Posts Tagged ‘education’

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Photo 238/365: Lesson plan book #edugood

Photo 238/365: Lesson plan book #edugood (Photo credit: buistbunch)


this echoes what I found in my dissertation work: that blog writings, even though fueled by passion, were not acknowledged (still aren’t) as academic writing in journals.

Similarly, professional craft-work writing, like lesson plans, is also undervalued, even though lesson plans that are taught by 100 faculty peers, and which go thru the wringer of 1500 students annually, are among the most intensely peer reviewed of all writings, since people actually have to use them


Reflections on Grading classroom participation

January 5, 2013 Leave a comment

I like to use a scoring system from 0-3 (Hattip to Professor Dave Garvin at Harvard)


3- added significantly to the discussion with an insight that shows evidence of synthesis and/or deep insight

2 – contributed in a meaningful professional way that demonstrates appropriate mastery of the subject and evidence of preparation for class

1- attended but was a free rider in the discussions, did not contribute to the learning of others

0 – did not attend

Some people learn by talking and hearing their thoughts and through collaborative dialogue. If they say it 9 times wrong and then 1 time correct when they finally get it, did their 10 “contributions” outweigh the participative value of the introvert who has carefully prepared their insight, and offers a single cogent, deeply penetrating insightful summary that makes us all smarter?.

Participation grades are not “merely” opinion. A professional opinion, inhabiting the land between pure objectivity and pure subjectivity, is an opinion that is informed by both theory and practice and carries more weight than “just an opinion”. This point of view reflects a consideration of teaching as “craft” in which informed judgment is more than “just an opinion”. The judgment is not absolute, can be judged by peers and students, and be subject to calibration and standards of evidence like all craft work.

One of my concerns with grading participation concerns the motivation to participate: we want people to participate as a way to encourage an inquiring mind for its own sake, and not in order to meet a minimum number of speaking events in public to secure a grade. It seems to me that the effect of the contribution on others and as a window into the preparation and thought processes of the student is more important than the motivation behind the offering, and so, to “reward” the participator, and to respect the effort they put into the participation, it seems fair to assign grades for participation based on professional judgment. Studies of allowing anonymous peer grading demonstrate that in adult education peers are pretty well aligned with teacher judgments about quality of contribution.


Being young in America means you get to pay

June 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Upholding Obamacare means young people now get to learn what its like to pay for everyone else’s healthcare and not just their Social Security now. Maybe this is why we don’t teach them math skills, so that they dont understand what we are doing to them

Waiting for superman: the sad story of American schools

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

I took this photograph of a lottery document I own

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Heartbreaking condition of our schools. The nation will go into debt to fund the military industrial complex, but we cant fund kids to go to quality schools.  Sold our soul for oil and  stock options

Watching the lottery draw to see which 100 of the 500 kids gets to win the success lottery by being randomly chosen for the effective charter school.  Teachers unions should be ashamed of themselves but they arent

The 4 part learning journal

November 1, 2011 1 comment

Kurt Lewin, the "Father of social psychol...

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My dissertation research involving planning and managing a network of related Participatory Action Research projects. For most of these I was doing theoretical, methodological and practitioner literature reviews and background readings to supplement the group actions. At the same time I was maintaining an individual learning journal to record my reflections on the research processes as they unfolded. I adapted Kurt Lewin’s two column journal  into a four column learning journal to help me keep track of all the moving pieces. It  turned out to be a very effective way for me to record the insights in the moment, to extend the learning with reflective thinking,  to commit to actions, and recording the subsequent results of my actions. This ended up being a good way to maintain my research and reading notes as well, since I kept it in a searchable Word document and used keywords and tags for all my entries.  After using this structured note sheet for several months I realized that it was a manifestation of the action research cycle itself, and discovered how life had come to imitate art once more.  Although this seems like a small administrative thing, I found the four part learning journal’s structure to be an indispensible tool in integrating my projects, notes, reflections and findings.  The table below is the basic format I used. I found the landscape paper orientation a better fit for keeping extensive notes. I have shared this simple tool with a number of graduate students who I am mentoring and they report similar findings on its usefulness.

The A-Ha! moment or insight Reflective thinking notes Commitment to action notes Results of actions taken

October 28, 2011 Leave a comment

United States Army Command and General Staff C...

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Definitions of Terms

The following terms were used throughout many projects that were studied in my examination of Participatory Action Research (PAR) at the US Army Command & General Staff College from 2008-2011.

I was researching how PAR curriculum projects can change how we design and deliver curriculum within the military profession. A large part of the change we generated concerned the preparation of leaders to engage with uncertainty in the world. Along the way we began to develop an understanding of the language used in both the practical and theoretical literature.  I provide here our “terms of art”, with working definitions, and references to the source literature that informed our evolving judgment in hopes that it may speed your own search.

These terms became part of the common professional language used by stakeholders, project managers, leaders, faculty and students as they discussed their insights. The dialogue shaped the language they used and the language shaped the discussions because of the connection to the worlds of theory and practice. This summary reflects a broad set of common topics and themes found throughout the research.  Unless otherwise specifically noted, the general sense of the words and their definitions as noted below will apply:

chaos, complexity, uncertainty, risk: a collection of terms that Army vision documents and curriculum developers use interchangeably to describe various aspects of the operational environment that are beyond pure rationality; these have technical and detailed definitions within their respective professional domains that go beyond the scope of this research and in the way they are used within the profession. (Pascale, 1999; Strogatz, 2003; Miller & Page, 2007)

concept maps: a visual representation of concepts, constructs, people and organizations, theory and practice that reflects the connections between the elements in a dynamic way. (Novak, et. al., 2006)

decision-criteria: (suitable, feasible, acceptable): the Army’s doctrinal evaluation criteria for evaluating all proposed change (US Army FM 3.0, 2011; HTAR, 2011).

design vs. planning: military design thinking reflects a holistic, systematic, open-ended inquiry into root causes, theories of action and problem framing in finding, whereas planning reflects a rational choice theory of structured decision making. (Dawes, 1988; Mintzberg, 1993; Dorner, 1996; Gigerenzer, 2005; US Army FM 3.0, 2011; Paparone & Tenant, 2011; McConnell,, 2011)

doctrine: authoritative theoretical guidance, reflecting the accumulated wisdom and best generalized reflective practices of the military profession. (US Army FM 1-02, 2011).

emergence: a property of complex systems that describes features and qualities of systems that cannot be found neither in the individual components nor separately in the surrounding environment, and yet can be experienced as a holistic quality that is more than the sum of the parts. An example is the emergent quality of “wetness” of rain, which is found at the intersection on humidity, atmospheric conditions, the sensory organs of human skin and a consciousness that becomes aware of the sensation in that context. A more complex example is the self-organizing formations of Canadian geese in flight, who, without conscious design nor explicit direction adopt flight formations that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of group flying, resulting in sustained speeds of flight that cannot be achieved and sustained by even the strongest member of the flight as an individual (Klein, 2001; Strogatz, 2003; Scott & Wagner, 2003)

learning organizations: organizations that explicitly seek to manage knowledge, resources and processes in an informed way to improve operations. (Senge,, 2000)

lines of  action: a military term of art that describes a particular approach and supporting processes along a logical line of development and is usually considered to be part of a campaign plan of long duration (US Army FM 1-02, 2011).

milWiki & Army Knowledge online: Army wide knowledge management resources that are the centerpiece of the Army’s knowledge management strategy (Long, 2009; Richardson, 2010)

mindfulness: a multi-temporal conscious awareness of the moment and its dynamics within the context of an environment that acknowledges the influence of the past and the consequences of the future (Weick & Putnam, 2006)

network learning: an educational and learning theory and framework that explicitly considers the connections between agents and the various media by which knowledge can be created, disseminated, applied and adapted and in which various learning communities, both virtual and physical can be created (Siemens, 2005; Downes, 2007; Taylor & Lamoreaux, 2008; Richardson, 2010)

personal learning environment: the totality of the technology, environment, attitude of a learner in a digital and social learning context (Siemens, 2005; Downes, 2007, Richardson, 2010)

praxis: reflectively generated best practices from specific circumstances that favor a pragmatic assessment of utility. (Schon, 1990; Weick, 1993; Simon, 1997)

satisficing & bounded rationality: an approach to decision-making that acknowledges the limits of computability and the constraints of time, resources and forecasting on human decision-making based on the work of Herb Simon. (Simon, 1997; Henrich, 2001)

self-as-instrument: an emerging concept that explicitly includes the researchers actions, perspectives and paradigm as part of the research, including the effects of the research upon the researcher (Jamieson & Livingston, 2010)

sense-making: a cognitive function of creating satisfying narratives and meaning from a variety of data and knowledge (Weick, 1993; Klein, 2006; Boje, 2008; Watson, 2009).

small worlds management games: a broad category of experiential learning games that propose to model an operational environment to a certain degree of fidelity to provide students an opportunity to explore the dynamics in a direct action and feedback mode (Thole, et. al,1997; Macedonia, 2001; Rice, 2007; Long, 2010)

social media channels: (blog, wiki, vlog, Tweet): a collection of emerging digital communications technologies, and frameworks that support and extend the development of connected list network learning environments (Richardson, 2010)

stakeholders: people and organizations that have direct and indirect interests or are affected by the outcomes of policy decisions taken at CGSC (Bradbury, 2008; Jamieson & Livingston, 2010)

transformational change: change that goes beyond routine evolutionary adaptation to include major restructuring and changes of mindset; approaches and can include a change of paradigm in the Kuhnian sense. (French & Bell, 1999; Cooperider & Whitney, 2005; Cummings & Worley, 2009)


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willing to do anything for work…really?

July 24, 2011 1 comment

I work for money. I have managed to find 2 careers where i love what I do, but if they stopped paying me, I’d stop doing that because I am a father with kids to feed and work for money > work for satisfaction.

until Americans are willing to do the jobs that Americans arent willing to do, the rhetoric about “I’m willing to do anything…” is simply rhetoric

my resume at age 53:
in HS:
unskilled labor in landscaping
unskilled machine operator in manufacturing

in college:
security guard (for 2 years to earn enough money to complete my education; had to take a break in undergraduate studies when i ran out of money, and wouldnt take a student loan)

after college:
HS teacher (1 year; a horrible experience: hell is other teachers in the teacher lounge)
enlisted in Army, truckdriver (3 years)
Army officer (22 years)
College professor 10 years (and ongoing)
Small business owner 15 years (and ongoing)