January 22, 2017

From: 'The Dalton School'

"The Dalton School, in its early years, perduredbecause of Helen Parkhurst. Her vision and force of personality engendered great loyalty from het faculty, school parenst, board of trustees and students. Her particular form of progressive Education, which came to be known as The Dalton Plan, was adopted in places as distant as Japan. But Helen Parkhurst, the woman, was an anomaly. Her competence as an educator was unquestionable, but on the personal level she exhibited a single-minded persuasiveness, a driving ambition, and an unparalleled ability to use people to achieve her own ends. I believe that het entrepreneurial approach to Education, acceptable in the 1920s, her forceful personality, and her single-minded determination were responsible for The Dalton Plan taking root in the Children's University School, renamed The Dalton School in 1920".

Susan F.Semel,  'The Dalton School,  American University Studies,          Peter Lang Publishing Inc. New York 1992

January 21, 2017

Book about the history of 'The Dalton School' New York

The Dalton School, an independent, progressive school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, was founded in 1919 by Helen Parkhurst. Influenced by educational leaders such as Maria Montessori, Frederic Burk, Carlton Washburne, and John Dewey, Helen Parkhurst established a child-centered, progressive school which attempted to incorporate the notion of a democratic community within the boundaries of an educational program. This innovative program became known as The Dalton Plan.
In this book, Susan F. Semel tells the story of The Dalton School from its earliest beginnings through the present day. Her story traces the history of progressive education within the walls of The Dalton School, focusing on the school's heads, including Charlotte Durham, Donald Barr and Gardner Dunnan. During certain periods of the school's history, as progressive education waxed and waned in the educational community at large and as educators responded to demands for more content-based curriculum, The Dalton Plan was modified. At other times, the school was impervious to the infusion of current educational thought. Consequently, during some periods of its history, The Dalton School was on the cutting edge of educational reform while, during others, the school swam against the tide of «alternative education» or neo-progressivism to favor a traditional back-to-basics approach. Ultimately, Semel uses the original Dalton Plan as a yardstick by which to measure what has happened to progressive education in the larger world.
While Susan Semel concludes that The Dalton School, in its present state, is not the same school that Helen Parkhurst founded, it still employs an educational program that pays attention to the needs of a multicultural society and reconfirms the spirit of child-centered pedagogy as an important concern of the Dalton community.

Susan F. Semel is an assistant professor of Education at Adelphi University. She received her A.B. in European history from Wheaton College, in Norton, M.A., and her M.A.T., Ed.M. and Ed.D. in the history and philosophy of education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Dr. Semel taught history at the Dalton School from 1965-1988.
Her current research interests include the history of progressive education, international educational reform, and the history of women and education. She is the co-editor of the International Handbook of Educational Reform, and the co-author of the forthcoming Exploring Education.

January 20, 2017

January 19, 2017

Suggestion from Finland

Finland may be less ostentatiously hipster than its Scandinavian neighbors but it is filled with forward-thinking and super-smart people. To mark 100 years of independence (from Russia), Finland is embarking on a wave of celebrations in 2017, one of which is HundrED, a bold project that aims to advance and scale innovation in education, initially in Finland but with global ambitions.
The initiative began in late 2015 when Finnish schools and educators were invited to submit their ideas for experiments to be trialed over the course of one school year. More than 700 hundred schools and organizations applied and in April last year, the successful applicants were announced and trials have been ongoing across the 2016/17 academic year.

These trials are being rigorously documented, measured and assessed with the overall aim of them being beautifully packaged on the HundrED platform, so that educators anywhere can access them.

The man behind HundrED, Saku Tuominen, who refers to himself as a "recovering TV producer", has, for the last three years, been directing his 25-year experience in creativity and innovation at the education sector. HundrED is the expression of his background in a new arena. He explains the overall vision, "Our goal is to be the deep experts in the world, who know what’s out there [in education innovation], what’s working and which ideas could be scaled."

Tuominen says there is no shortage of innovation in the sector but what is lacking is a way for those ideas and initiatives to be packaged so that they are accessible, easy to follow and furthermore, have a fair chance of spreading.

This platform approach, which effectively amounts to branding, is key to HundrED. Tuominen says, "We aim to make everything beautiful, everything understandable, so that any teacher, in Manchester, in Bangladesh, in Singapore, in San Francisco, can have access to the best education innovations globally. So that they can clearly see what the idea is, what resources are needed, and the dos and don’ts. For us, one key area is recognizing the innovations but just as important is the packaging part."
Finland has long been recognized as having one of the world’s finest education systems, it topped the OECD’s international results table in 2000, 2003 and 2006. The country’s centenary provided the perfect opportunity for an education themed initiative on this scale. Tuominen wanted to create something bold and impactful so pitched his vision to the government and the organization responsible for centenary celebrations, framing HundrED as a way to think about and prepare for the next 100 years of education, creating something better based on the excellence the country already has.

Tuominen says, "The world is changing extremely fast and schools need to change as well, but it’s not an easy task because, all over the world, education is happening in silos. Every country is a silo, every state is a silo, every city is a silo and every school is a silo. There are gatekeepers everywhere, so it is complicated to make change happen.

"Our idea is that there are a huge number of creative things that happen in classrooms all over the world but the problem is that practically no one knows about them, so, what if our mission is to recognize them, document them, evaluate them and package them in a beautiful, simple way and then help to make them spread?"


January 17, 2017

21st Century Skills in a nutshell

This is the well known schedule.
I use it as a framework in my PowerPoint presentation "Dalton in the 21st Century".
A new version of this PPT will be presented during the 'Dalton Congress' in Deutschlandsberg - Austria on 25 and 26 May 2017.