ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. A recent ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll, suggested by a high school administrator from New Hampshire, asked readers how to best engage students. He wrote:
During the 1950s, the golden era of television allowed marketers to broadcast commercials to large audiences. While the big three networks had different programming, little differentiation existed in the marketing; all viewers were exposed to the same products via the same message. In 1994, I was an advertising major and I remember one of my professors claiming that this model was rapidly drawing to a close and would soon be replaced by narrowcasting. We were told that narrowcasting would allow marketers to target specific audiences with a tailored message that was unique to their interests and needs. The only obstacles that remained were data collection and management systems to better identify specific target audiences and subsequently, cost-effective delivery methods to reach them. Within three years, the Internet boom began to eradicate each of those obstacles and narrowcasting became the norm in business. Interestingly enough, the evolution of narrowcasting messages has not only been confined to marketing products, but has also played a large role in the outcomes of recent presidential elections. Today, the basic tenets of narrowcasting are being utilized in schools to make learning more personal.
Once rare, it has now become commonplace to hear news reports and conversations about global climate change, loss of habitat and endangered species, dwindling regional supplies of clean fresh water, and local sewage or hazardous waste spills. This growing concern and awareness about the state of our environment has led to a multitude of complex government regulations and tax policies like those that encourage businesses and homeowners to add solar panels to their homes, require utility companies to undertake habitat restoration projects, and compel cities to implement recycling programs. Environmental issues that—until recently—were viewed as nonpartisan are now often catalysts for partisan wrangling, adding another layer of complexity to any measure directed at ameliorating the impacts of human activity on the environment.
In the past year, experts and practitioners in the field, whole child partners, and ASCD staff have shared their stories, ideas, and resources to help you ensure that each child, in each school, in each community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged and prepared for success in higher education, employment, and civic life.
ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. Recently, the ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll asked readers about the attributes of personalized learning.
At ASCD's Leader to Leader conference in July, I had the pleasure of sharing KnowledgeWorks' latest 10-year forecast on the future of learning, Recombinant Education: Regenerating the Learning Ecosystem (PDF), as a prelude to participants' exploring how they might improve the ways in which we support learning through the whole child. The very title of this forecast emphasizes the need for the entire education system to become more resilient, to regenerate itself by combining learning resources, experiences, and supports in many right ways in order meet the needs of all learners.
"Children should be taught to use their emotions and to be aware of them rather than control them." —Mary Helen Immordino-Yang
Succeeding "despite the odds" or overcoming adversity has a lot more to do with resource capacity than luck. We may have little control over what happens in our students' lives outside of school or the traumas that inevitably fall into each and every life. We can, however, influence outcomes when we construct the school environment in a way that reduces threat and increases the protective factors that we know build resilience and the skills needed to thrive despite adversity (Masten, 2001; Center for Disease Control, n.d.).
What turns kids off to learning? Carol Dweck, Stanford researcher and author of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, says how students think of themselves as learners creates mental environments that nurture or stifle effort when approaching different tasks. These psychological environments, or mindsets, are shaped by messages students receive from adults, peers, and themselves. Through her research, Dweck has uncovered two types of mindsets—fixed and growth—and three rules about how fixed and growth mindsets cue motivation, effort, and response to setbacks.
It's no secret that many teachers are wondering how to ensure all students "read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently" by the end of high school. Similarly they are unsure of how to help all "read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text." Ditto to "integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words." And they have similar concerns for how to promote acceptance of diverse viewpoints, broadly useful oral communication skills, or the ability to listen and interact with others productively. At this point, many teachers cope with students unable to solve rote math problems and articulate how they did it, let alone find more than one solution. Yet all of these abilities (and more) are required to achieve Common Core anchor standards.
Post written by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, a Medill School of Journalism candidate at Northwestern University concentrating in finance reporting and interactive publishing and business reporter for MediaTec Publishing in Chicago, Ill.
Gary Stager has taught in classrooms all around the world, and he said the common thread that binds exceptional learning experiences together is hands-on project-based learning.
In his 2013 ASCD Annual Conference session, "The Best Education Ideas in the World: Adventures on the Frontiers of Learning," Stager showed attendees videos of elementary school students building robots and solving complex engineering problems while appearing to enjoy the process.
The audience members smiled and clapped as they watched a young Australian student use nothing but pipe cleaners, LEGO blocks, and her brain to build a toy ballerina that spun. In his presentation, Stager theorized that this type of project-based learning can propel modern curricula because students use critical thinking in multiple disciplines to create the end result.