Category Archives: Teaching & Learning

My Five Most Popular Posts of 2014 (And a Couple of Other Favorites)

My writing slowed down quite a bit this year, but I still had (just) enough posts on this site to justify producing a ‘top 5’ list: 1. There is Probably No Crisis in American Education. This post was particularly popular among “reform critics”, but my view is that it really cuts both ways in the […]

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Reform Math Went Poorly in Quebec

Starting in 1999, schools in Quebec implemented an ambitious curricular & instructional program at all schools in the province. Broadly speaking, this program can be considered “constructivist” and the math program in particular seems to have been of the “reform math” variety. To get a sense for what the reformers had in mind, they described wanting students to […]

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The Common Core Will Not Double The Dropout Rate

John Thompson, citing a report from the Carnegie Corporation and doubling down here, claims that the Common Core standards are going to cause the high school dropout rate to double. So, it is doubly important that Carnegie commissioned McKinsey to use the reformers’ data “to test whether or not it might be possible to avoid large drops in […]

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More Evidence of the Trouble with ‘Student-Centered’ Teaching

I’ve long had many related-but-separate complaints about ‘student-centered’ teaching practices. A new study in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis lends new evidence to several of them. (You can also check out good write-ups from Sarah Sparks and Bettina Chang.) The authors used data on a large number of first grade students to see what strategies their teachers […]

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For Teachers: An Important Paper on Rewards and Motivation

If you ask a teacher about the virtues of giving students rewards for behavior, effort, or accomplishment, there is a very good chance that he will tell you about the dangers of “extrinsic motivators”. Specifically, he me may tell you that giving students rewards for doing something will undermine their “intrinsic” motivation to continue doing […]

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Teacher Autonomy by State (and Salary)

As I mentioned before, the Center for American Progress just put out a report finding that teachers today still seem to feel very autonomous even in this era of accountability and reform. Exactly how autonomous they feel varies depending on which aspect of the job you’re asking them about. So, for example, about 58% of teachers […]

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My Talk to the SCAAPT

The Southern California chapter of the American Association of Physics Teachers asked me to give a brief talk about the Next Generation Science Standards at their Fall meeting yesterday. You can see my slides here, although they’re pretty bare-bones and most of what I had to say I’ve said in more detail elsewhere (e.g., here). […]

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TWIE: New Teachers, Structure, and Education Discourse

I recently riffed on a post from TfA corps member Ryan Heisinger over at This Week in Ed: First, Ryan’s post provides a lot of insight into what many new teachers are looking for when they enter the classroom for the first time. He talks, for example, about appreciating his administrator’s “strong vision” for the school […]

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Even Educators Don’t Understand Transfer

Two months ago Harry Webb wrote a post about “attempts to educate teachers” that included a brief discussion of How People Learn, the National Research Council’s attempt to condense a vast research literature on learning for classroom use. I was reminded of my experience of reading HPL in grad school and wanted to write something in […]

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Teachers Definitely Get Summers Off. And That’s OK.

As my long, leisurely summer vacation was coming to an end, I came home to a bunch of claims that teachers do not really get long, leisurely summer vacations. For example, here’s high school teacher Brittany Clark: Every educator has listened to a non-teaching friend lament the fact that they don’t get the summers off; […]

Also posted in Education, Teacher Compensation | 3 Responses