robertogreco + classsize   27

The Lives of Children, by George Dennison
[See also Christopher Alexander (referencing Dennison and Paul Goodman's mini-schools): http://web.archive.org/web/20080206191750/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl085.htm ]

"It is worth mentioning here that, with two exceptions, the parents of the children at First Street were not libertarians. They thought that they believed in compulsion, and rewards and punishments, and formal discipline, and report cards, and homework, and elaborate school facilities. They looked rather askance at our noisy classrooms and informal relations. If they persisted in sending us their children, it was not because they agreed with our methods, but because they were desperate. As the months went by, however, and the children who had been truants now attended eagerly, and those who had been failing now began to learn, the parents drew their own conclusions. By the end of the first year there was a high morale among them, and great devotion to the school.

We had no administrators. We were small and didn't need them. The parents found that, after all, they approved of this. They themselves could judge the competence of the teachers, and so could their children - by the specific act of learning. The parents' past experience of administrators bad been uniformly upsetting - and the proof, of course, was in the pudding: the children were happier and were learning. As for the children, they never missed them.

We did not give report cards. We knew each child, knew his capacities and his problems, and the vagaries of his growth. This knowledge could not be recorded on little cards. The parents found - again - that they approved of this. It diminished the blind anxieties of life, for grades had never meant much to them anyway except some dim sense of problem, or some dim reassurance that things were all right. When they wanted to know how their children were doing they simply asked the teachers.

We didn't give tests, at least not of the competitive kind. It was important to be aware of what the children knew, but more important to be aware of how each child knew what he knew. We could learn nothing about Maxine by testing Eléna. And so there was no comparative testing at all. The children never missed those invidious comparisons, and the teachers were spared the absurdity of ranking dozens of personalities on one uniform scale.

Our housing was modest. Ile children came to school in play-torn clothes. Their families were poor. A torn dress, torn pants, frequent cleanings - there were expenses they could not afford. Yet how can children play without getting dirty? Our uncleanliness standard was just right. It looked awful and suited everyone.

We treated the children with consideration and justice. I don't mean that we never got angry and never yelled at them (nor they at us). I mean that we took seriously the pride of life that belongs to the young - even to the very young. We did not coerce them in violation of their proper independence. Parents and children both found that they approved very much of this.

Now I would like to describe the school, or more correctly, the children and teachers. I shall try to bring out in detail three important things:

1) That the proper concern of a primary school is not education in a narrow sense, and still less preparation for later life, but the present lives of the children - a point made repeatedly by John Dewey. and very poorly understood by many of his followers.

2) That when the conventional routines of a school we abolished (the military discipline, the schedules, the punishments and rewards, the standardization), what arises is neither a vacuum nor chaos, but rather a new order, based first on relationships between adults and children, and children and their peers, but based ultimately on such truths of the human condition as these: that the mind does not function separately from the emotions, but thought partakes of feeling and feeling of thought, that there is no such thing as knowledge per se, knowledge in a vacuum, but rather all knowledge is possessed and must be expressed by individuals; that the human voices preserved in books belong to the real features of the world, and that children are so powerfully attracted to this world that the very motion of their curiosity comes through to us as a form of love; that an active moral life cannot be evolved except where people are free to express their feelings and act upon the insights of conscience.

3) That running a primary school - provided it be small - is an extremely simple thing. It goes without saying that the teachers must be competent (which does not necessarily mean passing courses in a teacher's college). Given this sine qua non, there is nothing mysterious. The present quagmire of public education is entirely the result of unworkable centralization and the lust for control that permeates every bureaucratic institution."



"For the twenty-three children there were three full-time teachers, one part-time (myself), and several others who came at scheduled periods for singing, dancing, and music.

Public school teachers, with their 30 to 1 ratios, will be aware that we have entered the realm of sheer luxury. One of the things that will bear repeating, however, is that this luxury was purchased at a cost per child a good bit lower than that of the public system, for the similarity of operating costs does not reflect the huge capital investment of the public schools or the great difference in the quality of service. Not that our families paid tuition (hardly anyone did); I mean simply that our money was not drained away by vast administrative costs, bookkeeping, elaborate buildings, maintenance, enforcement personnel, and vandalism (to say nothing of the costs hidden in those institutions which in a larger sense must be seen as adjuncts to the schools: houses of correction, prisons, narcotic wards, and welfare).

Our teacher/pupil ratio varied according to need. Gloria handled up to eleven children, ages five to eight. At least half of her children were just starting school, and were beautifully "motivated," as the educationists say. Motivated, of course, means eager, alive, curious, responsive, trusting, persistent; and it is not as good a word as any of these. They were capable of forming relationships and of pursuing real interests. Every child who came to us after several years in the public schools came with problems.

Susan Goodman, who taught the next group, ages eight to ten, usually had six or seven in her room. Two of these were difficult and required a great deal of attention. They got the attention, and they were the two (Maxine and Eléna) who of all the children in the school made the most spectacular progress academically. In a year and a half, Eléna, who was ten, went from first-grade work to advanced fourth; and let me hasten to say that Susan, like the other teachers, followed Rousseau's old policy of losing time. ("The most useful rule of education is this: do not save time, but lose it.") Eléna's lessons were very brief and were often skipped.

The remaining children, boys to the age of thirteen, had come to us in serious trouble of one kind or another. Several carried knives, all had been truants, José could not read, Willard was scheduled for a 600 school, Stanley was a vandal and thief and was on his way to Youth House. They were characterized, one and all, by an anxiety that amounted to desperation. It became clear to us very quickly to what an extent they had been formed by abuse and neglect. Family life was a factor for several, but all had had disastrous experiences in school, and with authorities outside of school, and with the racism of our society as a whole, and with poverty and the routine violence of violent streets. They were destined for environments of maximum control-prison in one form or another. How they fared in our setting of freedom may be interesting.

Some pupils, as Dr. Elliott Shapiro points out (Nat Hentoff's Our Children Are Dying is about Elliott Shapiro and the children of Harlem), require a one-to-one relationship. I worked with José on just that basis. At other times I took the boys in a group, or Mabel Chrystie (now Dennison) did, or they were divided between the two of us.

Even in so routine a matter as forming groups, the advantages of smallness are evident. We all knew the children fairly well and were able to match teacher with child. Gloria had had a great deal of experience with younger children, Mabel with specialized tutoring in the city system and with problem children in a free school setting. I had worked with severely disturbed children; and Susan Goodman, who had never taught before, came from a family of teachers and naturally asked for the children predisposed to studies.

Yet the final composition of the groups reflected the contributions of the children themselves. They, too, had a hand. And here is an excellent example of the kind of sructuring that arises when the wishes of the children are respected. Two of our most difficult pupils, Maxine and Vicente, actually placed themselves; and the truth is that we teachers could not have improved upon their solutions. ..."
georgedennison  small  tinyschools  minischools  paulgoodman  education  openstudioproject  learning  children  lcproject  1969  groupsize  classsize  teaching  christopheralexander  apatternlanguage 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Mini-Schools: A Prescription for the Reading Problem by Paul Goodman | The New York Review of Books
"For ages six to eleven, I propose a system of tiny schools, radically decentralized. As one who for twenty years has urged democratic decentralization in many fields, including the schools, I am of course interested in the Bundy recommendation to cut up the New York system into sixty fairly autonomous districts. This would restore some relevance of the culture (and the staff) of the school to the culture of the community. But however valuable politically, it is an administrative arrangement; it does not get down to the actual pedagogical operation. And it certainly is not child-centered; both poor and middle-class communities have their own ways of not paying attention to children, according to their own prejudices and distant expectations. By “tiny school,” therefore, I here mean twenty-eight children…with four teachers (one grown-up to seven children), and each tiny school to be largely administered by its own staff and parents, with considerable say also for the children, as in Summer-hill. The four teachers are:

A teacher regularly licensed and salaried. Since the present average class size is twenty-eight, these are available.

A graduate from the senior class of a New York college, perhaps just embarking on graduate study. Salary $2000. There is no lack of candidates to do something interesting and useful in a free setting.

A literate housewife and mother, who can also prepare lunch. Salary $4000. No lack of candidates.

A literate, willing, and intelligent high-school graduate. Salary $2000. No lack of candidates.

Such a staff can easily be racially and ethnically mixed. And it is also the case, as demonstrated by the First Street School, that in such a small setting, with individual attention paid to the children, it is easy to get racially and ethnically mixed classes; there is less middle-class withdrawal when the parents do not fear that their children will be swamped and retarded. (We have failed to achieve “integration” by trying to impose it from above, but it can be achieved from below, in schools entirely locally controlled, if we can show parents that it is for their children’s best future.)

For setting, the tiny school would occupy two, three, or four rooms in existing school buildings, church basements, settlement houses otherwise empty during school hours, rooms set aside in housing projects, store-fronts. The setting is especially indifferent since a major part of activity occurs outside the school place. The setting should be able to be transformed into a clubhouse, decorated and equipped according to the group’s own decision. There might be one school on every street, but it is also advisable to locate many in racial and ethnic border areas, to increase intermixture. For purposes of assembly, health services, and some games, ten tiny schools could use the present public school facilities.

The cost saving in such a setup is the almost total elimination of top-down administration and the kind of special services that are required precisely because of excessive size and rigidity. The chief uses of central administration would be licensing, funding, choosing sites, and some inspection. There would be no principals and assistants, secretaries and assistants. Curriculum, texts, equipment would be determined as needed—and despite the present putative economies of scale, they would be cheaper; much less would be pointless or wasted. Record-keeping would be at a minimum. There is no need for truant officers when the teacher-and-seven can call at the absentee’s home and inquire. There is little need for remedial personnel since the staff and parents are always in contact, and the whole enterprise can be regarded as remedial. Organizational studies of large top-down directed enterprises show that the total cost is invariably at least 300 percent above the cost of the immediate function, in this case the interaction of teachers and children. I would put this 300 percent into increasing the number of adults and diversifying the possibilities of instruction. Further, in the conditions of New York real estate, there is great advantage in ceasing to build four-million-dollar school buildings, and rather fitting tiny schools into available niches."



"FURTHER, I see little merit, for teaching this age, in the usual teacher-training. Any literate and well-intentioned grown-up or late teen-ager knows enough to teach a small child a lot. Teaching small children is a difficult art, but we do not know how to train the improvisational genius it requires, and the untrained seem to have it equally: compare one mother with another, or one big sister or brother with another. Since at this age one teaches the child, not the subject, the relevant art is psychotherapy, and the most useful course for a teachers’ college is probably group therapy. The chief criterion for selection is the one I have mentioned: liking to be attentive to children. Given this setting, many young people would be introduced to teaching and would continue with it as a profession; whereas in the New York system the annual turnover approaches 20 percent, after years of wasted training.

As I have said, however, there are fatal political and administrative objections to this proposal. First, the Public School administration does not intend to go largely out of business. Given its mentality, it must see any radical decentralization as impossible to administer and dangerous, for everything cannot be controlled. Some child is bound to break a leg and the insurance companies will not cover; some teen-ager is bound to be indiscreet and the Daily News will explode in headlines.

The United Federation of Teachers will find the proposal to be anathema because it devalues professional perquisites and floods the schools with the unlicensed. Being mainly broken to the public school harness, most experienced teachers consider free and inventive teaching to be impossible.

Most fatally, poor parents, who aspire for their children, tend to regard unrigidly structured education as down-grading, not taking the children seriously, and also as vaguely immoral. In the present Black Power temper of Harlem, also, the possible easy intermixing is itself not desired. (Incidentally, I am rather sympathetic to black separatism as a means of consolidating the power of black communities. But children, as Kant said, must be educated for the future better society which cannot be separated.)

In spite of these fatal objections, I recommend that, instead of building the next new school building, we try out this scheme with 1200 children."
paulgoodman  smallschools  tinyschools  education  unschooling  1968  deschooling  learning  children  schooldesign  classsize  openstudioproject  history  lcproject  minischools  small  literacy 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Education Reform: A National Delusion | Steve Nelson
"As I watch the education "debate" in America I wonder if we have simply lost our minds. In the cacophony of reform chatter -- online programs, charter schools, vouchers, testing, more testing, accountability, Common Core, value-added assessments, blaming teachers, blaming tenure, blaming unions, blaming parents -- one can barely hear the children crying out: "Pay attention to us!"

None of the things on the partial list above will have the slightest effect on the so-called achievement gap or the supposed decline in America's international education rankings. Every bit of education reform -- every think tank remedy proposed by wet-behind-the-ears MBAs, every piece of legislation, every one of these things -- is an excuse to continue the unconscionable neglect of our children.

As Pogo wisely noted, "We have met the enemy and he is us." We did this to our children and our schools.

We did this by choosing to see schools as instructional factories, beginning in the early 20th century.

We did this by swallowing the obscene notion that schools and colleges are businesses and children are consumers.

We did this by believing in the infallibility of free enterprise, by pretending America is a meritocracy, and by ignoring the pernicious effects of unrelenting racism.

We did this by believing that children are widgets and economy of scale is both possible and desirable.

We did this by acting as though reality and the digital representation of reality are the same thing.

We did this by demeaning the teaching profession.

We did this by allowing poverty and despair to shatter families.

We did this by blaming these families for the poverty and despair we inflicted on them.

We did this by allowing school buildings to deteriorate, by removing the most enlivening parts of the school day, by feeding our children junk food.

We did this by failing to properly fund schools, making them dependent on shrinking property taxes and by shifting the costs of federal mandates to resource-strapped states and local communities.

We did this by handcuffing teachers with idiotic policies, constant test preparation and professional insecurity.

America's children need our attention, not Pearson's lousy tests or charter schools' colorful banners and cute little uniforms that make kids look like management trainees.

America's teachers need our support, our admiration, and the freedom to teach and love children.

The truth is that our children need our attention, not political platitudes and more TED talks.

The deterioration began in earnest with the dangerously affable Ronald Reagan, whose "aw shucks" dismantling of the social contract has triggered 30 years of social decline, except for the most privileged among us. The verdict is in. The consequence of trickle down economics has been tens of millions of American families having some pretty nasty stuff dripping on them.

Education was already in trouble and then, beginning in 2001 with the ironically named No Child Left Behind Act (which has left almost all children behind), the decline accelerated. When a bad policy fails, just rename it. In a nation where "branding" reigns supreme, you get Race to the Top. It's changing the paint color on a Yugo and expecting it to drive like a Lamborghini.

In the 13 years since NCLB there has been no -- zero, nada -- progress in education. Most claims of improvement can be attributed to changing the standards or shifting kids from one place to another -- educational gerrymandering. We've reduced education to dull test-prep and we can't even get improved results on the tests we prep for! That is a remarkable failure.

Doing meaningful education with the most advantaged kids and ample resources is challenging enough with classes of 20. Doing meaningful work with children in communities we have decimated through greed and neglect might require classes of 10 or fewer. When will Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Walton Family, Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan and other education reformers recommend that?

No, that's not forthcoming. Their solution is more iPads and trying to fatten up little Hansel and Gretel by weighing them more often. Pearson will make the scales.

Only in contemporary America can a humanitarian crisis be just another way to make a buck."
2014  stevenelson  education  publicschools  nclb  rttt  arneduncan  edreform  gatesfoundation  broadfoundation  elibroad  commoncore  poverty  billgates  michellerhee  attention  parenting  teaching  learning  politics  policy  pearson  classsize  charterschools 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Does Class Size Matter? | National Education Policy Center
"This policy brief summarizes the academic literature on the impact of class size and finds that class size is an important determinant of a variety of student outcomes, ranging from test scores to broader life outcomes. Smaller classes are particularly effective at raising achievement levels of low-income and minority children.

Policymakers should carefully weigh the efficacy of class-size policy against other potential uses of funds. While lower class size has a demonstrable cost, it may prove the more cost-effective policy overall."
education  learning  classsize  children  teaching  policy  cost  2014 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Thoughts on Elite Private Independent Schools and Public Education Reforms | School Finance 101
[See also: http://sbschoolorg.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/gathering-research/
and http://redqueeninla.k12newsnetwork.com/2014/01/16/whats-in-a-choice/
"This whole duplicitous campaign of “school choice” is just a way of obscuring the reality of what all families need: a system of accessible, responsive — democratic — control of school education policy that truly maximizes educational opportunity and availability of educational best-practices – true excellence — for all." ]
independentschools  education  learning  classsize  poverty  2014  nais  choice  johnchubb  elitism  statistics  enrollment  policy  publicschools  schools  etaching  us  harknesstables  mattchingos  erichanushek  margueriteroza  robinlake  checkerfinn  brucebaker  research  harknessmethod  harkness 
january 2014 by robertogreco
ParkDayTom: Mission Hill - Jamaica Plain, MA
"Always deflecting the attention to teachers and students, Ayla holds a prodigious set of responsibilities, beyond the reach of most mere mortal school administrators. Since its founding in 1997, the school has been committed to directing its resources as directly as possible to the students, and consequently the layer of administrative support found in most public or private schools does not exist. Funding normally channelled to administration has been redirected for the purpose of hiring teachers and keeping class size as small as possible. Most of the classes I visited had 16 students."

"Ayla defines progressive education as the natural enhancement of that which humans bring to learning. Progressive educators consider all things about the child in developing around him or her a learning experience. In a progressive school, each child's individual experience is considered in the context of the whole; this does not mean that each learning experience is unique- indeed, schools create learning experiences for groups - however, each child is deeply understood as a learner and as a full human being."

"The mission of the school tethers all adults to the interests and well-being of the children; all decision and actions must flow from this covenant."

"Five "habits of mind" bring ballast to the curriculum and learning program at Mission Hill. Evidence (How do you know?): Conjecture (What if things were different?); Connections (What does it remind you of?); Relevance (Is it important? Why does it matter?); Viewpoint (What would someone else say? What would someone else feel?). These essential framing questions are prominent throughout the school and very alive in the classrooms. The teachers are scrupulous in their work to make these questions underpin the activities and lessons they construct with the students."

"True to form, Ayla's take on this question was unique - she'd not have it any other way. The relatively high number of male teachers and teachers of color at Mission Hill can be directly tied to the phenomenon of teacher autonomy at the school. Because each member of the Mission Hill faculty must assume a leadership role in the school, a top-down administrative structure would never work. Ayla relies on the teacher autonomy factor to bring a work ethic to the school that would not be possible if teachers were always seeking direction. That said, Ayla is quick to point out that autonomy comes with accountability and responsibility. To be sure, it is a teacher's privilege to have the autonomy to build his/her program, but it is also his/her responsibility to be accountable to the cohort of teachers and the mission of the school. A rogue teacher would stand out like a sore thumb and never be successful; the faculty is far too collaborative.

Misson Hill answers the question, "Can progressive education work for all children?" As an inclusion school, not only do the classrooms include children from disadvantaged backgrounds, they also include the widest range of learning and behavioral profiles."
missionhillschool  2013  boston  progressive  schools  education  habitsofmind  aylagavins  teaching  learning  deborahmeier  classsize  administration  leadership  management  administrativebloat  burnout  tomlittle  autonomy  collaboration  responsibility  accountability 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Extraordinary teachers can't overcome poor classroom situations - latimes.com
"And that's my biggest problem with the myth of the extraordinary teacher. The myth says it doesn't matter whether the crazy kid in the back makes me laugh so hard I forget what we were talking about, or two brilliant kids refuse to accept my rubrics, scrawling their long-winded objections as a two-part argument that circles over every square inch of the backs of their essays — the makeup of the class, the nature of each student and the number of students are immaterial as long as I'm at the top of my game…

I'm willing to work as hard as I can to be an excellent teacher, but as a country we have to admit that I'll never be excellent if we continue to slash education budgets and cut teachers, which is what's actually happening in California despite all our talk of excellence, particularly in schools that serve poor children. Until we stop that, we'll never have equal education in this country."
teaching  education  classsize  policy  us  learning  ellieherman  diversity  japan  korea  finland  politics  2011  environment  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Guiding Principles :: Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action
"For the future of our children, we demand:

Equitable funding for all public school communities

An end to high stakes testing used for the purpose of student, teacher, and school evaluation

Teacher, family and community leadership in forming public education policies

Curriculum developed for and by local school communities"

[Click through for sub-points under each of the above.]
education  2011  sosmarch  washingtondc  protest  dc  policy  politics  funding  teaching  learning  schools  publicschools  libraries  assessment  standardizedtesting  local  leadership  classsize  curriculum  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
How important is class size after all? - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post
"just about forever, rule has been one teacher & one class. My vote…goes to 3-4 person teams assigned blocks of students for at least 2-3 years. For many of the young in today’s world, that’s as close to stability & a sense of family & community as they’re likely to get.

…Sitting in a classroom for hours a day, years on end, is sufficiently at odds w/ human nature to be classed as cruel & unusual punishment. Most of what we know comes from the discovery of relationships btwn aspects of reality we once didn’t think were related. That discovery process happens most frequently in the real world, not in schools…

…curriculum…The traditional math, science, social studies, & language arts regimen is a bloated, random, unorganized, disconnected, intellectually unmanageable mess. It needs a radical slimming down, a clear, concrete purpose, a far simpler system for organizing knowledge, & a focus on the present, future, & past as prologue."
marionbrady  unschooling  deschooling  2011  tcsnmy  cv  teaching  learning  curriculum  curriculumisdead  stability  relationships  education  schools  classsize  reform  policy  helenkeller  annesullivan  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
For San Diego Schools, a Fear That Larger Classes Will Hinder Learning - NYTimes.com
"While educators debate whether the academic gain from reducing class size is worth the cost, research has shown that significantly smaller classes make a difference in the earliest grades. San Diego’s decision to set a class size of 17 at its poorest schools was based on the most influential study in the field, the Tennessee STAR project. That research, done in the 1980s, concluded that students in small classes (13 to 17 children) outperformed those in regular classrooms (22 to 25) in kindergarten to third grades. The gains were biggest among poor minority children, and that advantage continued for years to come.

As a child, Ms. Marten attended a private school where the ratio of students to teachers was 16 to 1. For many years she also taught at a private school with small class sizes. At Central, reducing the number of students per class has been a top priority."
sandiego  classsize  schools  groups  policy  tcsnmy  lcproject  education  learning  teaching  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
The Best Resources For Learning About How Class Size Does Matter | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...
"There have been some recent efforts to minimize the importance of how class size affects student achievement.

I thought it might be useful to bring together some good related resources. Feel free to suggest others."
classsize  schools  policy  teaching  research  education  us  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
NYC Public School Parents: What Finland and Asia tell us about real education reform
"And yet what lesson have the Obama administration and its allies in the DC think thanks and corporate and foundation world taken from the PISA results? That there needs to be even more high-stakes testing, based on uniform core standards, that teachers should be evaluated and laid off primarily on the basis of their student test scores, and that it's fine if class sizes are increased.

In a speech, Duncan recently said that "Many high-performing education systems, especially in Asia," Duncan says, "have substantially larger classes than the United States."

What he did not mention is that Finland based its success largely upon smaller class sizes; nor the way in which many experts in Asian education recognize the heavy costs of their test-based accountability systems, and the way in which their schools undermine the ability ofstudents to develop as creative and innovate thinkers -- which their future economic growth will depend upon."
research  asia  finland  testing  standardizedtesting  standardization  teaching  learning  policy  nclb  schools  schooling  us  china  pisa  comparison  korea  arneduncan  2011  barackobama  georgewill  business  democracy  rttt  classsize  pasisahlberg  politics  economics  money  misguidedenergy  respect  training  salaries  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
Emily Pilloton: Teaching design for change | Video on TED.com
"Designer Emily Pilloton moved to rural Bertie County, in North Carolina, to engage in a bold experiment of design-led community transformation. She's teaching a design-build class called Studio H that engages high schoolers' minds and bodies while bringing smart design and new opportunities to the poorest county in the state."
design  ted  education  change  teaching  lcproject  schooldesign  studioh  projecthdesign  projecth  emilypilloton  northcarolina  rural  designthinking  tcsnmy  classsize  vocational  systems  systemsthinking  humanitariandesign  cv  braindrain  criticalthinking  meaning  purpose  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Twitter and the Dunbar Number - Rob's posterous
"As a reminder - Here are the Lego Blocks of the science of human groups. From these precise grouping you build the best performing organizations.

As with Lego, there is nothing random about how best to organize human beings. All well functioning organizations use these groups and they avoid the "Dip" - you will see the "Dip" below.

8 The Circle of Intimacy (The section): where you intuitively communicate as a great sports team will - 15 the dangerous nowhere group that you must either go back to 8 or rush to 34 from - 34 the ideal compound group (The platoon) - 89 the ideal large team - 144 The maximum unit where all can know each other to use trust rather than rules."
twitter  robertpatterson  communities  organizations  socialmedia  groupsize  dunbar  community  psychology  learning  knowledge  business  capacity  sociology  social  hr  leadership  administration  management  tcsnmy  lcproject  classsize  dunbarnumber  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Shanker Blog » Talking About But Not Learning From Finland
"So, for whatever it’s worth, the three policy measures that are currently receiving virtually all the attention in the U.S. – charter schools, removing tenure protections, and tying teacher pay and evaluation to test scores – all fly directly in the face of the Finnish system.

In contrast, not a single feature of Finland’s education system that we don’t use is currently under serious, widespread consideration in the U.S.

Now, again - we obviously shouldn’t adopt policies just because Finland uses them, nor should we reject policies just because Finland doesn’t. But it seems clear, at least from our national discourse, that we’re not really learning much from Finland (at least not yet). Maybe they’re just bad teachers?"
finland  education  us  policy  reform  schools  unions  labor  training  schoolyear  certification  evaluations  privatization  2010  salaries  curriculum  classsize  charterschools  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
kung fu grippe: Episode 27: Missionless Statements
"In this special episode, Dan Benjamin talks with two of his heroes, Merlin Mann & Jeff Veen about independence, free thinking, email, productivity, & changing your game."

[There is more here (on shared values, innovation, organizations, management, entreprenuership, change, etc.) than my notes reflect—all worth the listen.]

[Video also at: http://5by5.tv/conversation/27 ]
dunbar  dunbarnumber  groupsize  classsize  productivity  management  administration  tcsnmy  lcproject  jeffreyveen  merlinmann  danbenjamin  email  communication  leadership  problemsolving  technology  enterprise  independence  freethinking  gamechanging  time  small  slow  ambientintimacy  relationships  understanding  efficiency  human  humanconnection  campfire  offhtheshelfsoftware  values  organizations  groups  sharedvalues  culture  failure  innovation  cv  risktaking  risk  freelancing  motivation  danielpink  meaning  autonomy  drive  missionstatement  vision 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Social Loafing in a Co-operative Classroom Task - Educational Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology
"Social loafing refers to the tendency for individuals to reduce their own personal input when performing as part of group. This phenomenon may be problematic if it exists in educational contexts, given a current emphasis on group collaborative classroom activities. The present study investigated whether social loafing existed in a collaborative educational task, employing groups of three and eight participants. The results indicated that individuals working within the smaller groups were more productive than those working in larger groups, consistent with the social loafing hypothesis. Future research should determine whether the detrimental effects on students' collaborative performance attributable to social loafing are justifiable in terms of gains accrued in other (e.g. interpersonal) domains."
socialloafing  research  groups  groupsize  collaboration  classsize  education  learning  tcsnmy  teaching  2000 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Change the Conversation on Teaching - Bridging Differences - Education Week
"Reading NYT Mag pieces on medicine is always intriguing. Education & medicine are often compared—in ways that remind me how little our frame for considering teaching is realistic. The other night I heard several very good "educators" on C-SPAN answering questions from the Labor & Education Committee of Senate. Both the AFT's Randi Weingarten & Michigan State's Deborah Ball were sharp, clear, & convincing. But... They, too, talked about what we can learn from other professions, focusing primarily on the preparation that law & medicine offer prospective candidates. Yes, & we can learn from the preparation of electricians & carpenters, too. But there is one very fundamental difference. Teachers must solve the problems facing anywhere btwn 20 & 35 students at a time. Not one at a time. They have at most 5 minutes to write up notes on the class that's leaving before the next one arrives. &, few students come back to us year after year, as hopefully some do with lawyers & doctors."
deborahmeier  teaching  complexity  howwework  multitasking  time  doctors  lawyers  professions  tcsnmy  classsize  reflection  looping  cv  education  schools  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  policy  administration  management  media  tv  television  politics  2010 
may 2010 by robertogreco
A critique of Tapscott and William’s views on university reform « Tony Bates
"The basic problem is that you cannot use constructivist learning approaches with classes of 100 students or more. I know, I’ve tried. No matter how much you divide the students into self-managing groups, it becomes an impossible task for the instructor to manage, and the quality suffers. Also, Tapscott and Williams write about the ‘new’ constructivist way of teaching. I’m sorry, but this is not new. It’s been around for over 100 years and has been used in elite universities from the middle of the 19th century. (It was called in Oxford and Cambridge the tutorial method). Why universities don’t use it now is not because they don’t understand the technology of the Internet but because it doesn’t work well with very large numbers."
education  future  universities  e-learning  constructivism  opencontent  teacher  history  classsize  colleges 
february 2010 by robertogreco
All Hands Meetings « High Tech Coaching [I'm wondering what this implies for classroom situations like ours.]
"Getting everyone in one room together is a tradition that starts when a company is small, and often it continues in the same format well past the point that it's an efficient use of everyone's time. For a tiny startup, you can go around the room and have everyone talk about what they're up to, and coordinate who's doing what. It has a kind of charming informality, and since there aren't too many people there, it's not going to take too long. As a company gets bigger, that format starts to break down, usually at around 10-15 people."
management  meetings  organization  growth  projectmanagement  administration  tcsnmy  leadership  lcproject  classsize  groups  via:migurski 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Bridging Differences: What Does the Best and Wisest Parent Want?
"We both recall that John Dewey wrote that what the best and wisest parent wants for his own child is what the community should want for all its children. That's a good starting point. What does the best and wisest parent want for his or her own child? Certainly, that parent would want a school with small classes, which guarantees that her child would get personal attention. Class size is a pretty good indicator of what most people mean by quality. If you visit the most elite private schools, you can bet that they don't have 32 students in a class. On the Web sites of such schools, one learns that classes are typically 12 to 15 students to a teacher. Such luxury is unheard of in most public schools, with the possible exception of schools in tony suburbs. Many of those who pronounce that class size doesn't matter send their own children to schools with small classes."

[via: http://www.tuttlesvc.org/2009/10/i-like-being-on-same-side-of-argument.html ]
dianeravitch  johndewey  education  privateschools  tcsnmy  classsize  teaching  learning  parenting  arts  policy  privatization  vouchers  money  barackobama  schools  publicschools  society  disparity  community 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Half an Hour: Dumb Money or Dumb Coverage?
Stephen Downes takes down Newsweek's "Dumb Money" [http://www.newsweek.com/id/209962 ] analysis of education reform. Some great reference links in there too.
stephendownes  education  reform  newsweek  finland  toronto  canada  policy  us  germany  comparison  money  salaries  teaching  learning  schools  achievementgap  testing  assessment  classsize  technology  politics 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Snarkmarket: Anti-Teaching [see the comments too, quotes below are from them]
"I was always so frustrated by the private parallelism of school - 100 people all writing the same report at the same time. Or writing the same report year after year after year. What a waste...[CCS at UCSB is] just 1960s alternative education...I've tried to avoid letter grades in my seminars at Penn & the students hate it. They're conditioned to judge themselves that way & I think rightly fearful that an anti-grade orientation on individual projects is just a mask for an arbitrary grade at the end of the course. My arts students at UArts go for it & portfolio grading seems to be the prevailing trend in writing programs at least; I think it could work for literature courses as well. Ideally I think education is more about modeling tools than transmitting information -- although...Next semester I'm experimenting with a course structure that frontloads content & backloads research & writing tools -- exactly so students have the time to do something synthetic."
anti-teaching  michaelwesch  snarkmarket  teaching  education  learning  synthesis  content  tools  alternative  assessment  grading  classsize  colleges  universities  lcproject  tcsnmy  grades  ucsb  ccsucsb  ccs  deschooling  unschooling  progressive  unlearning  gradschool 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: "Entirely Unknown" to You, Perhaps...
"William Ouchi: "In the course of our work, we discovered an almost entirely unknown measure of school performance: Total Student Load, the number of classes times the number of students per class that each teacher has." Coalition of Essential Schools, circa 25 years ago, in the most influential statement of principles in the history of American public education: "Efforts should be directed toward a goal that no teacher have direct responsibility for more than 80 students in the high school and middle school and no more than 20 in the elementary school." I think these kinds of phrases are inserted in education editorials as an intentional middle finger to everyone who actually knows anything about schools. Really."
classsize  teaching  learning  schools  education  totalstudentload  tcsnmy  administration 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Class Size and Charter Schools | GothamSchools
"As I continue to visit charter schools in Manhattan, I am struck with the prevalence of arrangements in which there are two teachers in a classroom. The classrooms themselves often have between 20 to 30 children, but the kids are frequently split into two groups or some other arrangement in which they seem to be getting more attention than the typical single-teacher approach. A few thoughts on this:"
education  schools  teaching  learning  classsize  tcsnmy  lcproject  apprenticeships  policy  charterschools 
march 2009 by robertogreco

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