Category Archives: Students

Videos of New Types of Schools

A ten part set of short videos (about ten minutes each) describe Mission Hill K-8 School in Boston, an elementary school founded by Deborah Meier. The school a part of the Boston public school has greater decision making authority as a “pilot” school and emphasizes democratic principles. The video series, A Year at Mission Hill [...]

Leaders Affirm the Importance of Choice

The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) and the US Department of Education assembled leaders from 20 of the largest school district for a discussion of providing choices. Their report Reforming Districts Through Choice, Autonomy, Equity, and Accountability: An Overview of the Voluntary Public School Choice Directors Meeting strongly affirmed the importance of providing learning alternatives [...]

Whyville, Home to 6 Million Students

The developer in 1999 of Whyville, Dr. James Bower gives a delightful talk entitled, The Death of Textbooks, Emergence of Games in a little over an hour webinar and describes the fascination young students have with creating an alter ego (avatar) and a whole new world to shape and manipulate. Whyville now attracts 5,000 teachers and some 6.8 [...]

Pathways to Prosperity

Pathways to Prosperity Project based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education released a major new report examining the reasons for our failure to prepare so many young adults, and advancing an exciting vision for how the United States might regain the leadership in educational attainment it held for over a century. Pathways to Prosperity: [...]

How To Videos: Extraordinary Resource

EdVisions Schools have made their Design Essentials videos available to all. These are profoundly helpful in seeing how a variety of educational practices are conducted in project-based learning and non-course based schools or others moving toward student-centered learning. Here are examples from the category Self-Directed, Project-Based Learning: Self-directed, project-based learning primary focus; driven by constructivist [...]

Provocative Conceptions About Learning

TED brings the world’s leaders in various field: Sugata Mitra  invented the “hole in the wall” project with astonishing learning results, then continued the experiment around the world with the same impact. It can’t help but cause us to question conventional ideas about the ability of children to learn. His 17 minute talk at TED [...]

Multiple Assessments: Hope Survey

What effect is the current standards movement and teaching to the test having on our students? What do you know about how students at your school view the school environment? Now your school can find out by seeing the school from the eyes of your students based on their responses on the Hope Survey. This [...]

New Book Blames Students

Bad Students Not Bad Schools by Robert Weissberg, U of Illinois professor emeritus of political science, is a throwback to highly traditional education when principals exercised the power to throw kids out. This easy read, colorfully written with a degree of exaggeration, ultimately lapses in frustration at how to fix schools. Several chapters describe the failures of many [...]

Blueprint School

I’ve waited for years for this marvelous book, Lives of Passion, School of Hope: How One Public School Ignites a Lifelong Love of Learning. It tells a story of a K-12 progressive school (Jefferson County Open School, Colorado) that combined the best features from research and practice such as: strong advisory system, personal learning plan, [...]

Valuable Resources on Alternative Education

Here are useful resources with links to other sites: Brief descriptions in Summary of Educational Models include: Accelerated Schools, America’s Choice, Big Picture, Communities in Schools, EdVisions, Job Corps, Youth Build and 17 more. The Alternative High School Initiative (AHSI) is a network of youth development organizations with over 258 sites nationwide for creating educational [...]

Learning Outside the Ivy Walls

Recently, I attended the Macalester College celebration and was struck by the number of community based and service learning opportunities touted as powerful for their students. In fact, there was little mention of conventional educational practices of courses, classes and lectures. Mentioned were international experiences with businesses, embassies, human rights, peace organizations, world hunger and local [...]

A Most Remarkable Book

IALA promotes educational choices and there would not be the compelling call for change in district schools if they engaged students more. Here are my comments about an amazing book by an extraordinary teacher in a most democratic program. If Holden Caulfield Were In My Classroom: Inspiring Love, Creativity and Intelligence in Middle School Students [...]

Democratic Education Resources and IDEC Conference

Dana Bennis has started a website specifically devoted to promoting democratic education  and can be reached personally at dana.bennis@yahoo.com. Dana has a long standing interest in democratic education having studied it in several countries and being part of a democratic school. He advocates giving students voice in decisions about their education and their school’s operation. You will [...]

Singapore: Teach Less, Learn More!

The Singapore Ministry of Education says, “Teach Less, Learn More is about teaching better, to engage our learners and prepare them for life, rather than teaching more for tests and examinations.” Their website contains such refreshing gems as: • TLLM aims to touch the hearts and engage the minds of our learners, to prepare them [...]

A Second Side to the Story