The Educator's Notebook

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

Educator’s Notebook #376 (October 31, 2021)

    • New York Times
    • 10/29/21

    “From the 1860s through 1900, America was embroiled in a generation-long, culturewide war over democracy, fought through the loudest, roughest, closest elections in our history. An age of acrimony when engaged, enraged participation came to seem less like a “perversion of traditional American institutions,” as one memoirist observed, and more like “their normal operation.” The partisan combat of that era politicized race, class and religion but often came down to a fundamental debate about behavior. How should Americans participate in their democracy? What was out of bounds? Were fraud, violence and voter suppression the result of bad actors, or were there certain dangerous tendencies inherent in the very idea of self-government? Was reform even possible? Ultimately, Americans decided to simmer down.”

    • Edutopia
    • 10/15/21

    “Other research on test design suggests that all too often, we’re not just assessing what students know, but also getting a peek into the psychological and cognitive eddies that disrupt a student’s thinking—a high-stakes test that causes anxiety can become a barometer of a student’s poise, rather than their knowledge. A well-designed test is rigorous and keeps implicit bias in check, while being mindful of the role that confidence, mindset, and anxiety play in test taking. Here are eight tips to create effective tests, based on a review of more than a dozen recent studies.”


    • New York Times
    • 05/01/20

    “In fact, it’s not just making art that improves health and mood. Almost any hobby or act of leisure helps. A 2013 study at Pennsylvania State University found that gardening, sewing, completing puzzles and other relaxing activities lowered blood pressure. A 2015 study at the University of Merced revealed that individuals who engaged in leisure reported improved moods and less stress and exhibited lower heart rates.”









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


* indicates required