Some of these pieces were like, published and stuff - stamped onto paper in the real world and everything. Others are blog posts, but by folks with approximately 34.8k more followers than myself. Not that I'm complaining - I love my Eleven Faithful Followers (#11FF), and to hell with those bandwagoners over on the good blogs. We have something special here, you and I. What was your name again?
I must confess that part of my motivation for compiling them here is for my own reference and organization. The rest of that motivation, though, is all you, my #11FF. I want to share with you the best of those articles you see linked to on Facebook or Twitter and really intend to read soon. It's just that there's this video of a turtle I'd swear is belching 'I love you' and it's so totally hey I wonder which fictional cowboy I am?
This page is nowhere near complete, so it should grow over time... like us. Awwww, how sweet is that?
Education & Teacher Stuff
How to be a Zen Teacher in 10 Easy Steps (The Zen Teacher / Dan Tricarico) - You don't have to be truly Zen to benefit from this list. And 'easy' is a matter of perspective - they're certainly not 'hard,' and yet I do so few of them unless I remind myself... Dan is the teacher/blogger who most keeps me sane and breathing and makes me think we might make it.
The Hard Part (Peter Greene) - Greene is the master blogger behind Curmudgucation, and was wisely picked up by the Huffington Post for selected posts. I actually saw segments of this piece making the rounds on Facebook ("Teaching is like painting a huge Victorian mansion. And you don't actually have enough paint...") and such before stumbling across the original, full version here. What's the hard part of teaching? I've never heard it put quite so well.
Closing the Educator Equity Gap (Peter Greene) - I know what you're thinking. THREE pieces from the same guy, and in a row? If Greene were to ever actually read this blog or find this page ever ever ever, it would go RIGHT to his head! I'm not worried about the likelihood of either element happening :-) Let's stop blaming teachers for the 'achievement gap' - they didn't cause them and can't fix them, but they can be GREAT teachers who help those kids if we'll stop beating them up for caring about the wrong demographic.
I'm Done With 21st Century Learning (A View From The Edge / Rob Miller) - We're shifting paradigms, building capacity, employing best practices, and the role of PLCs in breaking down silos and promoting collaboration. Let's not forget to teach kids real good while we're at it.
8 Myths that Undermine Educational Effectiveness - Mark Phillips wrote this as a book review, but it's a powerful, easy-to-read and easy-for-non-educators-to-understand breakdown of some of the most damaging myths in the #edreform movement and public perception today.
Our Teacher Diversity Problem Is Not Just About Recruitment. It’s About Retention. - Alexandria Neason for Slate. It's hard to recruit black and other minority teachers. It's harder to keep them. It's so very important that we do. So... problem.
Is There Really A Point To It All? - Dad Gone Wild wonders if it's a bit twisted to see kids as either 'excelling' to some ridiculous degree or failures who coulda shoulda woulda. Can't at least some of them just be students learning things?
When Success Leads to Failure - A similar theme with even more painful honestly, from Jessica Lahey writing for The Atlantic. What if our kids have excellent grades and do everything we ask, but grow to hate learning in the process?
Teacher Power! - I almost missed this one because I'm not a fan of motivational, yay-us stuff. But in this piece, Dad Gone Wild asks some great questions about our perceptions of teachers and public schooling, and where those perceptions come from. Where are all these horrible teachers we've been taught to think are the norm?
Maybe We Should Make Him A Gift - Bailey & Derek's Daddy on a simple suggestion which flipped him upside down for a moment. I'm not so much into the touchy feely caring, but this one kinda chokes me up, so...
The Exam Sham: Onwards We Blindly Go - Maelstrom / Mike Crowley takes on one of the favorite topics of edubloggery - standardized testing. Crowley does it so well, though, and with just the right touch of frustrated hostility and poignant, almost touching reminders, that this is one of my favorites.
Words That Hurt Our Public Schools, And Ones That Help - Jeff Bryan, OurFuture.org on the power of language effectively misapplied to demean and diminish public education.
Articles About Learning, Development, and People
The Perils & Promises of Praise (Carol S. Dweck, Educational Leadership, October 2007) - this is a very accessible summary of the foundation of my pedagogical stylings. Dweck argues that students benefit greatly and in the best ways by recognizing that 'smart' is a process and a series of choices rather than a genetic condition. The learning happens in the struggle.
Born This Way? Nature, Nurture, Narratives, and the Making of Our Political Personalities (Jonathan Haidt, published in Reason Magazine, May 2012) - I use excerpts from this in various conference settings or in my AmGovt classes from time to time. The basic subject matter is familiar to most of you - nature vs. nurture and all that. What Haidt does a great job with, though, is bringing in the way 'narratives' shape our ideology and frame our understanding of both the past and the issues around us. If you can't fathom how your brother or sister turned out so weird when you're OK, or grasp how your co-workers could possibly see the world the way they do, this might help. Best part: the 'lefty' narrative of American History vs. the 'righty' narrative of American History.
How to Win the Culture War: Sell a Better Version of Economic Fairness (Jonathan Haidt, published The Atlantic, March 2013) - While this article opens with and tackles current political tensions, Haidt's breakdown of "the six foundations of morality" shed some interesting light on human values and decisions throughout history. He examines differences in what conservatives and liberals tend to mean by 'fairness' and 'liberty' - and how these understandings shape everything else. This dovetails well with the 'Born This Way?' piece above, but this one gets a bit more taxonomic. I like it. Best part: 'negative liberty' vs. 'positive liberty' - this was a total "Sokath, his eyes opened" Darmok moment for me.
We Are All Confident Idiots (David Dunning, published Pacific Standard Magazine, October 2014) - Dunning elaborates on the variety of ways in which we stand more strongly ignorant than we do informed, and how learning a little bit about stuff helps us dig in deeper and wronger than before. Ask not for whom the Kimmel mocks - he mocks for thee.
Of Race & Equity & Public Education as an Institution
Welcome to the Oligarchy: The U.S. Needs a New Mythology (Blog Post by Paul Thomas, July 2014) - Do things really work the way we think they work in 'Merica? Is success mostly about accomplishment or zip code? Poignant and persuasive, and nails an X-Men reference - I'm sold.
Empowering Educators Through Cultural Competence (Blog Post by José Vilson, March 2015) - We talk a great deal about 'building relationships', but maybe what we should really start with is asking and listening to our students. It's not weakness to ascertain the situation before implementing your preferred strategies.
Education as the Great Equalizer - Deforming Myth, Not Reality (Blog Post by Paul Thomas, August 2014) - What if one of our foundational premises of public education - that it offers everyone a chance to 'be all they can be' - is a myth? What if the American Dream doesn't work?
The Logic of Stupid Poor People (Blog Post by Tressie McMillan Cottom, October 2013) - Some interesting insights into why poor people make choices that seem reckless and irresponsible to normal people, but which we mean 'white folks'. Not entirely about race, but Cottom sure does make an old white guy think harder than he might like. Fascinating.
Other Stuff I Just Couldn't Resist
Is It Possible to Practice Active Listening on Twitter? (Blog post by Angela Stockman, September 2015) - Twitter is such a resource and allows such a wide community. Then again, it's so easy to suddenly find yourself trading barbs with complete strangers. How to do the Twitters gooder. GREAT piece.