Embracing the Interconnectedness of Learning

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” —John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club So much space is taken up rebuking the Industrial Revolutionary model of education that still inspires most schools today. You can hear, watch, and read people questioning why it [...]

What if schools became intergenerational learning spaces?

This article was also published on 28 August 2021 in IntrepidEd News. This may sound odd, but I love calling for help when my computer decides to go rogue, not following the plan that I so carefully and naively laid out before class. I fumble a bit with the cursor and click the same icon [...]

What if we used Portfolios of Impact to evidence learning, thinking, and action?

This article was published in Intrepid Ed News on 10 August 2021. Our lives take different courses based on the decisions concerning us made by people we often don’t even know. This is because selection processes that are out of our control determine what will happen. Most people taste this process for the first time [...]

Twenty-first century skills: Are they just the same old story?

This article was published in a slightly different form in Intrepid News 18 June 2021. There is something insidious about pushing schools to change so they can prepare students for jobs that do not yet exist, for problem-solving to address threats to productivity, or for new business models with geographically and culturally distributed workforces. There [...]

What if we created a Curriculum for the Commons?

This article was originally published in Intrepid Ed News on 4 June 2021 under the title "Student Pathways into Curriculum: Chaotic or Empowering?" We justify our need for a set curriculum by invoking our responsibility to prepare students for the future, expose them to ideas that will make them respectable well-rounded citizens, and equip them [...]

How Could Ethics Guide a New Purpose for Education?

This article was originally published on 21 May 2021 in Intrepid Ed News. Every once in a while, a report comes out from a behemoth transnational organization that rings alarm bells, warning us about how the education system is not equipping young minds to meet the challenges of tomorrow. A lengthy document outlines the skills [...]

Moving Beyond School

“A new scientific truth doesn’t triumph by convincing opponents and making them see the light, but rather its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”—Max Planck (1858-1947), German theoretical physicist, discoverer of energy quanta and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. It seems like I [...]

Bio Scale (A Response to Jason Preater)

This is a response to Jason Preater’s thoughtful and considered article Human Scale. I am writing this in the same spirit as Jason; I don’t propose to “have the right answers and welcome your ideas.” I realize that many of these issues are addressed in superficial, generalized ways, but I am writing an article not [...]

The future of our planet depends on imagination, not academics

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.—Karl Marx, XIth Thesis on Feuerbach. I was surprised by how many people failed to seize the satire in my last blog If academics are what matter, let’s just replace teachers with androids. In that article, I proposed that “in [...]

Will androids replace teachers? Maybe, if we keep focusing purely on content knowledge.

This is a satire and a warning. I do not advocate replacing humans with androids… though maybe in some classrooms it would be a good idea. A few months ago I wrote a piece on how a teacher’s job is to teach themselves out of a job. The concept is pretty simple: a teacher should [...]

Trying to measure learning is absurd because there is no dualism between the student and the world

"When we measure something we are forcing an undetermined, undefined world to assume an experimental value. We are not 'measuring' the world, we are creating it." —Niels Bohr, recipient of the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics and contributor to our understanding of quantum theory. Last week, I led a staff workshop to launch a new [...]

School is Fiction… Let’s Re-write its Story (and Purpose)

My previous blog asked us to go beyond student-centered approaches to learning and teaching and converge divergent thinking toward a common purpose. While the dominant trope in “progressive” education circles goes along the lines that we cannot prepare students for the unknown world of tomorrow, I posit that there are issues that will persist beyond [...]

It’s Time to Move Beyond Student-Centered Approaches

I would venture to offer that people who advocate for a more student-centered approach to education—grossly simplified as one based on students having choice and voice in what to learn, how to learn it, and how to demonstrate understanding—do so as a form of rejection of the traditional curriculum based on some combination of the [...]

Incubators in Schools to Unleash Potential Creative Energies

What if schools were places where learners could explore their interests and produce objects, ideas, and initiatives that made impact in the community? What if schools encouraged learners to build networks of mentors and non-age dependent peers and contribute to writing organic, personalized curricula centered around intent, not content? What if students could evidence their [...]

Our Job is to Teach Ourselves out of a Job

My family and I are going through a pretty challenging situation right now. I’ve learned to stay upbeat, be empathetic, and roll with the punches, and the past seven months have brought me a deeper understanding of my role as a parent and educator. While I could tell the narrative of the latest impasse here [...]

Flipping the Flipped Classroom

I find it puzzling how the “flipped classroom” is so often presented as a new groundbreaking and transformative idea, with the potential to unlock the power of formative assessment and personalized learning. I am not suggesting that exposing students to the material at home and then practicing what they learned in class can’t be useful [...]

This is the Chance for our Kids to Write their Own Curriculum

The silver lining around the coronavirus pandemic is that there is sense of coming together amongst people from all parts of the world and this has translated into efforts to support, help, and listen to one another. Social media is full of messages from educators sharing or asking for ideas and resources to meet the [...]

If It Doesn’t Lead to Learning, It’s not Worth Teaching

A couple of weekends ago I surprised my son with a box of Meccano and suggested we build something together. I don’t have a particularly glorious track record in the field of assembly (we won’t discuss the unfortunate table football incident), but I thought that if he and I constructed something together, it would not [...]

Impact and Net Promoter Scores—How we can re-think curricular innovation

There doesn’t seem to be a universal definition of what curricular innovation is all about, even if it’s one of the hottest buzzwords in education. Curricular innovation is often associated with student-centered experiences, learner empowerment, creation over consumption (or regurgitation), and preparing kids for the unknown. Of course in some circles this raises the question, [...]

What if teachers were required to go on externships as part of their professional development?

I have been thinking quite a bit recently (and I am certainly not the only one) about how much of the curriculum delivered in the classroom actually prepares students for success in their professional and personal lives. There is so much discourse out there about 21st-century skills and the preponderance of competency development over knowledge [...]

The Hour Glass Model of Education or How Every (High School) Learner Should be an (Social) Entrepreneur

Walking into an Early Years classroom can often be a disorienting experience for a high school teacher. There are sand tables and water table; shelves with blocks in one corner, easels in another; firefighter, doctor, and police officer getups in a third; and an adult or two who observe students and take notes on the [...]

Co-Curricular Activities Should Inform Classroom Experiences and Learning

Over the last hundred and twenty years, not much has changed inhow most schools organize their co-curricular or after school activities. Traditionally these programs offer students the chance to participate in sports, learn to play an instrument, or be part of a club that gathers like-minded or interested peers. These activities offer wonderful opportunities for [...]

Experiential and Project-Based Learning Case Study

Students engineer an Escape Room in which they will lock up their parents. Learning happens most effectively when it is meaningful. The freedom to decide what and how one learns allows for the creation of a learning experience that becomes personal and therefore has greater impact. Students can imagine what and how they want to [...]