Friday, March 15, 2013

Implications of Modern Parenting on Schools?

This slideshow, from the Pew Research Center, highlights the findings of a survey they did on modern parenting.  For educators, the findings are important because they provide insight into the time demands on parents and the potential implications those demands might have on students.

If you want to see the slideshow on the Pew Research Center's web site and read more about the findings, click here.

Modern Parenthood

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wonderful Summary on Popular Learning Techniques

The lesson you never got taught in school: How to learn!

The above article not only summarizes a number of popular learning techniques, but also rates their effectiveness according to a recently published research project.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Good Reminders About How to Avoid Teacher Burnout

Teacher burnout, especially among new teachers, is a real challenge for many educators.  This is especially true for administrators who spend plenty of time recruiting and retaining talented faculty members.

Angela Maiers recently published this post that includes some excellent reminders about how to avoid new teacher burnout.

Three Ways to Avoid New Teacher Burnout

All Things Change

In July of 2010, I launched The Art of Education in hopes that my ideas, thoughts, and insights would be of use to someone with an interest in education and educational leadership.  What I did not realize at the time was that the one person who would benefit most from this blog was me.

As I write this, I am reflecting on how much I have grown in the past few years.  Not only the upkeep here on The Art of Education, but also:

Now, 500 published posts and over 100,000 visitors later, I find myself at a metaphorical fork in the road.  With the launching of THRIVAPY and preparing to begin a new chapter of my educational leadership career at a different school next year, I have some decisions to make about the future of The Art of Education.  These choices come from my decision to write more often on The Thrivapy Blog and use that space to share my ideas about student success and satisfaction.

The options I decided to choose from are:

  1. Stop writing posts entirely and delete The Art of Education.
  2. Commit to writing less frequently on The Art of Education.
  3. Use The Art of Education mostly to share links to articles I like from around the web.  Basically, I curate good stuff and pass it along on The Art of Education.
  4. Set up The Art of Education to automatically redirect/take viewers to The Thrivapy Blog.
I am not enchanted with option #1.  Frankly, I have invested too much into The Art of Education to simply let it go.  Maybe, I'll feel different later, but for now I am not ready to let it go.

Option #2 is more enchanting, but one thing I know about blogs is that if you do not keep them current, the audience leaves.  I care too much about helping and sharing to go to a random posting schedule.

I like #3 because it allows me to continue to post frequently, share good ideas, and allow me to spend more mental energy on THRIVAPY and The Thrivapy Blog.

Option #4 was, at first, attractive.  However, the more I think about it, the less I like it.  The Thrivapy Blog will certainly be useful to people who come to The Art of Education, but I do not want access to The Art of Education to be cut off.  I am also cognizant of how some people may find it aggravating to click a link to The Art of Education only to be taken to another site.

Therefore, I am going to try option #3 here at The Art of Education for a few weeks to see how it works.  I will still, from time to time, write original pieces here, but most of my writing will be published on The Thrivapy Blog.

I hope this change is useful to you, the reader, as I respect your time very much.  You are invited to join me by visiting and sharing The Thrivapy Blog with your friends and colleagues.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Can Your Students Name The Members Of Their Learning Team?

 If you haven't done so recently (or ever), it may be a good use of time to ask your students about their learning team.

Learning team?

Yes, you know; the people who are tasked with supporting, guiding, directing, and inspiring them.

Oh, Dr. Roddy, you mean their teachers?

Yes and no.

Certainly, a student's teachers are an important part of the learning team, but they do not make up the entire group.

Here are some other possibilities to consider.
  • parents and/or other family members
  • the principal
  • counselors
  • coaches
  • academic advisers
  • former teachers with whom the student stays in touch
  • tutors
  • friends
Ask a student to name the people that are tasked with helping them and see how many they can name.  Do you see a potential relationship between success in school and the number/diversity of students' learning team members?  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

3 Qualities of Student Goal Setting

The following post was also published on The Thrivapy Blog

Students who set goals have the advantage of knowing what they want to accomplish, which usually includes a clear vision of success. However, simply setting goals is often not enough. Students need help with setting appropriate goals and aligning those goals with an action plan on which they can follow through. Therefore, it is very helpful to provide useful guidance to students about setting goals.

In Thrivapy, I spend quite a bit of time helping students set goals. Once set, we use those goals to evaluate progress and as a foundation for the student's developing vision of success.

This post identifies 3 qualities I look for in good student goals.

1. The goal is challenging.

A challenging goal is one that requires some higher level of focus, concentration, and effort.

2. The goal is specific.

A specific goal can be measured in some way to check for progress.

3. The goal is flexible.

A flexible goal can be adjusted without changing the essence of the overall achievement. For example, the goal if hitting safely one time in a baseball game can be adjusted to two safe hits if you accomplish the goal on your first at bat.

Looking for more help on student goal setting? Check out this presentation I recently gave to a group of teachers.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Learning "For Distance" or "For Time"

 When using a treadmill, one can take two basic approaches.
  1. Run (or walk) for distance.
  2. Run (or walk) for time.
Going for distance means you move until you cover a set distance.  How long it takes you to go that far is not important.  What is important is that you covered a specific distance.

When you go for time, the distance doesn't matter.  You set the workout for a specific amount of time and move until time runs out.  How far you went doesn't matter.

Students are busy.  There is often a great deal of activity in their schedules and, like many people, their lives are managed by a list (written or remembered) of things to do.  There is value in living by lists.  They can help  organize and remind you to do important things.

However, there is also a downside to ONLY living by the list.  Doing so can reinforce a habit of getting things done for the sake of doing them.  In other words, get it done/cross it off the list/move on to something else.  In the case of students, school work is often an item that needs to be done in order to do something else that is MUCH more enchanting to them.  So, the habit of just getting wok done and moving on emerges.

Then, one day, getting it done doesn't work anymore.  Now, the work needs to be done with care, with creativity, with passion, an in a manner that can be shared with others - proudly.

This is when students with whom I work come to me with confused looks about how to get back on track and begin doing better work.  This is when I use the treadmill analogy.

If you are doing your school work to complete it and move on, it is like running for distance.  Cover the mile, read the pages, do the problems, .... and move on.  With a life that is demanding more time for other things, the tendency will be to speed up, cover the mile faster, and do something else.

On the other hand, running for time - doing your work for a set period - doesn't reward speed.  It rewards care, accuracy, and attention to detail.  One strategy I suggest is the 30-30-30 plan.  Do 30 minutes of work, take a break, do another 30 minutes, and repeat once more.  Set a minimum time and if you finish before time is up, go back over your notes, check your work for accuracy, edit that paragraph one more time, etc.

Sometimes, it is useful to get the job done and move on to the next item.  We need to be open to doing that or the work may become overwhelming.  We should also recognize and appreciate the power of slowing down and "learning for time" as well.   
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