GOOD

Teaching is the Best Way to Learn: Why One Man is Hiring Struggling Teens to Tutor Elementary Students

In a district where 85 percent of ninth graders read below grade level, most of the teens hired by Mark and his team know firsthand what it’s like to fall behind in school. Helping younger students become proficient in reading at a young age gives them a chance to be an integral part of fixing this problem. And as it turns out, when teens feel useful and smart, they act that way.

[vimeo][/vimeo]

When Mark Hecker was teaching at a transitional school for kids just out of juvenile detention, he noticed that most of his students weren’t super jazzed about catching up in school.

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Earlier this year in the Curtis School community, we asked teachers what they want their students to become. They used words like compassionate, cooperative, creative, critically thinking, and curious. We asked parents and guardians to identify the words they'd use to define the future "success" of their children—they used words like independent, open-minded, self-motivated, resilient, and engaged. And we asked 8 to 12-year-old students to describe the very best they hoped to become—they used words like balanced, flexible, enthusiastic, honest, cooperative, and determined.

In October we invited similar input from participants at "Teaching and Learning at Home and at School", a conference held on our campus in Los Angeles for passionate educators and parents/guardians—engaged members of both public and private school communities—to reflect on our common commitments to the lives and the learning of school-aged children at school and at home. The 600 participants were stakeholders from 125 schools and districts—yet nobody used words like accountable, competitive, distinguished, or exceptional.

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GOOD Video: Meet the Winner of the Great American Teach-Off Round 2

The winner of The Great American Teach-Off Round 2 has been announced. Check out this video to meet your winner.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRjuZyObQ60&feature=youtu.be

This post is in partnership with University of Phoenix

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What Does Teaching Creativity Look Like?

Our standardized approach to education has a siloed understanding of what it means to be creative. Here's what schools should be teaching instead.


Do you see yourself as a creative person? Our current standardized approach to teaching and learning tends to slot students students into silos—art-school types on one side and analytical thinkers on the fast track to law school on the other—so our society has a pretty limited understanding of what being creative actually means and what it looks like across disciplines. Creativity expert Michael Michalko, author of Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work has developed a list of 12 things most people aren't taught in school—but should be—about creativity.

Michalko writes on his blog at Psychology Today that the most important thing students should be taught is that everyone "is born a creative, spontaneous thinker." If students are told they're creative, they become creative, and start working to acquire the skills needed to express that creative identity. Conversely, students who accept that they're not creative develop mental blocks that keep them "from trying or attempting anything new."

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Harvard Looks Beyond Lectures to Keep Students Engaged

If the school's new effort is a success, the days of bored students checking Facebook during lectures could be over.

With some Harvard students saying they'd rather check Facebook in class than listen to another dry lecture, the university's faculty have been clamoring for better ways to engage students. Unfortunately, professors with serious academic expertise sometimes don't know the best teaching methods. And, given the pressure to publish or perish, many are forced to emphasize their research over instruction.

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Is Education Reform Effective? Depends on the Definition.

Too many education solutions fall apart when you step back and ask some tough questions.


Here’s the dilemma for people who write about education: Certain critical principles need to be mentioned again and again because policymakers persist in ignoring them, yet faithful readers eventually tire of the repetition.

Consider, for example, the reminder that schooling isn’t necessarily better just because it’s more “rigorous.” Or that standardized test results are such a misleading indicator of teaching or learning that raising scores can actually lower the quality of students’ education. Or that using rewards or punishments to control students inevitably backfires in multiple ways.

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