Outdoor learning, which has a long but little-known history, has experienced something of a renaissance thanks to COVID-19, say Tracie Corner and Bryan Goodwin from McREL in the latest Research Matters column for ASCD’s Educational Leadership magazine. Small studies of “forest schools” abroad suggest multiple behavioral and educational benefits beyond the current goal of keeping people out of stuffy rooms.
With technology playing a huge and growing role in all our lives, it’s unfortunate that many K–12 students are just now being exposed to computer science and STEM education in some parts of our country. Beyond the technical know-how that STEM classes deliver, a well-designed STEM program can also promote curiosity, lifelong growth, and the interpersonal and problem-solving skills that employers need.
Trauma—something more and more students are learning about the hard way—is the theme for this month’s Educational Leadership magazine. McREL’s Bryan Goodwin and Lisa M. Jones contributed a Research Matters column on a tool that all teachers have access to and that can address some of the effects of trauma: writing.
Schools everywhere are navigating uncharted waters as they confront the unprecedented challenge of delivering learning in a global pandemic—developing protocols for virus tracking and school closures, inventing new ways of teaching and learning, and supporting the well-being of students and staff alike. So, what should leadership look like during times of such uncertainty and change?
As educators we’ve all committed our lives to learning. But what is learning, exactly? How does it work? Citing insights from cognitive science, McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin breaks down how our students process new information, create memories, and apply it to new learning in this three-part video series on Making Learning Stick.
Big summative tests ignore some important lessons from brain science, McREL’s Bryan Goodwin and Kris Rouleau write in the September issue of ASCD’s Educational Leadership. Frequent quizzes are more helpful because they help students identify knowledge gaps and exploit the brain’s urge to fill them in.
One of the more interesting findings to emerge from studies of curiosity (which I share in my new book, Building a Curious School) is this: Curious people have better relationships.That’s likely because when we’re curious, we ask people questions—about their interests, values, and aspirations. In short, we learn what makes them tick. On top of that, the same studies find that curious people are generally more likable: We all enjoy being around someone who shows genuine interest in us—and conversely we feel irked when a supposed friend goes on and on about themselves without ever inquiring about our own lives.
As we begin (or for our Australian colleagues, continue) a school year unlike any in memory, I’m reminding our partner schools that good instruction is good instruction regardless of the location or platform where the teaching and learning happen. Of course, “good” is a subjective term, so how do I define good instruction? One concept has been my guiding light and always will be, regardless of what challenges the universe throws our way: Relationships.
As I’ve touched base with school leaders and former colleagues these past few months (before joining McREL I was a longtime principal and assistant superintendent), I’ve been struck by how often our conversations reinforce the idea that preparing for the predictable also helps you prepare for the unpredictable.
Glen Pearsall, the Australian educator, teacher coach, and co-author of McREL’s new book Tilting Your Teaching: Seven Simple Shifts That Can Substantially Improve Student Learning, has encountered just about every challenge a teacher can imagine—and usually helped to resolve it. Recently we did an email Q-and-A with Glen from his home base in Melbourne. The common thread: Small changes can have big benefits.