September’s Worthwhile Reads, Part I

Note: My hope is that this will become a semi-monthly “department” of sorts here–a regular sharing of articles and blog posts that captured my attention and caused me to think about my teaching or about education in general.

AHA Today, “History Tuning Update: ‘History Discipline Core’ Now Available”
“The American Historical Association’s Tuning Project has released the “History Discipline Core,” the result of a collaborative effort by participants to “describe the skills, knowledge and habits of mind that students develop in history courses and degrees.” … The Discipline Core articulates a vision of what history is, what history students can do (a.k.a. core competencies), and how history students can demonstrate historical skills and perspectives (a.k.a. learning outcomes).”

Critical Explorers, “Reimagining a ‘Flipped’ Classroom”
“Yet for all the hype, the Khan Academy actually turns very little on its head. It continues to rely on the model of lecture/demonstration followed by practice/mastery. The locations of the two stages might be “flipped,” yet the very presence of those stages perpetuates what Paulo Freire called the banking concept of education, in which a teacher deposits information and skills into a learner’s brain and later retrieves them via a test of some sort. There is, however, an educational model that really does turn convention on its head. It does this not by having teachers and learners play their conventional roles in different locations or through different media, but by encouraging them to play different roles altogether.”

The Learning Pond, “Day 2: World As Teacher”
“It is a day like this that makes me want to smash every digital device in school and home and scream “it is all right here!” But that is rash and intemperate: each tool has its place. But I tell you what: if I had seen a family van driving alongside me today with kids glued to a Disney flick on the in-car DVD player, it would have been a knife to my heart and soul. Give me students and time to walk down just five miles of these hills, plunging down through the history of the earth, ask why that plant grows there and how water and soil and bungs and air all create high summer in one range and not in another.”

Education Rethink, “Getting Past the Lone Ranger Mythology”
“My students want to believe that history is a series of saviors . . . bolding taking on structures and systems alone. . . . History doesn’t work like this. . . . History becomes powerful, authentic, and approachable when we realize the hidden narrative that large, organized groups can produce amazing social change when they act both collectively and individually.”

it’s about learning, “PROCESS POST: Pushing my thinking evolution about master planning in education and schools”
“We spend enormous time, energy, and resources on physical-space planning, yet we don’t really do such with the core of what really exists at the center of learning in schools. . . . I wonder what would happen on a school campus if a small group of builders just squatted on a section of property and began building. What if this “rogue” group sawed, hammered, and nailed their creation without much coordination with the campus master plan. Not from spite or rebellion. Just from lack of clarity and collective connectedness. Such happens every day in the pedagogical and instructional system of a school. Lots of independent contractors not having the level of master plans to which they have contributed and from which they can coordinate.”

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2 comments
  1. boadams1 said:

    Many thanks for including my blog, It’s About Learning, in this collection of fascinating thinking and ideas. I really appreciate being in this group.

    • Matt said:

      I’ve been quite impressed with your posts on “Pedagogical Master Planning,” Bo. I think you’re really on to something there, and I look forward to reading more. The metaphor is elegant, and it seems like such an obvious thing–so why hasn’t anyone talked about it in these terms before?

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