Leading for Learner-centered Education Requires a Particular Set of Competencies

Change is afoot all around us, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the way we choose to educate children and young adults through the formal education system here in the United States.

Just a few years ago, the notion of receiving a middle or high school education 100 percent online was unthinkable. However, today — with more than a dozen nationally-recognized and accredited options available — cohorts of eighth graders who are educated exclusively online are matriculating toward starting high school in the same fashion.

Learner Centered Education

Regardless of options touted as innovations in education, most educational offerings operate on a school-centric paradigm — meaning all components of the system are designed for efficiency of education delivery in the context of standardized schools.

Based on a worldview first established in the industrial age, school-centric education relies more on the lessons learned in factories and on assembly lines than it does on the realities that youth face today, as well as the opportunities that will challenge them tomorrow and beyond.

Standardized age cohorts, linear curricula divided into subjects, and learning experiences designed to impart knowledge in long-established categories, are the basic components of school-centered learning. Contrast that approach against one that Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Staffers Recommend Their Favorites Podcast Episodes

If you’re a frequent reader of our blog, you’ve noticed that our staff isn’t the least bit shy about recommending books and movies to our peers in progressive education. It is in that vein that we’re pleased to recommend the below episodes from among some of our staffers favorite podcasts. If one or more of them grab your attention, just click on the title and listen in:

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Is America’s Education Problem Really Just a Teacher Problem? An episode from the Freakonomics Radio Podcast

This episode of the Freakonomics Radio Podcast goes to great lengths to explore the notion that maybe some students aren’t succeeding today because of teacher quality. While it’s true we spend more money per student than practically any other nation in the world, the U.S. education system is failing on many fronts — especially in math. It begs the question: Are our students getting the Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Staffers Dive Deep at the Deeper Learning Conference

A handful of Eagle Rock staffers recently attended a worldwide conference called Deeper Learning 2016 in San Diego, walking away with new ways to influence students to begin thinking critically, collaboratively and to embrace fresh challenges.

Deeper Learning Conference

Attending from Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center (PDC) were Michael Soguero, director of professional development; Dan Condon, associate director of professional development; Sarah Bertucci, professional development associate; and Maya Edery, 2015/2016 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in society and cultures.

The purpose of the late March conference was to assist educators who truly strive to prepare their students for college and future careers. Among the core competencies for those who practice this Deeper Learning philosophy is to teach students how to master core academic content.

Attendees heard about methods of teaching students to think critically and solve complex problems, work as a group, communicate with each other and others, and develop academic mindsets. Put simply, the concept is to help students “learn how to learn.”

Our PDC team members arrived for the Southern California event and immediately headed to Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Staffers Look Back on their Favorite Education-themed Films

For many people, a good movie provides the perspective of being an outsider looking in, adding new insight to a particular issue or event. For others, it’s just an opportunity to sit back and enjoy something entertaining.

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Regardless, movies are a valuable art form that can be used to educate, inspire and demand change. In the spirit of celebrating all that cinema has to offer, Eagle Rock staff members recently reflected on their favorite education-themed movies.

Here are their thoughts on the cinema in education:

Film: Once – Directed by John Carney
Commentary by: Jen Frickey, Director of Curriculum

The film musical Once follows a vacuum repairman who spends his evenings busking on the street by playing guitar and singing. A Czech immigrant comes across this musician and asks him if he can repair her broken vacuum. The woman is also a songwriter but spends most her time performing odd jobs and taking care of her mother and daughter.

As the pair gets to know each other, the Czech girl agrees to help the part-time street musician as he writes and records a demo tape in hopes of landing a music contract. The two learn about each other’s past lovers and profess their newly found love for each other — all through the songs they’re writing.

While not a typical ‘education movie’ about teaching and learning, Once is a beautiful story of how common interests and passion can bring people together and create amazing results. It reminds me of how important it is that we Continue reading…