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Here's What Teens Say They Need
"Educators are trained to provide students with the help they need to thrive both academically and socially. We even have the firsthand knowledge and experience of having been teenagers ourselves. It's important, however, to recognize that our experiences may be, and most likely are, very different from what our students experience today. For that reason, we must ask students about their experiences and use their perspectives to inform our approach to teaching and leading. I recently interviewed over 40 teens in grades 6 through 12 and asked them, "What do you need from schools to feel supported both academically and socially?" I share their responses, both honest and illuminating, here.

Finding #1: Teens want explicit proof that the adults in their lives know them as individuals.

Teachers who take the time to learn about their students as individuals send a clear message that they care about them. Students say the best teachers " really care … and actually want to help the students rather than just stand up and give a lesson," (11th grader). "I know I learn better with teachers I like, teachers I feel I can trust," (9th grader). Recommendations related to this finding include the following:

• Teens want teachers to know about their learning styles, their interests, and what causes them stress. Differentiation and flexibility are key components of classrooms where students feel like the adults in their lives have their best interests at heart.

• Teens want teachers to work together as a team; they want adults to talk to each other about the amount of work that is expected in each class. "We have seven or eight hours of school, then after-school sports, and then we have three hours of homework" (9th grader). Teens want schools to intentionally create and maintain structures that lead to a more balanced workload.

• Face-to-face communication is the most powerful way to build relationships. Teens want adults to initiate regular check-ins with them.

• Teachers must demonstrate they believe in their students. "Don't stereotype kids … keep an open mind," (9th grader).

Finding #2: Teens want easily accessible resources.

Students said knowing where and when to find help was a key component in feeling supported. One senior said being able to "get connected with who you need and having a lot of resources" was one way his school helped him succeed. The following recommendations are related to this finding:

• Schools should have designated and well-advertised physical spaces for students to go to when they need help. Teens appreciate help centers that are staffed with adults who can assist before, during, and after school hours with homework, friend issues, and other problems.

• Schools should build time into the schedule for students to meet with teachers outside of regular class time.

• Teachers should provide online resources for all classes so that students who need additional support can access the information. This was especially important for students when they had been absent from class.

• Adults should step in when they see students struggling if the teens do not initiate the conversation. "I'm really bad about going to an adult and saying, 'I need help with this' because it feels like I'm asking too much," (7th grader).

Finding #3: Teens demand authentic, meaningful work.

Teens are savvy. They know when an assignment is busy work. "They [teachers] should give you more important homework that actually focuses on the topic," (8th grader). Recommendations related to this finding include the following:

• Problem-based learning makes a greater impact on depth and retention of learning. Teens want more hands-on activities and assignments where they can explore creative endeavors.

• Work should employ multiple strategies and allow for individuality. Teens want teachers to spend time exploring the different strategies so that they can feel confident about deciding which strategies to use and when.

• Classrooms need to be interactive and teacher lecture needs to be kept to a minimum; otherwise, "they're just saying things at you," (11th grader).

• Teenagers want adults to focus less on grades. "Instead of focusing on the process of learning, they [teachers] only care about the execution and grade you receive about it," (9th grader).

Finding #4: Teenagers crave human interaction.

Between schoolwork and busy schedules, "there's not a lot of time hang out with your friends," say several 9th graders. Recommendations related to this finding include the following:

• Teens want more time for collaboration and group work with their peers.

• Social media means teens have many friends online, but younger teens say they struggle to socialize with those same friends face-to-face and want schools to teach them this skill.

• Schools should create structured opportunities for teens to socialize with the entire school community and to "bond" with students outside their typical social groups.

Finding #5: Teens want the opportunity to fail.

"Kids have to learn how to do it themselves. When we go out into the real world, we're not going to have adults there helping us. We're going to have to do it ourselves," (7th grader). The following recommendations are related to this finding:

• Adults should create safe spaces, activities, and opportunities that allow teens to work through a process independently.

• Adults should avoid stepping in too soon, or too often, to assist struggling students, because teens need the time and practice to learn to work together.

Whether the thoughts of my students or your own inform your practice, remember: if we're really doing what's best for teens, then we need to listen to their voices. Just asking teens, "how can I help?" or "what do you need from me?" is the first step in determining what teens need from schools.
teens  youth  2019  jodymarberry  relationships  respect  teaching  howweteach  authenticity  work  learning  howwelearn  social  socialmedia  failure  howwlearn  education  schools  middleschool  highschool 
12 days ago by robertogreco
The History of the Future of High School - VICE
"The problem with American high school education, it seems, is not that students haven’t learned the “right skills.” The problem is that the systemic inequality of the school system has ensured that many students have been unable to participate fully in either the economy or, more fundamentally, in democracy. It’s not that there has been no tinkering, but that those doing the tinkering often have their own interests, rather than students’ interests, in mind."
audreywatters  2018  highschool  education  aptests  publicschools  schooling  change  betsydevos  power  privilege  inequality  democracy  history  larrycuban  davidtyack 
october 2018 by robertogreco
School is Literally a Hellhole – Medium
"By continually privileging and training our eyes on a horizon “beyond the walls of the school” — whether that be achievement, authentic audiences, the real world, the future, even buzz or fame — have we inadvertently impoverished school of its value and meaning, turning it into a wind-swept platform where we do nothing but gaze into another world or brace ourselves for the inevitable? Here we have less and less patience for the platform itself, for learning to live with others who will be nothing more than competitors in that future marketplace."



"What would be possible if we instead were to wall ourselves up with one another, fostering community and care among this unlikely confluence of souls? Does privileging the proximate, present world render any critique of or contribution to the larger world impossible?

I don’t think so. Learning to protect, foster, and value the humans in our care will often automatically put us in direct conflict with the many forces that disrupt or diminish those values. More than reflecting the real world or the future or some outside standard or imperative, kids need to see themselves reflected and recognized in these rooms. This is true even in the most privileged of environments. Providing recognition means valuing students' perspectives and experiences, but also helping them gain critical consciousness of themselves and their world, which they often intuit.

These tasks aren’t disconnected from the outside world, but often need a smaller, more human-sized community in which to flourish. The impulse to test and measure continually intrudes upon this process. But so do other prying eyes, ones that cast our students as entrepreneurial, capitalistic, future-ready, self-motivated, passionate individuals — and that often shame those who can’t or won’t conform to this ideal.

We should ask ourselves to what extent those outside standards and ideals are antithetical to the values of education — civic discourse, collectivity, cooperation, care. I realize this post is short on specifics, but let’s be more cautious about always forcing one another out into unforgiving gaze of others, commending the merits of a world beyond this one."
arthurchiaravalli  schools  schooling  schooliness  presence  unschooling  deschooling  education  learning  highschool  competition  coexistence  community  benjamindoxtdator  engagement  blogging  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  personalbranding  innovation  johndewey  work  labor  nietzsche  collectivism  collectivity  cooperation  care  caring  merit  entrepreneurship  passion  2018  foucault  michelfoucault 
june 2018 by robertogreco
[Easy Chair] | Abolish High School, by Rebecca Solnit | Harper's Magazine
"I didn’t go to high school. This I think of as one of my proudest accomplishments and one of my greatest escapes, because everyone who grows up in the United States goes to high school. It’s such an inevitable experience that people often mishear me and think I dropped out.

I was a withdrawn, bookish kid all through elementary school, but the difficulty of being a misfit intensified when I started seventh grade. As I left campus at the end of my first day, people shouted insults that ensured I knew my clothes didn’t cut it. Then there was P.E., where I had to don a horrendous turquoise-striped polyester garment that looked like a baby’s onesie and follow orders to run or jump or play ball — which is hard to do when you’re deeply withdrawn — after which I had to get naked, in all my late-bloomer puniness, and take showers in front of strangers. In science class we were graded on crafting notebooks with many colors of pen; in home economics, which was only for girls — boys had shop — we learned to make a new kind of cake by combining pudding mix with cake mix; even in English class I can remember reading only one book: Dickens’s flattest novel, Hard Times. At least the old history teacher in the plaid mohair sweaters let me doze in the front row, so long as I knew the answers when asked.

In junior high, everything became a little more dangerous. Most of my peers seemed to be learning the elaborate dance between the sexes, sometimes literally, at school dances I never dreamed of attending, or in the form of the routines through which girls with pompoms ritually celebrated boys whose own role in that rite consisted of slamming into one another on the field.

I skipped my last year of traditional junior high school, detouring for ninth and tenth grade into a newly created alternative junior high. (The existing alternative high school only took eleventh and twelfth graders.) The district used this new school as a dumping ground for its most insubordinate kids, so I shared two adjoining classrooms with hard-partying teenage girls who dated adult drug dealers, boys who reeked of pot smoke, and other misfits like me. The wild kids impressed me because, unlike the timorous high achievers I’d often been grouped with at the mainstream school, they seemed fearless and free, skeptical about the systems around them.

There were only a few dozen students, and the adults treated us like colleagues. There was friendship and mild scorn but little cruelty, nothing that pitted us against one another or humiliated us, no violence, no clearly inculcated hierarchy. I didn’t gain much conventional knowledge, but I read voraciously and had good conversations. You can learn a lot that way. Besides, I hadn’t been gaining much in regular school either.

I was ravenous to learn. I’d waited for years for a proper chance at it, and the high school in my town didn’t seem like a place where I was going to get it. I passed the G.E.D. test at fifteen, started community college the following fall, and transferred after two semesters to a four-year college, where I began, at last, to get an education commensurate with my appetite.

What was it, I sometimes wonder, that I was supposed to have learned in the years of high school that I avoided? High school is often considered a definitive American experience, in two senses: an experience that nearly everyone shares, and one that can define who you are, for better or worse, for the rest of your life. I’m grateful I escaped the particular definition that high school would have imposed on me, and I wish everyone else who suffered could have escaped it, too.

For a long time I’ve thought that high school should be abolished. I don’t mean that people in their teens should not be educated at public expense. The question is what they are educated in. An abolitionist proposal should begin by acknowledging all the excellent schools and teachers and educations out there; the people who have a pleasant, useful time in high school; and the changes being wrought in the nature of secondary education today. It should also recognize the tremendous variety of schools, including charter and magnet schools in the public system and the private schools — religious, single-sex, military, and prep — that about 10 percent of American students attend, in which the values and pedagogical systems may be radically different. But despite the caveats and anomalies, the good schools and the students who thrive (or at least survive), high school is hell for too many Americans. If this is so, I wonder why people should be automatically consigned to it.

In 2010, Dan Savage began the It Gets Better Project, which has gathered and posted video testimonials from gay and lesbian adults and queer-positive supporters (tens of thousands of them, eventually, including professional sports stars and the president) to address the rash of suicides by young queer people. The testimonials reassure teenagers that there is life after high school, that before long they’ll be able to be who they are without persecution — able to find love, able to live with dignity, and able to get through each day without facing intense harassment. It’s a worthy project, but it implicitly accepts that non-straight kids must spend their formative years passing through a homophobic gauntlet before arriving at a less hostile adult world. Why should they have to wait?

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens, responsible for some 4,600 deaths per year. Federal studies report that for every suicide there are at least a hundred attempts — nearly half a million a year. Eight percent of high school students have attempted to kill themselves, and 16 percent have considered trying. That’s a lot of people crying out for something to change.

We tend to think that adolescence is inherently ridden with angst, but much of the misery comes from the cruelty of one’s peers. Twenty-eight percent of public school students and 21 percent of private school students report being bullied, and though inner-city kids are routinely portrayed in the press as menaces, the highest levels of bullying are reported among white kids and in nonurban areas. Victims of bullying are, according to a Yale study, somewhere between two and nine times more likely to attempt suicide. Why should children be confined to institutions in which these experiences are so common?

Antibullying programs have proliferated to such an extent that even the Southern Poverty Law Center has gotten involved, as though high school had joined its list of hate groups. An educational video produced by the S.P.L.C. focuses on the case of Jamie Nabozny, who successfully sued the administrators of his small-town Wisconsin school district for doing nothing to stop — and sometimes even blaming him for — the years of persecution he had suffered, including an attack that ruptured his spleen. As Catherine A. Lugg, an education scholar specializing in public school issues, later wrote, “The Nabozny case clearly illustrates the public school’s historic power as the enforcer of expected norms regarding gender, heteronormativity, and homophobia.”

I once heard Helena Norberg-Hodge, an economic analyst and linguist who studies the impact of globalization on nonindustrialized societies, say that generational segregation was one of the worst kinds of segregation in the United States. The remark made a lasting impression: that segregation was what I escaped all those years ago. My first friends were much older than I was, and then a little older; these days they are all ages. We think it’s natural to sort children into single-year age cohorts and then process them like Fords on an assembly line, but that may be a reflection of the industrialization that long ago sent parents to work away from their children for several hours every day.

Since the 1970s, Norberg-Hodge has been visiting the northern Indian region of Ladakh. When she first arrived such age segregation was unknown there. “Now children are split into different age groups at school,” Norberg-Hodge has written. “This sort of leveling has a very destructive effect. By artificially creating social units in which everyone is the same age, the ability of children to help and to learn from each other is greatly reduced.” Such units automatically create the conditions for competition, pressuring children to be as good as their peers. “In a group of ten children of quite different ages,” Norberg-Hodge argues, “there will naturally be much more cooperation than in a group of ten twelve-year-olds.”

When you are a teenager, your peers judge you by exacting and narrow criteria. But those going through the same life experiences at the same time often have little to teach one another about life. Most of us are safer in our youth in mixed-age groups, and the more time we spend outside our age cohort, the broader our sense of self. It’s not just that adults and children are good for adolescents. The reverse is also true. The freshness, inquisitiveness, and fierce idealism of a wide-awake teenager can be exhilarating, just as the stony apathy of a shut-down teenager can be dismal.

A teenager can act very differently outside his or her peer group than inside it. A large majority of hate crimes and gang rapes are committed by groups of boys and young men, and studies suggest that the perpetrators are more concerned with impressing one another and conforming to their group’s codes than with actual hatred toward outsiders. Attempts to address this issue usually focus on changing the social values to which such groups adhere, but dispersing or diluting these groups seems worth consideration, too.

High school in America is too often a place where one learns to conform or take punishment — and conformity is itself a kind of punishment, one that can flatten out your soul or estrange you from it.

High school, particularly the suburban and small-town varieties, can … [more]
rebeccasolnit  2015  highschool  education  schools  schooling  adolescence  unschooling  deschooling  oppression  teens  youth  hierarchy  agesegregation  internships  apprenticeships  mentoring  mentors  popularity  jockocracies  sports  rapeculture  us  society  peers  hatecrime  conformity  values  helenanorberg-hodge  lcproject  openstudioproject  cooperation  competition  segregation  bullying  bullies  splc  persecution  gender  sexuality  heteronormativity  homophobia  angst  cruelty  suicide  dances  prom  misfits  friendship  learning  howwelearn  srg  glvo  edg 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Dr. Kate Antonova on Twitter: "If anyone ever asked me, as a college prof, what qualities I'd like to see in my incoming students (no one ever has, tho a number of non-profs have told me what I'm supposed to want), it's this: curiosity and a reading habit
"If anyone ever asked me, as a college prof, what qualities I'd like to see in my incoming students (no one ever has, tho a number of non-profs have told me what I'm supposed to want), it's this: curiosity and a reading habit.

[Links to: "How Our Obsession With College Prep Hurts Kids"

https://www.chronicle.com/article/How-Our-Obsession-With-College/243459?key=3gZXXhLQjFMTjaMwNwzCEQpsINeRL6GkHu8ch6mHb8ZREuWEf6Qmo5gM5YChCxE0RmoxbHVSemFhLWJTcnJBUndoVFpqMFBBeXVYajZhaW9GMmdBbktRY1MwWQ ]

The other really important thing for success in college, IMO, is self-regulation, but that's a super-hard thing for everybody & esp kids who are still developing cognitively. I see no value, & a lot of harm, in forcing regulation before it's developmentally appropriate.

Plus, IME, if you have enough curiosity, you end up regulating yourself in ways that are nearly impossible for a task you're not into. So it all comes back to curiosity.

The other thing that'd be nice - but is not essential - to see in incoming freshmen is an accurate sense of what college is for. Most people are pretty madly and deeply misinformed on that, and that's harming kids.

Too many kids come to college bc they're told it's necessary, or bc it's the only way to a decent job. Both are lies. They should come, when they're ready, because it's the best way to achieve next-level critical thought specific to one or more disciplines.

So we're back to curiosity again. But the reading part is at least as important, & is interrelated. I'm not an expert on instilling curiosity or encouraging reading in k-12. But I'm damn sure standardized testing isn't the answer & neither is traditional, required homework.

I'm pretty certain, too, that seven hours of mostly sitting still and listening isn't terribly useful (and at the elementary level it's downright cruel).

I don't think anything I've said here is earth-shattering. Yet the conventional wisdom about what makes public k-12 education "good" is soooooo far off the mark.

If I cld fantasize ab what I'd like my future students to have done before college, it'd be this: read & write every day, a variety of texts; interact in a sustained way w lots of different ppl; & practice creative problem-solving in small groups, guided by knowledgeable adults.

That's something public schools *could* do, they just don't, because it's not what the public wants. Even the private schools that do some of that are usually pretty notoriously bad at exposing students to people different from themselves.

I've taught everyone from super-elite Ivy students from private high schools to the kids struggling to stay in CUNY after k-12 in troubled NYC publics. They were ALL missing out in different ways. The best students are always, always the readers.

The best of the best I've ever taught have been readers from backgrounds that happened, for whatever reasons, to expose them to a wide variety of circumstances.

School is almost never what brought those students either of those advantages.

But it could be."
kateantonova  highered  highereducation  colleges  universities  education  curiosity  learning  purpose  2018  cognition  problemsolving  creativity  lcproject  openstudioproject  sfsh  tcsnmy  cv  k12  statistics  calculus  reading  howwelearn  howweteach  highschool  publicschools  schools  schooling  children  adolescence  diversity  exposure 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Michael Ian Black on Twitter: "Getting a lot of grief from teachers for my earlier take on k-12 education. I meant no offense to teachers, who I think, by and large, do their best. My criticisms have to do with the whole dang public education apparatus, w
"Getting a lot of grief from teachers for my earlier take on k-12 education. I meant no offense to teachers, who I think, by and large, do their best. My criticisms have to do with the whole dang public education apparatus, which feels hopelessly outmoded and moribund.

I advocate an new model of education which focuses on two things: creativity and critical thinking. That's it. All else would be in service of those two skills. Why? Because the history of public education has been about readying workers to work in predictable industries.

Those predictable industries no long exist or are undergoing radical transformation. What cuts across all industries in this new economy are creativity and critical thinking. If you have those two skills, you can do anything.

Those skills also happen to be the most fun things to work on. "Draw something." "What do you think about you drew?" We're not grading you, we're asking your opinion. What works about this? What doesn't work? Exactly how tasks are approached in the workplace.

Also, why are we gearing everything to the tests? The tests are snapshots, rarely illuminating, and often overweighted. As testing has increased, childhood depression and anxiety has risen with it. For what? An extra hundredth on your GPA?

To what end? Why are moving these kids through the production line? My kids are in high school and I promise they aren't excited about anything they're doing. They can tolerate it. They like lunch. But they're mostly just moving through the day.

Wouldn't it better if they were excited to attend school because school was where they did all the cool shit they want to do? Play video games and read cool books and study music and, yeah, maybe write a paper about that cool video game, and maybe learn a little coding.

You want to play guitar? Great. Here's a guitar. Here's how music relates to math. Here's how math relates to science. How's the song coming? Take an hour for lunch. You want to leave early today? Leave early. Treat kids the way you want to be treated, excite them...

Connect them with experts in the fields they're studying. Develop mentorships, make sure they take a hike every day. Make school the place you wish you could have hung out when you were their age. Teachers can be guides, a support system, one-on-one counselors. it can work."

[previous thread: https://twitter.com/michaelianblack/status/955470909669892098

"Been thinking a lot about k-12 education since last night. (I mean, before that too, but I hadn't written about it on Twitter.) My conclusion: it's total shit.

I'm going to make some points that are probably obvious to most people but they're worth saying. First, the average education destroys children's natural inquisitiveness. "This rock is cool!" "Great. Memorize everything about its composition. then I'm going to test you on it."

Second, the grading system is meaningless. A good grade denotes mastery of a subject about as much as having shiny teeth means you eat a healthy diet.

Third, kids are bored because school is boring because the way things are taught is boring. It's not the teacher's fault. It's a system that values compliance over creativity. It teaches kids how to regurgitate instead of how to think.

Why isn't school fun? Why doesn't it look more like kindergarten all the way through high school? Why isn't it student-driven instead of administration-driven? After they know how to read and perform basic math why can't they pursue subjects about which they show interest?

If a kid likes to read, why can't she spend her time with other kids who love literature? If she likes science, why not spent her time doing science? Why funnel everybody through the same stupid curriculum that has no real-world application?

The goal of k-12 education should to nurture kids towards an excitement of lifetime learning instead of towards getting into a college they can't afford. Anybody who wants to learn something can learn it. But they need to want to learn. School kills desire to learn.

Would any adult choose to go back to k-12 schooling? No fucking way. For most people, it's an endless drudge. Why not preserve childhood as a time of exploration and joy? Who is well-served by this system?

We know k-12 education doesn't work well. Kids hate it. Parents hate it. Teachers hate it. Employers hate it. Everybody hates it. So why do we keep it? Why are we inflicting so much misery on ourselves?"]

[And a thread prior to that: https://twitter.com/michaelianblack/status/955263135254016006

"One of my life's great stress-reducing realizations is that I don't care about my kids' grades.

Not only do I not care about their grades, I honestly think I'd be fine with it if they decide to drop out before graduating. The way we educate kids is 100% garbage. (Maybe 75% garbage.)

Here's the only thing school needs to teach kids: reading, how to construct a coherent thought, and basic math. After that, kids should be free to pursue whatever interests them, supplemented with broad exposure to the humanities.

There should be more: art, music, game playing, movie watching, physical activity. Schooling through high school should bear more than a passing resemblance to kindergarten. The way we do things is stultifying and soul-crushing.

Everything I value as an adult was treated as extracurricular and slightly distasteful by the school administration. The arts had no "practical value," but somehow trigonometry did. It made no sense.

When I decided to become an actor, I was told (and believed) I would never make a dime. I took that trade-off to do what I wanted in exchange for little to no pay. But a funny thing happened. The gig economy of the actor became the gig economy of the entire country.

So I found myself much more comfortable in uncertainty as traditional occupational structures began falling by the wayside. I felt like I had the flexibility and creativity to tackle unfamiliar jobs with minimal training because I believed in my own adaptability.

The kids I see these days can do anything on a computer. They are good collaborators and their egos seem more in check than mine. They'll do fine in the coming years, but I'd like to see their kids the beneficiaries of this new kind of schooling, a student-directed schooling.

That draws from the expertise of the faculty to augment studies, but also to be able to access the world's great minds on your narrow question. Slow, non-grade work that moves towards a defining and meaningful goal/solution. Applied education. Seems like a better way to handled"]
michaelianblack  schools  education  grades  grading  homework  schooling  learning  children  parenting  teaching  unschooling  deschooling  2018  self-directed  self-directedlearning  howwelearn  freedom  autonomy  creativity  misery  sfsh  criticalthinking  middleschool  highschool  teachers  howweteach  schooliness  oppression  publicschools  childhood 
january 2018 by robertogreco
City as Classroom (1977) – McLuhan’s Last Co-authored Book | McLuhan Galaxy
[posted about this here: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/162565662048/to-go-with-a-previous-post-from-today-and-some ]

"“City as Classroom: Understanding Language & Media” (1977) was the last book written wholly or partly by Marshall McLuhan and the only one entirely focused on education. His earlier “Report on Project in Understanding New Media” (1960), was the length of a short book, but was disseminated as an unbound stapled typescript. “City as Classroom” was co-authored by Eric McLuhan and Kathryn Hutchon (later Kawasaki), a former English student of McLuhan’s and a high school teacher in the Toronto District School Board. In this recently made available (by Bob Dobbs) audio recorded informal interview by Carl Scharfe, McLuhan talks about the initial inspiration for “City as Classroom” being Ivan Illich’s “Deschooling Society” (1970) in which the author wrote:

“A second major illusion on which the school system rests is that most learning is the result of teaching. Teaching, it is true, may contribute to certain kinds of learning under certain circumstances. But most people acquire most of their knowledge outside school, and in school only insofar as school, in a few rich countries, has become their place of confinement during an increasing part of their lives…. Most learning happens casually, and even most intentional learning is not the result of programmed instruction.” (p. 12)

Audio recording: http://fivebodied.com/archives/audio/catalog/McLuhan/MM-Hollander.mp3 [also available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX9j_3bxZU0 ]

Norm Friesen offers an acute discussion of “City as Classroom” in this excerpt from his essay “Education of the Senses: The Pedagogy of Marshall McLuhan” (2009):

McLuhan’s most detailed outline for pedagogical praxis is provided in a book deliberately designed for use in the classroom ‐‐ a co‐authored textbook developed specifically for high school students, titled The City as Classroom: Understanding Language and Media. This text is almost entirely performative or praxis‐oriented. In fact, it can be said to perform, through questions, exercises and imperatives, many aspects of McLuhan’s life‐long mediatic and pedagogical enterprise. Appropriately, it begins with a direct address to its student readers:

Let us begin by wondering just what you are doing sitting there at your desk. Here [in the pages that follow] are some questions for you to explore…The questions and experiments you will find in this book are all concerned with important, relatively unexplored areas of our social environment. The research you choose to do will be important and original. (1)

The book presents dozens of “questions and experiments,” getting students to manipulate and explore a wide range of characteristics of their social environments – focusing specifically on the environments presented by the classroom, the community and also by a wide range of contemporary mediatic forms, from the magazine to video recording technologies. You can read the full essay (pdf) here: http://learningspaces.org/files/mcluhan_educating_senses.pdf

cityasclassroom_redcover

An unidentified blogger on education writes about McLuhan’s last book thus:

[McLuhan] return[ed] to notions about the classroom that he had first begun to work out a quarter of a century before in Explorations. ‘Classroom without Walls’ (Explorations 7 [1957]) argues that the electronic information explosion has been so great that ‘most learning occurs outside the classroom’ (ExC 1). This has broken the hegemony of the book as a teaching aid and challenged the monopoly on education vested in official institutions of learning. Yet most educators persist in regarding the products of the mass media as entertainment, rather than as educative. McLuhan points out, however, that many literary classics were originally regarded in the same way, and that the English language is itself a mass medium. The educational imperative is, thus, to master the new media in order to ‘assimilate them to our total cultural heritage’ (2) which would ‘provide the basic tools of perception’ as well as developing ‘judgment and discrimination with ordinary social experience’ (3). This observation is the point of departure for City as Classroom, which outlines methods for training perception through a series of exercises in properties of the media, with the goal of helping students to understand the sociocultural context in which they live. The exercises encourage students to go out into the community and observe, listen, interview, research, and think about the way in which their classroom space influences what they can and cannot know — ‘What did the designers of traditional schools intend when they put thirty or so desks in rows, facing the front of the room? Why is the blackboard at the front? why is the teacher’s desk at the front?’ (4).” (pp. 220-221) http://tinyurl.com/lzjh94g [broken, see: https://web.archive.org/web/20130104071258/http://www.macroeducation.org/mcluhan-in-space-and-the-classroom/ ]

***

“We have to realize that more instruction is going on outside the classroom, many times more every minute of the day than goes on inside the classroom. That is, the amount of information that is embedded in young minds per minute outside the classroom far exceeds anything that happens inside the classroom in just quantitative terms now.” “In the future basic skills will no longer be taught in classrooms.” – McLuhan, M. (1966, April). Electronics & the psychic drop-out. THIS Magazine is about SCHOOLS. p. 38."
1977  marshallmcluhan  cityasclassroom  sfsh  tcsnmy  deschooling  unschooling  2013  ivanillich  neilpostman  schools  schooling  highschool  teaching  learning  pedagogy  media  richardcavell  ericmcluhan  kathrynhutchon  education  lcproject  openstudioproject  carlscharfe  normfriesen  alexkuskis 
july 2017 by robertogreco
McLuhan in Space (and the Classroom) | Macroeducation
[posted about this here: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/162565662048/to-go-with-a-previous-post-from-today-and-some ]

"While Richard Cavell argues in McLuhan in Space that McLuhan should be re-read as an artist, I contend that an equally plausible (and probably less original) suggestion is to re-read him as an educator. Thanks to Cavell, I have recently picked up one of McLuhan’s last books, City as Classroom: Understanding Language and Media, published in 1977, three years before his death.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m nowhere near to reaching the end of McLuhan’s writings (he has 26 books to his name and countless essays and interviews), so I could hardly even call it a re-reading in my case. However, in the works that I have read, it’s plain to see that McLuhan wanted to educate. He aimed to facilitate thought and discussion about both the present and historical transitions between broadly defined eras of communication (oral, print, written, electronic). He wanted us to understand the effects of media, and he wanted us to be aware of our environments, our tools, and the interactions between them. He wanted to facilitate a path for us to find our own understanding. He wanted us to understand media; he wanted us to learn. McLuhan was a media theorist, a communications guru, a historian, an artist, and an educator.

One of his contemporaries, Neil Postman, made a name for himself primarily as an educationist (Teaching as a Subversive Activity, The End of Education) before moving into social commentary and media ecology (Amusing Ourselves to Death, Technopoly). He used many of McLuhan’s ideas and methods to analyze and discuss the classroom environment and the purpose of education.

A common theme found throughout McLuhan’s work is that as we shift into living in the global village of the electronic age, we return to our tribal roots. The conflation of space and time, and communication at the speed of light have effectively shrunk our worlds, causing us to live in proximity with our neighbours, communicating through acoustic rather than visual space. McLuhan suggested that would once again become an oral culture, relying more on the spoken word than the printed. The electronic age would retribalize us.

In McLuhan in Space (which I posted some notes and quotes from last week), UBC professor Richard Cavell analyzes McLuhan as an artist and as a spatial historian. Here Cavell describes McLuhan’s concept of retribalization:
“McLuhan had been at pains to emphasize in his own writings: that retribalization was not intended as a return to a pre-literate utopia; on the contrary, the entry into the electronic era had initiated a process fraught with terrors, as well as benefits.” (Cavell 208)

Disruption is scary. Entering a new age is frightening — full of surprises, changes, and adjustments. McLuhan wrote under the glaze of the newly invented television, when we were suddenly shifting from living in a world of print to a world of audio and moving images. He felt that we were becoming like our ancestors of the oral age, who communicated mostly through acoustic means.

But as we’ve seen, McLuhan did not quite get it right, as the internet has since emerged to usurp television (as well as cinema, radio and telephone), and it is primarily a medium of print. Or at least it used to be. In the 21st century, high-speed bandwidth also allows us to watch lots of YouTube videos, television shows, and movies on our laptops, tablets and phones. The digital age is a world of words, images (moving and not), and sounds. Computers, phones, and video games are interactive and tactile. In the 21st century, we don’t live in acoustic or visual space, we live in audiovisual space — a hybrid of media that involves all the senses.

Mass Media

Neil Postman wrote countless books decrying the potentially disastrous effects of the mass media of television, using a very McLuhanesque approach. He wrote often about the purpose of education, often opining that an important part of one’s education was to become educated about alternatives to mass media.

Here Cavell summarizes the McLuhanesque take on the function of education:
“It is thus the function of education, and even more so the arts, to point away from this mass media mythology to an ideal world.” (p. 209)

“It is thus to their environment that McLuhan suggests these students turn in their quest for an education.

McLuhan remained attached to this notion in his last book, The City as Classroom (1977; with Eric McLuhan and Kathryn Hutchon), returning to notions about the classroom that he had first begun to work out a quarter of a century before in Explorations. ‘Classroom without Walls’ (Explorations 7 [1957]) argues that the electronic information explosion has been so great that ‘most learning occurs outside the classroom’ (ExC 1). This has broken the hegemony of the book as a teaching aid and challenged the monopoly on education vested in official institutions of learning. Yet most educators persist in regarding the products of the mass media as entertainment, rather than as educative. McLuhan points out, however, that many literary classics were originally regarded in the same way, and that the English language is itself a mass medium. The educational imperative is, thus, to master the new media in order to ‘assimilate them to our total cultural heritage’ (2) which would ‘provide the basic tools of perception’ as well as developing ‘judgment and discrimination with ordinary social experience’ (3). This observation is the point of departure for City as Classroom, which outlines methods for training perception through a series of exercises in properties of the media, with the goal of helping students to understand the sociocultural context in which they live. The exercises encourage students to go out into the community and observe, listen, interview, research, and think about the way in which their classroom space influences what they can and cannot know — ‘What did the designers of traditional schools intend when they put thirty or so desks in rows, facing the front of the room? Why is the blackboard at the front? why is the teacher’s desk at the front?’ (4).” (pp. 220-221)

City as Classroom is basically a collection of questions and activities for your students. It’s a book of lesson plans, in a sense, using the surroundings and environment as the subjects to be studied. I think it’d work great with a group of senior students in a writing class.

I would love to read or hear some responses to questions such as (all from the introduction of City as Classroom):
“Do the days of your school life seem like ‘doing time’ until you are eligible for the labor market? Do you consider that real education is outside the classroom? Do you find that what you learn inside the classroom is as useful as what you learn outside the classroom?”

“Talk to your fathers (and updated for the 21st century, mothers) about the sort of work they do in the daytime. How much of their time at work is spent looking at papers and books? Do they also bring their books and papers home? How many people do you know who work day in and day out with papers and books?”

There are also activities for students to explore the history, effects, and opinions surrounding books, films, television, clocks, computers, and eleven more (for a total of 16 units).

I’m looking forward to reading it over the spring break, and hope to be able to use it in the classroom sometime soon.
1977  marshallmcluhan  cityasclassroom  sfsh  tcsnmy  deschooling  unschooling  2012  ivanillich  neilpostman  schools  schooling  highschool  teaching  learning  pedagogy  media  richardcavell  ericmcluhan  kathrynhutchon  education  lcproject  openstudioproject 
july 2017 by robertogreco
How Successful Valedictorians Are After High School | Money
"What becomes of high school valedictorians? It’s what every parent wishes their teenager to be. Mom says study hard and you’ll do well. And very often Mom is right.

But not always.

Karen Arnold, a researcher at Boston College, followed 81 high school valedictorians and salutatorians from graduation onward to see what becomes of those who lead the academic pack. Of the 95 percent who went on to graduate college, their average GPA was 3.6, and by 1994, 60 percent had received a graduate degree. There was little debate that high school success predicted college success. Nearly 90 percent are now in professional careers with 40 percent in the highest tier jobs. They are reliable, consistent, and well-adjusted, and by all measures the majority have good lives.

But how many of these number-one high school performers go on to change the world, run the world, or impress the world? The answer seems to be clear: zero.

Commenting on the success trajectories of her subjects, Karen Arnold said, “Even though most are strong occupational achievers, the great majority of former high school valedictorians do not appear headed for the very top of adult achievement arenas.” In another interview Arnold said, “Valedictorians aren’t likely to be the future’s visionaries . . . they typically settle into the system instead of shaking it up.”

Was it just that these 81 didn’t happen to reach the stratosphere? No. Research shows that what makes students likely to be impressive in the classroom is the same thing that makes them less likely to be home-run hitters outside the classroom.

So why are the number ones in high school so rarely the number ones in real life? There are two reasons. First, schools reward students who consistently do what they are told. Academic grades correlate only loosely with intelligence (standardized tests are better at measuring IQ). Grades are, however, an excellent predictor of self-discipline, conscientiousness, and the ability to comply with rules.

In an interview, Arnold said, “Essentially, we are rewarding conformity and the willingness to go along with the system.” Many of the valedictorians admitted to not being the smartest kid in class, just the hardest worker. Others said that it was more an issue of giving teachers what they wanted than actually knowing the material better. Most of the subjects in the study were classified as “careerists”: they saw their job as getting good grades, not really as learning.

The second reason is that schools reward being a generalist. There is little recognition of student passion or expertise. The real world, however, does the reverse. Arnold, talking about the valedictorians, said, “They’re extremely well rounded and successful, personally and professionally, but they’ve never been devoted to a single area in which they put all their passion. That is not usually a recipe for eminence.”

If you want to do well in school and you’re passionate about math, you need to stop working on it to make sure you get an A in history too. This generalist approach doesn’t lead to expertise. Yet eventually we almost all go on to careers in which one skill is highly rewarded and other skills aren’t that important.

Ironically, Arnold found that intellectual students who enjoy learning struggle in high school. They have passions they want to focus on, are more interested in achieving mastery, and find the structure of school stifling. Meanwhile, the valedictorians are intensely pragmatic. They follow the rules and prize A’s over skills and deep understanding.

School has clear rules. Life often doesn’t. When there’s no clear path to follow, academic high achievers break down. Shawn Achor’s research at Harvard shows that college grades aren’t any more predictive of subsequent life success than rolling dice. A study of over seven hundred American millionaires showed their average college GPA was 2.9.

Following the rules doesn’t create success; it just eliminates extremes—both good and bad. While this is usually good and all but eliminates downside risk, it also frequently eliminates earthshaking accomplishments. It’s like putting a governor on your engine that stops the car from going over fifty-five; you’re far less likely to get into a lethal crash, but you won’t be setting any land speed records either."
schools  schooling  success  valedictiorians  cv  highschool  parenting  academics  rules  compliance  unschooling  education  deschooling  shawnachor  grades  performance  karenarnold 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Watching my son experience school | Bryan Alexander
"He despises homework. Homework is a source of agony, even in this final year of high school. There is very little thrill in completion or in successfully overcoming an obstacle. He struggles mightily to complete assignments at school or elsewhere (public library, on the bus) so that the work doesn’t follow him home. He wants to preserve home time for himself. The flipped classroom isn’t a crazy experiment for him, but simply a good thing.

He’s skeptical about the possibility of going to a Vermont college or university. Not because of being too close or too far from us, his parents, but mostly because his experience of Vermont cell phone and internet connectivity is so awful that he dreads four more years of bad online experience. (Readers can get a sense of the state of affairs from these posts) . This is a big issue for him.

He doesn’t idolize his favorite teachers, at least not to us. A good teacher or class experience is something he’ll rarely mention. Some teachers describe Owain giving a great presentation or impressing his classmates, and that will be the first time we’ve heard of it. Instead, he describes bad experiences in epic detail, and remembers them for years. He’s a tough audience.

He has become deeply opposed to literature classes. On his own he reads constantly, and always has, but feels that academic lit is mostly about dwelling on depressing, frustrating, and upsetting readings.

When he struggles with homework he turns to us, his parents, for help. He always has. Recently it’s been bittersweet to see him advance past our respective academic abilities, especially in math or science or Python that we don’t recall.

Sometimes he struggles with technology issues, as when working on a digital video, trying to use some courseware, or fighting through Windows laptop issues. We do our best… and there we see the digital divide yawning wide. Ceredwyn and I can do a decent amount of tech support, because of our respective life experiences and professional work. We also own some technology (laptops, tablets, XBox…) so Owain has grown up with access to tools and toys. We’re not necessarily typical parents. How do young people fare when their parents lack these skills? When do they give up? Moreover, how do they do when the home lacks hardware and/or bandwidth? (These are rhetorical questions.) We have had to drive across the county to get him sufficient speeds for some assignments.

Owain expects teachers to communicate digitally, and is scathing when he feels they fail on that score. He’s not pleased when teachers and staff use email, Google Docs, etc.; he just assumes they will. If they don’t, or use the tech in an insufficient way, he mutters or rants about “technophobes” and “old people” and “Vermont.”

He communicates with classmates more online than in person, I think. Google Chat seems to be the preferred venue, although I don’t pry. He can’t text from home (see my earlier notes about Vermont), but happily texts when his phone gets signal.

Google Docs is his leading writing medium for class work, far more than desktop word processing. He’s fully accustomed to sharing docs with readers and working with their feedback therein.

The open web is his research space. I can’t think of a time when he’s used a commercial database, although he does like Amazon Kindle ebooks. He’s aware of the politics, and isn’t entirely confident in his search abilities.

Grades matter to him a great deal. He stresses deeply about exams, projects, and tests. He fears the results might not be accurate, especially if they overstate his actual abilities.

Libraries are sources of connectivity, computing, and also media (books, DVDs). They are familiar spaces for him. He prefers the public library to the school one.

Outside of class resources are important in Owain’s schooling. In high school he has spent significant time in “learning lab”, an after-class paracurricular center staffed by experts in the sciences and humanities.

He always listens to music or plays videos when working. He has a staggeringly vast YouTube playlist that he relies on, plus a bevy of favored video creators. He’ll play media on a tablet when working on a laptop.

I think he separates learning from school. He rarely describes learning in school. Instead, he views school as work, a set of tasks set by authorities usually without sufficient context. He fights to raise his passions (space, history, technology) in classes. He learns informally from books, YouTube, websites, and some games. That’s a different category than “school”.

I’m not sure how these behaviors and attitudes will change when he goes away to college.

If he does homework in his dorm room, will that space be less of a home for him? Or will he seek out other spaces for assignments? I can imagine him taking advantage of peer tutors and teaching and learning centers.

Will a professor rock his world and become a mentor? Will he rethink the university as a place of learning, rather than onerous work?

He might start using his phone for voice calls. He usually avoids speaking on phones, mobile or landline, but that could change if he lives in a campus with solid cell coverage and/or misses us.

After Owain leaves Ripton Ceredwyn and I are planning on moving. If we successfully land in a high-speed location, perhaps we’ll start using video or message services to stay in touch with our son. Maybe we’ll turn to texting each other.

As an educator and research I’ve tried not to rely heavily on my children as study subjects. I don’t want to speak of them too much, despite my urgent desire to do so every hour, because I’d prefer to stick to evidence where I’m not so biased. But I wanted to share this sketch now, partly as a memory aid for our family’s future, and also as a tiny view into education in 2017."
byanalexander  education  schools  learning  literature  2017  highschool  technology  digitaldivide  rural  vermont  unschooling  deschooling  libraries  howwelearn  youth  teens  homework 
april 2017 by robertogreco
The New High-School Outsiders - The New York Times
"When these students land in Idaho, they may know little or no English. The bucolic landscape looks nothing like the America they say they fantasized about from glimpses of pop culture abroad. In this alien setting, young refugees may not want to assert their adolescent independence from parents or other relatives, who most likely represent teenagers’ only earthly ties to the world they formerly knew or people they once held dear. “Some struggle a lot — that comes with these traumatic experiences,” says Christian Lim, a school counselor who runs a program at Hillside Junior High and Borah High School in Boise for recent immigrants. “But the initial couple of months, there’s so much positive energy, just the euphoria to be here.”

Soon, however, a heavier reality sets in. Although refugees receive initial cash assistance and help finding a place to live, these benefits last only eight months. Lim says the subsequent transition for students can be difficult. “They start dealing with financial issues, the family losing their house, and suddenly kids are having to work after school until midnight or two in the morning,” he says."



"For many students, the camaraderie among the refugee-filled classes at Borah begins to satisfy some of the normal adolescent pangs to belong. And many refugees cite the district’s E.L.L. programs for seeing them through. Zahraa Naser, who is Muslim and fled to Syria from her home in Iraq after her father was kidnapped and murdered, says: “I loved those teachers. They were always the nicest, and even after you went out of the E.L.L. program, they would always help you.”

Classmates, however, can be more of a mystery. Although some self-sorting occurs at all schools, refugee students express a desire to get to know their American peers better but acknowledge that closing the gap between newcomer and native can be tough. This may be especially so in the current political climate, where a debate over refugees — which ones and how many to admit — is roiling election-year politics. Language barriers can make exchanging teenage confidences hard, though technology helps. Many refugees are more comfortable texting, the lingua franca of adolescence, than talking anyway. Still, friendships are often forged not in school but through parties or extracurricular activities, which few refugees have time or money for. “Only rich white kids can do that,” one refugee says. “I have to work.”"



"Boise has been resettling displaced persons since 1975, when Idaho answered President Gerald R. Ford’s call to states to take in 130,000 Southeast Asians taking flight in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Angie Smith, a photojournalist based in Los Angeles who has family in Idaho that dates back three generations, first took notice of the growing refugee presence on a trip to Boise five years ago. In a state whose population is more than 90 percent white, these new arrivals were sometimes hard to miss. Curious about this migration, she began photographing refugees in 2015. Many didn’t possess a single picture of their families, and Smith would give them one. In time, she asked Hanne Steen, a journalist and an oral historian, also based in Los Angeles, to help with the interviews, including those of seniors in Boise’s class of 2016, whom Smith photographed for The New York Times Magazine. Steen grew up in Africa, the daughter of American aid workers, and at one point, she and her parents were evacuated from Rwanda in the wake of genocide there. An exhibit of Smith’s work, accompanied by transcriptions of interviews with refugees, opened in public locations around the city this month, supported in part by a grant from Boise’s Department of Arts and History.

Zahraa Naser, the Iraqi refugee, says that she has American friends but that for now, her closest friends are those with experiences of dislocation like hers. Last year, she started wearing a hijab for the first time, as is customary for girls in her culture once they reach puberty, but she felt some friends stiffen and pull away. In her mind, the step was overdue; a younger sister had already begun to wear hers. “I think most people, when they see me, because I’m wearing the head scarf and I’m Muslim, think that I am, like, a terrorist, but I’m not,” she says. “I’m just the same as them. I’m not any different.”"
highschool  refugees  idaho  boise  2016  us  immigration  migration 
october 2016 by robertogreco
Somerville hits $10M jackpot in national high school innovation competition - The Boston Globe
[See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CVyQY7MUMc ]

"A local nonprofit working with the Somerville Public Schools came up with a proposal that might seem off the wall: a year-round high school that feels more like a research and design studio where students pursue long-term projects in areas of interest to them.

There would be no grade levels or a set sequence of courses in math, science, and English. Instead, students would learn material in theme-based symposiums, internships, and hands-on projects that could delve into biomechanics or computational art.

This unconventional thinking of what a high school could look like in the 21st century landed Somerville and the nonprofit Sprout & Co. a $10 million grant Wednesday in a much-hyped national competition that drew hundreds of proposals from around the country.

The new high school, which is expected to open in the next year or two, will be called Somerville Powderhouse Studios and could serve as a national model for Boston and other school systems looking to redesign their high schools.

Somerville’s proposal was one of 10 winning bids in the Super School Project, sponsored by XQ, an education nonprofit in Oakland, Calif., which is giving $10 million to each recipient.

“We are thrilled they saw something in Somerville Powderhouse that spoke to them,” Somerville Superintendent Mary Skipper said. “I hope we can incubate some really great ideas.”

XQ launched last year with the goal of transforming high schools. The organization likes to say that over the last 100 years high schools have remained frozen in time in an ever-changing society in which “we’ve gone from the Model T to the Tesla, from the typewriter to the touchscreen, from the switchboard to the smartphone.”

That sentiment builds upon a long-held belief among many education policy makers and politicians that high schools need a makeover. In Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh last year kicked off an effort to overhaul the city’s high schools, soliciting ideas on how to make programs more interesting so that fewer students drop out.

“Generally, high schools have been hard to change,” said Russlynn Ali, chief executive officer at XQ. “Virtually every high school in the country looks the same. . . . Systems have been entrenched.”

Ali said she hopes the winning proposals can show what is possible when school systems dream big. She said XQ liked how Somerville was “busting through the notions of traditional grades and classes,” and how it plans to meet students where they are and take them where they need to be.

Super School Project winners hailed from across the country. Furr High School in Houston is focusing on hands-on projects in environmental and nutritional sciences, while also establishing a culture committed to restorative justice practices. New Harmony High School in Venice, La., will take to a barge to explore coastal erosion in a “floating classroom.” And Grand Rapids Public Museum High School in Michigan will tap 250,000 cultural and historical artifacts for a river restoration project.

Powderhouse Studio, which has produced an introductory video, will enroll about 200 students and use a shuttered school building on Broadway, which will also house small businesses and artist space.

Each team of students will be equipped with a project manager, a curriculum developer, and a social worker.

The idea for Powderhouse Studios began several years ago. Sprout & Co. had been working on special programs with Somerville schools that encouraged students to dive deeply in big topics.

Impressed, Mayor Joseph Curtatone approached the nonprofit about starting up its own high school, believing it could be an ideal setting for students who didn’t fit the traditional high school.

“They were just inspiring by the learning environment they were cultivating,” Curtatone said. “I think the demand will be overwhelming.”

Officials stressed the new school would not take resources away from Somerville High School.

Designers of the school acknowledge the idea is unusual. After talking to parents about the proposal over the past year, they decided the high school would start enrolling students who would be entering the eighth grade.

“People feel more open to experimenting during the middle school years because they often consider middle school to be a wash,” said Alec Resnick, cofounder and future principal of Powderhouse Studios.

He added that “the school is a bigger sandbox of what we had been doing” at Sprout & Co.

Skipper said many folks can be initially skeptical about new approaches. When she opened TechBoston Academy nearly 15 years ago, she said, she received pushback on giving every student a laptop, arguing the students would lose or misuse the equipment.

But she said that students embraced the laptops, and that the devices have become a standard in many classrooms nationwide.

“Sometimes it takes innovation to give people a glimpse of what education can be,” she said."
alecresnick  somerville  education  schools  highschool  powderhousestudios  community  unschooling  deschooling  studioclassrooms  lcproject  openstudioproject  learning  doing  making  projectbasedlearning 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Messaging App Jott Is Blowing Up Among Junior High And High Schoolers | TechCrunch
"As Facebook and YikYak try to grow a younger audience, a startup that taps into one of the key attribute of teen users – no money for data plans – is blowing up.

Jott, a messaging app that works without a data plan or WiFi connection, has caught on among junior high and high school students, according to co-founder Jared Allgood. He says the app more than doubled to half a million active users in March, up from 150,000 active users previous.

Allgood told TechCrunch that the app continues to gain momentum, adding 15,000 to 20,000 users a day. That’s consistent with numbers from App Annie. The app started ranking steadily in the top 75 on iOS for social networking in the U.S. in mid-April.

The reason? Teens who don’t have a data plan that will allow them to text are using their iPods and iPads to message each other on a closed network within a 100-foot area within school limits.

About 88 percent of 13-17-year-olds have a cell or smartphone, according to the latest numbers from Pew Research. However, not all of them get a data plan or a way to access the Internet during school hours, leaving many of them without a way to non-stop text each other throughout the day.

Text messages usually travel by way of your phone to the nearest cell tower. Then they get routed to other cell towers to reach the person you are texting. However, Jott can send messages from one device to another without any cell service as long as those texting are within close enough proximity to each other.

It does this by using something called a mesh network that operates on Bluetooth low energy or using a router that can reach within 100 feet of each user. It’s the same way FireChat, a group messaging app, does this, but Jott can also message individuals within your network.

And that ability to easily message peers directly within a network is the key. While apps such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram rank at the top for social networks among teens, texting reigns supreme. According to Niche data, about 87 percent of teens text daily, compared to 61 percent of those who say they use Facebook, the next most popular choice.

It’s tough to know why texting is the preferred method. What is out there is mostly anecdotal. Perhaps texting is simply the easiest form of direct messaging to one’s friends? Whatever the reason. They do a lot of it. More than adults. Girls send, on average, about 3,952 text messages a month, and boys send closer to 2,815 text messages a month, according to the Pew study.

What we do know is that teens who own a smartphone text a lot more than those who don’t. “Fully 2 in 5 heavy texters (41%) and a third (33%) of medium texters own a smartphone, compared with just under 1 in 5 (19%) of lighter texters,” a Pew study from 2012 found.

This may be why Jott has caught on so fast, particularly among junior high schoolers who are less likely to have a smartphone than older teens. Jott provides a way for those without a smartphone or the data plan needed to text to still message with their friends."
jott  messaging  internet  dataplans  2015  teens  youth  middleschool  highschool  mesh  meshnetworks  communication  firechat 
june 2015 by robertogreco
CURMUDGUCATION: The Graduation Rate
"The problem with the four-year graduation rate is the same as with many other reformy measures-- it can't be easily fixed by legitimate means, it doesn't count circumstances that really are wins (see above examples), and it carries high stakes for the individual schools. Put it all together, and you have a high motivation to fudge, game, and cheat the system.

We really-- REALLY-- need a conversation about why, exactly, we believe that someone who takes five (or even six) years to successfully complete high school is a problem or a failure. Why is it so crucial that students graduate by a certain timetable-- and why is that actually MORE important than whether they graduate with a full education or not?

Let's keep counting the graduates, but let's stop counting the years."
graduationrate  2015  education  highschool  policy  schools  flexibility  petergreene 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Why Are Palo Alto’s Kids Killing Themselves? — Amazing humankind — Medium
"Saal, the psychiatrist, believes that many students at his daughter’s school are showing signs of acute stress disorder, a non-pathological response to trauma that is more immediate and more transient than PTSD. Even a single incident of stress, Saal says, can induce “a collection of overpowering recall.” While most people are capable of coping at that level, a cascade of trauma like that experienced by Palo Alto’s teens can produce more radical responses."



"Most people, in fact, were anxious to share, in great detail, what they’ve endured since the first Gunn student took his life back in May 2009.

This was particularly true of the teens, who volunteered acute insights about their town, their school, and the contradictions of a culture that demands personal excellence but withholds emotional support. They railed against their superintendent’s denials of responsibility; against the so-called Palo Alto mask that blocks reality in the name of perfection; against school officials’ lip service to bold change. “They just check boxes, put counselors in place so that it will look good, not thinking about how to do it in a way that really helps kids,” says Lauren Saal. Other students are eager to defend the school and knock what they perceive as victim-blaming. They decry attempts to fit all the suicides, as senior Anna Barbier says, “neatly under one umbrella.” “Fake” is the word used by two seniors to describe Gunn’s culture, which they fault for breeding intense competition while claiming to foster unity. But other students are frank about their own complicity in the noxious, cutthroat environment. “My dad always describes how when he was growing up, it was students against the system,” Anna says. “This is students against students.”"



"While they’re relentlessly pushed to chase higher grades and greater commendations, students say, they are simultaneously pressured to maintain an air of confidence and composure. Gaby Candes, a Gunn sophomore whose parents are both Stanford professors, refers to the condition as “Stanford duck syndrome”: “Everybody puts on a front of being super-relaxed and perfect, but under the surface they’re kicking furiously,” she says. “When all you see is calm ducks, you think that you are the only one who’s not perfect.” The attitude even bleeds into class activities that are intended to ameliorate stress. “We’re always doing exercises where they say, ‘We all have problems, and other people have problems just like you,’” says junior Hayley Krolik. “But nobody really believes it. This isn’t really an environment where people talk about being less than perfect.”

With everyone paddling desperately (but stealthily) in pursuit of distinction, pulling out in front becomes nearly impossible. “Everyone wants to be the one to stand out, because it’s really hard to stand out here,” says Hayley. Consequently, anything that gets you noticed — being gay, being Jewish, even being inordinately sad — garners social capital at Gunn. Depression is effectively “glorified,” a senior says, because it attracts attention."



"This push-pull is a bite-size encapsulation of the skirmishes currently consuming all of Palo Alto. There aren’t enough fingers in Silicon Valley to point at all the people, norms, and institutions that may or may not be responsible. “The parents blame the schools. The schools blame the parents. And when they are together, they blame the universities,” says Marin psychologist Madeline Levine, author of a bestselling book about the afflictions of affluent youth, The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids. Communities like Palo Alto, she says, may tout their Hallmark-ready battle cry of “We’re all in this together,” but all too often, there is little coming together on anything. “Where are the parents?” Levine rants. “How do they tolerate four hours of homework? Since when are kids making multiple trips to the ER? It starts to be a mass delusion. That’s what this feels like to me. What’s that book where all the girls become hysterical — The Crucible? That is what this feels like to me.”"



"The problem is that Palo Alto, in my experience, is a community with something of a tin ear, many denizens seemingly hearing only what confirms their preexisting worldview. Some of that tone deafness is understandable, given the complexity of the issues besetting the town. But some of it may be due to a general muzzling of suicide-related speech. The backstories of many of the 2009–10 suicides have long been shrouded in secrecy, leaving kids and parents speculating and rumormongering. The Stanford Psychiatry Department embarked on a “psychological autopsy” of the cluster, but no report was ever publicly released. In any case, Blanchard is dismissive of the study’s value: “There are many more [teens] who are not doing well,” she says. “Researching only kids who have passed away — its usefulness is so limited.”

Often it seems as if that de facto gag order from 2009 is still in effect. Even the kids speak in euphemisms, as if they’ve signed some town pact: During a “Listening to Youth Voices” panel in March, they referred to the suicides as “the recent events.” Some experts object to this use of abstruse terminology, which they believe reflects a damaging community-wide repression. “This is exactly the time to call it suicide and nothing else,” says Levine. “It couldn’t be clearer that there’s a crisis around kids being able to manage their feelings.”"



"For a moment, the Gunn turned Palo Alto problem became an Asian problem. But chestnut-haired Paly junior Carolyn Walworth, her school’s student rep on the district board, quickly forestalled any temptation to render the suicides an ethnic issue. On Palo Alto Weekly’s website, she posted a chilling diatribe titled “The Sorrows of Young Palo Altons” [http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2015/03/25/guest-opinion-the-sorrows-of-young-palo-altans ] in which she lamented the entire student body’s response to the crisis. “We are lifeless bodies in a system that breeds competition, hatred, and discourages genuine learning,” she wrote. “We lack sincere passion. We are sick….”

The self-criticism in the treatise was, in Levine’s view, a healthy step forward. She says that she fears for this generation of kids, “who don’t come out and say ‘Screw you.’ Where’s the rebellion? These kids have no sense that they could change something.” But more and more, students are stepping up to challenge the status quo. Carolyn and Martha have both done so. And, quite eloquently, so has Gunn senior Jessica Luo, who, in a letter to her ninth-grade self written for a youth forum, admonishes the younger Jessica: “The ‘culture’ and the ‘system’ are not some monster looming above Gunn and issuing commands. The ‘system’ is made up of your actions and the actions of people around you.”

“Something’s only going to change,” concurs Gunn junior Hayley Krolik, “if 75 percent of us start saying to people around us, ‘Oh, you got the A, but did you enjoy the project?’ And frowning on people who just do things because it will get them someplace.”

Jessica sees the magnitude of the problem facing her peers — and advocates for a wholesale revision of the student-school compact. “We aim our arrows at false targets,” she writes. “We shoot at AP classes while the real enemy lurks in an unspoken assumption: that people who take the harder classes are better. That’s because it’s easier to think of culture as a tumor that can be attacked, to throw policy changes like block schedules and homework restrictions at the tumor in hopes of shrinking it. But the tumor just comes back — because the disease is somewhere else.”

Jessica implores her younger self to stop, to think, and — as Kathleen Blanchard advises in the wake of her own son’s suicide — to listen deeply. “Notice the air you breathe,” she writes. “Notice the people you’re helping or harming. Know your enemy — know that it does not live in the problems that look clear-cut. It lives in the shady assumptions beneath.”"
culture  education  paloalto  highschool  suicide  pressure  depression  stress  2015  teaching  homework  learning  carolynwalworth  competition  rebellion  howwelearn  siliconvalley  society  madelyngould  laurensaal  madelinelevine  suicideclusters  marthacabot  dianakapp  gunnhoghschool 
may 2015 by robertogreco
STEAMstudio | Projects
"STEAMstudio is an experimental, project-based course designed and taught collaboratively by students and faculty at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. This course explores strategies for creating blended learning communities where residential students and online students learn and collaborate together."

[via: http://www.cd-cf.org/gallery/steamstudio-fictional-tech-project/

"This past summer, high school student from across the world, and undergraduate students from Brown and RISD, embarked on an experiment in blended + flipped online/residential learning through the Summer@Brown program. The result is STEAMstudio, a course that introduces students to design principles, presented in the context of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).

Our "Fictional Tech" project not only provided a foundation in digital fabrication techniques and iterative prototyping, incorporating skill sets such as 3D printing, CAD, Illustrator, Photoshop, sketching, and "looks like" sketch models, it also gave us the opportunity to imagine the contexts for which we were designing. Students were asked to iteratively develop a prototype for a device that did not exist... but could. They were asked to document their process and product (using the STEAMstudio site, Facebook, and Tumblr, integrating native social media into the blended + flipped classroom). Their project deliverables were a final "looks like" prototype and a means of "telling the story", which took a variety of forms ranging from advertisements, to videos, to performances." ]
risd  brownuniversity  steam  stem  projectbasedlearning  highschool  blendedlearning  design  prototyping  designthinking  lcproject  openstudioproject 
may 2015 by robertogreco
These schools graduate English learners at a rate nearly 75 percent higher than other schools. What are they doing right? - The Hechinger Report
"Students at the International Network for Public Schools come from 119 countries and speak 93 different languages. About 90 percent of them live in low-income households, 70 percent have been separated from a parent during the immigration process, and 30 percent have significantly interrupted or limited formal education.

And yet, they are performing remarkably well. At the network’s 15 New York City schools, about 64 percent of the students graduate in four years. That compares with 37 percent of English learners in other city high schools. The six-year graduation rate is 74 percent, versus 50 percent for English learners in the rest of New York.

The Hechinger Report sat down with Claire Sylvan, who began teaching at the first International school in Queens in 1991 and is now executive director of the 19-school network, with campuses in New York, California, Virginia and Washington, DC. She tells us what works for her students — and what doesn’t.

Question: How do you set up your schools to accommodate such a diverse group of students?

Answer: You have to set winnable goals. If you were to say, ‘I’m going to run a marathon’ and you’ve never run, and you say, ‘Well, your problem is you don’t know how to run 26 miles,’ that wouldn’t work very well. You have to start from what you can do and keep expanding that. We assume that diversity is going to exist, we assume it’s a strength, and we figure out how to leverage it.

Q: How is diversity a strength?

A: English language learners arrive in school, and even the definition of them is, ‘You don’t know English yet.’ … What we’re saying is, ‘Wow, you know a whole lot of things about the world.’ Some of our kids come in and don’t know a word of English, they may not know how to read, but they know three languages fluently.

Q: So how does that translate into how you teach?

A: You create diverse groups and hands-on projects for kids who have different levels at entry to work on so that all the strengths they can bring come into play, and they begin to develop the areas that need development. So for a teacher the job is really hard, because they have to create these projects, they have to think about multiple levels, they have to think about how to group the kids. That is a huge thing in this operation.

Q: How do the kids learn English?

A: We don’t have them sit in a room to learn English in isolation from their academic work. They’re learning English while they’re learning social studies, and they’re also using their native languages.

You don’t learn to ride a bicycle watching someone else to ride that bicycle. Our kids need to be actively using the language so they can become adept at that, and so that’s why they work in small groups, too.

Q: What other kinds of support do International schools provide?

A: Nontraditional family structures are the norm in our school. Students may not be living with a family member or may be living with a mother they haven’t seen in 15 years. So what we need to do is create a structure where somebody is in charge of the whole kid, not just how they did on the math test. We care how they did on the math test, but we know that if we don’t organize ourselves in such a way that we are dealing with the whole child, we’re not going to be able to move forward on any particular part. We’re not going to know what the kid’s strengths are, because we may only see what isn’t working.

Q: What does that mean for teachers?

A: High schools tend to be organized in a way that there’s no one group of teachers who see the same group of kids. And so they can’t really talk about all of the kids.

In our schools, all the teachers — a math, an English, a science and a social studies teacher — all share the same group of kids. So everyone knows what each other is teaching, they can align the instruction so it supports each other, but they can also talk about how the kids are doing: ‘Johnny’s doing nothing in my class.’ ‘Really? In my class I have him sitting next to the following five kids and he’s off the charts.’

Q: The majority of your principals have been International teachers. Why do you put such an emphasis on internal leadership development?

A: If people are involved in making a decision, they’re actually going to carry it out. The teachers are the people closest to the kids, and who knows them better than the people who see them everyday? So they’re likely to be able to say, ‘This idea has no chance of flying with kids,’ or ‘Here’s the way to modify it.’

It’s also how you sustain schools over time, because the other issue is that [if] a school’s great because of a great leader [and the] leader leaves, whoops, [the] school goes down. That’s a not long-term strategy for success."
language  ell  education  diversity  pedagogy  schools  english  nyc  projectbasedlearning  highschool  interdisciplinary  international  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  clairesylvan  meredithkolodner 
may 2015 by robertogreco
I, Too, Am B-CC (High school) - YouTube
"While Bethesda Chevy Chase High School is a very open minded community, we often ignore the struggles African Americans and Hispanics are faced with as the minority. This social campaign, inspired by I, too, am Harvard, attempts to give voice to those who suffer from ill perceptions. The purpose of this campaign is to expose the harm of racial stereotypes in high school as well as bring awareness to the achievement gap."
race  highschool  2015  community  inclusion  stereotypes  racism  inlcusivity  inclusivity 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Great Escape: How to tunnel your way out of HS and into college | : the readiness is all
"High school can be a prison-of-war like experience for many.You’re stuck in it for a specific time, you don’t get to choose your prison camp leaders (teachers), you don’t get to choose your fellow prison campers etc…

but what can make high school the most prison-like, is this constant push for college readiness. When you make school about what you need to get ready for you do the following:

• You make kids feel that nothing special or important happens until AFTER they graduate.
• You make teachers feel that the purpose of their classroom is to get students ready for something special that happens later.
• You show kids that the end is more important than the means- Immanuel Kant and others are disappointed in this idea."



"How about making school less like practice for something amazing coming up later and more like a performance, a production, or a game? Kids would go crazy if they practiced for four years on the football field in the hopes of making a college team without ever getting to play in a game. Let’s make school fun and meaningful NOW rather than just an endless series of preparation: preparing for tests, college and careers."



"Every year I spend time at back-to-school and in class talking to parents and students about how to make the most of their high school experience in preparation for what comes next. I’m writing this blog post as a permanent resource for both parents and students to make sure they won’t miss a thing. I will update this blog post as needed to include the information that you need to maximize the pursuit of your goal.

IMPORTANT FACT: “Approximately 58 percent of first-time, full-time students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year institution in fall 2004 completed a bachelor’s degree at that institution within 6 years.” (From The National Center for Educational Statistics)

Some universities have even LOWER graduation rates and obviously some school have higher graduation rates. The trick isn’t to get INTO a college, it’s to ultimately graduate from a college. People drop out of college for many reasons

• Money
• A lack of academic endurance (either on specific tasks, or just getting through four+ years of a task without their parents bugging them every night… PS dear helicopter parents you aren’t teaching your son/daughter this crucial skill by hand-holding your child through high school- I too struggle with letting my son fail and succeed on his own- let’s all work on that together.)
• Picking the wrong college"

PICKING THE RIGHT COLLEGE:

First of all know this- whichever college you choose, even if it’s not your first or second choice will end up making you happy. Don’t believe me? Just watch this TED talk on the surprising happiness of not getting your number one choice fulfilled."

[Dan Gilbert: “The Surprising Science of Happiness”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q1dgn_C0AU ]



"I think many parents pick colleges based on either what schools they went to, what schools they are familiar with, or what schools they hear about. Kids pick their colleges for many reasons, but the number one reason is this: they want a school that is good enough that their parents will let them leave home. Very few of my students want to go to local college and live at home unless money is a MAJOR issue."



"JUNIOR OR TWO YEAR COLLEGE ADVICE:

There is nothing wrong with going to a Junior College before transferring to a four-year school. I did it and it saved me a ton of money and gave me the time and flexibility to find my passion. There are some pros and cons to the experience- I’ll start with the negative first.

CONS:

• If you pick a JC near your home and show up on the first day surrounded by your former HS classmates you will feel like you never left HS. Depending on who you are this can be disappointed at the least.
• JCs do not have the resources that a four-year university has. They don’t have the same libraries, facilities, access to internships, notable researchers etc…
• When you do go to transfer it will take you at least a quarter to get used to your new school. Everyone else in your upper-division classes will know the ins and outs of the school.
• You won’t have as many friends and won’t have the same connection with your classmates who have been there all four years.
• About four weeks into class half of the students will have dropped the class. Student motivation can be low at a JC and that low motivation can be contagious, trust me I know.

PROS:

• Professors who like to TEACH often find a home at a JC- there is no pressure to do research or constantly publish so they can just teach. That is not to say that there are not published teachers at a JC. My photo teacher Professor John Upton at OCC wrote the photography book that every university used in Photo 101 and Professor Dennis Kelley is pretty famous in his own right, heck I took two classes with the amazing Arthur Taussig and spend a summer with him in the photo developing lab hallways watching Akira Kurosawa films on a TV and VCR that he would wheel in on a cart- that was an awesome summer.
• It’s cheaper so there is less pressure when you make a mistake and need to drop a class or change a major.
• You won’t get stuck with a TA/Grad student teaching your class or running the discussion.
• Most JCs have a community college honors program. With just a 3.1 (your mileage may vary depending on the college) High School GPA and a letter of recommendation you can join their honors program. Many honors programs have a pathway to get you right into a competitive four-year university. Take advantage of this.
• How about getting the experience of living away from home WITHOUT the cost of a four-year. I’ve had friends, family, and students move away from home and attend a JC in the city of their future four-year university. What a great experience without the burden of a $10,000+ tuition charge."
2013  davidtheriault  colleges  universities  admissions  highschool  juniorcolleges  communitycolleges  choice  fulfillment  regret  dangilbert  happiness  education  highered  highereducation 
march 2015 by robertogreco
[Easy Chair] | Abolish High School, by Rebecca Solnit | Harper's Magazine
[<strike>placeholder as reminder to track down this article</strike> Update: Got to read this article thanks to Selin.]

"I skipped my last year of traditional junior high school, detouring for ninth and tenth grade into a newly created alternative junior high. (The existing alternative high school only took eleventh and twelfth graders.) The district used this new school as a dumping ground for its most insubordinate kids, so I shared two adjoin- ing classrooms with hard-partying teenage girls who dated adult drug dealers, boys who reeked of pot smoke, and other misfits like me. The wild kids impressed me because, unlike the timorous high achievers I’d often been grouped with at the mainstream school, they seemed fearless and free, skeptical about the systems around them.

There were only a few dozen students, and the adults treated us like colleagues. There was friendship and mild scorn but little cruelty, nothing that pitted us against one another or humiliated us, no violence, no clearly inculcated hierarchy. I didn’t gain much conventional knowledge, but I read voraciously and had good conversations. You can learn a lot that way. Besides, I hadn’t been gaining much in regular school either.

I was ravenous to learn. I’d waited for years for a proper chance at it, and the high school in my town didn’t seem like a place where I was going to get it. I passed the G.E.D. test at fifteen, started community college the following fall, and transferred after two semesters to a four-year college, where I began, at last, to get an education commensurate with my appetite.

What was it, I sometimes wonder, that I was supposed to have learned in the years of high school that I avoided? High school is often considered a definitive American experience, in two senses: an experience that nearly everyone shares, and one that can define who you are, for better or worse, for the rest of your life. I’m grateful I escaped the particular definition that high school would have imposed on me, and I wish everyone else who suffered could have escaped it, too.

For a long time I’ve thought that high school should be abolished. I don’t mean that people in their teens should not be educated at public expense. The question is what they are educated in. An abolitionist proposal should begin by acknowledging all the excellent schools and teachers and educations out there; the people who have a pleasant, useful time in high school; and the changes being wrought in the nature of secondary education today. It should also recognize the tremendous variety of schools, including charter and magnet schools in the public system and the private schools—religious, single-sex, military, and prep—that about 10 percent of American students attend, in which the values and pedagogical systems may be radically different. But despite the caveats and anomalies, the good schools and the students who thrive (or at least survive), high school is hell for too many Americans. If this is so, I wonder why people should be automatically consigned to it."



"…As Catherine A. Lugg, an education scholar specializing in public school issues, later wrote, “The Nabozny case clearly illustrates the public school’s historic power as the enforcer of expected norms regarding gender, heteronormativity,
and homophobia.”

I once heard Helena Norberg-Hodge, an economic analyst and linguist who studies the impact of globalization on nonindustrialized societies, say that generational segregation was one of the worst kinds of segregation in the United States. The remark made a lasting impression: that segregation was what I escaped all those years ago. My first friends were much older than I was, and then a little older; these days they are all ages. We think it’s natural to sort children into single-year age cohorts and then process them like Fords on an assembly line, but that may be a reflection of the industrialization that long ago sent parents to work away from their children for several hours every day.

Since the 1970s, Norberg-Hodge has been visiting the northern Indian region of Ladakh. When she first arrived such age segregation was un- known there. “Now children are split into different age groups at school,” Norberg-Hodge has written. “This sort of leveling has a very destructive effect. By artificially creating social units in which everyone is the same age, the ability of children to help and to learn from each other is greatly reduced.” Such units automatically create the conditions for competition, pressuring children to be as good as their peers. “In a group of ten children of quite different ages,” Norberg-Hodge argues, “there will naturally be much more cooperation than in a group of ten twelve-year-olds.”

When you are a teenager, your peers judge you by exacting and narrow criteria. But those going through the same life experiences at the same time often have little to teach one another about life. Most of us are safer in our youth in mixed-age groups, and the more time we spend outside our age cohort, the broader our sense of self. It’s not just that adults and children are good for adolescents. The reverse is also true. The freshness, inquisitiveness, and fierce idealism of a wide-awake teenager can be exhilarating, just as the stony apathy of a shut-down teenager can be dismal.

A teenager can act very differently outside his or her peer group than inside it. A large majority of hate crimes and gang rapes are committed by groups of boys and young men, and studies suggest that the perpetrators are more concerned with impressing one another and conforming to their group’s codes than with actual hatred toward outsiders. Attempts to address this issue usually focus on changing the social values to which such groups adhere, but dispersing or diluting these groups seems worth consideration, too.

High school in America is too often a place where one learns to conform or take punishment—and conformity is itself a kind of punishment, one that can flatten out your soul or estrange you from it."



"Abolishing high school could mean many things. It could mean compressing the time teenagers have to sort out their hierarchies and pillory outsiders, by turning schools into minimalist places in which people only study and learn. All the elaborate rites of dances and games could take place under other auspices. (Many Europeans and Asians I’ve spoken to went to classes each day and then left school to do other things with other people, forgoing the elaborate excess of extracurricular activities that is found at American schools.) It could mean schools in which age segregation is not so strict, where a twelve-year-old might mentor a seven-year-old and be mentored by a seventeen-year-old; schools in which internships, apprenticeships, and other programs would let older students transition into the adult world before senior year. (Again, there are plenty of precedents from around the world.)

Or it could mean something yet unimagined. I’ve learned from doctors that you don’t have to have a cure before you make a diagnosis. Talk of abolishing high school is just my way of wondering whether so many teen- agers have to suffer so much. How much of that suffering is built into a system that is, however ubiquitous, not inevitable? “Every time I drive past a high school, I can feel the oppression. I can feel all those trapped souls who just want to be outside,” a woman recalling her own experience wrote to me recently. “I always say aloud, ‘You poor souls.’”"
rebeccasolnit  2015  highschool  education  society  toread  adolescence  psychology  behavior  bullying  agesegregation  sexuality  extracurriculars  sports  competition  schooliness  schools  us  helenanorberg-hodge  conformity  apprenticeships  alternative  horizontality  hierarchy  catherlinelugg  homophobia  heteronormativity 
march 2015 by robertogreco
What if high school was a decentralized network of...
"What if high school was a decentralized network of storefronts throughout a city supported by a shared mission of catalyst-teachers, community and creative collaborators?"
designschoolx  eastbayhighschool  2015  davidclifford  schools  education  distributed  freelanceducators  freelanceteachers  teaching  learning  uban  cities  cityasclassroom  highschool  smallschools  decentralization  networks 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Nearly 500,000 Fewer Americans Will Pass the GED in 2014 After a Major Overhaul to the Test. Why? And Who's Left Behind? | Features | Cleveland Scene
"The numbers are shocking: In the United States, according to the GED Testing Service, 401,388 people earned a GED in 2012, and about 540,000 in 2013. This year, according to the latest numbers obtained by Scene, only about 55,000 have passed nationally. That is a 90-percent drop off from last year."



"But there is another reason for the small number of people passing the GED test in 2014: Hardly anyone is taking it this year. And that has as much to do with how the test is administered as the content. The previous test was administered with pen and paper, but this version can only be taken on a computer. And here's the kicker: More than half the people in the U.S. who do not have a high school diploma do not have a laptop or desktop computer at home. The same number, not surprisingly, have no Internet access either.

Those making less than $25,000 clock in at similar rates regardless of their educational background. So many of those who need a GED most — those without a high school diploma and with a poverty-rate income — do not have a computer or Internet access, which puts them far, far behind from the very start for two reasons: It's hard to build keyboard and mouse skills for a timed test without practice, and GED Testing Service (the company that administers the test) makes it maddeningly hard even to print sample questions to study at home.

To get sample tests, students must have access to the Internet to take them, pay $6 for each sample test section with a credit card (if their tutoring program won't buy it for them, and most don't), and have an active email account. All of that makes having a computer and Internet access paramount to passage.

"We are just finding that students without a computer or credit cards are not able to keep up as well, and in studying for a test like this, it is easy to find reasons to quit," Bivins says. "The way this test has been set up has put barriers in front of people, when we should be doing a test where keeping the goals in front of them is what they see instead of more reasons to quit.

While a certain lack of access makes studying for the GED harder, the content itself makes it even more difficult.

And that raises the question that has dogged the GED test since its inception after World War II: Is the primary purpose of the test to measure a student's college preparedness? Or is it a measure of a dropout's willingness to achieve a goal that makes them more attractive to employers?

In other words, is the GED designed to measure whether a student can handle Jane Austen novels and polynomial equations, or whether that person has the wherewithal to stock shelves at Walmart or hang drywall? The current test suggests it is the former that seems to be more important. And while the old test seemed to have some "just showing up" success rate measurement attached, which in some eyes was a practical way to administer the GED, the new one seems to have none of that.

To put it another way, we all would agree that high school students need to know more before entering college and that sound math and language skills are part of that. But are we going to ace out a whole group of people from getting a GED because some college administrators don't think their incoming students know enough algebra?

"What I've noticed more than anything is that the participation rates are shockingly low this year over previous years, so the word has gotten out that it is extremely hard," says Stan Jones, president of Complete College America, a non-profit based in Indianapolis that works with states to get more of the poor and disadvantaged into college.

"The way I see it, they have effectively gutted the GED program by these changes they have made," Jones says. "Adult students who have been out of high school for a while aren't passing this test. There needs to be a viable option for older adults to get into college and move up in the job market, and the changes made this year have greatly diminished the GED as a pathway to get to that goal.""
2014  education  via:audreywatters  policy  ged  highschool  assessment  testing  standardizedtesting  digitaldivide  inequality  employment  technology  edtech 
december 2014 by robertogreco
- High school never worked very well….We’ve got...
"High school never worked very well… We’ve got overripe young people confined in an artificial, age-segregated environment without sufficient employment or stimulation. Adolescence is the time when students could and should be excited about and engaged by the arts, music, books, ideas, and meaningful work—and yet that is not happening. The important thing is that they should be engaged in serious, meaningful activity that would be more connected to real life and to adults of different ages than is the ‘sealed-off’ world of high school"
- @Leon Botstein
highschool  agesegregation  adolescence  2014  leonbotstein  education  employment  music  arts  meaning  meaningmaking 
december 2014 by robertogreco
12 ideas for making Boston more inclusive - Magazine - The Boston Globe
"1) CREATE SPACES WHERE PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS CONVERGE … — Francie Latour

2) HELP SKILLED IMMIGRANTS GET RE-LICENSED … — Omar Sacirbey

3) BRING HIGH-TECH OPPORTUNITIES TO THE INNER CITY … — Michael Fitzgerald

4) GET HIGH SCHOOLERS TO CROSS CLIQUE LINES … — James H. Burnett III

5) ENSURE ACCESS TO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION … — Sarah Shemkus

6) NURTURE URBAN BUSINESSES … — Michael Fitzgerald

7) SPREAD THE HEALTH … — Priyanka Dayal McCluskey

8) BUILD MORE MIXED-INCOME HOUSING … — Jeremy C. Fox

9) PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF TRANSGENDER PEOPLE … — Jeremy C. Fox

10) CULTIVATE INCLUSION EXPERTS … — Nadia Colburn

11) CELEBRATE DIVERSITY THROUGH THEATER … — Cindy Atoji Keene

12) TEACH TOLERANCE TO CHILDREN — Sarah Shemkus"

[See also: "What are Boston’s biggest barriers to inclusion? Community and nonprofit leaders, academics, activists, and others discuss problems and priorities."
http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2014/12/03/what-are-boston-biggest-barriers-inclusion/0PnxFPYOYlqbAyQRGS4TRK/story.html

[via: https://twitter.com/anamarialeon/status/543045803393433600 ]
boston  cities  urban  urbanism  inequality  2014  francielatour  omarsacirbey  michaelfitzgerald  jamesburnett  sarahshemkus  priyankadayalmccluskey  jeremyfox  nadiacolbum  cindyatojikeene  inclusion  housing  education  health  healthcare  business  highschool  relationships  community  diversity  tolerance  theater  children  youth  technology  immigrants  urbanplanning  inlcusivity  inclusivity 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Rox and Roll: Parents: let Harvard go
"I want to tell every parent reading this post that you need to assume, right now, that your child is not getting into Harvard no matter what he or she does. (And no, he's not getting into Stanford either, or Yale, or Dartmouth, or MIT. Probably not UC Berkeley either. No, I'm not kidding.) Your kid isn't getting into the college you think he is.

What? So-and-so's child is at Princeton right now? and got what on his SATs? and did those activities? Hmmm. Interesting. Sure, you can prove me wrong with some examples. And I can prove myself right with a hundred more. Stanford's rate of admission was below 5% last year. Do the math.

In the spirit of "I want to do something," I offer below some Q & A that I hope y'all read and take to heart. These are real questions asked by real parents of real kids I know within the past year. I didn't answer these questions at the time exactly like I did below, but I answer them here and now based on a combination of my expertise in admissions (noting that nothing I say here should be construed as official advice or information given on behalf of any school) as well as my experience as a community leader and parent.

And be forewarned: I'm going to be a bit of a wise-ass, 'cause we all need to calm down like Martha says, which also means "lighten up" in my book.

But also, I promise a reward at the end: questions that I wish people would ask me instead. And I think -- I hope -- it's some valuable stuff."



"Post-publication note: This posts seems to have reached a lot of people who have a lot of strong reactions to it. I think the comment that reached me most on another person's Facebook page is one from a parent who thinks I am encouraging mediocrity. The snarky part of me wants to tell the dude he's right, that I tell my kids "aim low." But the truth is, this post is far from encouraging mediocrity or "settling" for anything less than a child can feel good about achieving. As a Palo Alto parent, I am tired of our culture of 'achievement' as defined by grades, scores, college admissions, and the like. And I am unapologetic about that. I have worked with our community's teens as a coach, as a youth minister, as a mentor, and as a parent, and I encourage every kid to be their best self. That means being proud of their work, whether in the classroom, on the playing field, and/or in the world. Do I think they need to engage in competition for one of those 15 slots at Stanford (there is no fixed number, and I wouldn't know it if there were) by trying to outwit, outplay, and outlast (to borrow "Survivor" lingo)? Nope. And beyond that, there are going to be times when our kids just don't want to work hard because they're kids and continue to push boundaries. They're going to blow off studying for a test. They're going to fail something. Good. That's right -- I said good. Their mistakes teach them that actions have consequences and that their effort ties to their outcomes. We can't give them that with carrots or with sticks. They'll figure it out. They want to do well -- as they define it. (They know what's up with college admissions without us even getting involved, parents.) And the more they figure out for themselves, with no message from us other than "we take you as you are and want you to be healthy and fulfilled," the healthier our kids are going to be. I want nothing but the best for our village's kids -- for any kids-- and I stuck my neck out there with the post because I refuse to define the "best" as it has been anymore. The best for our kids is no more of them self-harming in any way, and I feel like we can alleviate some of that by changing our tone."
colleges  universityis  admissions  parenting  2014  via:willrichardson  stress  pressure  anxiety  aps  ivyleague  motivation  harvard  collegeadmissions  testing  standardizedtesting  success  achievement  mediocrity  grades  grading  standards  sleep  teens  adolescence  highschool  schools  education  competition  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  apclasses 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Teacher Tom: Figuring Out Those Damned ATMs
"We're so often amazed that kids figure out new technology faster and better than adults. Let me tell you why: because they play with it. In fact, that's why young children learn everything faster and better than adults. Play, not swiping fingers across screens, is what's in their DNA, it's in all of our DNA, but we've unlearned it as we've gotten older. We worry that we're going to break something or look foolish or somehow do it "wrong," so we resort to instruction manuals and tutorials and our kids to show us the way.

Why do we stop engaging new things through play as we get older? I don't know the full answer, but part it must lie in how we're taught to learn as we get older. In our society, the younger children are, the more likely it is that they are allowed the time and space to play, to explore, to discover, to make mistakes, both inside and outside the classroom. This is why most young kids tell us they like school: learning is pleasurable, exciting, and interesting when we pursue it though play. Yet as we get older, the opportunities to play become increasingly rare until by the time we hit middle school, it's pretty much all about instruction manuals and tutorials and getting the "right" answer. That's why in traditional schools, the older kids get, the more likely they are to report they hate school.

The fact that young children "take to" screen-based technology shouldn't surprise us. They also take to rocks and sticks and cardboard boxes and water and other people. We're not so impressed by that, however, because we too have mastered those things, years ago, as we freely played.

Education "reformers" have it backwards. They look at middle schools and high schools and see children struggling, hating school, so they are seeking to make our preschools and elementary schools more like middle school and high school to get them "ready." It should be the other way around: we should be trying to make the middle school and high school experience more like what we find in early years. It's not our job to make kids school ready, it's our job to make schools ready for kids. If we do that, I'll bet we'll find that even adults can figure out those damned ATMs."
2014  tomhobson  edtech  technology  education  schools  unschooling  deschooling  howweteach  play  howwelearn  learning  children  digitalnatives  middleschool  highschool  cv  school  schooling  schooliness  edreform  preschool 
june 2014 by robertogreco
[Tyranny of the Curriculum] What is Extra in Education? | ThinkThankThunk
"You wanna know what keeps me up at night? Not climate change. Not the fact that Ke$ha makes more in a minute than I make in a decade. Not the fact that Iowa is slowly but surely wasting the prairie’s soil and everyone’s fresh water so it can produce Pepsi, ethanol, and beef.

No, it’s the tyranny of the curriculum, because without that oppression, we would actually have an entire population who could solve those aforementioned problems.

Disclaimer; super pissed right now.

“Tyranny”? Too harsh?

I once had a student develop a computational model that predicted the behavior of Alzheimer afflicted networks using a software neural net that she and I wrote together. When I asked if she’d like to pursue her research for math and science credit, she came back the next day, espousing the rhetoric of the oppressed:

“No, well, I have to get my required credits done in class, so I won’t have time.”

She, and almost every other student believes that “interesting” is extra. They believe in the monopoly on credits, learning, and schedules that schools have packaged and sold, despite also claiming to be “bored.”

That’s tyranny folks. I have more stories exactly like this, but my blood pressure can’t handle typing them.

That’s why I’m super pumped that BIG is growing, and fast. Thank God, because I’m actually super scared of Ke$ha."
shawncornally  2014  curriculum  openstudioproject  lcproject  interestedness  interested  projectbasedlearning  extra  tcsnmy  credits  learning  schedules  highschool  unschooling  deschooling  schooliness  pbl 
may 2014 by robertogreco
What’s Really Wrong with Advanced Placement Courses and College Board? | the becoming radical
"While not unique to the program, A.P. ultimately fails the broader promise of universal public education in the following ways:

• The A.P. program is grounded in gatekeeping (historically hard gatekeeping metrics as well as lingering soft gatekeeping dynamics) and tracking [2], both of which are counter to goals of equity in public schooling. As a result, A.P. scores share with SAT (and ACT) scores the power to perpetuate privilege and establish inequitable schools-within-schools.

• The A.P. program is one example of the popular and political fetish for “top students”—a fabricated crisis that speaks to and perpetuates privilege [3].

• A.P. tests further reinforce the reduction of learning and merit to single test scores generated from one testing session. As well, the importance of the A.P. score as a potential ticket to earning college credit (and the claim that this process can save students and their parents money) can and often reduces A.P. courses to teaching-to-the-tests.

• Through the aura of being an “elite” program and by their selective nature, A.P. courses erode efforts to create educational settings that are equitable for all students. [The A.P. program was built on the allure of being elite, and regardless of the College Board's claims for seeking equity and diversity, the A.P. program benefits from elitism and selectivity.]

• The concept of “earning college credit while in high school” distorts and marginalizes the value of both student intellectual development and instructional time spent in courses. While I disagree in some respects with Tierney’s claim that A.P. course are rarely comparable to college-level courses (some A.P. Literature and A.P. Language courses are far more demanding than freshman composition courses), I would pose that it is essentially impossible to capture a college experience in a high school classroom—and there is no reason to seek that goal as well.

• Thus, A.P. courses draw too much focus on attaining certain content and away form valuing the entire learning experience that is greater than content acquisition.

• A.P. courses and programs are a secondary and additional financial drain on families (often indirectly) and public funding, yet another source of expenses (time and funding) for materials, tests, and training that would be better spent elsewhere.

• Another part of the allure of the A.P. program is similar to the promise embedded in the Common Core—establishing a standard curriculum across the U.S. However, if the A.P. program shows us anything, it is that the goal of standardization is both misguided and impossible to attain. In this respect, the A.P. program may not be quite a scam, but it is a mirage.

• And as Schneider emphasizes, A.P. courses suggest that all we need to do it get what is taught, how it is taught, and how it is tested right and then all will be well. Among almost all the current calls for in-school-only education reform, A.P. courses are distractions from needed social reform and in-school reform seeking equity."
ap  apclasses  apcourses  2014  plthomas  johntierney  collegeboard  sat  gatekeeping  tracking  privilege  selectivity  highschool  teaching  learning  education  admissions  colleges  universities  jackschneider  aps  paulthomas 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Studio Schools Trust
"The Studio School is a new concept in education, which seeks to address the growing gap between the skills and knowledge that young people require to succeed, and those that the current education system provides. Studio Schools pioneer a bold new approach to learning which includes teaching through enterprise projects and real work. This approach ensures students' learning in is rooted in the real world and helps them to develop the skills they need to flourish in life. For detailed information, please read the Studio Schools Brochure.

Studio Schools are designed for 14-19 year olds of all abilities. They are small schools for 300 students; and with year-round opening and a 9-5 working day, they feel more like a workplace than a school. Working closely with local employers, Studio Schools will offer a range of academic and vocational qualifications including GCSEs in English, Maths and Science, as well as paid work placements linked directly to employment opportunities in the local area. Students will gain a broad range of employability and life skills through the CREATE skills framework, and will have the option to go on to university, further training, and into employment."



"Essential Elements of a Studio School

At the heart of the Studio Schools' model are seven key features, which have been developed through extensive research and consultation with employers, education experts and young people. These essential elements provide a framework for all Studio Schools and will be built upon by individual schools who will tailor the model to meet the needs of their local community and local labour market.

Academic Excellence

Like traditional schools, Studio Schools will teach the National Curriculum and offer key academic and vocational qualifications. The qualifications offered by individual schools will vary depending on local circumstances, however all will deliver qualifications at Level 2 and above, including core GCSEs in English, Maths and Science. On leaving their Studio School, students will have the full range of progression routes available to them. They will have gained the qualifications, knowledge and skills to choose the option which is suitable to them: entering the jobs market from an advantageous position; starting an apprenticeship; or going on to further or higher education. For more detailed information about the Studio Schools curriculum model click here.

Employability and Enterprise Skills

Key employability and life skills will underpin all the activities at a Studio School through the unique CREATE skills framework. CREATE is comprised of a wide range of skills and stands for Communication, Relating to people, Enterprise, Applied skills, Thinking skills and Emotional intelligence. Four years in the making, CREATE is grounded in a wide range of skills typologies and has been developed specifically for Studio Schools inorder to equip young people with the key skills that they need to flourish.

Personalised Curriculum

In Studio Schools all students will be assigned a ‘personal coach’ who will meet with them one-to-one every fortnight to develop their own personalised learning plan. This will allow students to tailor their curriculum to their individual needs and aspirations, and track their progress towards their CREATE skills and qualifications. Personalisation of the curriculum will be further supported through a small school environment in which every young person will be able to access the tailored support that they need.

Practical Learning

Enquiry-based learning (EBL) lies at the heart of the Studio Schools' curriculum model. In Studio Schools, students will learn the National Curriculum principally through Enterprise Projects in their school, local businesses and surrounding community. To root students’ learning in the real world most projects will involve external commissions. So whether it is a health report for their local hospital or a business brief for a local employer, students’ learning will be authentic and will actively involve them in local community life.

Real Work

Students in Year 10 and 11 will participate in work experience each week - this varies from half a day per week to a day each week depending on the Studio School, and the requirements of their industry partners. In Year 12 and 13, it is the SST recommendation that students spend two days per week in work. There is considerable evidence that this direct, ‘hands on’ experience better prepares young people for life and work.

Small Schools

As small schools of around 300 students, Studio Schools offer a supportive, personalised learning environment in which strong pastoral care runs throughout the school’s activities. This helps to ensure that no young person gets lost within the institution and that young people are able to build strong relationships with their peers and coaches. Crucially, coaches know students well, making them better able to tailor the curriculum to their individual needs and aspirations.

Students of All Abilities

Studio Schools are fully inclusive and comply with the national School Admissions Code."

[See also: http://blog.ted.com/2011/09/27/a-short-intro-to-the-studio-school-geoff-mulgan-on-ted-com/ ]
openstudioproject  schools  studioschools  studioclassroom  cv  uk  education  learning  highschool  schooldesign 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Why all high school courses should be elective
"I don’t reject the notion that there are ideas so important every kid should understand them. The titles of two of my books—”What’s Worth Teaching?” and “What’s Worth Learning?”—make clear what I think kids need to know. I’m convinced, for example, that a thorough understanding of the sense-making process radically improves student performance in every field of study.

Not far behind in importance I put an understanding of the unexamined societal assumptions that shape our thoughts, actions, and identities. At a less abstract level I have kids look at the familiar until it becomes “strange enough to see,” raising their awareness of how built environments manipulate them in subtle, freedom-depriving ways, and I help them develop a skill obviously lacking at the highest levels of American policymaking—the ability to imagine unintended consequences of well-intended actions (just to start a list of matters the Common Core State Standards ignore).

Yes, I have strong feelings about what kids should learn, which is why I’d put them in charge of their own educations. Experience assures me they’ll get where they need to go, and do so more efficiently than will otherwise be possible. Experience also tells me that won’t happen as long as they’re fenced in by a random mix of courses required because they’ve always been required, by courses based on elitist conceits, by courses shaped by unexamined assumptions. The core’s boundaries are far too narrow to accommodate the collective genius of adolescents.

Kids bring to the curriculum vast differences—differences in gender, maturity, personality, interests, hopes, dreams, abilities, life experiences, situation, family, peers, language, ethnicity, social class, culture, probable and possible futures, and certain indefinable qualities, all combined in dynamic, continuously evolving ways so complex they lie beyond ordinary understanding.

Today’s reformers seem unable or unwilling to grasp the instructional implications of those differences and that complexity. They treat kids as a given, undifferentiated except by grade level, with the core curriculum the lone operative variable. Just standardize and fine-tune the core, they insist, and all will be well.

That’s magical thinking, and it’s dumping genius on the street.

Don’t tell me I’m naïve, that high school kids can’t be trusted with that much responsibility, or that they’re too dumb to know what to do with it. Would it take them awhile to get used to unaccustomed autonomy? Sure. Would they suspect that the respect being shown them was faked and test it out? Of course. Would they at first opt for what they thought was Easy Street? You can count on it.

Eventually, however, their natural curiosity and the desire to make better sense of experience would get the better of them, and they’d discover that Easy Street connected directly to all other streets, and that following it was taking them places they had no intention of going, or even knew existed.

I know this because I’ve been there with them."
marionbrady  highschool  electives  choice  self-directedlearning  self-directed  interest-driveneducation  education  commoncore  noticing  sensemaking  teaching  learning  motivation  curriculum  pedagogy  howwelearn  howweteach  schools 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Twitter Shows Epidemic of School Boredom | New Republic
"We do know that boredom is its own unique emotion. In research studies, people tend to describe boredom as something different than the absence of stimulation; they describe a feeling that is aggressively unpleasant, characterized by a desire to escape, to make the feeling go away. Because researchers love to name things, they have recently identified five types of boredom, from indifferent (the most benign) to reactant (the most negative version, characterized by anger or aggression).

In general, boredom of all kinds seems to be caused by repetitive, pointless tasks over which people have little control, according to studies of conducted over the past few decades (nicely summarized by Jennifer Vogel-Walcutt and her colleagues at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training). But some people are more likely to experience boredom than others. Boredom is a function, then, not only of a dull situation but of a person’s general disposition—just like anxiety. The teacher, in other words, is not the only one responsible for boredom in a classroom.

Students who get bored a lot at school also tend to get bored a lot at home. (Twitter is littered with bored-at-home Tweets, too, some of them from kids cutting class.) Boys are more likely to be disengaged in school than girls through middle school, according to Gallup Student Poll data, but girls catch up by high school. (By then, about six in ten students say they were not engaged in school.) Then the genders diverge again in adulthood, with men typically reporting that they get bored more easily than women. No one is sure why, but regardless of age or gender, the tendency to get bored easily is related to all kinds of other miseries.

There are exceptions, as always. The list of successful people who were bored in school—and thrived as adults--is long. Legendary New Yorker cartoonist Al Frueh doodled in shorthand class, turning the symbols into faces of his fellow students. Jonah Hill wrote his own Simpsons scripts to entertain himself in middle school, hiding his drafts in his textbooks. Steve Jobs deployed less constructive tactics, unleashing snakes and exploding bombs in third grade (or so he told Playboy in 1985). We can only imagine what would have happened had he gotten hold of a Twitter account in high school.

The good news is that kids seem to have more control over boredom than they might think. In the 2010 Nett study, most of 976 German teenagers surveyed fell into one of two main groups: the “evaders” were the kids who tended to avoid feeling bored by distracting themselves or talking to someone else, the kind who might be quick to Tweet or text at the first sign of monotony. Then there were the “reappraisers”—the kids who coped with boredom by basically talking themselves out of it. They tried to remind themselves of the value of what they were doing and reframe the situation in their heads.

All of the students used multiple coping devices, with varying degrees of success. But the evaders, it turns out, got the worst results. They did more poorly in school and experienced more boredom overall. It’s impossible to say which came first—the evasion or the problems—but it was clear which kids you’d rather your child be. The reappraisers experienced boredom far less often and did the best in school."
boredom  education  schools  teens  adolescence  2013  highschool  learning  twitter  instagram  vine 
december 2013 by robertogreco
School One - Providence, RI - Home
"What is School One?
School One is a small, progressive, independent high school on the East Side of Providence that serves students with diverse backgrounds, learning styles and educational goals within a vibrant, safe and inclusive community. Our graduates successfully navigate the academic demands of competitive colleges and choose meaningful and creative careers.

What Makes us Different?
• our arts-based curriculum spurs creativity in both novice and serious artists
• our advising system and graduation requirements were developed over four decades and are now standard at top-performing high schools throughout the state
• our tuition is affordable relative to area private schools and we offer generous financial aid

How do students benefit from our program?
• our approach enables students to take an active role in their learning and become responsible for their choices
• our focus on writing and critical thinking promotes self-advocacy and solid communication skills
• our graduates can relate information across disciplines and work well in groups, essential to their future employment"
rhodeisland  providence  schools  art  independentschools  openstudioproject  lcproject  education  highschool  smallschools 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Is significant school reform needed or not?: an open letter to Diane Ravitch (and like-minded educators) | Granted, and...
"A perhaps unseen lesson as to why SES correlates so well with achievement. Diane, these problems are of long standing (and you know this as a historian of education). Indeed, these weaknesses also exist in private and charter schools. Some of the most boring and fear-inducing teaching I have ever seen is in prep schools where only innate ability, student willingness to delay gratification and trust adults keeps it going. So, our problems cannot be caused solely by poverty and nasty manipulators of public schooling for personal gain or politics.

Indeed, in my view the only way to make sense of the long-established connection between student SES and school achievement scores is to conclude that most schools are not very effective. That explains much of the data in education, to my eye.

I love teaching, and I greatly admire teachers. I have spent the last 30+ years with them and in schools. Yet, we must face the truth, the “brutal facts,” as Collins termed it: many teachers are just not currently capable of engaging and deeply educating the kids in front of them, especially in the upper grades. Why can’t we admit this? I can admit it happily, because I think good teachers are tired of being brought down by weak teachers and policies that support them. And I’m in this for the kids, not the adults. Kids simply deserve better and no one lobbies primarily for their interests."
grantwiggins  dianeravitch  education  charterschools  criticism  2013  policy  provety  teacherquality  privateschools  teaching  learning  highschool  middleschool  johnhattie  schoolreform  reform  publicschools 
october 2013 by robertogreco
CSSSA [California State Summer School for the Arts]
[See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Summer_School_for_the_Arts ]

"The California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) is a rigorous pre-professional training program in the visual and performing arts, creative writing, animation, and film for talented artists of high school age. CSSSA provides a supportive environment in which students hone acquired skills and explore new techniques and ideas for an intense and exciting learning experience. The School was created by the California Legislature, held its first session in 1987 and will conduct its 27th session in 2013. Its purpose is to provide a training ground for future artists who wish to pursue careers in the arts and entertainment industries in California. The California State Summer School for the Arts is a state agency funded through a unique public-private partnership."
edg  srg  art  highschool  education  summer  california 
october 2013 by robertogreco
The Schools We Need | Erik Reece | Orion Magazine
"A few years ago, on the first day of my Freshman Comp class, an argument broke out over whether or not “Redskins” was a racist name for a professional football team. I hadn’t expected or planned this debate, but I let it rage for half the class, trying to direct and redirect the lines of argument as best I could. It seemed like productive chaos, and afterward, the class did not emerge from the debate divided, but rather heartened, it seemed, that everyone had been given a chance to voice diverse opinions. Something important happened that day: the students created a democratic space in which to debate and consider ideas. It wasn’t because of anything I did, but simply because I didn’t get in the way of the students’ own grappling over questions of perspective, personal background, and the ability of words to both empower and harm."



"When deregulated corporations destroy entire ecosystems and the Supreme Court grants those same corporations more “rights” to express themselves as “persons” (very rich persons), the need for a more Jeffersonian form of schooling—one that emphasizes serious critical inquiry in the service of citizenship—is imperative to the future of democracy. We need schools, as novelist Mark Slouka recently wrote, that produce “men and women capable of furthering what’s best about us and forestalling what’s worst.”

THE GOOD NEWS is we can begin revitalizing both education and democracy by implementing a curriculum that incubates what I will call the “citizen-self.” As teachers, I believe our purpose should be twofold: 1) to provide the opportunity for individual self-invention among students, and 2) to create a space where that individual takes on the role and the responsibility of the social citizen. The pedagogy I have in mind combines the Romantic idea of the bildung, the cultivation of one’s own intellectual and psychological nature, with the Pragmatist view that such individuality must be vigorously protected by acts of citizenship. That is to say, it encourages Deborah Meier’s “habit of mind” toward the goal of helping each student determine what she or he truly thinks and feels about an issue or an idea, and it encourages what psychologist and philosopher William James called a “habit of action,” a way of translating such thinking into citizenship. At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that the first part cultivates the inner self, while the second shapes the outer self. But these two selves cannot be separated; each depends upon and strengthens the other.

Thomas Jefferson believed that the fundamental American impulse of this citizen-self should be anti-industrial, anti-corporation, and should cultivate a generalist approach to education and work. Jefferson also believed that both politics and education best succeed at the local level. This has proven true time and again in my own experience."



"Taking pride in one’s place can also lead to a desire to take responsibility for that place, which is, after all, the crux of citizenship. Teachers can foster this impulse by focusing assignments on local issues, allowing chemistry, biology, English, and civics classes to be driven by a problem-solving impulse. Such learning is inevitably interdisciplinary because real problems, and real learning, rarely break down along clear disciplinary lines. If a strip mine is polluting a local source of drinking water, that is clearly a biological and chemical problem, but it is also an ethical problem grounded in lessons of history. To solve it, many fields of knowledge must be brought to bear. And to articulate the solution will require some skilled rhetoric indeed. Working to solve that problem becomes at once an experiment in stewardship (the opposite of vandalism) and citizenship (participatory democracy).

It also goes some distance toward breaking down the artificial, but very real, wall between school and life, between learning and doing. The rejection of this false dichotomy was one of the primary goals of the American Pragmatist educators like John Dewey and Jane Addams. Of the turn-of-the-century settlement school movement, Addams wrote that it “stands for application as opposed to research, for emotion as opposed to abstraction, for universal interest as opposed to specialization.” Specialization has, too often, been the enemy of educating the citizen-self. It encourages careerism as the only goal of education, and its narrowness can result in an abdication of responsibility concerning problems that lie outside of one’s specialty. These narrowly focused specialists can cause problems. Financial specialists caused the economic collapse, genetic specialists have created crops that require far more pesticide application, and we don’t yet know the full havoc caused by deep-water drilling specialists. But as we saw with BP’s cagey initial reaction to the Gulf disaster, as well as Monsanto’s outrageous contempt for farmers and seed-savers, specialization also seems to create a troubling loss of empathy.

Empathy, what Jane Addams called emotion, has largely disappeared from American public life. Our politics and punditry are too divisive, the gap between rich and poor too wide, the messages from the media too preoccupied with what William James called “the bitch-goddess SUCCESS.” We think of public life as a playing field of winners and losers, when we should be thinking about it, to borrow from Dewey, as a single organism made up of thousands of single but interconnected cells—a whole that needs all of its parts, working cooperatively. In other words, we should be thinking about how our educational institutions can be geared less toward competitiveness and more toward turning out graduates who feel a responsibility toward their places and their peers.

Here is the crux of the matter: As we enter an era of dwindling resources and potential mass migration due to climate change, we are going to need much more empathy—perhaps more than ever before—if we hope to retain our humanity. Empathy must be the measure of our students’, and our own, emotional and ethical maturity."



"How do we recover, how do we reinvent, the country that Jefferson and Franklin envisioned? We must become better citizens, and that transformation must begin—and really can only begin—in better public schools.

PUTTING MY STUDENTS in situations where they might learn and practice the art of real democracy has become a large part of my own teaching, and it is with these goals in mind that I often take them to a place in eastern Kentucky called Robinson Forest. It is a brilliant remnant of the mixed mesophytic ecosystem, and it is home to the cleanest streams in the state. Yet only a short walk away from our base camp you can watch those streams die, literally turn lifeless, because of the mountaintop removal strip mining that is happening all around Robinson Forest.

A few years ago, I had one student (I’ll call him Brian) who had only signed up for one of my classes because it fit his schedule. He was, in his own words, “a right-wing nut job,” and he disagreed with virtually everything I said in class. But he was funny and respectful and I liked having him around. On our class trip to Robinson Forest, we all hiked up out of the forest to a fairly typical mountaintop removal site. The hard-packed dirt and rock was completely barren, save for a few non-native, scrubby grasses. To call this post-mined land a “moonscape,” as many do, is an insult to the moon.

Brian was quiet as we walked, and then he asked, “When are they going to reclaim this land?”

“It has been reclaimed,” I said. “They sprayed hydro-seed, so now this qualifies as wildlife habitat.”

“This is it?”

“This is all the law requires.”

Brian went quiet again, until finally he said, “This is awful.”

Then he asked, “What do you think would happen if every University of Kentucky student came to see this?”

I pulled the old teacher trick and turned the question back on him: “What do you think would happen?”

Brian paused, and then said, “I think mountaintop removal would end.”"
teaching  education  civics  criticalthinking  writing  howweteach  howwelearn  us  environment  erikreece  citizenship  tcsnmy  democracy  specialization  generalists  empathy  emotion  history  deborahmeier  thomasjeffereson  benjaminfranklin  publicschools  johntaylorgatto  2011  learning  highschool  engagement 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Confessions of an Average AP Scholar | ThinkThankThunk
"So what’s the commonality there? For all that AP swagger, my education was mostly devoid of any real experience, and I didn’t even know it until years later. I believed I was prepared.

The Big Ideas School:

I do not want this for my students. I will spend the rest of my life working with students to ensure that they’re never lied to like I was. Harsh? Yeah, but you know me.

So, I left my job in a traditional high school to work at The Big Ideas School. I’m helping to create this place, and its job is to provide content-rich experiences for students coupled with killer instruction from area experts. Check it out:

[ http://www.shawncornally.com/BIG/ ]

The Big Ideas School. Inaugural class summer of 2013.

This school is designed for students in Iowa’s seven-county Creative Corridor, and it will demand that students find connections between content through a STEAM environment within a community context."

[See also: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/we-dont-like-projects-shawn-cornally ]
shawncornally  learning  aps  highschool  schools  schooling  testing  context  2013  thebigideasschool  experience  iowa  steam  apclasses 
june 2013 by robertogreco
If students designed their own schools... on Vimeo
"The "best small town" in America experiments with self-directed learning at its public high school. A group of students gets to create their own school-within-a-school and they learn only what they want to learn.

Does it work? Charles Tsai finds out by spending a week with the Independent Project."

[Also here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RElUmGI5gLc ]
charlestsai  education  teaching  learning  schools  schooling  2013  democraticschools  democracy  self-directed  self-directedlearning  unschooling  deschooling  cv  tcsnmy  howwelearn  grades  grading  peerassessment  assessment  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  lcproject  openstudioproject  highschool  publicschools 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Why You Never Truly Leave High School: New science on its corrosive, traumatizing effects. -- New York Magazine
"Our self-image from those years, in other words, is especially adhesive. So, too, are our preferences. “There’s no reason why, at the age of 60, I should still be listening to the Allman Brothers,” Steinberg says. “Yet no matter how old you are, the music you listen to for the rest of your life is probably what you listened to when you were an adolescent.” Only extremely recent advances in neuroscience have begun to help explain why.

It turns out that just before adolescence, the prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain that governs our ability to reason, grasp abstractions, control impulses, and self-­reflect—undergoes a huge flurry of activity, giving young adults the intellectual capacity to form an identity, to develop the notion of a self. Any cultural stimuli we are exposed to during puberty can, therefore, make more of an impression, because we’re now perceiving them discerningly and metacognitively as things to sweep into our self-concepts or reject (I am the kind of person who likes the Allman Brothers). “During times when your identity is in transition,” says Steinberg, “it’s possible you store memories better than you do in times of stability.”"



"Until the Great Depression, the majority of American adolescents didn’t even graduate from high school. Once kids hit their teen years, they did a variety of things: farmed, helped run the home, earned a regular wage. Before the banning of child labor, they worked in factories and textile mills and mines. All were different roads to adulthood; many were undesirable, if not outright Dickensian. But these disparate paths did arguably have one virtue in common: They placed adolescent children alongside adults. They were not sequestered as they matured. Now teens live in a biosphere of their own. In their recent book Escaping the Endless Adolescence, psychologists Joseph and Claudia Worrell Allen note that teenagers today spend just 16 hours per week interacting with adults and 60 with their cohort. One century ago, it was almost exactly the reverse.

Something happens when children spend so much time apart from adult company. They start to generate a culture with independent values and priorities. James Coleman, a renowned mid-century sociologist, was among the first to analyze that culture in his seminal 1961 work, The Adolescent Society, and he wasn’t very impressed. “Our society has within its midst a set of small teen-age societies,” he wrote, “which focus teen-age interests and attitudes on things far removed from adult responsibilities.” Yes, his words were prudish, but many parents have had some version of these misgivings ever since, especially those who’ve consciously opted not to send their kids into the Roman amphi­theater. (From the website of the National Home Education Network: “Ironically, one of the reasons many of us have chosen to educate our own is precisely this very issue of socialization! Children spending time with individuals of all ages more closely resembles real life than does a same-age school setting.”)"
adolescence  adolescents  childhood  culture  argentina  photography  identity  highschool  society  socialization  social  memory  memories  stability  change  transition  neuroscience  ervinggoffman  brenébrown  shame  self-consciousness  tavigevinson  kojiueno  winnieholzman  kurtvonnegut  deborahyurgelun-todd  popularity  facebook  keithhampton  breakfastclub  peers  self-image  paulfeig  robertfaris  irinawrning  patlevitt  laurencesteinberg  deborahcarr  robertcrosnoe  jamescoleman  unschooling  deschooling  development  sociology  psychology  agesegregation  teens  parenting  vonnegut 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Tupperwolf - Lichen names
"Yesterday I happened across that Eames promotion for the SX-70 for the first time. It reminded me, among many things, of an old friend, now dead – Bob Rodieck.

My high school was my mother (a qualified teacher), our neighbor R., and me. One of the classes was to make a book on our island’s natural history. When we were planning it, we visited Bob on an extremely gray spring day to talk about desktop publishing, because he’d been talking about how he was writing a book himself. (I may have the timeline slightly wrong here. Please consider this an As I Remember It story.)

We explained what we wanted to do. Bob, who was a freshly emeritus professor, scratched his stubble and leaned forward, then leaned back. He asked if we knew the difference between vector and raster graphics. I started explaining how they’re actually fairly isomorphic, since pixels can be represented as squares and, conversely, control points are in a discrete space, and from then on we were friends. It was Bob who turned me on to Tufte, and I turned him on to Bringhurst.



The natural history book was a well chosen project. We interviewed a lot of the oldest and most eccentric people on the island. They had records, written or in memory, about when flowers used to bloom, where the clams used to live before they were depleted, how many eagles used to nest on the point, how the old Samish woman had treated leather, when the last puffin was seen, what time of year the beaver showed up, and so on. There was the mystery of the flying squirrel.

We got a lot of very guarded mushroom knowledge from Dorothy H., who was in her eighties and roughly three times as vigorous and alert as I was. It’s really hard to come by good mushroom knowledge, because the people careful enough to understand mushrooms tend to be careful about risking other people on possibly poisonous food. Dorothy played her cards close to her chest.



Bob eventually finished his book, which was called The First Steps in Seeing. It was very well received, but as far as I can tell never sold well – Amazon has only four reviews, though they’re all five-star. I think it’s because he wasn’t around to promote it. He’d told me this wonderful story about graphic design and experimental design once: He went to get a check-up. He was given a form to fill out that included dietary habits. He said that he was about to check “1 serving of green vegetables/day” when he noticed that the checkbox itself was red! He figured that, being of northern European stock, he was adapted to fewer greens, and checked the first box that wasn’t red, 3 servings, and called it good. Not long after finishing the book, he was diagnosed with gut cancer.

Towards the end, he was on the island resting when he started having an unusual type of trouble moving his eyes. He said it was clearly a certain potassium channel failing, and it was time to go back to Seattle and die.

I think that, had he been around to promote it and put out a second edition, his book would be a classic now. It’s in the details and how they’re subordinated to the big-picture view. He drew all the illustrations himself. He chose the spot colors. He thought very hard about what path through the material he could provide that would be easiest for the beginner but pass the best trailheads for those who went further. He threw a lot of textbook conventions out the window and never missed them. He gave a crap but didn’t give a fuck.

Dorothy’s reluctance to tell us which mushrooms we could eat drove us to the classic texts, David Arora’s books. We could use him as a lever on her – “Arora says …; is that really true?”. In other fields we found other guidebooks: Pojar & MacKinnon on plants, Love’s Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast.

If you don’t spend a lot of time with natural history guidebooks, you might not know that the best ones have voice – authorial voice. It’s necessary, I think, to make a book that’s basically a huge list of details interesting enough to pay attention to. And I suspect you’re unlikely to excell in mycology, botany, or marine biology unless you have a sense of perspective. If you are humorless, it’s a lot easier to be a businessperson than to spend three weeks in a tent, looking at little tufts of fungus–alga symbionts.

It’s the big picture and the little picture. It’s Philip Morrison’s speech at the end of that Polaroid film. It’s the SX-70 letting you be more inside experience, less concerned with problems of representation, in something more than a tree or a net. It’s an idea of technology that seems a little dangerous and very good to me. It reminds me of Twitter a little. Lately there I appreciated a map of surf conditions from Bob’s son, and reconnected with my fellow student R.’s cousin."
charlieloyd  highschool  projects  projectbasedlearning  pbl  naturalhistory  lichen  names  naming  2013  memory  learning  education  books  writing  teaching  sx-70  philipmorrison  polaroid  mushrooms  bobrodieck  unschooling  deschooling  sight  seeing  memories  imaging  photography  publishing  promotion  fun  play  words  wordplay  design  davidarora  trevorgoward  brucemccune  delmeidinger  science  interestedness  interestingness  interested 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Makerspace Playbook | Makerspace
"Take a peek our current draft of the Makerspace Playbook, intended to offer some guidance to those who are hoping to start a Makerspace at their school or in their community. We welcome your feedback on the kinds of things we should add to this Playbook, what you think we got right and wrong, and any changes you’d make in general. We already know we’d like to add things like sample letters to garner support from administration and potential funders, more spotlights of teachers doing this kind of making with their students, and more detail about what the new roles for teachers, mentors, and shop hosts might entail. What do you need to know to get your Makerspace up and running?"

[Makerspace Playbook: http://makerspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/makerspaceplaybook-201204.pdf
High School Makerspace Tools & Materials: http://makerspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/hsmakerspacetoolsmaterials-201204.pdf ]
highschool  lcproject  openstudioproject  playbooks  howto  hackerspaces  makespaces 
november 2012 by robertogreco
5by5 | Back to Work #93: 67 Points of Articulation
"This week, Dan and Merlin continue their purging personal odyssey through the state of Florida. Isolation, education, and a parting admonition not to throw your cap in the air."

[See also: "Vocational Wheel" http://5by5.tv/b2w/7 ]
growingup  peakingearly  graduation  florida  children  adolescence  knowitalls  middleschool  highschool  vocationaltraining  teaching  schools  obedience  moving  isolation  learning  writing  fiveparagraphessays  2012  education  danbenjamin  merlnmann 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Why kids hate school — subject by subject - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post
"Recently an article I wrote about why algebra is useless and shouldn’t be taught in high school was published…

The hate mail that followed…was unbelievable. Most accused me of being irrational and incapable of thought, and stated that math teaches people to think. This is pretty funny because if math is supposed to teach one to think, as they argue, they might have looked me up and discovered that not only was I a math major in college, but I was also a professor of computer science.

Of course, it is not only high school math that I oppose. I believe that every single subject taught in high school is a mistake…

A Barcelona newspaper recently published an interview that it did with me. I said in that iterview that the only way we learn is by doing — and to do that we must practice constantly. Schools rarely teach doing.

So here’s my advice: Learn what matters to you. If you want to graduate from high school, go ahead and memorize a lot of nonsense but don’t expect it to matter…"
highschool  deschooling  unschooling  learningbydoing  learning  education  2012  rogerschank 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Aporia. Writing and lesser things by Mills Baker. Friendship.
"1. Before real friendship comes lucid self-awareness…

2. But we do not deserve the consolations of friendship if they are based on misrepresented or misunderstood expressions of selfhood…[or] secret needs…

3. Know yourself or know none, know nothing, disappear…high school as I remember it was mostly the exchange of blinded and unarticulated selves for approximations of friendship…

4. …it is necessary to be mercilessly ‘objective,’…with oneself: do not admit into evidence subjectively sympathetic excuses, do not contextualize one’s own actions with justificatory narratives…be endlessly ‘subjective,’ again so to speak, with others: imagine anything and everything one can to excuse them, explain them, understand and love them…

5. When I have been lonely, I have thought of myself subjectively and others objectively. This is the only real means to the self-pity which defines loneliness: to think of oneself as the world…

6. Friendship is something one exercises, like compassion; it is a solitary choice, requiring the approval or affection of no one at all. Every desire which seeks a psychological state as its result should be suspected of superficiality at least, but in the case of those who seek friendship as an antidote to loneliness, it is not merely a vice but a countermanding of what’s sought. One is not a friend, of course, when one’s friends are means to an end: means to escape solitude, tools rather than accomplices.

(To consider: “Friendship should be a gratuitous joy like those afforded by art or life.” What sort of joys are those? What does it mean that they’re gratuitous?)."
listening  understanding  grace  simoneweil  2012  wisdom  happiness  relationships  selflessness  love  highschool  loneliness  friendship  millsbaker 
june 2012 by robertogreco
I’d Suck at Being a Teen Today — The Good Men Project
"My son checks online about a college out east he’s curious about. He picks up a few facts and data. And suddenly he’s panicking about his class schedule. We see natural disasters occur – many times live on our televisions or computers – and we become overcome with a desire to help. Again, some of these things are extraordinarily good. But they illustrate the demands placed on our shoulders by having easy access to information.

Technology makes it nearly impossible for many kids to get a break. When I was a 16-year-old who had a bad day, I’d go home, put some headphones on and listen to my favorite album until my dad called me down for dinner. Today, that same 16-year-old might toss on headphones and listen to music on their iPhone. But they also are checking Facebook and texting at the same time. They still are getting sucked into the drama of their life and their friends."
anxiety  stress  collegeadmissions  search  informationaccess  childhood  socialnetworking  socialnetworks  solitude  quiet  highschool  jimhigley  adolescence  connectivity  teens  2012 
february 2012 by robertogreco
PRE-Texts § Cultural Agents Initiative
"PRE-Texts© is an instructional program for teachers in schools and after-school centers to adopt and adapt techniques that enhance higher order thinking through hands-on engagement with literature. The program offers units of instruction that invite economically disadvantaged students to explore literature as recyclable material, re-writing classic texts through creative techniques that incorporate visual and performing arts. PRE-Texts© also encourages students to display their work in public performances, art exhibits, and entrepreneurial activities that involve the local community and feature dialogue between established writers and young people. It  is an ever-evolving program, and its underpinnings have been tailored to both a professional development curriculum and an after-school program for a range of students, from elementary to high school."
via:joguldi  literacy  literature  recycling  argentina  bookmaking  classics  performingarts  art  culture  classideas  curriculum  teaching  highschool  tcsnmy  k12  pre-texts  community  entrepreneurship 
november 2011 by robertogreco
How college prep is killing high school - Ideas - The Boston Globe
"Emerging research in the education world suggests that a tougher approach to high school academics might leave students no better prepared for college and work, while also increasing the number of high school dropouts. The National Research Council concluded that high school exit exams have decreased high school graduation rates in the United States by 2 percentage points without increasing achievement. In Chicago, a 2010 study found no positive effects on student achievement from a school reform measure that ended remedial classes and required college preparatory course work for all students. High school graduation rates declined, and there was no improvement in college enrollment and retention rates among students who did graduate."
highschool  college  academics  tcsnmy  toshare  collegeprep  rigor  dropouts  unschooling  deschooling  dropoutrates  education  achievement  achievementgap  graduationrates  2011  research  russellrumberger 
november 2011 by robertogreco
The high school transcript is the most nefarious force in education that no one is talking about « Re-educate Seattle
"High school is a game that’s played by a certain set of rules. Those who are good at understanding and following the rules are rewarded with A’s. The problem is that, often, these rules have nothing to do with a student’s command of academic content.

So all the complexity of Jane, Andrew, and Zelia are reduced to this:

Jane – A
Andrew – B
Zelia – F

As their classroom teacher, I can tell you with certainty: these letters, they do not mean what you think they mean."
stevemiranda  collegeadmissions  highschool  grades  grading  assessment  learning  education  pscs  pugetsoundcommunityschool  2011  transcripts  schooliness  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  standardization  thegameofschool  theprincessbride 
september 2011 by robertogreco
James Brown as school principal « Re-educate Seattle
"We talked about “Cultural Relations”…in which the school would rearrange the class schedule for an entire week while students led forums on issues like racism & sexism. The students led the forums. Adults were instructed to sit at their desks & stay out of the way.<br />
<br />
The result, of course, was mayhem. It was the same every year, with some of the discussions spiraling out of control, hordes of students skipping out to grab coffee…attendance counts hopelessly inaccurate. The administration had lost control of the school.<br />
<br />
But when you talk to alumni from that era, many will tell you that Cultural Relations was a life-changing experience. Because amid all the chaos, there were still moments when black kids, white kids, Asian kids, Latino kids, gay and lesbian kids, kids who had been abused, rich kids and poor kids . . . they engaged each other in authentic conversations about their lives and their experiences. These conversations were raw and unfiltered. They were real…"
stevemiranda  unschooling  deschooling  education  messiness  learning  chaos  control  administration  whatmatters  memories  highschool  school  schooliness  2011  authenticity  realworld 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Transcript of SLA student Sinnea Douglas's "When I Become a Teacher" as performed before Chris Lehmann's closing keynote at ISTE 2011
[Just the ending here. Click through for the full text.]

"My students will be poets

storytellers

actors

artists

analyst

activists

All while being beautiful

Everyday I will tell them they're beautiful"
sla  iste  poetry  poems  highschool  education  teaching  beauty  tcsnmy  learning  creativity  sinneadouglas 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Field Notes: Adventures in Radical Schooling
"Follow the extensive field studies of the students from Northwest Passage High School. Our Mission: Rekindling our hope, exploring our world, seeking our path, while building our community."
northwestpassagehighschool  education  unschooling  deschooling  learning  highschool  radicalschooling  radical  blogs  lcproject 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Alternative 'Commie' High Mellows with Time : NPR
"Small, alternative high schools are like butterflies: They're unique and colorful, and they don't survive very long.

Experimental high schools are often born in a burst of enthusiasm, then disappear when the budget gets tight. But amid all the changing flavors of education reform, one school has hung in there. Community High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., has offered children in this progressive city an alternative to traditional high school since 1972.

For a high school, Community is small — 450 students housed in a well-worn former elementary school. But if you want a quick glimpse at what really makes Community different, don't go to a regular class. Go to what Community calls a "forum."

Teacher Robbie Stapleton uses the forum — an enhanced homeroom — to teach values and to encourage students to bond deeply with their peers, who will spend their entire four years in high school meeting with the same group."
education  alternative  communityhighschool  highschool  progressive  identity  annarbor  michigan  tcsnmy  lcproject  community  smallschools  2008  perception  unschooling  deschooling 
june 2011 by robertogreco
High School Teaches Thoreau in the Woods : NPR
"The Walden Project is an alternative program focused on environmental studies and on the teachings of Henry David Thoreau, who did some of his best thinking outdoors at Walden Pond.

Life Consists with Wildness

Matt Schlein, a New York native, is 50 percent of the staff at Walden. After years teaching in a traditional high school, Schlein started a foundation that raised the money to buy the 260 acres that the Walden Project uses as its classroom.

Two or three days a week, Schlein drives through the farmlands around Vergennes, Vt., parks his well-used Toyota next to a 200-year-old barn, grabs some vegetables from a garden he maintains and walks nearly a mile through the woods.

On one school day in early January, Schlein gets to a spot where 19 students sit on a motley collection of old chairs and benches. Schlein starts to read from Thoreau's essay "Walking."…"
alternative  education  thewaldenproject  schools  schooldesign  tcsnmy  thoreau  lcproject  highschool  vermont  smallschools  society  humanism  classics  classideas  via:leisurearts  unschooling  deschooling  nature  projectbasedlearning  interdisciplinary  identity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  2008  pbl 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Walden: Introduction « Willowell Foundation
"student…is asked to distill this info & create a cohesive picture of the world. While it is undoubtedly true that many students have achieved success w/ this model, it is also clear that this model does not work for everyone. Creating a sense of one’s place in world, through education, is a highly individualized affair. To that end, it is important that we offer students a variety of ways to wrestle w/ the important questions of learning, where there is a natural thematic connection linking the fields of study. There is a historical precedence for this type of interdisciplinary education.

On the following pages, you will read about TWP…a model based upon this idea…each academic discipline is discussed & its relationship to the VT Framework of Standards is detailed…program itself is designed so these distinctions are blurred. While students will undoubtedly gain the skills in each academic discipline, these skills will be developed as part of a broader mode of inquiry."
alternative  education  thewaldenproject  schools  schooldesign  tcsnmy  thoreau  lcproject  highschool  vermont  smallschools  society  humanism  classics  classideas  via:leisurearts  unschooling  deschooling  nature  projectbasedlearning  interdisciplinary  identity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  pbl 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Outside In: The Walden Project Helps Students See the Forest for the Trees | Edutopia
"not school in the traditional sense. It is a community of 19 students & 2 teachers who use this former farmland for what the founder calls a "great, living template for education." They spend three days a week outdoors, through fall, bitter winter, and spring. On Tuesdays, for Field Sociology class and writing, the students visit government offices, nonprofit organizations, & other institutions in Burlington, a college town of 40,000 located 20mi away.

On Fridays, they work at internships in their areas of interest, such as Web design or photography.

Matt Schlein, who had taught English, drama, & psychology at VUHS for 6 years, founded the project in 2000 with a vision of authentic, student-directed learning based in nature. He created a small foundation, Willowell, and collected grants and donations to buy the 230 acres Walden Project participants call simply "the land" -- a swath of sloping fields spotted with woods & ringed by the Green Mountains."
alternative  education  thewaldenproject  schools  schooldesign  tcsnmy  thoreau  lcproject  highschool  vermont  smallschools  society  humanism  classics  classideas  via:leisurearts  unschooling  deschooling  nature  projectbasedlearning  interdisciplinary  identity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  funding  pbl 
june 2011 by robertogreco
The Walden Project
"The Walden Project is an alternative learning program through Vergennes Union High School. It focuses mainly on science and literature while exploring the relationship between humans, society, and the natural world. Walden encourages students to take their education into their own hands and make it their own."
alternative  education  thewaldenproject  schools  schooldesign  tcsnmy  thoreau  lcproject  highschool  vermont  smallschools  society  humanism  classics  classideas  via:leisurearts  unschooling  deschooling  nature  projectbasedlearning  interdisciplinary  identity  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  pbl 
june 2011 by robertogreco
The Periscope Project: Urban Education Initiative by The Periscope Project — Kickstarter
"Designed by resident contemporary artists, architects, and educators, the first annual Periscope Urban Laboratory will teach high school students drawing, photography, video-making, construction, hydroponic gardening, and critical thinking skills as potent tools for urban analysis, public art, and environmental sustainability.

Each lab in the series will guide high school students in producing an analytically engaging artistic response to a contemporary regional urban issue and will culminate in a gallery show at the end of the summer. More importantly, we hope to equip students with valuable technical, visual, and aesthetic communication tools necessary to understand, interpret, and critically respond to the urgent urban challenges they face.

We already have the space, skilled instructors, and community support. With your help, the next step is equipment and supplies."
sandiego  kickstarter  education  fundraising  urbanlaboratory  highschool  drawing  photography  learning  lcproject  2011 
june 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The Age of Reason
"at 11, is considered…to be adult because he is alleged to have acted badly…how good must  [he] be to be considered an adult?…

…imagine now that you are btwn age 10 & 25. If you are you're in a bizarre never-never land where your age will always be used against you, but rarely get you anything…

Let's start by correcting juvenile justice laws…while we're doing that, let's make sure that we are moving kids toward freedom, that Middle School looks more open, more chaotic, than elementary school. That High School looks, & is, more open still. That, like adults, kids aren't badgered for being 5 minutes late, or for forgetting something. That, like adults, kids have the freedom to sit, stand, or walk around - freedom to use the toilet, freedom to eat & drink in most places. That, like adults, kids have the freedom to control their own learning.

If we are training our kids to be adults, lets first not make them adults for wrong reasons…then, lets show them what it actually means."
youth  teens  adolescence  adulthood  adults  criminalization  juveniles  juvenilejustice  justice  education  middleschool  highschool  law  legal  irasocol  democracy  democratic  learning  behavior  control  agediscrimination  inconsistency  2011  murder  reason  change  reform  lcproject  tcsnmy  classideas  unschooling  deschooling 
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Community School [Camden, Maine]
"The Community School was founded in 1973 as Maine’s first alternative high school. We offer two core programs: a nine-month Residential Program, and a home-based Passages Program for teen parents."

"The Community School offers a relational learning program that transforms the nature of a high school education. We provide students with the skills and experience necessary to discover their strengths, connect with their families, practice personal responsibility, and contribute to their communities."

[Now merged with Opportunity Farm to become Wayfinder Schools: http://wayfinderschools.org/ ]
maine  camden  schools  highschool  education  alternative  progressive  residential  lcproject  tcsnmy 
march 2011 by robertogreco
CITYterm
"CITYterm, a semester program for thirty intellectually adventuresome juniors and seniors in high school, makes New York City its Laboratory and Classroom.

At CITYterm you will explore the city. You will immerse yourself in the city's five boroughs, connecting with them. You will meet authors, city officials, historians, urban planners, the homeless. you will come to understand New York City, its inhabitants and your own learning potential, returning to your home school ready to embark upon new adventures."
nyc  cityterm  classtrips  conferences  teaching  experientiallearning  education  cities  lcproject  cv  exploration  urban  urbanism  psychogeography  classideas  fieldtrips  highschool  learning  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  residential  camps  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary 
february 2011 by robertogreco
DIY U: Digital Apprenticeship and the Modern Guild | e-Literate
"Jim Groom suggested apprenticeship might be a good model for networked learning, particularly for those students who are not auto-didactic…a model that is well understood, can work for a variety of topics in less formal settings, can get learners productive on certain tasks quickly, & can get the benefits of scale by using modern communications technologies…So in this post, I’m going to consider the question of what it would take to embed apprenticeship into the fabric of our society as a broadly accepted career path across a wide range of career types…

If it’s really going to take hold, then digital apprenticeship has to be very clearly class-leveling rather than class-perpetuating. But what would that look like? How can we craft a modern apprenticeship relationship that has a close bi-directional apprentice/master relationship and is economically leveling?"
apprenticeships  education  highschool  colleges  universities  learning  digitalapprenticeships  jimgroom  highereducation  highered  edupunk  diyu  training  via:leighblackall  school-to-work  vocational  michaelfeldstein 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Taking the A-Train: Change Observer: Design Observer
"A college student teaches journalism to high school students in Brooklyn, using civic engagement to achieve education goals."
teaching  cityasclassroom  education  journalism  highschool  learning  subways  nyc  interviews  classideas  conversation  citizenship  civics  civicengagement  engagement  urban  urbanism  us  publictransit  community  transportation 
december 2010 by robertogreco
:: NuVu studio
"Students register for a specific studio such as “Balloon Mapping”, “Music and the City”, or “Future of Global Warming” of which there will be approximately 10 students, one Coach and an Assistant Coach. The Coach begins by providing a general overview of a problem to the students, an ambiguous real-world problem with potentially millions of answers. With the Coach’s help each student frames the problem from his/her perspective and enters into an iterative development process supported by the studio team of students & advisors.

Students are provided with access to outside resources – leading thinkers and experts – to whom they present their framework and receive feedback. Students document their process and progress, continually reviewing it with the Coach. They set parameters, synthesize, and continue refining, refining, refining. NuVu trains students to apply multiple perspectives to challenge and refine ideas over and over again until it becomes a natural way of learning."

[See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5ZlJVHfiYg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmY2_Xlhpng and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4f4vb7GBIg&list=PL4D54C52BBC9A68D8 ]
education  engineering  highschool  lcproject  openstudio  mit  pedagogy  stem  design  make  innovation  technology  problemsolving  learning  boston  process  unschooling  deschooling  studioclassroom  designthinking  nuvu  nuvustudio 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Project: Interaction - INVENT DESIGN CHANGE
"Project: Interaction is a 10-week after school program that teaches high schoolers to use design to change their communities.

They will learn valuable skills in storytelling, communication, creative thinking and problem solving while being exposed to interaction design as a potential career opportunity. Using New York City as a catalyst for creative thought and exploration, we will challenge students to approach problems using a variety of design methods. Students will be encouraged to tackle issues that matter to them with the prospect of creating viable solutions."
sustainability  education  change  highschool  storytelling  design  curriculum  community  classes  socialchange  interactiondesign  nyc  nonprofit  interaction  designthinking  lcproject  classideas  nonprofits 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Dancing Towards Uncertainty - Notes from the Classroom - GOOD
"Brandon did not have a formal education of any kind until the 4th grade (his parents were content to let him run around in woods), he still managed to get higher scores on more AP tests than any student in the history of our school...since it is my job, I told him to stay in school, work hard, & climb ladder...Brandon, however, does not want the ladder. He wants to dance.

&...I want to join him. I, too, am tired of the coldly constructed educational approach that demands a clear answer to every question. I believe that before growth can happen there has to be a period of doubt & uncertainty. Certainty kills innovation, & while I need a degree of certainty in the surgeon poking around in my brain or the pilot flying my plane, I also hope that somewhere along the line they have learned how to be creative. When problems develop for which they have been provided no textbook answer, I need them to be able to step back, take a breath, & lose themselves in the dance of the moment."
certainty  uncertainty  art  dance  education  learning  passion  talent  highschool  genius  unschooling  design  deschooling  society  ratrace  challenge  tcsnmy  lcproject  creativity  problemsolving  criticalthinking  teaching  purpose 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Physics First in Science Education Reform
"Biology first, chemistry second, physics third: The traditional American high school science curriculum follows this order. Education reformers do not believe this needs to be the case. In part due to poor student performance in international science assessments, some educators are rethinking the way science should be taught in the United States."
physics  biology  chemistry  sequence  highschool  curriculum  science  education  schools  us  committeeoften 
june 2010 by robertogreco
High School Biology Today: What the Committee of Ten Did Not Anticipate -- Vázquez 5 (1): 29 -- CBE—Life Sciences Education
"Since the recommendation of biology (or natural history, as it used to be called) in 1893 as part of the high school science curriculum, biology was considered a descriptive subject. In the late 1890s biology consisted of zoology, botany, and physiology. The group that decided on the high school science course configuration was the Committee of Ten. The committee was organized by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1892 to deal with the issue of uniform college entrance requirements. This essay argues that the decision of the Committee of Ten to place biology before chemistry and physics needs to be reexamined. The committee's recommendations are still being implemented over a hundred years later, and the issue of high school science course sequence is currently being debated."
science  education  sequence  highschool  schools  curriculum  chemistry  biology  physics  committeeoften 
june 2010 by robertogreco
College Admissions and the Essential School | Coalition of Essential Schools
"When schools change curriculum and assessment practices, everyone worries that students will suffer in the college selection process. But most selective colleges say they're used to unusual transcripts, and big universities are looking for new ways to work with schools in change."
education  change  reform  admissions  colleges  universities  highschool  tcsnmy  transcipts  grades  grading  evaluation  assessment  science  physics  biology  chemistry  sequence  committeeoften  curriculum  habitsofmind  kathleencushman  1994  tedsizer  coalitionofessentialschools  competency 
june 2010 by robertogreco
EasyWriter
"To help you better understand the conventions of academic and professional writing, we have identified the twenty error patterns (other than misspelling) most common among U.S. college students and list them here in order of frequency. These twenty errors are likely to cause you the most trouble, so it is well worth your effort to check for them in your writing.
english  errors  grammar  highschool  teaching  writing  reference  punctuation  correction  conventions  practice  tcsnmy  via:lukeneff 
june 2010 by robertogreco
The 21st Century Classroom – Alfie Kohn — Open Education
"It is interesting to note that for many children, middle & high school becomes the place where school is no longer enjoyable. It is, of course, at that time that students traditionally have been subject to a shift from student-centered classroom to teacher-centered, content-driven academic approach. The result is that school, instead of being a place where students look forward to going each day because it features an exciting atmosphere where learning new things is enjoyable, becomes a chore at best, a problem at worst. At the very age when students most resist compliance & teacher-centered approaches, too many teachers, &, by default, too many schools insist on employing such a format. Because of the sophistication needed educationally, there is no doubt that 21st century classrooms demand shift from ‘sage on the stage’ to ‘guide on the side’ approach. That move is a requirement to produce the type of student that will excel in creative, technologically-rich world we face."
21stcenturylearning  professionaldevelopment  administration  pedagogy  learning  education  leadership  teaching  tcsnmy  lcproject  middleschool  progressive  student-centered  teacherasmasterlearner  schools  schooling  highschool  traditional  alfiekohn 
may 2010 by robertogreco
The Back Page
"We are in the midst of paradox in math education. As more states strive to improve math curricula and raise standardized test scores, more students show up to college unprepared for college-level math. The failure of pre-college math education has profound implications for the future of physics programs in the United States. A recent article in my local paper, the Baltimore Sun: “A Failing Grade for Maryland Math,” highlighted this problem that I believe is not unique to Maryland. It prompted me to reflect on the causes."
math  education  tcsnmy  comprehension  mathematics  academia  learning  highschool  teaching  testing  standardizedtesting  rigor  politics  physics  curriculum 
april 2010 by robertogreco
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