Mercedes Schneider: Betsy DeVos Will Use D.C. Power to Force Vouchers Down Your Throat — Diane Ravitch’s blog

Here is a paradox. Congress wrote a new law called “Every Student Succeeds Act,” late in 2015, loaded with limits on the power of the Secretary of Education. Both parties were fed up with Arne Duncan’s overweening reach into every school in the nation, going far beyond what Congress intended. Perhaps they knew that all […]

via Mercedes Schneider: Betsy DeVos Will Use D.C. Power to Force Vouchers Down Your Throat — Diane Ravitch’s blog

Progressivism and the fulfilled life…

Leafing through the many pages of my writing from over the years, I ran across an education article I wrote in 1991 as I was just beginning my journey into education. After reviewing it, I find it amazing that in all the years since my philosophy of education remains as steadfast as it did then (with a few additional refinements). Though there is much I would change as far as grammar and style, I have chosen to publish my article in original form.

John Dewey - Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to ...

Progressivism and the fulfilled life…

“The aim of education should be to teach the child to think, not what to think.” One brief comment by John Dewey (1859 – 1952) can sum up the total concept of progressive education. Progressivism’s basic underlying concept is that the physical world is the basis of reality, and as such, progresses over time. Since the world is progressing and changing over time, so must the ideas and methods behind educational instruction.

Sydney Smith said, “The real object of education is to give children the resources that will endure as long as life endures; habits that will ameliorate, not destroy; occupations that will render sickness tolerable, solitude pleasant, age venerable, life more dignified and useful, and death less terrible.” Careful scrutiny of Smith’s statement might lead one to the conclusion that indeed, these ideals reached, would lead an individual to a fulfilled life. Through Dewey’s methods of instruction, a child should, in all probability eventually reach this state of fulfillment in life.

The underlying basis for Dewey’s progressive schooling is that we learn best from meaningful life experiences, social interaction, and scientific experimentation. The focus of the curriculum is flexible, integrating academics around activities reflecting the personal integrity, need and experiences of the students. Each one has a path to take in life. Surely each path should be taken in the most harmonious manner to the individual. Just as we are not all Einstein’s – we cannot all be molded into the same form of thinking.

Dewey’s philosophy of education has students learning by doing. Students are directed or guided by a teacher into integrated learning experiences in which the student is encouraged to think and perform to the best of his/her ability in his/her most appropriate style.

What does the author mean by most appropriate style? Every student learns in a different style.  Some are auditory learners while still others are visual.  Many learn best through hands-on experiences. Progressivism allows for freedom of expression in learning.  It’s goal is for students to become independent problem solvers, to enjoy learning, and to live comfortably (remember Smith?) in the world while also helping to reshape it (as it progresses). When we encourage individual growth in an independent manner and style we encourage people who can function well in the world because they are living up to their potential. The “fulfilled life” – giving our children “resources that will last as long as life endures.”

We truly give them these resources by encouraging the use of the individual’s abilities. Dewey believes that as the world progresses, so must education. Children of today are not the children of yesterday. They are living in a new world and must be led toward the path of fulfillment with as little stagnation as possible. Progressivism can help lead them in the right direction.


Americans are entering another new era in education. One in which vouchers may wreak havoc on many of the tried and true methods of learning that positively led many of us to high student achievement over years past. We must all be responsible enough to hold our government officials accountable for the policy changes they make which may or may not lead our future generations to “the fulfilled life.”

Nancy

Social Skills Instruction – Needed Now More Than Ever…

multicultural students

In schools across the nation, violence has become a part of “daily life”. While it may be that we hear of it more often in secondary schools – violence is prevalent in all schools beginning in the elementary years.

When schools, administrators, and teachers are placed under microscopes to create readers and great test takers at all costs, developmental practices of teaching the whole child vanish from the curriculum. Pushdown curriculums frustrate learners who need to learn along a progressive continuum in order to establish self-worth, “I can” attitudes, and ultimate learning success.

We can’t assume that teaching reading and math for most of the day will lead to well-rounded learners. In order for children to thrive, they need to learn the fundamentals of being functional in society as well. This used to begin at an early age with social studies instruction, yet social studies instruction has virtually vanished from the curriculum. No time.

Children do not automatically learn how to behave. They learn by what they see and know to any given point in their lives. It takes everyone to provide appropriate behavior learning conditions and modeling. If it’s not happening in the home it needs to happen in the classroom. Unfortunately, teachers are so restricted by what and how they have to teach, they run the risk of poor evaluations if they step outside of the “box” they have been placed in.

We can’t blame children or teachers for what is happening in schools today. Perhaps it’s time to take a serious look at the curriculum being provided and offer a better path to higher student achievement through positive social interaction instruction which teaches children that morals, character, and compassion for others will lead them to being caring, successful, and productive members of society.

Call for articles – points of view…

!cid_3174513477_958480    To all my dedicated readers,

I thought about letting this blog go since I retired and then I decided to include retired teachers to the mix. New to retired teachers all have something to say and want to know what is happening nationwide in public and private education.There is much to be said about our educational system and much might be changed for the good if more people shared their great ideas, views, and great or maybe not so great experiences. Someone somewhere will be listening. So this is a shout out to all of my teaching and retired teaching extended family for experience and/or research backed posts to add to this blog. To this date my blog has had 7,878 hits and 344 followers and I haven’t posted an entry in two years. It’s time to get back on track.  If you’d like to be considered for site publication, you may choose to include your real name or use a pseudonym. There is interest in what you all have to say and bottom line is – children need our help inside and outside the classroom! Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  You can message me with any questions you might have. Hoping to hear from you soon!

1990's 11!

Seth Meyers shreds Detroit’s shady school system: You have to pay your teachers for teaching

Thanks for speaking up for the Detroit teachers Seth!!  Hmm… Could this be the beginning of looking into more things that school systems nationwide need to be looked into for?

Source: Seth Meyers shreds Detroit’s shady school system: You have to pay your teachers for teaching

Physical assault on teachers?

Not just in Kent! My goodness! This has been going on forever! When I was in fifth grade I remember a very mean boy punching my teacher in the face. Working as a teacher, the first time a child threw furniture in my classroom was in 1997. No one knows what teachers’ work involves and until politicians and others step inside the classroom and spend time with teachers no one ever will. Then again, those spending time in classrooms might not even admit to what they see. We might call this “feigned ignorance” or “an easier way to blame teachers for all of the ills in society and education”.  It’s time to wake up and admit that all of us have a great deal of work to do! Parents, guardians, teachers, politicians, and others. Not only are society and our political system collapsing – education is too! So – is teaching all bad? Heavens no! I wouldn’t trade a moment of my experiences – good or bad – for anything! Every experience in life is a lesson learned. I am not blaming! I realize that all any of us know is what we’ve been taught to a given point in our lives. It takes an effort to change experience for all. While we can’t change the past, we can do something about the present and future. It takes courage to speak up and out. Will you?

http://q13fox.com/2016/05/10/teachers-union-says-more-elementary-school-kids-are-physically-assaulting-teachers/

Tragedy in Lafayette

Slideshow

Sadly, this is not the first time I have written about a senseless act of gun violence. Having been a near gun victim myself, these events always stir in me a sense of helplessness against the blasé indifference of far too many politicians and gun enthusiasts who refuse to see the need for a major overhaul of gun laws and the mental health system our society is crying out for.

The purpose of this post however, is to praise the two teachers hailed heroes for having the presence of mind to save many more lives at the Grand Theater Complex and to remember the victims. Teacher Jena Legnon Meaux jumped in front of her colleague Ali Viator Martin taking the bullet headed for Ali. That action gave Ali the chance to pull the fire alarm prompting all theater goers to evacuate.

My first thought when hearing this is that their actions were not out of the norm for teachers. Split second decisions, but decisions that teachers train for.  How can I save as many students as possible if I need to?   Teachers are always aware of surroundings and thinking ahead in any arena.

It will come as no surprise to me if both Jena and Ali say they knew exactly where that fire alarm was. If fact, it will be no surprise to me to hear them say they chose their seats on the basis of where that fire alarm was.

Though their instinctive actions could not save the lives of two beautiful young women that night, their actions did save the lives of many more who might have unwittingly fallen prey to the shooter’s troubled soul.

Thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this tragic event – those killed, those wounded, and their families and friends. Hopefully, we will all remember the lesson that teachers Jena and Ali so artfully taught us – to always be aware of our surroundings in today’s increasingly uncertain world.

http://player.theplatform.com/p/2E2eJC/nbcNewsOffsite?guid=tdy_lauer_yang2_150724

Today’s Child – Maslow and safety needs

Second on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is safety. Children thrive on structure, stability, and freedom from fear.  Knowing what comes next in their daily routine makes them feel safe and secure.

  • Set clear boundaries and learn how to say “no”.
  • Maintain a calm, cozy home.
  • Keep activities outside of school spaced and simple.
  • Be sure your child is supervised and not left alone.
  • Check that purchased products for your child meet national safety standards.
  • Children love to explore. Check your home often to eliminate items that could be potentially hazardous.

For more information on preventive measures, check the World Report for Child Injury Prevention at…

http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/child/injury/world_report/final_data_10.pdf?ua=1

 

Today’s child – Maslow and physiological needs…

According to Maslow, a child’s first need is physiological. Children need food, water, clean air, and a safe, warm place to sleep. How can parents and teachers meet these needs?

Parents:

  • Make time to meet these needs in a “family” way – no matter how big or small your family may be.
  • Set the breakfast table together the night before.
  • Ask your child to help you plan a healthy menu while teaching him or her about nutrition.
  • Pack a healthy lunch instead of buying one. Include an “I love you” note for your child to read when the lunchbox is opened.
  • Find time for a home cooked evening meal and eat together around the table to discuss everyone’s day.
  • Keep the air in your home clean. Avoid exposing your child to cigarette smoke, excessive dust, and toxic fumes.
  • Provide a clean, restful slumber environment void of technological distractions.
  • Teach your child to be responsible for his or her own physiological needs over time.

Teachers:

  • Allow time for snack breaks each day. Children can’t learn when hungry.  Ask parents to donate healthy snacks.
  • Allow children to drink water as needed. If no classroom fountain is available, let children bring a water bottle from home.
  • Create a warm and inviting classroom environment.
  • Provide students the opportunity to design and keep up the classroom environment.
  • Classrooms are dusty places. Try a Friday cleaning day and include students in the process. This makes for a great way for all to begin new Monday morning. If needed, bring in an air purifier. Be sure to clean the filter as required.

All of these suggestions are easy to carry out and need very little time. If you have other suggestions, feel free to comment and add to the list.  Thanks!

 

Today’s child – Maslow at work or did we forget?

In 1954 psychologist Abraham Maslow developed his theory of Hierarchy of Needs. His hierarchy is based on the assumption that human beings have basic needs. These needs expound upon each other over time until self-actualization occurs. We’ve come a long way since this theory was developed. Though time and circumstance see our world a different place, the basic tenants of human nature and needs stay the same. Needs being met allude to learning taking place and meaningful life. Since learning and views on life begin in the home and continue in school, what better gift can parents and teachers give children than to truly understand and strive to meet their basic needs?  Maslow said humans have physiological, safety, belongingness and love, esteem, and self-actualization needs. These needs begin with infancy and continue through adulthood. Childhood then, is a critical time for all.

What about current childhood experiences? When Maslow stated his theory, most families had two parent households with one parent working and one at home. The steady rise of one-parent families and extended working hours has placed a strain on the amount of time available to meet the needs of children. Add to this increasing demands society places on all to achieve and it’s easy to see how the most important things in life may fall by the wayside.

That said, this will be the first in a series of posts based on Maslow’s Hierarchy, which is just as valid today as when first theorized. I hope you will add ideas and real world examples as levels are published. Children are our future and the most important adult task we have is to make sure children are nurtured substantively to encourage life-long learning that leads to meaningful lives worth living. Until tomorrow…

Up and the Hierarchy of Needs/tiffanyx93’s channel