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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.

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)

France wants stricter child phone ban in schools

BBC – Staff Writer

“France will enforce a ban on children’s mobile phone use at school from 3 September next year, the French education minister says. Jean-Michel Blanquer said: “We’re working on this – various methods may be used.” An existing ban is not applied uniformly in France. Some French education experts were sceptical about Mr Blanquer’s pledge, saying school resources were stretched. The minister said pupils’ phones could be kept in lockers during lessons.”(more)

3 ways of leveraging STEM expertise for ed tech success

Education Dive – Shalina Chatlani

“When it comes to successful integration of technology — whether it’s a new learning management system across multiple campuses or video capture tools in the classroom — poor implementation or haphazard rollout can end up costing the institution more than the initial investment. Recently, for example, the state of Washington paid $2.6 million to settle a dispute after it canceled a contract with an ed tech company following its inability to effectively install a computer software program.”(more)

Two Student Loan Studies Everyone Missed

Education Next – Jason D. Delisle

“Novel research that focuses on student loans tends to receive considerable attention these days. Yet two recent studies with big implications for the federal student loan program have gone largely unnoticed. Perhaps that is just a coincidence. Or perhaps it is because these studies contradict popular narratives about student debt that imply the loan program ought to be more generous and lenient. Each paper is summarized below, followed by a discussion of what the findings imply for policy reforms.”(more)

Elementary students report higher engagement, more pride in schoolwork than older peers

Education Dive – Linda Jacobson

“Most students report feeling engaged in school and taking pride in their work — but engagement drops as students get older, and less than half of middle and high school students feel like what they are learning in school is relevant to their lives outside of school, according to YouthTruth Student Survey results released Thursday.”(more)