The Educator's Notebook

A weekly collection of education-related news from around the web.

Calls Grow To Ban Phones In School

“We’re dealing with something more than kids watching Tik Tok during science class. Those hoping to ban phones see them as an unhealthy interference with nearly every key function schools are meant to serve… Ok, let’s ban students from using their phones during the school day. I’m sold. That’s probably the easy part. How can […]

Motoko Rich On How Teachers Are Portrayed In TV And Film

“Movies and television rarely show teachers, well, teaching. All kinds of professions, from police work to law to medicine, are routinely distorted in popular culture. But for the most part, competence rather than charisma is seen as a prerequisite for success in those fields… But in films and shows about teachers, the focus is on […]

A Brief History Of Lecturing And Questioning

“These staple instructional practices, while criticized–often severely by generations of pedagogical reformers–are, in 2023, alive and well in charter schools, regular elementary and secondary public schools, and higher education. And they even persist amid a revolution in teachers and students using high-tech devices in and out of the classroom. Are these ways of teaching simply instances of […]

“The Unstoppable Search For ‘Successful’ Teaching”

“Stories told about “successful” teachers and the counting of what these teachers actually do in classrooms are very compelling, even persuasive at times. But such evidence remains stories and lists. They neglect systematically collected data from comparison groups of teachers and students to sufficiently pass muster as evidence of which teacher actions cause students to […]

A Failure Resume: And A Reminder That Failure Can Mean Growth

“For me, however, closed doors did two things. In some instances, I doubled down and persisted—50 rejections in applying for superintendent posts—in other instances, it nudged me to open doors that I had not considered–going from the failed attempt to manage a governmental research group riven by racial animosities to administering the Office of Staff […]

A.I. Won’t Change The Heart Of Teaching, Even If It Will Change Learning

“Similar claims about new technologies have been made before. Recall that, earlier generations of technophiles claimed that students using graphing calculators in class would transform math instruction (and raise test scores). Calculators surely helped students and teachers but did not alter dominant ways of teaching math.”

On 150 Years Of Innovation, Standard Of Living Improvements, And Schools

“The century of revolution in the United States after the Civil War was economic, not political, freeing households from an unremitting daily grind of painful manual labor, household drudgery, darkness, isolation, and early death. Only one hundred years later, daily life had changed beyond recognition… … economic growth since 1970 has been simultaneously dazzling and disappointing. […]


Every week I send out articles I encounter from around the web. Subject matter ranges from hard knowledge about teaching to research about creativity and cognitive science to stories from other industries that, by analogy, inform what we do as educators. This breadth helps us see our work in new ways.

Readers include teachers, school leaders, university overseers, conference organizers, think tank workers, startup founders, nonprofit leaders, and people who are simply interested in what’s happening in education. They say it helps them keep tabs on what matters most in the conversation surrounding schools, teaching, learning, and more.

Peter Nilsson


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