Archive for category Issues in Education

Teaching to the Test: When Will it Stop?

NCLB-waiver-by-stateOne of the biggest debates going on in the educational industry for the good part of the last decade is student test evaluations. The No Child Left Behind Act was put in place with the intentions of making the U.S educational system a better place. Unfortunately, the opposite has seemed to happen. Teachers are now spending more time on test questions than on other subjects that could help a student in the “real world”.

Waivers
Educational Secretary Arne Duncan has decided to give school districts waivers so schools can start focusing on other standards students need to be focusing on. One of the first waivers given was to McPherson USD, in McPherson, KS.

In partnership with Quantum Learning and ACT, Inc., McPherson USD developed the C³ – Citizenship, College and Career Readiness plan that contains measures in the three areas of emphasis. McPherson is not the only district in America using Quantum Learning methodologies to change how their students learn and teachers teach. One of the reasons why Quantum Learning trained teachers are so effective is because they learn the “why” behind great teaching, by learning the way our brains develop and retain information.

More Waivers Now Being Given
At the beginning of August, President Obama has given the go ahead for states to request permission for a NCLB waiver. “With efforts to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act languishing in Congress, President Barack Obama has directed the U.S. Department of Education to grant waivers to states that agree to adopt a prescribed set of education reforms,” Education Week reports.

Education Week goes on to report, “Just what those reforms will be—and what freedoms states will gain in return—remain unclear. Those details will be made public in September, Obama administration officials said in a call to reporters.”

Some states that have already filed for the waiver are:

  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan

What is your opinion on this topic? Should states be allowed to receive these waivers? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: UtahPublicEducation.org

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Teacher Appreciation Week–What Can You Do?

teacher_appreciation“Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions”  ~Author Unknown. Teachers appreciation week may be coming to an end, but the fact remains teachers should be shown appreciation everyday. We all know the importance of a great education, and great education comes from great teachers.

So what makes a great teacher? Is it someone who pushed you to do your best? Believed in you when no one else did? Looking back, almost all of us have at least one teacher they will never forget–that touched our lives and we are not the same because of it. There are plenty of theories on how and what makes a great teacher, but it all comes down to one thing–teachers have the choice everyday on how great they will be.

We all do, whether you are a dentist, retail associate or the President of the United States, we all decide how well we will do in our profession. Like the opening quote said, teachers teach other professions. They should be appreciated everyday–not just one specific week. U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wrote an open letter to all teachers this week:

I have worked in education for much of my life. I have met with thousands of teachers in great schools and struggling schools, in big cities and small towns, and I have a deep and genuine appreciation for the work you do. I know that most teachers did not enter the profession for the money. You became teachers to make a difference in the lives of children, and for the hard work you do each day, you deserve to be respected, valued, and supported.

To view the entire letter, click here. There has been some very strong opinions on this letter, but the point here is that teaching is hard work, and you can make a difference in childrens lives–and we understand that here at Quantum Learning. We support teachers through our staff development programs. Our small way of contributing to the excellence of all teachers.

Back in 1984 the National PTA started teacher appreciation week. Ant example of teacher appreciation they have seen over the years are below.

Teachers at Brookview Elementary School in Indianapolis, Indiana, were surprised with “Academy Awards” at a schoolwide assembly in the gymnasium, decked out with stars and spotlights for the occasion. The PTA honored every teacher and staff member, from administration to teachers to janitors and lunch ladies. “The kids were absolutely amazing during this ceremony,” wrote Carissa Dollar, president of Brookview Elementary PTA. “They screamed and cheered for our staff just like they would have cheered for their favorite stars. They slapped high-fives with teachers and chanted their names as each winner stepped up onto the red carpet to receive their golden apple. The teachers were totally surprised and genuinely touched by the whole thing.”

Let us know how you received appreciation this week, or showed your appreciation in the comments below.

Image credit: TheApple

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No Child Left Behind Taking Toll On U.S. Schools

There are aproximatly 98,916 public schools in the U.S.,and according to a new report from the Center on Education Policy, 38 percent of ALL U.S. SCHOOLS have missed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) AYP testing standards. This is up five percentage points from 2009. Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education has said, “as many as 82% of schools could be labeled as failing for the current school year.”

Other stand out statistics from the report are as follows:

  • The District of Columbia’s school district failed the AYP standards by 91 percent.
  • Eight-six percent of Florida schools are considered unsuccessful.
  • In some states, changes in the number of schools not making AYP are largely attributable to changes in the cut scores defining proficient performance on state tests.
  • Even if most or all states adopt common standards and common assessments, variations in state accountability policies could continue to make it impossible to arrive at meaningful comparisons about the performance of different states.
The President feels Duncan’s claim that 84% of U.S. schools could be labeled as failing is unlikely. The Department of Education has fired back, and  stand by their analysis and this is just one more reason why the NCLB needs to be rewritten this year.

There are ways to get better education nationwide. It starts with great teaching, and there are a number of great teachers already around the U.S. So why are the numbers so bleak?  Could it be lack of motivation on the students’ part? Could it be teachers are feeling the budget cuts and are over worked? There are numerous reasons, but test scores are not the way to measure student achievement. In McPherson, Kansas, Arne Duncan has seen change, and has allowed a waiver to NCLB to the entire school district in McPherson.

In partnership with Quantum Learning and ACT, Inc., McPherson USD developed the C³ – Citizenship, College and Career Readiness plan that contains measures in the three areas of emphasis. McPherson is not the only district in America using Quantum Learning methodologies to change how their students learn and teachers teach. One of the reasons why Quantum Learning trained teachers are so effective is because they learn the “why” behind great teaching, by learning the way our brains develop and retain information.

Below is a video from teachers, students and administrators from three different school districts that have fully implemented Quantum Learning in their schools. We might not be the only solution, but we are a great solution.

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Budget Cuts Can Bring Creativity Into the Classroom

If you type in “education” into Google News, you find article after article on funding and budget cuts. The economy is still far from “reformed”, and everyone including our children, are feeling the effects. Teachers now need to be more creative in their classroom to keep their students engaged.

Incorporating new and fresh ideas isn’t a new tactic. Teachers have been evolving their craft since the first person started teaching. With that said, what can we do to keep student motivation and participation up when budget cuts are looming in the air? There are many cost-effective ways to include technology and fresh tactics into your curriculum.

Energy
Being energetic doesn’t cost you or your school board any money. It might be hard to put on a smile and be energetic some days, but if Ellen can do it—you can do it. If your teaching style is more serious in tone that doesn’t mean you can’t be energetic. We aren’t talking about jumping up and down and being a cheerleader for your kids, but it’s the way you stand, talk and give out information.

Smiles are contagious—how many of you could not smile at someone who smiles at you? Frowns are also contagious, so make sure you are setting the example for your students. You have to be 10x more energetic than your students to keep them engaged. Another way to get them energized is by INVOLVING them with the lesson. Have them work in teams, create a learning game, anything to get them up moving and motivated.

YouTube
What if your next English assignment was inspired by a video of the Tempest you showed your class? Hooking up your computer to a projector is inexpensive, and brings the world of YouTube to your students. If you have a video camera you can have your students submit videos via YouTube for a video book report.

There’s an App For That!
If you have an iPhone, you can send your students text messages to remind them of an important test, or even home study tips in the evening.  Thinking of new teaching tools such as mobile apps can be extremely beneficial. The app Mozes is a great tool to reach your kids via text message.

Get Involved
Going to sporting events to support students who are participating is an excellent way of building a sense of trust with your students. Juliann Frangella, a teacher in Illinois told us on our Facebook Page, “I have been doing this for years…the kids get such a kick out of it!”

Parent involvement is important, and sporting events is a great place to meet them outside of the classroom. Interacting with parents in a different environment than your classroom can really make the bond between you and the parent even stronger.

What have you done to get more creative in the classroom? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credit: http://education.byu.edu/n

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Character Education Conference

At the upcoming Character Education Conference in San Francisco, Quantum Learning representative Cami Eiskamp will be hosting a workshop.  Cami has worked with administrators, teachers, students and parents as an instructor and trainer around the globe for more than 13 years.  Her witty, outgoing personality — combined with her highly interactive training approach — keeps audiences energized and engaged.  She models applicable instructional/leadership strategies that all attendees can use immediately when they return to school. Cami is a San Diego native, currently in her seventh year as a high school Spanish and leadership teacher.  She was voted Teacher of the Year by staff and students.  If you are attending the conference, you can join Cami on Thursday, 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

 

 

 

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Two For One

Thank you Teacher World for your flattering post!

I have shared with you that I spend time in the mornings reading positive, uplifting, and motivational materials that help jumpstart my day, and I am going to pick the best of these that can be applied to education in some way and share them with you on a regular basis. I hope that these bring some laughter, some deep thought, some happiness, and some positive reaction from all of you. These aren’t very deep, but they are fun. So, without further ado, here is another great saying.

* “It is okay to try and fail and try and fail again, but it isn’t okay to try and fail, and fail to try again!”

Oh, I love that, don’t you? Isn’t this a perfect message for students about not giving up until they get it right? For that matter, isn’t it a great message for teachers, too? I loved this quote from the moment I heard it, and I proudly display it in my classroom and talk about it at the beginning of every year.

I can’t take credit for this wonderful quote, so where did I get it? About six years ago my school system sent several teachers to the best training program I have ever had the opportunity to attend. It is called Quantum Learning, and I would highly recommend this program to all teachers. What is the premise behind this training? According to its website, “Quantum Learning for Teachers programs empower educators to create joyous, engaging and successful learning – turning their classrooms into optimal learning environments”. We learned countless teaching strategies and moves that are based on brain research. One of the best techniques I learned, circuit learning, is a technique that incorporates repeated exposure to facts in a manner that moves information from your short term to your long term memory without memorization. It works, and I use it every year!

So, today you got a two-for-one; a great saying and a little commercial for a great teacher’s program you and your school system might want to consider taking. Enjoy!

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SuperCamp and Quantum U Team Up With University Visitor’s Network

SuperCamp and Quantum U have formed an alliance with University Visitor’s Network to help high school students better prepare for college.   University Visitor’s Network is a great tool for students who are looking at colleges and wants to research the universities and want help with college prep.

SuperCamp and Quantum U help prepare students for college, whether they’re in high school or about to enter college.   Each summer, teens make vast improvements at Quantum-U, where we teach learning and life skills that help teens know themselves, like themselves, and learn better. During many years of running these summer college prep programs we have learned lots and lots about teens and their problems—and how adults can help them through those sometimes rough years.

Quantum-U will be held at Colorado College this summer on July 23 – July 30, 2010.  SuperCamp, the summer program for younger teens, will be held at nine U.S. college campuses, from Stanford University in the west to Brown in the east. Other locations include, UCLA, Cal State San Marcos in north San Diego County, Colorado College in Colorado Springs, the University of Washington in Seattle, Wake Forest University, Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and a few more.

SuperCamp offers three grade-specific summer programs: the 7-day Junior Forum for students entering grades 6-8, the 10-day Senior Forum teen summer camps for students entering grades 9-12, and Quantum U for incoming and first year college students. The dynamic learning environment is designed to maximize long-term retention of the information provided.

More information on SuperCamp is available at the website, by calling 800-285-3276 or emailing info@supercamp.com / info@quantum-u.com.

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