Recently found … 07/27/2011

  • tags: teacher evaluation assessment

    • fragmented school governance in the U.S. coupled with the lack of coherent educational infrastructure make it difficult either to broadly improve teaching and learning or to have valid knowledge of the extent of improvement.
    • There are some weak individual teachers, but the chief problem has been a non-system that offers no guidance or support for strong teaching and learning, precisely because there has been no infrastructure.
    • the United States lacks an instructional system that would enable valid determinations of which teachers boost students’ test scores. Another is that researchers report that that performance pay does not boost student test scores (the most recent case in point is New York City’s decision to cancel its scheme after a RAND study that found that money rewards had no effect on students’ test scores). And still another is that existing tests do not support defensible determinations of teaching quality, except perhaps at the very extremes of the distribution
    • It’s true that some teachers are not responsible or determined, but dealing with that small fraction of the teaching force will do little to remedy the chief school-related causes of weak student performance—the absence of systemic clarity about what is to be taught and learned, how best to teach it, and support for teachers to learn those things—all things that well-designed infrastructure could offer.
  • Nine  easy ways to generate a lot of ideas is to apply a checklist of nine creative-thinking principles that were first formally suggested by Alex Osborn, pioneer of brainstorming,  and later arranged into the following mnemonic SCAMPER.

    S = Substitute?
    C = Combine?
    A = Adapt?
    M = Magnify? = Modify?
    P = Put to other uses?
    E = Eliminate?
    R = Rearrange? = Reverse? 

    tags: psychology creativity ideas create

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recently found … 07/22/2011

  • tags: schools teacher evaluation teachers

    • The District of Columbia public schools has sent termination notices to 413 teachers and other school employees, including 288 for poor performance, under an evaluation system that has become a national model. District officials said that 113 of the employees had been rated ineffective, and that an additional 175 had been rated minimally effective for a second consecutive year in a system that emphasizes students’ performance on standardized tests as well as on classroom observations.
  • tags: pre-service teaching teachers

    • The National Council on Teacher Quality, an advocacy group, is to issue a study on Thursday reporting that most student-teaching programs are seriously flawed.
    • Many of the nation’s 1,400 education schools have taken issue with the council’s ranking project.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recently found … 07/19/2011

  • tags: teacher evaluation Teacher teaching new york city merit pay

    • The results add to a growing body of evidence nationally that so-called pay-for-performance bonuses for teachers that consist only of financial incentives have no effect on student achievement, the researchers wrote. Even so, federal education policy champions the concept, and spending on performance-based pay for teachers grew to $439 million nationally last year from $99 million in 2006, the study said.
    • Teachers also reported that improving as teachers and seeing their students learn were bigger motivators than a bonus, Dr. Marsh said.
    • some staff members viewed the program as unfair because it relied too heavily on test scores, and others said they did not understand how the awards were determined.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

On Music Tours for Kids

When I was in high school (a long time ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth), I had the great privilege of participating in music tours organized by the school’s vocal and instrumental directors. Lucky enough to be based in London, these tours took us to Germany, Spain, Denmark … They are undoubtedly among my favorite teenage memories. I can’t tell you much about the performances, what we played, or where we played – my memories are of the social times with friends in hostels and on trains, searching for restaurants, and flirting with strangers. Important learning experiences for a teenager.

Fast forward many years … I just returned from a week in the UK where I organized a music tour for a group of students from the School of Rock. Several kids are seasoned world travelers, but many obtained their first passports for the trip. They performed 7 gigs in 7 days, were treated like “real” rock stars, and had the chance to see quite a few towns and cities in England – not to mention make friendships with local musicians and truly experience another culture.

The grou pays hommage to the Beatles at Abbey Road.

The group pays hommage to the Beatles at Abbey Road. The kids are flanked by music teachers extraordinaire: Jim Love and Eric York

It was a great experience for the kids (their travel blog here), and one I’m glad to have helped provide. I relied heavily on friends from the past who helped with coordination and logistics. But in the end, all I can do is sigh with admiration for Georgia and Richard Bassett – my music directors from high school who did this every year with over 100 kids and a full orchestra (yes, we traveled with tubas). Now that the exhaustion and jet lag have begun to wear off, I am left with true awe for their dedication to students.

Here’s to the teachers who make a difference in our lives ….

And PS – if anyone knows how to forward this to the Bassetts in England, I’d appreciate it.