Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

May 23, 2011

If we are to be more effective in reforming education, should there be a focus on content or a focus on methods?

#Edchat 05 – 17 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thank you to Rob King (@inquirebook) for this very thought-provoking summary of last week’s #edchat on method versus content on education. The chat was, as ever, very lively with lots of ideas and thoughts tumbling out in quick succession. Rob faced so much good content that I know he found it hard to pick out the best bits so his summary is very comprehensive! I’m sure you will enjoy it and if you weren’t there this will certainly evoke the mood for you! Thank you Rob. Find more information about Rob in his bio at the end of the post.

As always, this topic resulted in a spirited and thought-provoking discussion. To start with, most participants expressed the sense that content and methods were inextricable–that solid methods of instruction were the only route to content, and that content was the only reason for solid methods.
The conversation, then, turned to the issue of policy: What policy shifts would help bring about positive changes in methods and content? A group of participants discussed the importance of creating common goals in the education community–and the difficulty of doing so given the diversity of students, educators, and learning environments. A number of participants bemoaned the standardized testing environment of education, saying that learning skills are difficult to measure using bubble cards. Others pointed out that issues of education policy also draw in politics and money. Most participants agreed that teachers need more autonomy, not less–that they need to be freed up to teach. The consensus was that this sort of change must come from the grass-roots–incremental improvements happening one teacher at a time.
As the conversation continued, the definition of “methods” seemed to broaden, taking in not just the way that teachers teach but also the way that students learn. In other words, “methods” came to mean the skills that all of us need to learn content. At that point, many participants (including myself) moved toward the importance of methods. The idea was that the Information Age has made content so available that sheer memorization is less important than being able to find information, evaluate its quality, and think critically about it. Participants wrote about the importance of teaching the lifelong learning skills that allow students to adapt to an ever-changing world. Many also wrote about the need to be lifelong learners ourselves.
Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 
1. Both content and methods are important. They are intertwined. Methods provide access to content, but content affects the methods used to teach it. Both should be open to reform.
2. To create real change, educators need to be able to state common goals for reform. In order to do so, they must bring together a very diverse group of teachers and learners and overcome political obstacles. As experts in instruction, teachers need more freedom, not less.
3. If methods include not only the way teachers teach but the way students learn, then perhaps reform should focus on methods. Methods of instruction should help students become content creators rather than just content consumers. Methods of teaching should foster curiosity, thinking, and lifelong learning.
Here is a selection of some of the comments: 
With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@coreydahlevent: They need equal attention. Content is as important as methods. #edchat
@geraldaungst: Need to include both, and they can’t be considered as separate elements either. Integrated and intertwined. #edchat
@rliberni: Multiple methods, extensive content – start with the learner and provide skills and guidance #edchat
@TutorSolutions: How about neither? Let teachers teach, be passionate and provide a support system to allow for improvement, rather than punishment #edchat
@drthomasho: @davidwees I think a change in methods would lead to a change in content! #edchat
@Tina_Barr: In order to achieve reform we need to stop talking and start changing therein lies the greatest challenge #edchat
@chiyanlam: @cybraryman1 it seems that there are two levels to your question. ed reform within one’s classroom (student-level), and edu system #edchat
@republicofmath: Hard to do #math at all without “content”, but impossible to do well without “methods” #edchat
@PatrickatDS: Nobel winner says methods trump everything (title is provocative, read on) http://fxn.ws/isXFI4 #edchat
@aaronmueller: In language arts, the content can be interchangeable, what I teach are methods: interpretive, communication, evaluation. #edchat #edchat
@TutorSolutions: The biggest change that needs to be made in education is to stop trying to change it. Give teachers support/time and let them work. #edchat
@aaronmueller: My end-game is to teach a student how to be a better person, not a collection of content. Skills trump everything else. #edchat
@alicemercer: It seems to me that real ed reform is not going to be possible in current context. We need to reform ed politics #edchat
@TutorSolutions: I’m all for summers off, but imagine what great teachers we’d be if we worked those days to collaborate and learn. #edchat
@ericjuli: To meet the needs of diverse learners in urban schools, pedagogy matters more than content, but it’s not either/or #edchat
@inquirebook: If we teach students to seek answers, we make them content creators rather than just content consumers. #edchat
@cybraryman1: @coreydahlevent We must involve students in the learning process. Teachers should be more faciliators of learning #edchat
@HHG: @davidwees Before debating method or content, don’t we need to publicly stake our claim on a clear and common purpose? #edchat
@derrallg: @HHG unfortunately common purpose is difficult when you throw in socio-economic factors into what type of school a student attends #edchat
@coreydahlevent: Balance in everything. Change your methods, adjust your content. Don’t teach the same every year. #edchat
@maryannreilly: RT @HHG: @davidwees I don’t think we need ONE common purpose, any more than we need common curriculum or common pedagogies. #edchat So Agree
@Oroku_Saki: Teacher autonomy is a must. Curriculum is my rough draft. I meet what I have to, and fill in the holes with chaos. #edchat
@Mike_Prater: @HHG Agree. Teachers are the experts who know the children. Should be involved in instructional, curricular, and program decisions. #edchat
@isteconnects: U.S. doesn’t produce stuff anymore; we make $ on ideas and content. Schools need to prepare studs for a knowledge economy #edchat
@cybraryman1: @inquirebook @coreydahlevent: Don’t have to master all content as we can use Blended Learning to connect students with experts #edchat
@rliberni: Is content easier than method? Is that why it might dominate? #edchat
@QZLPatriotHawk: Outside forces control the content – I always tell the teachers, worry about what U can control. In this case it is delivery. #edchat
@Oroku_Saki: Bottom line: Adapt to your students, content, and delivery; the same way your students are expected to adapt to a changing world. #edchat
@pickledtreats: But if methods becomes legislated, where is the wiggle room to adjust when necessary – to help individual students? #edchat
@tomwhitby: If method affects how kids learn and content is what they learn, I think how they learn should be the Focus. #edchat
@aleecotton: @tomwhitby: I completely agree. Teaching how to learn makes understanding content easier & encourages lifelong curiosity/learning. #edchat
@jonbergmann: Not all Stds need all content, but all benefit from learning how to learn #edchat
@drthomasho: Focusing on METHODS will also motivate us to MEASURE, won’t it? That’s the key to REFORM, isn’t it? #edchat
@tomwhitby: The least educators should do is create a curiosity for learning. The best is to create a love of learning for a life long process.#edchat
@sram_socrates: RT @QZLPatriotHawk: How many of U have been 2 a conference w great content but a horrible presenter. Content w.out good delivery is ineffective. #edchat
@pickledtreats: @aleecotton @jonbergmann Exactly. How to learn, how to engage w/ content throughout life, is more important. #edchat
@delta_dc: #edchat I don’t know the exact content my learners will need. But being a problem solver and critical thinker will always come in handy.
@CTuckerEnglish: Content in many disciplines is constantly changing, so teaching methodology is creating long term learners #edchat
@tomwhitby: Instead of memorizing content, kids should learn it in the process of creating their own content.#edchat
@cybraryman1: “If children cannot learn the way we teach, we must teach the way children learn.” #edchat
@irasocol: Education is the most political thing any society does. “EduReform” is just an expression of your socioeconomic beliefs #edchat
@aaronmueller: Time to engage all school community members to refocus learning onto skills and not content. .. #edchat
@CTuckerEnglish: Students who develop adaptive expertise can approach new info & use knowledge flexibly to make sense of it=confident learners #edchat
@nancyrubin: RT @inquirebook: @davidwees Compartmentalizing knowledge encourages students to forget it once they leave the class. #edchat
@sram_socrates: RT @dendari: good content dies with boring teachers #edchat – and boring content blooms with exciting ones
@dendari: Great teaching dies without authentic content #edchat
@Tina_Barr: Education reform requires enrichment of each teacher’s intellectual competence. #edchat

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 


As ever, there were some great links shared:

@coreydahlevent:  This cartoon…what do you think? Content or method? http://flic.kr/p/9yZqzD

@FNESC: Educational parity too long denied – Editorial from the Edmonton Journal http://t.co/MCC5fHM  via @AddThis #edchat

@schoolsEDU:  We’ve talked about it in the past but more & more professors r using #socialmedia for better impact on students http://clck.co/2w8t1  #edchat

@PatrickatDS: Nobel winner says methods trump everything (title is provocative, read on) http://fxn.ws/isXFI4  #edchat

web20education: #infographic Coolege students : is #twitter hurting your grade ? on #edtech20 PLN: http://ning.it/mvbNxe  #edchat #ukedchat #socialmedia #elt

@mrmadden77:  New post on bringing our professional conversations to the general public – http://bit.ly/j4Vim2  #edchat

@TutorSolutions: Excellent guest post written by Nikki Robertson about @cybraryman1 and @shellterrell – http://bit.ly/krgWn5  #edchat

@mrsebiology: Overcoming the barriers to educational innovation: http://bit.ly/jwhcZq  If you have time, a good read #edchat #cpchat #edadmin

@4thGrdTeach: School: The Killer of Curiosity http://me.lt/4xg5k  #edchat #elemchat

@davidwees:  Some of the greatest ideas have come from people who have mixed areas of knowledge. See Lorenz for example. http://bit.ly/ipIzss  #edchat

@JudyArzt: Leading From the Classroom: Are Educators Ready for Cloud Computing in Schools? http://t.co/wwN5TxI  #edtech #edchat

@nancyrubin: Content Strategy for the Web http://t.co/b4l63Yw  #edchat

@cybraryman1: @pickledtreats Agree! My Cross Curricular – Interdisciplinary page: http://tinyurl.com/4gkgv6n  #edchat

@malcolmbellamy: My response to an article in the Higher Education Chronicle: What makes a good teacher? http://wp.me/pKfOP-Ri  #edchat #ukedchat

@mrsebiology: Curriculum and Instruction: A 21st Century Skills Implementation Guide: http://bit.ly/iSA2Yf  #edchat #cpchat #curriculum

@BrainTrack: Letters to a future teacher: http://bit.ly/iFoJKs  #edchat RT@lmtv

I am Rob King, lead author of Inquire: A Guide to 21st Century Learning. This middle-school student handbook teaches 21st century skills such as critical and creative thinking, problem solving, communicating, collaborating, and using media. It also focuses on the inquiry process and project-based learning. My co-authors and I tweet from our account, @InquireBook. I’m also editor in chief at Sebranek, Inc., the parent company of Thoughtful Learning, UpWrite Press, and Write Source. To learn more, go to www.thoughtfullearning.com.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat



If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

May 20, 2011

English language learning tips – my Top 10 posts

I decided to go through my archives today and see which of my posts for English language learners were the most popular and put them all in one space so that they would be easy to find.

So here goes my top 10 posts of all time giving tips for language learners

And the winner at number 1 is…………

10 top tips for improving IELTS Scores

It does what it says on the tin I think.

Coming in a very close 2nd….

10 goofy ways to practise speaking skills.

Another obvious title – I really enjoyed writing this 🙂

Pipped at the post at number 3 ……

10 ways to increase your vocabulary

Mmm, seems the number 10s have it!

And in a respectable 4th place ……..

How to be a good language student! 10 suggestions

Those number 10s really have a certain Je ne c’est quoi!

Half way at number 5…….

Are some people better at learning languages than others?

Well – find out here 🙂

Coming up close behind at number 6……

English Verbs that Confuse!

I was certainly confused – hope it sorts you out!

Getting to the end – in at number 7 ……

7 great virtues to help you write well in English

I think I preferred the 7 Deadly Sins

In 8th place (one fat lady number 8 – think about it – Bingo???)…..

Register – choosing appropriate language for the context

An oldie but popular it seems

Not last nor least ….. at number 9..

Using Modal Verbs – part 3

I wonder what happened to parts 1 and 2 ?

And in 10th place – Wayhey you made the Top 10!!

Countable and uncountable nouns – now you get it, now you don’t!

Wow! What a collection.

So my top 10 most popular posts of all time.


And just in case you get bored with reading all of these here’s a video of my place where you can come and study all of the above!!

May 18, 2011

Thinking critically within the bubble:

#Edchat 05 – 10 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Critical Thinking  is a very popular topic on #edchat and the chat was fast paced and crammed with ideas, links experiences and opinions – it was really hard to keep up! So a very special thank you to Anthony Lohse who, despite the pace, has managed to put together an amazing summary which captures the excitement of the chat as well as all the wonderful content that was shared! He is a dedicated and passionate edchatter who, as you will see from his bio (at the end of the post) is also somewhat of an evangelist for our Tuesday chats. Thank you very much Anthony for this great post!

How do we focus on the teaching of Critical Thinking skills in a standardized test focused curriculum?
What a fun topic for me this week (per usual for edchat).  I actually almost missed it as I was running late from a meeting.  Don’t tell my superintendent, but I may have pushed the speed limit a bit in a school vehicle to get to my computer.  
As an administrator for the past 9 years, I have wrestled with this question often.  I feel horrible about focusing so much on the test when I know that focusing on the test probably isn’t what is what our kids need for being better thinkers.   

Many strong opinions were shared during this amazing fast paced hour of learning.  It is hard to argue that critical thinking skills are vital to be taught and what we SHOULD be teaching.  However, it is scary for teachers and administrators to deviate from not teaching to the tests when the system is currently set up with sanctions and penalties for those schools that do not do well on the tests.  It was agreed by many, including me, that great teaching that includes teaching students how to think, rather than what to think, while ultimately produce strong results.  

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • We are still in a Standardized Based Assessment World
  • Educators would love to minimize the importance of these assessments
  • Public and politics have driven standardized testing & believe this is the most effective way to measure schools success
  • Can we teach critical thinking and still have success on these tests?
  • If we don’t focus on standardized tests, how do we measure our success?
  • Critical thinking skills can be successful taught with a correlation to high achievement on the tests but patients and trust from those in authority have to be granted
  • Educators have to take charge of public perception and political thinking in regards to standardized testing and what is best for kids
  • Ultimately it is up to us to do what is best for kids and teach critical thinking because it is the right thing to do

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

@cybraryman1:Topic: How do we focus on the teaching of Critical Thinking skills in a standardized test focused curriculum?

@cybraryman1: “The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think”
@fliegs: If kids learn critical thinking, test scores will follow. #edchat – exactly, well put
@ktenkely: NOT complying with state standards could be cause for insubordination or even dismissal
@tucksoon: Do parents want their children to be critical thinkers or A graders?
@jswiatek  Our district just announced new evaluation system. 50% based on student test scores.
@carneysandoe: Critical Thinking in an Era of Standardization http://bit.ly/l753aE This is a gr8, extremely relevant article!
@davidwees  For the people who argue that standardization helps prepare kids for future employment, I ask, where are the standardized jobs?
@ShellTerrell Don’t focus on the standardized tests…If you get students talking, discussing, creating, etc, they will succeed
@tucksoon my daughter gets all A’s in honors & AP courses but I worry she’s NOT very ‘curious’ because she just does what she’s told
@dianeravitch when we foster environments of critical thinking and questioning, the tests take care of themselves.
@ShellTerrell What support can we offer teachers to take the bold steps not to teach to the test?
@QZLPatriotHawk: How do we prove how effective we r without tests in the short term to the public?
@jessievaz12 I think by definition critical and creative thinking cannot be standardized
@ktenkely I don’t think it’s just conservatives shaping the message. Edu’s have too long allowed politics to shape message.
@CTuckerEnglish: As teachers, we are taught to teach the “whole child,” yet these exams only assess a small part of the child. Hypocritical.
@tucksoon: Critical thinking takes time to develop. Policy makers must be realistic and not expect to see immediate outcomes]
@prlowe91 Some students are not good test takers but that doesn’t mean they have not learned & can apply it
@ShellTerrell: Ideally curriculums should allow students to explore various solutions to problems in collaborative environments
@davidwees: Some of the greatest achievements in history were made by people who did not follow the standard path to success
@cybraryman1 Just wish all tchr/admin were as passionate as everyone here & were allowed to teach/facilitate what children really need to learn
@SidewaysSchool  Pragmatically, I’m of the mind to ignore the tests, focus on engagement and the results will take care of themself

To follow the complete discussion see here  
For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

@raventech, @nmhs_principal & @pluginsin have to say about “Communicating & Connecting w/Social Media” http://ow.ly/4R4N1  #edchat

@nancyrubin: Critical Thinking – How Do We Get There? http://t.co/cPCpGFm

Critical Thinking in an Era of Standardization http://bit.ly/l753aE  This is a gr8, extremely relevant article! #edchat

@davidwees: Not one of your ordinary lists => 10 Ways to Fight Standardization: http://t.co/6f7VdvR  #edchat #coopcatalyst

@tsocko: Child-driven education will enable kids to think critically AND redefine the standards. http://tinyurl.com/26pgrr7   #edchat

delta_dc:  @ktenkely @cybraryman1 This was an idea I had a few months ago http://t.co/dTi3yVc  and then presented at #edcampDet last week

@juandoming:  Read Psicopedagogía crítica on http://t.co/F2yguhc  .@juandoming #elearning #socialmedia #edtech #edchat #educación #educachat #web20

@cybraryman1: @ThomsonScience My Critical Thinking page: http://tinyurl.com/ygojrl6  #edchat

@ktenkely:  @delta_dc I like it! My answer-start school that doesn’t operate that way. Show them how it can look different. http://t.co/szeXXWh  #edchat

@cybraryman1: There are alternatives to ST. My Standardized Test page has links to them: http://tinyurl.com/43vugou

nancyrubin:  Critical Reading Resources http://t.co/ou9Fh9O  #edchat

@davidwees: #edchat @HHG Every time a parent asks “how is my child doing compared to the rest of the kids in the class,… (cont) http://deck.ly/~cFyQK

@davidwees: #edchat @HHG Happy = relatively easy to measure in terms of emotion. Successful = measured against what. It’… (cont) http://deck.ly/~QVFVA

@nothingfuture: Why grade levels & hour/yr requirements are crazy: http://t.co/xCa7gzO  I think it’s obvious, but the DOE doesn’t. #edchat #bhschat #cpchat

@makeafuture: Is this what you have in mind for 21C learning and the future of education and work? http://bit.ly/l911lW  #bced #edchat

@MattEasley: This is the best advice I’ve had all week! Thanks! RT @kylepace Tips for Twitter Chats: http://bit.ly/kVaabK  #edchat

@cybraryman1: @geraldaungst @domi75P My Learning from Mistakes page: http://tinyurl.com/4qke9y2  #edchat

@johnnybevacqua: Curriculum Reform: The Spark we Need (New Post) http://bit.ly/jv42xI #bced #cpchat #edchat #edreform #abed Will follow

@michellek107: @courosa @davidwees @hhg Define “successful” for me here, please: http://bit.ly/fyj7Un  #edchat

@juandoming:  Critical Thinking – How Do We Get There? http://t.co/YGGnC5x  vía@AddThis   #elearning #mlearning #education #socialmedia #edtech #edchat

@juandoming:  http://on.ted.com/9DGz   Sugata Mitra: The child-driven #education #elearning #soicalmedia #edtech #edchat #web20

@George_Haines: @ktenkely @michellek107 re: Finland– they’re actually behind us: http://bit.ly/h7iZAj  #edchat

@delta_dc: @profhutch Part of problem is we put too much faith in results http://literacygurl.blogspot.com/2011/03/teens-with-axe-to-grind.html

@nancyrubin: Project-based Learning: Why do it? http://t.co/cULgHFh  #edchat

@EnterTheGroup: Developing Awesome Virtual Classrooms: A Case Study http://bit.ly/lGBp9I  #edchat #edtech #iste

@drthomasho: @tucksoon i hope you’ll check out http://blog.LearnStream.info & http://facebook.com/DrThomasHo

My name is @QZLPatriotHawk or better known as Anthony Lohse.  I am a middle school principal and district special education director in a district of about 1000 students in rural Iowa (West Central Valley Schools).  

 I am first and foremost a dad of 3 beautiful young girls (Quinn 8, Zoey 6, and Libby 3) thus the QZL in my Twitter name.  I also have an amazing wife, Heather, who inspires me daily.  Beyond my passion for education, I love watching sports –Go Mavs, Patriots, Hawkeyes and Blue Jays.

 I am very new to this whole technology thing.  I stumbled upon Twitter last summer to follow some of my favorite sports teams and somehow ended up learning daily as a result.  I don’t know the exact day that I found #edchat and all the great educators in my PLN, but that day did changed my thinking dramatically about teaching and learning.  As a result, my staff gets sick and tired of me promoting  SM, technology integration in the classroom, and Twitter.  I was so honored to be asked to write this week’s summary and look forward to participating in many, many more chats and learning from all of you.

 New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat



If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

May 11, 2011

What is the definition of an educated person and what strategies will get us to reach that goal

#Edchat 05 – 03 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thank you to Jeff Richardson (@jrichardson30) for this week’s very enlightening summary. This week’s topic is key to what we are all about on #edchat and if we can’t come close to a definition, how do we decide what we must do in our organisations? The chat was a very interesting one and I think that Jeff has really captured the essence of our dilemma here.  Jeff is a dedicated edchatter and you can read more about him in his bio at the end of the post. Thanks again Jeff!

Looking back over this chat, I am reminded once again that the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.  These chats are so rich, so challenging and so full of great information that I really don’t know what I did before Twitter, edchats and these critical global conversations.  Each and every time, I am inspired and my thinking is pushed in new directions.  This chat brought so much to the table because the topic is truly at the heart of what we are all trying to do…which is to educate students and ourselves.  

We all must reflect upon and decide for ourselves what it means to be an educated person so that we can use our gifts, passions and abilities better in order to help others become “educated.” We don’t have to agree on all the qualities, and semantics can get in the way on a topic like this, but certain traits do remain consistent throughout this conversation and for me, passion is one of those. It is apparent that if we want a united front and we want to see significant progress, then this topic is something that needs to be discussed at all levels in schools from teachers and students in the classrooms to administrators at the highest levels.

As for this edchat, I think everyone involved peeled back layers, exposed realities and suggested effective ways that we can move closer to our goal.  I know my thinking was challenged and made some great new connections.  Thanks for contributing and I am honored to have the opportunity to put together this summary.       

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • Attributes of an educated person
    • creative, curious, searching, passionate, motivated, adaptable
    • a good listener, a life-long learner, has choices
    • someone who knows where to find information
    • Problem-solver, challenge seeker, self-discoverer 
    • Learns from mistakes
  • How to achieve the goal of more educated people
    • Passion needs to be modeled, encouraged, valued & explored
    • Teachers must embody a true, visible passion for learning
    • Students need choice, have a say in their own learning
    • Schools need to be exciting, student-centered if we want students to be “educated”
    • Stop standardizing and start individualizing 
    • Curriculum needs to be more flexible
    • Encourage exploration/discovery
    • Get kids outside! Service learning
    • Personal relationships are critical

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@jpsteltz:  an educated person knows how to communicate via writing, speaking, listening, and observing #edchat

@jrichardson30:  Someone who can find info & leverage to meet their needs or the needs of others. #edchat

@TutorSolutions:  Educated person must be able to understand the difference between right and wrong. #edchat
@rliberni:  Defining an educated person is not easy, many facets but I think they will be self-sufficient in dealing with the world #edchat

@cybraryman1:  The only person who is truly educated is the one who has learned how to learn & change #edchat
@CTuckerEnglish:  Education is a life-long process of discovery. Teachers must provide students w/skill set necessary to “discover” & learn #edchat
@rliberni: Defining an educated person is not easy-many facets but I think they will be self-sufficient in dealing with the world #edchat
@jpsteltz:  students must have the itch to learn, the willingness to search for answers, and the courage to share with the world #edchat
@msmith833:  A person who learns to make discoveries on his own, not because an assignment is due! #edchat
@Akevy613:  To be educated you need to be willing to learn& grow and to make mistakes along the way but learn from your mistakes #edchat
@Akevy613:  We as educators need to be inspired and passionate about what we do so that we can instill those values and feelings in our students #edchat
@jessievaz12:  @jpsteltz Couldn’t agree more! Involve the students in finding out about what inspires and makes them curious. That’s educated. #edchat

@inquirebook:   Our society so values certainty, but educated people are willing to dwell in uncertainty in order to learn. #edchat 

@westgatehusker:  #edchat give learning real life meaning will encourage passion and the desire to continue learning
@ShellTerrell:  I would like to see educators inspire all students to be lifelong learners! Most schls turn kids off to learning #edchat
@malcolmbellamy:  passion cannot be taught but can be discovered #edchat
@ContentLiteracy: Passion comes from ownership or investment. #edchat
@QZLPatriotHawk:  Life creates more educated ppl than school. School as we know it fosters task completion. #edchat
@jessievaz12:  Tchrs role is to provide context that provokes uncertainty….from there the curiosity and learning are endless. #edchat
@maryannesacco:  if we don’t allow for choice, how do students learn how to make them? #edchat

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

How can we be disruptive without being dismissed? 

To follow the complete discussion see here

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

malcolmbellamy: What would you do? The future of education: building windmills or walls http://wp.me/pKfOP-Qd  #edchat #ukedchat

 @mrsebiology: If You Can’t Reach Them, You Can’t Teach Them (via @ASCD) – http://bit.ly/jWiwea  #edchat #lrnchat #midleved #elemchat

MarjieKnudsen: Bloom’s Taxonomy: Critical Thinking Skills for Kids – http://goo.gl/0j0uL  via @exquisiteminds1 @DrLynneKenney #parenting #edchat #ptchat

GWoodJCG:  http://ning.it/mKYDEs Nourish your soul #edchat teach first with kindness

@cybraryman1: My Learning from Mistakes pg http://cybraryman.com/learningfrommistakes.html   #edchat

@cybraryman1: My Motivating students pg http://cybraryman.com/motivating.html   #edchat

@davidwees:  John Taylor Gatto on “12 Things You Might Not Have Learned in a Classroom” http://bit.ly/mRcLCx

 @InnovativeEdu: Diplomas Don’t Prepare Students for the World. ePortfolios do http://t.co/5hrhhib   #ptchat #edchat #edreform

@pearsonls: 7 Solutions for Engaging 21st Century Students http://ow.ly/4M2Iy via @Marbellis #education #edchat #highered

@voxy:  A Call to Arms for #Education Innovation – http://ow.ly/4M7Ez  via @HuffingtonPost #edchat

@mattledding:  @tomwhitby standardized students need 2b identical so system can b tuned to them. Maybe: http://bit.ly/k72yDw  is a gd picture. #edchat

@elenischool: @pearsonls: 15 Important lessons you may not have learned in school http://ow.ly/4LYt4  via @debsylee #education #edchat

@InnovativeEdu: Have schools forgotten they were supposed to prepare students for the real world? http://t.co/DcU5YvO  #ptchat #edchat #edreform

@ShellTerrell: How do we begin to get schools 2 rely less on testin… (cont) http://deck.ly/~HNrLx

@delta_dc: @wendygorton @jasonflom @usedgov we certainly need to reclaim assessment – my idea here: http://t.co/dTi3yVc

@MN2020: Why are leaders taking us in the wrong direction on education policy? Share your thoughts @ Tuesday Talk: http://bit.ly/k6tW9G  #edchat

@willrich45: Would love your thoughts on this: Have Schools Reached Their Limits? http://huff.to/iwH9pi  #edreform #edchat

web20education: Top 12 Pioneers in Education http://bit.ly/iuDgrN  #edtech20 #elearning #edchat #ukedchat #eduswe #elemchat #lrnchat #elt #efl

@davidwees: Please help refute this argument. “Why Classrooms Should Be Teacher-Centred” http://bit.ly/m5mu2z  

I am @jrichardson30 on the Twitter and my other name is Jeff Richardson.  I’m a tech coach for 3 elementary schoolsin Hoover, Alabama and have been for 4 years.  I taught 8th grade World History for 5 years prior to this.  I consider myself fortunate to be in a district that thinks big, wants to move forward and provides the infrastructure as well as the leadership needed to make it happen.  The biggest thing motivating me as I learn and work to challenge and grow teachers are my own kids.  I have 3 (3 yo, 8 yo, 11 yo) children who go to school in the district where I work. I want to make sure they all have amazing experiences in school.  As a family, we love being outdoors and we are currently learning how to sail.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 400 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

May 3, 2011

What are specific ways Administrators might create a positive culture for education in a school?

#Edchat 04 – 26 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thanks for this week’s summary go to Corey Sadlemyer (@SidewaysSchool) for a very insightful resume of the week’s chat. Being a school principal gives Corey a particular insight into this topic and I think you’ll agree that it has been very sensitively written. You can find out more about Corey and his school at the end of the post. Thank you again Corey.

To me, the most amazing thing about what’s happened in the last 24 or so months, is how micro-blogging has revolutionized how we are connected. I dropped in on a conversation and an hour later left with new perspective(s), new connections and a new challenge (writing this week’s summary).  This week’s conversation is highlighted by the themes below. Obviously we each have our own biases about this (mine is Trust and Relationship building) but to me the most surprising thing I took from this conversation was how highly people value staff recognition.  I do these things (positive notes, letters at the start of the year) but probably not nearly enough and I don’t think I would have had that level of appreciation without the PLN this week – so thank you!  

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • Administrators that have had a successful history in the classroom
  • Involvement of parents and larger school community
  • Creating opportunities for positive student recognition
  • Creating opportunities for positive staff recognition
  • Collaboration
  • Trust
  • Relationship building
  • Vision
  • Use of data
  • Staff selection and retention
  • Shared leadership
  • Creating autonomy

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.
@EmergentMath When’s the last time your administrator called students into the office for POSITIVE behavior? What about calling home? #edchat
@birklearns Administrators need to value the collab. process by creating time for teachers to collab. on curric and instr during the day #edchat
@ShellTerrell Great question! RT @ThomsonScience: Should the rest of the school community take part in developing the vision? #Edchat
@jleung10 Best principal left handwritten notes 2 let teachers & students know she saw our good work even when we didn’t know she was looking. #edchat
@hadleyjf Admins need to be in the classrooms, observing and inspiring with good guidance. Positive feedback! #edchat
@sram_socrates RT @Le_Gugu: I think that first of all admins have to build relationships based on trust with their teams #edchat very well put
@Brian_ThomasTCI @sram_socrates I have just been blessed to work for gr8 administrators who were even better in class. It mattered so much! #edchat 
@fliegs @hadleyjf Most important thing to do, be in classrooms. Harder than it sounds. #edchat
@stumpteacher For me the most inspiring admin I have had is one that showed she cared. About my kids, my classroom, the school, and me. #edchat
@SidewaysSchool @ShellTerrell: I don’t think it is about getting my community to support “my vision”. It is about us developing a vision together #Edchat
@birklearns: Good administrators need to both acknowledge and confront. #edchat
@irasocol Be careful what you, as a leader, measure. Whatever that is will become the most important thing your school does #edchat
@davidwees Specific ways admin can create supportive culture: 1. Give teachers autonomy 2. Let everyone be part of decision making processes. #edchat
@jrichardson30 @cybraryman1 Be lead learners! Be “connected” and model how they are growing as professionals and learners. #edchat
@Becky_Ellis_ RT @davencvps67: asking questions, taking risks, failing forward and learning should be the constant #edchat <–very vulnerable for some
@cybraryman1 When is the last time you got a thank you or good letter from your administrator and vice versa? #edchat
@CTuckerEnglish Shared vision is crucial. Staff must feel they have shared vision w/admin to create buy in when things need to be changed #edchat
@web20education Administrators and school staff must collaborate with all the teachers for a better education and toghether they must help students #edchat
@mikekaechele Relationships create culture #edchat
@JoAnnJ68 @cybraryman1: someone who is passionate about teaching, supportive, listens, and knows they can’t do it alone. #edchat
I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:
@SidewaysSchool wonders: “Can division wide PD be effective for all staff members?”

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

@Kiwi_Commons: The Contraband of Some Schools is The Disruptive Innovation of Others with BYOT (Bring Your Own Tech) http://cot.ag/gIHCDj  #edtech #edchat

@ERStrategies:  Shift resources from full-time only teachers to part-time, community providers & tech http://ow.ly/4oKoa  #cpchat #edchat

@juandoming:  The “New” Normal http://t.co/2RA5vcQ  #elearning #socialmedia #web20 #edtech #edchat #learning #technology #tech #tic

@jEllenCollins:  @jonbergmann One challenge in univ is working with spaces like this http://bit.ly/fbc7WZ  when we want to #flipclass Ideas? #edtech #edchat

@birklearns:  Admin and teachers need to be on the same team. No Us versus Them. http://goo.gl/d1aA4  Not productive. #edchat

@akamomteach:  American Teachers Do More Work for Less Pay Than Their International Peers http://su.pr/2pOf4v  I’m sooo surprised! #edchat #edreform

@InnovativeEdu:  But How Will Kids Know? – Learning with out Testing… http://t.co/XqMic3B  #edchat #edreform #ptchat

@ShellTerrell:  @jleung10 @ThomsonScience A great example of admin teaching is @Akevy613 he’s truly amazing! http://bit.ly/f6Hei6  #edchat

@akamomteach:  Off to Save the Day! http://t.co/uB85OBT//teachers as the real Superpersons #edchat #edreform

@sedson: John Merrow calls for a moratorium on educational jargon http://bit.ly/i8xtlZ  #edchat

@Teachhub:  What is your one-sentence teaching philosophy? Share with us! http://bit.ly/dI7chh  #teachertuesday #education #edchat

@eschoolnews: Is highered the next bubble? Can online education save the day? Check out today’s story. http://ow.ly/4Hi0r #edtech #edchat

@MarkMNW:  Common Core making kids think. http://nyti.ms/i2VFeO #mnwcougars #edchat

@HPTeachExchange: Try these webtools. Web 2.0 concept mapping (video). http://budurl.com/vemt #edtech #edchat

 @davidwees: Parents as Participants – One School’s Example by @chrkennedy http://bit.ly/frGMPl #edchat #BCed

@ThomsonScience: #edchat: How can we help admin create positive culture? Tell them when they do somethin… (cont) http://deck.ly/~YEA5i

@davidwees: New post: Transformation of education through communication (via http://wees.it/ns  #edchat #BCed

@juandoming:  When #Collaboration is Key http://bit.ly/evZFRO  #elearning #socialmedia #edtech #edchat #web20 #eltchat #educon #educachat #redessociales

@PennGSE:  Ohio law mandates #teacher pay tagged to performance http://bit.ly/hkjcow  #edreform #edchat

@Shellterrell:  If you are an administrator, consider joining the wonderful group Connected Principals http://bit.ly/dmjjoA  #cpchat #edchat

 @cybraryman1: I have a collection of adminblogs (from the great admin here on Twitter) on my Administrators page: http://tinyurl.com/yb37etj  #edchat

@davidwees http://bit.ly/hoIy7T “You have to treat your employees like customers” — Great read for for anyone in an admin role. #edchat

@Brian_ThomasTCI:  Speaking on admins and positive schools, don’t forget tomorrow is Admin Professionals Day! Gift idea here: http://bit.ly/fUHZ8l  #edchat

@flocabulary:  @21stPrincipal Do you think facebook can help with creating good cultures? (You might find this interesting: http://ow.ly/4HmrY)  #edchat

@TechCzech:  I highly recommend: “Understanding the Principalship: Metaphorical Themes” http://j.mp/fa0GqR  to #edchat Shows a complex mix of expectations

@Brian_ThomasTCI:  Open Letter to Admin http://justintarte.blogspot.com/2011/04/open-letter-to-administrators.html  Great post by @justintarte #edchat

@Parents_GortCS:  Connected Principals blog is a great resource for parents & teachers, too: http://ow.ly/4HmPA  #edchat @conprin

I’m @SidewaysSchool on Twitter and thanks for letting me write this week’s #Edchat summary. My real handle is Corey Sadlemyer, I’m a k-6 administrator in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.  My school focuses on Student-Centered Integrated Learning and I get to work with an incredible group of committed and passionate educators who follow this philosophy.  You can read more about us at www.riverheightsschool.ca

I’ve had the great privelege of teaching every grade (k-12).  I’ve taught 2 years of Special Education, 4 years of grade 5, and 5 years of mostly grade 7 (ss and ELA) and grade 12 Social Studies. As an administrator I still get to teach and am proud to teach my kindergarten daughter this year. You can check out my personal blog at http://bags17.blogspot.com
Writing the summary this week was very interesting, particularly going back through the transcript to more closely analyze what people said, moreso than I would in a standard twitter conversation.  I should probably write a blog entry about it, so if I get inspired I’ll send you all the link!

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

 Edchat: Join the Conversation

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

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