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On Control in #Classrooms

Whether we admit it or not, much of teaching requires students to do things they would not otherwise. Some students will read, write, compute, think, and interact for their own motivations or to comply, but in the absence of school and the assignments that accompany class, most students would not choose the work that comprises school.   If we accept my premise, then one Read More

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Least Objectionable Curriculum

In the 1960’s, a television executive proposed the concept of the least objectionable program. According to this idea, programmers will broadcast the shows that are least likely to offend large parts of the population. It has been argued that adhering to this principle led television executives to support programming that was uninspired.   In the time Read More

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Elevator Pitch on Emerging Teaching Practices

In recent decades, scholars have rediscovered the very effective learning that happens outside of classrooms. Because it is so difficult for “school learning” to displace the concepts learned outside of classrooms seems to confirm the strength of what is learned outside of school.   As cognitive and neuroscientists have illuminated the changes in human bodies and Read More

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Elevator Pitch on Censorship

Educated individuals value the free expression of ideas, yet we recognize some ideas are distasteful, others harmful, and some are likely promoted by quacks. It is through our capacity to critically analyze ideas to decide which deserve our attention, which should be seriously considered, and which dismissed.   Our human nature and our professional ethics lead us to Read More

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Elevator Pitch on Tests

If tests are presented as a measure of professional knowledge, and if students and teachers prepare for the tests in the manner that professionals do, then there is a greater likelihood that students will both develop a healthier relationship with tests and they will perceive them as a serious measure of their skills and knowledge.

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Deconstructing Correct Answers

Multiple choice test questions and students’ answers to them seem perhaps the simplest data we encounter as teachers. We pose a question. Students read it. Students give the correct answer or the incorrect answer. Tally the correct answers to measure each student’s understanding. We can deconstruct the process into three components. We assume students: Understood Read More

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Elevator Pitch on Collaboration

Collaboration has become a buzzword in education; it has become something that is to be valued, and so any initiative or endeavor undertaken by educators is described as a project that “requires collaboration.” In many cases, advocates for the initiative conflate working together with collaboration. Other endeavors are truly collaborative as seen in several characteristics: Read More

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On Comprehensive Education

A comprehensive higher education comprises:  Declarative knowledge—those facts that can be stated as well as the concepts that organizes them. English students will be able to identify important works and also to place them in the context of time and place to demonstrate declarative knowledge of their importance.  Procedural knowledge—those skills that students know how Read More