Education

Motivation

It was cold, a November evening, and I was the administrator on duty, so I was walking around the campus shortly after dinner on my way to the athletic center to lock the building. The last coach to leave after practice was supposed to lock up but never did. My mood was not good. The…

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The Costs of Paying Attention, The Value of Reflection

Recent studies done by neuroscientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang (University of Southern California) and her colleague Joanna Christodoulou (Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT) suggest that educators need to consider much more carefully the role of reflection in learning.1 They cite new theories of two brain systems that control our attention. One is activated when we engage with…

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Learning Disabled or School Disabled?

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, my grandson is one of about 6.4 million children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. The symptoms of ADHD include inattentiveness in school, distractibility, inability to sustain attention, difficulty finishing school work, difficulty shifting from task to task, procrastination, and fidgeting when seated. In other words, if you…

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Assessments That Provide Real Insight into Learning

A math teacher described a problem he was having with his 2nd graders: “One of the goals of our math curriculum is to enable the students to articulate their mathematical reasoning. We would like them to explain, ‘The problem said two more came, so I knew I needed to add,’ but instead we get, ‘I…

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Adolescents Struggle to Identify Fake News

Given the multitude of phony news stories spawned during the 2016 election, culminating in the shooting at a D.C. pizza restaurant, the Stanford History Education Group’s study of adolescents’ ability to judge the credibility of all the information vying for their attention in cyberspace is amazingly timely. The study focused on over 7,800 middle school,…

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My School, My Self

“I just needed a place where I could be myself.” That was Teri’s assessment of what was missing from her life in school, and my experience suggests that she speaks for hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of students. School is not typically a place for the self, at least not the self of students. A…

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What Happens to Empathy Deferred?

As an alumnus of an independent school, I have enjoyed reading about the increasing emphasis on teaching cooperation, teamwork, mindfulness, and empathy. As independent schools become more globally and racially diverse, the need for greater reflection, for awareness of one’s own thinking and biases, and for curiosity about the perspectives of others also grows.  The…

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