Thinking About Education

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

First Do No Harm: The Damage of Low Expectations

I had a student once, let’s call her Leah.  She was a transfer during the first few weeks of school. We were alerted that she had some “problems.” I always begin the year with a study of word stems, and expect students to learn certain common roots, prefixes, and suffixes because then they have a base for understanding thousands of words. They memorize 10 or 15 at a time—a list like this one:.. Read More

Bursting the Balloons of Grade Inflation

Many school districts—I wonder if this is true across the country?—are encouraging and even requiring teachers to inflate their grades. I was told I should give no grade lower than a 60 to my students, even if they earned a 0. I was also encouraged to give easier tests to students who did not perform above a certain standard and to reduce the amount of work I gave them (I am disregarding students.. Read More

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