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Collaborating with experts to support schools and deliver professional development, ensuring the success of all students.

Grant Wiggins: Current Views on Curriculum, Testing and HS Diplomas

What if Curriculum Focused on Performance & Ability and High School Really Prepared Students for Their Adult Lives

In a couple of deeply thought-provoking articles the co-author of books such as Learning By Design and Schooling By Design asks us join him in thinking about some basic assumptions about what the goal of education should be, how we should determine what should be taught and how we should measure progress. In a recent post to his blog, Wiggins asks us to think of action, not knowledge, as the essence of an education; to think of future ability to perform, not knowledge of the past, as the core . (more…)

Culture, Caring and Character – All Linked to Student Gains

While the emphasis on school transformation focuses on standards, cognitive skills, and teaching strategies, research is mounting that character, culture and social/emotional development may be just as important.

The programs described below may emphasize different qualities and have somewhat different strategies but they have strong common themes and have all been associated with increases in student progress and/or improved student behavior, perseverence, etc.

  • Character education focuses on a curriculum teaching students qualities like honesty, kindness, perseverence and responsibility.
  • Social/emotional development programs key on relationships, problem solving and caring.
  • Some efforts put the focus on increasing positive feelings and interactions.
  • Other efforts  put the focus on school culture and look to apply similar qualities into the whole school environment. (more…)

How to Change Teacher Expectations and Improve Student Outcomes

If you want to change beliefs, the best thing to do is change behaviors

We have known since Rosenthal’s study in 1964 that teacher expectations have a significant effect on student performance.  Figuring out how to change teachers’ beliefs about students, however,  has proven to be a challenge.  Attitudes and beliefs can be hard to change and are manifested in amazingly subtle ways. In this study Robert Pinata tries a new approach.  Pianta thinks that to change beliefs, the best thing to do is change behaviors. “It’s far more powerful to work from the outside in than the inside out if you want to change expectations,” he says. In other words, if you want to change a mind, talking about it is usually not enough.