The Power of Believing You Can Improve

Alison SnieckusUncategorized

There’s so much talk these days about the need for children to develop resilience and perseverance, to learn to be open to failing and trying again, to be willing to put in the effort when something is hard, to be up for a challenge. I don’t want to oversimplify, but I believe that Carol Dwek’s ideas are a big part … Read More

Alfie Kohn and the Empowerment of Children

Scott GallagherUncategorized

As a parent and educator, one of my heroes is Alfie Kohn. If you don’t know him you should check him out. He will challenge you to reflect on the things you think are important for a child. He will also challenge you to reflect on how adults, however well-meaning, control children. One thing he likes to deconstruct (and that’s … Read More

Rock Climbing and Fear

Katy BurkeUncategorized

I hadn’t expected to be so afraid, and for a while I couldn’t figure out what I feared. Did I fear falling? Truthfully, not one bit. I trusted the equipment and the set-up completely. If anything, I probably have too much faith in man-made apparatuses; I’ve never been one to think the roller coaster might break down. Did I fear … Read More

Trusting Children

Scott GallagherUncategorized

Share this Post I recently heard an episode of the radio show This American Life called Batman.  It tells the story of Daniel Kish, a boy who grows up blind and develops the ability to echo-locate.  By clicking his tongue, he is able to navigate the world and learn to do pretty much everything that other children do.   He walks … Read More

Things Work Out

Katy BurkeUncategorized

In my last post, I wrote about my refusal to proctor the standardized PARCC tests, which I equated to free falling. Here I’d like to talk about how I landed that fall. It was not at all through any special powers or skills of my own. I don’t have super cliff-jumping capabilities. People have told me I was courageous, but … Read More

It’s Complicated

Jeannette BermanUncategorized

The BLC and PLC staff recently met for our monthly book club and discussed It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by danah boyd. Through hundreds of interviews conducted with teens and their families around the United States, boyd is able to dynamically explore teenagers’ use of and experiences with social media. Her primary objective is to figure out what … Read More

The Mythologist

Joel HammonUncategorized

In March, PLC hosted a talk by professional mythologist, Richard Schwab. Not only was I delighted to learn that there actually are professional mythologists, I found much of what Richard had to say to be profoundly connected to the work that we do with young people. Some of my favorites:  Taking control. He spoke about the lack of initiation rites for … Read More

Opting In

Katy BurkeUncategorized

About this time last year I was free falling. I had refused to proctor the state mandated PARCC assessment and stood to lose my job as a NJ public school teacher of 13 years. In the words of my union lawyer whose counsel I desperately sought, I was “putting myself in front of a buzzsaw.” I remember how rattled I … Read More

The Learning Environment

Paul ScuttUncategorized

For many children, sitting at a desk in a classroom with books, or even with a networked computer, is not the environment that will naturally and easily allow a growth in all the eight intelligences that Howard Gardner proposes we all have (Frames of Mind, 1985).  Our traditional school systems focus primarily on the first two, “Linguistic” and “Logical-Mathematical”,  and … Read More

Deschooling

Joel HammonUncategorized

What happens when a young person stops attending school? Uncertainty. Panic. Teens and their parents wonder: are we doing the right thing? can this really work? what will everyone think? are we risking future success and happiness? For those of us who have had a traditional education, the idea that learning and growth can happen in any other way than … Read More