Klingbrief January 2012
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When Reading Resumes, Stop Making Sense

The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Anyone Else, by George Anders

In this exploration of talent identification, George Anders offers practical wisdom for schools seeking to find excellent teachers and leaders who will preserve our values and advance our mission in times of uncertainty. Through studying hiring practices in organizations known for finding extraordinary employees (e.g. Silicon Valley, professional athletics, and the U.S. Army Special Forces), Anders identifies common philosophies and processes designed to discover necessary virtues - resilience, creativity, and self-sacrifice - essential to personal and organizational success, but obscured in resumes and portfolios designed to smooth rough edges of failure - and failure's critical lessons - from a person's past. In establishing a person's response to setbacks as a metric for evaluating the ability to learn from mistakes, Anders makes a compelling case for carefully considering applicants with a "jagged resume" of triumph and disaster. Schools building a culture where reputation alone may not generate interest or guarantee enrollment should carefully consider Anders's  findings to re-evaluate faculty recruitment and retention-as should more reputable schools whose hiring may be deceived by smooth documentation.

Ezra Adams, Episcopal Day School, Augusta, GA
Portfolio/Penguin Hardcover, Oct. 18, 2011
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. For information about submitting to Klingbrief, please click here.
January, 2012 VOL 26

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

Klingenstein Center Director, New York, NY

Head of the Park School of Buffalo, NY

Assistant Head, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM

Principal, The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto, Canada

Principal, Bruce A. Shaw Consulting, LLC     Essex, MA        

Head of Lick-Wilmerding High School,
San Francisco, CA

Communications Manager, Klingenstein Center, New York, NY

Assistant Head, Upper School
Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

beatthecheat The Corrosive Impact of Cheating
Beat the Cheat, by Amy Novotney

In this brief article, "Beat the Cheat," Amy Novotney gives a clear and incisive overview of the research into academic integrity in secondary and post-secondary educational environments. There is clear evidence that cheating is prevalent, and that there is a social contagion associated with academic dishonesty. The research also underlines the correlation between early academic cheating and forms of dishonesty that happen later in work and marriage. Unsurprisingly, students who are extrinsically motivated by grades and honors are much more prone to cheat than those who care about mastery of the skills and learning the content of the task. The article also points to effective measures school communities can take to foster an ethos of integrity because, just as cheating is socially contagious, so is ethical behavior. This article is a terrific text to use as a conversation starter when initiating discussions of academic integrity; it may galvanize adults to be more alert to dishonest behavior in children because it is so clear that early transgressions can evolve into costly lifelong habits.

Stephanie Lipkowitz, Albuquerque Academy, NM
American Psychological Association website, June 2011, Vol 42, No. 6
disruptingClass Get Ready: Online Learning Will Disrupt Your Class
Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, by Christensen, Clayton, Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson

Teachers Resist High-Tech Push in Idaho Schools
Online Learning, Personalized
Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools

When Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School published Disrupting Class (highlighted in an earlier Klingbrief), he did something remarkable for a B-school type. Taking lessons from the for-profit world, he focused on school reform. He examined the relationship between disruptive innovation and customized learning, scalable models, and cheaper alternatives to existing models. Because at the outset disruptors don't look like competition to the major players, neither education nor the corporate world take them seriously. Are schools, for instance, missing the significance of online learning? The articles listed above respond to this trend. In 2010, 1,000,000 pre-collegiate students enrolled in at least one online course (double the number of NAIS students), a number that has been growing exponentially. Organizations like Khan Academy and K12, Inc., oversee a growing number of students. Online learning is accessible, cheap and sometimes free. Do their programs allow for customization so students for whom choices of schooling are less available have real choice whenever and wherever they like? Or is the growth of for profit online school another quick fix shell game, the brainchild of tech industry lobbyists? The New York Times articles on Khan Academy and K12, Inc. report on both facets of this phenomenon. And Christensen makes very clear why education, public and private, should take the trend seriously.

Bruce Shaw, Principal
Bruce A. Shaw Consulting LLC, MA
Trustee, Glen Urquhart School,

When it Comes to Finance, What's Past is Prologue
Staying on Course: The Effects of Savings and Assets on the College Progress of Young Adults, by W. Elliott and S. Beverly

working paper

article on JSTOR

The Battle Between Your Present and Future Self, Daniel Goldstein,TED Talk given November 2011, posted December 2011

Daniel Goldstein's TED Talk and Elliott and Beverly's article should be examined and considered as a paired analysis about college financial preparedness. Goldstein's psychological take examines the difficulty of acting in one's future best interests, a dilemma closely related to the financial struggles a family might face when preparing to send a child to college. Understood in conjunction with Elliott and Beverly's study on how effective college savings plans increase college attendance and graduation rates, we come to see the impact of various attitudes towards spending on our children's and students' academic futures. Independent school educators, especially secondary school and college counselors who watch this clip and read this study, may enrich their store of ideas about how to support families across the socio-economic spectrum. Advisors and deans may find this TED Talk particularly illuminating about how students and adults alike struggle to think simultaneously of today's and tomorrow's needs. In planning for the future of our children, how do we balance our present and future selves so as to ensure more secure futures?

Julia Cohen, Ed. M Candidate, The Klingenstein Center
Teachers College, Columbia University, NY

American Journal of Education, Vol. 117, No. 3 (May 2011)
TED Talks, November 2011
Assessing the Data on Effective Teacher Studies
What Makes Teachers Good: A Cross-Case Analysis of the Connection Between Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement, by James H. Stronge, Thomas J. Ward, and Leslie W. Grant

Big Study Links Good Teachers to Lasting Gain, by Annie Lowrey

The impact of teacher quality, a debate which has alternated between more arcane scientific journals and the more worldly teacher education program, has now taken root in mainstream dialogue in the United States about how to improve our education system. Stronge, Ward, and Grant, who remind us that research about teacher effectiveness has been going on for decades, assert that the push for more accountability has augmented the amount of data available, which is leading to better research studies. Their study, with its regression analysis and scatter graphs, is grist for readers who hunger for hard data and rich science in their Klingbrief offerings. The New York Times article by Annie Lowrey discusses a large-scale and long-term study that links teachers to students' quality of life long after their contact with those teachers. Effects include lower teen pregnancy rates, greater college matriculation, and higher earnings in adulthood. These findings, while not entirely new, illustrate the impact that our data-driven thinking is having on our ability to link teacher quality to various aspects of students' futures.

Pete Prince, Ed.M Candidate, The Klingenstein Center
Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
Journal of Teacher Education, Sage Journals, September/October 2011
New York Times, January 6, 2012
finlandSchoolSuccess More on Finland, Educational Superstar
What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success, by Anu Partanen

According to Anu Partanen, Finland was called onto the stage, per se, by its consistent performance at or near the top of something called the PISA survey. Notably, too, Finnish students earn such results through more play, less homework, and an absence of exhausting preparation. The schools themselves aren't wild about competition, but they are wild about teachers, offering them both respect and decent salaries. None of this, according to Partanen, is new or shocking to those versed in, or preaching, the educational gospel of Finland. What's new is a look under the hood of the Finnish system - a look at what truly makes it go. When the system was reformed, "the goal . . . was never excellence. It was equity." Yes, it's an almost entirely public system. Students can't pay for a "better" or "different" education. Everybody, regardless of background or body type or bank account gets the same thing. Everybody has the chance to attend a "healthy, safe" school. Most, apparently, thrive. Interestingly, then, the primary lesson of Finland's success might be the one independent schools are least capable of absorbing.

Stephen J. Valentine, The Montclair Kimberley Academy, NJ
The Atlantic, December 29, 2011
  A Cosmopolitan Orientation
The Teacher and the World: A Study of Cosmopolitanism as Education, by David T. Hansen

In his powerful and thoughtful book, Teachers College Professor David T. Hansen engages the reader in a journey from the origins of cosmopolitanism to its present day appeal and application to education. Acknowledging the porous nature of culture and the incredible diversity within and among human beings, he defines a cosmopolitan orientation as placing one "at the crossroads of reflective loyalty to the known and reflective openness to the new." The teacher's development of this ethical orientation in the classroom nurtures an environment where meaning can exist even in the face of contradictory views. Hansen ends with a discussion of curriculum as a human inheritance, emphasizing that its value to students depends on our endless reflective process as educators in determining what should be taught and how. His engaging work provides welcome philosophical nourishment for any independent school educator struggling to embrace diversity of thought and belief in the classroom without losing a clear connection to one's own distinct values.

Leah Joy Weintraub, M.A. Candidate, The Klingenstein Center
Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
Routledge, 2011
  Home on the Range, not in the Pen
Free Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children, by Lenore Skenazy

After Lenore Skenazy let her nine-year-old son ride the subway home alone in New York City, she wrote a column in the New York Sun about it and was thrust into the media spotlight, assailed by responsible parents nationwide as "America's worst mom." Astonished by the outcry and controversy she'd generated, enduring a torrent of criticism from "parenting experts" of every stripe, Skenazy wrote Free Range Kids, a provocative, playful examination of the ways in which fear - often irrational fear - shapes modern parenting. She asserts that, in order for children to feel confident, we have to take "at least a baby step back" to best prepare our children for the world. Perhaps the most useful part of the book is the chapter entitled "Safe or Not? The A-Z Review of Everything You Might Be Worried About." In this section, Skenazy addresses numerous parenting anxieties, from the dangers of bottle feeding and BPA, to "death by stroller," internet predators, lead paint, school shootings, SIDS, teen sex, and more, presenting the facts behind the fears. Skenazy's book will resonate for modern parents willing to question what motivates the insularity of childhood today, and to consider the long-term implications of the over-parenting phenomenon.

Olaf Jorgenson, Almaden Country School, San Jose, CA
Jossey-Bass, 2009
  More Grist for Mindset Theory
Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change, by Timothy D. Wilson

Imagine a psychological exercise so powerful that it can help increase student achievement, prevent teenage pregnancy, reduce teenage violence as well as drug and alcohol abuse while also closing the achievement gap? Backed-up by his own research and a wealth of additional studies, Timothy Wilson suggests that shaping (or re-shaping) individuals' personal narratives can lead to powerful changes in behavior. He challenges the assumed value of certain popular psychological trends and beliefs that work less well than we think. Although it seems unlikely that the efficacy of the techniques Wilson describes is as far-reaching as the book might suggest, Wilson does include a "Using It" section at the end of each chapter offering practical ways to implement solutions to the problems he addresses. Partly because of the consonance between this book and Carol Dweck's research on "mindsets" (Wilson references Dweck), anyone who works with young people will find interesting research and ideas about how to guide and direct the thoughts and attitudes of young people.

Adam Dube, Vail Mountain School, CO
Little, Brown and Company, 2011
  What Impedes and What Enhances Good Decision-Making?
Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman's latest book examines the two types of thought processes that rule our decision: one based on emotion and intuition, and one based on deliberation and logic. Dubbed a "masterpiece" by the Financial Times, Kahneman's book peels back the layers of current cognition research behind this seemingly simple binary view of cognition. This engaging narrative uses anecdotes, analogies, and direct address to explain how we make decisions and how we might make better decisions. For the independent school leader and educator faced with myriad decisions to make each day, this book contributes significantly to a practitioner's knowledge and confidence by building awareness of how we each engage and catalyze decisions. In exploring such mental landscapes as overconfidence and risk-taking, he charges the reader to question biases and develop more patient habits of mind. Educators and school leaders will be delighted by this amenable touchstone of current cognitive science.

Julia Cohen Ed.M Candidate, The Klingenstein Center
Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
Farrar, Straus & Giroux; New York, 2011

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