“Because of their complexity, just getting such routines off the ground can seem like a victory in itself, but we cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is that improvement routines be employed thoughtfully, and that everyone involved has a shared understanding of their purpose. It is important that routines run smoothly, but this is not the primary goal. Ultimately, the point must be to build educators’ capacity to deliver consistent, high-quality instruction to all students across all classrooms.”
“If students know that teachers value and believe in them, no matter what they have gone through over the past year, educators can create a classroom environment where high expectations are the norm. When students feel empowered, they care more and work harder. Next time you hear the phrase learning loss, think about whether we really want to define our students by their deficits instead of their potential.”
“For the vast majority of schools, the four themes I have focused on here have not previously risen to the level of must-achieve outcomes. They live in our mission statements, but they have been lost amongst all of the other competing, important, and growing expectations that are placed upon our schools. Are skills like empathy and staying well as critical to long-term learning as are literacy and numeracy?”
“Richard Ekman, president of the Council of Independent Colleges, a group of 656 schools including Mills, said he anticipated “there might be a small increase in the number of colleges that close in the coming year” because of issues exacerbated by the pandemic. But he said he does not expect “an epidemic of colleges going over the cliff.” The number of small colleges closing or merging per year have varied between zero and 10 annually over the past couple of decades, even during the Great Recession, he noted.”
“Although I think Shakespeare’s plays should be curtailed, students shouldn’t totally miss out. Managing a work is something they can be proud of, and it gives them a taste of one of the finest writers in the language. But I’d save it for their senior year, when they have more under their belts.”
“Arendt’s imagined scenario reminds me of a scene in “The Tempest,” where Ariel deceives the shipwrecked crew with a mirage-like banquet on a table before making the banquet vanish. It’s “a quaint device,” as the Folio’s stage directions term it; a trick. But the trick exposes how vulnerable we feel without something in common between us: a book, a stage, a table, a classroom, a sanctuary all provide what philosopher Ivan Illich called “tools for conviviality.” They sustain a focal point for practiced attention, where making of the highest human kind can take place.”
“Effective principals orient their practice toward instructionally focused interactions with teachers, building a productive school climate, facilitating collaboration and professional learning communities, and strategic personnel and resource management processes.”
“Aspiring writers should, by all means, read books, but those that grow up deprived of literature, in the absence of books due to wars, exile, and poverty, should not lose heart. They can find other ways to garner ideas and build their storytelling techniques. They could learn to read—with the same curiosity and intensity given to books— images and photographs, rivers, music, seas, and trees, read the history in facades of buildings and the flower arrangements in cemeteries… The street is a library, people are books.”
“We once obsessed about how to restrain machines we could not predict or control — now we worry about how to use machines to restrain humans we cannot predict or control. But the old problem hasn’t gone away: How do we know whether the machines will do as we wish?”
“With students stuck at home during the pandemic, disengagement from school has turned from concern to danger. But with the challenge of distance learning comes an opportunity for virtual reality to create accessibility and understanding for kids of all demographics, even in the most disadvantaged districts.”
“One of the surprises for people is that when you think about fostering resilience, many educators think that means a focus on more positive things in relationships at school. The data say, though, that we need to focus first on minimizing unkindness in the community, for students as well as adults at school.”
“For Sandel, and for others in the communitarian tradition, even social liberalism concedes too much to its classical progenitor, reproducing liberalism’s principal error (which is also, historically, its greatest strength) – its emphasis on the individual. For Sandel, our sociality is prior to our individuality, and the way we view work should reflect that fact. Work is not merely a means to an end; it is an irreducible aspect of our humanity in that it allows us to meet what he describes as ‘the fundamental human need to be needed’.”
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