The Educator's Notebook

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

Educator’s Notebook #305 (September 22, 2019)

    • Atlantic
    • 09/19/19

    “In this model of professional development, peer networks became the main mechanism for transferring collective wisdom and acquiring tacit knowledge that can’t be learned by reading a book or listening to a lecture—skills such as designing a strong lesson plan with precise pacing, rhythm, and clear focus, for instance, or building positive relationships among students. When teachers plan classroom activities together, educators have a chance to implement improvements as a cohesive effort across the building, develop a shared vision and common language around learning goals, and learn how to detect outcomes using a broad range of data, including markers for key skills, such as resilience or collaboration, that can’t be captured using standardized test scores.”

    • Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences
    • 09/04/19

    “We compared students’ self-reported perception of learning with their actual learning under controlled conditions in large-enrollment introductory college physics courses taught using 1) active instruction (following best practices in the discipline) and 2) passive instruction (lectures by experienced and highly rated instructors)… Students in active classrooms learned more (as would be expected based on prior research), but their perception of learning, while positive, was lower than that of their peers in passive environments. This suggests that attempts to evaluate instruction based on students’ perceptions of learning could inadvertently promote inferior (passive) pedagogical methods… We discuss strategies that instructors can use, early in the semester, to improve students’ response to being actively engaged in the classroom.”







    • Larry Cuban
    • 09/20/19

    “Like others, I have concluded that working directly on individual and collective teacher norms, building broader and deeper teacher knowledge and skills in classroom instruction—not big-ticket structural changes—have a far better chance of improving teaching practices… That a scrum of research studies and policymaker pronouncements in the past few years have affirmed teachers’ influence in students’ academic performance and actual lives supports the faith that I and many other educators have had in teachers. Facts and faith merge nicely.”

    • Larry Cuban
    • 09/17/19

    “Both my experience and research have changed my mind about the role of schools in society. I have become skeptical of anyone spouting words about schools being in the vanguard of social reform—even from a President I admire. Yet, I must confess that in my heart, I still believe that content-smart and classroom-smart teachers who know their students well can make significant differences in their students’ lives even if they cannot cure societal ills.”


    • Guardian
    • 09/16/19

    “Shakespeare is our most famous writer, and the poet John Milton was his most famous younger contemporary. It was, until a few days ago, simply too much to hope that Milton’s own copy of Shakespeare might have survived — and yet the evidence here so far is persuasive. This may be one of the most important literary discoveries of modern times.”




    • Chalkbeat
    • 09/18/19

    “While the organization says it charged Chicago schools for one-off training sessions in the past, it is now formally selling its services to districts, putting it in direct competition with other education technology vendors.”

    • Cult of Pedagogy
    • 09/15/19
    • The Journal
    • 09/13/19

    “The content covers learning standards in areas such as careers in gaming, maintaining healthy practices, self-management and interpersonal communications, as well as an overview of esports gaming.”



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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