. Well, now it's time to punch a hole in my happy thoughts. At least when it comes to math. Last month, a new report by the Brookings Institution concluded that the so-called "happiness factor" in math may be inversely related to performance in that subject. The report found that in countries where students express high levels of math confidence and enjoyment (i.e. they are happing when doing math, unlike most of us), they tend to score ...


The Pew Partnership for Civic Change recently announced the launch of a new campaign to reduce high school dropout rates that I thought was worth noting here. Titled "Learning to Finish," the campaign is starting this fall in Jacksonville, Fla., and Shreveport, La., with plans to expand to 23 other communities by 2008. The campaign is primarily focused on the transition from middle school to high school, a time when many students fall behind and never catch up. The effort will bring community members, educators, and researchers together online to share successful strategies and the latest information on what works ...


A survey released today by the Josephson Institute of Ethics found that 60 percent of the 36,122 high school students surveyed admitted cheating on a testing once during the past year, 35 percent said they had cheated two or more times, and a third said they had used the Internet to plagiarize a school writing assignment. The Josephson Institute has released figures on cheating every year since 1992. And, unfortunately, the cynic in me becomes less and less surprised by the seemingly high percentages of high school students who cheat. That might be, in part, because I examined this ...


"We are deeply concerned that current trends in early education, fueled by political pressure, are leading to an emphasis on unproven methods of academic instruction and unreliable standardized testing that can undermine learning and damage young children's healthy development." That is the opening line of a Call to Action on the Education of Young Children, which the Alliance for Childhood is promoting in the wake of a recent report by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggesting that too little time for free play is leading to increased stress for children and missed opportunities for them to learn how to take ...


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