Mind Shift

Normalize Setbacks By Asking Your Kids For Advice When You Struggle

A lot of parents are worried about helping their children get ahead in a world that feels increasingly competitive, demanding, and high-stakes.

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How Libraries Can Turn Stories Into Maker Projects

In recent years, libraries have broadened their scope of offerings to the local community to involve more making activities like 3-D printing and sewing. Some libraries even have a facilitator for maker projects.

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Children Learn Best From Storybooks When Characters Are Realistic

A few years ago, my daughter requested that her nightly lullaby be replaced with a bedtime story.
I was happy to comply, and promptly invented stories full of imaginary creatures in elaborate plots intended to convey some important lesson about patience or hard work or being kind to others.

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How Ethnic Studies Connects Learning With Students’ Identities

In Jr Arimboanga’s ninth-grade classroom, students learn about critical consciousness: how to read the word, but also the world. It’s a concept popularized by a Brazilian educational theorist named Paulo Freire in his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
The class is ethnic studies. It’s part of an effort by San Francisco educators like Arimboanga to teach courses centered on the perspectives of historically marginalized groups. Just last year, California passed a law mandating a model ethnic studies curriculum.

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What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Social And Emotional Skills’?

More and more, people in education agree on the importance of schools’ paying attention to stuff other than academics.
But still, no one agrees on what to call that “stuff.”
I originally published a story on this topic two years ago.
As I reported back then, there were a bunch of overlapping terms in play, from “character” to “grit” to “noncognitive skills.”

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When Schools Forgo Grades: An Experiment In Internal Motivation

Lots of factors affect whether and what students learn in school, but most often that conversation gets boiled down into a single letter grade, a symbol of everything a student knows or doesn’t know. Because grades are often required, and easy to understand, they have become the focus for many parents, teachers and students.

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Language and Communication Skills That Make all the Difference for Kindergarten

Devin Walsh is a kindergarten to first-grade “looping” teacher at Oak Grove Primary School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Promoting good oral language and communication skills is perhaps the most important thing parents, caregivers and educators can do to prepare children to enter kindergarten.
Having just completed my 17th year of teaching at Oak Grove Primary School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, with over 800 students in kindergarten and first grade, I see children daily who have been exposed to models of good oral language.

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What Can Japan’s Education System Teach The U.S. About Equity?

It’s no secret that the socioeconomic background of students in the United States plays a big role in the quality of education they receive. Too often students from poor families attend underfunded schools staffed by the least experienced teachers. This trend has led to inequity throughout the education system and countless reform efforts.

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Discovering Better Ways to Learn as an Adult

If you’d met Ulrich Boser while he was still in school, you might not have tagged him as a guy who would one day write a book about learning. Early in his life, at least, learning was a struggle. “School was tough for me from the very start—I repeated kindergarten,” Boser tells me ruefully. All these years, he’s kept a piece of paper with him: the school psychologist’s report on his learning problems. He elaborates further in a new book: 

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