Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Celebrate the Right Outcomes

We need to pay attention to what we celebrate. We must first decide what we want our outcomes to be. For example, I have a goal to read 100 books that will help me be a better leader. The outcome I want is to be a better leader. The 100 books is just a means. If I only celebrate completing the 100 books I miss entirely whether I am a better leader or not.

The outcome for students we desire is to be better learners and better people. If we only measure and celebrate when students complete classroom and/or homework assignments, we may miss whether they are learning or not. The assignments may help achieve the ultimate goal but it's important to never take the focus off the ultimate goal.

Effective Teaching --Individual Child

Richard Allington: Our current “scientific method” focuses almost exclusively on identifying what works best “generally”…children differ. Therein lies what worries me about “evidence based” policy making in education. Good teaching, effective teaching, is not just about using whatever science says “usually” works best. It is all about finding out what works best for the individual child and the group of children in front of you.
Allington, R. L. (2005). Ideology is still trumping evidence. Phi Delta Kappan, 86(6), 462.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Digesting Some Books

"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."--Sir Francis Bacon
It would definitely be wise to have some books that warrant many rereadings. As we reread them and digest them they will become part of who we are. Reading a few books in this manner rather than reading many books that we just taste will have a greater influence on us.

The Strength of "Weak Ties"

I've been reading the thought provoking book, The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. In the chapter, "The Law of the Few," he discusses the reason that "weak ties" are always more important that strong ties. Weak ties are our acquaintances while strong ties are our friends and family members. Our family and friends occupy the same world that we do--knowing pretty much what we know-- so they aren't a great resource for discovering new information and new ideas. Acquaintances, on the other hand, live in a different world. Therefore, the more acquaintances we have the greater is our ability to tap into some new ideas and information that can benefit a project we are pursuing.