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A Hippocratic Oath for Schools: Above all, Do No Harm?
Wounded By School: Recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing Up To Old School Culture, by Kirsten Olson

For a discussion forum about the book, check out Teacher Magazine Forum:

A book making the rounds and much discussed is the second book by a recent Harvard Education Doctorate who also has her own consulting firm. One certainly has to admire the name of Olson’s small consulting firm—“Old Sow Consulting”—and appreciate her dedication to students. The book is a condemnation of how school for most students continues to invalidate the pleasure of learning and inflicts a series of “wounds” (such as boredom, labeling, mediocrity) that undermine the very purpose of education. The theme is familiar, but its treatment here, which combines narrative, case study, analysis, and models for the future is both a treatise and a call to arms, since the subtitled “old school culture” is not only a public school albatross, but an independent school one as well.

Peter Herzberg, Brearley School, NY
  Teachers College Press, 2009  
  November, 2009 VOL 7



Coordinating Editor, Associate Head of the Brearley School, New York, NY

Head of the Park School of Buffalo, NY

Academic Coordinator, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM

Principal of the Child Study Institute, University of Toronto, Canada

Head of the Carey School, San Mateo, CA

Klingenstein Center Director

Klingbrief is a free, monthly publication of recommended articles, books, research reports and media selected by and for independent school educators.  The Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership provides graduate programs and professional development for independent school educators throughout their careers.
3xall   Far-Reaching Insight into the Role of the Master and Mentor Teacher
3X for All: Extending the Reach of America's Best, by Emily Ayscue and Bryan Hassel

Every school has great teachers who get extraordinary results. It is well documented that teacher quality has the largest impact of school effects on student learning. Policy researchers Emily Ayscue and Bryan Hassel, co-directors of Public Impact, an organization focused on improving K-12 education, argue that since top quintile teachers produce three times the learning gains of bottom quintile teachers, extending the reach of these star teachers (3X) would dramatically improve student outcomes. They propose a radical restructuring of schools to extend the reach of the most effective teachers within and across schools by redesigning the teaching job of these stars. Eliminate their non-teaching duties and allow for more time on direct instruction with greater numbers of students or extend the reach of the stars remotely through technology. Capitalizing on human talent may keep great teachers in the profession through increased remuneration and lead to unprecedented achievement. This provocative working paper should stimulate thinking for independent school educators.

Pearl Rock Kane, Klingenstein Center, NY
  Public Impact, October 2009  
Debunking   Debunking Conveniently Positive Myths about Multi-tasking
Mini Multi-taskers, by Rebecca Clay

This very brief article in the American Psychological Association’s publication Monitor on Psychology summarizes research on the effects of multi-tasking on student learning. It very clearly demonstrates the deleterious effects that multi-tasking has on thinking and on learning; it also speaks to the misperceptions adults and children have about their own effectiveness as they attempt to focus on several activities at once. Most believe that they are increasing their efficiency, but the reality is that they may be causing a kind of mental “brown out.” Even more worrisome is the data on the ways that new media are affecting students’ social relationships. After a decade of rationales for why multi-tasking is a generational strength, this article is one of several pieces of research now arguing what many of us have grasped intuitively all along.

Stephanie Lipkowitz, Albuquerque Academy, NM
  Monitor on Psychology Magazine, February, 2009  
Defacto   Supporting the De Facto Leaders We Want
The Lessons are in the Leading, by Gordon Donaldson

This article addresses a common dilemma many school leaders experience: how to lead without any formal leadership training. As the article suggests, many school leaders find themselves in their positions because of their interpersonal skills and their desire to make a positive impact on their school rather than due to an explicit aspiration to be a school leader. The author suggests a seven-step process to grow support leaders. That the process focuses on reflection, practice, and feedback should not be news, but how colleagues can serve as a valuable resource in the development of leadership competencies and can be used to role-play difficult leadership situations is the heart of the matter. The conclusion is that leader learning works best when it is “learner-centered and collegial.” This article may be particularly relevant to the independent school world because, as we seek to disseminate leadership in more horizontal fashion, we may have fewer formally-trained leaders—a trend both refreshing and risky.

Adam M. Dubé, Vail Mountain School, Vail, CO
  Educational Leadership, August 2009 Volume 66  
Marshmallows   No More S’mores Until your Chores are Done!
What Marshmallows Can Tell Us about Student Learning, by Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer’s New Yorker article “Don’t!: The secret of self-control” (May 18, 2009) begins with a study conducted at Stanford University in the 1960’s. Four-year-old children were promised one marshmallow right away or two if they could wait for 15 minutes. Fast forward to today. This study has proven useful to current neuroscience researchers who are exploring the development of “executive function”, or self-regulation, and whether this can be taught in schools. When psychologist Walter Mischel followed his 60’s subjects through school and beyond, he found that SAT scores were significantly higher for those who could delay gratification. What this means for students is the subject of ongoing research outlined by Lehrer. Some educators have taken the apparent meaning of the findings to heart at a Knowledge is Power (KIPP) School in Philadelphia, where some students are wearing T-shirts with the slogan, “Don’t Eat the Marshmallow!”

Elizabeth Morley, Institute of Child Study Laboratory School
University of Toronto
  New Yorker Magazine, May, 2009  
Ted   A Familiar Metaphor for Leadership Given a Dynamic Twist
Lead Like the Great Conductors, by Itay Talgam

Itay Talgam is a (former) symphony orchestra conductor and current organizational consultant. Starting from the familiar analogy that leading resembles musical conducting in many ways, Talgam illustrates his theme in this recent TED talk with remarkably instructive clips from six exemplary maestros. Talgam’s incisive and witty explications of the varied conducting/leadership styles of these six well-known conductors punctuate the twenty-one minute-long video. This telling presentation is bound to inform and entertain aficionados of leadership or instrumental music alike. It is well worth using with students as well as faculty and administrative colleagues in exploring some of the different ways that authority figures collaborate with others to perform together—whatever their collective context or present purpose may be.

Mike Pardee, Kinkaid School, TX
  TED (Technology, Education, Design) Conference, Oxford, UK  
schooltube   The New 21st Century Literacies—Beyond the Buzzwords
Learning to Change, Changing to Learn

This six-minute video produced by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and the Pearson Foundation presents a powerful case for a new 21st Century set of literacies. Featured are an array of contemporary thinkers in this field, among them: Keith Krueger, CoSN; Greg Whitby, Director of Schools, Catholic Education Office, Parramatta, Australia; Yong Zhao, Distinguished Professor, College of Education, Michigan State; Barbara Nielson, former South Carolina State Superintendent of Education; Chris Dede, Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind. Since we hear so much about “21st century skills” that it has become a buzzword, a brief video like this may be an efficient way to triage those speakers and literacies that are of particular interest to us as educators.

Claudia M. Daggett, Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA), MA
Social Networking—An Integrated Look at a New Tool
Connected: The Surprising Power of Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives,
by Nicholas A. Christakis Ph.D. and James H. Fowler, Ph.D

This thoughtful and exceptionally readable look at the fundamental humanness of social networking is valuable for luddites and prolific twitterers alike. The authors weave concepts of economics, anthropology, psychology, technology and neuroscience together in a way that can help the reader make sense of the complex systems of social networks and what the consequences and purposes of these relationships are. Also, the text creates a framework for understanding the electronic manifestation of these networks in the likes of blogs, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. Reading this book is a wonderful way to support educators’ thinking in the scramble to make sense of the ways that our students (and many of us too) are communicating and developing our social networks and how we can best make use of these new tools (with very old functions) in our classrooms and school communities. Readers who know Clay Shirky’s book, Here Comes Everybody, profiled in an earlier Klingbrief, may find this a good companion piece.

Emily McCarren, Klingenstein master’s student, 2009-2010
  Hachette Book Group, 2009  
  An Alternative Way to Deal with Maladaptive Behavior in Children
Lost at School. Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them, by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.

Based on Dr. Greene’s decades of clinical and research experience working with behaviorally challenged children, the overarching message of Lost at School is that kids do well if they can. This premise upends much of the conventional thinking about challenging children – that they are in control of their behavior – and replaces it with the notion that challenging children lack specific social, emotional, or behavioral skills that allow them to behave adaptively. Following this notion, Lost at School provides a developmental framework for working with kids who display maladaptive behavior, rather than the more typical consequence-based responses that define many school discipline programs. Greene, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has developed what he terms a Collaborative Problem Solving model and the book does a thorough job of explaining this model as well as providing very practical tools for identifying lagging social, emotional, and behavioral skills. The book also contains explicit guidance as to how educators, parents, and clinicians can work together to develop these skills and extinguish maladaptive behavior.

Chris Lauricella, The Park School, NY
  Scribner, 2008  
  Sustainable Agriculture in the Classroom
Big Ideas: Linking Food, Culture, Health and the Environment,
by The Center for Ecoliteracy

This easy to use book designed for K-12 classrooms clearly outlines the four central themes connected to sustainable agriculture. Through concrete bulleted charts, the authors provide classroom teachers with user-friendly lessons and suggestions for teaching about the connection between what we eat and the fate of our planet. For schools embarking on organic and local gardening projects, this text is a vital resource for making the academic classroom experience resonate with the outdoor experiential goals of a gardening program.

Eric Temple, The Carey School, CA
  Learning in the Real World Publisher, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9818409-0-1  
  Codifying the Welter of Brain Research in a Useful Way
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, by John Medina

While many independent schools aim to educate the “whole child,” our efforts must be rooted in an understanding of the brain.  Always in search of guidance in this area, for years educators have devoured the works of Gardner and other more recent books aboutneuroscienceWithout presenting entirely new research, John Medina’s book culls the work of many neuroscientists into twelve accessible and educationally applicable “brain rules.”  Dr. Medina insists that the findings he relies upon “…must first be published in a peer-reviewed journal and then successfully replicated” (Medina, 2008, p. 5).  Including such essentials as exercise and sleep, two of the twelve research factors, Medina regularly connects his rules to education.  Brain Rules, unlike other books celebrated by educators, may not make student success its only focus, yet by illuminating its implications for people of all ages, this text could be considered a guide not only to improving our students’ lives, but also our own — an important goal as we strive to better serve our school communities. 
For an introduction to Brain Rules, view the book’s companion films at

Alex Shaurette, Dwight-Englewood School, NJ
  Pear Press, 2008  

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