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October 15, 2011

Students at the Board: Confidence Booster or Buster?

Presenting solutions to homework or class work in front of the class can be a real confidence booster for students. But it can also be a real confidence buster for them if they come to the board thinking they're experts and their answers turn out to be wrong. And if that's not deflating enough for...

July 16, 2011

Great Teachers: Perfectly Imperfect

Ronald was six when he noticed his father had black grease around his mouth after working on a car. A few days later at school, Ronald tried to emulate his dad by coloring the area around his own mouth black. When the teacher (who I'll call Mrs. Davis) discovered what Ronald had done, she promptly i...

May 21, 2011

Bad Students or Bad Situation?

At last month's Education Week webinar, Addressing Diverse Student Learning Needs, I stressed the importance of breaking from classroom traditions that are no longer--and may never have been--in students' best interests. One such tradition occurs every day in countless early childhood and elementa...

April 23, 2011

Motivation or Manipulation?

A common yet misguided motivational tactic involves praising some students for the purpose of redirecting other students. A classic example of this is when teachers call out, "I love the way Groups 1 and 4 are sitting," when what they really mean is "I hate the way Groups 2, 3, and 5 are stirring."...

April 16, 2011

Connect With Kids in the Context and Confines of the Classroom

I may not have survived my first year in the classroom if it hadn't been for basketball. Many of my students lived and breathed it (this was the west side of Chicago during Michael Jordan's heyday), and I was pretty good at it. So when I was unable to connect with kids in the classroom, I tried to c...

April 03, 2011

Behavior Management ≠ Classroom Management

"The reality of education is that people learn from people they love," says New York Times columnist David Brooks in a recent National Public Radio interview discussing his new book, The Social Animal. "We've spent all this time with big schools, small schools," Brooks later says. "But what really...

March 19, 2011

When Helping Students Hurts Students

We educators are giving, helpful people. That's what drew many of us to teaching in the first place: a genuine desire to help children. And yet it's our helpfulness, I've found, that often hurts kids more than it helps them. The problem is that sooner or later success for students will require sel...

February 26, 2011

Student Success Prerequisite: Hope

A self-doubting student's turnaround illustrates the power and importance of teachers instilling hope in students.

February 20, 2011

Success Comes From the HEART

Success often has as much or more to do with people's thoughts and actions as it does their abilities. I noticed this in academics, business, and sports before becoming a teacher, and tried to convince students of this after becoming a teacher. One way I did this was by telling them that success co...

February 13, 2011

Education Reform Key: Stop Enabling Students' Self-Defeating Behavior

David Ginsburg says meaningful education reform requires every adult in every school to stop enabling students' self-defeating behavior.

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