Monthly Archives: June 2012

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It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

This is for the file of things teachers should know but may never be told until it’s too late. This list doesn’t cover “illegal” activities but more long term survival. What other long term survival skills would you add?

Partnerships That Improve Education

A school that practices distributed leadership is one of the key characteristics of high performing schools. I traveled through out southern California to visit top performing schools  and found that, among other things, they all shared distributed leadership. ASCD Express 7.19 – Partnerships That Improve Education discusses not only the importance of collaboration but also some of the norms involved then working toward a collaborative culture. It takes everyone from teachers, administrators, district offices, students to parents to create a high functioning schools. Not until people stop saying, “it their job” and start saying “it’s my job” will a school be able to sustain high levels of performance.

Online Course Approvals

Because of my interest in technology my list of duties includes  “online” learning. With budget cuts to programming and the ubiquitousness of technology more and more people are asking about online learning, especially for the summer. A baseline, at least in California, should be that courses be approved by the University of  California system. “University of California – a-g Guide offers some guidance in selecting online schools. Students interested in this option do need to read the fine print. For example, while there is a list of “approved” programs/companies not all the course offered by the program are approved. You will need to do that research but hopefully this can be a start. What are your thoughts? Since online courses can be offered anywhere should there be a national standard/approval for online courses? Who would do it? How? I have some ideas but I’d like to hear yours!

Discipline in Schools

I love the graphic below. It really made me think about how do adults exercise “control” in schools. Absent an extensive discussion of power dynamics, the graphic below I felt nicely summarized how some adults approach school discipline. While I’m not sure about the word “restorative” in the upper right quadrant, I am sure that something should be there and that we should be there. What does that quadrant look like? Any ideas…

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Character as the Aim of Education

Education involves a variety subjects, mathematics, English, social studies, science and others; but what about “character”. Character education in many cases is implied and in some cases is explicit. Educators as professionals working with children are to be models of propriety who accordingly engender similar characteristics in children. Character as the Aim of Education by David Light Shields attempts to group personal character attributes and translate them into scholastic attributes. This struck me as a worthwhile endeavor because it creates  metacognative awareness of practices. This awareness also allows us to develop strategies by which to address shortcomings in our schools regarding building positive school culture.

Character as the Aim of Education

The Lecture as a Transmedial Pedagogical Form

I’ll be honest, I’ve always been both suspect and entranced by the lecture. When a lecture is done well, there’s nothing like it. Regrettably, it’s not often done well. I’ll admit I used it as a teacher. It’s appropriate when it’s one tool in your tool kit but when it’s the only tool it can become deadly. I have walked into some classrooms to find teachers talking at a class and not to or with a class. Students might be asleep, daydreaming or otherwise occupied. But what makes a good lecture? The Lecture as a Transmedial Pedagogical Form provides a fantastic context for the discussion. Norm Friesen provides a fantastic analysis of the lecture and how it has evolved over the centuries. Friesen, rightly, points out that lectures are both pase’ (anyone, anyone…) and innovative (e.g., TED). Part of the trick is not seeing the lecture simply as the pouring of knowledge from one person’s head into another; it is “mediating” the knowledge, giving it form and meaning for other people. Really a great article. What are your thoughts on the lecture?

Education Funding Continues to be Undermined

In California the public voted to guarantee a minimum level of funding for schools. However, it seems that the state government is determined to undercut that desire at every possible turn. Unfortunety, state courts have decided against schools.  SI&A Cabinet Report – News & Resources reports that the superior court has decided that the State can decide what money to take into account when figuring out how much it is supposed to pay. It’s the proverbial fox watching the hen  house.