I’m worried that people when they read the message that kids who are successful later in life because they first experienced failure then design schools so that students artificially experience failure.

When I read Paul Tough’s book on “How Children Succeed” I wondered, is the theory of “grit” an example of a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy?

In other words, we find examples of kids who are successful when we would not expect them to be, and so we look for a shared trait that they apparently had before they experienced success, and then assume that because they had this trait before they experience success that this trait caused their success.

Here’s an alternate hypothesis. We expect “success” to be somewhat normally distributed trait (perhaps with a skew because of lack of opportunity). Some portion of any group of people will therefore experience higher levels of success than the rest of the group, and we should be careful to attribute this success to anything other than random chance.


The most useful thing I learned in my early years of teaching was that more and faster talking leads to less learning. The next most useful thing I learned was that the less I talked (within some limits), the more students learned.

What misconception about learning does this comic highlight?


Here’s an unoriginal idea: we know a lot about how children learn; let’s all think about how we can apply this to how adults learn.


We still need to teach kids how to read and process text and other media critically. There is not yet a tool that can read a text critically for a student, and even if one existed, could we trust it?


Whenever I hear someone use the phrase ‘deliver a lesson’, I cringe. Lessons are not things to be delivered to students! When we use this language it implies that the construction of the lesson is independent from the immediate experiences of the children for whom the lesson is intended, and that the students have no input into the lesson itself.

Contrast this to a lesson designed with actual children in mind, who bring their own experiences to each day. When I start my lesson, I may have in my mind a direction I would like it to go, but this direction is likely to change depending on my interactions with my students. As a result, I do not so much design full lessons so much as experiences I want my students to have, and then have resources available so that if I see a need for the day to go in a particular direction, I have the resources available to take us there.

How it's tested influences how it's taught!

We know that what gets tested gets taught. But just as important is that how it’s tested can influences how it’s taught.


Inspired by Jonathan Kozol, “King did not say he had a dream that someday in the canyons of our cities, north and south, we will have tests and anxiety-ridden schools.”

I know that there are plenty of people who question everything their doctor says. However, most people will accept the advice their doctor gives them, even if many of them will question it and do their own research. Why is it that so many people think that educators, even ones who have spent as much time learning their craft as a doctor does to learn theirs, know little about learning? What makes everyone think they are an expert on learning?

As distance increases, so does expertise.


Why do we treat out-of-town, and potentially expensive expertise as being more trustworthy than expertise in our own schools?