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Summary: This concise and powerful article by author Alfie Kohn describes how poor children often receive the most standardized, behaviorist, and drill-based education, compared with the education of the more affluent that features critical thinking, creativity, the arts, and greater opportunity for choice and self-direction. While this approach is used by many so-called education reformers today and in the practice of some charter and other public schools, this "pedagogy of poverty" increases what Kohn calls the "learning gap" between poor children and more wealthy children, even if the drill-based instruction produces raised test scores. This is a strong and brief article that carries a punch.
Summary: This article provides several exemplary ways in which to engage and involve students in their own learning through hands-on activities, field trips, self-directed activity, group work, and supporting multiple approaches to solving problems.
Summary: "Realizing Deeper Learning: The Economics and Achievements of an Innovative Chartered School Model” analyzes two chartered schools which have innovated in striking ways. Avalon School and Minnesota New Country School (MNCS) have personalized the students' learning and organized the school as a partnership for its teachers. This partnership model is similar to ones in professional fields." ~ from the Preface
Conducted by Dr. Charles Kyte and Associates at the request of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation - supported by Education Evolving
Summary: One of the most clear and profound descriptions of democratic education, this piece by the distinguished educator Linda Darling-Hammond makes the case that factory schooling is the wrong kind of education for the wrong time. The article features a series of school design principles that define what education can and ought to be, and which serve as a powerful guide for "the kind of education many of us want for all of our children."
Summary: In this two part article, Diane Ravitch discusses the quality of Finland's education system and it's successes. She compares U.S. education reform movement to Finland's education models, identifies where the U.S. seems to be heading in the wrong direction with test based accountability and reform, and sounds off on U.S. reform efforts' failure to address issues of poverty, home-life, neighborhood quality, and other socio-economic issues,
Diane Ravitch: "If teaching were to become admired and prestigious, our schools would certainly benefit. But no matter how admired the teaching profession becomes, our society must do much more to reduce poverty and to improve the lives of children and families."
Summary: In this Huffington Post article, Steve Nelson, Director of The Calhoun School in Manhattan, NY, discusses standardized testing and how dependence on test results is guiding popular education models. The heavy reliance on test scores and other data in crafting assessment and school models around the nation results in an education that lacks attention to human value and character, and fails to provide meaningful experiences to students.
From the article:
"What use is it if our children can spell garden but have never smelled a rose or imagined one in the hand gesture of a wonderful teacher?"
"Standardized tests can't measure the essence of a child any better than a yardstick can capture the smell of a rose."
Summary: Samuel E. Abrams summarizes the key differences between the Finnish and U.S. systems in an easy to understand but thorough article. Abrams shows that U.S. policy and education practice can learn from Finland's support for play in childhood, their approach to teacher development, the presence of active learning for students in all grades, and very little standardized testing with recognition that testing narrows the curriculum and drives out creativity.
Summary: In this article from the Kettering Foundation's Fall Review, 2010, Derek Barker discusses how “Organizations in the civil sector are looking more and more like their government and corporate counterparts.”
Summary: In this article, Bronson and Merryman call to attention the steady decline of creativity across the U.S. By monitoring the levels of creativity in children and adults through a creativity test, similar to an IQ test, evidence yields the conclusion that over the past 50 years creativity in the U.S. has been declining. Perhaps this decline is the result of children watching more TV, playing video games, or being educated in order to pass standardized tests, but it is hard to tell what the true source is. Bronson and Merryman suggest that creativity is something that can be exercised and improved by artistic expression and problem solving, and that these exercises not only increase creativity levels but also make academic life an easier and more interesting challenge.
Summary: This article makes a strong case for schools to support the development of creativity and innovative thinking in young people. The piece cites research showing the decline of creativity on specialized assessments and it references other countries such as China that are increasing their focus on creativity at the same time that the United States is increasing it's focus on standardized tests that push out creativity from the school day. The authors contend that for the well-being on young people and the development of our society in the 21st Century, we need to place a greater focus on supporting the development of divergent thinking and creativity in education.
Summary: Orion's mission is to inform, inspire, and engage individuals and grassroots organizations in becoming a significant cultural force for healing nature and community. In recent years Orion has expanded its online presence as a way not only to distribute the ideas and inspiration of the Orion Magazine, but to connect to and promote dialogue with readers about ideas raised in its articles. In addition to posting articles and visual art from the magazine online, Orion also produces occasional multimedia, has a regular podcast, and a lively Facebook and Twitter following. Since 2008 Orion has been available in both print and digital editions.
Summary: "By immersing students in works related to their interests, internship programs aim to increase student engagement and promote skills and knowledge needed for achieving life, career, and civic goals." This article outlines the benefits students often receive from "deep immersion in a subject over time, with learners using sophisticated texts, tools, and language in real-world settings and often working with expert practitioners who serve as mentors." Levine discusses the many benefits that internship opportunities have on students, school culture, promoting equity, reducing the experience gap, and promoting overall student engagement.
Summary: In a must-read piece in Orion Magazine, professor Erik Reece explains why democratic education is essential. For democracy to function, he says, public education must nurture both individual self-invention and social responsibility.
"No democracy can thrive when its public education system is in ruins."
"When public education fails, democracy fails with it"
Summary: Important consequences play out in the day-to-day social exchanges within a school community. Recent research shows that social trust among teachers, parents, and school leaders improves much of the routine work of schools and is a key resource for reform. This article discusses social trust in schools, factors that help to shape it and what benefits it produces. A longitudinal study of 400 Chicago elementary schools shows the central role of relational trust in building effective education communities.
Summary: U.S. Department Of Education Calls For Action To Develop 21st Century Citizens, Strengthen Democracy
Summary: This popular article by the author Alfie Kohn gives stories and cites plentiful research showing the benefit of giving students greater decision-making power in their learning. He describes studies finding that greater choice and support for self-determination leads to more creativity, higher attendance, and greater achievement on standardize tests.
Summary: This is one of the most readable articles explaining research that shows the value of exploration and discovery in learning in contrast to direct instruction. The author, University of California-Berkeley professor and research Alison Gopnick, describes two studies in which young children display more curiosity and creativity when they can explore a new object without direct teaching than when they are first taught from a teacher about how the object works. This is a powerful article and research summary that you can share with principals, teachers, parents, and others to help them understand the difference between direct instruction and exploration in learning.
Summary: Today's world is not the one we want - climate change, financial collapse, poverty, and war leave many feeling overwhelmed and hopeless. YES! Magazine empowers people with the vision and tools to create a healthy planet and vibrant communities. We do this by reframing issues and outlining a path forward, giving a voice to the people who are making change, and offering resources to use and pass along.
Summary: There are an abundance of theories about why the arts should be in young people's lives. This article summarizes a decade of research by a team of anthropologists in after-school programs considered high quality by students. It highlights common successful characteristics in programs, whether of academic, sport, community service, or arts focus. The surprising element uncovered by the study is that the prominence of "risk" in arts-based programs makes them especially developmental sites.