What Is Character?

This post was originally published on Young Men’s Nation Character, as we define it at Young Men’s Nation, means: Maximizing your potential while ensuring that you, and the world around you, are both caring and fair. That phrase covers a lot; more than most men will be able to even achieve in one lifetime. It’s not easy to pull off all of […]

Character In Schools Part I: What Exactly Is “Character?”

Originally published on edumetrics.com This is a first in a series of three posts about student character in schools. In previous posts, we’ve described why we should measure character and how we are measuring character. This post will provide the definition of character as we see it here at EduMetrics. In future posts, we’ll be diving into what character traits are […]

How “Experience Sampling” Could Revolutionize Teacher Grade Reports

Originally published on edumetrics.com Think of a typical progress or grade report a teacher writes each quarter. Most of them require a teacher to fill out a rubric or checklist to indicate progress on a variety of behaviors, like active listening, respecting others and staying on task. But what are teachers actually basing these ratings off of after several weeks […]

To Legitimize Character Education Programs, We Must Measure Student Character Better

Originally published on edumetrics.com A major obstacle standing in the way of comprehensive character education is that current measures of program effectiveness lack scientific accuracy. This makes it difficult to evaluate whether specific curricula are actually improving kids’ capacities. It’s also really hard for school leaders interested in implementing character education programs to compare commercially available options because each program uses […]

School Bus Stops: The Latest Evidence That We’re Lazy And Anxious About Everything

I was driving to work a couple of days ago and got caught behind a school bus doing it’s morning pickups on a neighborhood street. Not something I’m usually too concerned about but this time I ended up reflexively yelling expletives at its pure absurdity. In the span of, I kid you not, seven houses on one street (I counted), the […]

I Love This TED Talk, But How To Pull This Off In Most Schools?

This 13 minute TED Talk from Dan Finkel, Founder of Math For Love and Doctor of Algebraic Geometry (that’s a thing? Cool.) pretty much encapsulates all that education in schools should be, no matter the subject. How to pull this off is another thing entirely, with our current classroom-teacher-student model plus state-imposed curriculum standards making it almost, but not entirely, impossible to […]

Let’s Stop Doing Things Just To Do Them

If we do it right, students won’t need “fun activities” to spice up the monotony of sitting in seats for an hour at a time all day. If learning new things stops being compulsory, and in a certain order dictated by the teacher, and instead becomes an outgrowth of the students’ innate, bubbling, organic curiosity, then school itself will be […]

Most Kids Don’t Care About Us

If I think about how many former students have reached out through Facebook or other means years after they left my classroom, that number is pretty small. Maybe 10 total in the 15 years I’ve been in schools? Each time they do, it’s so heartwarming and fulfilling that I get teary-eyed, but it’s still objectively rare. So it’s important for me to recognize that I will only leave wisps of an impression in the minds and hearts of almost all of the kids I’m now interacting with.

Schools Don’t Work Because Adults Are Scared To Grow

In my experience what’s most problematic about schools is the adults who don’t have the courage to grow. As I’ve stated before, school isn’t about adults. It’s about the future trajectories of children who didn’t choose to be born, are forced to attend school, and are stuck with whatever teacher they’re assigned. That totally sucks. It’s not fair, and although I […]

Teachers Should Reveal More To Kids

I had drinks last night with a buddy of mine I’ve known since 9th grade. We knew each other nominally in high school but became closer in college when we played in a blues band together for a couple of years. He took a while to find his footing academically and professionally compared to me, having dropped out of college after […]