the DOG: some background

I have been developing the Dimensions of Observable Growth in collaboration with other educators for more than ten years, starting when my own two children were in school in Colorado in the early 2000's. The push for "data driven" decision making in classrooms prompted me to find a way to help teachers in developmental and … Continue reading the DOG: some background

Reform without disruption? That’s not a thing.

The image above is a screen capture from the Assessment Work Group page of the CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) website. It's the list of criteria for participation in the 2nd round of an Assessment Design Challenge that could, one imagines, yield a rich, primal stew of innovative perspectives, ingredients, tools, and … Continue reading Reform without disruption? That’s not a thing.

Power Over or Power With: Children’s personalities reflect the way adults engage with them

Children’s behavior can be a good guide to where their significant adults stand on the Influence Continuum. Sometimes the freedom we give children isn’t free. When we implicitly pressure children to make the choices we want while we are telling them the choice is theirs, the effects on their behavior are the same as if … Continue reading Power Over or Power With: Children’s personalities reflect the way adults engage with them

Ten Horsemen of the Educational Apocalypse

It's impossible to embark on a radical redesign of education without first identifying and momentarily suspending our most basic (and usually unexamined) assumptions about what's happening in schools. The illustration embedded here identifies some of our current, commonly held, largely unexamined assumptions about education. Each of them has, over time, served to carry us toward … Continue reading Ten Horsemen of the Educational Apocalypse

Return to Scientific Pedagogy (or: why I’m a feral Montessorian)

To my way of seeing it, "Montessori" has become a universalized descriptor, signifying a loose collection of progressive educational principles. In fact, Dr. Maria Montessori developed and documented a thoroughly articulated and richly integrated classroom practice for assisting the healthy and natural development of pre-school and elementary age children. She accomplished this through the systematic … Continue reading Return to Scientific Pedagogy (or: why I’m a feral Montessorian)

Let me be Zero – teacher as aspiring space holder

I delivered this poem in Amsterdam, at the Annual General Meeting of the Association Montessori Internationale, on April 17, 2016. I wrote it in response to the Executive Director's request that I offer a poetic interlude to celebrate the intersection of the Mathematical and the Pedagogical threads of the conference between sessions. Less than three weeks … Continue reading Let me be Zero – teacher as aspiring space holder

Public education: mass producing the indolent consumer

I have a friend, a teacher educator, who alternates between amusement and despair: at the chasms between teacher training curricula and current research on teaching & learning, on the one hand … and between research on teaching & learning and the school quality measures that drive teacher education curricula, on the other. Climate change ain't … Continue reading Public education: mass producing the indolent consumer

School Accountability, Feedback Systems, and Cupcake Contests

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”     – Albert Einstein – My friend Sam is a gravitational physicist who recently made a disappointing foray into high school teaching. In his late career enthusiasm for kindling new flames of lifelong interest by sharing his research passions with high … Continue reading School Accountability, Feedback Systems, and Cupcake Contests

Using developmental need to drive adolescent program development

The single most crucial element for the iterative design of developmentally meaningful adolescent programming is what I call a Pull Curriculum. The idea of the Pull Curriculum is informed by my experience as a Montessori teacher and elaborated for the secondary level. Teachers curate a co-working environment, offer collective learning experiences, introduce new materials and ideas, … Continue reading Using developmental need to drive adolescent program development