School Transformation

March 28th, 2018

You have not heard from me for some time. I, Wayne Jennings, have been our web editor for the past 17 years and we’ve shared news of events, movements, articles, conferences. My new book School Transformation describes school reform efforts and is based on our shared interests about learning.

Consider these questions:

  • Why do so many students hate math and do poorly after many years of instruction when, in fact, young children love numbers?
  • Why do so many students dislike school starting in the early grades and find it irrelevant despite the dedication and hard work of teachers and administrators?
  • Why are there so many dropouts and pushouts?
  • Why not act as though, “All children are beautiful and talented”? (For proof, ask a grandparent.)

School Transformation by Wayne B. Jennings examines these questions and the shortcomings of our dated school system. Jennings documents the billions of dollars aimed at school “reform” and the weak results.

Teachers and principals are not to blame. They didn’t invent the system and would likely change it if given the authority. Testing and a rigid curriculum tie their hands.

School Transformation gives examples of transformed schools, explains the practical steps for their accomplishment and features many innovative learning activities. It includes wonderful quotes and delightful stories.

Wayne Jennings spent 60 years in schools as a teacher, principal and editor in conventional and innovative schools. He started seven schools. Readable, free of educational jargon, this astonishing, research-based book is receiving rave reviews. Prepare to have your school beliefs stretched, informed and invigorated.

School Transformation is available from Amazon.

Empowerment

November 1st, 2016

A intriguing recent two page document describes the actual behavioral outcomes of empowerment competencies. An example of a competency area: Self Awareness divided into Emotional awareness; Accurate Self-assessment and Self-confidence. Here’s how Self-confidence is described : A strong sense of one’s self-worth and capabilities. Here are the behaviors:

  1. Present myself with self-assurance: have “presence”
  2. Can voice views that are unpopular and go out on a limb for what is right
  3. Decisive, able to make sound decisions despite uncertainties and pressures

Self-regulation, Self-motivation, Empathy, and Social skills are other competence areas. The attached chart Empowerment is from Twin Cities Rise, Empowerment Institute which works with low income people on the premise that these competencies underlie success. These competencies are foundational for all ages!

Noncognitive Measures are Critical to Success

March 21st, 2016

Alan Boyle writes in Noncognitive Measures: The Academic Trend That Could Change Everything of the importance of the skills and knowledge of grit, social skills, problem solving, self-discipline, working collaboratively and initiative. Schools’ attention to academic measures often overlook vital factors for success in school and life. Boyle points to businesses and universities that recognize these qualities for consideration in selecting applicants. He describes the noncognitive measures and assessments in common practice. This is a well-written and researched article with many links to further information, including Paul Tough’s well known How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.