Dr. Thomas Armstrong’s Education Blog

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In this blog post, I’d like to talk about what they call ‘’value added’’ measures in school reform.  Basically, this means judging teachers according to the standardized test results that their students get over the course of the year.  First, let me say something about the term ‘’value added’’ because at first glance an unassuming...
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I’ve just received word that my blog (Dr. Armstrong’s Education Blog) has been selected by panelists to be one of the 25 top education news sites on the Internet according to Feedspot, a data curation news feed service based in India.  I want to thank the director of marketing and product growth at Feedspot, Anuj...
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When I was seven years old, I was at the local barbershop in my hometown of Fargo, North Dakota, when I picked up a Life Magazine that had Anne Frank on the cover (August 18, 1958 – see image on the left).  I remember looking through the magazine and seeing pictures of people with black...
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Our culture is a speed-driven culture. We celebrate individuals who race fast cars (even when they die in them).  We eat fast food.  We are clock-driven at work.  We like the idea of accelerated learning.  I just googled the term ‘’accelerated learning’’ and found scores of sites, books, programs, and other paraphernalia that put a...
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Jean Gebser (1905-1973) was a German philosopher, linguist, poet, and autodidact who wrote The Ever-Present Origin, an interdisciplinary survey of human and cultural consciousness that was decades ahead of its time.  His integral perspective did not deal with the stages of a human life per se (e.g. birth to death), but rather focused on the...
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What is tacit knowing?  As I pointed out in my last blog post, it’s ”knowing more than we can tell.” One of the best examples comes from oral language.  We all learned to speak based on tacit learning experiences. How is it that we can effortlessly put one word right after the other without breaking...
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There’s all this talk of ‘’best practices’’ in education but nobody talks about worst practices.  Well, here’s something that I think qualifies as a ‘’worst practice’’ – it involves educators’ propensity to teach mostly explicit knowledge as opposed to tacit knowledge.  Scientist and philosopher Michael Polanyi bases his understanding of ‘’tacit knowing’’ on the principle...
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I’m getting fed up with the word ”data” that I keep hearing and reading about in the educational media.  To help articulate exactly why the word conjures up such a disagreeable sensation in my gut, I’ve listed seven reasons why the word should be stricken from every educator’s vocabulary. ”Data” is a word from information...
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A lot of recent research supports the systematic teaching of phonics in beginning reading programs.  The problem is that phonics lessons can get awfully dull, with teachers pointing to the letter and having kids say the sound, or students poring over phonics worksheets that ask them to match the right letter to the word, add...
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