Thinking About Education

I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think. ~Socrates

Out of the Mouths of Babes

As a teacher mentor, one of the first things I do after meeting and greeting a new teacher is to visit a class and give the teacher comprehensive feedback on their teaching from fresh, objective eyes. I tell them all the good things I see them doing and describe their best qualities as teachers and people. Then I tell them the main areas they should work on to improve their practice. Later, I.. Read More

Honeymoon Over? Consult the Little Prince

An excerpt from that wonderful treasure, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “That is strictly correct,” I said. “But why do you want the sheep to eat the little baobabs?” He answered me at once, “Oh, come, come!”, as if he were speaking of something that was self-evident. And I was obliged to make a great mental effort to solve this problem, without any assistance. Indeed, as I learned, there were on.. Read More

Eduspeak: “Authentic” Reading

  I have another story to tell about reading–a story about educational trends that may lead us astray if we get too caught up in them. “Authentic” reading is one such trend in Language Arts. I have heard principals deny programmed reading materials to Reading and Language Arts teachers because they were not “authentic,” and current “best practices” dictate that we use only authentic texts in our classrooms (these are texts that readers.. Read More

The Lost Art of Storytelling?

  My parents are the most literate people I know. They are in their 80’s and still attend a monthly book group where group members, including retired English professors, discuss an important book they have all read. They still learn and grow from such an experience. As a group they understand, connect, enrich, and enlarge upon the stories they read and tell. There is nothing quite like a discussion of a good book.. Read More

Natural Differentiation

Two seventh-grade boys with baseball caps on are seriously engaged in Chinese brush painting in their Language Arts class. Their caps are well worn, fit snugly on their heads, and the bills are curved just right. The students are not speaking but are examining their pictures with heads bent while adding more brush strokes of black paint on the white paper. Their faces are relaxed and other paintings are lying around—previous attempts using.. Read More

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