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Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice: Change without Reform in American Education

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Middle School Kindness Challenge Overview. Webinars Upcoming Archived. Women in Leadership Institute Oct. Writing is both satisfying and frustrating, filled with surprises and disappointments.

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None of my books has come easily to me. As I have gotten older, however, I have discovered that revising and crafting words, sentences, and paragraphs has become as satisfying as creating the questions that drive the book, formulating the arguments, collecting and analyzing evidence, and drawing conclusions. Although I still get a kick out of ensuring an internal consistency between questions, arguments, evidence, and conclusions what has surprised me is how much pleasure I get from finding the right word, fashioning vivid phrases that capture accurately an image or idea I want to convey, and rewriting paragraphs a third and fourth time.

All of these and more I have experienced in writing this book. Some additional thoughts. When I was younger, spilling words on pages that capture ideas I had and my experiences in teaching and administration—the creative part of writing—were the highs of writing that I savored. Organizing the sentences and paragraphs were, of course, necessary but it was closer, at least in my mind then, to mopping a dirty floor and cleaning up an untidy room: important but lacking adrenalin-rush of ideas and experiences spilling over page after page.

That has changed. This affection for the craft of the writing has developed slowly over the years and while I need the creative rush, it is artistry of composing and ordering language that now gives me the most satisfaction. I do not know if this is a pattern among aging writers of nonfiction but this is what I have noticed in my writing books over the decades. Filed under Uncategorized. Tagged as policy to practice,. Congratulations, Larry, on your latest book. I remember your name from my studies at university in Australia, many years ago, and have enjoyed reading your thoughts on your blog.

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Thank you for your contributions to my own thinking about teaching, and I suspect, many other educators at various stages in their careers. Long may you continue to provoke and gently prod for reform.

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I have learned so much from your other books as well as from this blog. I look forward as well to reading your book.


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I was struck by two points that you make in the preface. First , is your reference to the pleasure you take in the writing process, obvious proof that your are a writer at heart, as well as an educator. And secondly, there is your paragraph about how little classroom and instructional practices have actually changed in spite of all the reform initiatives. I am very interested in your analysis of this topic. I can certainly see that in my own career experience.

There are certain things that I adopted fully as an English teacher because they made sense and they were a huge improvement over what was previously done e.

Do schools kill creativity? - Sir Ken Robinson

And there are other ideas that have merit but are vague and only theoretically possible. I have concluded that the only changes that are ever fully realized are those that are practical.

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Class size, finances and human nature all play limiting roles. Reblogged this on David R. Taylor-Thoughts on Texas Education. Thanks, Cal. No local readings since I have already begun teaching in Washington, D. At the beginning, we find governors and mayors, foundations and advocacy groups that propose changes in funding, governance, and curriculum. At the end lies what actually transpires in classrooms: the things students study, the assignments they complete, where they sit and the teacher stands, and other factors that make up on-the-ground instruction. In between, a complex and unreliable process of policy formulation, adoption, and implementation unfolds.

An idea arises, say, digital learning, that attracts researchers and educators, then thrills a politician and a donor, which then yields a laptop program, which calls for the purchase of hardware, software, and curricular materials, which requires training for teachers and a support team of tech experts Charting the history of the school, conducting interviews, and observing classes, Cuban found that.

The fits and starts explain one conclusion Cuban submitted to the school: "Connections between student achievement and teacher and student use of laptops are, at best, indirect and, at worst, nonexistent. But when the technology finally made it to the classroom, integration was an inconsistent activity.