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Some Iowa students weigh in on what classes they need for 21st century jobs

Some Iowa students weigh in on what classes they need for 21st century jobs

The students shall lead the way. The drawing is similar to the responses I get from high school, elementary students, and some college students who take a course I teach in strategic and creational thinking when I ask the question: “Who are your heroes and why are they your heroes?” Have done this with hundreds...

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Teach students higher order or critical thinking skills? Not if the Texas Republicans have their way.

Teach students higher order or critical thinking skills? Not if the Texas Republicans have their way.

The Republican Party of Texas states in its official 2012 political platform: We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based  Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs...

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Higher-order thinking is the exception rather than the norm for most classrooms

McREL has collected data from more than 27,000 classroom observations that offer a dismaying glimpse into the level of instruction that appears to be occurring in the nation’s classrooms. In well over half of these observations, student learning reflected the two lowest levels of Bloom’s taxonomy: remembering (25 percent) and understanding (32 percent). Meanwhile, students...

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Once kids realized that they were full partners in their learning…

I adopted Leonardo da Vinci’s 7 Principles as a guide and was especially attracted to Sfumato, usually translated as “Up in Smoke,” meaning to embrace ambiguity, paradox and uncertainty. Great things are produced and discovered when you open the door to possibilities and leave some things undefined. When I did that, there was difficulty adjusting...

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Performance assessments may not be ‘reliable’ or ‘valid.’ So what?

Performance assessments may not be ‘reliable’ or ‘valid.’ So what?

In a comment on Dan Willingham’s recent post, I said we have plenty of alternatives that have been offered, over and over again, to counteract our current over-reliance on – and unfounded belief in – the ‘magic’ of bubble sheet test scores. Such alternatives include portfolios, embedded assessments, essays, performance assessments, public exhibitions, greater use...

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‘Closed’ v. ‘open’ systems of knowing

‘Closed’ v. ‘open’ systems of knowing

I am rereading Teaching As a Subversive Activity, which is a phenomenal book if you haven’t read it. About halfway through the book, Postman and Weingartner discuss ‘closed’ versus ‘open’ systems of knowledge: A closed system is one in which the knowables are fixed. Examples of this kind of system would include any in which...

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‘World-class’ teacher preparation

‘World-class’ teacher preparation

When I work with educators, I get asked on a regular basis, “What about the universities? What are they doing to prepare educators who can facilitate technology-infused learning environments that emphasize deeper cognitive complexity and greater student agency?” Unfortunately, I don’t have much to offer them. I’m not up on all of the thousands of preparation...

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Thinkers v. producers

Thinkers v. producers

In How Children Fail, John Holt makes the following distinction: producers – students who are only interested in getting right answers, and who make more or less uncritical use of rules and formulae to get them thinkers – students who try to think about the meaning, the reality, of whatever it is they are working...

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