Teachers: Summer Reading to Cultivate Your Emotional Resilience Immerse yourself in these books to renew yourself for the coming school year.

 By Elena Aguilar

 

Ever since I was a young child, the long days of summer have been for reading. Early in the morning and late into the night, sitting on a beach or lying on the living room floor, I devoured book after book. Novels took me on the journeys and adventures I yearned for; memoirs connected me with shared humanity. Books made me stronger: They put my sadness and loneliness into perspective, suggested routes around the obstacles in my life, and gave me clues as to how I could not only surmount challenges, but thrive in spite of them. By the end of summer, my literary immersion had renewed me for another school year.

A teacher discusses a project with a small group of students.

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Overcoming the Principle of Least Effort

 

A student confidently speaks to her class as her teacher smiles in the background.

Challenging students to dig in and achieve their potential during instructional hours confronts a mighty obstacle: the principle of least effort, the idea that people apply nominal effort to achieve a basically acceptable result instead of pushing themselves in pursuit of greatness.

We might be tempted to conflate low effort with laziness, but that misses an important physiological point: To conserve finite attention funds, our brains are designed to avoid tasks that are cognitively demanding. Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, describes two modes of thinking. The efficient and fairly unconscious mode is System 1. Involuntarily reading a Wheaties box, scorning new “athleisure” clothes, and opening a combination lock are all System 1 mental events.

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5 Highly Effective Teaching Practices

Teacher standing in front of class with students' hands raised

I remember how, as a new teacher, I would attend a professional development and feel inundated with new strategies. (I wanted to get back to the classroom and try them all!) After the magic of that day wore off, I reflected on the many strategies and would often think, “Lots of great stuff, but I’m not sure it’s worth the time it would take to implement it all.”

We teachers are always looking to innovate, so, yes, it’s essential that we try new things to add to our pedagogical bag of tricks. But it’s important to focus on purpose

and intentionality — and not on quantity. So what really matters more than “always trying something new” is the reason behind why we do what we do.

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Overcoming Obstacles to Critical Thinking The ability to think critically will benefit students throughout their lives. Here are a few tips on how to get started teaching it. By G. Randy Kasten

A young boy stands thinking in front of a blackboard covered with question marks.

The ability to think critically is one skill separating innovators from followers. It combats the power of advertisers, unmasks the unscrupulous and pretentious, and exposes unsupported arguments. Students enjoy learning the skill because they immediately see how it gives them more control. Yet critical thinking is simple: It is merely the ability to understand why things are they way they are and to understand the potential consequences of actions.   Continue reading “Overcoming Obstacles to Critical Thinking The ability to think critically will benefit students throughout their lives. Here are a few tips on how to get started teaching it. By G. Randy Kasten”