Saturday, April 10, 2010

Purposeful Anger...

flickr CC image via Ivan Walsh.com

"Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not easy." Aristotle

Much anger abounds in the world of teaching and learning these days. Emotions are running high and everyone claims to have the answer to our educational problems. All of the politicized rambling and sensationalism does nothing to advance education reform. Education reform needs rationale ideas, not emotionally driven diatribes. Aristotle's wisdom rings true after all these years... we often only need to look to the past to gain perspective about the future.

Be angry if you want with your chosen educational issue. Don't, however, get caught in the trap that many are wallowing in already- the trap of dysfunctional anger. Anger that is purposeful will sound like teachers, parents and students lobbying effectively for their cause in civil and professional ways... it will look like really excellent teachers demonstrating their cause by producing results within their classrooms... and it will feel like an ever-growing and evolving synergistic movement of people who are united in their rally to perpetually improve the teaching and learning process.
"There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot." Plato
I think Plato was just saying that action trumps anger, and perhaps more importantly, so does restraint.

Teachers- use your anger to change what you can control, influence what you can't and prove to detractors that your teaching will be successful despite the negative slant on issues surrounding you.

Systems-Centered Standards

flickr CC image via PinkMoose

The problem with education standards in North America is they are system centered. My friend Gord Atkinson (via Twitter @Principal20) came up with a sadly accurate definition of a system-centered education system- he characterizes it as budget crossed with social engineering. Brilliant, and tragically a massive reason why we're not moving education reform forward toward what it should be; a child development centered system.

It sounds crazy that a system centered approach to education would ever be good- like restaurants serving food without asking the customers what they want. Gord's assessment that budget and social engineering are at play makes the issue easier to understand, if not to accept.

To state the obvious, there is a cost to education. Of course fiscal responsibility is critical if government is to continue to provide any sort of education system; this isn't at question, but how much really is our system dependent on the almighty dollar? In "Why Is It Always About the Funding?" I stated that,
...obviously funds are required to support many elements of the education system. Teachers need to get paid, resources need to be supplied and schools need to be built and maintained, however, when it comes to ideas supporting better practise, I would submit that perhaps the best education reforms require no financial support whatsoever...  As intelligent professionals who know tacitly what works and what doesn't in their classrooms and schools, teachers typically integrate and synthesize their philosophical thoughts in an effort to reform their personal practise and refine their craft. I've had enough professional conversations with my teaching colleagues to know that collectively, we also have a lot to say about how these efforts can be extrapolated to a broader education reform context.
We need to accept that politics are politics, (party agendas, personal political aspirations, fiscal realities and the never-ending quest for power are obvious factors that affect not just the funding of education, but every publicly funded institution,) and if we're going to tip education reform so that it reflects a child development-centered philosophy we need to get past our obsession with blaming government for our system inadequacies. Government is what it is; it will always require that education answers to a set of standards that reflect the relative success of the system. Understanding this, and also being pedagogical experts, it's incumbent upon teachers to show government that we too aren't interested in removing standards, but that we are interested in defining better ways to reach them. Let's let the government define the standards, while we define the path to get there.

As opposed to what we seem to approach as an absolute process with end goals, education reform should be a ubiquitous, constant, never-ending process. If we intend to move toward a child development-centered education system, teachers need to take the lead role in showing government that we know better ways to teach and evaluate kids so learning is evident, and that in many cases will cost less. The obvious example is weaning the system from high-stakes, standardized testing routines. We have come to accept these tests as just something we do, but this hasn't always been the case.This interesting article from the New York Times highlights the arbitrary and inconclusive nature of these tests. Amidst this controversy and considering the massive cost to administer these tests, why not instead let teachers decide to what degree learning standards have been met by individual students? After all, teachers spend two hundred days with their students every year; can we not trust their insight into how well curriculum goals have been met in each student's case?

Another cost-saving measure could be to move away from unsustainable forms of teaching and learning resources; paper textbooks being the obvious example. As soon as a textbook is published, contemporary access to digital information has made it yesterday's information. There is also an argument that textbook learning perhaps isn't the most effective way to learn anyway. Teachers know that authentic learning is displayed when it's relevant, current and applicable to a student's future, and they also know that a textbook isn't required as part of the process. Let's increase access to the digital universe, and allow teachers unfettered access to assist in creating relevant, current and applicable learning environments.

High-stakes standardized test routines and textbook style learning resources are not necessarily the only ways to measure and apply teaching and learning. They are multimillion dollar enterprises though, and the cost to education is unimaginable. All of a sudden, teachers start to look like a bargain at twice the price when compared to the cost of standardized tests and textbooks considering we can provide better, more authentic, child development-centered learning and assessment environments without either of these influences.

Friday, April 9, 2010

If You Believe It, You'll See It

flickr CC image via Cessna 206

Perspective is everything. The lens we look through is the difference between success and failure, courage and fear, positive and negative... the difference between everything as we see it with our own eyes, minds and feelings.

"I'll believe it when I see it" is such a common statement we make. What if we adjusted the statement to say "I'll see it because I believe it?" I'm not so naive to think that we can will things into being simply by believing in them, but can it hurt? Dewitt Jones (...watch the video preview), the acclaimed National Geographic photographer and world-renowned speaker is on to something with this concept. Just like I'll believe it when I see it,  perhaps believe it and then you'll see it will become cliche, but if so, it will be because the wisdom of this point of view is so timeless and true that we'll become desensitized to the message. How can something so simple be meaningful, right? Wrong... we need to heed simple maxims like this one because they help us boil things down to their purest form- the place where clear perspective comes from.

The odds that something we desire will happen increase exponentially when we can picture that desire in our minds; envision it happening... how it will look, sound and feel once realized. We should all take a serious look at how we perceive what we want before it happens.

I think what we want will then begin to happen more often.

.

Opinions vs. Facts- Use Your Words Wisely


flickr CC image via Gabi Agu

When primary school teachers are working with kids who have trouble expressing themselves verbally, they often direct them to "use their words." Some kids just have difficulty vocalizing what they're feeling, and I'm not sure simply telling then to use their words helps. Perhaps posing questions like "are you trying to say that...", and then modeling an answer for them to restate would be a better strategy. Sometimes I feel like I should be using this strategy to help my colleagues appropriately say what they want to say.

I have said that silence can do many things; so can words. Two fatal mistakes teachers make when discussing any of the infinite issues we seem to want to perpetually discuss (sometimes at the expense of simply looking for a solution,) is to state opinions as facts, and so-called facts as absolute truth. What we say can be very damaging to our professionalism, our image and the amount of respect we receive from those we serve.

Of course the tendency to confuse facts and opinions is not limited to teachers, but it's particularly damaging to teachers. We don't enjoy a tremendous amount of respect as a profession, and when we spout off without any context, knowledge or experience to back up our position, we look very unprofessional. In another context, the realm of education is constantly changing, (not quickly enough for some) and if teachers aren't speaking about this change in an engaging, professional and solution-focused manner, we also look foolish. How can we adjust our tendencies when we speak about what we do to more accurately reflect what we want to say and how we need to say it?

Three simple words can do wonders for us... "in my opinion." When discussing pedagogical issues with colleagues, and even more importantly with those outside our profession, it would behoove teachers to qualify their subjective statements with these three words. As simple as it sounds, it's very unproductive to argue opinions as they often originate from emotional thoughts, and as such are difficult if not impossible to change, so why even try? Opinions, although varied, do not have to be agreed upon to move an issue forward. I have suggested that 'hybrid thinking' is an appropriate and effective strategy to achieve this purpose.  In another post about hybrid thinking, I said that,
the integrative mind understands that within the current change climate we find ourselves immersed in, our viability as a global society will depend on a synthesis of ideas that should not be considered dichotomous, but rather complementary to one another. In the context of supporting effective child development, this form of hybrid thinking will ensure that we don't miss the boat on any developing idea's potential.

The essence of this form of interaction is to let go of dichotomous and conflicting positions during debate, and instead look to the opposing side for positions you can live with, and that may synchronize with your ideas in some manner or form.  It works.

The flip side of stating opinions directly and clearly so there's no confusion, is to state facts with authority and confidence that they can be verified and supported with proof. Citing sound scientific research behind the fact, or using anecdotal, qualitative data to support your facts are professional practices that some of us fail to emphasize when stating so-called facts. Of course, all research is open to academic scrutiny, but that's OK... this academic environment of formal debate around quantitative and qualitative measures is very professional, and teachers need to put themselves in this environment. There are far too many unchallenged practices out there in teacher land, and we suffer from this pseudo-professional tendency to latch on to the 'latest and greatest' educational trends just because a politician, publisher or creator of educational resources says they are effective. We must stop doing this, and line our purpose with a larger degree of scrutiny surrounding our pedagogy.

So, state opinions as such to avoid pointless conflict, and when you know what you know because you've done your homework through research and qualitative efforts, don't be shy to state facts either. Teachers are the most well-positioned to tip education reform, and to keep tipping it on the cutting edge of progress... but we need to responsibly look, feel and sound the part.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Beliefs- Goals are Great, But Not at the Expense of the Journey


flickr CC image via Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly ImprobableFooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
I must not be very successful because I'm going to drop a name. Nassim Nicholas is my favorite tweeter. I read his book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable acouple of years ago, and am part way through Fooled by Randomness, a follow-up of sorts to Black Swan. Taleb is a thinker, and in the books he debunks many commonly held myths about probability, chance and the models we think studying these entities enable us to predict.

Taleb is one of the most brilliant I have had the pleasure of reading, and he occasionally tweets pearls of introspective wisdom. Yesterday he said, "the opposite of success isn't failure, it is name dropping...There are no objective definitions of failure; success, there are for ..." Once again, Nassim Taleb is speaking to me.

I have said before that I don't believe in failure, only relative degrees of success. We have such skewed perspectives toward success in society. How we view success in schools is no different. How we measure success in society and in school is juxtapositioned against a set of subjectively defined goals that somehow have come to be known as success, once attained. Material good, money, a great job... these are commonly regarded examples of success in society, (at least western society, that is.) In school we measure success by different goals, but goals none the less. Good grades, a diploma, a degree... these are commonly regarded examples of success in school, (at least once again, in our western education system.) These goals are largely absolute and uninterpretable... you have either attained them, or you haven't. They aren't measured on a spectrum, but rather in a have/have not (pass/fail) context. I believe this is very wrong and unproductive in the context of goal achievement and learning.

I find it our human tendency to be so happy, relieved and satisfied when we've reached a goal that in that fleeting moment, we forget about the important journey we took to get there. All the work, stress, effort and commitment applied toward the goal is unceremoniously put aside to revel in the success of reaching the goal, and then very quickly to decide what the next one will be. There's something wrong about this, in my opinion. Goal attainment in life, and as part of learning is a journey, one that should be enjoyed mindfully and deliberately. When we measure goal attainment and learning by pass/fail standards, this process is not possible. I believe that goals are righteous ends to means, but enjoying the journey in pursuit of the goal leads to exponentially greater amounts of knowledge, insight, and contentment once the destination is reached.

There are relative degrees of success, and as quickly as we can realize this, the better off we're all going to be. Like wanna-be pseudo-successful people tend to 'name-drop' as Taleb suggests, teachers who are pseudo-successful at connecting with students in relative ways tend to divert to other scales measuring their "success." In lieu of measuring tangible learning at requisite levels for each individual student, teachers look instead to levels that reflect the mean, and simply place students on this scale where they subjectively think they fit. I have yet to witness a teachers using letter grades that doesn't correlate the letters to percentile ranks within the class, so even letter grades can be curvable. Kids who get placed on the high-end are considered successful, and everyone else falls somewhere below that. I don't think this is OK.

Let's not stop working toward goals; let's stop beating kids up over how relatively well they've reached them. Here's a proposal archived at Personal Learning Stories, a post I wrote with some ideas to create a more student-centered learning process that reflects the thirteen year learning journey in more organic and fluid ways.

I'm sure you also have ideas; I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Open Source Hardware?


flickr CC image via dimnikolov

So we have a litany of open source software in cyberspace, when will the connected youth of today enjoy open source hardware as part of their education?

The open source concept is brilliant. Open systems in general appear to be winning the day in so many social contexts, and open source software has changed the education system drastically for those who choose to access it. A standing position in my teaching circle is if you're paying for software at all, you're paying too much. I'm wondering why open source software has caught on so widely, but open source hardware hasn't. To me the two are natural partners.

As Moore's Law goes, anything in the software world would be considered yesterday's tool practically as soon as it is introduced... before new software gets wide-spread recognition, developers are taking advantage of exponentially-expanding digital capacity and already working on something better, faster and more enticing to the consumer. Exponential growth in digital capacity fuels the software marketplace for sure, but it also fuels the hardware sector. As digital capacity increases at a faster and faster pace, today's hardware is quickly replaced by something better, faster and more enticing to the consumer also.

So where do the laptops, cell phones, e-readers, etc. go after a year or so when consumers have replaced them with the latest improved tool? Other than being recycled for parts, or in a drawer or closet to be forgotten, I'm not sure I know. What if the same huge software companies that work so hard to create better tech tools and applications understood that perhaps the largest potential market research sector they could be exposed to is short on hardware needed to use the software in question. Kids in schools are often wanting for relatively up-to-date hardware tools, and six months old would be more than current to them compared to the five and six year old computers they commonly are limited to as a result of budget constraints. If huge-scale software firms got into the recycling business, they could put their software in the hands of students who had something to use it on. Isn't that a win-win situation?

Let's take Google for example; if Google were to create a recycling protocol for those wishing to donate their old laptop, cell phone or whatever to them for reconditioning and installation of whatever Google software could be loaded onto them, and then donated these devices to schools under a partnership agreement that the schools would use their software exclusively with the expectation that feedback would be provided to improve it, I would be jumping over other teachers to sign up for that program... schools get their hardware and the software applications it enables, and Google would get real-time feedback from perhaps the largest cohort of connected technology users on the planet so they can continue to improve their products more efficiently and pragmatically.

What do you think?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Silence is many things...

flickr CC image via Brett Jordan

Silence can be a virtue or a curse, a tool or a weapon and a hindrance or an enabler. I'm either annoyed or fascinated by silence; it all depends on the person being silent.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, (@nntaleb- a pretty damn sharp guy...) tweeted today about silence. He first said, "usually, what we call (a) 'good listener' is someone with skillfully polished indifference"... and then revised the statement to restate, "some reticent people use silence to conceal their intelligence; but most do so to hide the lack of it." This got me thinking for sure.

In education, there is no shortage of playing "the game"; people saying what they believe will get them what they want or allow them to avoid what they don't want, and refraining from what they should say in attempting to avoid scrutiny or punishment. Nobody within education is immune to the politics that surround everything we do, (I would assert that everything, period, is political... why would teachers think they are immune to this?) Choosing when to speak, and when to remain silent is an art in and of itself, and definitely worth constant consideration and practice.

Taleb firstly equates silence to listening with his original statement suggesting indifference on the part of a silent (good) listener. I know many who are highly skilled at appearing intrigued and engaged as they listen to what others are saying, (usually at the same time they are really just thinking about what they are going to say next.) Taleb's revised statement characterizes silence as a tool used either to hide one's intelligence, or conversely, a lack of it... kind of the opposite of the "if you can't dazzle people with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit" saying. The theme I'm taking away from Taleb's statements, (and he is a regular producer of useful and thought-provoking aphorisms,) is that silence can be many things.

I have said before that teachers need to find their voice in education, so why am I talking about silence? I'm talking about silence because it's the silence that balances the voice.

Teachers need to learn how to pick their spots so to speak; to choose their hills to die on before they jump into the fray and say too much. Teachers need to get informed and aware of current issues and ideas within education before they speak. That's just the way smart people operate. If you're not ready to be one of these smart teachers, please don't speak.

On the other hand, there are highly intellectual and insightful teachers who for whatever reason, are reserved when they should be bold. These teachers who know need to step up and lead us forward confidently and capably. For these latent, would-be educational leaders, (and especially for those that need their leadership,) silence is a curse.

Within an interpersonal context, silence can be a tool or a weapon. Really strong leaders, (and all teachers are called on to lead at some point- even if that leadership never leaves the context of their classroom- teachers lead students,) use silence as a tool when they need to divert negativity, aggression or innuendo. One strategy I like to use involving silence when teachers, parents or students come to me with a huge problem, (problems are always huge to the people experiencing them,) is to ask them after they've let me have it about their concern, how long it took them to articulate what they were bringing to me, and what they wanted me to do about it. When they answer me with whatever time they come up with, I tell them that I will respond to their issue or request for action after I've thought about it for the equal amount of time. It's interesting that by the time this period has passed, much of the stress of the original problem seems to have passed too. In this case, silence is an enabler... sometimes people just need to be heard and not spoken to.

As a weapon, silence can be particularly effective, but not necessarily in a positive way. Just as all teachers are occasional leaders, they also occasionally need to be led; that's just the way it is. When managers of education have an axe to grind and leave people hanging out there in the ether without direction to illuminate their inadequacy; this is not good. I submit that silence as a tool is much more appropriate than when used as a weapon. It's in this context that silence is always a hindrance to collaboration, progress and solution-focused processes.

So whether I'm annoyed or fascinated with silence really boils down to the question of leadership in education, and how effective educational leaders are regarding their choice to use it. Some are pretty good at it... some not so much.

I get annoyed when uninformed people blabber on without any substance to what they are saying, and fascinated by those among us that have an uncanny ability to pick their spots.

I am fascinated by those who pull silence out of their strategic toolbox when they need to enable others, but get very annoyed by those who use silence as a weapon to demean, belittle or just put people in their proverbial place.

Have you thought about how you use silence lately?

Authentic Learning is the Kind We All Remember

flickr CC image via stevendepolo

As much as I was dangling them in junior high school, I cant remember the rule about participles. Maybe a more authentic lesson would've helped me get it right on the test.

In all seriousness, I was speaking with parents at parent/teacher interviews last week about the difference between how kids were taught a generation of students ago, and how we are teaching their children today, (or at least how some of us are trying.) I can remember doing worksheet after worksheet correcting sentences that contained dangling participles, but although I know one when I see it, I couldn't give you a really good description of what one is. Perhaps it's not important beyond knowing what one looks like so I can avoid using them in my writing. That's where authentic learning comes in.

With regard to developing writing skills, why not allow students to simply write? They can write about whatever they want in so many many different forms... and I'd know they used dangling participles because I would read their writing. After reading, I would provide feedback regarding how to do it differently and more appropriately. My kids love to write; they do it all the time. When we're at home and they ask me to read their writing, I don't give it a mark as if it were one of the worksheets I did so long ago; I just tell them that I'm proud of how hard they worked, and then I suggest some things they could do next time to improve their writing. They seem to appreciate this feedback. If it works with my kids at home, why can't it work for my students at school?

One way for teachers to provide more authentic learning opportunities for their students is to provide choice in the manner students desire to show us what they can do, and then use formative feedback to assess how they're doing. I had some really good teachers in junior and high school, and I remember many writing assignments they gave me; all with an element of choice embedded within them. One of my favorites was a poetry assignment within which students were to choose animals that each of their classmates reminded them of. The teacher made a list of students and the animals that were matched to them, and then we were to choose one from the list that matched our name and write a poem about ourselves as characterized by the traits of that animal. Another one was to write a manifesto that was designed to change the world... just like that; whatever we wanted to write. I chose to write a statement about how to solve the world's eventual overpopulation problems. Yet another was to write a first-hand account of the scariest thing that ever happened to me without using a single adjective. I wrote about my first spill of one of our horses.

I'm sure that all three of the teachers that assigned me these tasks provided feedback; after all, that's their job- to assess my writing- but the fact that I remember these assignments at all over twenty five years later is a testimony to their skill in designing writing activities that are fun, meaningful, motivating and dare I say, authentic.

I am certain my love for writing is in no way attributable to those damn worksheets. Other than remembering having to do them, those worksheets didn't leave me with a lasting impression at all.

Why not teaching schools for teachers?

clickr CC image via foxypar4

Doctors receive real-time training and support from their profession during their internship. This process is generally recognized as an automatic and routine element of physician training. Teachers, on the other hand, if they are lucky, only get a few weeks of practicum experience during their pre-service training, and they don't receive any tangible on -the-job training at all. If internships are good for doctors, whey wouldn't they be good for teachers?

Teacher training doesn't appear to be keeping up with things. The training pre-service teachers receive in university has been under scrutiny at least since I was an undergrad, and things don't seem to be improving. Unbelievably, like I was required to take a course learning how to laminate things and use a photocopier while I was in university, today pre-service teachers are required to take classes learning how to use digital technology in the classroom. It's ironic that teachers in the field are starting to understand that teaching about technology is ineffective when compared to using technology to teach, and the newest teachers among us aren't getting this message in their own training. They should be using 21st Century technology as a tool in their learning. This is just one example of the unimaginative and static hoop-jumping pre-service teachers are required to participate in.

To improve the situation, I believe it would make a bunch of sense for teachers to continue their practicum work during their pre-service training, but to also be expected to work under a mentor for a period of time after graduating from teacher college in what I would call a teaching school. Teaching schools would employ intern teachers just like teaching hospitals employ intern doctors. I see great possibilities to get new teachers into schools where they can begin to ply their craft as apprentices without the high levels of stress and anxiety new teachers routinely describe as they are thrown to the wolves in their first years. I also see great possibilities to connect in more meaningful ways the work that is done preparing teachers in pre-service training, and the real-time, action research-based work that is done in the field. There is such a chasm between the theory teachers learn in college, and the practical use of these theories in the field. We need to bridge that gap.

Doctors intern, lawyers article and even engineers participate in a mentorship of sorts before receiving their final accreditation from their professional governing body. It's time for teachers to do the same if we intend to raise our stake on the professional landscape. A collaborative, three-way partnership between government departments of education, teacher preparation institutions and school boards makes sense to me if we are truly interested in establishing a holistic and effective framework for teacher training and accreditation.

Is there a wrong reason to teach?

flickr CC image via denise carbonell

I have heard the phrase "teaching for the wrong reasons" enough times now that it's become annoying to me. It has become common for teachers who intend to criticize their peers to use this statement. Please tell me, what are the wrong reasons to be an educator?

During a recent Twitter dialog I was involved in, I heard someone used this phrase once again, and I challenged her to define what she meant by that. She cited a flexible schedule, low intrusion by management, time off when kids are off and teacher independence as "wrong reasons"... seriously. I had a tough time imagining any of these things as wrong. These are perks to be sure, but who in their right mind would become a teacher for any one or all of these reasons alone? Liking and appreciating these perks doesn't make  teachers bad people, it just proves they are human. I also found it contradictory that I often hear teachers talk about too much control over what we do, and this person was listing low intrusion by management and independence as wrong reasons to teach.

Now, of course there are those who may read this and counter with an assertion that there are individuals who don't have kids' best interests as a priority, and that some of them may become teachers. What exactly would be the draw though, if in fact these people didn't really care for the kids in their care? It's certainly not the money, and although teachers are generally well-provided for in the health care and pension departments, we aren't that far ahead of any other vocation that someone would hate kids and still become a teacher just to get these benefits. Notwithstanding the cohort of sociopaths that seem to find their way into every profession and vocation, I find it very difficult to believe that a teacher would knowingly hurt kids.

We speak out of both sides of our mouths when we say that marginalized students need extra support and remediation, but also that marginalized teachers should be fired. "Bad" teaching often results from bad teacher preparation, and I could go on forever about that, (another post for another time.) Undergraduate teacher training is still locked in Second Way (see page 8 of the Google preview at this link) philosophy. The teacher preparation process needs new thinkers, new ideas and strong candidates in order to improve this situation. A paradigm shift to Fourth Way thinking is required... good teaching will require support, coaching and care from those established teacher leaders that feel passion for what they do, and are connected directly to the teaching and learning process in schools; not tenuously at a distance as some tenured education professors seem to be. The teacher preparation process needs tacit leaders who can connect pre-service teachers to the grassroots reasons teachers do what they do, and provide some teflon from the negativity that some among us appear to want to perpetuate without explanation.

I invite you to consider something about the negative teacher in a similar fashion to the way you may consider the negative student. In their book The Art of Possibility, Rosamund Stone-Zander and Ben Zander discuss the strategy of giving people an 'A.' Giving people an 'A' is all about seeing the vulnerable person behind the perceived problem, and looking for the latent positive elements that person brings to the table. I really like this concept. They also speak about the virtue of seeing negative people as those who are truly passionate by nature, but have just been disappointed or unsupported too many times. Taking these perspectives allows us an opportunity to re-frame problem teachers as simply vulnerable, faltering colleagues that desperately need our support as opposed to our judgement.

I also invite anyone who actually believes there is a "wrong" reason to get into teaching, to let me know what that reason would be.
Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

Labels

learning (49) teaching (45) education reform (29) authentic learning (24) students (23) effective teaching (18) school (18) EduKare (15) educational leadership (13) resiliency (13) creative teaching (11) education (11) educational change (11) perspective (11) 21st Century Learning (10) Glendale School (10) change (10) collaboration (10) school climate (10) school culture (10) support (10) creativity (9) assessment (8) caring (8) culture (8) leadership (8) teachers (8) hope (7) inquiry-based learning (7) learning circles (7) learning stories (7) professional development (7) student success (7) technology (7) technology integration (7) #edchat (6) at-risk kids (6) collaborative teaching (6) empathy (6) pre-service teachers (6) purpose (6) responsive teaching (6) #EduKare (5) Alberta Education (5) Sean Grainger (5) Twitter (5) at-risk (5) engaging (5) integrative thinking (5) mentor teachers (5) public schools (5) teach (5) teacher training (5) Bell Curve (4) beliefs (4) belonging (4) bullying (4) children (4) diversity (4) empathy reboot (4) high-stakes testing (4) learn (4) possibility (4) relationships (4) resilience (4) school leadership (4) student (4) LCU (3) action research (3) child development (3) choice (3) classroom (3) communication (3) community (3) counseling (3) debate (3) dreams (3) duty to care (3) ed reform (3) educators (3) failure (3) fun (3) growboys (3) inclusion (3) inquiry (3) interculturalism (3) kids (3) life-long learning (3) mindfulness (3) nemetics (3) pedagogy (3) professionalism (3) reflection (3) thinking differently (3) transformational leadership (3) understanding (3) #cpchat (2) #ecosys (2) #redcamp13 (2) Bloom's Taxonomy (2) Control (2) Google (2) Innovative Voices in Education- Engaging Diverse Communities (2) Moore's Law (2) PD (2) alternative teaching (2) audience (2) balance (2) behavior (2) behaviorism (2) best educational practice (2) blogging (2) boys (2) bully (2) bully prevention (2) challenge (2) change agent (2) character (2) circles (2) classroom management (2) commitment (2) competition (2) connecting with kids (2) creative (2) development (2) dialog (2) digital technology (2) disagreement (2) edcamp (2) edkare (2) education change (2) effective classrooms (2) etmooc (2) facts (2) feelings (2) formative assessment (2) future (2) goals (2) groupthink (2) growth (2) hope wheel (2) ideas (2) independent thinking (2) interdependence (2) journey (2) listening (2) mastery (2) mindful (2) morphic resonance (2) multiculturalism (2) new teachers (2) opinions (2) opportunity (2) passion (2) personal learning network (2) phenomenological (2) philosophy (2) project-based learning (2) question (2) resilient (2) resolution (2) responsibility (2) self-esteem (2) self-organized learning environments (2) servant leadership (2) share (2) social-media (2) special education (2) standardized tests (2) struggling schools (2) success (2) sympathy (2) teacher (2) teacher welfare (2) trust (2) unconditional love (2) unconference (2) university (2) values (2) vision (2) voice (2) words (2) #LCU (1) #ccunesco2014 (1) #nemetics (1) #speakchat (1) 40 Developmental Assets (1) ATLE 2010 (1) Africa (1) Black Swan (1) Brokenleg (1) Calgary Science School (1) Circle of Courage (1) ConnectED (1) Curate (1) Daniel Durant (1) Dry Island Buffalo Jump (1) FBA (1) Fouth Way (1) Geoffrey Canada (1) Grow Boys (1) Howard Gardner (1) Impact (1) Instructional leadership (1) John Dewey (1) Kathryn Schultz (1) Lao Tzu (1) MIT (1) Michael Josefowicz (1) Nunavut (1) Occam;s |Razor (1) PBL (1) PLN (1) Phoebe Prince (1) Piaget (1) Red Deer (1) SBL (1) SOLE (1) Search Institute (1) Second Way (1) Shankardass (1) TED (1) Tao Teh Ching (1) Vygotsky (1) Wangler (1) aboriginal (1) accountability (1) achievement (1) action (1) actions (1) adversity (1) anger (1) answer (1) applied behavior (1) applied research (1) apprenticeship (1) aptitude (1) aquaintances (1) at risk (1) athletics (1) authentic (1) autonomy (1) badges (1) being wrong (1) believing (1) benchmark (1) blended learning (1) blog (1) borders (1) brain research (1) budget (1) business (1) cdnedchat (1) chaos (1) character education (1) charity (1) child-development (1) clarity (1) collaborate (1) communciation (1) communicate (1) conference (1) confidence (1) conflict (1) connect (1) consciousness (1) conversation (1) cooperation (1) coordinated children's services (1) critical thinking (1) curiosity (1) curriculum (1) democracy (1) destiny (1) developmental (1) differentiated learning (1) differentiation (1) digital citizen (1) digital immigrant (1) diigo (1) dissonance (1) dyslexia (1) education innovation (1) effort (1) emotions (1) enabling (1) endogenous (1) engaged (1) engagement (1) equity (1) ethics (1) evaluation (1) excellence (1) fail (1) faith (1) fate (1) fear (1) feedback (1) feminine (1) finding voice (1) focus (1) friends (1) gender differences (1) gender identity (1) global education (1) goal setting (1) governing body (1) happy (1) hardware (1) healthy (1) heuristic (1) high school (1) higher education (1) homework (1) honesty (1) hop (1) humility (1) iconoclastic (1) imagery (1) imagination (1) improbable (1) inclusive (1) inclusive education (1) indigenous knowledge (1) innovation (1) inspiration (1) instinctual (1) interdependent (1) internalize (1) internship (1) interpersonal (1) intuitive (1) knowledge (1) lacrosse (1) leading (1) leaps of faith (1) learning circle (1) learning disabilities (1) learning disorders (1) learning from place (1) learning goals (1) learning spaces (1) learning story (1) learning styles (1) learning tools (1) lecture (1) library (1) lifelong-learning (1) limits (1) literacy (1) lobby (1) management (1) masculine (1) math (1) medicine wheel (1) men (1) mentorship (1) micro-blogging (1) mindfullness (1) mission (1) mistakes (1) morals (1) motivation (1) navigate (1) negative reinforcement (1) network (1) networking (1) new year resolution (1) objective (1) open education (1) open-source (1) operant conditioning (1) outcomes (1) overcome (1) pass (1) patience (1) polarity (1) positive (1) positive reinforcement (1) positivity (1) positve dissonance (1) postmodern (1) poverty (1) power point (1) practice (1) pride (1) private logic (1) productivity (1) professional organization (1) progression (1) questioning. Socrates (1) rally (1) rationalization (1) rdcrd (1) rdpsd (1) re-frame (1) re-tool (1) reality (1) receive (1) reclaim (1) redcamp15 (1) relative (1) relevance (1) research (1) rest (1) revolution (1) ritual (1) routine (1) scholar (1) scholarship (1) sciences (1) scrutiny (1) self-determination (1) self-help (1) significance (1) silence (1) simple (1) sincerity (1) skate park (1) skateboard (1) smile (1) socialize (1) society (1) software (1) solution-focused (1) speaking (1) sport (1) standards-based learning (1) stories (1) strangers (1) strengths (1) stress (1) student engagement (1) sustainability (1) synergy (1) taking risk (1) talking (1) tangibility (1) targets (1) teaching. learning (1) textbooks (1) thinking skills (1) thought (1) thoughts (1) trans-species (1) transference (1) tribes (1) unconditioned response (1) unconditioned stimulus (1) universal (1) urban gardening (1) urban schools (1) victim (1) visceral (1) wellness (1) wisdom (1) work (1) work week (1) worksheets (1) writing (1)