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The Importance of Right-brain Thinking in Education

Here is what I can say about my first semester teaching design to 6th and 7th graders: It was not a train wreck. I knew a lot about design, and I knew a lot about leading a group of people through a design process. But I knew next to nothing about inner-city middle school students, or teaching them. Mistakes were inevitable....


Should Diversity Be a Mandate of Elite Public Schools?

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia, is widely considered one of the best (if not, the best) public high school in America. Its student body, however, isn't reflective of the country that it's situated in, or, more specifically, the county where it's located. A paltry 4 percent of its students are black or Hispanic, whereas 90 percent ...


Should Education Reform Focus on Average Teachers?

Steve Peha is a North Carolina-based education consultant, and he's come up with a way to address teacher quality that could be called "The Ichiro Suzuki model"—after the Seattle Mariners outfielder who eschews home run hitting for making contact, getting on base, and scoring runs. Inspired by the solid, future Hall of Famer, Peha offers for consideration the following tenet: ...


@GOOD Asks: How Do We Identify "Good Teaching"? Answers

Yesterday on GOOD, Twitter, and Facebook, we asked our friends: How should we identify "good teaching"? We ask a question to our Twitter and Facebook faithful once a day, so if you’re not yet following @GOOD or a fan, make sure to sign up and participate in the conversation.


Should Science Education Be About B.S. Detection?

Last month, the White House hosted its first science fair. Innovative middle and high school students from around the country trotted their gadgets, doohickeys, and other wares for solving the problems and inconveniences of the world to present before the American president and get a pat on the back from the commander-in-chief....


Inc.'s Guide to Starting a College Entrepreneurship Club

Noting that students in college today are going to be key to getting our economy back on solid ground, Inc. offers a primer on creating an entrepreneurship club at your college—even one where it may seem aesthetically out of place, such as Oberlin (where the club is known as the Creativity and Leadership Project)....


Is Your Career Path Mapped in Your Gray Matter?

According to the court system, brain scans aren't quite yet ready to be used for lie detection, but a University of California Irvine School of Medicine scientist named Richard Haier believes that the answer to one's optimal career choice could be divined from peering inside his or her skull.


India Develops $35 Tablet for Its Schools

India may have just introduced a new threat to both the One Laptop Per Child's $100 XO Laptop and Apple's iPad: a $35 touchscreen tablet PC capable of connecting to the Internet, video conferencing, and even drawing solar power. For a country where 600 million of its 1 billion people already own cellphones, this handheld device appears to be the next logical upgrade in ...


The In-between Years

How a teacher prepares his students to dive into the shark tank that is middle school.

As usual, Jatavia was the first to arrive exactly at 7:30 a.m. Normally a quiet student who's eager to complete the morning grammar and history work ...


Writing Down the Demons

How a teacher struggles to find the balance between honesty and professionalism—and sometimes doesn't.

The private high school where I teach begins each school year with a trip to a retreat center in the mountains. At the start of this past year, on the ...


James Franco: Thespian, Soap Star, Professor

"If it seems like Franco is a deep thinker, he is," reported Good Morning America host Bianna Golodryga this past weekend.

James Franco, the actor, painter, poet, and starting this fall, Ph.D. candidate in English literature at Yale, will teach a course this coming ...


Studying Abroad Makes You a Better Student

The GLOSSARI project, a study of nearly 20,000 students in the The University of Georgia system over the last decade, found that students who participated in study abroad programs did better in school after they returned to their home campuses.


Can Teaching Around the Test Marry Creativity and Standards?

We talk a lot on this blog about whether our standardized test-based curriculum is detrimental to our students becoming creative thinkers. If you ask the British expat Sir Ken Robinson, the answer is an irrefutable "yes." And Newsweek's most recent cover story notes that American teachers believe that standards are coming at the expense of creativity via the arts or ...


Education Innovation in the Worst Situations

If you're looking for new ideas in education, says financial journalist-turned-innovation consultant Charles Leadbeater, you shouldn't focus on the top: specifically, Finland, which is often touted for having the world's best education system. Rather, Leadbeater argues, often the most dismal situations can result in the most out-of-the-box solutions. He himself ...


Is the "Digital Divide" Such a Bad Thing?

Efforts such as One Laptop Per Child attempt to address the so-called "digital divide," the access to computers and the Internet by lower income children throughout the world. The argument: These children are at a disadvantage because they aren't exposed to the technologies, information, and, frankly, learning opportunities that others get....


Arne Duncan Wants More Black Teachers

The latest crusade by the outspoken and very busy Education Secretary Arne Duncan is getting more African-American teachers into the classroom. Earlier this month, he laid out why in a speech he delivered at the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Symposium at North Carolina Central University in Durham:...


What Advice Would You Give the Class of 2010?

A lot of wisdom was dispensed this commencement season, some more earth-shattering than others. While Arnold Schwarzenegger told students at Emory University to "work like hell," Glenn Beck urged graduates of Liberty University to "shoot to kill."


What Newsweek's Best High Schools List Says About Charter Schools

As it does every year, Newsweek has taken the liberty of ranking the top 100 high schools in the United States. Of the 100 that made the list, 15 are charter schools. But, as a companion article reports, just because charter schools make up 15 percent of the list, but only 4 percent of total public schools, doesn't mean these experimental hybrids are the answer to our ...


How the Health Care Bill Can Improve Literacy

In mid-March, as The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (better known as the health care bill) was getting its final trim for passage. One of the provisions that was lost in the final fights would have created an Early Learning Challenge Fund, money dedicated to improving the health and educational outcomes of children by giving them access to better services ...


Are We Waiting for Superman to Rescue Education?

Long before Davis Guggenheim made An Inconvenient Truth, he directed his lens towards education in films like Teach and The First Year. And while nearly a decade has passed since then, Guggenheim is back at it, grappling with how to make sense of a country that still maintains its unique sense of American supremacy, despite a kid dropping out of high school every 26 ...


The Revolutionary Idea Behind a Class of One

How do students learn effectively in a classroom where the student-to-teacher ratio is 30:1?

After reading Michael Salmonowicz’s Tutor For Every Child, it becomes clear that bringing a personal relationship to every student would dramatically ...


Of Pink Floyd and Taking Time Off After College

What are you doing after college? That's the question that University of Virginia English Professor Mark Edmundson asks twice in an Op-Ed from yesterday's New York Times—and it's no doubt a question the class of 2010 is inundated with these days.


Grade-A Ideas for Education Reform

This week's installment of The Boston Globe Magazine is its education issue. Among the offerings is a list of five so-called "Grade-A Ideas" for transforming education and making it more relevant and useful for students.

Among the proposed notions is teaching science through immersive, virtual ...


Charter Schools: A Seat at the Cool Kids' Table

As it concerns charter schools, whether you're hoping to sound really smart at your next dinner party or just generally catch up to speed, the New York Times ran a story that would help with both.

"In the world of education, it was the equivalent of the cool kids' table in ...


Mind the Gap: Test Prep Mayhem

An inner-city schoolteacher bemoans the beginning of Test Prep Season.

Here in New York, it’s that time of year again. Central Park is abloom with spring flowers. Yankee Stadium is chock full of screaming fans. And schools are yet again busy sacrificing their values in the annual task of high-stakes ...


Teaching: Notes from the Front Lines

On finding your element

I just finished Ken Robinson’s book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. If you have not yet read it, do so immediately. The book contains several inspirational stories of people finding their “element,” or ...


A Promise Worth Keeping: Can the Harlem Children's Zone Work Anywhere?

By most accounts, the Harlem Children’s Zone has been a slam dunk. But now that the model is expanding to 20 other cities, it’s worth asking: Can it work just anywhere? We looked at four high-need cities to find out.

The experiment started small. Isolate one city block in Harlem, and see what ...


Fast Cities: Denver's Teacher-Incentive Program Gets a Gold Star

The new issue of Fast Company includes a feature on so-called "fast cities"—cities that employ revolutionary ideas, ones that could serve as templates for the rest of the nation. Austin is praised for its car-sharing initiative; Boulder, Colorado, gets a shout-out for being first to smart grid-implementation; and Denver earns a gold star for ProComp, the ...


Teachers Impact How Fast a Child Learns to Read

A new study in the journal Science finds that the teacher quality has a big impact on how fast children in first and second grades learn to read. Researchers at Florida State University compared twins who were in classes with different teachers to isolate this environmental effect.


Doctoral Student Uncovers Recipe for Cleaner Diesel

A researcher from the Eindhoven University of Technology has discovered a way to decrease soot emissions from diesel combustion by adding cyclohexanone to ordinary diesel. Cyclox, the name given to the diesel variant, ignites at a slower rate, which allows oxygen and fuel to mix more thoroughly. This results in a more complete combustion that reduces soot output. On top of ...


Home Libraries Influence a Kid's Success in School

According to a study in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, children growing up in homes with a large library of books will go farther in academia. The findings, reported by sociologists at the University of Nevada, came from data collected in the World Inequality Study of 73,000 people in over 27 countries....


The Debate Over Assessing Student Performance

A week ago, the Department of Education announced that as part of its Race to the Top initiative, it had set aside $350 million for states to join form groups that would explore the "next generation of assessments"—essentially redesigning standardized tests so that they are more effective at determining "what students know and can do."  ...


Solving the Black Male School Achievement Puzzle

Closing the African American achievement gap is the life’s work of Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu. Founder of a company focused on helping parents and educators address the educational crisis facing black children, he’s written 32 books including Black Students/ Middle Class Teachers, Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education and Reducing the Black Male Drop Out Rate. I caught ...

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