Tagged: Learning

Inadequacy of the Common Core

Psychologist & education author Thomas Armstrong made a list of twelve grievances he has with the Common Core which he shared in an 2018 article on the American Institute for Learning and Human Development’s website. Many of which sound like they could’ve been penned by Ken Robinson.

What tops his list is the dependence on one-size-fits all solutions. Just like Robinson’s metaphor of the industrial assembly line. By definition creativity is problem solving using divergent rather than convergent thinking. It’s as if the developers of Common Core listened to Pink Floyd’s “the Wall,” and heard it as a brilliant plan rather than a scathing critique of post WWII public education.

Common Core is top-down, rather than grass-roots. In this way it’s very undemocratic. Maybe I’m perceiving it through my own lens as an Art & History double major, but it seems to me that the true nature of creativity is organic (developing naturally, rather than being imposed) and independent- not necessarily wholly self-contained and self-sufficient, no student is an island, but nurturing interdependence rather than dependence or codependency. What I mean is, creativity allows for agency and autonomy within community. Any system that coerces or mandates consistency stifles, rather than encourages creativity.

Not to get too wrapped up in Robin William’s “Dead Poets Society,” but Common Core focuses on skills more than content. “…medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” 

On the one hand, I agree that it’s important and valuable to think and analyze like historians, demographers, economists, city managers, law makers and civil planners in Social Studies classes, rather than just “sit-and-get” names and dates of presidents, generals, inventors and events. However, just as in Art there’s not only subject, technique and composition, there’s also meaning and purpose- how a bill becomes a law isn’t always as important as WHY John Lewis risked his life walking from Selma to Montgomery so to put pressure on Congress to pass and LBJ to sign the Voting Rights Act.

The worst education only addresses Who, When, and Where. Admirably, Common Core sought to shift the focus to What and How, but shouldn’t the best learning begin and end with Why? Maybe I’m taking my cues here from Simon Sinek rather than leading education reformers, but in his article Thomas Armstrong cites British mathematician Alfred North Whitehead as writing about “romancing” students into learning- what we used to call “set induction,” where before getting to the rigor, we presented the relevance in hopes of offering students some meaning and purpose for their learning. Armstrong argues that Common Core fails to woo the learner. 

As an Art teacher, I know that whether we’re learning about some thing as dry and dispassionate as typography and page layout or as deep and  profound as WWI & WWII veterans struggling to express the meaninglessness of existence through surrealism, expressionism and abstract-expressionism “form follows function” is always true. How you do what ALWAYS depend on why.

One of the ways Common Core subverts creativity is because of it’s top-down nature. Where Sugata Mitra advocates learner-centered (“child-centered”) learning, Armstrong suggests that Common Core essentially is a curriculum designed by elitists, from Ivy League academics to billionaire philanthropists to political lobbyist think tanks.

I’m not an English teacher, but not only did I marry one, but many of them have been some of my best friends. What I knew, before researching it is that Common Core pressures schools to replace fiction with non-fiction. Having participated in our AEA’s literacy push in the 2000’s, I’ll stipulate that reaching some kids with reading absolutely requires offering more non-fiction, be that as it may, fiction is reading someone else’s creative writing and it stimulates the imagination which stimulates creativity. As with so many things, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

Ultimately, between it’s pressure on standardized testing and transforming schools into data-processing agencies and teachers into bureaucrats, Common Core is a creativity crusher.

On the other hand… Pablo Picasso once said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

I had a hard time finding articles supporting the Common Core’s role in encouraging creativity from real researchers and education authors. Most of them were either from Core advocates or in-the-trenches teachers finding ways to adapt in their school systems that had adopted the Core. 

A typical statement is what one blogger (https://creativiteach.me) proclaims, “the standards focus on what is most essential, they do not describe all that can or should be taught. A great deal is left to the discretion of teachers”

The mere existence of such bloggers demonstrates creativity. Common Core can act as the grain of sand that irritates the oyster into producing a pearl. One of my Art professors suggested that then they expect you to jump through hoops, you should take the hoops and start doing tricks with them. A sunken ship seems like an environmental disaster, until it provides a structure for barnacles and coral to attach to and eventually build a reef.

I wish I could get every teacher and school administrator to read chapter six in Ken Robinson’s book. Then, I’d like to replace the Common Core with Robinson’s eight ‘C’ Competencies. No, I don’t see the core as a package with his eight ‘C’s. However, since that utopian vision isn’t going to happen, I’d like to use his competencies in my own classroom and when I’m required to apply Common Core standards, try to package them together as best I can,

Curiosity is the element which all teachers in all disciplines need to model, foster, and to the best of their abilities, inspire in their students in order to motivate them intrinsically to become life-long learners. Truly, it should be the primary goal and focus of school.

Creativity out to be encouraged, rather than actively discouraged or ignored. Obviously, I’m based as a visual arts teacher, but if I could, I’d flip the conventional hierarchy Robison describes where math and sciences are on top, the humanities are in the middle and the arts are on the bottom. That way, instead of music, drama and art being mere “enrichment” as expendable luxuries, they could be harnessed as drivers; providing purpose and meaning to the sciences, inspiring relevance to rigor rather than often being ignored indifferently. 

Criticism & Communication have been components of my Art classes for decades. Description, Analysis, Interpretation and Evaluation are critical thinking skills involved in an “Aesthetic Scan,” steps taken both in introducing new artworks and in reflecting on one’s own work and the work of one’s classmates. Along with depiction, design, and personal expression, communication is one of the four purposes for making art or “aesthetic viewpoints” in art criticism. Of course, one might argue that personal expression is a form of communication as well. You might compare it to poetry, while more direct visual communication is like prose. Color field painters hoped to induce a contemplative experience for their viewers, whereas app developers need to use icons to make their software more intuitive for users. You could argue both are “communicating” non-verbally with their audience.

Collaboration, Compassion, Composure, and Citizenship all have to do with interaction and community. Human beings are social creatures. Call them “soft-skills” or “employability-skills” like Common Core advocates, but truly, they are more essential to being human and more important for adolescents to successfully develop into well adjusted and successful adults than all the math, science and grammar in the world. All teachers should be finding ways both deliberately and incidentally, both directly and covertly in all of their classes.

Standardization, conformity can suppress individuality, imagination, creativity

Insofar as standards can provide educators with  structure around which to build their curriculum, there can be some good. As an educator, I am more frustrated by the minutia of grade-level benchmarks and detailed criteria- not to mention standardized testing.

My double major is Art and Social Studies. Without textbooks or hard district guidelines, I’ve used the J.Paul Getty Institute’s recommended standards or Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE) to help me develop units that have been tremendously flexible and differentiated. Since I cover Art History, Aesthetics/Design concepts, Art Production and Art Criticism, I feel like I’ve been able to help a wider variety of students succeed in my classes besides just those who come to me already skilled in realistic depiction through drawing.

I’ve managed to migrate to the National Art Education Association’s new national standards pretty easily since they include expression and reflection, although I’ve been frustrated with some of their emphasis on curation. 

In Middle School Civics, I’ve enjoyed trying to use the many of the newer Social Studies standards to help my students migrate to document-based and inquiry-based/question-driven lessons and away from traditional chapter-notes and vocabulary when our administration chose not to purchase new textbooks. 

This Spring, my administration told me I had to give up Civics and begin teaching STEAM. I have a couple of problems with that that relate to standards. One is that one reason for the change is that they’re eliminating Iowa History as a separate class since all of the new Social Standards are supposed to be incorporated into all of the Social Studies classes.  Why continue to teach separate Geography, American History and CIvics classes then? Why not switch to Sixth, Seventh and Eighth grade general Social Studies classes?

Needless to say, the other, more personal issue, is that while I laud the pretense of integrating Art into STEM, I have no training in Science, Math or Engineering and very little in Technology. I ASKED what the expectations, standards, guidelines or curriculum were going to be and was told vaguely to try to incorporate the 21st Century Skills. Which I do anyway in my Art classes, but I feel as if I’m being set up to fail. I wonder if this is how many of our students feel in many of their cases. Losing a class I’d taught for twelve years and was finally feeling good about making more creative, relevant and differentiated was enough of a blow to my personal and professional morale. I’d like to think I can better empathize with students taking classes they don’t want to take.

Returning to the original questions; For years our district had such an intense emphasis on standardized testing that it consumed all of our professional development time. Practice testing-drill lessons or mini-units were mandated. We were pressured to re-write our assessments so that they were modeled after standardized test formats. Our students actually complained that everything we did was for the school’s test results, not for their learning or their interests.

If anything good came of that orientation, it was that teachers frequently analyzed student test scores and discussed possible strategies for helping classes in their weaker areas.

I spoke out for years that we needed professional development that addressed the affective domain, not just the cognitive one. Mainly because we need to learn ways to inspire student intrinsic motivation to learn- curiosity. If nothing else, to motivate them to take the standardized tests seriously, because otherwise the results are constantly skewed because so many students deliberately sabotage their tests while several others just avoid taking them.

Unfortunately, I think that when we try to address relevance as well as or instead of rigor, we still try to do it in an industrial-age, systematic model. We have a few examples from my own district.

In an effort to permit students the opportunity to have more flexibility in their schedules, so that they can take more FFA classes as well as Construction, Wood shop, and Computer Aided Drafting, we went to a nine period day. As a result, teachers have a greater workload, while students have less class time to complete assignments or tests each period. We already share the shop teacher, send students to a neighboring school for the Construction classes. There was a rumor that we had to eliminate our Family/Consumer Science teacher to be able to afford the new FFA instructor, although community members had set up a foundation to help fund the Ag program, so that may have been just a rumor.

As a result of shifting our emphasis from preparing students for college to a more STEM/career focus, we also shifted to trying to improve our Math and Science scores instead of our reading and composition scores. As a result, we eliminated our silent-sustained reading time. Another consequence is that while teachers aren’t combing through test scores during professional development time, that means that we aren’t discussing in groups strategies for helping those students who are slipping through the cracks. Meanwhile, we still dedicate half days all week three times a year to standardized testing, but teachers no longer review data from the tests.

Finally, while I appreciate that we’re finally spending so much time learning about student trauma, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), it feels like we’re not doing it to understand or care for students, or to find ways to inspire their intrinsic motivation to learn. Instead it seems like it’s just about behavioral management and (sorry if this sound’s cynical) once again, encouraging student conformity. Even while adults on the PBIS committee members, and a handful of students on Student Council or the one or two student representatives on that PBIS committee are challenged to use their imaginations and creativity to find new ways to get the rest of the student body to obey rules.

Vocational arts programs in schools

I found a 2014 article in U.S. News & World Report that talked about how in the United States, students taking vocational ed classes in traditional high schools have been stigmatized as usually having low academic achievement. 

This article focused on a trend toward vocational-centered alternative schools. I couldn’t discern if these are public “magnet” schools and programs, or private or charter schools, I assume it’s a mix.

Because of partnerships with technical colleges and/or businesses, many students at these schools begin earning money while already in high school and often are placed in jobs or college programs as a result of their experience, much as college interns are with white-collar positions after college.

A 2018 article in the Foreign Service Journal explained that many parents are seeking schools with technical and vocational programs so that they can be assured of their children gaining skills they’ll need in the workforce. Something this article pointed out is that this isn’t just a matter of mechanical or construction skills for what’s traditionally been known as “blue-collar” jobs, but also engineering and technical skills for what the article referred to as “next-collar” jobs.

I’ve certainly observed, full-disclosure, sometimes had some prejudices toward students who don’t value more academic skills like reading and writing and classes like History and English. I’ve also known teachers in vocational arts areas who both have high expectations for their students and inspire them to reach those expectations.

We probably see different trends in this area in rural Iowa schools than suburban and urban schools in other parts of the county. It seems as if these programs are thriving in communities like Denison, Mapleton and Woodbine at least. I think we’re doing alright in Dunlap if only because we share resources with neighboring Charter Oak-Ute and Woodbine, but resources are always tight in 1A districts.

In many ways around here, VocEd has never gone away and fortunately, it’s not so much making a comeback as it is being reconsidered and renewed in ways that promise to make it even more productive and more marketable.

Personally,  I’d like to see it less stigmatized and made more approachable to students who are more academically inclined, have more affluent parents, or plan on careers that require four year bachelors or masters degrees. Just as many students and parents complain that balancing a checkbook and filing for taxes are more needed than calculus- it’s clear that minor home plumbing repairs and vehicle maintenance are things that we all need to know how to do, even doctors and lawyers. Just because a student doesn’t plan to be a diesel mechanic repairing combines, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be excited to take an automotive class. Just because they aren’t planning on becoming an architect or a civil engineer, doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from computer aided drafting. 

Of course they should be reinforced and respected in schools- especially when the constituencies of the district have economies centered around them, a history and interest in them. I’d want to be careful not to neglect or full-out replace traditional academics as well as programs which can offer traditional four year colleges as an option for students too. 

Working on abstracting line-of-title on real estate during the summer, I believe that farmers, truckers, agronomists and mechanics need the reading and critical thinking skills to protect themselves from liabilities in loans, contracts, easements, etc. which those with “white-collar” training might be more adept at recognizing. I also know that entrepreneurs, cosmetologists, carpenters, caterers, photographers, and electronics and IT specialists all need to at least be exposed to marketing and economic skills if they are to thrive in competitive markets- even small ones. 

As a citizen, I’d rather see all students have a well-rounded education including not just health and P.E.but history, government, economics, and the humanities because we need them to have empathy, compassion and an understanding of basic human rights if we’re going to sustain our communities locally and our representative/participatory democracy nationally.

Ultimately it’s a false dichotomy. Why does school have to be about either preparing students to attend a university or preparing them for the workplace? Whatever happened to helping them develop as well-rounded human beings?

Learning to Learn as Important as Learning Subjects

One myth that too many in the media and politics have bought into is that schools should be run like businesses. Robinson explains that the standards movement and legislation like No Child Left Behind are an attempt to make schools more efficient and accountable, but they’re trying to apply industrial systems models from the twentieth, nineteenth, even eighteenth centuries. 

Some of the reasons these ideas are doomed to failure is that we don’t educate for the past or present, we have to anticipate what challenges the future will hold and do our best to prepare students for their future. Not only is the population growing rapidly, demographics are changing irreversibly and technology has been advancing exponentially since the end of the last century. 

Another myth that society (often at the hands of politicians and the media), is that public schools are bad, irredeemable, even the whole problem. Robinson makes clear that free public education is an overall good for most members of the population. You might say he’s cautioning us not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” He recognizes that there is more we need to do to help those slipping through the cracks, he just sees the standards movement as making things worse for them, rather than better.

In his speech at Mount Rushmore, President Trump recently lashed out at teachers, “our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.” He’s also tried making re-opening schools this Fall in the midst of a continued surge in Covid 19 cases into a partisan issue, accusing his opponents of wanting to keep schools closed as an effort to prevent his re-election. 

Often state and local politicians blame schools, teachers or teacher associations for poor school testing performance, school attrition rates, and all kind of society’s problems from crime to the economy.

From what else Robinson has written and spoken, I’d venture to guess that a third dangerous myth might just be the fairy tale that “if you work hard in school and get good grades, it’ll be your ticket outta here.” 

I had a professor back in the 1990’s who was a proponent of some of Robinson’s ideas for helping make school relevant and meaningful for students. While models from the industrial age may not address challenges for the future, perhaps having students learn from and work with businesses and community members on problem solving or simulations of social, technological and economic challenges outside of school can be highly stimulating. 

Ultimately learning how to learn and adapt, think critically, problem solve and work collaboratively with others are all just as or more important than learning traditional material about subjects and disciplines.

Our challenge as educators is to not succumb to any of these three myths, but this last one may be the most dangerous. Just because we succeeded in school, enjoyed it or at least enjoyed our subject/discipline/emphasis, that doesn’t mean every student can, let alone will. We have to be humble and creative in seeking ways to reach them.

Developing an Art Mindset

Art Mindset means being creative and expressive, it means thinking VISUALLY- Most of all it means having a positive, “Growth Mindset” when it comes to making art. I believe that Art is for EVERYONE. Most everyone can walk or jog even though not everyone is an Olympic athlete. We learn to read and write even though few of us become professional authors. In the same way- even if you can’t draw a convincing stick-figure, you can still enjoy, make, use and share art.

CourageSo… What are you so Afraid of?

Oh you don’t think so? Well, maybe you’re just afraid to try. The fact is even the most successful professional artists feel insecure. Probably because art, by nature is something that others get to see. If other people get to see it, they’ll probably have opinions about it and might just tell you what they think. Let’s face it, that can be intimidating. But as Stanford Professor and Growth Mindset guru Carol Dweck will tell you, COURAGE is part of learning- for that matter, FAILURE is a part of learning.


Maybe it will help if you stop thinking of “ART” as this high and mighty, holy, special, set-aside, mystical, miraculous and just think of it like reading, writing and executing mathematical functions. Think of it as a thinking tool. Drawing, doodling, sketching, diagraming, designing and making art are ways of working out your thoughts. It’s another way of working through ideas.  If you can think, you can art.

Meanwhile (maybe because it’s visual/spacial and analogous instead of logical/linear/linguistic) Art can still be magical and mystical and mysterious- but at the same time approachable, practical and usable… for EVERYONE.


Too often, we become paralyzed by our insecurity about how art will turn out. STOP. Don’t worry about how it will turn out- concentrate on what you can learn from the PROCESS of making art instead of whether or not you’re any “good” at art, okay? Be courageous.

So how can you nurture an “Art Mindset?” By developing positive attitudes about art and then repeating, rehearsing and practicing them over and over again until they become good habits. Education author and “Genius Hour” advocate Angela Maiers might even call some of these “Habbitudes;” positive habits built on positive attitudes which help you learn and grow.



Maybe the most important positive attitudes you can have to help you experience and create art is wonder. Call it curiosity, call it whatever you

want- You have to look more closely at things instead of merely glancing quickly and taking what you see for granted


The next important thing is to process what you see. Look at it from different perspectives. Compare & contrast it to other things you’ve seen, COMBINE it with other things you’ve seen, and examine it so closely that you discover new things and begin seeing it in new ways.


Once you’ve seen what no one else sees- SHARE what you’ve seen. Help others see what you see. Don’t hoard it to yourself.

Four Art Disciplines; Art History, Aesthetics, Production, & Art Criticism

Those who STUDY art generally follow four basic strands; They look at what artists have done in the past, they analyze how images are composed and structured, they MAKE Art- of course and they apply critical thinking skills to examining, reflecting on and responding to Art.

These are great ways to learn about Art- but… on the one hand, these categories seem almost too specific to Art, stuff that non artists and not art experts aren’t gonna “get,” but at the same time- they’re waaay too broad, too vague; they’re not clear enough, specific enough or practical enough for non-art-experts to wrap their minds around, let alone use. Fair enough. So look at some habits you can really use that will help you develop as and artist AND will help you develop and “Art Mindset” that you can use for everything in life, not just art.

Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM)

In 2003 the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s “Project Zero” published a list of eight ways of thinking that student-artists learn while in the process of creating art.


Because these eight ways of thinking all work together and influence each other and build on one-another, and because none of them leads to another and none is more important than another, they really shouldn’t be considered in a specific order.

These eight habits work TOGETHER to create what I’d consider an “Art Mindset.”

Studio-Habits-of-Mind.pngCheck your Progress

How do you teach expectations about Studio Habits in school Art departments? That’s going to be different for every Art teacher. Here are three levels that might compare to “Got it,” “Almost got it,” and “Not yet.” Or- if you prefer teacher jargon: Proficient, Adequate and Inadequate. Too often, Art students blame poor products on a lack of talent. These three descriptions let students know when they haven’t invested enough in the PROCESS to be able to realistically expect successful finished products.
Like athletes, musicians, and STEM scholars, if you aren’t challenging yourself, you may plateau and not really improve. “Coasting” basically says that you’re doing okay, but you’re not really excelling or exceeding.
Generally, when you’re learning, growing, or improving, you know, but this description celebrates and shows gratitude for the effort students put toward their own learning. Combining Growth Mindset, Positive Behavior Initiatives and visual art learning nurtures an “Art Mindset.”


My hope is to create eight more videos explaining each of the eight Studio Habits in more detail, one at a time. Please, watch them, like them, share them, link to them, use them, comment on them, and of course, consider subscribing. I’m not looking for fame or fortune, I want to share these ideas and the more views, likes and share these videos get- the easier they are to find in search engines.

I say it’s “my hope”- but I’m gonna spend ‘School Art Month’ (March), preparing for my school to host a conference Art show in April. But not only do I need to re-tool how I overtly teach, and integrate and implement the Studio Habits in my own classroom- I genuinely want to share the Studio Habits with not just other Art teachers and artists, but with EVERYONE, because I believe this Art Mindset can help anyone see different adt think more visually and creatively.

So if/when I find time, I’d like to; write blog posts like this, create graphics and slideshows, perhaps even videos and podcasts concerning the Studio Habits.


Partly because the articles and videos already out there are mostly aimed at K-5 & K-12 Art teachers. I have 6-12 Art students and like I just mentioned, everyone else. Parents, art hobbyists, novice artists, non-artists, business people, teachers in other disciplines, coaches, people who’ve always assumed that they’re art-impared!


Have you used the Studio Habits in your own art (or Art classroom?) what have your experiences with it been? Do you use them in grading art works? How do you teach them? Please share your ideas and experiences below in the comment section.

The Lost Art of Taking Notes


“…Using a pen and paper will help you learn and comprehend better. Researchers at Princeton University and UCLA found that when students took notes by hand, they listened more actively and were able to identify important concepts…” Six-brain-hacks-to-learn-anything-faster

Many students ritually complain about taking notes, but really, note taking is a powerful thinking and learning tool. Many adults find it very helpful not only to record and remember things, but also to help them figure things out and solve problems.

Open Note Policy

I allow students to use hand-written notes on tests and quizzes. In part this is to get them into the habit of note taking in order to prepare them for high school and college. One drawback of this policy unfortunately is that some students rely too heavily on finding answers in their notes instead of remembering what they’ve learned. As parents, you can help them my encouraging them to read over and review their notes during the week, especially the night before a quiz.

Part of Your Grade

I reward student for paying attention and taking notes by giving them credit for turning in completed notes. For chapter section notes are worth ten points per section. For most chapters, this will mean 40 points.

Missing Notes? Students who miss section notes due to absence should borrow a classmate’s and copy them. They can also look for the chapter & section on this website in the menu to the left, to find the Google Slideshow which contains the notes they missed. Really, since the notes are based on the textbook, if they print off the notes outline worksheet, you could help them complete the outline just by reading through the chapter section and deciding what information best fits in the outline.

Cornell Notes are worth 30 points, ten points for each step  in the Cornell process (each “box” on the page).

Repetition as a Learning Tool

Ideally notes help you learn first while you’re being introduced to new material, second when you review them (AKA “studying”) and a third time if you refer back to them to help you an homework or when completing projects and finally if/when you use them as a resource on an open-note quiz.

Five Ways Notes Improve Learning

  1. Increase Focus | Researchers believe students who hand write their notes seem to think more intensely about what they’re learning as they write it due to increased focusMiddle-schoolers are notoriously squirrely. Mindfulness and presence are buzzwords that essentially mean concentrating on what you’re doing and lengthening your attention span. 
  2. Understanding, Processing & Comprehension | Maybe it’s because you aren’t just listening or viewing but also having to record some of what you’re hearing/seeing and decide what and how much of it to write down, note taking uses more of your brain than seeing or hearing alone. More work, more benefits (“no pain, no gain”). Bottom line, note taking helps students actually “get” what they’re learning, not just be able to repeat it.
  3. Improves Memory & Retention | There’s lots of research that suggests students are more likely to remember information better when they take hand written notes. Part of that may just be the repetition of the extra step of not just seeing/hearing, but bothering to write it down, but much of it is due to using more of your brain and understanding the material better.
  4. RESPECT THE DOODLE! | One study reports that if you doodle on your notes you’ll remember 29% more of the information presented than if you don’t. That’s why I not only allow students to draw oon their notes, I ENCOURAGE it- not just because I’m also an Art teacher. I also URGE my fellow teachers of other subjects to allow kids to doodle on their notes too. Just like note taking itself, incorporating pictures into your notes improves attention, understanding and memorization. It super-charges your notes. Click on the “RESPECT THE DOODLE!” headline to read more.
  5. Boosts Creativity and Meaning | There’s an old saying that goes, “sometimes you can’t feel yourself into new ways of thinking; You have to think your way into new ways of feeling.” It’s not just positive psychology, it’s practical advice for learning. Students may not enjoy, appreciate or value material taught in a class because it doesn’t seem important, relevant or interesting. So instead of choosing to ignore the material because it’s boring- what if you could change your brain and your attitude toward the material? Believe it or not, taking notes  can help improve creativity and openess to new ideas. One study even claims that note taking is strongly linked to emotion processing– in other words, building an emotional connection to the material being learned, helping you “own” your learning.


Positive Teachers Matter


LOVE! This quote from German philosopher, poet & playwright Wolfgang Goethe-

“Instruction does much, but encouragement does everything.” It doesn’t mean to lie to kids and artificially inflate their egos, it means that teachers and coaches need to be cheerleaders, we need to encourage kids- encourage them to try, encourage them to work, and yes, encourage them when they succeed, but also to encourage them to pick themselves up, dust them selves off, and keep trying and working when they fail.

Of course American poet Maya Angelou said it another way when she wrote “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Or, to be more trite, “They won’t care what you know, till they know that you care.” Or to use some teacher-jargon, “You can’t get to Bloom, till you take care of Maslow.”

#AffectiveDomainMatters #MotivationMatters #Inspire

‘Faculty Lounge’ | Teacher tagged posts


This section of this blog is dedicated to learning, education, and the glorious professionals on the front lines of facilitating learning for kids.

orange-brain-RIGHTSome of these posts, beginning in August 2017 are related to my own “Personalized PD” journey. But many before and after may have to to with teaching in general or teaching either Art or Social Studies. Thanks for visiting. Feel free to follow, share and comment.