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Schools need freedom to make our kids intelligent

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

In the late 1990s Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist working at Harvard University, broke intelligence into eight areas: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Even though many psychologists disagree with Gardner’s views on intelligence, the categories he created provide a good base for the abilities people need in the modern workplace.

It is nearly impossible for someone to succeed if he/she is only intelligent in one area. Artistic products require technical and financial support and the most technical products require beauty and a strong user interface. It is pointless for a scientist to conduct amazing research unless he/she can effectively communicate his/her findings to his/her colleagues; and it makes no sense for a musician to create beautiful songs, unless he/she can execute successful contracts so the songs make him/her money.

In short, all kids need strong visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal abilities. Sadly, few children graduate from high school with strong abilities in all these areas. Perhaps it is because we have tasked our K-12 schools with so many things (teaching, coaching, parenting, counseling, etc.) that it is impossible for them to succeed.

Maybe we should encourage schools to return to their primary mission. Then they can focus all their energies on maximizing visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, and logical-mathematical intelligence.

This limited focus would give schools time to rethink their approach to building intelligence and encourage them to find ways of identifying learning gaps early. They would have time to implement third party curriculum based testing (teachers have not seen the test ahead of time) at least once a quarter. Then teachers could identify deficiencies within a few weeks of when a student has missed a concept and could take corrective action quickly,

Some people worry that returning the focus of K-12 schools to academic areas would impact students’ interpersonal and intrapersonal development. In fact, the opposite might be true. Instead of relying on schools to offer sports, leadership, and other pursuits, schools could contract with community organizations to handle these activities. These organizations have lower overhead, so they could offer these activities at a fraction of the cost. Best of all, the students would have a wider range of options available to them.

Technology has changed the world. Now it is time for us to set aside preconceived ideas and think about how we can change education to prepare children for this new world.

Confidence in math has become a major problem for girls in school

Global News – Liam Casey

“Confidence in math has become a major problem for girls, research and data show. Experts believe it is one of the reasons women are vastly outnumbered by men in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions later in life. Differences in math confidence between boys and girls show up as early as Grade 3 in Ontario, despite girls and boys scoring similar marks. That trend continues through to high school.”(more)

The biggest lessons librarians learned in 2017

E-School News – Robin Glugatch and Andy Plemmons

“For the sake of our students, we must embrace the changing role of the school librarian. 2017 was a year filled with makerspaces, student engagement, personalized learning, and more. Here, two seasoned librarians shed light on their biggest lessons learned in 2017 and look forward to the up-and-coming trends for the new year.”(more)

Giving Students’ Empathy Muscles a Workout

Edutopia – Suzie Boss

“Fourth-grade teacher Jesse Ediger wants her digital learners to realize that they can tap into opportunities far beyond their hometown of Hutchinson, Kansas. “I want to draw back the curtain, show them the world, and let them see how connected they are,” she says. Some 1,500 miles south in Maninalco, Mexico, English teacher Karina Cavazos Almaguer has similar hopes for her students. “I want them to have the self-confidence to investigate the whole world,” she says. Using a new global education platform called Empatico, the two teachers recently started connecting their students for learning activities designed to foster empathy along with global awareness.”(more)

Why Student Data Should Be Students’ Data

Edutopia – Dennis Li

“Despite my love of data, two years into working as the data integration and reporting administrator at a public school district, I had grown disenchanted with how student data was being used. When I crisscrossed the district to talk to principals and administrators about their student data, I was often met with fear, confusion, and skepticism. On more than one occasion, I had to reassure and console a principal who thought they would lose their job because of one flat or downward sloping line chart.”(more)

Does Preschool Pay Off? Tulsa Program Demonstrates Success

KQED News Mind/Shift – Claudio Sanchez

“In 2001, not long after Oklahoma had adopted one of the nation’s first universal pre-K programs, researchers from Georgetown University began tracking kids who came out of the program in Tulsa, documenting their academic progress over time. In 2001, not long after Oklahoma had adopted one of the nation’s first universal pre-K programs, researchers from Georgetown University began tracking kids who came out of the program in Tulsa, documenting their academic progress over time. In a new report published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management today, researchers were able to show that Tulsa’s pre-K program has significant, positive effects on students’ outcomes and well-being through middle school.”(more)