Posts tagged education
Educational Insights from the Business World

Without question, there are several significant differences between the roles and goals of educators and those the ply their trade in the business world. Perhaps most significant is how the two groups measure success.

Educators are focused primarily on student learning and development. To them, a healthy fiscal bottom line is a means through which they can achieve their goals, not an end to itself. Businesspeople, in contrast, are mainly interested in developing successful, profitable enterprises. Learning and development are viewed as necessary to help businesses and their people grow, but do not constitute a primary objective for most businesses.

The fundamental difference of purpose that separates schools from businesses often lends members of each camp to think that there is little to be learned from the other. This, in my view, is particularly true for educators. As a former teacher and principal, I felt a fundamental disconnect from what was occurring in the for-profit world. Many of my peers and colleagues expressed similar sentiment. Any time that I heard of some lay leader or governmental initiative to make schools more like businesses, I became suspicious. “What do they know about education anyway?”, I would ask.

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Where did it all go? Thoughts about student memory and retention

Have you ever taught something and your class really seemed to get it, only to revisit the concept a short while later, and it’s as if they never heard of it? Better yet, have you patted yourself on the back after your students aced an exam only for you to ask a related question two days later and get back a class full of blank stares? It’s almost as if their minds were one big etch-a-sketch that had once memorized lots of information before being wiped clean.

If you’re like me, you’ve had that experience more than once. And we all know how it feels. It can be one of the most frustrating experiences for a teacher, seemingly invalidating all of the hard work — in terms of preparation, content delivery and reinforcement — of the past many weeks. Why does this happen and what can teachers do to ensure that students properly process and retain key information?

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Chanukah: When the bullied can't rise up in personal defense

The holiday of Chanukah presents many lessons. In the main, these lessons stem from the valiant struggle in which a few Hasmonean fighters valiantly rose up against their Seleucid tormentors and successfully rid the land of their presence.

While Chanukah celebrates the defeat of the mighty by the weak, the many by the few, and the wicked by the righteous, many people, children in particular, continue to suffer at the hands of bullies and others who are, at least on the surface, mightier than they.

Thankfully, there are many resources that offer tips on how to deal with bullies and empower their victims to become stronger and turn the tables on their oppressors. In this HelpGuide post, the author(s) outline multiple strategies that victims can use to change their situation for the better.

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Connecting with parents

Many teachers use the relationships and the trust that they engender with parents to lay the foundation for student success. Unfortunately, in my years as a teacher and a principal, I too often observed an unhealthy dynamic between teachers and parents. Such teachers commonly found parents to be people that they needed to “deal with.” They viewed them as nuisances, if not worse. They wanted parents to stay out of their way and let them do their thing. After all, they were the experts.

Parents, for their part, can be quick to get upset with teachers for such things as rules, policies, perceived negative attitudes towards their child and, of course, poor student performance.

The sad reality is that the ones who suffer most from this tension are children. They need to feel the security of the rapport between school and home, rather than to be confused by an undercurrent of disharmony. As the African proverb states, “when two elephants fight, it’s the grass that gets trampled.”

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Connecting with our students

As teachers, we know that there is more to our jobs than sharing content and enhancing student skills. We understand intuitively that in order to fully reach our students we need to connect with them and create the right atmosphere for learning. The research of Dr. John Hattie confirmed this when concluding that the most effective way to improve education was to raise the quality of pupil-teacher interactions.

Below is a list of strategies that can help you establish healthy, meaningful relationships with your students and interact in a manner that is healthy and fulfilling.

  • Set the proper tone. Find ways with which to positively engage students from the outset. Greet them as they enter the room with a “good morning” and a high-five. Smile when you see them and let them know that you’re happy that they’re there. Convey the message that you expect a great day from them and anticipate their success.
  • Create a healthy learning environment. One of the most powerful educational quotes that I have ever read has nothing to do with teaching. The author, former teacher and child psychologist Dr. Haim Ginott, wrote about the central role that teachers play in making the classroom’s “weather.”
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Why Johnny Can’t (or Won’t) Behave

We’ve all met Johnny. He’s the kid who simply won’t behave in class. He can’t seem to sit still and pay attention. He doesn’t want to follow our rules or conform to our expectations. He won’t keep his hands to himself and respect others’ things. It almost seems like he comes to school each day with a willful intent to disrupt and make our lives miserable.

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