Homeschooling high school with interest-led learning — from raisinglifelonglearners.com by Colleen Kessler

Excerpt:

There is a misconception that interest-led learning is not appropriate for a high school education in your homeschool. The good news is that all the same benefits of interest-led learning still apply in the middle and high school years.

Think of an interest-led homeschool as one that functions more as a college than a high school. Just as a college student declares a major and the bulk of their study is in that topic area with supplemental general education, your interest-led high school can function the same way.

Allowing interests to guide the educational path you take in your high school has tremendous benefits including:

    • Less resistance
    • Less learner anxiety
    • Increased self-confidence in learning
    • More in-depth studies in topics of interest
    • Self-motivated learning that can be applied in later college and career settings
 
 

In elementary classrooms, demand grows for play-based learning — from hechingerreport.org by Ariel Gilreath
Play supporters point to improved literacy, fewer achievement gaps, and better motor skills for students

Excerpt:

It can be difficult to explain what play-based learning looks like, said Mara Krechevsky, senior researcher at Project Zero, an education research group in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Over the past seven years, Krechevsky and her research team have been working on a project called the Pedagogy of Play, studying play-based learning at schools in Boston, Denmark, South Africa and Colombia.

Through their research, Krechevsky’s group came up with three basic tenets for playful learning: students should be able to help lead their own learning, explore the unknown, and find joy. Under this framework, play time doesn’t have to be the reward for completing work and learning. Play can actually be the work, Krechevsky said.

Addendums on 11/20/22:

 

An obituary for education—or not? — from brookings.edu by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Jennifer M. Zosh, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Elias Blinkoff, and Molly Scott

Excerpt:

MAKING SCHOOLS WORK
The science of learning offers a blueprint of how children in our future can and will succeed. For the last three decades, researchers made enormous progress in understanding how human brains learn. If we can teach in a way that capitalizes on these findings—if we can apply the science to the classrooms—we will have evidence-based ways of helping children grow the suite of skills that will make them successful in today’s classrooms and the workplaces of tomorrow. Our Brookings report, A New Path to Educational Reform and our book Making Schools Work: Bringing the Science of Learning to Joyful Classroom Practice, detail how this research in the science of learning can offer a scalable, evidenced based path to re-invigorating and re-imagining education for our time.

Children learn when they are active, not passive observers of what is taught. Children learn when they are engaged in the material and not distracted, when the information is meaningfully connected to their knowledge in ways that are culturally responsive. They learn best in social contexts, when there are strong teacher-student and peer relationships, when the information is iteratively presented multiple times in slightly different ways, and when the learning is joyful. Yes, it is possible to have joyful teaching that affords deeper learning. When we teach in ways that the brain learns, the learning “sticks” and generalizes to new problems and new solutions.

 

How can colleges better serve students with autism? — from by Laura Spitalniak
Professor Sarah Howorth says her program at the University of Maine helps bridge the gap between high school and college for students with autism.

Excerpts:

In 2019, Howorth led the pilot for the University of Maine’s Step Up to College, a program meant to model how colleges can effectively support students with autism spectrum disorder.

There are so many myths and misunderstandings out there about what a person with autism is like. Autism is not necessarily associated with cognitive impairment. I have a 16-year-old son who is on the autism spectrum. He is also very intelligent, and he’s definitely college bound. There’s a lot of kids out there like him on the autism spectrum.

Individuals on the spectrum bring a lot to communities, whether that be university campuses, or high schools or businesses. Oftentimes, we focus on the challenges they face, but I think they have many, many more strengths than challenges.

Look at things from a Universal Design for Learning perspective. The things that you offer for students with autism on college campuses, like peer mentors, will help all students.


Also relevant/see:

So what can we do to decrease the exclusion and bullying that leads to trauma? We need to create activities and spaces where autistic people can be their authentic selves and be accepted without having to mask to fit in. We need to eradicate the isolation that is so commonplace by creating supportive communities that are truly safe and inclusive.


 

Sparking Curiosity for Learning — from rdene915.com by Rachelle Dene Poth

Excerpt:

When students are curious about learning, they become more invested in the process. Sparking curiosity will lead students to become problem solvers and critical thinkers and shift from being simply consumers to becoming creators and innovators. To bring these opportunities to our classrooms, we must first engage students in learning. But how?

 

Why Now Is The Time To Overhaul K-12 Education — from forbes.com by Phyllis Lockett and Michael Horn

Excerpts:

If you take a team approach, then one adult works with students on their social-emotional learning and how they connect to their learning. And another leverages data to create small group opportunities based on the learning objective. And another connects learning to real world projects and helps students build social capital in the community, which also creates a more permeable classroom that’s open to the outside world. Or there could be other ways the teams are structured to best support the student.

For all the plans in the past to “reinvent” K-12 education, none have questioned the fundamentals of time-based instruction. It’s no surprise then that the system produces the outcomes it does. Not every child needs exactly 180 days to master the knowledge and skills required for a third grader. Conversely, some kids need more time. It’s an arbitrary system that cuts off learning for children based on a calendar, yet doesn’t provide a different pathway forward for them that’s productive. In our current system, time is fixed and learning is variable, then students are labeled and sorted accordingly.

Michael Horn


From DSC:
This quote…

The answer is for district leaders to create independent teams of educators in which they are shielded from traditional day to day pressures and have the explicit license to do things differently. They can give these new “schools within schools” the resources they need without encumbering them by the old ways of doing things.

…makes me think of a graphic I did a while back about the need for more Trim Tabs within our learning ecosystems:


 

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Digest #166: Perfectionism in Education — from learningscientists.org by Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel

“Perfection is the opposite of done!” I came across this statement recently and it made me think about how perfectionism really affects one’s work and studying. Growing up, I always thought of perfectionism as a good thing, as something to aspire to. However, more recently I am questioning this thought. It adds unnecessary pressure that it difficult to live up to and sustain. I see that many issues that my students are experiencing can be traced back to perfectionism. To incredibly high goals and standards that are impossible to achieve and that makes your work not being “good enough” – when it actually is. The consequences of high perfectionism can be manifold and in today’s digest, I’d like to offer an overview of resources on perfectionism in education.

From DSC:
Somewhere along the lines, I heard that if an interviewer asks you to state a negative characteristic, choose something like perfectionism — to turn something that could be a negative into a positive. And back in my earlier days, I thought that made sense.

But I have to agree with Carolina here. The older I get, the more my empathy levels would rise if someone gave me that answer today. I’m a perfectionist and I can truly say that perfectionism is a joy-robber! It can destroy a good day. It can destroy a good mood. It can destroy joy. I don’t recommend it.

 

Returning Joy to Teaching & Learning — from gettingsmart.com by Trace Pickering

Key Points

  • Too many school-based reform efforts continue to have educators implicitly standing with the standards against the students.
  • Pivot your perspective for a moment to the opposite.
  • What does a school where its educators stand with the students against the standards look like?

From DSC:
My hunch is that we need to cut — or significantly weaken the ties — between the state legislative bodies out there and our public school systems. We shouldn’t let people who know little to nothing about teaching and learning make decisions about how and what to teach students. Let those on the front lines — ie., the teachers and local school system leaders/staff — collaborate with the community on those items.

 

 

Learning from Our Students: Student Perspectives on Good Teaching — from everylearnereverywhere.org; with thanks to Beth McMurtrie for this resource

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Twenty-two students trusted us with their stories and their reflections on good teaching. We honor that trust and hope that instructors who read this document gain as much insight about teaching from the students as we did. While we often write of students in the plural, each one of these students had an individual experience with learning and therefore a unique story to tell about good teaching. The key takeaways from their stories are:

  1. Students want to be recognized as individuals and appreciated in the classroom.
  2. Students want real life in the classroom.
  3. Students want to be treated with respect and trust.

We hope readers will likewise ask their own students, “What do your best instructors do?” and use that feedback to continuously improve their craft as teachers.

Out of 22 students:

active learning and a sense of belonging were the most frequently mentioned items from these 22 students

 

Futures Literacy: shaping your present by reimagining futures — from futurist.com by Nikolas Badminton and Loes Damhof

 

We must end ‘productivity paranoia’ on working from home says Microsoft — from inavateonthenet.net

Excerpt:

As part of a survey on hybrid working patterns of more than 20,000 people in 11 countries, Microsoft has called for an end to ‘productivity paranoia’ with 85% of business leaders still saying they find it difficult to have confidence in staff productivity when remote working.

“Closing the feedback loop is key to retaining talent. Employees who feel their companies use employee feedback to drive change are more satisfied (90% vs. 69%) and engaged (89% vs. 73%) compared to those who believe their companies don’t drive change. And the employees who don’t think their companies drive change based on feedback? They’re more than twice as likely to consider leaving in the next year (16% vs. 7%) compared to those who do. And it’s not a one-way street. To build trust and participation in feedback systems, leaders should regularly share what they’re hearing, how they’re responding, and why.”

From DSC:
It seems to me that trust and motivation are highly involved here. Trust in one’s employees to do their jobs. And employees who aren’t producing and have low motivation levels should consider changing jobs/industries to find something that’s much more intrinsically motivating to them. Find a cause/organization that’s worth working for.

 

Teachers Are Ready for Systemic Change. Are Schools? — from edweek.org by Madeline Will
Schools need effective, transformative change. Leaders must be ready to take it on

Excerpt:

So many people in education—from teachers to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona—have called this moment, as schools emerge from the darkest shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, our chance for a “reset in education.”

It’s a sentiment that repeatedly comes up in my interviews with teachers. They wonder if the pandemic’s disruption of schools was a once-in-a-generation chance to transform the education system, which is riddled with inequities and pedagogical practices that date back decades.

Some educators also wonder if we’re on the verge of squandering such a chance. That may be; in the rush to get students back on track, we’re at risk for overlooking many of the lessons learned from the last couple years.

“The teachers know what works,” Kelly said. “We need more people to not only listen to teachers, but we also need them to implement the things that teachers say.”

From DSC:
If the K12 learning ecosystems out there don’t change, students, families — and teachers — may let their feet do the walking. We’re seeing a similar situation within higher education, with mostly students’ feet who are starting to do the walking (to alternatives). Some employers’ feet are getting itchy to walk as well.

If you were going to weigh the power that each area holds, what would you put on the weight employers have to effect change these days? Institutions of higher education? Students and their families? Hmmm…change needs to be in the air. The status quo hasn’t been working well within K-12 or within higher education.

Also relevant within K-12, see:

Exit Interview: Why This Veteran Teacher is Leaving the Profession — from edsurge.com by Jennifer Yoo-Brannon

Excerpt:

It’s a frank and sometimes emotional conversation between Jennifer Yoo-Brannon, an instructional coach at El Monte Union High School District in California, and Diana Bell, a veteran teacher of more than 18 years who recently decided to leave the profession. They talk about what led to that departure and how teaching could change to better support educators.

Many Eyes Are on the Teachers Who Leave. What About the Ones Who Stay? — from edsurge.com by Patrick Harris II

Excerpt:

My own experience sits among countless narratives from other teachers, including teachers of the year, revealing the difficulty and the emotion behind the decision to leave a school—and for some, the choice to part ways with a system that never had their best interest at heart.

A lesser told story is the plight of the teachers who stay behind. The emotional narratives about their experiences, their feelings and the pressures they carry.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian