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Fairfax, Va.
I like books, students, parrots, and chocolate---not necessarily in that order.
Interests: cooking, reading, writing, teaching, advanced placement
Recent Activity
Teachertalk added a favorite at hello typepad
Apr 24, 2013
The answer is conversation hearts--those cute little pastel hearts with the corny sayings on them.
1 reply
Last column for the Examiner. June 29, 2011. We are tired of clichés. Every mission statement of every school I’ve worked for is full of them. They sound good, but they’re pro forma and have changed little in the past... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for June 22. When first reading the newly released data on the educations of state legislators, I was nodding my head at states with highly educated politicians, and frowning at those where a fifth or a quarter of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for June 15. The yearly Advanced Placement exam-grading marathon has begun. There is a scoring session for each AP test, and in English 2500 teachers—half at the high school level, half college level—spend 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for June 8. We know that, on average, a college degree adds more than $20,000 per year to earning potential, and that improved health and longevity are also associated with the degree. But if I had to capture... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for June 1. We have long known that a person’s educational level correlates with lifetime income, but what we haven’t realized until now is that our college majors are also significant to the bottom line. The U.S. Census... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for May 25. It starts in sixth grade with an assembly where students sing and play instruments and feel butterflies at the thought of going to a larger school. Every three or four years thereafter, successful students are... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2011 at TeacherTalk
What’s the difference between college presidents and the rest of us? They probably make more money, but that’s only the beginning, according to the Pew Research Center. Two studies released this week polled 2142 adults by phone, and 1055 college... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for May 11. It’s the end of the semester, which means that 70 George Mason University students are hoping I will give them an A in their required advanced composition class. Many are mystified by how college teachers... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for May 4. Each September 11, my memories are of the classroom. I was teaching a combined class of Advanced Placement English and AP Government. The 56 high school seniors who stayed with me and my co-teacher while... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for April 27. 200 Universities across the country are bases for Writing Project sites, George Mason University being one of the oldest and most active. All that will change as a result of the spending bill signed into... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for April 20. There was a time when students went to college “to get an education”—or that’s what they claimed. They no longer claim that as their motivation for a college degree. Now students want a job. If... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for April 13. Unlike the recent release of Wall Street CEO 2010 compensations, which made every news report, the publication in the Chronicle of Higher Education of faculty salaries created nary a newsworthy ripple. We know college professors... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for April 6. We have watched as state after state cuts funding for higher education, and public universities counter with tuition hikes. Is the end of this cycle a system that is losing its international competitive edge? Seventy... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for March 30. Each week I look at several publications hoping to come across something to inspire my column. Education stories often repeat themselves with slightly new spins. For instance, money gets taken out and put back into... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for March 23. Whether our college students are “Academically Adrift,” as sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa claim in their book of the same name, or academically delayed, as I suggested in last week’s column, it’s clear they... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for March 16. President Obama is calling for a fix of the No Child Left Behind law before the moment in 2014 when 100 percent of our public schools would be “failing.” Although well intentioned, the goal of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for March 9. The recently published book “Academically Adrift” by sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, paints a grim picture of student higher learning. 2300 students in 24 institutions were tracked throughout college and tested three times for... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for March 2. Teachers often teach the way they were taught. That’s the obstacle to change in classrooms from kindgergarten to the university. With the publication of the “Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing,” we have a blueprint... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for February 23. The publication of the “Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing” is the occasion of this three part series on student writing, and why it’s taking so long for teachers and students to get it right.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Wow--comments from my two favorite Davids! Thanks, David J. And to David M.: yes, those issues are bigger than a semester or two. No doubt the educational system is subverting voice, but isn't that what college is all about? Correcting the narrow focus of high school, and allowing students to take off their blinders? They should be ready for that, and one or two semesters of good writing instruction should be enough to get them on the "right" voice track. The problem, as I see it, is that most college professors don't teach writing very well--and I include some English teachers among that list. Mostly, though, it's the professors in other depts. who perpetuate all the early 20th century myths about what good writing is. Good to hear from you, btw! See you in June...
Examiner column for February 16. There are days when I go around humming a variation of Henry Higgins’ famous rant from “My Fair Lady”: Why can’t the teachers teach their children how to write? This verbal based distinction, should now... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for February 9. Tenured college professors have been the subject of many satires and numerous diatribes against their privileged position in society; yet many students aspire to that position. The ivory tower, the life of the mind, the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2011 at TeacherTalk
Examiner column for February 2. When I take the large view, education in the United States is pretty good and I can’t complain. On the other hand, I’ve spent 35 years in classrooms where students both love and hate learning,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2011 at TeacherTalk