Klingbrief January 2014
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Dear Readers and Contributors: Please join the editors of Klingbrief at the NAIS Annual Conference in Orlando for a special presentation.  Called "Short on Time, Long on Impact: Professional Development for Busy Educators," our presentation will take place on Thursday, February 27, from 1:30 - 2:30.  Come and hear about Klingbrief's history and learn ways to use the publication to spur professional growth in your school.  Take part in an audience Q & A and celebrate with us as we honor past contributors.  See you there!


Creative Is as Creative Does
Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley

Aimed at dispelling the myth that creativity is inborn, this book delivers a strong message that the potential for creativity exists in each of us and can help us to improve our lives and our world. The authors, the Kelley brothers of IDEO fame and founders of the d.school at Stanford University, build on the methodology of design thinking to show how innovation, synthesis, ideation, and experimentation can develop the skills of creativity. Additionally, unlocking and nurturing such skills come with an added perk - the conviction to exercise "creative confidence" to solve problems that can't be solved through analysis or metrics alone. The application of creative confidence comes into play in every life endeavor where we have the opportunity to generate new ideas, solutions, or approaches to solving problems. A prerequisite to achieving creative competence is having a growth mindset - believing that creative competence can be developed through effort and experience. The authors provide many practical examples to help teachers guide students in developing creativity and to help leaders in the ever present challenge to build and sustain a culture of innovation in their schools.

Pearl Rock Kane, Klingenstein Center, NY


Crown Business, 2013
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, 2014 VOL 42

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

PK-12 Director of Studies, The Walker School, Marietta, GA

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 and Special Projects, Klingenstein Center, New York, NY

14_01_Zero_to_Eight i-Child
Zero to Eight: Children's Media Use in America 2013, Common Sense Media

This fall, Common Sense Media released research revealing startling realities with which educators must come to terms as they plan curriculum and think about the futures of their schools. The report is the second in a series of national surveys. Among its many notable findings, it details the dramatic increase in children's access to mobile media devices (tablets and smart phones) in just two years, across all income levels. Since 2011, tablet ownership has increased fivefold among families with children eight and under, and the percentage of children with access to some sort of mobile device at home jumped from 52% to 75% in just two years. The survey, which is based on a large, nationally representative sample of respondents, also reveals that children's mobile device use is primarily for games and apps, not for e-reading. Elementary educators already have classrooms of children whose lives have been shaped in unprecedented ways by technology, and soon those students will enter the worlds of secondary and higher education. This carefully and responsibly researched report is an important wake-up call for educators. We must respond to the exponential changes to a generation of students' experiences of childhood and the ways in which their learning is shaped by technology.

Stephanie Lipkowitz, Albuquerque Academy, NM
Common Sense Media 2013
14_01_The_Negative_Effect The Many Sides of Instability
The Negative Effects of Instability on Child Development: A Research Synthesis, by Sandstrom, H. & Huerta, S., 2013; The Urban Institute

In this September 2013 report, the Urban Institute synthesizes its economic and social research on the impact of instability on child development, gathering evidence about family upheaval in five areas: family income, parental employment, family structure, housing and the out-of-home contexts of school and child care. In each area, the report defines as unstable a change that is abrupt, involuntary, and/or occurring in a negative direction, and it looks at each in relation to children's development. This work is part of the Institute's Low Income Working Families Discussion, yet it constructively spans the effects many children in all income ranges experience when instability enters and alters a family's trajectory, even temporarily. The findings point directly toward the importance of high-quality learning experiences at home and at school in the early years, parental mental health, and stability at home. Additionally, it advances theories about social practices that alleviate the impact of instability. The paper's interdisciplinary approach presents evidence and context from developmental psychology, sociology, economics, public policy and family studies. By departing from boundaries in single domain research, it meets us at the critical intersections among schools, families, communities, workplaces and any who seek to support children in times of instability.

Elizabeth Morley, The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto, Canada
Urban Institute, 2013
14_01_Getting_Beneath Positive Correlations
Getting Beneath the Veil of Effective Schools: Evidence from New York City , by Will Dobbie and Roland Fryer Jr.

The wide variety of charter schools and their differing approaches to improving the public school system have provided a rich source for research into the characteristics of effective schools. The Harvard Education Innovation Laboratory's research in this case is notable for its focus on school-level characteristics and the depth of research on each of the thirty-nine charter schools studied. The researchers collected interviews of principals, teachers and students; examined lesson plans; and analyzed videotapes of classroom lessons. The characteristics that were positively correlated with school effectiveness are frequent teacher feedback, data driven instruction, high dosage tutoring, increased instructional time and a "relentless focus" on academic achievement. While many independent schools have an academic focus, personalized learning and focus on providing frequent feedback are two areas that can be applied in improving results for students. It should be noted that class size did not correlate with achievement in this study, but the effective characteristics of frequent teacher feedback and high dosage tutoring are primarily achieved through a low student-teacher ratio. Therefore, this research also provides insight into the mechanism by which the small class sizes found at most independent schools can impact student achievement.

Michael Arjona, The Walker School, GA
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, October 2013
14_01_21st_century_mindedness International Mindedness: Towards a Common Understanding
21st Century International-mindedness: An Exploratory Study of its Conceptualization and Assessment, Singh, M and Qi J. 2013. The Hague: International Baccalaureate Organization.

Arguably, if we are to continue striving towards living in a more peaceful world, the competence of international mindedness is critical to develop. In this original piece of research commissioned for the International Baccalaureate (IB), Michael Singh and Jing Qi from the University of Western Sydney provide a coherent and structured exploration of the concept of international mindedness and the methods available for assessing it. After looking at the relationship between the various IB programs and the explicit development of international mindedness, the authors provide a thorough account of related concepts and ideas. The report then turns to an investigation of the various methods available to assess international mindedness before pointing to some key directions for schools in the 21st century. One of the key challenges posed in the report for school and curriculum leaders in Western contexts is to bring equity to non-Western sources of knowledge. This thought-provoking and insightful report is a must read for all educators interested in pushing the boundaries of their students' thinking as we increasingly engage with others at a global level.

Naheed Bardai, The Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, Kenya
Ed.M. Candidate, The Klingenstein Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
Routledge, 2014
  How to be a Scientist: A Field Manual
Letters to a Young Scientist, by Edward O. Wilson

Why study science? Edward O. Wilson offers students powerful answers to that question in this work, which is part memoir and part love letter to his chosen field, biology. There is a practical urgency to some of his reasons - "How are we all going to manage the planet and keep it sustainable if we know so little about it?"- and a romantic delight in others- "through science we have begun to answer in a more consistent and convincing way two of the great and simple questions of religion and philosophy: Where do we come from? and, What are we?" Wilson explains the roles of math, creativity, native intelligence, and audacity in the profession, and in so doing, provides indispensable advice on matters such as identifying a field, working with a mentor, and hewing to a code of scientific ethics. Anecdotes from his decades-long career provide a fascinating context throughout. Above all, Wilson reiterates an ever-important invitation to readers: "You are needed." His conviction will no doubt inspire young readers to forge their own path as scientists while reminding teacher readers to see the potential in each of their pupils.

Amy Hand, Trinity School, NY
Ed.M. Candidate, The Klingenstein Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2013
  New Thinking about Bullying
Bully Nation: Why America's Approach to Childhood Aggression is Bad for Everyone, by Susan Eva Porter

In her latest book, Dr. Porter suggests that the "bully crisis" is not what many believe it to be. Further, she analyzes how our accepted practices of managing childhood aggression, including zero tolerance policies, often cause more harm than good. Bully Nation calls for a less reactive approach, whereby adults respond with patience and thoughtfulness in the face of difficult and emotionally charged situations, allowing ample room for children to learn from mistakes and develop the requisite resiliency to face the inevitable difficulties of life. Porter claims that the "path of least resilience" is often taken when helping students manage conflicts with classmates and peers, and explains how labels such as "victim" or "target" do not support or empower students. Porter incorporates Carol Dweck's work on growth and fixed mindsets into her suggested approach, which, at its core, is a belief that changes in behavior and thinking are always possible. Since much anti-bullying education sets up children to think of their peers with a fixed mindset, in which they believe that they are either good or bad, Porter suggests an approach that focuses on cultivating flexibility as a starting point for change.

Judi O'Brien, The Berkeley Carroll School, NY
Paragon House, 2013
  Listen Up!
Speak Up!: A Personal Stories Project, by Blen Girum, et al.

Speak Up!, a recipient of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, is an interactive workbook addressing the complexities of race and racism in independent schools. Educators, students and parents will find it to be indispensable. The volume juxtaposes powerful vignettes written by students about their personal experiences in independent schools with informational sidebars, artwork, stimulating discussion questions, and challenging activities. Speak Up!, created by participants after the 2008 Sub/Urban Justice Summer Program, is designed to guide the reader's reflective practice and contribute towards meaningful racial inclusion work in schools. The text provides definitions of key terms to promote informed dialogue on race, and it aims to serve practitioners at every experience level with its strategies and resources. Brief yet practical, this volume will serve as a mirror for some readers - reflecting their experiences - and a window for others - helping them to examine and explore race through other people's stories. Diversity and inclusion practitioners have gained an important resource.

Renee Charity Price, St. Catherine's School, VA
Ed.M. Candidate, The Klingenstein Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
Sub/Urban Justice, 2010
  Minding Your Ps and Qs
Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential, by Shirzad Chamine

In this straightforward and easily digestible offshoot of the Positive Psychology movement, Shirzad Chamine explores the ways that the messages we learn to give ourselves in childhood - the very same messages that help us survive - actually get in the way of our success and happiness as adults. Though not new or groundbreaking, the text does give the reader a logic that is easy to follow and apply. By identifying certain messages (what Chamine calls the Saboteurs: Judge, Stickler, Pleaser, Hyper-Achiever, Victim, Hyper-Rational, Hyper-Vigilant, Restless, Controller and Avoider) we can relearn how to talk to ourselves and therefore create more positive work and personal experiences. Paired with Carol Dweck's work on mindsets, Positive Intelligence (PQ), could help students and colleagues alike reframe how they see the world and how they tap into their own potential without sabotaging themselves along the way. The book includes concrete exercises for increasing PQ and an analysis of how to measure PQ (your own as well as a team's). In the highly interpersonal world of schools, we can ill afford to ignore tools such as the ones put forward by Chamine.

Eric Temple, Lick-Wilmerding High School, CA
Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2012
  Portrait of the College Counselor as a Young Woman
Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy, by Lacy Crawford

"Latin or Parker? William had asked. There were two schools in their town. There were twenty colleges to which they might apply. But there were even fewer lives they imagine for themselves." These lines from Lacy Crawford's debut novel encapsulate the book - an evocative meditation on privilege, the purposes of education, the pursuit of a meaningful life, and expectations both parental and societal. Early Decision describes the application process to highly selective colleges through the eyes of Anne, a private college counselor who coaches students through their application essays. She has built a reputation for drawing out an applicant's natural voice, and the resulting list of impressive college acceptances has created a high demand for her services in moneyed circles. The novel chronicles her work with her latest - and last - cohort of students. It's no surprise that Crawford herself is a former college admissions counselor; her characters, along with her portrait of the college admissions process, will be familiar, albeit a bit overdrawn, to independent school educators. Whether you are amused or shocked by it, this book provides an aid to reflection about a process that engulfs families toward the end of their time at many of our schools.

Chris Lauricella, Park School of Buffalo, NY
William Morrow/Harper Collins Publisher, 2013

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