Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"[N]ot the Time. . .to Follow the Line of Least Resistance" | National Education Policy Center

"[N]ot the Time. . .to Follow the Line of Least Resistance" | National Education Policy Center

Transformers Top Ten List

Transformers Top Ten List

from this post

"How about ten free, subtle, simple things teachers can do to begin the process of re-claiming–transforming–education?

1. Smile at children. Often. Especially when they say things that are true, profound, and childlike.

2. Stop talking about how much standardized tests “matter.” Stop feeding the test-anxiety machine. Immediately.

3. Invent reasons to do lessons outside. Even in the winter. Even with high school kids. Measure snow, feed birds, write group poetry, play games in the parking lot– or something.

4. Find something good one of your least creative colleagues does and compliment that person. Encourage them to do it more.

5. Take a traditional school basic practice and develop a learning question: What would happen if we didn’t take attendance? If students graded teachers? If seniors taught kindergarten, instead of teachers? If students chose the music instead of the music teacher? This is totally adaptable to all levels/subjects. Why do we have levels and subjects, anyway?

6. Get brave and start a reading club (it only takes two) and read an article about innovative schools. Talk about out-there educational ideas and models (that would never fly in your community) at lunch. Better yet, invite parents to join–both the reading, and the lunch.

7. Volunteer to handle a bulletin board or showcase for a semester–and use it to post provocative questions. Invite everyone at the school to contribute to the conversation.

8. Ask students what they haven’t learned in school that they wish they knew. Post the answers someplace where the superintendent and school board can read them.

9. Be silent for a day. Communicate with students via written word and hand signals. Ask them to take over their own learning. If necessary, pretend to have laryngitis.

10. Touch your students. Do it carefully–the shoulder pat, the hair ruffle, one finger on an arm, a handshake–but understand the power of human touch."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Research: Teacher effectiveness

Darling-Hammond, L., Holtzman, D. J., Gatlin, S. J., & Heilig, J. V. (2005). Does teacher preparation matter? Evidence about teacher certification, Teach for America, and teacher effectiveness. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 13(42). Retrieved 23 October 2011 from

Darling-Hammond, L. (2002, September 6). Research and rhetoric on teacher certification: A response to "Teacher Certification Reconsidered." Education Policy Analysis Archives, 10(36). Retrieved 28 July 2009 from

Peske, H. G., & Haycock, K. (2006, June). Teaching inequality: How poor and minority students are shortchanged on teacher quality. Washington DC: The Education Trust, Inc. Retrieved 7 September 2009 from

Rice, J. K. 2003. “Teacher Quality: Understanding the Effectiveness of Teacher Attributes.” Economic Policy Institute.

Rice, Jennifer King. 2010. “The Impact of Teacher Experience: Examining the Evidence and Policy Implications.”  CALDER. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute.

Sawchuk, S. (2011). EWA research brief: What studies say about teacher effectiveness. Washington DC: Education Writers Association. Retrieved 7 July 2011 from