Education Evolutions #82

The future of books flickr photo by Johan Larsson shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Apologies for the delayed delivery. After feeling a bit under the weather and then feeling the full force of a grading bottleneck since re-entering the classroom full-time, my normal Sunday deadline slipped past me. Fortunately, it is not a regular occurrence, but I still feel bad about it.

This week is a handful of quicker reads, especially given the reduced time to have a look at them. Hopefully, there is something worth a longer look for everyone. No real theme this week. It is a wide assortment.

This week’s “If you read only one article…” is the first one. With greater interest in things like mindfulness and other similar efforts, it is easy to turn focus inward. This article questions that impulse toward the individual over the collective. Together we educators are always far more powerful.

Hav a good week, what’s left of it.

Here are three+ curated articles about education, technology, and evolutions in teaching.

Getting Stuck on Self-Care: Why Community Care is Important for Educators – Teachers Going Gradeless –  Benjamin Doxdator (5-minute read)

Over the last couple of years, I have become quite a fan of Benjamin Doxtador’s writing. The Canadian teaching in Belgium is one of the most erudite writers working at the K12 level. Here he aims his shrewd eye at one of the trends rippling through education, self-care. Careful not to dismiss the need for teachers to care for themselves, he highlights how that effort can also become a way to add yet another responsibility to those already performing in a caring profession.

While not his original idea, as he is always quick to credit others, he cites Yashna Padamsee’s notion of communities of care and suggests it is an idea that we educators consider. The idea of moving from an outlook rooted in independence toward interdependence is one that we ought to give a whole lot more consideration. As public education faces continued attacks, one need only look to Wisconsin’s latest democratic debacle for an egregious example, teachers could do worse than to create communities of care.

Why science and engineering need to remind students of forgotten lessons from history – The Conversation –  Muhammad H. Zaman (4-minute read)

While I admit that I have begun to grow a bit weary of the incessant STEM focus in schools lately, I do not dismiss its importance or anything. Still, I am a humanities guy, however, after all. That is why I liked this piece so much. Nearly all of my favorite memories of math and science as a student involved engaging teachers that were chock full of enthusiasm and great stories associated with their subject. In fact, I still remember quite a few historical stories from those classes that made the work come far more vividly to life.

We know that stories are great aids to learning. So incorporating more historical stories that provide context for the material being studied would unquestionably benefit. Yet, Zaman’s focus on the benefits associated with highlighting the failures involved in science might be the most interesting and compelling reason for anyone still skeptical. In fact, I think highlighting failures in all disciplines would likely benefit students.

Education Rebranders – Gary Rubinstein’s Blog –  Gary Rubinstein (5-minute read)

This was kind of timely post about a current trend afoot in the edreform community. The forces taking aim at public education remain as insidious as ever. So rebranding is one way that they can co-opt more education terms or coin new spins on existing political ones, case in point the recent lessons learned by Boston Public Schools about school closing from Chicago’s historic efforts. BPS has decided “renovation” is not nearly as threatening.

The important thing is that these new rebranding efforts at reform will require closer attention to the new euphemisms that begin to bloom. That is what a rebranding usually is anyway, just new packaging and pitches for the same product. More choice, poor performing schools, bad teachers, rigorous standards, and accountability are not going to fade from those powerful forces with public education in their crosshairs, no matter how they decide to rename it.

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