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Imagine that all of the people in the world have been magically transformed into flowers. Some of us are petunias.  Others are begonias.  Still others are tulips.  Now, let’s say for the sake of argument that the psychiatrists in this culture are the roses. I want you to imagine the rose psychiatrist beginning his work...
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I’ve noticed a new buzz word hovering around educational circles these days.  It’s called 21st century learning.  My first reaction to this is:  aren’t we living in the 21st century?  And doesn’t that mean that any kind of learning we engage in is 21st century learning?  Well, I suppose that’s unfair.  What the people behind this...
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Teachers have been taking it on the chin a lot lately with calls for the abolishment of tenure, and its replacement with what have been called “value-added models” of teaching evaluation.  Basically, what this means is that teachers are going to be increasingly assessed in terms of their ability to raise the standardized test scores of their students. ...
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There’s a whole new climate of opinion that’s been sweeping over the educational scene in America these days.  It’s all about accepting as perfectly normal the creation of a monstrous monolithic “learning” enterprise from preschool to post-college that consists of uniform standards, standardized testing, the collection of “data”, and the evaluation of teachers based on test scores (a practice incongruously called “value-added”).  I find this...
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Thirty-five years ago, when I was at the beginning of my teaching career, Piaget was all the rage.  We read his books, and puzzled over how observation of children interacting with real life situations could enable us to understand the development of their minds.  We also were able to catch the tail end of interest...
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I have noticed that kids in Scandinavia are allowed to play in freer ways than in the United States.  For example, in one elementary school that I visited in Norway, kids were climbing trees, and they were really high up – I was very concerned for their safety.  And yet the teachers seemed perfectly at...
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I was just reading an article on the website “Disability Scoop” about inclusion of kids with intellectual disabilities in Connecticut’s public schools.  Connecticut ranks second in the country in terms of the percentage of intellectually disabled kids mainstreamed in regular classrooms.  So one might view the state’s efforts as exemplary.  However, the article indicates that many of these students sit...
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I was just reading an article in The Watertown (NY) Daily Times about a seventeen-year-old named Christopher Durgen who has ADHD and autism.  As a young child, he had trouble getting along with classmates and was frequently suspended from school.  That all changed around the end of his sophomore year in high school when he...
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I’ve been reading a number of blogs that have been critical of the neurodiversity movement.  Generally, they’ve characterized neurodiversity as saying “we don’t want a cure; we don’t want research; we just want to be left alone in our differentness.”  I suspect that only a small minority of neurodiversity activists take this position.  I certainly don’t.  In...
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