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

The Carrots and Sticks of PBIS

  “PBIS” stands for Positive Behavior Interventions and Support. This is one of the groundswell initiatives moving through the schools in our area right now. It’s hard to argue with its premise: let’s focus ourselves on promoting good behavior rather than on punishing bad behavior. Let’s celebrate victories not wallow in failures. Let’s be positive, not negative. Sounds good on the surface. If you look at research about motivating human behavior, however, we.. Read More

Disciplining Students

As an administrative intern, students were referred to me for misbehaviors of all kinds.  I struggled at first with how to deal with them all in a way that was consistent, fair, and that addressed the need being expressed in the misbehavior instead of just the fault. I wanted to establish a consistent process that would result in discipline (as opposed to punishment), so that hopefully the students were changed in some positive.. Read More

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