Thursday, July 30

The World's Best School Systems

Imagine that! When you recruit teachers from the top third of the graduating class; provide ongoing professional development; create pleasant and professional working environments; institutionalize career-long opportunities for career advancement; and give teachers leeway to teach in the ways that play to their strengths... you get good education! Education Week reports on the world's best school systems.

Tuesday, July 28

The Online Lives of American Teens

As part of ATID's ongoing "Survey of Research in Jewish Education," I have posted summaries of recent research on how students use the internet, and what implications that might have for education. Take a look.

Teach Naked!

No, not that kind of naked. It means without power point, without a smart board, without technological bells and whistles. Instead, engage students minds with ideas, conversation, and debate. Now that's progress!

Sunday, July 26

Multple Choice

Thursday, July 23

Raising Kids in a Dangerous Cultural Environment

The whole culture, whether popular or high-brow, is against us, sending wrong and dangerous messages about faith and belief. Its so hard to find the right books for our kids to read, lest they become contaminated. What reading material should I buy for them, and how should I react when they pick up something that is religiously problematic? I mean, I want to make sure my kids turn out to be good atheists, or at least skeptics. Its tought raising faithless kids in our deeply religious society.

Tuesday, July 21

Duh! Dept.

Careful, painstaking, and presumably expensive research has determined that kids learn more and do better on tests when they like and get along with their teachers. (I would have told you that for half the money!)

Sunday, July 19

Community College Revisited

With four-year college tuition running between $100,000 and $200,000, is it any wonder that community colleges are turning away applicants? (Sounds like the higher-education secular equivalent of the new no-frills day schools that the Orthodox community is planning.). The President seems up on the trend, and is increasing funds to help these schools. (Or maybe it's just a terrible waste of money).

Thursday, July 16

Genius: Made Not Born

Certainly echoes what my rebbeim in yeshiva used to tell me: "I don't have a great memory; I just learn and review a lot."

Wednesday, July 15

The Summer Collapse

I'm over it by now, and actually having a pretty efficient summer working my other jobs, but I'm sure everybody will identify with the early summer crash that all teachers experience. I have the same feeling after miluim (reserve duty), too.

Tuesday, July 14

Learning to Delay Gratification

Can delayed gratification be taught? If so, how, and why is it important to do so? In its inimitable style, The New Yorker can make experiments in psychology fun to read.

Sunday, July 12

Teaching Kids About Money

These down to earth suggestions about teaching kids to handle money properly seem pretty obvious, but sometimes stating the obvious helps.

Thursday, July 9

Ask a Stupid Question, Get a Stupid Answer

Anybody familiar with Israel's weekly parshat hashavua pamphlets knows about the Shut SMS column, in which people send (semi) halakhic questions by text message, and get (semi) halakhic answers, all within tens of characters. This hardly makes for serious halakhic deliberation, but I I got the following spoof the other day, which put a smile on my face....

מי אמר שלרבנים אין חוש הומור
{שאלות שנשלחו בשו"ת (שאלות ותשובות) סלולארי. שאלות אמיתיות }

ש- אני בת 17 וחצי יש לי חבר צדיק בן 16 וחצי ואנחנו רוצים להתחתן. אבא שלי מתנגד ואמא שלי בעד. אגב הם גרושים, מה עושים?
ת- שואלים שוב בעוד שנתיים.
ש- פועל ערבי בונה אצלי מרפסת. האם צריך להגיש לו פירות מהיתר מכירה או מיבול נוכרים?
ת- תלוי מה נהוג אצלו בבית אבא...
ש- מה מקור המנהג לאכול סופגניות בחנוכה?
ת- היועץ הכלכלי של מאפיית אנג'ל.
ש- האם מותר לאכול נקניקיית פרווה עם חלב סויה או שזה משום "מראית עין"?
ת- זה סתם טעם רע.
ש- לפני חצי שנה ביטלתי מנוי שלי על עיתון ימני בגלל כתבה נגד סרבנות. עכשיו יש עוד מאמר. מה עושים?
ת- מפסיקים להציץ בעיתון של השכן.
ש- בקרוב אתגייס לצה"ל. מתי עלי להתחיל לסרב פקודה?
ת- אחרי השחרור.
ש- לאחרונה נודע לי שהרצל ובן גוריון לא היו דתיים. האם צריך לומר הלל ביום העצמאות?
ת- גם מוטה גור לא אוכל "גלאט" ובכל זאת אנו אומרים הלל ביום ירושלים (ועושים על האש...).
ש- כיצד מבטלים מנוי על עיתון המופץ בחינם?
ת- בלי ברכה.
ש- אני נער גבעות בשומרון. כשבאים לפנות אותנו-האם ראוי לצעוק "נאצים" או מתאים יותר "יודנראט"?
ת- לא יודע תברר ב"יד ושם".
ש- מדי בוקר אני ממהר מאוד לעבודה ולכן נוסע 130 קמ"ש וחוצה פס לבן. האם צריך להגיד "הגומל" כל שני וחמישי או לרכז את כל ה"גומלים" בשבת?
ת- לא משנה-העיקר שתלמד את ילדיך להגיד קדיש יתום

Tuesday, July 7

Gender and Science

There's been a lot of talk about the gender gap in the hard sciences. Here are some studies that suggest that simply having female teachers will help young women succeed in math and science. What implications does that have for limmudei kodesh?

Monday, July 6

"Friending" Your Teacher

Part of the reason that I don't have a Facebook account is precisely because I would inevitably be "friended" by some of my students, and I think I would rather not know.

Sunday, July 5

I Couldn't Compete If I Tried

In case anybody ever tells you that teachers know more than students, ThingQuest presents the countries best student-created educational websites. I couldn't come up with an idea, let alone impliment it!

Thursday, July 2

A Portrait of the Un-Inspired Student

Not quite a bad student. After all, he hands in all his work. But he doesn't seem to have any sense that it matters. (Given some of the school assignments that I've seen, its hard to blame him.)