The Art of Mingling Practice and Theory in Teaching

This article is the Fourth in a series on The Artistry of Teaching.  

In 1896, the laboratory school of the University of Chicago opened its doors under the directorship of John Dewey (Fishman and McCarthy 1998).  Dewey’s idea was to create an environment for social and pedagogical experimentation.  Theory and practice should mingle, and the laboratory school as Dewey conceived it would be a place for teachers to design, carry out, reflect on, and test learner-centered curriculum and practice.… Read more

The Ecology of Innovation in Teaching and Learning

In this post I want to show that innovation in teaching & learning is a form of deep ecology in which collaborative relationships among teachers and students opens the classroom to new ways of thinking. These actions and subsequent innovations can be local and global in nature.  For most of my career I majored in bringing the local to the global and vise versa through the Global Thinking Project (GTP), headquartered at Georgia State University.

Innovation in teaching results from a process in which democratic principles are put into practice to foster experiential and collaborative work.  … Read more

The Standards Emerged from the Progressive America Playbook: I Don’t Think So

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In my previous post, Are the Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards Progressive Ideology, I argued that the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards are not the kind of movements that would attract the freethinkers that I discussed.  The K-12 Standards movement is a top-down, authoritarian system that is polar opposite of the kind of action that progressive teachers would see as improving the education for children and youth. … Read more

Hip-Hop Culture & Science Teaching: Progressive Education in Action

I’ve written several posts on this blog about Professor Christopher Emdin, Professor of Science Education, Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City.

Dr. Emdin has worked for years in New York City schools with urban youth to help teachers change the way they work with their students to bring real meaning to the learning of science.  The kind of teaching environment that Emdin suggests for urban schools is a communal one. Communal classrooms involve students and teachers working with subject matter through interactions that focus on interpersonal relationships, community and the collective betterment of the group.… Read more

Why Teacher Education is Important and How to Make It Better

Teacher education is more important today than it has been in half a century.  Education policy and practice are being radically transformed in American education, and teacher preparation programs in colleges and universities are being pressured to fall in line with the marketization and privatization of K-12 schools.  In teacher preparation this is evident by looking at proposals to privatize or deregulate the education of teachers, in the increasing reductive entry and exit tests for prospective educators, in differential funding to those teacher preparation institutions whose students score higher on high-stakes examinations, and the increasing growth of home schooling because of various reasons, but perhaps the desire to reject formal schooling and indeed professionally educated teachers (Apple, 2008).… Read more

K-12 Education Through the Lens of the Progressive World-View & Values

Note: This is the third post on a discussion of progressive and conservative values and how they impact education in America. In this post we will explore the progressive world-view and its values, and try and understand why the progressive ideals ought to form the foundation for American K-12 education.

Progressive values should set the ideals of teaching, and learning in American society.  Unfortunately, the “cloud of authoritarianism looms over education, making it very difficult to design instruction around progressive values.… Read more

Are Science Standards Taught as if they were Bricks?

In the last post we used science education research to show how accountability standards in science education today pose barriers to meaningful learning in science.  Today, we extend this theme, and show that the theory of learning underlying the accountability standards movement is in conflict with contemporary theories used to explain how students learn.

Ideas as Bricks

John Dewey believed that learning is embedded in experiences when the student interacts with the environment, which is when humans work to deal with the tensions between themselves and their surroundings.… Read more

Curiosity in Teaching Science

The most recent issue of The Science Teacher was entitled Science and Creativity, and according to the editor of the journal, “to develop 21st-century skills, we must create classrooms that foster creativity and encourage divergent thinking—through student inquiry, complex problem solving, and open-ended research.” Creativity in science teaching has been a theme—or a goal if you wish—of science teachers for generations. Encouraging teachers to focus on creativity did not begin in the 21st century—indeed, it began centuries ago, but perhaps was most poignantly established by the works and writings of John Dewey.… Read more

Transforming science teaching through social activism: Is it a viable goal?

There was a very interesting new comment made on an earlier post entitited Should science teaching be political: A Humanistic Question.  In that post I explored the ideas of researcher Wildson dos Santos, who had published an article: Scientific literacy: A Freirean perspective as a radical view of humanistic science education.

In the comment made, and in the view of dos Santos, science education is challenged to rethink the nature of scientific literacy as more than simply an understanding (as measured on end-of-course and other types of high-stakes examinations) of canonical science as defined in the National Science Education Standards.… Read more

Earthday as a metaphor for a paradigm of informal learning

Informal learning as a paradigm for classroom learning suggests that learning is holistic, and is steeped in inclusiveness and connectedness.  As I suggested yesterday, John Dewey wrote about the importance of an “experiential education” more than 100 years ago, and his words are just as relevant today, as they were then.

For many years I co-taught a university course on environmental science and geology.  However, the course was a three-week “field” trip from Atlanta, Georgia to the Colorado Rocky Mountains. … Read more