Archive for the ‘Professional Book Club’ category

Three Principles to Ponder Connected to Teaching and Learning

August 10, 2014

Paul Brock wants all of his daughters’ future teachers to abide by three principles:

First, to nurture and challenge my daughters’ intellectual and imaginative capacities way out to horizon unsullied by self-fulfilling minimalist expectations. Don’t patronize them with lowest-common-denominator blancmange masquerading as knowledge and learning; not crush their love for learning through boring pedagogy. Don’t bludgeon them with mindless ‘busy work’ and limit the exploration of the world of evolving knowledge merely to the tyranny of repetitively churned-out recycled worksheets. Ensure that there is legitimate progression of learning from one day, week, month, term and year to the next.

Second, to care for Sophie and Millie with humanity and sensitivity, as developing human beings worth of being taught with genuine respect, enlightened discipline and imaginative flair.

And, third, please strive to maximize their potential for later schooling, post0school education, training and employment and for the quality of life itself so that they can contribute to and enjoy the fruits of living within an Australian society that is fair, just, tolerant, honorable, knowledgeable, prosperous and happy (Brock, 2004, pp. 250-251).

Visible Learning HattieSchool for many will be starting within the next few weeks. While teachers are busy preparing for the upcoming school year, it might be a good time to reflect upon Paul Brock’s three principles. This quote was included in the preface of a book by John Hattie, Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. I have only read the preface and first chapter and I am intrigued.   Then I read the following quote and now I can’ wait to read the whole book.

“This development of critical evaluation skills requires educators to develop their students’ capacity to see the world from the viewpoint of others to understand human weaknesses and injustices, and to work towards developing cooperation and working with others. It requires educators to develop in their students a genuine concern for self and others, to teach the importance of evidence to counter stereotypes and closed thinking, to promote accountability of the person as responsible agent, and to vigorously promote critical thinking and the importance of dissenting voices” (Hattie, 2012,p. 4).

This quote provides a strong rationale for teachers to create community in their classrooms by getting to know their students and students getting to know each other as well as students getting to know their teachers. Building a community of learners who care for each other takes time, but it is time well-spent. Go slow to go fast.

There are many getting to know you activities in books, on the Internet, on Pinterest, etc. Check out our two books for more ideas about building trust in your classrooms: Thriving in the High School Classroom and From Surviving to Thriving: Mastering the Art of the Elementary Classroom.

Thriving in the HS ClassroomFrom Surviving to Thriving

 

Brock, P. (2004). A passion for life. Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. New York: Routledge.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:surviving%20to%20thriving%20ljl

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Thriving-in-the-High-School-Classroom-1326075

http://www.amazon.com/Visible-Learning-Teachers-Maximizing-Impact/dp/0415690153/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406818434&sr=8-1&keywords=John+Hattie

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/From-Surviving-to-Thriving-126820

5 Books Anyone Concerned about Education Should Read

January 26, 2014

American education is at a crossroads. There are two paths in front of us: One in which we destroy our strengths in order to “catch up” with others in test scores and one in which we build on our strengths so we can keep the lead in innovation and creativity. Yong Zhao

Anyone interested in a different perspective on PK-12 education and learning might find the following five books fascinating reading. These books will showcase a variety of perspectives that may challenge or change the way you currently perceive educational practices as well as the way in which you perceive learning in general. Any one of these books would make an excellent choice for a study group or book club.

 Catching Up ZhaoCatching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization by Yong Zhao

The above quote is from the introduction and best describes the importance of what Zhao is advocating in his book.  Zhao challenges readers to consider the criticism of schools, which he thinks is misleading and misinformed, while taking into account the impact of globalization on the economic and social landscape. Ultimately, Zhao advocates for leaders to take five actions to ensure a world-class education for American students—actions that are realistic and doable.

Armstrong Best SchoolsThe Best Schools: How Human Development Should Inform Educational Practice by Thomas Armstrong

Armstrong makes a strong case for changing the way we talk about education, moving away from academic achievement discourse toward human development discourse. He argues for developmentally appropriate practices that emphasize play for early childhood learning, theme and project-based learning for elementary students, active learning that focuses on social, emotional and metacognitive needs of middle school students, and mentoring, apprenticeships, and cooperative education for high school students.

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink

Both Zhao and Pink use the words innovation and creativity. According to Pink, the 18th century was the Agriculture Age (farmers), the 19th century, the Industrial Age (factory workers), the 20th century, the Information Age (knowledge workers), and the 21st century, the Conceptual Age (creators and empathizers). In order to maintain our lead in innovation and creativity, Pink advocates that we need to complement our L-Directed reasoning (L for left-brain functions) by mastering six essential R-Directed aptitudes (R for right-brain functions).

Those six high-concept, high-touch senses are:

1. Not just function but also DESIGN.Pink Whole New Mind

2. Not just argument but also STORY.

3. Not just focus but also SYMPHONY.

4. Not just logic but also EMPATHY

5. Not just seriousness but also PLAY.

6. Not just accumulation but also MEANING

The rest of the book defines and describes these six senses with a variety of activities to develop and refine those senses—of which many are fun and easily adapted to the classroom.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

For anyone who teaches any age student, this book is a must-read. Pink supports his theory of motivation with numerous research studies and anecdotes. While it isn’t a surprise that humans are intrinsically motivated, Pink addresses rewards in the following list:

CARROTS AND STICKS: The Seven Deadly FlawsPink Drive

1. They can extinguish intrinsic motivation.

2. They can diminish performance.

3. They can crush creativity.

4. They can crowd out good behavior.

5. They can encourage cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior.

6. They can become addictive.

7. They can foster short-term thinking.

 Those who have read Alfie Kohn will appreciate the support that Pink provides for Kohn’s ideas about punishments and rewards.  Included is a list of 15 books for further reading.

The Invisible Gorilla and Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons

Of all the books listed, this is the one that will definitely challenge your belief that you see yourself and the world as they really are, but in reality, we’re all missing a lot. The topic is intriguing, the writing is witty, and the answer to why we all see the same situation in different ways becomes more apparent. And for those of us who believe in intuition, this book may change all that. We may want to rethink how we teach and how we keep our students attentive.invisible gorilla

Our goal is to incorporate many of the concepts in these books into the teacher materials we create.  Check out the books and check out our teacher materials at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:surviving+to+thriving+ljl

Surviving to Thriving TPT


Uma Krishnaswami

Writer, Author of Books for Young Readers

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Our professional work is motivated by the possibillity that every child will have great teachers.

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