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Archive for Education


Why Teachers Quit

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Interesting article from The Atlantic regarding Why Teachers Quit. While these statistics may be startling to some, those of us how know a little about education or educators (I’m married to a Kindergarten teacher) know that these numbers sound about right:

* 40-50% of teachers leave teaching in the first 5 years
* 9.5% of teachers do not finish their first year of teaching
* 15.7% of teachers leave the profession every year
* 40% of those who pursue an undergraduate degree in teacher never enter the classroom at all

Every profession has its share of turnover, but education seems to run higher turnover rates than other professions. The author of the article, Richard Ingersoll, himself left education after six years in the classroom, shares his thoughts as to why teachers are not sticking. What do you think of the reasons he gives for teachers leaving the classroom?

Categories : Education
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The Value of Seminary Education

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I waited until I was 33 years old to attend seminary. For me, seminary education meant that I had to uproot my family of four and relocate, crossing two state lines to do so. Even though I had a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology, the standard was still Master’s level work. I had two failed attempts at non traditional seminary education, one through and accredited seminary that offered satellite classes at a local college and the other through a non accredited correspondence school. Staying with one meant that it would take years to complete the cycle of offerings that would come to me. Seeing through the correspondence route meant that at the end of the substantial investment of time and money I still would have an unaccredited degree.

Part of my problem was the sheer irony of it all. On one hand, I felt judged that I had not attended seminary. At the same time, those who were most prone to judge my lack of formalized theological education were simultaneously the most committed to condemning their own seminary experience. They would say things like, “Seminary didn’t prepare me for ministry,” or “The don’t teach (fill in the practical skill set) in seminary.”

I graduated with my Master’s of Divinity in 1998, and completed my Doctor of Ministry Degree in 2005. Looking back, I have no regrets. While my seminary experience was not perfect by any means, I’m glad I went because I went for the education, not the degree. I was fortunate to have met many outstanding Christian men and women who passionately taught their subject matter, and even though I was enrolled in a large seminary, took the time to learn my name, ask about my story, and care about my calling. Cynicism was quickly erased as one professor explained the purpose of the experience. He told me that the purpose of seminary was not to give me every answer I would need for ministry, but to prepare me to be an ongoing learner. Seminary was designed to provide the tools I would need to discover the answers myself.

It was with that challenge I undertook nine years of graduate education. I’m glad I did, and I’m glad I did it the right way. This mild reflection comes to you courtesy of Skye Jethani, who blogged yesterday about the CURRENT STATE OF SEMINARY EDUCATION in America. I hope you’ll read his post, for I think he does a good job of raising some very important questions about where seminary education is and the direction it needs to take.

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My wife shared this article with me and I thought I’d pass it along. It’s titled, “How Free Play Can Define Kids Success.” Enjoy!

Categories : Education, Parenting
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Out of Our Minds

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I came across this marvelous book by watching an interview with the author that was posted on Michael Hyatt’s blogsite. For those of us who are right brained and lean a little more to the abstract and conceptual side of the street, anything to do with creativity is compelling. So I bought it.

Sir Kenneth Robinson is Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of Warwick. His achievements include a vast list of world-wide accomplishments in education, creativity, and cultural development. Out of Our Minds is directed toward the field of education in America.

His hypothesis is that our educational system is lagging, still preparing children for employment in an industrial age that has long passed. According to the author, metrics like standardized achievement tests and measuring for “I.Q.” are no longer valid means of marking student’s preparation for the new digital age. Educators will read this book with a particular bias that those of us who are not educators cannot appreciate. While I am not an educator in the narrow sense, his arguments about our public education system were intriguing.

Having said that, Robinson’s thoughts have caused me to wonder whether the discipleship models utilized in today’s local church are being effective. Most local church’s have parroted discipleship forms that are classroom models. Uniform curricula is offered at a standard time and people are encouraged to select from one or more course offerings. Little variety is offered in teaching style, for the main objective is teaching discipleship material and following the syllabus, not making disciples. If attendance is low, churches look for more sensational teaching materials (like “The Book of Revelation”) or felt need driven topics (“Financial Peace University” or other matters pertaining to marriage and the family). What if our discipleship model looked more like a Montessori school than a traditional educational model? What if we developed a system that was more British than American? What if we placed less emphasis on master teachers and more on mentoring or even peer to peer learning? What if “disciples” were allowed to participate in the development of discipleship programs vs. being asked to participate? What would that look like? What could that look like?

Is today’s church being innovative in creating disciples? That’s one take away from Robinson’s book.

Tomorrow I’ll do a second post on some of Robinson’s views on creativity.

Categories : Books, Creativity, Education
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Is Your Child Gifted?

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My wife sent me this chart that details the characteristics of high achievers, gifted learners, and creative thinkers. I found it interesting and thought I’d pass it along to you. The research comes from Dr. Bertie Kingore who has done extensive work in the field of gifted education. Her website is www.giftedkids.about.com. You can find the chart that details the differences by clicking here.


Race to Nowhere

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The New York Times has recently published a movie review for Race to Nowhere: The Overscheduled Child. It discusses the pressures that today’s children face to build resumes in a competitive educational environment. Click for the article.

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