Recently, I gave a TED talk outlining why I think we’re in the midst of the most exciting and difficult time to be a teacher in American history. These sorts of talks are always imperfect (and timed) efforts to inject new ideas into the stratosphere, but I received lots of nice comments and feedback, including some observations that only a … Read More
This is How Youth (& YOU) Learn
Imagine if we acted on these insights?
Blue (School) Skies Ahead
It was fifteen years ago, but I still remember the first time I saw Blue Man Group. Watching those bald blue aliens discover how to eat a Twinkie, or investigate the queasy vibrations of a giant Jello cake, or climb the walls of the theater to learn more about the people who were sitting there – well, anyone who’s seen … Read More
Fellow Parents — Time to Stop Playing Favorites With Our Children
The other night over dinner, hours after my mother-in-law had returned home to New York, I casually asked my son Leo: “What was your favorite part of the weekend?” As I watched him stare blankly back at me, struggling to find an answer, I found myself wishing I could have a parental do-over. Why do we ask children this question … Read More
Are We Putting the (Knowledge) Cart Before the (Emotional) Horse?
What would you say if I told you that all of our current national efforts to improve public education were blind to the actual way people learned and interacted with the world? Depressing, right? But it’s true. To prove it, watch this short video — just 100 seconds long — and be prepared to describe to yourself what you see: … Read More
Occupy Third Grade?
On a crisp fall morning in the nation’s capital, 3rd grade teacher Rebecca Lebowitz gathered her 29 public school students on their familiar giant multicolored carpet, and reminded them how to make sense of the characters whose worlds they would soon enter during independent reading time. “What are the four things we want to look for when we meet a … Read More
The Many Faces of Thea
It wasn’t until the end of her tragically short life that Thea Leopoulos first discovered the depth of her talent as an artist. A buoyant, beautiful girl with dark eyebrows and sharp brown eyes, Thea spent her childhood believing the experts who first told her, back in third grade, she was unworthy of acceptance to the local program for “gifted … Read More
How Many Sacred Cows Does It Take to Sustain A Movement?
How do we transform the quality of teaching and learning in America? Like a lot of people, I’ve been wrestling with that riddle for the bulk of my career. And this month, three separate events are making me wonder in a new way about how to bring about such a shift – and sustain such a movement. The first two … Read More
What DC Can Teach Us About New Teacher Policies
This weekend, an article in my local paper crystallized three things we need to stop doing if we want to transform American public education for the long haul – and three things we should start doing instead. 1. STOP having a national debate about labor law; START having a national conversation about how people learn. The article I’m referring to … Read More
A Signature Shift?
Last week, I was asked by CNN to comment on the news that most states will soon phase out cursive writing in order to give students more time to hone their digital skills. Initially, I wondered why the issue was receiving national coverage – there are bigger fish to fry, after all – so I posed a Facebook query to … Read More