These articles encourage us to shift our lens on the world by considering transparency on campus, humility after shadowing a student and freedom from online news. The summer workshop at the end explores how we as educators approach conflict.
Lisa Baker, “Thinking About Campus Transparency,” NAIS Independent School Blog
This beautiful piece reminded one reader of Dave Eggers’ The Circle in its wondering about potential drawbacks of the trend toward architectural and pedagogical transparency in schools. Thanks to Nicole Trevor for sending it along.
When a class begins, almost invariably, someone will reach back to swing the door shut. This typically occurs after the chitchat of classroom business, a clear signal that the work now begins. Certainly this door-shutting occurs when the conversation tips into something more sensitive—the workshopping of a memoir, even the debriefing of a speaker or cultural trend. The shift is subtle, but I have felt it again and again. The students relax and lean in, ready to go now that they’ve reclaimed a private space—now that they’ve shut the door on transparency.
Paul S. Oberman, “Humility,” Hayidion
For the head of a Houston school, shadowing a student for a day was a “humbling experience” that led to empathy and insight.
Being a student is tiring. Through no fault of the teachers, I found myself falling asleep toward the end of the day, even during a quiz I was taking! Encouraging students to stand up, stretch or move in some way is a good idea.
Farhad Manjoo, “For Two Months, I Got My News from Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned,” New York Times
A New York Times business columnist limited his news consumption, finding a new appreciation for the power of professional news analysis. Thanks to Patrick Ferry for sending in this piece.
In January, after the breaking-newsiest year in recent memory, I decided to travel back in time. I turned off my digital news notifications, unplugged from Twitter and other social networks, and subscribed to home delivery of three print newspapers — The Times, The Wall Street Journal and my local paper, The San Francisco Chronicle — plus a weekly newsmagazine, The Economist.
WORKSHOP: Conflict Resolution Seminar, Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education, April 19-20, Bethesda, Maryland
The CSEE offers seminars around the country on everything from community service to world religions. This conflict workshop explores deep-set beliefs: “As educators, we like to believe we are working together with colleagues, students, and parents for a common set of goals, in a setting we often describe as a community, or even a family. Yet sometimes, like other communities and families, we become involved in conflict: either the slow, unacknowledged kind that subtly undermines our work; or the sudden, explosive kind that challenges our assumptions about our world. Unfortunately, there is usually little in our training, and perhaps less in our worldview, that equips us to manage these situations. This two-day workshop is intended to help educators to learn and practice proven strategies to acknowledge, and to minimize, contain, and resolve conflict,” among many other skills.
In this month’s newsletter you’ll find pieces on the power of art field trips, the importance of listening to introverted students and the need to carve out thinking time. The summer workshop at the end promotes creative and immersive uses of technology.
Jay P. Greene, “An Unexpectedly Positive Result from Arts-Focused Field Trips,” Brookings Institution
An NEA-financed study has shown that fourth and fifth graders in Atlanta who went on three arts field trips in a year – focusing on visual art, drama and music – made unexpected gains in English and math test scores over students who went on only one field trip.
The reason these results are so surprising is that previous research had suggested that arts instruction tended not to “transfer” into gains in other subjects.
Elissa Nadwormy, “Strategies to Ensure Introverted Students Feel Valued at School,” Mind/Shift
Introversion is a topic that comes up frequently when we discuss how to reward class participation. This article gives concrete strategies, such as incorporating the think/pair/share technique, encouraging discussions that use technology and asking students to give presentations about topics that light them up.
What indeed are the right ways to think about class participation? And are we over-evaluating as an educational culture? We overvalue the person who raises their hand all the time. Why is that important? Do we overvalue in quantity, as opposed to quality, of participation? Are there ways to think about class participation differently?
Seth Godin, “Fun, Urgent, or Fear-Based,” Seth’s Blog
This extremely short piece is typical of business writer Seth Godin, whose daily blog posts can feel like a shot in the arm.
Most of what we do at work all day is one of these three.
WORKSHOP: Constructing Modern Knowledge Summer Institute, July 10-13, Manchester, NH
Hosted by Gary Stager for the past ten years, Constructing Modern Knowledge “is a minds-on institute for educators committed to creativity, collaboration and computing. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in intensive computer-rich project development with peers and a world-class faculty. Inspirational guest speakers and social events round out the fantastic event.” The list of guest speakers includes the co-inventor of the MakeyMakey and historian James Loewen, among other notables.
These three articles consider how we listen to students, in a variety of contexts–and the workshop at the end covers social and emotional learning (SEL). Happy reading!
Ray Salazar, “Why I Stopped Asking Students, ‘How are you?’” The White Rhino
The author of a popular teaching blog, The White Rhino: A Blog about Education and Latino Issues, argues that he doesn’t want to add pressure to the day of a student who isn’t feeling fine.
The worst thing we can do as adults is ask a teenager a question we don't want answered honestly.
Jane Adams, “More College Students Seem to Be Majoring in Perfectionism,” New York Times
Many parents are noticing that their college students feel pressure from within (graduate school goals) and without (social media) to appear on top of it all, all the time.
When Hannah finds herself procrastinating until a deadline, she repeats a maxim favored by a high school teacher: Do the best that you can in the time that you have.
Joe Heim, “Schools and Lockers: No Longer the Right Combination,” Washington Post
Students want everything with them all the time, starting with their phones, and lockers are becoming obsolete in many schools.
Movies and television shows about high schools may still feature students decorating lockers — or being shoved into them — but in the real world, lockers have all but been abandoned.
WORKSHOP: Institute for Social and Emotional Learning, 4-Day Summer Workshops
This institute hosts 4-day workshops at independent schools in Chicago, Illinois; Bethesda, Maryland; and Hillsborough, California. “Each institute brings together K-12 teachers, administrators, and counselors from around the world for multiple days of sessions, collaboration, and reflection that range across a broad library of SEL topics and research.” Goals include “helping educators cultivate in their teaching practice the humanity and empathy that can help them inspire students to evolve into compassionate leaders and resilient learners” and “informing an educator’s perspective in ways that help spark creativity and renew inspiration for teaching.”
Choose groups to clone to: