Klingbrief March 2012
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The Other Voice

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

In this engaging book, author Susan Cain argues that introverts are under appreciated in a society that places a premium on extroversion. This "Extrovert Ideal" has many implications, and the author draws upon examples from such areas as history, business, and education to illustrate her arguments. Of particular note to independent school educators and leaders is Cain's chapter "On Cobblers and Generals: How to Cultivate Quiet Kids in a World That Can't Hear Them."  Cain makes the argument that schools should reconsider admission policies based on social group observations. She also identifies ten characteristics that parents should evaluate in a school to see if a school cultivates an environment where both introverts and extroverts can flourish. Cain also reasons that the emphasis on class discussions, group and cooperative learning, and relentless encouragement to "speak up" can make classrooms uncomfortable environments for introverted students. This text may stimulate readers to reflect upon how introverts and extroverts contribute to the fabric of diversity in their schools—a form of hidden diversity we rarely recognize. How can school environments be improved in ways that allow all students, regardless of temperament, to thrive?

Michael Coppola, Bush School, WA
Crown Publishers, 2012
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.
March, 2012 VOL 28

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

UnlearningBadEthics Unlearning Bad Ethics
Behavioral Ethics: Toward a Deeper Understanding of Moral Judgment and Dishonesty, by Max H Bazerman and Francesca Gino

In this working paper, the authors trace the ineffective ways ethics has been taught in professional schools and how the ineffectual nature of the approach might contribute to the lack of ethical behavior in many of our country's executives. The researchers argue that a behavioral model, as opposed to a utilitarian and deontological approach to ethical reasoning, has more impact in helping professionals think through the discrepancies of how they believe they would act in an ethical dilemma in contrast to how individuals actually behave in such situations. Of particular interest is the research into unintentional unethical behavior and the factors that contribute to bad decision-making when perpetrators do not recognize that their behavior is unethical. Those who design or teach ethics courses or advisory programs in schools might find this article of great interest.

Eric Temple, The Lick-Wilmerding High School, CA.
Working Paper 12-054, January 3, 2012. Harvard Business School
EveryGadget Behind Every Gadget, a Good Teacher
A Tech Happy Professor Reboots After Hearing His Teaching Advice Isn't Working, by Jeffrey R. Young

Rare in an era of bold, often blogged, educational rabble rousing is the visionary practitioner willing to say, "I may have overstated my case." You have probably "met" Mike Wesch before. A teacher at Kansas State, he has produced the viral video (viewed 4 million+ times) entitled "A Vision of Students Today." Less attention grabbing was his speech at the 2010 TEDxNYED, in which he talked about the effects of media on culture. Both videos are useful in starting discussions about the context in which teachers do their work. But Wesch's latest gesture is to reconsider several of the qualities of old-fashioned pedagogy as indispensable—the great lecture, for instance, and more important, "the bond between professor and student." After a rebuke from an "old school," well-decorated colleague, Wesch did what he seems to do best – he reconsidered deeply and came up with some slightly altered conclusions as an addendum to his technology evangelism. While the conclusion may seem like common sense to the old pros, reinforcements are always welcome. Technology is a means, not an end, in the service of achieving the aforementioned bond and inspiring wonder, for which a good teacher is still the best asset, with clicker in hand–or not

Stephen J. Valentine, Montclair Kimberley Academy, NJ
The Chronicle of Higher Education (chronicle.com), February 12, 2012
RemarryingArts Re-marrying the Liberal and Practical Arts
The Future of American Colleges May Lie, Literally, in Students' Hands, by Scott Carlson

In this persuasive article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Scott Carlson makes an impassioned argument for a marriage between the liberal arts and the practical arts. He cites many colleges, most already known for their emphasis on sustainability, which are moving to incorporate "shop" and other kinds of hands-on learning about our material world back into the curriculum despite our culture's seemingly permanent move into a "knowledge economy." According to Carlson and his sources at these colleges, American education won't be able to make good on its desire to innovate and cultivate young entrepreneurs if it is completely detached from the practical realities represented in the art of problem-solving. Knowing how engines work is integral to creating biodiesel reactors to solve our current dependence on fossil fuel. Even more important, students are requesting these kinds of skills; they feel that they cannot cook a simple meal, fix minor mechanical problems at home, much less innovate to solve the huge problems that face our world. Students who feel at ease in the world of practical work report feeling more confident and more skilled at solving problems and seeking solutions. Those of us in independent schools are likely to see more of these ideas permeate our world as students explore newer pieces of curriculum such as farm to table programs, courses in personal economics, or service learning programs that demand more practical application.

Stephanie Lipkowitz, Albuquerque Academy, NM
The Chronicle for Higher Education, February 5, 2012
DontRelyontheMuse Don't Rely on the Muse
How to Be Creative, by Jonah Lehrer

In Mr. Lehrer's joyful article about creativity, adapted from his own just published book Imagine: How Creativity Works, the author traces some of the current research about what causes creativity and what concrete ways are available to us to enhance our own creativity. The good news is that, contrary to popular myth, "creativity is not magic, and there's no such thing as a creative type." Taking us through the brain science of creative thinking as well as several quirky and more familiar examples, the article provides a wonderful resource for faculty and administrators who are faced with students too focused on and overly concerned with outcomes, a dilemma with which readers of this Brief will be familiar. After all, one of the obstacles to creativity is being too focused. Mr. Lehrer's article is accompanied by an online interview and ten quick hints about how we can be more creative.

Eric Temple, The Lick-Wilmerding High School, CA.
The Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2012
  A Sadly Familiar Story with Greater Breadth
Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequality, Schools and Children's Life Chances, by Greg J. Duncan and Richard Murnane (eds)

This recently published text, which the editors call "an ambitious interdisciplinary project" on the growing disparities in income, includes contributions by nearly 50 different policy experts, sociologists and economists. The authors demonstrate that social and economic conditions imposed by such striking disparity undermine a basic purpose of education in this country–leveling the playing field for all children. Stress about jobs and security, even when parents have not lost their jobs, as well as increased segregation of residential areas (resulting in disparities in the quality of schools) and the inability of families to afford enrichment activities have all contributed to widening the achievement gap. Between birth and age six, for example, wealthier children have spent as many as 1,300 more hours than poor children on activities such as music lessons and travel. Once in school, children from low-income families are more likely to have peers with low skills, thereby limiting the opportunity to learn from fellow students. The academic achievement gap that exists between high and low-income students of any race curtails chances for social mobility. Various chapters in this important book may be useful to include in high school courses or service learning programs that address issues of social justice. The link above provides an executive summary and a table of contents for further exploration.

Pearl Rock Kane, The Klingenstein Center, NY
Russell Sage and Spencer Foundations, 2011
  A Mellower E.D Hirsch Looks at K-8 Curriculum
The Making of Americans, by E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

The most thoughtful educators often question whether we are providing the most enriched academic programs possible and effectively imparting the most important knowledge, skills, and insights to our children. In fact, we often debate the characteristics of the most important skills, knowledge, and understandings. E.D. Hirsch's latest book gives us a compelling response to this issue. Best known for his work as the founder of the Core Knowledge movement, Hirsch argues for a specific, shared, and carefully sequenced curriculum, in this case at the K-8 level. While Hirsch has been much maligned as an anti-multicultural proponent of assimilating all students into a "core," this more nuanced book reminds us that the democratic project of American education requires that we build among ourselves and within our schools a sequenced, shared approach that weaves skills and content without rendering our diverse differences invisible. In doing so, our institutions can only become stronger, better, and more capable of responding to the unique demands of students in our multi-ethnic and disparate society.

Nitya York, EdM. Candidate, The Klingenstein Center
Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
Viking Press, 2011
  Adding Up the Alternatives
Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World's Leading Systems, Ed. Marc S. Tucker, foreword by Linda Darling Hammond

While there have been many discussions of what the advocates of educational reform do right, this book analyzes the data and produces concrete recommendations based on the successes in Shanghai, Finland, Japan, Singapore, and Canada. The authors address the dilemma of how the American education system can be redesigned to take advantage of everything that has been learned by countries with the world's best education systems. The insightful foreword by Linda Darling Hammond points out that none of the current reforms beloved of policy makers make the list. Instead, equitable funding for schools, a curriculum based on problem-solving and critical thinking, and a commitment to finding and nurturing the best teachers are the key assets of the highest-performing countries' success (see February Klingbrief's selection on Finland; this piece can be used as a companion piece to Diane Ravitch's New York Review article). This text may be a good way to assimilate the many recent articles about systems that provide alternates to our test-driven, inequitable, and teacher-critical policies.

Cynthia Webb Orenstein, EdM. Candidate, The Klingenstein Center
Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
Harvard Education Press, November 10, 2011
  A Different Kind of Romance
The Anti-Romantic Child, A Story of Unexpected Joy, by Priscilla Gilman

The mainstream independent school is full of high-functioning students, often with very involved parents—an idealized world rife with expectation. What happens if your child (or by extension, your student) doesn't trail Clouds of Glory but is disappointing or disabled in some fundamental way? Gilman's memoir is about her own child, in this case a boy on the autistic spectrum, brilliant in some ways, intractably different in others. Herself a Yale graduate and then Yale Professor with expertise in romantic poetry, the product of a brilliant and artistic family, Gilman writes with aching honesty and detail about the disappointments, hardships and, finally, the triumph of learning to live with a child who alters your hopes. In doing so, she uses the trope of the romantic poet Wordsworth's vision of childhood as a kind of dialogue and dialectic about raising and educating children. In a world of schools and parents living under a grand illusion that we can control all outcomes, this memoir, while sentimental at times, may serve as salve and corrective in its moving description of negotiating the child-rearing rollercoaster when we are confronted by the unexpected. (Full disclosure: the writer is an alum of this editor's school)

Peter Herzberg, The Brearley School, New York
Harper-Collins, 2011

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