Excellent reading teachers share the following critical qualities of knowledge and practice:

Excellent reading teachers also use strong motivational strategies that encourage independent learning, have high expectations for children's achievement, and help children who are having difficulty. In addition, excellent reading teachers know that reading development begins well before children enter school and continues throughout a child's school career.

In order to develop excellence in reading instruction, the International Reading Association recommends the following:



See original text: http://goo.gl/rTxRvJ



Even after eight years of teaching history, I struggle with helping my students retain and make effective use of their learning. Several years ago, a returning senior asked if she could retake the final exam in my United States history course in September. She had earned a solid "A" just three months earlier, but after a long and eventful summer, she wanted to know how much she remembered.

As it turned out, not much. My once-shining star had devolved into just an average student, earning a "C" on the same exam. She couldn’t recall historical intricacies that once rolled off her tongue, nor could she effectively articulate the main arguments for American territorial expansion from 1820 to 1860, and the impact this had in leading up to the Civil War. Little deep or lasting "learning" had taken root.

To better understand why this happens, I recently spoke to Mark A. McDaniel, co-author of Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learningand Director of the Center for Integrative Research on Cognition, Learning, and Education (CIRCLE) at Washington University in St. Louis.

Connect Content With Meaning

My student found no reason to remember facts which meant little to her personally. Throughout the year, I had failed to encourage her to connect her own experiences and interests to the content. As McDaniel tells me, "Techniques that stimulate the learner to bring in a lot of prior knowledge and personal experience help make the learning more meaningful." I now champion the art of historical inquiry over breadth of coverage, and I strive to connect what students care about in the news, such as police shootings and protests, to the Civil Rights Movement and the United States Constitution.

Discourage Rote Memorization

I had also formerly encouraged my students to burn facts into memory by reading and rereading the text. In hindsight, this was horrible advice. McDaniel tells me that familiarity and fluency with a text is often an ineffective and misleading indicator of true learning. "They're getting cues that make them think they know more than they do." This might explain not only why my student forgot so much over the summer, but also why some learners, no matter how hard and diligently they study, still perform poorly on assessments.

Encourage Self-Testing

McDaniel encourages certain techniques to foster learning and memory. For example, teachers should remind students to regularly test themselves, which, McDaniel says, "has direct effects in improving subsequent retrieval and also helps the students better calibrate what they know and don't know." Following this advice, I frequently ask students to explain aloud to themselves (and sometimes to others) how and why certain themes and terms connect. I also provide detailed study guides for tests and quizzes, with ample time for students to assess their learning and seek extra help. Next year, I hope to heed more of McDaniel's advice by giving frequent but brief surveys, asking students to assess their learning after each major lesson.

Let Students Figure Out the Problem

To improve learning and memory, McDaniel also suggests merely pointing out where students run into difficulty, without providing detailed feedback. "If you're telling the students exactly what's wrong every time, they never know how to figure that out on their own," McDaniel tells me. Certainly, I need to improve in this area, especially with feedback on written work. At times, students view too much feedback (and too much red ink) from me as an affront. I've found much greater success by having my classes identify and correct mistakes from anonymous student work.

Give Frequent, Low-Stakes Assessments

As a rookie teacher, I failed to recognize that assessments should be used to gauge learning progress -- not simply to test how much data a student can squeeze into his or her brain. Furthermore, since I formerly gave fewer assessments, each carried significantly more weight. Not surprisingly, my students cared more about seeing the final grade, and not reviewing their mistakes. McDaniel says that frequent low-stakes assessments signal to grade-worried students that, as he puts it, "we're not testing, we're helping you learn." This strategy reinforces the learning and improves long-term memory, no matter how familiar or redundant students may regard certain quiz material.

Don't Penalize Errors Harshly

Along these lines, in most cases I give students opportunities for full or partial retakes, no matter what grade they receive on an assessment. As I often write, I'm not nearly as concerned about when an individual masters a concept -- just that it is in fact mastered. McDaniel reinforces my philosophy, saying, "I think the culture of the classroom and teaching has to change so that errors are viewed as an opportunity to improve and correct yourself." This certainly creates more work for the teacher, but it's well worth that effort if even one more student feels secure in making mistakes and recovering from failure.

How do you make learning meaningful and lasting in your classroom? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.


See original text: http://goo.gl/Ks74nb

It's the end of summer. Kids' minds have been on autopilot for three months, yet we expect them to walk into school on that first day ready to learn. It used to take me weeks to develop a relationship with the kids and get them engaged in class. After a few years of frustration at the time wasted getting them psyched for school, I came up with a plan to get the kids so excited that they'll be breaking down the doors to start class. Here are some of the ways that our staff is firing up the kids for their first day.

1. Exciting Podcasts

The biggest question on each student's mind at the beginning of the year has to be, "What is my teacher like?" I try to answer this question the moment they show up for registration in July. Each student receives a flyer welcoming them to the school and directing them to a website with links to podcasts. Through this medium, the teachers introduce themselves and explain why they love teaching. The kids love hearing their teachers' voices and quickly learn that they'll be working with adults who are energetic and excited to work with them. I don’t post the podcasts all at once -- instead I stagger them throughout the summer to build student anticipation.

2. Welcoming Web Page

Most teachers load their class websites up with a wealth of resources, web tools, apps, and videos. During the school year, this is a valuable practice. During the summer however, this can be overwhelming. Students want to see what makes you excited to teach your content, not the link to the dictionary you want them to use. The website that we share with kids at registration is simpler than our usual website. It's a welcome page with pictures, videos, and links to sites that show how much fun our students will have in the coming year. I also include things like a timer counting down to the first day of school, the introduction podcasts with a picture of each teacher, and a quick video tour of the school. For an example, check out my school’s welcome website.

3. Snail Mail Invitation

Kids love getting things in the mail. It doesn't matter what it is. There's just something special about opening the mailbox to find something waiting for you with your name on it. A week or two before the school year begins, we mail a letter to all students telling them how excited we are for them to join us in August. It's also a great way for us to include a few quick reminders about upcoming dates (our "Meat 'n' Greet," the first day of classes, etc.).

4. Delicious Welcome Event

My school uses the power of food by hosting an event called "Meat 'n' Greet" the week before school starts. We provide hotdogs and chips and take the opportunity to meet the students for the first time. We also use that opportunity to meet their families. This builds some excitement with younger siblings and shows the parents that we're all working together to help the kids succeed. The goal is giving the students and their families a chance to meet the teachers and staff in person, scope out the building, and see where they'll be spending a large portion of their time this year.

5. Email Blast or Phone Message

The kids have been primed with the podcasts, welcome website, letter, and "Meat 'n' Greet," and they're ready for the first day -- almost. They just need one final push. The day before school starts, I send out an email reminding each student how exciting that first day is going to be. I keep it short and to the point. By this time, most of the students have met me, watched or listened to intros to all of the teachers through the website, and toured the school. When they get to school the next day, they're bursting through the doors ready to tackle the school year.

6. Bonus Tip: Keep It Going

It's easy to start losing students if you don't keep the momentum going. Energetic lessons and exciting classrooms help, but during the first month of the school year, nothing makes a kid beam more than coming home to find out that their teacher called or emailed their parents with news about what a great job they're doing in class. That one phone or email call can make a difference in your interactions with both the parents and the student for the rest of the year.


See original text: http://goo.gl/nWZj3X

¿Eres un nuevo maestro o quieres ser uno en el futuro? Ten en cuenta estos consejos de maestro a maestro antes de comenzar tus clases:


Texto original: http://goo.gl/Rf9cmI

Si tus alumnos no estuviesen obligados a asistir a tu clase, ¿lo harían? Esta es una pregunta delicada que muchos profesores temen hacerse, ya que sospechan que la respuesta no les va a gustar.

Tristemente, en la mayoría de las aulas tradicionales menos del 50% de los estudiantes iría voluntariamente a clase y, lo que es aún más preocupante, tan solo un 10% participa activamente. Para romper con este sistema y aportar una experiencia que realmente sea de valor para los estudiantes, es importante que veamos a nuestros alumnos como miembros de una comunidad de aprendizaje y no como simples cerebros a los que debemos rellenar de información como parte de un proceso educativo en masa.

El aprendizaje participativo se basa en esta premisa, es decir, en asegurarnos de que el alumno se encuentra involucrado en su proceso educativo y en que, si tuviese que elegir, asistiría a nuestra clase sin pensarlo.

Para construir un proceso de aprendizaje en el que los estudiantes participen activamente es importante considerar 4 factores:

1. Aprendizaje Ubicuo: ¿Por qué limitar el aprendizaje al horario escolar? Cuantas menos barreras le pongamos al aprendizaje, mucho mejor. 24 horas al día, 7 días a la semana. Eso es lo que buscamos.

2. Aprendizaje Basado en Competencias: Está muy bien que el alumno conozca todas las formulas pero, si no sabe resolver problemas, ¿para qué sirve? Las distintas etapas del aprendizaje deben venir marcadas por el manejo de competencias prácticas y demostrables, y no por otros factores externos al aprendizaje como las horas de estudio o la asistencia a clase.

3. Aprendizaje Personalizado: Cada persona es un mundo, ¿por qué aplicar el mismo método a todas ellas? Un proceso que favorezca la participación debe identificar las fortalezas y debilidades de cada estudiante y manejarlas individualmente.

4. Aprendizaje Dirigido por el Estudiante: El alumno debería ser el principal responsable no solo de su éxito/fracaso, sino también de lo que quiere estudiar. En este punto hablamos de un proceso de aprendizaje adaptado a sus intereses e inquietudes.

Rutina para Incentivar el Aprendizaje Participativo

Tomando estos 4 pilares básicos, es posible diseñar procesos de aprendizaje muy diversos, dependiendo de la materia en cuestión, nivel de estudios y, por supuesto, de los estudiantes a los que van dirigidos.

A continuación, veamos un sencillo ejemplo con GoConqr (regístrate gratis aquí). Supongamos que tenemos que diseñar un proceso de aprendizaje para la enseñanza de Geografía en educación secundaria.

Para empezar, podríamos crear un Grupo de Estudio en GoConqr para asegurarnos que el aprendizaje se lleva a cabo de manera ininterrumpida (aprendizaje ubicuo), en este grupo podemos iniciar debates, encuestas, hilos de discusión y compartir recursos.

Con respecto a este último punto, podemos compartir distintos tipos de recursos relacionados con la materia para así asegurarnos de dar distintas opciones a nuestros alumnos, dependiendo de su estilo de aprendizaje. Además, también podemos compartir recursos individualmente con algunos alumnos, si lo deseamos (aprendizaje personalizado).

Para desarrollar el aprendizaje del estudiante, GoConqr incluye herramientas para que éstos puedan crear sus propios recursos de estudio según sus intereses. Además, la biblioteca de recursos de GoConqr cuenta con más de 2 millones de recursos de estudio, por lo que si el alumno está interesado en algún tema determinado siempre puede investigar para ampliar sus conocimientos (aprendizaje dirigido por el estudiante y aprendizaje basado en competencias).

Con este sencillo ejemplo, hemos sentado las bases de un pequeño proceso de aprendizaje centrado en el estudiante que, además, estimula la participación de los mismos. A partir de aquí, te animamos que tomes las riendas de tu método de enseñanza y adaptes estos conceptos a tus circunstancias.


Texto original: http://goo.gl/lz46If


In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and crew are so intimidated by the Wizard's enigmatic personality that they struggle to talk with him on equal footing. Fear and frustration overwhelm them as they blindly accept a suicide mission to slay the Witch of the West. In return, they each receive a treasured prize: a heart, a brain, courage, and a way home. Ironically, they already have these gifts -- which they only discover after unveiling the man behind the curtain posing as the grumpy wizard.

Differentiated instruction (DI) casts a spell on educators as to how it meets all students' needs. The skillset required to differentiate seems mystical to some and incomprehensible to others in this environment of state standards and high-stakes tests. Where does one find the time? The reality is that every teacher already has the tools to differentiate in powerful ways for all learners. I address some of these elements, such as assessment fog, in other Edutopia posts.

The DI elements were first introduced to me in How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms by Carol Tomlinson, and my understanding later deepened thanks to my friend and mentor, Dr. Susan Allan. The core of differentiation is a relationship between teachers and students. The teacher's responsibility is connecting content, process, andproduct. Students respond to learning based on readiness, interests, andlearning profile. In this post, we'll explore the teacher's role for effective planning of DI, and in the next three posts, we'll look at how students respond.

Content, process, and product are what teachers address all the time during lesson planning and instruction. These are the areas where teachers have tremendous experience in everything from lesson planning to assessment. Once the curtain is removed for how these three areas can be differentiated, meeting students' diverse needs becomes obvious and easy to do -- because it's always been present.

Differentiating Content

Content is comprised of the knowledge, concepts, and skills that students need to learn based on the curriculum. Differentiating content includes using various delivery formats such as video, readings, lectures, or audio. Content may be chunked, shared through graphic organizers, addressed throughjigsaw groups, or used to provide different techniques for solving equations. Students may have opportunities to choose their content focus based on interests.

For example, in a lesson on fractions, students could:

This example should reassure teachers that differentiation could occur in whole groups. If we provide a variety of ways to explore the content outcomes, learners find different ways to connect.

Differentiating Process

Process is how students make sense of the content. They need time to reflect and digest the learning activities before moving on to the next segment of a lesson. Think of a workshop or course where, by the end of the session, you felt filled to bursting with information, perhaps even overwhelmed. Processing helps students assess what they do and don't understand. It's also a formative assessment opportunity for teachers to monitor students' progress.

For example, having one or two processing experiences for every 30 minutes of instruction alleviates feelings of content saturation. Reflection is a powerful skill that is developed during processing experiences. Some strategies include:

Of these three DI elements, process experiences are least used. Start with any of the shared strategies, and see long-term positive effects on learning.

Differentiating Product

Product differentiation is probably the most common form of differentiation.

Products may range in complexity to align to a respectful level for each student. (I discuss readiness in another post.) The key to product options is having clear academic criteria that students understand. When products are cleanly aligned to learning targets, student voice and choice flourish, while ensuring that significant content is addressed.

For example, one of my favorite practices is providing three or four choices for product options. All but the last choice are pre-developed for students who want a complete picture of what needs to be done. The last choice is open-ended, a blank check. Students craft a different product idea and propose it to the teacher. They have to show how their product option will address the academic criteria. The teacher may approve the proposal as is or with some revisions. If the proposal is too off-focus, then the students work on developing a new idea. If they cannot come up with an approved proposal by a set due date, they have to choose from one of the predetermined products.

Reach Higher

Content, process, and product are key elements in lesson design. Fortunately, educators have many instructional tools that can differentiate these core areas of instruction, such as these 50+ social media tools, which set the stage for students to respond through the next three DI elements in this series:

I do an activity where I ask participants to stand and reach as high as they can. Then, I ask them to reach even higher. They do. When considering your students' needs, reach even higher in your practice -- that extra stretch is inside us all -- and students will benefit.



See original text: http://goo.gl/cXzjuP

La educación está cambiando a gran velocidad y la tecnología es una de las responsables, te contamos sobre las tecnologías más innovadoras del sector.

A diferencia de otras épocas, hoy en día el uso de tecnología en clase está más aceptado y extendido. Poco a poco docentes y alumnos se han ido adaptando a las nuevas técnicas de estudio, enseñanza y aprendizaje que facilitan los recursos audiovisuales e interactivos de un ordenador, un teléfono inteligente o una tablet.

Los nuevos usos de las tecnologías aportan nuevas formas de enfrentar y solucionar problemas en todo tipo de ámbitos, no solamente en educación, por eso te contamos cuáles son las tecnologías más innovadoras y su alcance en el proceso educativo de cara a los años que están por venir.

El aprendizaje adaptativo

Este tipo de aprendizaje está empezando a volverse moneda corriente gracias al uso de las nuevas tecnologías en educación. Se trata de la recolección de datos acerca de cada estudiante, sus necesidades y sus aptitudes de cara a resolver un problema. Gracias a las nuevas tecnologías de registro es posible detectar cuáles son las aptitudes y dificultades que presenta cada alumno al enfrentarse a un texto, a una tarea o a una materia en general.

El aprendizaje adaptativo presta atención al alumno como individuo y facilita la elaboración de asignaturas, tareas y otras herramientas que le serán útiles para completar su proceso de formación y educación.

Libros en línea

Quizás una de las grandes ventajas de las nuevas tecnologías sea la cantidad de información que circula por Internet. Es impresionante lo que se puede ahorrar en tiempo y dinero al contar con libros online. Los alumnos pueden seguir los contenidos desde el móvil, la tablet o la PC sin necesidad de estar acordándose donde dejaron el libro.

Solamente hay que tener una cuenta para acceder a un repositorio de libros online, o Dropbox o sistemas de almacenamiento en la nube para dejar el libro allí y consultarlo luego sin problemas desde cualquier dispositivo compatible.

Lo mejor de la lectura de libros online es que tiene una amplia oferta de temáticas y estilos, así que una vez terminada la lectura de ese libro que teníamos para clase siempre podemos seguir y leer otra cosa.

Tecnología móvil

Hoy en día la tecnología en el aula está presente todo el tiempo, aún si el profesor no lo quiere aceptar. Los teléfonos móviles cada vez nos permiten hacer más cosas, desde compartir videos y textos hasta consultar diccionarios o resolver ecuaciones. Por supuesto que nada de esto reemplaza el conocimiento propio, pero no se puede negar que son herramientas que ayudarán sobremanera a lograr aprender mejor y más rápido las temáticas que nos interesan.

En educación es muy importante atraer al alumno, si lo que enseñamos llega de forma divertida e interesante entonces hasta la materia más aburrida puede ser un deleite, pero si solamente nos fijamos en aspectos y técnicas antiguas lo más probable es que las nuevas generaciones de alumnos no quieran saber nada con nuestras propuestas de enseñanza.

Aprendizaje social

Otra de las innovaciones tecnológicas que ha logrado un lugar en educación es el de las redes sociales. Las posibilidades de compartir y socializar a través de estas plataformas en línea ayudan a crear una mejor comunidad educativa, donde los alumnos y profesores estén en contacto, pudiendo compartir contenidos y resolver dudas de manera más rápida y precisa.

El aprendizaje social se facilita gracias a redes específicas como Edmodo, donde alumnos y docente crean una suerte de aula virtual en la que se comparten consignas, contenidos y recursos para completar las clases. El aprendizaje social demuestra que el uso de las tecnologías para educación es muy útil y sigue creciendo a pasos agigantados. Es muy probable que en los próximo años mejore aún mucho más porque las iniciativas de aprendizaje social y educación a distancia se cuentan entre las más solicitadas por alumnos de todas las edades. En definitiva el alumno y el docente quieren aprovechar mejor su tiempo y lo mejor que se les puede ofrecer son herramientas para que cada minuto valga la pena.

Evaluación digital

Terminamos con la evaluación digital, el uso de herramientas tecnológicas para comprobar que el conocimiento ha quedado en el alumno y que podrá disponer de él en el futuro, cuando alguna situación lo amerite.

Gracias a los avances y la innovación tecnológica hoy hay muchas herramientas que ayudan a la evaluación digital de los alumnos. Es importante que los alumnos y docentes conozcan estas herramientas y puedan aprovecharlas al máximo, serán ellos los que demuestren que el potencial de las tecnologías en educación es útil para mejorar la experiencia en forma concreta. Todo apunta a que los avances tecnológicos cada vez son mejores y más amplios, ofreciendo experiencias muy variadas a la hora de acercarnos a un aprendizaje donde la tecnología sea la principal protagonista.


Texto original: http://goo.gl/jIjGBl

¿Cómo será, o debería ser, la educación en el siglo XXI? La especialización se une a la interdisciplinariedad, la alfabetización digital es fundamental, proyectos y aprendizaje cooperativo se unen a la autonomía y el carácter autodidacta y creativo.

Estas son las competencias que los docentes necesitan para educar a los alumnos de hoy, y prepararlos para el futuro.

La alfabetización digital no es solo la competencia digital reflejada en el uso: implica mucho más allá de eso. Es una competencia completa en la que se reflejan las competencias comunicativas, sociales, pensamiento crítico, selección y filtrado de información, capacidad para debatir, asertividad y conocimiento (y respeto) a los derechos relacionados con el mundo digital: seguridad, privacidad, protección de datos, copyright y copyleft o buenas prácticas.

El aprendizaje por proyectos es, en sí mismo, una clave fundamental para poder preparar al alumnado de cara a su futuro académico y/o laboral: en un proyecto se trabajan multitud de competencias trasversales, cognitivas y sociales.

La ciudadanía responsable abarca todos los ámbitos de la vida: digital y analógica, por supuesto. Abarca también la participación en foros de decisiones, la capacidad de información, de evaluación y juicio propio, la construcción de opinión autónoma… la madurez, al fin y al cabo. El colegio o el instituto no pueden ser un espacio cerrado al mundo.

Aunque la tendencia colaborativa está al alza, dado que los nuevos trabajos y ocupaciones laborales emergentes lo demandan con razón, es importante inculcar también un espíritu de autonomía y no dependencia del trabajo de los demás, de iniciativa propia y auto-confianza:la autonomía es un gran pilar para la autoestima de las y los jóvenes.

Los proyectos pueden realizarse de forma individual o en grupo: en el caso de trabajos colaborativos en el aula, estaremos aprovechando la ocasión, no solo para aprender, sino para dotar de competencias muy importantes a nuestro alumnado. Hay que encontrar el punto justo, de acuerdo a las características de cada aula, entre trabajo grupal e individual.

La especialización, hoy en día, es muy importante, pero una buena base general e interdisciplinar, un “mix” de talentos (sí, en un aula de primaria hay talento) es una buena base para poder construir a una persona que será, en el futuro, un/a gran especialista en algo, además de ser, también, flexible y formable, protegiéndose más ante la incertidumbre de un sistema productivo muy cambiante.

La creatividad no solo es música y pintura, que también: especialmente importante, sobre todo para el alumnado que no disfruta tanto del arte (cada cual es cada cual), es la resolución creativa de problemas y el razonamiento divergente, así como habilidades de innovación más “técnicas” que pueden empezar a desarrollarse poquito a poco desde Primaria.

La capacidad de innovar está estrechamente ligada con la creatividad: es imposible que una futura ingeniera tenga ideas innovadoras si su creatividad no ha sido trabajada desde la infancia. Un maestro de Infantil también necesita tener una amplia competencia para innovar. Durante la Educación Secundaria podemos encontrar bastantes momentos para fomentar esa competencia innovadora en nuestros alumnos y alumnas.

Unida a la formación continua está la pasión por el aprendizaje, y la capacidad para aprender de forma autónoma y no dirigida, solo por gusto: mantenerse siempre en actualización y sin acomodarse es vital.

Los contenidos impartidos deberían ser personalizados, dentro de las posibilidades que la asignatura, aula y configuración del centro ofrezca… Es una tarea casi imposible hoy en día, pero siempre podemos dejar al alumnado tomar las riendas en algunos casos.


Texto original: http://goo.gl/0ditBT

The key to transformational teaching is not reacting, but rather a grinding obsession with analysis and preparation. Lee Shulman, as reported by Marge Scherer, suggests that expert teachers -- despite enormous challenges --demonstrate:

Cognitive understanding of how students learn; emotional preparation to relate to many students whose varied needs are not always evident; content knowledge from which to draw different ways to present a concept; and, finally, the ability to make teaching decisions quickly and act on them.

So how do they do that? Let's break it down.

1. Transformational Teachers Create Constructivist Experiences

Instructors tend to use one of two instructional orientations:

  1. Transmission: Where "the teacher's role is to prepare and transmit information to learners" and "the learners' role is to receive, store, and act upon this information."
  2. Transformational: Where students' active engagement in developing knowledge and skills, critical thinking, higher-order skills, and communication are facilitated by the instructor.

It is difficult to accomplish transformational teaching without understanding and implementing constructivist pedagogy -- facilitating hands-on experiences --where students construct meaning through active learning. However, the checklist below suggests some tactics:

What Does Transformational Teaching Look Like?

  1. Have students ask questions and solve real-world problems.
  2. Questions should require students to:
    • Analyze
    • Synthesize
    • Create
    • Empathize
    • Interpret
    • Reference background knowledge
    • Defend alternative perspectives
    • Determine what they know and don't know
  3. Organize students into learning groups.
  4. Make learning segments manageable through modeling and mastery.
  5. Guide, facilitate, challenge, and support.

Constructivist teachers focus on enriching students' perspective on the content by facilitating rich experiences. These themes appear in a survey conducted by Grant Wiggins, in which high school students were asked to complete this phrase: "I learn best when the teacher . . ." One adolescent wrote the following:

I learn best when the teacher is hands on and doesn't just talk at me. They need to be interested in what they're teaching and encourage class discussions. Not only does this encourage us to use what we learned, it also helps us see the information in a different way.

2. Transformational Instructors Teach Like Scientists, Artists, and Essayists

Transformational teachers know that artful teaching without science lacks efficacy, and scientific teaching without aesthetics lacks vision. Says child psychologist Dr. David Elkind, "The art comes from the teacher's personality, experience, and talents. The science comes from knowledge of child development and the structure of the curriculum." The art and science of teaching work in harmony. Writes Richard Bankert, an eighth grade science teacher, "The best teachers are artists who know the science of teaching."

In contrast to immature teachers who fill a 90-minute class with activities (and ignore targeted objectives), a transformational teacher treats those 90 minutes like a carefully crafted persuasive essay -- with a clear purpose and unique sense of style, a memorable beginning and end, a logical sequence, important content, nimble transitions, and contagious passion. Together, these characteristics persuade students to believe that learning the content and skills really matters.

3. Transformational Teachers Model Symphonic Thinking

To be effective in advancing human potential, teachers need to manifest what Daniel Pink calls "symphonic thinking" -- critically appraising and synthesizing new ideas. Someone with symphony thinking skills is able to do the following:

Nobody said this stuff was easy. But when teachers model symphonic thinking and students internalize it, graduates are better able to thrive in the new economy, according to Pink.

4. Transformational Teachers Facilitate Productive Struggle

It's hard not to rescue kids when they beg for help. But an instructor's altruistic instinct can get in the way of learning. In a Wired Magazine piece, "Telling You the Answer Isn't the Answer," Rhett Allain explains why letting students engage in productive struggle is the unpopular and necessary approach to instruction:

What if a person was having trouble doing a pull up for exercise? Instead of giving them some other exercise, I could help them by doing the pull up for that person. Right? No, that wouldn’t actually be useful. However, if I push on the person's feet a little bit, they can still struggle and still exercise.

Warning: allowing productive struggle to occur consumes more class time. But retention is undermined when learning is frictionless. Purposeful struggle today means less re-teaching tomorrow.

Allowing productive struggle to occur, using artistic and scientific instruction, modeling symphonic thinking, and encouraging students to lean into constructivist problem solving can lead to the holy grail of transformational teaching: epiphany. We hope you'll tell us about your transformational teaching in the comment area below.


See original text: http://goo.gl/0mZixx

I've had first days in the classroom that were pure poetry and others that were pure... well, you know. There are things out of our control that can make that first day a tough one for sure. But there are also things we can do beforehand to set the stage for success.

As I reflect, those great first days were usually after a summer where I spent extra time setting up, designing bordering for student work displays, dusting each individual book in the classroom library, fine-tuning and perfecting those beginning lessons: the handouts, the pacing, and the mini-lessons.

And then there have been a few times where I really, I mean really, dove headfirst into enjoying my summer, returning from an island or road trip just days before the start of the new school year.

And you know what? Both scenarios are great.

Although we're probably a lot less nervous that first day the more prepared we are. I also know students will have a better initial impression of me with that first scenario.

If we are rested, relaxed, and ready it will show, and it helps keep the kids calm and focused. (And let's face it, as anxious as we teachers are that first day, the students are much more nervous than we could ever imagine.)

And oh, those first impressions -- they stick like gum on hot asphalt. So here are some tips for giving the best impression, Day One:

#1 Be Organized, Tidy, and Ready

This will immediately stand out to students. Wow, supplies are all organized and labeled, books are on shelves, and look at her desk! Everything has its place and all is in order.

Be sure to also have ready your procedures and hard rules (no gum chewing or cell phones) so you can share them at the very start of the day. This will avoid that preventable and awkward moment with a new student.

#2 Have Too Much and Too Many of Everything

Make extra copies, just in case. There is really nothing worse than being one or two copies short. Panic! Need name tags or construction paper? Get the extra large pack (you can use the leftovers for another project). Have a surplus of pens or pencils handy for those kids who have already misplaced or lost theirs.

#3 Overplan the Lesson

Timing is everything. And the last thing you want is for there to be six minutes left before the lunch bell and have little to nothing for students to do. You don't want them to see you scrambling for a sponge activity not connected to the prior teaching so overplan the day. And the best part about this? You'll have most of the next lesson already done.

#4 Rehearse

If your "welcome to this class" speech includes new material (a new procedure or content -- something you've never introduced before), practice. If you are a new teacher, this is imperative. By rehearsing, this gives you an idea on pacing, one of the greatest challenges for most beginning teachers.

If you are using technology, arrive early to make sure all is in place and working.

#5 Be Ready for Anything and Everything

Don't think you will need the dean's or assistant principal's phone extension that first day, or that replenished first-aid kit, or have to directly address name-calling with a student five minutes after the bell? We wish, but unfortunately, it happens. I had the experience one first day of breaking up a fight between two students -- such a bummer, but sometimes a sad fact. Students will be impressed if something goes awry and you handle it quickly, and with wisdom and grace.

#6 Start Learning Names Immediately

The sooner you dive in on this task the better! I am a visual learner so making a seating chart right away and using their names as much as possible helps. Here's some further suggestions and techniques that you might find helpful. Many teachers will tell you that getting names down as soon as possible helps with discipline and, sure, this is true. However, I believe that rather than assisting in an authoritative way, it more importantly sends the message loudly and clearly that you are interested and that you care.

First Impressions of Students

That first day, a student sometimes enters the room too loudly, says something slightly abrasive, or ignores an instruction. Then comes Tuesday morning, and it's my job to wipe the slate clean. Modeling forgiveness and kindness and giving a kid a second (third, fourth...) chance is part of the job of a teacher.

Over the years, I've also heard a good number of teachers talk about how they don't like to get any information from former teachers about incoming students. I was one of those teachers as well. Every child deserves a chance to make a new first impression.



See original text: http://goo.gl/ydjK31

En todo proceso de aprendizaje interviene el razonamiento, proceso mental por el cual las personas tienen la capacidad para resolver problemas. Por eso la importancia de desarrollar y mantener activa esta habilidad. 

El razonamiento lógico es el proceso mental que implica poner en práctica la lógica para analizar si cierta premisa es verdadera, falsa o posible. Hay dos tipos de razonamiento lógico: el razonamiento deductivo (en el que sólo interviene la lógica) y el razonamiento inductivo (donde puede intervenir la probabilidad y las hipótesis).

El razonamiento nos permite ampliar nuestros conocimientos sin tener que apelar a la experiencia. También sirve para justificar o aportar razones en favor de lo que conocemos o creemos conocer. En algunos casos, como en las matemáticas, el razonamiento nos permite demostrar lo que sabemos (razonamiento cuantitativo).

Cuando un estudiante tiene una capacidad y agilidad lógica, le será más fácil adquirir conocimientos o incluso generar conocimientos por sí mismo. Por eso compartimos estas apps, para que tus alumnos, hijos o tu mismo practiquen y mejoren su razonamiento lógico de manera divertida.

Lumosity: se trata de un programa personalizado de acuerdo con tus propias habilidades, edad y antecedentes, que además permite monitorear los avances en áreas como atención, memoria y velocidad mental. Disponible para iOS y Android.

Fit Brains: esta app, desarrollada por los creadores del popular Rosetta Stone, contiene 24 juegos diseñados para mejorar la memoria, la agilidad mental, la concentración, la resolución de problemas y la inteligencia visual-espacial. Disponible para iOS y Andorid.

Sprinkle Junior: esta divertida app esta pensada para los más pequeños, se trata de diversos retos basados en la lógica y la física, ideal para desarrollar la capacidad de deducción de los niños, su razonamiento lógico y su nivel de concentración. Disponible para iOS y Android.

Clockwork Brain: esta app incluye diferentes minijuegos con los que podremos ejercitar diferentes partes del cerebro, desde la inteligencia visual y espacial, la memoria, el lenguaje y la aritmética. Consiste en armar rompecabezas y acertijos de menor a mayor dificultad. Disponible para iOS.

Crucigramas en Español: resolver crucigramas es una excelente manera de mantener activo tu cerebro, además de mejorar tu vocabulario. Disponible para iOS y Android.

Cross Fingers: un juego de rompecabezas basado en el antiguo juego chino Tangram donde tendremos que ir moviendo piezas de madera utilizando nuestra destreza lógica y creatividad. Al principio parecera fácil pero mientras se avanza en los niveles la dificultad aumentará. Disponible para iOS y Android.

Sudoku: este popular juego japonés ayuda a la memoria y la concentración, además de que permitirá a los niños a acercarse de manera divertida a las matemáticas y la aritmética básica. Disponible para iOS y Android.

Mind Games: es un conjunto de juegos para entrenar y poner a prueba tanto la inteligencia como la memoria. Hay juegos en los que tendrás que analizar figuras y anticiparte a la máquina, juegos de memoria visual, de recordar palabras, de habilidades aritméticas; además podrás ver tus estadísticas y tu evolución para poder observar tus mejoras. Disponible para iOS y Android.

Rompecabezas con cerillos: un juego en el que con un número específico de cerillos tendrás que formar diferentes figuras geométricas, un juego que pondrá a prueba tu lógica, tu creatividad y tu paciencia. Disponible para iOS y Android.

Apensar: una aplicación divertida que pone a prueba tu ingenio y tu rapidez mental, en ella encontrarás 407 niveles de acertijos de palabras que tendrás que resolver en el menor tiempo posible. Además puedes competir con tus amigos. Disponible para iOS y Android.


Texto original: http://goo.gl/uo5dHq

The humble question is an indispensable tool: the spade that helps us dig for truth, or the flashlight that illuminates surrounding darkness. Questioning helps us learn, explore the unknown, and adapt to change.

That makes it a most precious “app” today, in a world where everything is changing and so much is unknown. And yet, we don’t seem to value questioning as much as we should. For the most part, in our workplaces as well as our classrooms, it is the answers we reward -- while the questions are barely tolerated.

To change that is easier said than done. Working within an answers-based education system, and in a culture where questioning may be seen as a sign of weakness, teachers must go out of their way to create conditions conducive to inquiry. Here are some suggestions (based on input from question-friendly teachers, schools, programs, and organizations) on how to encourage more questioning in the classroom and hopefully, beyond it.

How to Encourage Questioning


1. Make It Safe

Asking a question can be a scary step into the void. It’s also an admission to the world (and more terrifyingly, to classmates) that one doesn’t know the answer. So teachers must somehow “flip the script” by creating an environment where questioning becomes a strength; where it is welcomed and desired. The Right Question Institute, a nonprofit group that teaches inquiry skills in low-income schools, encourages teachers to run group exercises dedicated entirely to formulating questions (no answers allowed!) -- with clear rules and guidelines to ensure that students’ questions aren’t judged or edited, and that all questions are written down and respected. There are many variations on this type of exercise. The second-grade teacher Julie Grimm uses a “10 by 10” exercise, in which kids are encouraged to come up with 10 great questions about a topic during a 10-minute span. But the bottom line is, designate some kind of safe haven in the classroom where all students can freely exercise the “questioning muscle.”

2. Make It “Cool”

This is a tough one. Among many kids, it’s cool to already know -- or to not care. But what if we could help students understand that the people who ask questions happen to be some of the coolest people on the planet? As I discovered in the research for my book on inquiry, questioners thought of many of those whiz-bang gadgets we now love. They’re the ones breaking new ground in music, movies, the arts. They’re the explorers, the mavericks, the rebels, making the world a more interesting place -- and having a heck of a time themselves. How cool is that?

3. Make It Fun

Part of the appeal of “questions-only” exercises is that there’s an element of play involved, as in: Can you turn that answer/statement into a question? Can you open your closed questions, and close your open ones? There are countless ways to inject a “game” element into questioning, but here’s an example borrowed from the business world: Some companies use a practice called “the 5 whys,” which involves formulating a series of “why” questions to try to get to the root of a problem. Kids were practically born asking “why” questions, so why not allow them to use that innate talent within a structured challenge? Or, show them how to use the “Why/What if/How” sequence of questioning as a fun way to tackle just about any problem. Whatever the approach, let kids tap into their imaginations and innate question-asking skills in ways that make inquiry an engaging part of a larger challenge.

4. Make It Rewarding

Obviously, we must praise and celebrate the questions that are asked -- and not only the on-target, penetrating ones, but also the more expansive, sometimes-offbeat ones (I found that seemingly “crazy questions” sometimes result in the biggest breakthroughs). Help create a path for students to get from a question to a meaningful result. A great question can be the basis of an ongoing project, a report, an original creation of some kind. The point is to show that if one is willing to spend time on a question -- to not just Google it but grapple with it, share it with others, and build on it -- that question can ultimately lead to something rewarding and worthwhile.

5. Make It Stick

If the long-term goal is to create lifelong questioners, then the challenge is to make questioning a habit -- a part of the way one thinks. RQI’s Dan Rothstein says it’s important to include a metacognitive stage in question-training exercises wherein kids can reflect on how they’ve used questioning and articulate what they’ve learned about it, so they can “pave a new neural pathway” for lifelong inquiry. As for the behavioral habits associated with good questioning, here are a few: Questioners train themselves to observe everyday surroundings with “vuja de” eyes that see the familiar in fresh ways; they’re always on the lookout for assumptions (including their own) that should be questioned; and they’re willing to ask questions that might be considered “naïve” by others.

So ask yourself this beautiful question: How might I encourage more questioning in my classroom? And how might I instill the habit of questioning in my students? After all, knowing the answers may help them in school, but knowing how to question will help them for life.


See original text: http://goo.gl/HDmsAe

I made a good number of blunders my first year teaching that still make me cringe. I learned though. And it's fair to say, when it comes to managing a classroom, most of what we learn as new teachers is trial by fire. It's also smart to heed the advice of those who have walked -- and stumbled -- before you. If you are struggling with discipline, here are five tips that you can start using right away:

#1 Use a normal, natural voice

Are you teaching in your normal voice? Every teacher can remember this from the first year in the classroom: spending those first months talking at an above-normal range until one day, you lose your voice.

Raising our voice to get students' attention is not the best approach, and the stress it causes and the vibe it puts in the room just isn't worth it. The students will mirror your voice level, so avoid using that semi-shouting voice. If we want kids to talk at a normal, pleasant volume, we must do the same.

You want to also differentiate your tone. If you are asking students to put away their notebooks and get into their groups, be sure to use a declarative, matter-of-fact tone. If you are asking a question about a character in a short story, or about contributions made by the Roman Empire, use an inviting, conversational tone.

#2 Speak only when students are quiet and ready

This golden nugget was given to me by a 20-year veteran my first year. She told me that I should just wait and then wait some more until all students were quiet.

So I tried it; I fought the temptation to talk. Sometimes I'd wait much longer than I thought I could hold out for. Slowly but surely, the students would cue each other: "sshh, she's trying to tell us something," "come on, stop talking," and "hey guys, be quiet." (They did all the work for me!)

My patience paid off. Yours will too. And you'll get to keep your voice.

#3 Use hand signals and other non-verbal communication

Holding one hand in the air, and making eye contact with students is a great way to quiet the class and get their attention on you. It takes awhile for students to get used to this as a routine, but it works wonderfully. Have them raise their hand along with you until all are up. Then lower yours and talk.

Flicking the lights off and on once to get the attention is an oldie but goodie. It could also be something you do routinely to let them know they have three minutes to finish an assignment or clean up, etc.

With younger students, try clapping your hands three times and teaching the children to quickly clap back twice. This is a fun and active way to get their attention and all eyes on you.

#4 Address behavior issues quickly and wisely

Be sure to address an issue between you and a student or between two students as quickly as possible. Bad feelings -- on your part or the students -- can so quickly grow from molehills into mountains.

Now, for handling those conflicts wisely, you and the student should step away from the other students, just in the doorway of the classroom perhaps. Wait until after instruction if possible, avoiding interruption of the lesson. Ask naive questions such as, "How might I help you?" Don't accuse the child of anything. Act as if you do care, even if you have the opposite feeling at that moment. The student will usually become disarmed because she might be expecting you to be angry and confrontational.

And, if you must address bad behavior during your instruction, always take a positive approach. Say, "It looks like you have a question" rather than, "Why are you off task and talking?"

When students have conflicts with each other, arrange for the students to meet with you at lunch, after or before school. Use neutral language as you act as a mediator, helping them resolve the problem peacefully, or at least reach an agreeable truce.

#5 Always have a well-designed, engaging lesson

This tip is most important of all. Perhaps you've heard the saying, if you don't have a plan for them, they'll have one for you. Always overplan. It's better to run out of time than to run short on a lesson.

From my own first-hand experience and after many classrooms observations, something that I know for sure: Bored students equal trouble! If the lesson is poorly planned, there is often way too much talking and telling from the teacher and not enough hands-on learning and discovery by the students. We all know engaging lessons take both serious mind and time to plan. And they are certainly worth it -- for many reasons.


See original text: http://goo.gl/TB5deo

En el debate sobre la necesidad de dar un vuelco al modelo educativo hay acuerdo en las motivaciones y la urgencia del cambio, pero discrepancia en las vías para alcanzarlo. ¿Cómo conseguir impulsar la (r)evolución definitiva?

Desde el Postgrado en Desarrollo del Talento a través de las Inteligencias Múltiples del Instituto de Formación Continua de la Universidad de Barcelona se propone cambiar la pregunta para conseguir concretar el debate. Así, en vez de indagar en ‘cómo impulsar la (r)evolución’ se plantea en primer lugar ‘quién debe impulsarla’, ya que como en todo gran proceso de disrupción, la persona cobra protagonismo y se sitúa en el centro de la innovación. En este caso, para una nueva educación, sin duda, el docente es el motor.

Aunque son múltiples las capacidades que se demanda a este profesional, desde el Postgrado de IL3-UB –cuya dirección está a cargo de Mireia Aldomà y cuenta con la participación de reconocidos expertos como Elena Rodríguez, María García Gómez-Recuero o Carlos Magro– se identifican 10 competencias claves, que sin ser las únicas, son imprescindibles para concretar este nuevo modelo

Multigestor. Un sistema educativo que tiene el talento como su mayor baza exige a los docentes formar desde la diversidad, lo que implica manejar variables casi infinitas. Respetar la relación que cada alumno establece con el conocimiento y la cambiante realidad exige un esfuerzo de gestión adicional clave para la personalización de los ritmos de aprendizaje.

Cercano. Solo siendo verdaderamente accesible y potenciando el contacto directo con el alumno el docente podrá descubrir el talento particular que se ha de potenciar en cada uno.

Facilitador. El profesional de la educación ya no está llamado a entregar conocimiento, sino a construirlo. Su papel hoy pasa por generar un entorno propicio que motiven a sus alumnos a descubrir y facilitarles las herramientas para el aprendizaje.

Líder social. Las redes están en la base de la educación basada en el talento. Se confía en la capacidad de los otros para sumar al aprendizaje, y en este sentido, el docente se convierte en el punto de unión imprescindible de la comunidad: entre sus alumnos, con los colegas, familias, etc.

Líder innovador. Ha de ofrecer un perfil inquieto, sin miedo al cambio, capaz de gestionar la incertidumbre y altamente inspirador y motivador.

Líder creativo. Un nuevo modelo educativo exige no hacer las cosas como siempre, proponer nuevas dinámicas pedagógicas y maximizar los recursos disponibles.

TIC Friendly. Vivir las nuevas tecnologías con naturalidad. Incorporarlas al aula no como un instrumento pedagógico puntual, sino como una realidad, siendo plenamente consciente de sus numerosas ventajas y de los posibles riesgos que pueden entrañar.

En constante formación. Reciclar conocimientos y competencias para estar en contacto real con los avances de la sociedad. El docente facilitador asume un papel de investigador activo de lo que le rodea para aplicarlo en el aula.

Exigente y excelente El secreto a voces de cualquier modelo de éxito: tener rigor en trabajo y voluntad de mejora continua.

Ilusionado e ilusionador. Sólo la firme creencia que es posible impulsar un sistema mejor hará que comiencen a generalizarse el cambio.


Texto original: http://goo.gl/5ukwBm

Las personas no somos recipientes a los que hay que rellenar. Ni siquiera en la más tierna infancia los seres humanos somos “seres incompletos” a los que hay que “completar” llenando nuestra cabeza de datos e informaciones. Por ese motivo, la educación debe ser proactiva, reflexiva y creativa.

Proactiva. Los educadores (ya sean padres, docentes, etc.) deben tener pleno control de sus conductas de modo activo. Una educación proactiva implica aprendizaje continuo, por lo que hay tener iniciativa, trabajar colaborativamente y saber buscar información de manera eficiente y crítica.

Una educación proactiva permite superar las dificultades marcando objetivos claros y asumibles e indicando el camino adecuado para conseguirlos. Tradicionalmente, la educación ha sido reactiva, es decir, pasiva e incapaz de superar los problemas. Cuando un alumno es incapaz de adaptarse al sistema, una educación reactiva lo deja al margen y lo etiqueta de “fracaso escolar”; una educación proactiva es capaz de actuar y buscar la manera de superar la situación.

Una educación proactiva permite que se aprenda de los errores y se vea el fracaso como un paso más hacia el éxito.

Reflexiva. El objetivo final de la educación no es solo que el alumno conozca muchos conceptos y maneje mucha información, sino también que sea capaz de producir conocimiento y de resolver problemas. Por eso no podemos educar de forma pasiva, transfiriendo de manera mecánica datos del maestro (poseedor del conocimiento) al alumno (receptor del conocimiento).

Dotar de conciencia crítica es uno de los objetivos más importantes de la educación.

Creativa. Una educación sin creatividad es como un pintor sin colores o un escritor sin palabras. La creatividad es el oxígeno de la educación, y sin ella acabará ahogándose.

En conclusión, la educación se construye, no se adquiere.



Texto original: http://goo.gl/Atk4Dq

Comparten docentes de 7 entidades del país sus mejores prácticas educativas basadas en el uso de la tecnología.

Del 28 de julio al 1° de agosto se celebra en Oaxaca, Oaxaca el Encuentro Nacional de Experiencias Educativas Aulas Fundación Telefónica. En el evento participan maestros del Distrito Federal, Jalisco, Puebla, Veracruz, Quintana Roo, Chiapas y Oaxaca Oaxaca, Oaxaca a 28 de julio de 2015. Con la participación de más de 40 maestros y directores escolares de educación básica de 7 entidades del país, se celebra el Encuentro Nacional de Experiencias Educativas Aulas Fundación Telefónica, evento cuyo objetivo es compartir e intercambiar las mejores prácticas docentes aplicadas dentro del programa Aulas Fundación Telefónica (AFT), a fin de facilitar los procesos de enseñanza.

El proyecto AFT, que se implementó en México desde 2008, es un sistema de capacitación de maestros, el cual se imparte a través de aulas tecnológicas a fin de promover la inclusión digital en diferentes comunidades. Este programa de enseñanza, que se ha implementado en países como Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, España, Guatemala, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Perú, Uruguay y Venezuela; ha beneficiado a nivel mundial a casi 8,000 maestros, mientras que en México ha beneficiado a más de 4,476 docentes.

Como parte de las actividades del encuentro, con el que se busca impulsar el uso de las Tecnologías de Información y Comunicación (TIC´s), 17 profesores de 16 escuelas de diferentes regiones del país concluirán el programa AFT, con lo que contarán con conocimientos específicos sobre tecnología e innovación educativa. Los maestros participantes también serán certificados en cuanto a habilidades y conocimientos docentes relacionados con la tecnología, por el Sistema Nacional de Competencias del Gobierno Federal (CONOCER), a través de la Entidad de Certificación y Evaluación del Instituto Latinoamericano de Comunicación Educativa (ILCE). Durante el evento, también se llevó a cabo la conferencia “Las TIC ante la complejidad y los modelos disruptivos”, que fue impartida por Rosa María Castellanos Pérez, experta en el desarrollo de cursos en línea para instituciones educativas y autora del libro Habilidades Digitales para Primaria.

Texto original: http://goo.gl/7byU7e

Game designers understand how to make games memorable and "sticky" in the sense that, even when you aren't playing the game, you're still thinking about solving its problems and puzzles. As teachers, how might we make our projects and content as sticky as games? How can we engage kids in thoughtful learning even after they leave the classroom? Here are game designers' top five secrets and some tips on using these same game dynamics to make learning in your classroom as addictive as gaming.

1. The Story Dynamic: Wrap Them Up in the Story

Some of the best games have engrossing stories full of memorable characters and following time-honored patterns from mythology and narrative fiction. Gamers play games such as The Last of Us and the Bioshock Trilogy because they see themselves in the role of the hero, undertaking a journey.

In any project-based curriculum, the story is the process. The product is the ending. Who'd want to see the just the last ten minutes of a movie? Or read just the final chapter of a book? When it comes to games, books, and movies, we're usually much more interested in how the characters got there than where they end up.

Rather than assessing the final product, find more ways to grade the process. Ask kids to keep a journal of their personal reflections as they work on a project. Ask them to write about their learning process:

All of these details can be recalled later when they turn in their final project. Challenge kids to tell you the story of the process, citing their own journal entries as the primary source material.

2. The Failure Dynamic: Fail Early, Fail Often

In certain games, such as Angry Birds, players must actually fail many times in order to succeed. Some levels simply aren't solvable until you've spent a few games locating the obstacles. In this way, failing many times allows players to get a little farther each time they try. This promotes an iterative approach, and takes the sting out of the big red "Game Over" screen.

Try providing ways for students to "fail" frequently in many small ways, rather than in one big high-stakes test. One way is by using online tools such as Socrative to check students' understanding during a unit, even during every class. Provide many ways to give and receive feedback. You might ask kids to report their scores privately by name, or request their anonymous feedback as a group by voting on whether or not they're ready for the next segment. You might design projects that encourage students to rapidly prototype, and then promote constructive feedback at every stage of the design process. Don't wait until a project is done to show your work!

3. The Flexibility Dynamic: Provide Multiple Paths to Success

Early video games provided only one way to win. You had to meet a predetermined series of objectives in a certain order: run up the ramp to find the key that unlocks the door which opens a window, and so forth. If you got stuck at any point, you couldn't finish the game. Later games such as Mario 64 and Grand Theft Auto provided a "sandbox" environment of quests to complete and places to explore in whatever order the gamer chose. It was possible to finish the game in your own unique way, taking a personalized path to the end.

Find ways to build this same kind of flexibility into your own curriculum. Some courses follow a set syllabus and reward students based on their progression through a linear set of objectives. This is as limiting as an old-school computer game, offering only one path to success and rewarding only one kind of learner. Try building multiple paths to success into your course. Consider offering a "main quest" or storyline that leads students through the primary content, but offer abundant "mini-quests" that allow students to investigate certain paths further.

Here's another way to look at it. Universities and some high schools allow students to choose electives as they progress through school. Not every graduate has taken exactly the same courses, but each has mastered enough of the skills to earn a degree. Consider using an elective credit system in which students need a certain number of credits to complete your course. Which units would be the required credits? What elective opportunities would you offer? Make students fulfill all of the "graduation requirements," but also require them to "declare a major" by choosing some path of interest that supplements their learning. This is the true meaning of extra credit!

4. The Progression Dynamic: Scaffold and Recognize Progress

Game designers know that they're likely to lose gamers in the first few minutes. If they aren't hooked right away, there's a good chance that they'll leave and never come back. That's why every modern game has a tutorial level that scaffolds the gamer's progress by setting up a series of simple levels, each designed to teach one new skill, and each building on previous levels. This allows gamers to build new skills within the context of game levels, and if they successfully make it through, the designer knows they've mastered that level.

Consider building self-paced learning into your class by scaffolding each student's progress through the early levels of your course. Remember the "hot and cold" hide-and-seek game many of us played as kids? "You're getting colder . . . colder . . . now you're getting warmer, warmer, hot, red-hot . . . you got it!" Try offering positive feedback for accomplishing simple tasks that get progressively more challenging. Mozilla’s badges.mozilla.organd ClassDojo offer badging and recognition tools to provide incentives and positive reinforcement.

5. The Construction Dynamic: Build Something That Matters

Badges and achievements alone won't make school feel meaningful if students don't feel engaged in creating something that has purpose. Some of the most successful games of all time, such as Civilization and Minecraft, allow open-ended building opportunities in which gamers set their own goals and freely express their creativity in the process of building something difficult and worthwhile.

Find ways to engage students in your own classroom by reaching out to the community at large, or by challenging your students to create an initiative that they care about. Build a functioning classroom economy with kid-designed currency, goods, and services. Organize a fun run in the community that benefits local shelters. Have kids design and maintain a recreational Minecraft server run by the community. The Challenge-Based Learning framework is an ideal way to frame and assess challenges that your students take on.

Kids don't need to play actual games in your class to benefit from game dynamics, and you don't need to be a hardcore gamer to create curriculum as stimulating and engaging as games. Much of what we know about good instructional design is modeled in the very games that most of our students play every day. Game designers engage players in learning more and more about how to be successful in the game world. Our students expect it from the games they play. Let's build it into the classroom, too!



See original text: http://goo.gl/3G1Mfn

Recent technological advances have affected many areas of our lives: the way we communicate, collaborate, learn, and, of course, teach. Along with that, those advances necessitated an expansion of our vocabulary, producing definitions such as digital natives, digital immigrants, and, the topic of this post -- "21st-century teacher."

As I am writing this post, I am trying to recall if I ever had heard phrases such as "20th-century teacher" or "19th-century teacher." Quick Google search reassures me that there is no such word combination. Changing the "20th" to "21st" brings different results: a 21st-century school, 21st-century education, 21st-century teacher, 21st-century skills -- all there! I then searched for Twitter hashtags and Amazon books, and the results were just the same; nothing for the "20th-century teacher" while a lot for the "21st": #teacher21, #21stcenturyskills, #21stCTeaching and no books with titles #containing "20th century" while quite a few on the 21st-century teaching and learning.

Obviously, teaching in the 21-century is an altogether different phenomenon; never before could learning be happening the way it is now -- everywhere, all the time, on any possible topic, supporting any possible learning style or preference. But what does being a 21st-century teacher really mean?

Below are 15 characteristics of a 21st-century teacher:

1. Learner-Centered Classroom and Personalized Instructions

As students have access to any information possible, there certainly is no need to "spoon-feed" the knowledge or teach "one-size fits all" content. As students have different personalities, goals, and needs, offering personalized instructions is not just possible but also desirable. When students are allowed to make their own choices, they own their learning, increase intrinsic motivation, and put in more effort -- an ideal recipe for better learning outcomes!

2. Students as Producers

Today's students have the latest and greatest tools, yet, the usage in many cases barely goes beyond communicating with family and friends via chat, text, or calls. Even though students are now viewed as digital natives, many are far from producing any digital content. While they do own expensive devices with capabilities to produce blogs, infographics, books, how-to videos, and tutorials, just to name a few, in many classes, they are still asked to turn those devices off and work with handouts and worksheets. Sadly, often times these papers are simply thrown away once graded. Many students don't even want to do them, let alone keep or return them later. When given a chance, students can produce beautiful and creative blogs, movies, or digital stories that they feel proud of and share with others.

3. Learn New Technologies

In order to be able to offer students choices, having one's own hands-on experience and expertise will be useful. Since technology keeps developing, learning a tool once and for all is not a option. The good news is that new technologies are new for the novice and and experienced teachers alike, so everyone can jump in at any time! I used a short-term subscription to www.lynda.com, which has many resources for learning new technologies.

4. Go Global

Today's tools make it possible to learn about other countries and people first hand. Of course, textbooks are still sufficient, yet, there is nothing like learning languages, cultures, and communication skills from actually talking to people from other parts of the world.

It's a shame that with all the tools available, we still learn about other cultures, people, and events from the media. Teaching students how to use the tools in their hands to "visit" any corner of this planet will hopefully make us more knowledgable and sympathetic.

5. Be Smart and Use Smart Phones

Once again -- when students are encouraged to view their devices as valuable tools that support knowledge (rather than destructions), they start using them as such. I remember my first years of teaching when I would not allow cell phones in class and I'd try to explain every new vocabulary word or answer any question myself -- something I would not even think of doing today!

I have learned that different students have different needs when it comes to help with new vocabulary or questions; therefore, there is no need to waste time and explain something that perhaps only one or two students would benefit from. Instead, teaching students to be independent and know how to find answers they need makes the class a different environment!

I have seen positive changes ever since I started viewing students' devices as useful aid. In fact, sometimes I even respond by saying "I don't know -- use Google and tell us all!" What a difference in their reactions and outcomes!

6. Blog

I have written on the importance of both student and teacher blogging. Even my beginners of English could see the value of writing for real audience and establishing their digital presence. To blog or not to blog should not be a question any more!

7. Go Digital

Another important attribute is to go paperless -- organizing teaching resources and activities on one's own website and integrating technology bring students learning experience to a different level. Sharing links and offering digital discussions as opposed to a constant paper flow allows students to access and share class resources in a more organized fashion.

8. Collaborate

Technology allows collaboration between teachers & students. Creating digital resources, presentations, and projects together with other educators and students will make classroom activities resemble the real world. Collaboration should go beyond sharing documents via e-mail or creating PowerPoint presentations. Many great ideas never go beyond a conversation or paper copy, which is a great loss! Collaboration globally can change our entire experience!

9. Use Twitter Chat

Participating in Twitter chat is the cheapest and most efficient way to organize one's own PD, share research and ideas, and stay current with issues and updates in the field. We can grow professionally and expand our knowledge as there is a great conversation happening every day, and going to conferences is no longer the only way to meet others and build professional learning networks.

10. Connect

Connect with like-minded individuals. Again, today's tools allow us to connect anyone, anywhere, anytime. Have a question for an expert or colleague? Simply connect via social media: follow, join, ask, or tell!

11. Project-Based Learning

As today's students have an access to authentic resources on the web, experts anywhere in the world, and peers learning the same subject somewhere else, teaching with textbooks is very "20th-century" (when the previously listed option were not available). Today's students should develop their own driving questions, conduct their research, contact experts, and create final projects to share all using devices already in their hands. All they need from their teacher is guidance!

12. Build Your Positive Digital Footprint

It might sound obvious, but it is for today's teachers to model how to appropriately use social media, how to produce and publish valuable content, and how to create sharable resources. Even though it's true that teachers are people, and they want to use social media and post their pictures and thoughts, we cannot ask our students not to do inappropriate things online if we ourselves do it. Maintaining professional behavior both in class and online will help build positive digital footprint and model appropriate actions for students.

13. Code

While this one might sound complicated, coding is nothing but today's literacy. As a pencil or pen were "the tools" of the 20th-century, making it impossible to picture a teacher not capable to operate with it, today's teacher must be able to operate with today's pen and pencil, i.e., computers. Coding is very interesting to learn -- the feeling of writing a page with HTML is amazing! Even though I have ways to go, just like in every other field, a step at a time can take go a long way. Again, lynda.com is a great resource to start with!

14. Innovate

I invite you to expand your teaching toolbox and try new ways you have not tried before, such as teaching with social media or replacing textbooks with web resources. Not for the sake of tools but for the sake of students!

Ever since I started using TED talks and my own activities based on those videos, my students have been giving a very different feedback. They love it! They love using Facebook for class discussions and announcements. They appreciate novelty -- not the new tools, but the new, more productive and interesting ways of using them.

15. Keep Learning

As new ways and new technology keep emerging, learning and adapting is essential. The good news is: it's fun, and even 20 min a day will take you a long way!

As always, please share your vision in the comment area! Happy 21st-century teaching!



See original text: http://goo.gl/I0FlnC

¿Estás planeando incorporar el aprendizaje virtual a tus clases? Descubre las 10 cosas del e-learning que incentivarán a los estudiantes en este nuevo camino.

Pocas cosas atraen más a los jóvenes de hoy que el mundo virtual. Basta con recorrer con la vista cualquier grupo de jóvenes para observar lo absortos que están en las pantallas de sus smartphones. Pero, ¿cómo la academia podría sacar provecho de este entusiasmo? La respuesta está en el cada vez más expandido e-learning, un conjunto de técnicas que incorporan las nuevas tecnologías como forma de impartir conocimientos dentro y fuera del aula. Si estás planificando incursionar en el aprendizaje virtual, descubre las 6 cosas que incentivarán más a los estudiantes en este nuevo camino, según publica el portal Shift E-learning.

1. Recursos visuales

Vivimos en la era de lo audiovisual. El dicho “una imagen vale más que mil palabras” está más vigente que nunca. Las imágenes son más fáciles de digerir y más rápidas de entender que la mayoría de los textos. Aprovéchalas.

2. Comparaciones

Está demostrado que nuestro cerebro se activa ante estímulos nuevos y diferentes. Para mantener esta atención resulta fundamental incurrir en comparaciones prácticas que ayuden a la asociación de ideas.

3. Resolución de problemas

Respuestas reales a los problemas reales es lo que verdaderamente buscan los jóvenes de hoy, invadidos por información y datos de todo tipo. Comenzar una dinámica de e-learning planteando un problema a solucionar es una excelente forma de llamar la atención.

4. Narración de historias

Otro aspecto que debe ser explotado es la identificación a través de la narración de historias. Está comprobado que anécdotas e historias ilustrativas son recordadas más profundamente por nuestra mente.

5. Emociones

Siguiendo en línea con el punto anterior, nada mejor para cargar tus historias que una buena dosis de emoción. Nuestro cerebro tiende a recordar mejor una experiencia emocional que una experiencia de cualquier otro tipo.

6. Preguntas y consultas

También es fundamental brindar a los alumnos un espacio de consultas e intercambio de opiniones. Foros de opinión, chats y videollamadas, son sólo algunos de los recursos disponibles para lograrlo.

Texto original: http://goo.gl/WG7TzW

Las metodologías educativas suelen girar alrededor de las teorías del aprendizaje (basadas en la psicopedagogía) como son el conductismo, cognitivismo, constructivismo y últimamente el conectivismo. Cada paradigma tiene sus procesos, actividades y métodos de actuación. Pero, ¿cómo puede afectar la innovación educativa a los diferentes tipos de metodologías educativas?

Hay metodologías que utilizamos a diario, otras las utilizamos excepcionalmente y otras sencillamente no las utilizamos (porque requieren mucho esfuerzo, no las conocemos o simplemente no queremos usarlas).

Metodologías educativas utilizadas habitualmente:

Clases magistrales. La teoría de toda la vida; basta con una gis y una pizarra, aunque también se utilizan presentaciones por computadora, videos o incluso la pizarra electrónica.
Clases prácticas. La mayoría de las veces es una clase teórica; pero en lugar de transmitir conceptos abstractos se resuelve un problema; es decir, desde el punto de vista metodológico es idéntica a las clases magistrales.
Clases de Laboratorio. Se suelen utilizar en materias más técnicas y los alumnos manejan dispositivos donde se comprueba la validez de las teorías. Desde el punto de vista metodológico requiere la adquisición de determinadas habilidades prácticas.
Tutorías. Se suelen utilizar las tutorías denominadas reactivas (el profesor responde a una demanda de información del alumno); es un instrumento muy potente, pero desgraciadamente poco y mal utilizado.
Evaluación. Se suele utilizar la modalidad de evaluación sumativa (la utilizada para evaluar los conocimientos adquiridos) y obtener una calificación.
Planificación. Se suele hacer al inicio del curso, básicamente son guías donde el alumno puede conocer con antelación los objetivos de la asignatura, el programa, el método de evaluación, la carga docente, actividades, condiciones, etc.
Trabajos individuales y en grupo. Son trabajos en los que el profesor define el tema y alcance; los alumnos lo hacen por su cuenta y una vez finalizado se le presenta al profesor.

¿Cómo puede ayudar la innovación educativa a estas metodologías?, la mayoría de las personas aplican innovación educativa para sustituir estas metodologías; sin embargo, la innovación educativa se debe utilizar para mejorarlas, no para sustituirlas. Por ejemplo, si el objetivo de la clase magistral es transmitir conceptos para que los alumnos los asimilen, la innovación educativa debe ayudar a transmitir esos conceptos y a que los alumnos los adquieran con menos esfuerzo. En este caso la innovación educativa produce un cambio, no metodológico pero sí de eficacia.

Metodologías educativas no utilizadas pero ampliamente conocidas por el profesorado:

Evaluación diagnóstica. Es la evaluación que se realiza para conocer las condiciones de las que parte cada alumno; es muy eficaz, ya que permite conocer lo que el alumno sabe, lo que no sabe y lo que cree saber.
Evaluación formativa. Se emplea para ayudar al alumno con su proceso de formación; se trata de comprobar el aprendizaje para, en caso de que no vaya como debiera, tomar acciones correctoras.
Planificación personalizada. Es una asignación de recursos en el tiempo para que el alumno alcance los objetivos formativos; se suele planificar en función del estilo de aprendizaje de cada alumno.
Trabajos individuales y grupales. Son trabajos en los que el profesor participa como miembro del equipo de trabajo; básicamente hace unas veces de director (las menos) y otras de asesor del grupo.

¿Cómo puede ayudar la innovación educativa en este tipo de metodologías? Este tipo de metodologías son conocidas por todos, están muy relacionadas con el paradigma centrado en el alumno; pero tienen un gran problema: “el esfuerzo para realizarlas”, se imaginan que tengo que hacer una evaluación diagnóstica a cada alumno, una planificación personalizada, una evaluación formativa, re-planificar y participar en cada trabajo en grupos. Imposible dirán.

Muchas personas piensan que la innovación educativa se basa, precisamente en introducir estas metodologías en la formación; sin embargo, el objetivo de la innovación educativa es reducir el esfuerzo asociado a estas metodologías, dicho de otra forma: poder utilizarlas sin aumentar el esfuerzo actual.

Metodologías educativas no utilizadas por desconocimiento de las mismas:

Tutoría proactiva. Se basa en anticiparse a la demanda de información por parte del alumno; es una metodología altamente eficaz, ya que el objetivo es resolver la duda en el momento en que se produce (realmente antes de que se produzca).
Trabajo cooperativo. Se basa en aprovechar los recursos creados por los propios alumnos y profesores. Se confunde con el trabajo en grupo pero no tiene nada que ver; básicamente actúa como una cooperativa donde todos sus miembros son constructores y beneficiarios de la cooperación.
Ciclo de Kolb. Esta metodología se basa en la acción como efecto transformador del conocimiento; entre acción y acción se relaciona el resultado con los conocimientos abstractos. Es una metodología muy eficaz para asignaturas en las que se quiera enfocar hacia la adquisición de habilidades y capacidades.

Estas metodologías se suelen asociar a paradigmas basados en el aprendizaje, pero también al enfoque basado en la práctica. ¿Cómo puede ayudar la innovación educativa a estas metodologías? Básicamente a plantear las asignaturas de una forma completamente distinta.

Las innovaciones más fáciles de conseguir son las que afectan a las metodologías que más se utilizan y pienso que es un buen comienzo, ya que no requieren que se cambie el planteamiento de las asignaturas; sobre este tipo de innovaciones es fácil realizar “políticas educativas”.

Las innovaciones sobre las metodologías poco utilizadas pero conocidas, requieren unas herramientas tecnológicas concretas; por tanto hay que formar al profesorado en habilidades.

Finalmente las innovaciones sobre las metodologías no conocidas, requieren una capacitación distinta y lamentablemente en algunas asignaturas no se pueden llevar a cabo.


Texto original: http://goo.gl/zZ7TQd

10 estrategias fáciles, del mundo real, para mejorar la participación y atención del alumnado en las aulas.

1. Limita el tiempo que vas a dedicar a cada actividad. No te desvíes del tema central, provoca que los estudiantes se distraigan y olviden los objetivos educativos.

2. Transparencia. Deben conocer los objetivos y criterios de evaluación, de esta manera ellos tienen la responsabilidad de sus acciones.

3. Ejemplifica y demuestra. Si quieres que tus alumnos retengan y comprendan con mayor facilidad algún tema, la mejor manera es haciéndolos ver la necesidad o utilidad de aprenderlo.

4. Plantea problemas a resolver. De preferencia problemas relacionados con lo cotidiano.

5. Fomenta el trabajo colaborativo. El trabajo en equipo parecerá que ocasiona distracción en el salón de clase, pero fomenta la participación y desenvolvimiento social de los niños.

6. Dales medios para expresar sus ideas y participar. No sólo se trata de hacer participar al alumno, sino que su participación sea de calidad.

7. Ludifica. El juego en la educación aumenta la participación, motivación y aprendizaje de los estudiantes.

8. Utiliza recursos y materiales que ya forman parte de su vida. Mientras más familiarizados estén con los recursos utilizados en clase, verás la diferencia en su atención.

9. Da (cierto) margen. Los estudiantes deben poder hacer las cosas “a su manera” o usar sus propios materiales. Dales flexibilidad en su propio proceso de aprendizaje.

10. Realiza evaluaciones diagnósticas. Antes de iniciar un tema, pregúntales sus conocimientos previos y cuáles son sus preferencias. De esta manera podrás preparar tu clase en base al nivel y los gustos de tu clase.


Texto original: http://goo.gl/CwdAF7

I have two primary messages for secondary school teacher training candidates. If you don't love adolescents and don't have a healthy ego, you should seriously consider finding another profession. You'll be living with these kids for 6-8 hours every day, and if you don't love them, the days will be long and difficult. And if you don't have good ego strength (or if your ego is strong in a less-than-ideal way), you'll find it difficult to deal with a multitude of challenges.

I want to focus here on the latter message.

There are very few professions in which success is usually less obvious. In her classic ethnographic study, Smalltown Teacher, Gertrude McPherson pointed this out clearly. There are continual challenges to feeling successful. Test results may provide a clue but may also be misleading. Are there kids who've really learned, whose lives you've affected positively, who will, sometimes years later, realize how much they learned? If you don't know, at your core, that you're teaching well, you will continually doubt yourself.

Here are some of the major challenges.

Teacher Invisibility vs. Being the Center of Attention

Do you thrive on being the center of attention? I did. I played out all of my ego needs to be the star lecturer, performer, comedian, actor, and conductor. I brought all of these sub-selves into my classroom. This wasn't bad for me, and I don't recall it being bad for my students. It met my ego needs and often seemed successful. But eventually I learned that there were many times when my class was better served by activities in which I more or less disappeared. When students worked successfully in small groups, I found myself feeling a void and struggled not to intervene or in some way be a strong, active presence. I knew that the minute I stepped into a group, I'd disturb its equilibrium and diminish its effectiveness in peer interaction. I had to struggle with my ego's need to be the star at center stage.

The Limits of Teacher Self-Disclosure

Closely related to this is the question of how much about ourselves we choose to share with students. I think some self-disclosure can be helpful in establishing close connections, but knowing the limits is critical. And here again, an unhealthy ego can step in. Talking a lot about "me" becomes a bore and shifts the focus to the teacher, not to student learning. Sharing a story about one of your own children might be a good anecdote and help your students connect to you as a person -- if it's appropriate to a classroom discussion. On the other hand, disclosing too much about your personal life is inappropriate and will make most students feel uncomfortable. For example, I walked into class one day and told students that if I seemed a little tight or negative, it might be related to the car accident I'd witnessed that morning. But if I'd told them that the reason was a fight with my wife the night before, I would have been stepping quite a bit across the line of appropriate self-disclosure.

Teacher Ego and the Connection to Students

Here's a really tricky one. How do we maintain our own boundaries when we feel a deep connection with a student? Most often, this is a student who clearly feels close to us or would like to be. At one end of the spectrum is unprofessional behavior in forming an intimate emotional relationship (or more) with a student that we're attracted to. But this is the extreme. More often, the challenge is to avoid connecting with a student so closely that we lose our objectivity.

As anthropologist Angeles Arrien described in her book The Four-Fold Way, "Detachment is the ability to care deeply from an objective place." We can feel intimate with students and still maintain our objectivity if our own need for adoration doesn't get in the way. Arrien's whole book is a wonderful guide to help teachers gain insight into the interface between ego and teaching.

Negative Student Feedback as a Challenge

On the other end of the ego challenge is working effectively with students who don't like us -- and there will always be some who don't. That's just as natural in the classroom as it is in life. I remember getting anonymous feedback from students and sometimes obsessing about the negative ones that were critical of me and/or my class, almost forgetting about the positive ones! This was my problem, not my students'. The feedback challenged my self-worth.

I think it's this ego-driven fear that keeps some teachers from seeking feedback from students. And that's always a bad decision.

Balancing Ego Health With Effective Teaching

Our mission as teachers is transcending our own ego satisfaction, needs, and stories to focus on our students and what's good for them.

Doing something that we must do but that we know will cause a student to feel bad can challenge our need to be the nice guy.

Using our authority can feed our need to be in control and feel powerful.

For me, something as subtle as creating an environment in which I became almost invisible while students helped each other was the best challenge that I overcame.

A core of healthy ego strength makes it much easier to focus more on what's best for our students and less on making ourselves feel important. And in terms of overall teacher well-being, the more that our daily life outside of the classroom meets our needs, the less likely that we'll need our teaching and our students to feed our ego.



See original text: http://goo.gl/dvbrTI

Over the summer, teachers reflect on the year and often redesign and perfect their teaching strategies and plans. In essence, they get back to the basics of what they believe is the best way to inspire learning in their students -- in other words, they revisit and refine their philosophy of education.

A school district might ask a teacher or principal applying for a job about her or his philosophy of education. In this post, I've decide to share mine, and I am curious to see if any of my beliefs resonate with you. So here they are:

1. Students need to learn.

Students want and need to learn as much as they need food, clothing, and shelter. An educator's primary job is to fill that primal need for learning by creating engaging and relevant learning experiences every day. The greatest gift a teacher can give students is motivating them to experience repeated learning success.

2. Students need to be active participants in learning.

Students learn best by doing, and active teaching encourages active learning. Teachers should treat students as active participants in the learning process, providing them with skills, such as:

These skills will help them be part of a high-performance learning team. Also, students need to be encouraged to explore and research information beyond the confines of the classroom and textbook.

3. Learning is a physiological activity involving the whole body.

The best way to engage a student is to have a solid classroom management plan and a well-planned lesson that is grounded in relevant, purposeful activities designed to enhance that student's knowledge and skills and leave her or him wanting to learn more. Teachers should be strongly aligned with student-centered and student-directed learning that embraces exploration, discovery, experiential learning, and the production of academically rigorous products.

4. Students need timely feedback to improve.

Teachers gather data on student performance to adjust the learning environment and instruction so that they can target students' learning needs. Teachers administer pretests to find a starting point for learning and post-tests to determine the students' increase in performance level as well as the teachers' effectiveness.

5. Students need structure and repetition to learn.

A teacher should be able to organize a standards-based lesson sequence, successfully implement the plan, and then evaluate student learning. A teacher should be able to create an exciting learning environment that makes it difficult for students to not learn. A teacher should know how to include all students in learning at their own level, and a teacher should be able to inspire the students to push themselves to the next level.

6. Students need information, knowledge, and skills.

Having access to knowledge resources is as important to a child's education as the actual curriculum content. Relevant and current information must be at the teachers' and students' fingertips to provide answers when the questions are still fresh. Information "on demand" is more valuable than information "just in case."

7. Students need tools and resources.

Students should know how their taxon and locale memory systems work. Students should have skills and strategies to be able to work effectively in the different levels of the cognitive domain as defined by Benjamin Bloom. Students should be aware of their own learning preferences, and teachers should assist with creating a plan to develop other learning skills. Educational tools are a means to an end. For example, technology used appropriately can greatly magnify the students' capacity to learn and the teachers' capacity to teach, inspire, and motivate.


See original text: http://goo.gl/YttBdw

An idea that is beginning to gain a lot of favour in educational circles at the moment is the notion of fixed versus growth mindsets, and how they might relate to students and learning. Based on the work of Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck, the idea of mindset is related to our understanding of where ability comes from. It has recently been seized upon by educators as a tool to explore our knowledge of student achievement, and ways that such achievement might be improved.

However, in my work, I have found that the notion of developing a growth mindset is as equally applicable to staff and teacher performance as it is to students. This article begins with a brief discussion about the difference between the two mindsets, what that means for education, and concludes with some ideas for how school leaders might seek to develop a growth mindset amongst their staff.

The New Psychology of Success (2000), Dweck developed a continuum upon which people can be placed, based upon their understandings about where ability comes from. For some people (at one end of said continuum), success (and failure) is based on innate ability (or the lack of it). Deck describes this as a fixed theory of intelligence, and argues that this gives rise to a ‘fixed mindset’. At the other end of the continuum are those people who believe success is based on a growth mindset. These individuals argue that success is based on learning, persistence and hard work.

According to Dweck:

In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it (Morehead 2012).

The crucial point for individuals is that these mindsets have a large impact upon our understanding of success and failure. Fixed mindset people dread failure, feeling that it reflects badly upon themselves as individuals, while growth mindset people instead embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and improve their abilities.

Needless to say, this idea of mindsets has significant implications for education. One of the most important aspects relates to feedback. According to Dweck, when we give praise to students (which we, as teachers often do, in order to build self-esteem and encourage students) for how clever they are, we might actually be encouraging them to develop a fixed mindset - which might limit their learning potential. On the other hand, if we praise students for the hard work and the process that they’ve engaged in, then that helps to develop a growth potential.

We have to really send the right messages, that taking on a challenging task is what I admire. Sticking to something and trying many strategies, that’s what I admire. That struggling means you’re committed to something and are willing to work hard. Parents around the dinner table and teachers in the classroom should ask, ‘Who had a fabulous struggle today? (Morehead 2012)

This praise can have significant effects upon students: citing longtitudinal studies with Year 7 maths students, Dweck has shown how students with a growth mindset are far more likely to take on more challenging work and succeed at it than students with a fixed mindset - even if all other factors remain the same.

Dweck (and others) put this down to the development of self that takes place as different mindsets develop. With a fixed mindset, there are feelings of powerlessness and learned helplessness. This can lead to the development of a self-defeating identity, accompanied by toxic personal statements like ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I’m not clever enough.’

On the other hand, a growth mindset amongst students is likely to encourage them to develop feelings of empowerment - students begin to see how they might take action to positively influence their community and their own learning.

Mindsets predict motivation and achievement amongst students according to some research, too:

Students with a growth mindset were more motivated to learn and exert effort, and outperformed those with a fixed mindset in math—a gap that continued to increase over the two-year period. Those with the two mindsets had entered 7th grade with similar past achievement, but because of their mindsets their math grades pulled apart during this challenging time. (Blackwell, Trzesniewski and Dweck, 2007).

Crucially, Dweck’s research is applicable to all people, not just students. Therefore, school leaders could ask themselves what effect might developing a growth mindset amongst staff have upon learning in a school? Fortunately, a number of educators and teachers have already begun to explore what this might look like for teachers.


According to Jackie Gerstein, teachers, like the students they teach, can learn to develop a growth mindset, but this requires careful planning by school management. The most obvious way of applying a growth mindset to teacher professional development is through modelling. Gerstein has run a number of professional development courses that seek to instruct teachers in how to model a growth mindset amongst students and one of her key principles is encouraging teachers to see themselves as learners, and, just like students are all capable of learning and improving, so too are teachers (Gerstein 2014)

Create space for new ideas

A second principle requires that schools provide opportunities for teachers to try new things and make mistakes. This can seem daunting for teachers, but it is essential for developing a growth mindset - after all, one of the key principles of such a mindset is the willingness to try new approaches. As part of creating this space, it is important to begin with the learning in mind; that is, what will teachers and the school learn as part of the process, rather than whether the new idea is going to be a success or a failure.

Build time for self-reflection

While creating space for new ideas is important, it is only part of the process of developing a growth mindset. Linked to it, and equally vital, is providing a chance for teachers to reflect upon their new ideas and consider what they learned from the process. Ideally, this reflection should focus less on whether the idea was a success or a failure, but rather on what the teacher learnt from the process.

Formative Feedback 

Teacher performance management processes can often be quite awkward and distressing experiences; however, by viewing the process as part of a growth mindset - that is, making it formative, rather than summative, and inviting participation of the teacher in the process, the feedback can be more meaningful and applicable to the teacher’s daily practice.

Developing a Growth Mindset amongst students is not an immediate process; rather, it will take a concerted effort on behalf of teachers and the rest of the schooling community. Equally, encouraging teachers to see themselves in the same way will equally take a lengthy period of time; however, there are significant benefits to be had form leveraging these ideas.


See original text: http://goo.gl/Xng0HI

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