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The Master Teacher Achieving Critical Mass - A Summary of Many Years in Teacher Development

The Master Teacher

Achieving Critical Mass - A Summary of Many Years in Teacher Development

I have spent many years in education and as a instructor in the Army and have been in many sessions of “Professional Development.” In my role before I came to Blue River Valley a large part of my job at Anderson Schools was hiring and developing new and veteran teachers and administrators with classroom management and instructional training and providing continuing professional development for new teachers throughout their entire first year.    

To steal a term from physics, teacher training is often far, far below “critical mass” - a term used to define the smallest mass of fissile material that can sustain a nuclear chain reaction. If there isn’t a critical mass of these atoms that can sustain fission, if there just isn’t enough... then it simply won’t happen. This is a metaphor for many things, and education is one of them.  Mastery in instruction, and becoming that “Master Teacher” requires th…

Common Sense

Rationality,  Reason, Risk and Common Sense


Being rational means that you show good judgment, have good sense, are reasonable and driven by facts rather than emotions. It is not “common sense”(which is no more than a basic application of your knowledge of how things work specifically in your environment),  nor is it “common knowledge” which is the whole of the underlying facts that apply among a group in a common place.
Both are local and limited, and often used incorrectly. Common sense would be, “If you think you’re going to get to the 8:00 movie on time you need to hurry up.” Common knowledge would be, “The movie theater is over by Target and the Muncie Mall.”
The problems with both is provincialism - that belief held by many people who make the assumptions that the customs and traits where they live are in fact the correct and proper ones, or at least the most universal ones, and that what other people do is weird, or even wrong. But using common sense and common knowledge is, is a…

Differences Between Men and Women

Differences Between Men and Women
No matter how you may believe that humans came to be humans, we are pretty well-designed, and (as I always say) despite modern American society demanding that we declare that men and women are exactly the same, they are not, and the differences are measurable and meaningful even in young people our student’s ages.
Visually, men have a generally narrower field of vision but it is designed so that men can focus on something in one direction in the distance and follow its movements. Women have a larger field of vision that catches more things, but particularly those at much closer ranges. Men tend to lose things in “plain sight” and the visual parts of the male brain are structured to do ranging, direction and distance while women are much more likely to just “see” it, as it is, after all, “in plain sight.”   But men will see something move or create a contrast against its background at a distance, and they can estimate range and size better over distance…

Multiple Intelligences

Multiple Intelligences
Harvard professor Howard Gardner was born during the Second World War to parents that had immigrated to Pennsylvania to escape Nazi Germany because they were Jewish.  
The key educational work of his career, the 1983 book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences,is the examination of multiple intelligences and the theory that different people process things differently. Gardner originally identified seven distinct “intelligences”: Visual-spatial, Body-kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Verbal-Linguistic, and Logical-mathematical.  It has changed some over time.
Gardner has many critics - most of whom object (reasonably) to the logic of claiming that traits such as “interpersonal skills” as having any relationship with “intelligence” which typically refers to the measure of how you score relative to other people on a very limited and narrow test of purely cognitive ability. They simply are not the same thing - especially after Gardner s…