Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Business Week: Bill Gates' School Crusade
Education News; Corporate Role in Common Core Standards Ought to Be Exposed: Who appointed Bill Gates Emperor of Education?
Washington Post: Gates Foundation Playing Pivotal Role in Changes for Education System
Washinton Post: Bill Gates' Troubling Involvement with School Reform
Schools Matter: Rotten to the Common Core: When Will Parents and Teacher Revolt?
Rethinking Schools: Keeping Public Schools Public: Testing Companies Mine for Gold
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
“An important question to ask of any proposed educational innovation is simply this: Is it intended to make the factory run more efficiently, or is it designed, as it should be, to get rid of the factory model altogether and replace it with individualized, customized education?” ~Alvin Toffler
School as Community Versus School as Factory
Three images of School
The Odysseus Group: The Business of Schooling - John Taylor Gatto
The Underground History of Education - Gatto
Teacher's Mind Resources
Challenging Assumptions in Education
Sunday, July 11, 2010
by Bob Keteyian
Often, we use words like depression, bi-polar, panic attack, generalized anxiety disorder, and more to describe normal reactions kids have to life circumstances. This can be dangerous and gives kids the wrong message about life and our ordinary human experience in response to adversity.
For example, a teenager breaks up with her girl friend and is feeling down and dejected. Saying she is “depressed” would be common. Today, it can mean something else—Depression with a capital “D.” In a situation like this, I’ve found it better to stay away from “terminology” and use ordinary words to describe what the kid is going through, rather then telling them they may “have” depression and implying (or actually telling) that they should be thoroughly evaluated.
The girl in our above example was dumped by her friend. She’s upset, hurt, sad, angry, and feeling really down. She probably should be feeling all of that, as well as being confused and feeling poorly about herself. She is going through the normal progression of experience in a typical human circumstance. She needs love, support, hugs, understanding, encouragement, and time.
I’m not pooh-poohing depression or minimizing the potentially devastating impact of clinical depression. But I am trying to bring balance and common sense to our observations of kids going through a hard time and subsequently our communication with them.
My first mentor, Ralph, was a child psychiatrist. He passed on a piece of wisdom over thirty years ago that I carry with me today. Paraphrasing: if you describe in detail the behavior and emotions of any teenager, they will qualify for a mental health diagnosis—and some pretty heavy duty diagnoses at that! Teenagers have mood swings, black and white thinking, irrationality . . . etc. I don’t mean this disparagingly. During adolescence there are enormous body/mind changes which are very unsteadying. Any of us adults in a difficult situation will exhibit many of these behaviors, as well. Drawing diagnostic conclusions, though, can be dangerous—especially with kids
Also, we’ve gotten more detailed and sophisticated in our terminology about human behavior but often at the exclusion of common sense. For example, I’ve found myself using old-fashioned terms like “nervous exhaustion” or “nervous breakdown,” when they seem more accurate and helpful. Other choices like “psychotic break” or “bi-polar disorder” just don’t fit and aren’t helpful, and we can all identify with being in a “slump” or “down in the dumps.”
Connecting with others in distress by being patient and emotionally supportive is the first order of business. Expressing kindness and understanding are always helpful, even if it doesn’t have an immediate, discernable impact. Knowing someone cares makes a big difference. It’s simple but true. And communicating using simple, descriptive language is always the best medicine.