The Educator's Notebook

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

Educator’s Notebook #250 (August 26, 2018)

    • ASCD
    • 09/01/18

    “The most urgent questions students ask as they begin a new school year are, Am I safe? and, Do I belong? Once students feel sure these needs are met, they'll dive into learning. We can't take successful communication of these assurances for granted, though. We have to prove them to students every day. What can teachers do?”

    • History Today
    • 09/01/18

    “Historians are not seers; their analogies may be misplaced and their assessments can be wrong. Yet the idea of history constituting a valuable guide for present and future action was an established part of western culture. This makes sense. After all, the past is our sole repository of information about what works and what does not; we have nothing else to draw upon. In our everyday lives we constantly make decisions based on past experience. While two situations may not be perfectly alike, nevertheless we divine patterns and lessons in the past that can help us to make better choices. In recent decades, however, things have changed.”

    • Atlantic
    • 04/05/16

    “Yet while such a unit may be rigorous intellectually, it is arguably incomplete unless students tangle with the book’s emotional core… Standards rarely address it; administrators rarely explicitly encourage it; few people pay consultants to give presentations on it at staff meetings. To do the work mandated by the Common Core well (which, for a good English teacher, is nothing particularly new), it may be helpful. To make students kinder and more conscientious citizens, it’s perhaps imperative.”



    • New York Times
    • 08/18/18

    “JÜV Consulting is staffed entirely by young people who range in age from 14 to 22. “I was honestly quite skeptical when I found out they were teenagers,” Mr. DeLeo admitted. “After the first call, they blew me away. They could walk into a regular business setting with people in their 30s and 40s and be completely comfortable. They are living the demographic we were targeting.””



    • New York Times
    • 08/20/18

    “The idea of “talent transfer” — that a sprinter could become a bobsledder or a gymnast could become a diver — is not new. But in the “Olympic Hopeful” model, the athletes don’t come from professional sports backgrounds. Most are full-time students or hold full-time jobs. Not everyone thought it would work, until Josh Williamson, then a 20-year-old lacrosse player, emerged as a winner in 2017. Within months, Mr. Williamson transformed into a world-class bobsledder, winning five international medals. He is expected to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics.”



    • Brookings
    • 08/21/18

    “This week, the journal Pediatrics featured a clarion call to encourage play as a way to reduce stress, promote social skills, and to embolden cognitive growth in young children.”

    • Psychology Today
    • 08/18/18

    Routine practice and drilling—especially when coupled with corrective feedback and ambitious but attainable goal-setting—should help students learn better. Such distributed practice is “necessary if not sufficient for acquiring expertise.” Procedural fluency and conceptual understanding influence each other bidirectionally over time.”

    • EdSurge
    • 08/17/18
    • Harvard
    • 07/01/18

    “Survey studies provide evidence suggesting that receiving retrospective awards may demotivate the behavior being awarded by inadvertently signaling (a) that recipients have performed the behavior more than their peers have; and (b) that recipients have performed the behavior to a greater degree than was organizationally expected. A school leaders survey shows that awards for attendance are common, and that the organizational leaders who offer these awards are unaware of their potential demotivating impact.”












    • EdSurge
    • 08/21/18
    • 1843 Magazine
    • 08/01/18

    “One example was the introduction, in the late 17th century, of scholarly journals that included book reviews, helpfully filtering and summarising (and in some cases excerpting) notable titles… And the centuries-old practice of prefacing longer works with a “list of headings” was refined and developed in two directions [table of contents and indexes] to help readers find passages of interest within individual books.”


    • Fast Company
    • 08/23/18

    “At General Motors, employees are not allowed to walk around on their phones. That’s pretty standard behavior for warehouses and manufacturing facilities, but this rule extends to the office. That means no looking at a phone on the way to a meeting. No taking calls while en route to the bathroom. No checking email while you’re going to the kitchen to get a coffee.”


    • KQED
    • 08/19/18

    “I don’t see independent schools going anywhere anytime soon,” Slangen said. “But what can we do with what we have now and how might we be able to make an impact, a difference? To be a little bit more equitable, a little bit more accessible, a little bit more of the solution.””

    • PBS
    • 08/17/18

    “More than 7 million people viewed teacher Flossie Lewis's Brief but Spectacular take on growing old in 2016. When it aired, her former students contacted us by the dozen, many to express appreciation for the profound impact she had on their lives. Flossie, now 94, returns in this special installment for an inspirational class discussion with some of her biggest fans.”


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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