About this blog

The purpose of this blog is to explore the question:
If schools were invented today, how would learning take place?  What would schools look like? What skills and knowledge do students need to be successful in their future?

The underlying guiding principles for this blog are:

Teaching, learning, researching, and collaborating are all vital elements in the educational process.  Answers to this question must as one of my dear friends stated, go beyond "throwing [ideas] at a wall and seeing what sticks."  An enormous amount of research on learning and teaching has been developed over the years.  Yet the tendency is for educators not to access the wealth of information that is available to them.  A good portion of the literature has been written in a way that makes it inaccessible to teachers (Harris et al., 2013).  Many talented and passionate teachers have through trial and error, developed systems that work for students.  The tendency is for teachers to not implement valid techniques principally because of lack of training, resulting in a lack of openly shared information.  If the educational system is to improve, teachers need to become better researchers and researchers need to become better teachers.

There is no such thing as a plug-n-play, solution for the problems that face schools.  Nor does the "one size fits all" philosophy work.  No matter the statistical support for a strategy or theory, it does not mean that educators can use cut and paste for education.  Simply put the conditions and individuals that studies are based on, ARE NOT and CAN NOT be the same as other schools.  So why would educators think that, without modification, they can randomly implement a program that worked in a school and make it work in their school.  Everyone involved in preparing children to take the reins in the future, need to demonstrate the same level of care and effort when improving schools as they would expect their students to demonstrate in the future when making health-care decisions for their future.
Educators must look beyond statistical significance to determine if a strategy is worth trying.  The power of a strategy to effect change must be considered.  A strategy can be statistically significant at .001 percent.  Meaning that the chances of something else being responsible for the observed change is 1 out of 1000.  However, it is MEANLESS if the effect of size is so small that the difference is unnoticeable.

Data and accountability can provide educators with powerful tools to hone their skills.  However, the tools of education should not be used to threaten or justify harming others.  Teachers should use an action-research model to monitor the effectiveness of the interventions that they implement. Instruction improves when short cycles of intervention and assessment are followed.

When making decisions a multiple perspective approaches should be included.  Typically, marginalized populations have been excluded from efforts to improve schools.  Educators need to listen to their constituents who deal with problems associated with their SES.  Additionally, information from outside sources may provide valuable resources and strategies that might otherwise be overlooked.

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