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The Tyranny of Hours: Time-Based Learning Is a Disservice to Students
Back when I was a student, I never understood why our clocks had a second hand. Did anything that happened in school have to be timed precisely down to the second? Maybe my 50-yard dash in Physical Education? Sure, but my teacher had a stop-watch for that. Otherwise, the second hand seemed to exist for only one reason that I could think of… to torture me. The times I became MOST aware of this constant ticking? When I SO did not know what a test question was asking, and it was staring up at me blankly, taunting me — reminding me that I was not ON TIME with what I was supposed to learn. Why is time what we use to measure learning?
Are teachers really apathetic when it comes to professional learning?
The widespread perception — that because workers don’t leap at every chance to engage in professional learning, they must be disengaged — is damaging. It leads to tension between supervisors and employees, it undermines employee trust. And the worst thing about it? It’s simply untrue. This perception persists because we operate with faulty expectations.Continue Reading
Supporting Your Support Staff
In education, much of the focus is on teachers, as it should be — but it’s important to give credit to the classified staff that keep all of our schools running. Custodians keep the school buildings clean and healthy. HVAC employees ensure that children are comfortable and breathing clean air. Cafeteria staff keep students well-fed, so that learning isn’t interrupted by a rumbly tummy. Secretaries serve on the front lines, helping parents and administrators alike.
Professional Learning Isn’t Having an Impact. Or Is It?
Since the release of TNTP’s “Mirage” study a few weeks ago, it’s been interesting to observe the myriad of reactions from the K-12 world and mainstream press. From well-known EdWeek blogger, David B. Cohen, to Learning Forward, the international thought leader in educator professional learning, to U.S. News & World Report, almost everyone who touches educator learning, and many who don’t, seems to have a strong reaction to the findings:Continue Reading
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Q&A with Learning Forward Academy Scholarship Winners
In December 2012, I graduated from the Learning Forward Academy (LFA), a compelling two and a half year blended learning experience where participants collaboratively solve significant “problems of practice” related to educator and student learning. When I was a new graduate, I experienced a full range of emotions. I felt relief and delight about completing all assignments and graduating, a sense of clarity around my personal beliefs about professional learning, and a little melancholy about the end of such a rich journey. And, more than a little overwhelmed with all of the unattended action items jotted in the margins of my journal and, more formally, in my personal learning plan. Nearly three years later, some of those items are complete.Continue Reading
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Eluding the Elusiveness of Retention: How to Keep Your Great Performers
Retention is elusive because most districts are challenged to understand who is leaving and why they're leaving, and what to do about it. (The sub-field of Workforce Analytics is starting to enable school districts to refine their HRIS data so as to actually understand the dynamics of retention and attrition of their workforces, and this is an exciting development.)Continue Reading