April 28th, 2012

Are lawmakers asking too much of our schools?

Here’s another thought provoking piece… in that Atlantic series, America the Fixable. Enjoy!

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April 27th, 2012

Check out my piece in The Atlantic! It’s part of their “America the Fixable” series

Let’s hope this helps to move the conversation forward.

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April 24th, 2012

Has constructivism increased special education numbers?

Definitely worth reading! In answer to the question above, the author writes YES. Constructivism favors discovery learning, not ‘research-based’ structured learning–as for reading. It’s pretty clear that if students are taught phonetics and other attributes of reading early, then many of them will not need special education.

Interestingly, a statistic that caught my eye recently is this: In Finland by the age of 16, 60% of students have had “special education.” By which Finland means, focused attention on the elements of learning basic reading, writing and math. Perhaps the Finns and this author are on to something important. A worthy read.

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April 20th, 2012

Debunking brainstorming….

Brainstorming–a popular method for teaching writing–doesn’t really work. See this fascinating piece in the New Yorker

“Groupthink–the Brainstorming Myth”

It got me thinking about other popular teaching myths. One of them, labeling learners as V or A or K (VAK)–visual, aural, or kinesthetic learners–has also been debunked. Yet it remains popular, especially in special education.

Why is it that unproven or disproven methods continue to be popular? Why? And why do we stay with them even when they are not effective? Is it that these ‘methods’ are so intuitive that they must be true and must work! Is it like the old saying–”My mind’s made up. don’t confuse me with the facts.”

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April 18th, 2012

Back from Morocco!

Greetings to my readers and fellow reformers,

Sorry I have been out of touch–and did not have a guest blogger. My reason? I finally made it to Morocco, the land very high on my bucket list. I was born in the middle east and wanted to feel that part of the world again. Morocco is an amazing combination of France/Spain, the middle east, and Africa. The trip was wonderful trip–about 12 days! I loved the colors, spices, fabrics, rugs, camels, donkeys, dry satiny air, makeup colored sand, tagines, friendly people, souks, medinas, cacti, oleander, bougainvelia, new friendships and lots of time for reflection. We visited one school and we saw children leaving several schools during the day for lunch and at the end of the day, many in Moslem garb.

We were a small group of 8–all with our journaling books that we wrote in pretty much every day and drew little pictures of our trip. Looking back through that journal book brings back memories. I have not even unpacked the photos.

Soon–we’ll get back to our discussion of education issues–especially special ed.

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