Tag Archives: social & emotional learning

If you still doubt that the foundation for learning is emotional, not intellectual . . .

. . . you have some more reading to do. You might start with this article written by a public school principal in Maine. You could continue with a short summary of renowned psychologist (and Nobel Prize winner) Dan Kahneman’s research into how the mind actually works. Or if you wanted to consider a drastically different source, you can listen to Lupe Fiasco’s “He Say, She Say,” and read the lyrics (below) to hear one artist’s prescient insight into a larger problem plaguing his (and our) community, and standing in the way of deep, lasting systemic change in our schools.

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A Tale of Two Schools

There are two current storytelling efforts about two different schools that, if you’re not careful, might feel like the American version of a tale of two cities.

In the first, a 10-part video narrative about a year in the life of the Mission Hill School in Boston, we’re treated to the best of times: a place where every children is known and cared for, where learning is experiential and engaging, and where the adults are both extremely skilled and highly collaborative.

In the second, a two-part This American Life series about a high school in Chicago, we’re given a glimpse of the worst of times: a place where 29 current or former students were shot the previous school year, where some students spend their entire high school careers avoiding social relationships out of safety, and where every member of the football team has dodged gunfire at least once in their young lives.

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Educating the Heart and Mind

Sir Ken strikes again.

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The Empathy Formula

For over a year now, I’ve been working with a remarkable group of people at Ashoka who believe empathy is the foundational skill we need in order to become effective changemakers in modern society — and who are bold (quixotic?) enough to envision a world in which one day, every child learns to master it as readily as s/he masters the ability to read and write.

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This Revolution Is Not Being Televised

There’s an important new consensus developing around how people learn – and a missed opportunity about how to start applying that knowledge in schools. We’d be wise to pay closer attention to both trends.

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The Science of Learning (and of School Reform)

Here’s a strange but illustrative little animated short based off a short clip of a David Brooks speech, in which he lays bare one of the false assumptions about the brain that has led us down the wrong path for generations.

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Empathy for a Teacher

In the airy, sun-filled space that will house my son’s foray into formal education, I watched as a tow-headed classmate named Thomas patrolled the edges of the room, choking back tears.

It was the first day of school – and my wife and I were already doing our best not to hover too closely over Leo, who was, thankfully, already hard at play in the newly discovered puzzle section. Leo’s co-teachers, Ms. Allison and Ms. Luz, were busy greeting (and consoling) parents, organizing materials, and helping the 28 children – each one their family’s own special miracle – find a way to feel comfortable amidst an unfamiliar world.

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Reimagining Our Schools, NOW

It’s a presidential election season, which means we can all be sure of two things: conversations about education will take a backseat to more “pressing” issues like the economy and foreign policy, and Congress will once again do nothing to address our desperate need for a new federal education policy.

However, just because our elected officials can’t get the job done doesn’t mean the rest of us are powerless to be the change we wish to see in the world. In fact, local educators could do a lot to sidestep national policymakers by committing to do just three things this coming school year:

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Classroom Closers?

After spending yesterday afternoon watching my beloved Boston Red Sox blow another game in the ninth inning, I was reminded of a simple fact: some losses are more emotionally significant than others.

As my disappointment threatened to disrupt the rest of my Memorial Day – we were so close! – I realized there’s a good argument to be made that the one statistic in the data-obsessed world of professional baseball most likely to at least partially reflect the collective confidence of a team is the one the Sox’s shaky new closer, Alfredo Aceves, failed to earn for his team yesterday: the save.

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Bill Gates — Close, But Not Quite, on Teacher Evaluations

There’s an Op-Ed in today’s New York Times in which Joe Nocera discusses the Gates Foundation’s ambitious new efforts to crack the code of teacher assessment and evaluation, a valid goal is ever there was one. Piloting a new system in four districts — and providing local leaders with tens of millions of dollars to implement it — the Gates team seems to have recognized the limited value of test scores; in these communities, they comprise only a small part of a teacher’s evaluation scorecard.

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