I believe in student-centered, authentic learning. I love project-based learning, but have come to conclude that many children need a lot of scaffolding and structure. At Paul Robeson, a traditional school, I have firsthand experience in the “old” and more modern schools of teaching.
I run a renegade type Standards Based Grading, with an emphasis on multiple chances. Like the driver’s test, kids should keep working at a skill until they master it. I wrote a bit about that here.
I also believe in authentic projects as a way for students to build soft skills and demonstrate mastery.
Here, students researched their neighborhood in conjunction with a study of mood, tone, and the MOVE bombing. We created and shared a map. (This is from 2015)
Freshmen spent a quarter on the question “Is technology making the word a better place?”. They made infographics along with an annotated bibliography.
I am firmly against zero tolerance, and practice empathetic discipline. I wrote about that, and how it goes wrong, here.
I use a lot of technology. I feel strongly that Open Source technology best matches the democratic school. I wrote about that, and fixing old computers, here.
Finally, I believe that the number one job of teachers is to be role models for young people. This, along with the terrible disparity in resources that afflict the children of Philadelphia, drives my advocacy. I believe teachers need to speak up for better schools – as pedagogy and as institutions. I believe students need to see that if they are to become future advocates.