Welcome to Education Unusual

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EducationUnusual collects and shares innovative approaches to learning.

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Curiosity

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“He was a curious child – at age two, he tried to figure out how matches worked and ended up lighting his clothes on fire.” (Writer’s Almanac) He later won the Nobel Prize for inventing the cyclotron, a device that splits atoms.

Report Cards

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Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 9.03.06 AMI had to issue grades to my students yesterday, so their homework over the weekend was to grade MY performance. I used a google form to collect their input about the best/worst reading and writing assignments in my English class, and how I’m doing as a teacher. Their feedback was gathered anonymously, so I hope it’s honest. I was a little scared to open the results, but it looks like I’m on the right track.

Finnish Lessons

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Finnish Lessons by Pasi Sahlberg describes “how Finland built a world-class education system during the past three decades.” It’s a complex and thorough historical summary, but the most interesting pages are the last five in which Sahlberg identifies current themes for reform:

  1. Development of a personal road map for learning (a well-prepared, rich, and educationally justified individual plan for learning that is jointly designed and agreed upon by teachers, parents, and the student)
  2. Less classroom-based teaching (more time for integrated themes, projects, and activities)
  3. Development of interpersonal skills and problem solving (in small, globally-diverse groups, in both concrete and virtual settings)
  4. Engagement and creativity as pointers of success (rather than standardized knowledge tests)

Sound familiar?