George Lucas Educational Foundation

John McCarthy

Education Consultant, Advocate for Student Voice in Learning

I am a constant learner and teacher in my education consulting work with schools in the U.S. and abroad. Starting as a teacher in Chicago, my life’s mission is to deeply understand and advocate for student voice in their learning career. I’ve taught in three states from urban to rural settings, and from deep poverty to an area of high affluence. As a consultant I work with schools on systemic implementation of differentiated instruction, project-based learning, eliminating assessment and grade fog, and culture building—all with a focus on student voice. I teach blended grad courses at Madonna University, which keeps me actively honing my instructional practices. Find many more resources on my website.

I love to learn from the educators who I assist. My coaching style focuses on helping educators and students find understandings and solutions within themselves because my telling won’t stick, but their discovering lasts forever. A former English and social studies teacher, I hone my craft through my blog and as the managing editor of Deadwood Writers Voices, a blog that explores writing by a great team of writers who are part of the Deadwood Writers Group in Southeast Michigan.

Most importantly, I am a gamer to my kids, their advocate for learning, and a cheerleader at their events—and my wife’s 26.2 mile events.

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  • Online Learning

    4 Key Aspects of Teaching an Online Class

    What an educator with experience teaching online has learned about structuring students’ online and offline experiences and how to provide feedback to keep the learning going.
  • Teacher Wellness

    Prioritizing Self-Care While Working From Home

    Teachers adjusting to teaching from home while schools are closed may need to work out new routines to stay grounded.
  • Project-Based Learning

    3 Common PBL Problems—and Solutions

    Ideas for how to overcome issues that teachers new to project-based learning frequently encounter.
  • Differentiated Instruction

    3 Ways to Plan for Diverse Learners: What Teachers Do

    Every teacher already has the tools to differentiate in powerful ways for all learners.
  • Student Voice

    Student-Centered Learning: It Starts With the Teacher

    Teachers encourage student-centered learning by allowing students to share in decisions, believing in their capacity to lead, and remembering how it feels to learn.
  • Differentiated Instruction

    Extending the Silence

    Giving students several seconds to think after asking a question—and up to two minutes for some questions—improves their learning.
  • Differentiated Instruction

    A Reading List for Differentiated Instruction

    You can find ideas on how to gear your teaching to meet the needs of all students even in works that aren’t explicitly about differentiation.
  • Differentiated Instruction

    100+ Tools for Differentiating Instruction Through Social Media

    Social media can enhance differentiated instruction if the tools are selected with a careful eye on individual students' readiness, interests, and learning profiles.
  • Differentiated Instruction

    Learner Interest Matters: Strategies for Empowering Student Choice

    When students care about an assignment, they're willing to take greater risks and are more likely to excel in their product.
  • Differentiated Instruction

    Too Many Students and Not Enough Time

    Differentiation provides ways to cope with large workloads and with the feeling that there’s never enough time.
  • Differentiated Instruction

    How Learning Profiles Can Strengthen Your Teaching

    Here's a heretical notion: learning profiles can actually benefit students. Blogger John McCarthy shares his tips.
  • Inquiry-Based Learning

    Fostering Student Questions: Strategies for Inquiry-Based Learning

    Consider using at least one of these protocols -- QFT, Chalk Talk, Say Something, or the Harkness Discussion -- to foster student inquiry.
  • Social and Emotional Learning

    Frameworks for Fostering the Skills Students Need for the Future

    Schools are developing rubrics to guide them in helping students develop social and emotional skills, creativity, and growth mindset.
  • Lesson Plans

    Student-Centered Planning

    Planning instruction around students’ readiness, interests, and learning preferences empowers them to drive their own learning.
  • Differentiated Instruction

    Myth-Busting Differentiated Instruction: 3 Myths and 3 Truths

    With delivery of instruction, one size does not fit all. John McCarthy launches his differentiated instruction series by busting three common myths about DI.

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George Lucas Educational Foundation