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Tag archives for education

I wish my students knew ……


I’m sure you’ve heard of it unless you’ve been hiding in your classroom, overwhelmed.  Teacher Kyle Schwartz asked her students to finish the sentence, “I wish my teacher knew ……” The answers are heart wrenching and more important than just what they reveal about their challenging lives, they also provide students with a powerful voice […]

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Imagine…. (a poem about school)


Imagine a classroom where there is no teaching                                                      only learning. Imagine a classroom where there is no leader only common purpose. Imagine a classroom where there is no remembering […]

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Sharing your “Teacher Self”


A bit of a reflective post today while I pack and then head off to TESOL Toronto. Looking forward to seeing many “teaching friends”. It’s put me in a contemplative mood, about my journey as an educator. About saying who we are as teachers and shining that light into the dark to lead others. One […]

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7 Laws Of Teaching


This year marks the 130th anniversary of  John Milton Gregory’s influential (at its time) statement about what teaching and learning fundamentally is – The 7 Laws Of Teaching. Do you agree that they still apply to today’s classroom and schooling?  Which are true and which have not stood the test of time?  H.D. Brown’s more recent […]

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School’s Out Forever


I’m still plugging away on my book, tentatively titled “School’s Out Forever” – a play on the famous cry of the immortal Alice Cooper, “School’s Out For Summer“. My idea is to think fresh, think anew and have a grasp that exceed’s my reach. To paint a picture of what education could really be like […]

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Stories from the trenches 4


This story comes from my time teaching at Bloor and Bay, 5th floor, N.E tower – Language Connections International. I was teaching new immigrants to Canada part of the day, foreign students the other half. Small classrooms with one wall all windows facing busy Bloor street, downtown Toronto. I was teaching a usual class, reviewing […]

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Back To School: The art of possibility


A story. Two teachers visit the principal’s office to get their new class assignment for the school year. The principal assigns them each to a class of new students. Both teachers don’t speak a word of the student’s mother tongue. The students don’t speak even one word of English. The principal explains to the first […]

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If Teachers Were Doctors …..

The other night I watched an interesting news program profiling a doctor who writes out prescriptions for exercise to many of his patients. He writes out what they should do every day and like medicine, expects it to be done and completed just like we should take our medicine until the bottle is empty. I […]

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The #1 Reason To Use Tech In ELT


** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.                               Differentiation I have thought about this long and hard. I’m not a big proponent of using “tech for tech’s sake” or just because it is there and students like […]

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Low Impact Teaching

low impact2

Over the last 5 to 10 years, I’ve been developing new ideas about how we should be teaching in our classrooms.   These ideas have changed as the possibilities and promises of educational technology have become reality. The most fundamental of these ideas are always revolving around learning and the student. The possibility to differentiate […]

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What is your metaphor?


Metaphors are powerful things for teachers.  They are the very building blocks of thought and allow us to see what isn’t there, to connect on a higher level to hidden realities.   Cynthia Ozick in her timeless essay, “Metaphor and Memory”  talks of metaphor as “inhabiting language in its most concrete. As the shocking extension […]

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Reformation not reform

earth children

Last week I watched the “Reinvent Learning” roundtable with Howard Reingold. As I walked and ran on my treadmill (got in a good 14 k), I listened to the pronouncements of all the experts about what is happening or should happen in education right now. Lots of food for thought but two things really got […]

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Go By Playgrounds, Teachers.


A poem I wrote based on Leonard Cohen’s famous “Go by brooks, my love.” See all my poetry on my poetry blog. If interested in using poetry in the classroom, this page will be valuable.

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The #1 issue facing teachers around the world ….


** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.                               The Freedom To Teach I haven’t done much with the #1 lists of late however I’m restarting my engine and will be updating the ebook and this post is […]

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It’s About Relationships

I’ve been spending a wonderful Christmas with family and friends in Canada over the holidays.  Lots of activity, birthdays along with parties and the regular Christmas meetings and greetings.  It got me really thinking about life and especially the glue that keeps all life together – relationships. In our teaching we get so zoned in, […]

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Opening up our schools

foster grandparents

The one thing I have always wished about school – that it was a marketplace of ideas/learning where all in the community could come and go as they please. A doors open, windows blowing fresh air through policy. This is far from how it works. Going to school is mandatory for students, a criminal sentence. […]

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Student Learning and Trust


 One thing that I’ve concluded after a few decades in school systems is they operate with a profound distrust of students. Distrust that left on their own students would want to learn something, even choose to learn. It’s true.  Even the most well intentioned teachers I speak with have a belief that children need to […]

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Thinking About Schools: some resources


I’ve been teaching a course to pre-service B.Ed. students – Schools and Education.   I basically have a lot of room to “do my thing” and really just get students to challenge their set values, beliefs and preconceptions about what is school and what is an “education”.  I can rant and rave but more often […]

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Commencement. Commencing What?


Tomorrow my students are graduating with their B.Ed. There will be the usual big ceremony, the speeches, the dinner and so on and so on….. Each year over and over like a giant gristmill. I’m happy with my students. So happy. Also very proud of this bunch of new teachers, they kept their idealism and […]

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The #1 ….. factor effecting teacher performance

** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.     $$ Teacher Salary and Benefits $$ The Gates Foundation is pouring money into “better educational outcomes”. Lots of money. But little of it is going into the pockets of working teachers. In fact, most of it is going into designing tests, creating standardized […]

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