In this article — which may be of specific interest to students in MCNY’s M.S. Ed. program — David Perrin, a high school English teacher in Illinois, imagines what Mark Twain, one of our country’s most important satirists, would have thought about the U.S.’s trend of standardized testing. Referencing a range of people from Louie C.K. to Glenn Beck to Helen Keller, the article also links to two of Twain’s original texts: a parody of a Brooklyn teacher’s misinformed students and an essay skewering public schools for rote teaching methods.
Anyone remember “Reading Rainbow,” the show geared toward getting kids to read? It ran on PBS from 1983-2006, and in 2012 it became a downloadable app. Now it has a funny new Kickstarter campaign, starring its longtime beloved host, LeVar Burton, raising money to improve the app. Check it out below.
Did you ever wonder what will happen if (/when) no one writes by hand anymore? As explained in this article, psychologists and neuroscientists have found new evidence that suggests deep links between handwriting and broader educational development.
This video, from the University of California, brings together three leaders in the field of writing research and instruction, to talk about teaching and reading and writing at all levels of education.
In 2010, at the urging of then-Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and with the support of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged $100 million to reform schools in Newark, where public education is as bad as anywhere in the country. Last week, The New Yorker published a long and fascinating article examining how that money has been spent, and whether or not the problem has been solved. (Hint: Not quite.)
This NYT article, “Students See Many Slights as Racial ‘Microagressions’,” explores a trend in discussions at US colleges about racism. Social workers have been talking about microagressions for years and anyone who has experienced racism already knows exactly what a microagression is: a communication that occurs on the subtle level of gesture, tone, or implication. Students have begun pointing to this micro-level of action rather than overt and direct demeaning statements, opening up conversations about what constitutes racism. Of course, this has stoked some controversy, as this article seems eager to note. Strikes me that the author has some doubt and to be fair, determining someone else’s “true intention” can be a tricky affair. But to deny the existence of this form of aggression strikes this reader as possibly more dangerous.
Purpose 1 Business student Saroja Sherpa is originally from Nepal, where she lived for 24 years. While working for CARE International and the Peace Corps, where she was a junior secretary, she learned about the progressive ideas and values of American culture. In particular, she was affected by the idea that women should have no shame in being able to work in society. Eventually, her husband came to the United States, where they thought their son would get a good education. She followed the family soon thereafter, moving to New York City and babysitting (she loves children and even had another son, who is now a teenager). As a babysitter, Saroja began to build her fluency in English by reading children’s books with kids. But, for about a decade, she suffered from a lack of confidence, as she saw how much Americans studied. Ultimately, she decided to get a GED, after which she went to an adult learning center in Brooklyn. The first day there, her teacher, who was 84 years old, gave the class Chinua Achebe’s book “Things Fall Apart.” Saroja read it faster than all her classmates, and enjoyed doing so (she loves reading), which convinced her she was finally ready for college. She enrolled in the Professional Business College, did well, finished quickly, and discovered that all of her credits transferred to MCNY. So here she is!
In worldwide rankings of education systems, Finland — the Scandinavian country of 5.4 million perhaps best known as the home of Nokia — consistently ranks at (or near) the top, while the U.S. ranks below average. How? Finnish kids do less homework, take less tests, and spend less time in school than their American counterparts. Similarly, teachers undergo better training, get treated with more respect, and earn better pay. Where American education focuses on competition, Finnish education focuses on cooperation. Could the system work in the U.S.? That’s a tough question. But this one-hour documentary (in four parts on YouTube), 2011’s The Finland Phenomenon: Inside The World’s Most Surprising School System, from Harvard researcher Dr. Tony Wagner, provides a fascinating look at how the Finns rose to the top of the world.
I used to feel like I wore an imaginary cone-shaped hat with the words DUNCE scribbled in bright red marker in my mathematics classes. The world of numbers and equations was always troublesome for me. My earliest memory of mathematics involves me crying over my workbook in grade school as I struggled with long division. I still have nightmares about that experience. Read more about Math Phobia here.