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Empower

Thinking about Teaching

We know that psychology matters. It is easy to be both skeptical that psychologists can help us and at the same time willing to admit that psychological constructs can make sense. Carol Dweck’s mindset theory comes to mind. A review of some mindset literature in 2014 shows that psychological processes “act as levers in complex systems that give rise to social problems”. But these social problems – we can read teaching obstacles into this – can also be addressed... Read More
Posted by Simon Jeynes at Wednesday, October 11, 2017 | 0 comments

STEM for Lower School

A recent Edutopia article considers how we might teach higher-level engineering skills to elementary students. The first step is for us to actually believe that our students are capable of complex thought! The teacher in this account used Backwards Design Thinking to construct projects that engaged the students from 2 nd through 4 th grade. The article provides a clear outline along with rubrics and evaluation instruments. In visiting schools and seeing their STEM programs, classes, units,... Read More
Posted by Simon Jeynes at Wednesday, October 11, 2017 | 0 comments

Innovative Arts

If you are one of the many fine arts teachers trying to convince your colleagues of the importance of your curriculum vs. “core academics”, we would love to introduce you (and them) to Sir Ken Robinson and his explosive (and entertaining) contribution to the critical nature of creativity, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”. In my own practice, to my amazement, I still find the attitude that the fine and performing arts are merely an add-on to the “real”... Read More
Posted by Simon Jeynes at Wednesday, October 11, 2017 | 0 comments

Lisa Nielsen: Facebook and Behavior

We want to introduce you to Lisa Nielsen today who says that she was bored at school and didn’t want her students to feel the same way. She works in New York’s public school system – and is a great example of why the public schools are getting better and better and giving independent schools a run for their money when it comes to educational excellence. In this blog, she takes on the subject of Facebook as a teaching / learning tool confronting all the usual questions.... Read More
Posted by Simon Jeynes at Wednesday, October 11, 2017 | 0 comments

An Early Start to Teacher Self-Care

It’s September. The summer is a blissful memory. The excitement of starting school has faded. The future holds the prospect of infinite numbers of interruptions to my classes as kids are pulled out for special rehearsals, early dismissals, photo shoots, admission tours, quite apart from the flu season, field trip season, and shorter and darker days season. And I have report cards to write, teacher parent conferences to prepare for and carry out, a hundred emails to answer, a committee to... Read More
Posted by Simon Jeynes at Friday, August 25, 2017 | 0 comments

We Need Clarity on "Well-Rounded" Students

We all talk about the well-rounded student. But do we have any idea what it means? From a student’s point of view, it seems to mean that adults think they should be perfect at everything from the moment they hit kindergarten and are expected to read and even write, to the point of writing that college application where being well rounded means sharing a resume that not only is too good to be true, it contains half-lies and even total lies – think the clubs the students didn’t... Read More
Posted by Simon Jeynes at Friday, August 25, 2017 | 0 comments

Make Writing Purposeful (With Less Work!)

How do you improve writing without “ Purposeful Practice ”, review, and renewal? This applies to all forms of writing, of course, not just literature essays. We all know the routine: student hands in essay / piece of writing; teacher carefully reads and annotates it over the following week; teacher assigns a grade based on some kind of rubric; teacher hands back paper; student reads the grade and files the work or throws it out. Teacher sighs – why did I bother? The student... Read More
Posted by Simon Jeynes at Friday, August 25, 2017 | 0 comments

Math Is About Skill, Not Speed

In an article back in 2013, Jo Boaler wrote about research showing that timed math tests resulted in significant math anxiety and thus underachievement by many students . One of her statements that is maybe most perturbing is that “mathematics has become a performance subject”. It is no surprise that many math teachers pushed back pointing to the perceived societal requirement to do things ‘on time’. There was also an argument for automaticity, the importance of... Read More
Posted by Simon Jeynes at Friday, August 25, 2017 | 0 comments

Haim Ginott: How Do You Yell at Visitors?

We want to introduce you to Haim Ginott today. He is, sadly, no longer with us but over 50 years after his death in 1973, his wisdom can still startle us with its insight, humor, and clarity. He was a clinical psychologist who began his career as a teacher and spent much of his career working with troubled children. He is noted for his connection between two seeming opposites – compassion and boundaries. His book, Between Parent and Child , updated in 2003 to take account of the... Read More
Posted by Simon Jeynes at Friday, August 25, 2017

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