CMRUBINWORLDAUTHOR: The Global Search for Education

CMRUBINWORLDAUTHOR: The Global Search for Education:


“Nurturing innovation is an important priority for us in our school system” — Tapio Kosunen

More From Finland

By C. M. Rubin with Harry Rubin and Michael Freeborn

Nations around the world continue to re-think and reform education policies to better prepare children for life and work in a…

I believe that another key element in a successful program is a culture of educational innovation whereby new M. Ed. graduates do not have to fight against more experienced colleagues’ resistance to what they have just learned about education while completing their studies. I believe an “inertia of tradition” saps the creative energy of new educators in our own systems as they try to innovate.

I watched the video here yet again today… Am I perpetuating the…

I watched the video here yet again today…

Am I perpetuating the insanity of ‘education’ that is goal-driven rather than path-oriented? What path(s) should I encourage students to take? How should class time be spent, so as to nurture students selecting and traveling the path that is right for them?


I awoke about half an hour ago with the realisation that it has been many days since the learning coach recorded any thoughts about what is happening in the world of coaching students to become better writers and to ‘find their voice’ in the social media world(s). Somehow the day-to-day grind of class prep, advising, grading, and the other minutiae of teaching crowd out the discipline of writing for me. I don’t want it to happen, but it is insidious and merciless against my forming a habit of writing.

So here I am in the middle of the night to get some writing done before I go back to sleep. Tomorrow I hope to inspire students to finish their courses well, to establish themselves in the social media world(s), and in some way, to make a difference that they are alive today. There are the easy ones, those who already ‘get it’ regarding social activism before I even begin to talk through the opportunities available in our world. There are never quite enough of them, but they brighten up my day and put a spring into my step. But how will I reach those who are still more interested in what the world offers in terms of their own pleasure and entertainment? Can I entertain them enough to pull them into more serious matters, considerations, and reflections?

That’s all I can contribute for the present. I hope that I will come back daily, despite the end-of-term pressures that are mounting and despite the natural tendency I have to take in rather than give back. Time will tell.

Standardized Grading?

Will Richardson posted this item on Tumblr:

Automated assessment programs do not respond as human readers. While they may promise consistency, they distort the very nature of writing as a complex and context-rich interaction between people. They simplify writing in ways that can mislead writers to focus more on structure and grammar than on what they are saying by using a given structure and style.

Here’s what I know will happen once we move to the machines: we’ll help kids learn how to write what the machines want instead of focusing on the power and beauty and uniqueness of human communication. I can name a slew of brilliant writers who would probably fail the test because they wrote in a unique, compelling style that went far beyond our traditional thinking around “good writing.” Sure, in the name of efficiency we can choose to set the bar low and reward kids for putting together a sentence that’s barely readable but conveys a simple thought regardless. But why wouldn’t we choose something better? 

He was presented with the notion that a developer is working on a software application that would machine score English essays. It is interesting to reflect upon the nature of humanity that would preclude this happening in written communication. At present, we believe quite strongly that computers cannot grasp fine elements of reflection, creation, synthesis, and other capacities as well as they may be programmed to assess punctuation, spelling, basic structures, and similar features of communication. 

What do you think about this?

Will: What Qualities do “Bold Schools” Share?

Will: What Qualities do “Bold Schools” Share?:


First, let me thank everyone who commented and Tweeted examples of “bold schools” over the last few days. Very much appreciated, and over the next few weeks I’m planning to dig into the list and make some connections and inquiries around the learning that’s going on in those places….

This is excellent groundwork! You might add “Collaborative” to the list Will has provided. This would be the practice of learning while engaged with other co-learners on a project oragnised and completed jointly. I think issues of relative “autonomy” should be addressed; this would be _innovation_’s flip side, where learners are empowered to direct their own learning agendas.

Will: The Rise of State Schools

Will: The Rise of State Schools:


So this pretty much sums it up as well it can be summed up right now:

U.S. schools under the jurisdiction of state and federal governments are now scripted processes that view knowledge as static capital, students as passive and empty vessels, and teachers as compliant conduits for…

This is a sad, but true state of affairs in education, even at the university level in Canada. This is especially so, given the insights and observations of Sugatra Mitra, revealing the learning process as a fundamentally self-organising system.

Barefoot Learning

I had a great time last week, meeting my students for the coming semester. I have three sections of a professional writing introduction, a second-level professional writing course, and an oral business presentations course (not that my students are all business majors!). They are a wonderful group, with alert minds and considerate and respectful attitudes (much like students I’ve had in former years).

Last week, among several requests I made of my new students, I asked them to remove their shoes in the class. Somewhere I had read (or seen) a presentation claiming that students who remove their footwear learn better in classroom situations. Although my memory of this is quite clear, I cannot now find the article, blog post, or video/slide presentation, where this claim is made. Can any of you help me out? I hate making claims in the courses that I cannot provide references for.

The students complied and seemed to enjoy the experience (after all, this is Canada, where people are used to being without footwear indoors). 

Language Prejudice and Web 2.0

My colleague, Stephanie Wade, Lecturer SBU Writing and Rhetoric, shared with me, “What speech do we like best? Language expresses who we are, and who we want to be. It can also unite or divide us.” about language prejudice. I had to think of how faculty tend to view our students’ microblogging and texting as […]