Live it Up Again

Following the success of the inaugural event last year, the Live It Up Festival is back in 2014 with another day of great music exclusively for music lovers under 18 years of age. The festival will take place at the RNA Showgrounds on Saturday, June 21 with an eclectic mix of bands and performers on the bill.

Parkway Drive, perhaps Australia’s biggest heavy music export at the moment, will be headlining the main stage. Following the success of their latest album Atlas, it has been a big year for the boys from Byron Bay with an international tour and the recently completed Groovin’ the Moo series of regional festivals staged around Australia last month.

Having cemented their reputation as one of Australia’s favourite rock bands of the moment with their Hungry Ghost album, Violent Soho will also be taking to the Live it Up stage, while The Jungle Giants will add another festival appearance to what has been a busy period for the Brisbane-based quartet.

Also featuring at Live it Up in 2014 will be In Hearts Wake, The Creases, hip-hop up and comer Allday and Unearthed High finalists Lunatics on Pogosticks.

Live it Up poster

Given the lack of music events for under 18’s in Brisbane, this is a great opportunity for young people to see some of Australia’s best bands and to help secure the future of the festival. The Live it Up Festival is a smoke, drug and alcohol free event, with tickets from just $50.

For more information or to secure tickets, head to the festival website or Facebook.

Free Music Fridays @ QPAC

Looking for free live music from some of Brisbane’s most talented up and coming musicians? If so, then QPAC at Southbank is the place to be every Friday from next month. Now in its second year, The Seed Project presents free live original music from the very best local independent bands and artists.

Spanning all genres from funk to folk to hip-hop to rock, The Seed Project will present performances from 5:00pm every Friday evening at QPAC’s Melbourne St Green. An initiative of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, each concert is absolutely free of charge, with participating musicians drawn from the Conservatorium’s Bachelor of Popular Music.

Seed Artists

The launch show for the 2014 Seed Project will be on Friday, June 20, with a line-up that includes David Baker Music, Tinker, Jackson James Smith and urban country songstress Taylor Moss who, over the last 12 months or so, has performed at The Gympie Muster and other major festivals, recorded in Nashville, released two music videos and enjoyed radio airplay and chart success with her second single Center Stage.

Seed

For more information, follow Seed on Facebook.

Education Update #10

Welcome loyal readers and newcomers alike to the latest edition of Education Update, a collection of education articles and ideas from a variety of online sources. This week features some very interesting material, including three articles that look at ways to determine if your students are reading at home, how to hold them accountable for their home reading and how to engage the strongest readers in the class.

There are also insights into differentiated instruction, digital literacy and digital citizenship, as well as articles on teaching the toughest kids, the attributes of a quality school leader and the benefits, or otherwise, of homework.

This week also features an interesting piece that demonstrates how social media can be used very effectively in the classroom to enhance learning (as opposed to the fears of such technology that pervades so many schools), while media and film teachers should like the series of videos that offer an extensive behind-the-scenes look at the making of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.

The final article today looks at how teachers need to set an example for students in the way they conduct themselves in their interactions with students and each other.

To get things started, check out these quotes and articles for some inspiration…click here

Education News

Authentic Ways to Hold Students Accountable for Home Reading

Let’s face it: reading logs are boring, and most kids hate writing down the titles and authors of books they’ve read in order to “prove” they’ve done their required 20 minutes of reading time at home. Here are some more authentic ways to hold students accountable for their reading time and foster a love of books….read more

1-Hour Extensive Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Making Of Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan’

Anyone who paid attention to the behind-the-scenes rumblings of Darren Aronofsky’s recent “Noah” knows the type of passion evident in the director’s work, and photographer/filmmaker Niko Tavernise, superbly and consistently, has provided a insightful peek into that creative process. Part of Aronofsky’s close circle since “Pi,” Tavernise has already crafted extended making-of docs on “The Wrestler” and “The Fountain” (which we’ve already highlighted), and now he’s turned his familiar gaze onto Aronofsky’s striking 2010 psychological thriller….read more

What Makes a Great School Leader?

This is the time of year when, for many different reasons, some teachers consider taking positions at other schools. I’ve received a number of calls from friends and colleagues this spring asking for my advice on this difficult decision. Here’s what I always say: It’s all about the principal or head of school. Find a site with a great leader and while your struggles might not be over, they’ll be significantly reduced. The three qualities I find most indicative of a great school leader are visionary leadership, community builder, and emotional intelligence….read more

Why My Students Are Connected

I have written a lot about being connected myself, even about connecting my students. I have written of the conversations that happen, the connections that happen, and even how it brings this amazing world of strangers in to our rooms. And yet, some people still don’t get the importance of being a connected educator, not just for yourself, but also for your students….read more

How I Know My Students Are Reading at Home

I remember the reading logs well, my brothers hastily whipping them out Sunday night asking my mom to sign off that they had read x number of minutes. My mother never checked, she did not want to be the reading police, after all, she knew my brothers read. She didn’t care how many minutes or which book, all that mattered was that at some point their eyes met something to read….read more

Students Matter: Steps for Effective Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated instruction (DI) is a vast system in which it is difficult for many teachers to find a foothold for supporting students in a meaningful way. Teachers want and expect everyone to succeed, yet the means to that end can be foggy at best. How can we ensure that planned learning experiences have a significant and positive impact on student learning?….read more

The Key Elements Of Digital Literacy

Many teachers have added ‘digital literacy’ as number four on the list of literacies their students should have (or be working towards, in most cases). Reading, writing, and math are now followed by digital literacy. Obviously, depending on the grade level you teach, your students will have different abilities in each of the four areas, so your expectations and your teaching approach may differ quite noticeably from your colleagues. But the nagging question still remains for many teachers – what exactly is digital literacy?…read more

What It Takes To Be A Good Digital Citizen

Digital citizenship is a critical skill right now. Many dismiss it as not being necessary since anyone who uses the web on a regular basis likely feels like they’re acting properly online. But what happens when your identity is stolen or you’re the target of online harassment? Time to brush up on your digital citizenship skills….read more

Tips for Teaching the Tough Kids

Every teacher remembers his or her first “tough kid” experience. Maybe the student ignored your directions or laughed at your attempts to utilize the classroom discipline steps. We all have at least one story to share, and for some teachers, teaching a tough kid is a daily challenge. It seems that no matter what teaching techniques you try to pull out of your educator hat, nothing changes their behaviour….read more

How to Engage Your Strongest Readers

This summer, I was lucky enough to be inn the presence of Mary Ehrenworth at Teachers College as she gave us strategies for how to support our strongest readers. Inspired by her words and knowing that I would have readers that were well beyond their years, I decided to put her words into action. But what did it look like in the classroom?…read more

Homework, Sleep, and the Student Brain

At some point, every parent wishes their high school aged student would go to bed earlier as well as find time to pursue their own passions — or maybe even choose to relax. This thought reemerged as I reread Anna Quindlen’s commencement speech, A Short Guide to a Happy Life. The central message of this address, never actually stated, was: “Get a life.” But what prevents students from “getting a life,” one answer is homework….read more

For a look at alternatives to homework, click here

Teachers Need to Follow Their Own Rules

Somebody recently said to me, “I can’t believe they way they misbehave and the lack of respect they show. They talk on their phones, text, and talk while I talk, don’t listen to each other, come in late, leave early and have no patience for those who disagree.” Who is this person talking about?
The sad truth is that you don’t know. Too many students, faculties, audiences, and education students all behave the same way….read more

Will the Bullying Ever End?

I recently finished reading Bully for Them: Outstanding Australians on Hard Lessons Learned at School, a book edited by Fiona Scott-Norman that brings together 22 prominent Australians to share their experiences of being bullied during their years at school. Amongst those who contribute to the book are singers Missy Higgins, Megan Washington and Kate Miller-Heidke, television identities such as Charlie Pickering and Eddie Perfect and sports stars Hazem El Masri and Australian of the Year Adam Goodes, along with politicians, authors, actors, entertainers and artists. The thing that saddened me most while reading this book is not the fact that these people were subjected to the physical and emotional torment that they experienced, but the fact that nothing has really changed. The types of attitudes and behaviours that these identities experienced remain prevalent today and young people are still finding themselves at the mercy of social ostracism, physical and/or verbal intimidation and abuse.

Bully for Them

Despite myriad anti-bullying campaigns and programs supported by the condemnation of such behaviours from all manner of celebrities and experts, the fact remains that bullying is still rife in Australian schools. Those schools that proudly boast a zero tolerance of bullying are, at best, utterly deluded or, at worst, deliberately misleading parents, students and the broader community. Of course, proudly pronouncing a zero tolerance policy is an easy way to demonstrate a commitment to combatting bullying without actually having to do anything. It would be much better if, instead of spouting rhetoric and empty slogans, schools actually tackled the problem with a genuine commitment to protecting students, making perpetrators accountable and identifying the underlying cause of bullying behaviours. However, the best possible approach to tackling the problem would be for all education administrators to make a genuine effort to develop effective education strategies that prevent such behaviours from developing.

Despite the vastly different experiences of the various contributors to the book, there is a similarity in their stories. In almost every case, these people found themselves the target of bullies because they are, in some way, ‘different’ to the homogenous model of Australian identity that still very much dominates Australia’s social and political landscape. Sexuality, disability, ethnicity, social status and physical appearance are reasons enough for somebody to be subjected to bullying and torment. In every school in Australia today, students are being bullied and harassed for these very reasons and, in most cases, nothing will be done by education administrators. In fact, many of the experiences in this book also demonstrate that a hankering for the arts is reason enough to become a target for bullies. Such attitudes are only exacerbated when the school management marginalises arts subjects and those who study them, whilst privileging sports and other subject areas more in keeping with notions of what is typically Australian, despite the fact that the changing nature of our economy and industry suggests that more traditional skill sets are no longer relevant for an increasingly large portion of the modern workforce.

Nobody emerges from 10 to 12 years of schooling and then suddenly decides that bullying, harassment and intimidation are appropriate techniques for interacting with others. They have learned these behaviours through their entrenchment in the school system and the inability, or unwillingness, of school administrators to tackle the problem. Yes, home and family attitudes and experiences can have a significant influence on how young people think and behave, which makes it so critical that schools are doing everything they can to mitigate these influences. After all, school is about educating young people and surely this must include education around appropriate attitudes and behaviours towards others. Too many times have I heard teachers or school administrators brush aside instances of bullying with statements that are designed to lay blame with the victim, such as “He is his own worst enemy” or “He/she needs to stop being so sensitive”. Nobody deserves to be bullied, tormented or harassed, regardless of how sensitive or different they may be. I have also seen instances of bullying dismissed with comments such as “it’s just boys being boys” or “he/she should make more effort to be friends with other students”. In fact, in my experience, schools seem to commit more energy to justifying their lack of action over bullying incidents than they do to developing and implementing strategies to stop them from happening in the first place.

Of course, the mainstream media loves bullying. Violence, bullying and intimidation in our schools and amongst young people online are the types of stories on which news and current affairs programs thrive. They love nothing better than video footage of young people behaving badly, particularly footage of students scrapping in the schoolyard with a circle of cheering classmates spurring them on. Who can forget how Casey Heynes was thrust into the spotlight and acquired celebrity status, albeit momentarily, as the ‘fat kid who fought back’ against a student who had been bullying him for an extended period. Of course, amid the media frenzy and faux outrage, there is rarely any serious discussion about how, or why, our education system has allowed such behaviours to become an entrenched part of school life. Needless to say, Casey was suspended by the school despite being the victim, no doubt because his actions alerted the community to the types of behaviours that were occurring at this school. The embarrassment suffered by the school is seen as a more serious issue than any bullying or violence that may be occurring and I don’t think it is unreasonable to suggest that such thinking is typical among school administrators. Much of the reason for schools refusing to acknowledge bullying in their realm is because of the competitive nature of education. Schools are constantly trying to sell themselves to parents as the best option for their children. If schools were to acknowledge and address every incident of bullying and deal with it accordingly, the school would seem a particularly violent place. However, by turning a blind eye to acts of bullying, school administrators can spruik proudly that there have been very few such incidents in the school. They work on the principal that if you don’t acknowledge it, it isn’t happening, whilst the reality is that students are being harassed, assaulted and intimidated every single day in every single school.

Of course, bullying is much more than fisticuffs and extreme physical encounters. It is everything from name calling to social ostracism. It might be one student constantly annoying another in the classroom. It could be throwing objects at another student, kicking at a chair or desk, using derogatory terms such as ‘gay’ or ‘faggot’ or ‘wog’ or ’slope’. It could be spreading false information about another person or hiding a schoolbag or vandalising another student’s property. The list is endless and this doesn’t even begin to take into account the numerous methods of cyber bullying and online intimidation that is now so rampant amongst young people. The rise and rise of social media and mobile technologies has made it so much easier for people to fall victim to bullies and other nefarious characters that this type of harassment has almost reached epidemic proportions. These technologies have, to be fair, made it harder for parents and schools to observe and address bullying behaviours, which is all the more reason why education authorities have to do more to protect their students from harm. It is not fair on the students to leave such responsibilities to parents because, whether we like it or not, a great many parents are simply not equipped or interested enough to effectively protect their children. Schools need to step up with a genuine commitment to eliminate bullying. At the moment, approaches to bullying are reactive; addressing an incident after it has happened (and only then if they absolutely have to) rather than being pro-active by developing effective strategies to prevent it from happening at all. A principal or other such authority figure proclaiming on school assembly that “bullying is bad” is often the extent of any so-called anti-bullying strategy and such disregard for student welfare is unacceptable.

Research undertaken by Edith Cowan University identified that one in four students report being bullied every few weeks or more often. Given that a significant number of students never report being bullied because of a fear of retribution, a mistaken belief that they must deserve such treatment or the knowledge that very little, if anything will be done to prevent it from continuing, the real number of bullying incidents on any given day is staggering. Unfortunately, the consequences of bullying often plays out as the worst possible scenario; another young person takes their own life or engages in self-harming behaviours as a result of the low self-esteem that develops from being subjected to ongoing victimisation. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that bullying is the number one concern troubling school students in Australia, yet we seem to be floundering in in our efforts to develop effective, pro-active strategies to change student behaviours. Bullying is learnt behaviour and those who bully need guidance on how to behave. There are numerous organisations committed to promoting awareness and expounding the impact of bullying not only on the victims, but also the perpetrators and the broader community, yet we don’t really seem to be making much headway with regard to eliminating it as a large scale problem in schools across the country.

Whilst the people whose experiences feature in this book have emerged mostly unscathed and gone on to enjoy successful lives, this is definitely not always the case for victims of bullying. We know that children who are bullied are much more likely to suffer physical and mental health problems, poor academic achievement, poorer physical health and higher absenteeism. Victims of bullying are also much more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and low self-esteem, with those who are bullied up to nine times more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Surely such numbers are sobering enough to encourage a much more committed and coordinated approach to eliminating bullying from our school communities. Any approach to combat bullying must start in schools as it is the beliefs, values and behaviours that young people experience in school that will play a significant role in shaping their lives long into the future.

Is it any wonder that we see aggressive behaviours perpetuated in the community; from alcohol-fuelled fighting on the street, to talkback radio hosts launching vitriolic personal attacks on people with whom they don’t agree, to husbands using violence and intimidation to ‘control’ their spouses, to the seemingly increasing number of sexual assaults being perpetrated against women, to racist and/or homophobic slurs being directed at members of the public. Such behaviours can be attributed to the fact that they have manifested in our schools. Yes, there are many teachers who witness bullying on a daily basis and are doing whatever they can to eliminate these behaviours in their classrooms. However, such efforts are undermined and ultimately ineffective if the broader school community (principals, teachers, staff and parents) is not making a genuine commitment to tackling the problem. I mean, there is no point in an individual teacher developing and implementing anti-bullying strategies in their classroom if any behaviour expectations embedded in these are not mandated and enforced as a school-wide strategy. For whatever reason, school administrators seem reluctant to tackle the problem with enthusiasm and commitment and such apathy is extremely difficult to understand.

Perhaps much of the problem lies with the fact that many of the people who work in schools engage in the very behaviours that constitute bullying and are therefore unlikely to recognise such behaviours in others, let alone take any action. Whether it is teachers, parents and/or administrative staff bullying other teachers and staff or whether it is teachers bullying students, such goings-on are fairly common in my experience. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody as a school is a workplace after all and we know that workplace bullying is as much a problem as bullying in any other context. If those in a position of leadership and authority cannot set a positive example with regard to the way they treat others, what hope is there that students are ever likely to understand the impact of such behaviours on those individuals who suffer at the hands of bullies?

As a teacher and a parent, I want to be confident that my child can attend school without ever having to fear being subjected to bullying or harassment. At the moment, no school can offer such an assurance and that is very sad indeed. An education system that cannot provide school students with a reasonable degree of certainty that they will not be subjected to physical or verbal assaults and/or other forms of bullying is fundamentally failing in their responsibilities to protect young people from harm. Whilst Bully for Them: Outstanding Australians on Hard Lessons Learned at School offers considerable insight into the experiences of those who are bullied at school and is well worth reading, it is hard to know whether it will have any impact on the level of bullying that currently pervades Australian school campuses and the cyber bullying epidemic propagated via an ever increasing number of digital platforms to which we have seemingly surrendered. If nothing else, this book might provide some solace to other victims of bullying simply by knowing that their experience is shared by people who have gone on to find success despite the best efforts of their tormentors to tear them down. We must work together to develop a united, coordinated, and sustained program of action to tackle bullying in all its forms. Anything less is an abdication of our responsibilities to Australia’s young people and that is unacceptable.

The Zero Theorem

Terry Gilliam’s career as a filmmaker has been a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, perhaps more so than any other contemporary director. From the comedic genius of Monty Python and the Holy Grail to the masterful Brazil and other fine films such as Time Bandits, The Fisher King and Twelve Monkeys, Gilliam is responsible for some of the most interesting movies of the last 40 years, yet he has continually struggled in recent times to secure the necessary financial support for his projects. I generally like Gilliam’s work, even those films derided by almost everybody else, such as 2005’s Tideland, because even his most flawed films offer something that is interesting and thought provoking. Of course, his fruitless attempt to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is the stuff of legend and whilst he has refused to allow the myriad setbacks and disappointments to curb his output, it is obvious that, despite his considerable talents, his vision has been compromised by his inability to secure the backing needed to craft his projects into something truly great. With his latest effort, The Zero Theorem, Gilliam again demonstrates a flair for the absurd and a willingness to address the big issues, albeit in ways that are not necessarily easy to understand.

The Zero Theorem poster

The film is a visual feast, particularly the external scenes of an urban landscape dominated by garish neon and talking billboards spouting all kinds of messages, very similar to the world created by Ridley Scott in Bladerunner, while the elaborate costuming is reminiscent of Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element. Set in the near future, the narrative revolves around Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz), a misanthropic data crunching computer programmer with agoraphobic tendencies who spends most of the film in the former church that now serves as his home; resplendent with a steam punk aesthetic. When he is drafted by Management (a bleached blonde Matt Damon) and tasked with finding the reason for human existence, Qohen insists on working from home. However, much to his chagrin, his progress is interrupted on several occasions by unwanted visits from a cast of wacky characters, including the flirtatious Bainsley (Mélanie Thierry), his supervisor Joby (David Thewlis) and digital therapist Dr Shrink-Rom (Tilda Swinton). The final indignity comes when Management sends his wunderkind son Bob (Lucas Hedges) in to assist when Qohen finds himself on the brink of madness.

The Zero Theorem 1

As Bainsley, Thierry brings a terrific sense of fun to this pixie dream-girl force of nature determined to roust Qohen from his malaise. Of course, Qohen is suspicious of her presence – has she been sent by Management to test him in some way? – yet finds himself unable to resist her charms and the promise of a peaceful paradisiac existence away from all the things that rankle him so much. Thewlis is very annoying as Joby and perhaps that is intentional to enable us to understand why Qohen is so irritated by him, while an almost unrecognisable Swinton provides comic relief as the online therapist who seems more bonkers than anybody. Gilliam presents a vision of the future that may, or may not, be too far removed from reality. One of the most amusing moments is a scene in which Qohen is sitting on a bench in front of a wall of signs that declare all of the activities that are prohibited, no doubt Gilliam’s way of critiquing a society in which rights and freedoms are being whittled away.

The Zero Theorem 2

It is very difficult to give any definitive explanation of what The Zero Theorem is about exactly and it is this elusiveness that is perhaps its biggest drawback. However, there is a clear message about the futility in waiting for answers rather than simply accepting life as it comes. Shot on location in Romania, this is an ambitious and personal film that many will find difficult to embrace. Whilst The Zero Theorem is a long way from being Gilliam’s best work, this vision of the future – candy-coloured yet bleak – is certainly not a disaster and is better than so many of the cookie-cutter releases that clutter cinema schedules. We need original filmmakers like Terry Gilliam and it is really important that filmmakers like him are able to realise the full extent of their artistic vision, unhindered by the vagaries of a funding model that privileges the asinine over the intelligent when it comes to cinema stories.

Caxton Street Seafood and Wine Festival

Queensland’s biggest annual street party is looming large on the horizon with the Caxton Street Seafood and Wine Festival set to once again celebrate Brisbane’s food culture on Sunday, June 8. Celebrating its 20th year in 2014, this year’s festival promises to be the best yet with a huge line-up of music and entertainment in addition to a fabulous selection of the finest seafood dishes from Brisbane’s best restaurants.

Caxton Street Festival

More than 20 food outlets will be dishing up all manner of seafood delights throughout the day, from seafood platters to fish burgers to seafood pizza. Of course, in addition to all the great street food, participating restaurants in the festival precinct will also be serving up the freshest seafood on offer. There will also be plenty of options for those seeking something other than seafood, with German sausage and steak amongst the options. The wine will be curated by Queensland’s own Sirromet, winners of over 700 prestigious national and international wine awards since opening in 2000.

In addition to the fantastic food and wine, festival organisers have secured a terrific line-up of musical talent across four stages throughout the day and into the evening. The psychedelically raucous rock of ARIA and Grammy award winners Wolfmother will headline the Hale Street Stage, showcasing their third studio album New Crown.

Wolfmother

On the Petrie Terrace Stage, US rockabilly legend Slim Jim Phantom is bringing more than 35 years of experience to town for what promises to be a legendary performance. Phantom has secured his place as a true rock n roll icon as the drummer for Stray Cats – alongside Brian Setzer and Lee Rocker – the band synonymous with the rockabilly revival of the early 1980’s that has since spawned the likes of Australia’s own The Living End.

Also featuring on the musical menu is the multi-talented Ella Hooper, the former front woman with Killing Heidi, radio host and team captain on ABC television’s Spicks and Specks music quiz program, along with Brisbane’s latest chart topping musical export in Sheppard.

Ella Hooper

Other musical delights to be savoured include Jessica Sarah, Tyrone Noonan, Pludo and 1980’s pop sensations The Eurogliders, while the Triple M New Music Stage will feature at the festival for the first time with performances from the likes of The Strums and the hard rocking Diva Demolition, who have supported the likes of Kiss, Motley Crue and Aerosmith in huge arena shows. For the full schedule of musical performances, click here.

There will also be Beko Cooking Demonstrations throughout the day and a party atmosphere as Brisbane people come together to celebrate and enjoy the very best in wine, seafood and song. Furthermore, proceeds raised from the festival will support Wesley Prostate Cancer Care so, with a public holiday the next day and easy access by public transport, there really is no excuse to miss the 20th Anniversary Caxton Street Seafood and Wine Festival.

For more information about the event or to purchase a ticket (great value at just $25 plus booking fee), head to the festival website – www.caxtonstseafoodandwinefestival.com

Education Update #9

Welcome once again to on Education Update, the latest collection of education articles and ideas from a variety of online sources. This week’s instalment includes articles about student motivation, arts integration, learning strategies, tolerance, combatting plagiarism and teaching academic language. There is also some good reading that examines how schools can create greater transparency and connectivity through the use of social media and by giving students a genuine voice.

Also this week, a look at what schools might be like in the not-so-distant future and a very interesting story on schools in which the teaching staff, rather than bureaucrats, are responsible for running things. I mean, it’s a no-brainer that teachers would actually have a better idea how to run a school than those currently charged with these responsibilities, but it is still surprising to see that this is actually happening. Needless to say, it seems such an approach is proving successful.

Also check out a great series of videos that address the worst ‘writing crimes’ and how to fix them.

Education News 3

What Keeps Students Motivated to Learn?

Educators have lots of ideas about how to improve education, to better reach learners and to give students the skills they’ll need in college and beyond the classroom. But often those conversations remain between adults. The real test of any idea is in the classroom, though students are rarely asked about what they think about their education….read more

7 Ways To Transform Education By 2030

It’s a simple question: what will high school look like in 2030? The reality is that we don’t know. There isn’t a plan. Up until now there has been a tacit belief that education systems will evolve to meet the needs of the future. But, what if our current modus operandi can’t evolve quickly enough? What if it doesn’t evolve at all?…read more

Smart Strategies That Help Students Learn How to Learn

Anytime a student learns, he or she has to bring in two kinds of prior knowledge: knowledge about the subject at hand (say, mathematics or history) and knowledge about how learning works. Parents and educators are pretty good at imparting the first kind of knowledge. We’re comfortable talking about concrete information: names, dates, numbers, facts. But the guidance we offer on the act of learning itself—the “metacognitive” aspects of learning—is more hit-or-miss….read more

Strategies for Teaching Academic Language

Academic language is a meta-language that helps learners acquire the 50,000 words that they are expected to have internalized by the end of high school and includes everything from illustration and chart literacy to speaking, grammar and genres within fields….read more

Student Voice

Recently, there has been an increase in interest amongst educators and policy makers about the notion of student engagement and student empowerment as well as the most effective ways that schools might leverage such factors in order to improve student outcomes. ….read more

A Research-Based Approach to Arts Integration

Arts integration has been shown by several rigorous studies to increase student engagement and achievement among youth from both low and high socioeconomic backgrounds….read more

Writing Felonies

A series of videos featuring the worst writing crimes and how to fix them….watch here

Online Tools to Help Combat Plagiarism

All students complain when they need to write an essay. Some will fail to deliver it, and others will deliver what educators hate the most; a plagiarised paper. You can never be sure whether or not a student has worked on an assignment all by him- or herself, but at least you can be sure that the content is unique….read more

How Transparency Can Transform School Culture

To meet the challenges of teaching in an increasingly connected world, school leaders, educators and community members could benefit from building a culture of transparency and connectivity, creating a culture of sharing around the successes and struggles of teaching and learning….read more

Give the Kid a Pencil

I recently taught a university course in Seattle for graduate students seeking master’s degrees in teaching. In one lesson, our focus was on creating a psychologically safe learning environment for students. It was an issue of managing students and supplies. I posed a question: If a student shows up to class without a pencil, how should the teacher respond?….read more

What a Teacher-Powered School Looks Like

Most public schools are traditionally run by principals and administrators, who defer to policies dictated by the state. But a group of schools is subverting the top-down system, putting teachers in full control of running their schools….read more