Friday, 24 July 2015


The “Education Equation” has it wrong and change comes slowly.  A study conducted by the U. S. Department of Education in collaboration with Germany. perhaps Japan as well, concluded that we have it all wrong.  If you look at the education equation, we tend to hold time constant and make education the variable.  If we truly valued education, we would hold education constant and make time the variable.  However, our schools are generally not organized that way, nor have they been for the past century.
Schools in the United States still tend to run on schedules, daily schedules, semesters, years according to grade levels and so on.  And within that larger context there are so many minutes allocated to class periods, so much time for a test and a student either gets it or he/she doesn’t.  Schools in the United States, for the most part, still operate on an academic year rather than a calendar year and many have a several month hiatus in the summer, left over in part by an agrarian culture that no longer exists.  Our students are not working in the fields on the family farm!  And, it takes younger students several weeks to go back and pick up where they left off in the Spring.
If the goal of learning is mastery of a subject, what if it takes some students longer than others to reach the desired goal?  Does it matter in the long run?  It does if you want to encourage and support student learning.  Provide the time needed and for heaven’s sakes create an optimum environment without clocks on every wall or bells and buzzers.  If one can become absorbed in meaningful learning experiences, time all but disappears.
There must be some compelling reasons why the systems have been so slow to adapt to change that is obviously in the best interests of students.  Learning doesn’t stop with the ringing of a bell or by dismissal from school and there are many ways to capitalize on learning beyond the walls of any classroom or school.  In fact, some of the most transformative learning experiences for students have taken place in other than school environments.
There have been some shifting of schedules to allow fewer subjects and classes in an allotted time with more variations in the weekly and quarterly calendars.  Variety adds interest and the emphasis on depth over breadth has some advantages as indicated by block scheduling. 
A few of the promising signs on the horizon are things like PBL (Project Based Learning)  Experiential Education, Expeditionary Learning, Maker Spaces and organized groups such as    I leave you with these three questions for the coming year
1.    What one or two things might you do to facilitate genuine reform where you are?
2.    Who are the key people who are willing to work together for a common purpose of  changing the structure dramatically?
3.    What are a few realistic, measurable objectives for the coming year?

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

SPEAKING (in 55 words)

 Be sure your brain is engaged before putting mouth in gear.

Once the words are out, you cannot take them back.

You have power to threaten or comfort, to express anger or love.

Choose carefully when you speak.

The words are yours and you own them.

Use words not to hurt but help and heal.

Saturday, 4 July 2015


I wrote this originally a few years ago and people seemed to enjoy it.  It's good for a laugh at the end of another academic year so herewith a reprise. 

10. MABS - Myopic, Apathetic, Blame Syndrome - This disease is characterized by lack of vision, indifference and the attempt to shift responsibility to other people. (see following ailment).

9. PEST - Plasmapheretic Educational System Transference - A condition recognized in those who drain the organism and then because of inactivity offer bureacracy as a reason for the illness.

8. CRUD - Cholangitis Reoccurence Under Duress - Inflammation of bile ducts marked by pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen and caused by infection or obstruction, it is often treated by drugs or surgery.  Obstruction is a condition often occurring when progress is blocked or when one wishes to block progress.

7. DEAD - Deeply Entrenched Atrophic Dementia - Often seen in those who mistake the edge of the rut for the horizon, this condition is a progressive state of mental decline, especially in memory and judgment, often accompanied by disorientation and disintegration of the personality.  If caused by a metabolic diseases, it may be reversed.  If due to brain injury or degeneration due to aging, change may be irreversible.   This is often not recognized by those who have it.

6. PAIN - Psychogenic Aphakic Intestinal Nonsense - Persons afflicted with this cannot swallow pride or much else but is mostly a mental condition accompanied by blurred vision and there is no biological basis for the condition.  Those suffering from this disease are very uncomfortable with change and often fearful, insecure and have a weak stomach.  May be heard to whine to colleagues.  Radical and aggressive treatment often consists of removal to a new location and job.

5. BORE - Big Opthalmic Rectal Enteritis - Sometimes a crossing of certain ocular and rectal functions cause diarrhea, verbal or otherwise and this can adversely affect one's outlook; in extreme cases it can lead to fecal impaction; the reverse condition renders one filled to capacity.  Treatment is most often accompanied by a change in attitude.

4. LAME - Loud Aching Martyred Epicondylitis - This characterizes those who complain about carrying a heavy load while wishing others would work as hard as they do.  This can be very contagious so caution is recommended for those in proximity.

3. GRIPE - Glottic Repetition Instead of Pitching in Energetically - This is self-explanatory and recognizable because those so afflicted would rather talk about the problem than do something creative to solve it.  They also seem to enjoy hearing themselves more than listening to others.

2. ARUMP - Arteriosclerosis Revealing Union Mentality Proliferation - A condition that reflects a hardening of the institutional arteries which in turn prevents the open flow of communication and it can spread if not kept in check through a healthy exercise of mental and physical renewal.  (This is sometimes used as a prefix to meetings)

1. SOSOB - Same Old Same Old Beliefs or in medical terminology Systemic Osteolysis/Schizophrenic Obsessive Burnout -  Those fearing change become stuck, hard and fast in their way of acting and refuse to consider new paradigms. The result if finally just giving up and giving in rather than trying to learn something new and improve both self and system.