December 31, 2011

The last day of the year

Isn't it the best day to look back on what happened?
But let me confine myself to the progress of Dalton in my country
and abroad.
In the Netherlands the Teacher University KPZ in Zwolle is again
the best in the country. I am happy to work as a senior consultant
for this insitute together with several highly qualified Dalton
We started to develop a training structure for a "Certificate
Dalton director".
Our initiative to train the co-ordinators of
Dalton schools was a big success and is followed in the meantime by
other universities.
We stimulated networks of Dalton headteachers and also some networks
of co-ordinators started.
A new brochure with 35 topics to train teams of teachers is coming
out in two weeks.

The strongest development abroad has taken place in Poland.
Many Kindergarten have embraced the Dalton Plan, the first edition of
our newest book in the Polish language was sold out within 6 months.
School 4 Child is the first primary Dalton school in Poland.
A high qualified school with ambitious young teachers. The visit of
Howard Gardner was probably one of the highlights of this year.
The new Polish Dalton Association is cooperating closely with some
companies specialized in Dalton material.
Hans Wenke and I participated last year in five Dalton conferences
in Poland in different cities.
The Dalton development in Germany is growing and I hope that the
German Dalton Association will take their responsibility to coordinate
the brilliant initiatives in this country.
The fisrt official Dalton school in Austria will get their certificate
in March 2012. Mittelschule "Vogelweide" in Wels worked hard last
year and asked for an audit by Dalton International.
With much appreciation I like to mention the Dalton development in
Dakar / Senegal. With help of partner school 'de Twijn'/ Utrecht NL
and the University in Leiden / NL they make big steps forward with a
radiation on other parts of the society.
A fantastic Comenius project "Blogging in Europe" is mentioned many
times already in this blog. See our general blog on the left.
Partner school 'Begonazpi Ikastola' is not only the coordinator of the
project, but they also develop elements of Dalton education in their school.
In the Czech Republic we organized the 15th Dalton conference in May.

I wish all the readers and members of this Dalton blog Happy New Year.

December 30, 2011

Dalton assignment board for Kindergarten

Dalton assignment form to use in Kindergarten

On request of
some schools
I show here
my design of an
assignment form.

Most of the
Dalton Kindergarten
prefer an
assignment board.

Example of such
a board above.

December 27, 2011

December 25, 2011

A Portfolio is more than the collection of work sheets

A portfolio is a record of the pupil's process of learning:
what the child has learned and how he/she has gone about learning.
But also how he/she thinks, analyzes, produces, creates.
And how he/she interacts intellectually, emotionally and socially
with others.
Arter and Spandel (1991) define the portfolio as a purposeful
collection of student work that exhibits to the student, or others,
the efforts or achievement in one or more areas.

The material in a portfolio should be organized by chronological
order and category. All information in the portfolio has to be dated,
arranging the assignments, checklist, test results, and other
information should be simple.
Appropriate assessment of young children should involve the children
themselves, parents, and teachers. The portfolio is a tool to
stimulate self-refection.
The portfolio method promotes a shared approach to making decisions
that will affect children's attitudes toward work and school in
The portfolio is more than a collection of work sheets and exercise
books taken home several times a year.
One of my favorite workshops is the development of portfolio's.

December 23, 2011

Changing education paradigms

Sometimes you are lucky to get something valuable.
A former student sent me the link to this great speech of
Ken Robinson.
I've read his book 'The Element' two years ago and since that
moment I am a big fan of him.
His analysis of ADHD in this film is brilliant.

December 22, 2011

Multiple Intelligences

Nice introduction how to work with Multiple Intelligences in a school

Living once a week?

Some schools introduced
a 'Dalton Hour' once a week. This is a contradictio in terminis.

Dalton is a teaching method for the whole range of the educational
process in a school.
Helen Parkhurst said: "Dalton is a way of living".
The children in a Dalton school learn to take own initiatives,
to be responsible for their own learning. In Dalton schools we
train the attitude of independency and all pupils can use these
attitudes during their whole school life. Not only once a week.
Working wiith assignemnts once a week is called "project work".

December 19, 2011

The Archipelago of nice teachers

If I walk through the corridors of a school and I see all doors of the classrooms closed, I start to fear about the quality of the educational level of the school.
Of course I can’t doubt the quality of the individual teacher behind those doors.
Probably she / he creates a great atmosphere in the classroom.
Walking there the sounds coming out of the hidden classrooms explain joy or chaos, instruction or co-operation, or mysterious silence. It is the professional arrogance of every educator that we ‘feel’ immediately what’s going on.
If all the doors are open and some children can work on the corridor, it proves that teachers made agreements, that they share at least a common idea about classroom management. But it doesn’t prove that they share educational philosophy.
Quality of the educational level and innovation, the instructional characteristics of the school has to be discussed permanently between the complete teaching staff.
The staff meeting gives direction to the teaching objectives and the educational development of the school.
Some school managers think that the archipelago of nice teachers make a good school.
The ‘helicopter view’ of open doors is like the pictures in a touristic brochure, it has to impress the tourists.
Open doors can be the start of a process, but it doesn’t tell anything about the consistency of the educational vision on education.

December 18, 2011

December 17, 2011

Social structure in Kindergarten

I found this strategy
in a Dutch Dalton school.

Very useful for training
independency in social

Project Learning Contract

Before you start to work with your independent project, you will need to create a plan of what you want to learn. But also how you want to show what you’ve learned. You need to share this plan with your teacher. This plan is a part of your project.
1. Learning need :
Write here your questions related to the topic you wish to learn more about.

2. Learning resources and activities :
Think about the resources you will need ( books – computer – places to visit – interview).

3. Planning number of hours needed to accomplish your learning outcomes :
Try to list the hours spending to each of the planned activities from 2.

4. Evidence of the learning outcome :
How will you know that you have achieved the learning outcomes? List what you will use to measure, such as: cooperative audit – graphs – publication – self-assessment (see obstacle checklist by Roel Röhner).

5. How will you show what you have learned?
Presentation to the class – Wall paper – oral examination – PPT etc.

Date: ............
Signature student :

Signature teacher :

December 16, 2011

Pupils need your confidence

Children are full-fledged partners and totally equipped for their
own development.
When you express your confidence in their development, with a nice
word: development potential, you give children the chance to grow.
People which develop to the best of their abilities can’t
Speaking about development: if there is anyone who has knowledge
about it, it is the teacher. But in this sense many of them use a
limited part of their observations and experiences.
Development in school is judged by the achievement of children.
The question is if development as product, as result, is more
important than development as a process. The way of development.
The more you know about that process, the better you are able to
help. Pupils don’t need teachers to measure their results.
They need the confidence of the teachers that they will be successful.
They need their patience and questions after the problems they met.

December 15, 2011

It is very easy
to become member
of this blog.

See on the left.

Logo competition

Children from the participating schools in the Comenius project
Blogging in Europe made beautiful logos fot this project.
Please visit the general blog and you can find the results of this
logo competition by clicking the blogs of the individual
partner schools.

Course offering Dalton education

Several possibilities to be trained in Dalton aspects.

1. Dalton, an orientation
2. Dalton and school organization
3. Dalton class organization in Kindergarten
4. Dalton class organization in primary schools
5. Effective instruction and Dalton
6. Dalton and instructional design
7. Development of independent learning
8. Co-operative learning
9. How to make assignments and registration
10. Why Dalton education?
11. Dalton is no system
12. Multiple intelligences and Dalton
13. Free choice assignments
14. How actual is Dalton?
15. Effective differentiation
16. Dalton education and class management
17. How to integrate the local curriculum in Dalton?
18. Evaluation and self-reflection
19. Creating of ‘action guides’
20. Participating in the network of Dalton International

Workshops on location in combination with a Dalton conference.
Figures in mutual arrangement.
Intake for workshops, lectures or school advisory service is possible by

December 13, 2011

'Free-choice assignments' based on M.I.

Together with Wendy van Beurden and Paul Bruijn
I created many 'free-choice assignments' which children can make
independently. Files with 50 assignments for different ages.
This material has tasks for all the 8 intelligences.

ARKO editor of Dalton books

December 11, 2011

December 10, 2011

Checklist for composing an assignment in Dalton Primary schools

Choose every week some topics from the list below
to vary and to make the assignment attractive.

 can the student make the assignment independently
 is the assignment linked up to the level of the student
 did you took into account the multiple intelligences
 is this assignment stimulating independent learning
 is this assignment stimulating the cooperative learning
 does the student knows the goal of the assignment
 what kind of study skill is trained with this assignment
 does the student knows what kind of end product you expect
 is a good planning feasible for the student
 are ‘action guides’ available
 can the student be creative in finding solutions
 is it clear at what moment the student can come for extra instruction
 is the student free to choose which kind of product can be returned
 is it clear when this assignment must be ready
 are models for self-correction available
 how will you evaluate this assignment
 will this assignment be a part of the portfolio
 do you initiate a ‘self-reflection’ moment

December 9, 2011

Details about this festival
at the end of January.

Didactical respect

Yesterday I found on Facebook a very good quote of Albert Einstein.
It was published by Richard van den Berg, webmaster of Dalton
I added the cartoon next to this quote, because it is exact the
right illustration.
My friend Hans Wenke always use this illustration when he explains
the value of didactical respect.

December 7, 2011

Computer-assisted teaching

A modern teacher creates a learning setting in which children
are challenged to take initiatives. The time of only one teaching
method is over. The teacher as coach of the process.
The necessity to work on differentiation is not only connected to
children who are lagging behind or leading the group, its a process
of customized teaching for the whole group.
In other words: respect the child.
Nowadays we have to pay respect to their skills and affinity in
using computers. Its opens a new world of differentiation facillities.

Modern education is more and more development-oriented education.
This approximation is just the point to give children the space
to take initiatives.
Current innovations in accordance with the Dalton philosophy and
the challenges of today's world are reflected in our use of new
technologies. Dalton has brought to education the dynamic transfor-
mations taking place in the world of digital technologies and
communication. In addition to the best elements of a traditional
education, students are provided with an array of powerful tools
allowing them to pursue the work of their assignments with their
energies channelled toward problem solving and higher level of
thinking skills.

The Dalton School New York

December 5, 2011

Thanks to my friend Chris Edwads from Leeds.

December 3, 2011

Strange attribute

Very often I see in schools
this attribute.
Someone started to call it
Dalton cube. What an insult for Dalton.
I hope this person is the producer
and not a teacher in a Dalton school.

It is absolutely controversial to what we want to stimulate in
Dalton education.
First of all it gives an individual pupil the right to frustrate
the higher process of cooperation in a team.
Of course pupils have the right to work alone sometimes, but this
has to be decided in consultation with the teacher.
Secondly it is not a way to learn self reliance because
it is not based on a structural process. The development
of learning how to grow to independency is more complicated than
green and red.
We created 'action guides' to learn that process.
This cube has nothing to do with Dalton education. Perhaps it is
popular in traditional schools.
This cube has absolutely one value: burn it during the team
barbecue at the end of the term.

December 2, 2011

Motivation is based on respect.

Why are your pupils coming to school? What is their motivation?
Some love to go to school, because you as a teacher are able to
create a good atmosphere in your group.
You challenge your children to do the things they are able to.
Of course you don’t ask them to do what they can’t .
There is no child that wants to demonstrate the things they can’t do.
Every child knows that it is unwise to enter into this risk.
Children don’t go to school to score.
You want them to score, but they don’t.
Children go to school to go through a deal.
Is something special happening ?
They don’t remember you later as the teacher who made excellent
assignments or tests, but as the teacher who played the piano
so beautiful , played football during the school camp, or you
were the teacher who did the things that were important for
them personally.
Teachers and pupils meet each other in the first place as persons,
they judge each other on basis of personal values.
So education in the first place has inter-human importance and
at a second place an educational.
Helen Parkhurst simply said at this point : respect the child.
Only in a good relation children are able to show what they can.

November 29, 2011

Explaining is blocking active learning

Every week I have the honour to work with several schools to give
Dalton training to an unknown team of teachers somewhere in our country.
As a Dalton Consultant I work on free-lance base for
Wenke Dalton Consultancy/KPZ.
It often happens that I have the same kind of fundamental discussion.
Basic elements of the Dalton concept are always in the centre of the attention.
I try to challenge a school team to give their own interpretation of the three Dalton ‘cornerstones’:
responsibility – self reliance – cooperation.

Some time ago, a very nice colleague reacted very honestly and openly.
Elaborating the independency of pupils, he spoke about his worries. The motivation of the children in his class was low, the attention during the instruction was bad and he ended with his conclusion: “These pupils are not learning enough”.
I asked him to analyze his way of teaching and after short time most of the colleagues in this school came to the same conclusion that in their education
the teacher is the most active person. And in their opinion it was the best and most effective way to teach.
“Much instruction is the best way to teach”, they explained.
This attitude is a logical one.
Didn’t we all learn in our pedagogical institutes that a good teacher is the teacher who can explain the most difficult parts of the curriculum?
But there is still that main problem on the background of this discussion:
*pupils are not motivated anymore to listen.
*the attention of children is declining.
I have to provocate at that moment, to make my statement clear.
When I ask why a teacher is putting so much energy in instruction, the answer is always:
“When pupils don’t understand some assignment you have to explain, because that is the only way to help them”.
The crucial thing is of course: how can we make the children active and motivated?
I must admit that teaching is the activity of the teacher and it will be forever.
But learning is the activity of the pupil. No teacher can take over that activity!
Instruction is not the only way to fill the gap.
We have to arrange different instructional formats (teaching methods) to make the children active.
Are we able to realize that pupils nowadays belong to the E- generation?
The Dutch professor Wim Veen is using ‘Homo Zappiens’ for this new generation.
They consume information on their own way. They are used to calculators, television, Play Station, computers.
They sit in front of the television and they consume the products very quickly: if it is not interesting enough they simply switch to another programme.
And computers are their sixth organ.
The question is if the teacher happy with that development? But they can be happy that the remote control is not working in school.
Perhaps not, because even parents have problems to stimulate their own children to do their homework instead of sitting in front of the television.
But most likely you are the teacher of a whole group of such whiz kids.

It is not so strange that my Dutch colleague complained about the learning attitude of his students.
Students are used to be active themselves instead of long listening for information. They have the drive to explore. Listening to long instruction is for them like reading the instruction guide of a new computer programme. And no-one will do it, they all start to explore.
The first child that wants to read the instruction booklet before he/she wants to work with that programme has still to be born.

Students want activity, want to discover, do it themselves. That’s not a negative attitude, that’s real motivation.
And we teachers have to accept the changes in the consumption pattern of the audience in our classrooms. We are the professionals and that’s why we don’t want to serve them every day the same fast-food. Let’s be creative and make them real hungry.
Students want to be challenged to demonstrate their competences. They are not interested in the long demonstrations of the competence of the teacher. It will reduce their own competence.
We have to use our talents and it is not necessary to throw away everything from the former century.
Helen Parkhurst simply developed her Dalton concept on three basic needs of pupils :
• they must have the feeling to be safe and respected
• they must have the feeling to be competent
• they must have the feeling to be independent

It is time for a design of our education, based on these basic needs.

Roel Röhner
Senior Dalton Consultant

Creative dynamics

Every now and than I read again parts in one of my favorite
books 'The Element' by Ken Robinson.
Today I like to share with you a quote about creativity.

"Creativity is the strongest example of the dynamic nature of
intelligence, and it can call on all areas of our minds and being".

November 27, 2011

Birthday party

Yesterday great party with family and many friends.

November 26, 2011

November 25, 2011

November 24, 2011

Join this Dalton blog

I invite all readers of this blog to sign in as member.
(See left and follow instructions)

Dalton is a way of living

For a long time I try to fight the disease of parrotism.
It is a harmless infection but very annoying.
After visiting an international Dalton conference in London
some prominent educators from Holland came back and wrote
articles about the educational innovation they discovered.
To summarize 'The Dalton Laboratory Plan' they used one phrase:
Dalton is a way of life.
From that moment on the parrotism started.
In many websites of Dalton schools and in too many articles of
'Dalton specialists' I find the same phrase.
Isn't it a clever idea to search in the material Helen Parkhurst
wrote herself?
"To sum up, the Dalton Plan
should primarily be regarded
as a way of school living.
It is a way wherein each
young individual soul can
find opportunity for the use and
the expression of the best that in him lies. Only so can personality
reach its highest development and learning become pregnant with purpose".

By the way: parrots are nice and colourful.

November 23, 2011

The actuality of Dalton

Teachers nowadays must learn how to handle more and more
differences between children in one classroom.
In other words, the question is how to create an adaptive
education? An education organized from the proposition that
children differ from each other.
In primary education it is not possible to select at the
entrance of school life. It means that we are confronted
with very heterogeneous groups.
These differences between pupils make a strong appeal to
the professional skill and the expertise of the teacher.
Their level of teaching-strategy and educational ability,
their skills to organize the educational process, are
Characteristic of the pedagogical relation is that teachers
promote the self reliance and the responsibility of pupils.
Taking differences into account, the teacher is constantly
searching for a balance between giving security and challenging
the children.
The basic condition to motivate children is to recognize and
to tune in the individual aspects of individual development.

November 19, 2011

Good teachers inspire children

A very nice story about my favorite athleet Usain Bolt.
Here an interview with his inspiring teacher.

Usain is in the position to tell his story, but even
important are all his mates in the same classroom which
will have a similar story without having been interviewed.

November 18, 2011

Blogging in Europe

Waiting for
the blog of
one school.

November 17, 2011

November 16, 2011

General Blog
for actual
about this

Dalton project in Senegal

See here how students from Holland are working out ideas
for the Dalton implementation in the school in Senegal.

Action guides

November 12, 2011

Top team from Bilbao.
Organizers of the
"Blogging in Europe"

November 11, 2011

November 10, 2011

Start project in Bilbao

Representatives of schools from five different countries worked
together on the project 'Blogging in Europe'.
Every school will create a weblog in which teachers and children
can show their school, elements of their culture and the highlights
of school life.
During my workshops I introduced elements of the Dalton education,
and the colleagues discussed about the value of responsibility,
independency and co-operation in the educational process in their

November 5, 2011

Howard Gardner visited School4Child

Howard Gardner was visiting Poland last week.
He gave some lectures and visited the first Dalton primary school
in Poland.
School4Child is integrating multiple intelligences in their program.

November 3, 2011

Comenius project

Next Monday a very interesting
project will start in Bilbao.

Reportage about this project
next week in this blog.

October 28, 2011

Seminar at the Lorentz Dalton School - Hilversum

This is a very exclusive school building designed by the
famous Dutch architect Dudok. He also builded the City Hall
in Hilversum and the theatre in Utrecht.
Even important: this is a strong Dalton school and a very
nice team of teachers.
The topic of the seminar:
How to create 'free-choice-assignments' based on multiple

October 8, 2011

Dalton & Marzano

Yesterday we had a very interesting contact day with all
Dalton Consultants of KPZ.
Annemarie Wenke and Lotte Bakker gave a try-out workshop in
which they connected Dalton with the 11 factors Robert Manzano
destillated after his meta research.
Both colleagues demonstrated the value of Manzano as an extra
demension for the Dalton education.

The main message is:
"How to synthesize his educational research into strategies that
teachers can put to use for concrete gains in student learning."

October 5, 2011

Wrong demonstration

The Dutch Dalton Association (N.D.V.) announced in their last
E-letter a vacancy for the position of two ambassadors for
international contacts.

For several years Dalton International offered the N.D.V. a
close cooperation on international developments, but the board
members ignored that offer.
By this initiative the N.D.V. is showing that cooperation for
the Association is not longer one of the important starting
points of Dalton.
A tragic arrogance of the responsible board members.

September 28, 2011

September 26, 2011

Blogging in Europe

The first blog for this project is created by the partner school
Begonazpi Ikastola in Bilbao.
At this moment it's only the design for this new project plaform.
You can have a look here

September 24, 2011

Creative Learning Lab

Very interesting site with innovative ideas.
One of them is the interactive sandbox
Sand 2.0 is an idea of former intern Karim Amrani, who added colour and technology to the old fashoned sandbox. By projecting a new layer on top of the sand with a beamer and using an interactive whiteboard pen, children can give their sand creations an extra dimension.

September 23, 2011

Blogging in Europe

Karmele Pereda from Begonazpi Ikastola in Bilbao initiated
a very interesting Comenius Project.
In the application was written:

This project has arisen as an answer to the necessities of
each school implicated in sharing experiences, ideas,
activities and stories related to European culture.
The project is focused towards the idea of developing an
effective way in which all schools participating are able
to communicate and share activities and we believe that
the way is the use of BLOGS.
The activities will be supervised by Dalton International.

It is a great pleasure for me to contribute and to work with
schools from Czech Republic, England, Ireland, Poland and
Spain in this project. Dalton education will be the common
tool for redefining the approach to teaching for all the
participating schools.


Thanks to Jenny Hill from Education Leeds.
She gevae me the tip to find a great site:

September 18, 2011

Management training

Together with Paul Bruijn we could
work last week again with a
group of directors from Dalton
schools during a two days seminar.
A formula with a new certificate:
"Dalton director" as a reward
after following 6 days of training
and several days of intervision.
These days give always inspiration.

September 17, 2011

September 5, 2011

A clear vision

A Dalton teacher must have a sharp vision on education.
( a painted quote of the day this time)

August 31, 2011

Learn pupils to be pro active

Pro active pupils use their resourcefulness and initiative to
find solutions rather than just reporting problems or asking
others help to solve them.
We produced action guides in order to visualize the strategy.
Teachers must realize that children need time for a real
planning of their assignment before they start working.
Giving time for planning is not a waste of time but investing
in efficiency.

August 30, 2011

August 28, 2011