Blogs on Education Reform

Blogs on Education ReformRSS
Merja PaksuniemiNovember 25, 2013

Editor's Note: Satu Uusiautti, Ph.D., contributed to this post. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Helsinki, and works as a specialist at University of Lapland, and as a post-doctoral researcher in the project Love-Based Leadership -- Interdisciplinary Approach. Another contributor to this blog post, Kaarina Määttä, Ph.D., is a professor of educational psychology at the Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, and also the university's deputy vice-chancellor. She has written hundreds of articles and dozens of textbooks. The three authors' forthcoming book, What Are Finnish Teachers Made Of? A Glance at Teacher Education in Finland Yesterday and Today, examines historical and modern teacher training in Finland, a country that many acknowledge as having the most successful K-12 schools in the world.

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Terry HeickNovember 21, 2013

Reading recently through Edutopia's resources on informal learning, I found the distinction between formal and informal learning resonating more strongly now than ever.

For a classroom teacher, this difference is an important distinction. Formal learning happens through strategically planned learning experiences -- often direct instruction from teachers. Teacher and school improvement is driven by the notion of improving teaching and schools, which is kind of a circular argument. At best, we'll get better teaching and schools.

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Dr. Kimberlee RatliffNovember 20, 2013

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, President Obama called for increased mental health support in school settings. Counselors are qualified to work with students in individual counseling, small group counseling and large group support. Besides being leaders, advocates, collaborators and systemic change agents, counselors have training in crisis intervention and are often called upon to assist in small- and large-scale crisis situations. However, if school counselors are engaged in too many non-counseling duties, then their effectiveness is reduced.

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Mark PhillipsNovember 7, 2013

Editor's Note: This is a translation of a report submitted by Alkar, Educational Anthropologist, for review by the Planet-Wide Council of Educators on Rakosa V after his return from Sol III (locally known as Earth). His mission: "Analysis of the Process of Educational Reform as Exemplified by What is Named 'Common Core.'"

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Teresa Washut HeckNovember 1, 2013

Editor's Note:This blog post was co-written with Dr. Nancy Bacharach, the Principal Investigator and Project Director of the Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant. She is a professor in the Department of Teacher Development at St. Cloud State.

Most of us have vivid memories of our student teaching experience. Whether these images are positive or negative, they played a significant role in preparing us to become teachers. The old model of student teaching often had the teacher candidates spending their initial weeks as silent observers, gradually assuming the role of teacher, leading up to "full responsibility" in the classroom. Clinical teachers rarely assisted or vacated the room, letting the candidate learn his or her craft alone.

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Fred EndeOctober 31, 2013

It's been a trying time for our government and our country. Decision-making, often unbearably slow, was at a standstill for 16 days. Many waited to return to work, and the economy hung in the balance. Regardless of your political leanings, it is tough to think of our government as being in any type of position to provide lessons in leadership. Yet, as a mentor of mine once shared, "You can often learn more about true leadership from failures than you can from outright successes." And though the realm of politics can be quite different from education, it is amazing (and perhaps a bit frightening) just how many corollaries there are between our two worlds.

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Vanessa VegaOctober 23, 2013

Millions of teachers and thousands of districts in 45 states are currently undergoing a sea change in the way that they teach and assess students. The new Common Core Standards for learning have been phased into states and districts since 2010, and the digitized Common Core Assessments are scheduled to deploy in states that have adopted them as early as the 2014-2015 school year.

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Terry HeickOctober 17, 2013

Teachers are used to hearing about new ideas in education -- changes in instruction, technology and curriculum that are going to fix what's broken.

The trouble is, these changes are so difficult to trust. Many changes are based on ideas that have gained traction through very limited and poorly researched beginnings. One district might see success with a "program," and soon superintendents and principals are sent scrambling to duplicate that approach in their own district, without a full understanding of both data and circumstance.

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Todd FinleyOctober 15, 2013

Says Ankur Singh, the writer and director of Listen: The Movie, "They never ask us students what we want from our own education. And since we are the primary stakeholders, that is not OK."

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Harriet SanfordOctober 11, 2013

Change is becoming a constant in St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools, located along the Mississippi River west of New Orleans.

Like many other states, Louisiana is preparing to implement the Common Core State Standards, along with Compass, a new evaluation rubric that applies a magnifying glass to the nuts and bolts of teaching practice. And in St. John the Baptist Parish, teachers and school leaders are being asked to make these changes a reality while facing declining budgets, a continued recovery from 2012's Hurricane Isaac, and persistent poverty -- nearly nine in ten of the district's students qualify for free and reduced lunch.

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