Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University, proclaims that, starting next year, he's going to stop requiring students in his freshman composition class to write analytical papers exhibiting critical-thinking or higher-order thinking skills. Instead, he's going to have them just write two-page summaries of the works they're reading for class. He explains his thinking: Why scale the tasks downward? Because in my experience, students have a hard time with [summarizing], and if they can't summarize well, they can't interpret, analyze, or just plain describe well, either. Added to that, in most workplaces (as far as I am aware), ...


Rebecca Mieliwocki, a 7th grade English teacher in California, was named the 62nd National Teacher of the Year this morning. According to a press release from the Council of Chief State School Officers, which sponsors the annual award, Mieliwocki is a 14-year veteran teacher has been in her current position at Luther Burbank Middle School in Burbank, Calif., for nine years. She has a bachelor of arts in speech communication from California Polytechnic State University and teaching credentials in secondary English from California State University Northridge. Mieliwocki's parents were both teachers. CBS received an exclusive interview with Mieliwocki, in which ...


Covering a recent panel discussion at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute on technology and education reform, Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Maureen Downey notes that, for some experts, one of the key promises of digital-learning technology is that it could give more students access to the best teachers. She reports: [School sytems] can enlarge the classroom of the teachers achieving the best results with students and pay them more for doing so by multiplying their reach through technology, Hassel [co-director of the consulting firm Public Impact] said. ... [They can] relieve those great teachers of noninstructional tasks, use video to reach more students, ...


Haven't gotten around yet to celebrating National Poetry Month in your school or classroom? Feeling kind of guilty about it, aren't you? (I'm feeling kind of guilty that we haven't mentioned it till now.) Well, you still have next week, and here's a nice opportunity: Thurs., April 26, is National Poem in Your Pocket day. On that day, readers are encouraged to find a poem they love and carry it with them to share with colleagues, friends, classmates, etc. If you need materials, the Academy of American Poets has an extensive online poetry library, as well as a special selection ...


The Deseret News, a newspaper in Utah, recently looked into what it called "one of the hottest trends in education theory": discovery learning.


Chris Lehmann, principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, has a post on the components of "transformative" schools—schools, in his terminology, that go beyond content and skills and push students and educators into "realizing the best versions of ourselves." Such schools seek to educate "the whole child" and develop into rich and sustaining communities. But it's essential to keep in mind, Lehmann cautions, that there's a lot of back-end work that goes into that: This doesn't happen by serendipity. There has to be systems and structures that allow everyone access to these ideas. At SLA, those are the ...


On the Atlantic's National blog, University of Michigan education professors Jeffrey Mirel and Simona Goldin express optimism that the current movement towards a common curriculum could boost what they consider woeful levels of teacher collaboration in U.S. schools: One of the key differences between public education in the U.S. and elsewhere is the lack of a common curriculum. In other countries common curricula unite the work of teachers, school leaders, teacher educators, students, and parents. ... [A common curriculum in the U.S.] would align the scope and sequence of what should be taught and learned, and teachers could ...


Well, here's one way to spur student engagement: A group of teachers at Jennings High School in St. Louis has produced a rap music video to get their charges motivated for state-mandated end-of-course exams. According to St. Louis Today, the teachers wanted to do something out of the ordinary to convey the importance of the tests to their students. "The hope is that when students get a test placed in front of them, they realize, there's been a big to-do about this. This is a big deal," said one teacher. The video has certainly succeeded in making an impression: Students ...


Dan Brown, a Washington-based teacher who contributes to our Teaching Ahead virtual roundtable at times, has a compelling discussion going on on his Teacher Leaders Network blog about the "5 Worst Things a Teacher Can Say to Students." According to Brown, the No. 1 "absolute worst and most frequently remembered wounding" statement a teacher can make is: "I get paid whether you [fill in the blank] or not." The ranking of that phrase rang true for me. In visiting an alternative school for an upcoming story about project-based learning, a 17-year-old student who had just transferred there from a traditional ...


In a post I wrote yesterday, a blogger offered 12 cons for using social media in schools, one of which was the risk of cyberbullying. One thing her post didn't mention is that cyberbullying can be difficult to pin down--so there's an accompanying "con" that schools have to navigate the murky waters of online speech.


On The Daily Grind teacher-blogger Mr. McNamar muses that the P.A. systems used each morning in schools around the country are woefully out of date. Even those savvier schools doing TV broadcasts are behind the times. He writes: In a generation where schools are constantly looking to draw their students in and engage them, it seems to me that we are missing many great opportunities to deliver messages through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Youtube. Schools are still fearful of these social media sites, and the result is a greater divide between the students and the school leaders. Charlie Osborne, ...


Monday night, I had the chance to see Lisa Delpit, author of our upcoming Teacher Book Club selection, "Multiplication Is for White People:" Raising Expectations for Other People's Children, speak at a restaurant/performance space in Washington. The event, hosted by the nonprofit Teaching for Change, drew a packed house of mainly teachers and administrators. Delpit gave a short, informal address, telling several anecdotes from the book, and quickly turned it over to the audience for questions. Significantly, every single educator who asked a question of Delpit came from a charter school. This was interesting to me because in her ...


Talk about merit pay: A trio of educators from a Maryland school district—suspected to be in the Baltimore area—have claimed a share of the recent $656 million Mega Millions jackpot. The winners have chosen to remain anonymous, but they have been identified as a special education teacher, an elementary teacher, and an administrator. And here's the interesting part: According to lottery officials, the three have said that, despite their newfound wealth, they are committed to remaining in their current careers. A Baltimore Sun editorial points out that this says something about the nature of teaching: How revealing...


In an Education Week Commentary, educators Jeffrey P. Carpenter and Scott Weathers argue that the Trayvon Martin case, in which a 17-year-old African-American youth was killed by a neighborhood-watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., is an imperative teachable moment.


Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said union members are showing "overwhelming" support for a strike, according to the Chicago Tribune. CTU and the Chicago Public Schools have been in contract negotiations for four months and are still far from coming to an agreement. The parties have been embroiled in conflict for a while now over the district's implementation of policies that extend the school day and tie teacher evaluations to student performance. In the current negotiations, according to the Tribune, the union has asked for a nearly 30 percent raise over two years—24 percent next year and 5 percent...


A new survey of middle school students published by Raytheon finds that there is a dramatic increase in the number of students who "hate" math (from one in 10 to one in five) between the 6th and 8th grades. The survey also reveals that 61 percent of middle schoolers would rather take out the trash than do math home work. On the bright side, only 20 percent would rather get a shot at the doctor's office. While 39 percent of the students surveyed did cite math as the most important subject for their future careers, only 28 percent of them ...


The New York Times reports on a study finding that when people put on a white doctor's coat, their ability to pay attention increases sharply. Scientists conducting the study, which was published on the website of The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, were looking into what they call enclothed cognition—"the effects of clothing on cognitive processes." It's an offshoot of a field called embodied cognition, which Adam D. Galinsky, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the head of the study, described as the notion that "our thought processes are based on physical experiences."...


In a first-person piece we published yesterday, Kyle Redford contends that teachers should give students a grade for oral expression, just as they do for written expression. While "assigning concrete values to conversation is less tidy and more challenging than assessing written work," she writes, doing so gives students who struggle with writing a chance to demonstrate—and be compensated for—their understanding. In addition, she continues, "much of what students are asked to do once they leave school hinges on their ability to express themselves in conversations. Shouldn't we give them credit for developing and deploying that skill in...


In what Washington state officials are saying is the largest-scale test rebellion they've faced, the parents of 70 students at an elementary school in Everett, Wash., have opted out of federally mandated standardized testing.


Not sure what to think about this one: According to a story in the London-based Guardian, teachers who spoke at the recent annual conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, an educators' union in the United Kingdom, vented that student behavior has gone significantly downhill since caning was banned in schools 25 years ago. "The forms of discipline currently available to teachers for dealing with inappropriate behaviour remain totally inadequate," said one teacher from London. The teacher was not advocating a return to corporal punishment, the story notes. He was, apparently, just sayin' ... Other educators blamed the rise in ...


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