January 31, 2012

Suggestions for training responsibility

In the context of my quote today, I found a nice article on internet.

I bring it here in my Daltonblog as discussion material. But some practical ideas are very useful.

Determine classroom rules and present them to your students while explaining that sticking to the rules is responsible behaviour. Rules should cover punctuality, not speaking unless permitted, being respectful to others, doing homework and the careful use of the school's, and other people's, property. Display the rules in a visible place in the classroom and present them to parents through letters.
Find a variety of classroom jobs that need to be filled, and make the students apply for the position. Give descriptions for each job by detailing the individual responsibilities. Job titles can include board cleaner, paper collector, librarian, janitor, registry supervisor, homework administrator for children who have been away, animal keeper for the classroom pet or lunch counter. Place the most, and least popular jobs on a weekly rota where all students have the chance, and misfortune, to perform them.
Place a basket with paper strips in the classroom. Invite students to write their name and action on a paper strip whenever they feel they have been particularly responsible, or helpful. Check the paper strip tray once a week and make a paper chain out of the strips. Hang the chain on the wall and encourage the children to increase their efforts in order to make it go around the entire classroom.
Ask the children to bring in a book where the characters perform either responsible or irresponsible actions. Let each child introduce his choice of book and discuss the contents. Children have to define what is included in the terms responsible and irresponsible and how the actions affect the story and characters in the book.
Give out an assignment in which the children have to recall and write about a truly irresponsible act they have performed. Ask them to consider what made the action irresponsible, how it made them feel and how they could have solved the situation differently. Read the assignments and discuss the issues in class.
Organize the children in teams and ask them to perform work assignments or tasks as a group. Explain the importance of teamwork and how it depends upon the reliability of the individual members. Let the groups define responsibilities for each team member. When assessing the work, prioritize the group effort and team spirit involved in the project, rather than the outcome.
Pick an age-appropriate movie and watch it with the class, provided all parents give consent. Prepare a work sheet with the names of three to five main characters in the movie written on top. Give out the work sheets and ask the students to note the responsibilities, and irresponsible actions, of the characters while watching the movie. Discuss the work sheets and let the children consider the reasons for irresponsible behaviour in the movie and how it affects the other characters and their actions and the story development.
Prepare an age-appropriate mock personality test in which the pupils are invited to assess their personal sense of responsibility. The tests can contain multiple-choice questions about personal preferences, decision-making procedures and problem solutions, or present case studies where the students are presented with fictional situations and have to decide what to do on behalf of the characters. By assessing the tests, you will gain insight about how well students understand the significance of responsibility.

January 30, 2012

First steps to train independency

Give children a task in the organization of the classroom. Visualize these tasks with a 'household assignment board' so the children can see who is in charge and where they can indicate when the task is completed.

Teach children 'problem solving skills'. Encourage them to think about what they could do to solve the problem rather than telling them the solution.

Let children know you are interested in their thoughts and ideas. Ask them why this is the good solution. Help them to understand the impact of their choices.

Help children to set achievable goals and work toward achieving those goals.

Encourage and praise children’s attempts to take decisions, no matter what the outcome. Respect a pupil's decisions as much as possible.

Help children take responsibility for packing up their material

Teach children to use the 'colour clock' and indicate the time they have for an activity.

January 29, 2012

Ascham School Sydney

Two representative from the famous Dalton school Ascham will visit
the Netherlands in May.
Elizabeth Neil Head of 'Junior School Fiona' and Judi Butcher Head
of the 'P to Year 2 section Hillingdon' come to be present during
an international Dalton meeting and of course we bring them to some
of the best Dalton schools in Holland.

From Ascham's website:

Ascham’s teaching rests on the Dalton Plan, a philosophy of learning developed in the USA and introduced to Ascham by Headmistress, Miss Margaret Bailey, in 1922. The Dalton Plan is used in schools in the USA, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Japan.
(In the meantime also in Slovakia, Hungary and Poland / R.R.)
The Dalton Plan’s key objective is to develop independent learners who take responsibility for their work and their time management. Through training and practice, girls develop skills to help them meet academic and professional challenges with confidence.
The Dalton Plan requires girls to complete weekly assignments for each subject. The weekly timetable provides lesson times and study periods, in which girls complete their work in individual teachers’ rooms under supervision, where they may seek assistance. All teachers have their own classrooms and girls have easy access to every subject teacher.
Students have considerable flexibility to decide how and when to complete assignments by a deadline. This teaches self-motivation, time-management skills and personal responsibility. A close follow-up and support system also assists the students with the completion of their work. In recent student surveys, some of the key features of the Dalton Plan most appreciated by students, are the flexibility and learning advantages provided by the study periods.

Iam looking forward to meet them and to discuss the progress in Dalton

During my visit to Ascham in 2002, I painted the Fiona building.

January 28, 2012

Classroom management

It is striking that in many articles about classroom management
the word discipline is used. Articles with the title: "How to handle
discipline problems with effective classroom management".
Mostly you can find advices how to deal with disruptions and which
kind of disciplinary measures the teacher can apply.
In Dalton education we are not focussed on fighting against the negative
behaviour, but stimulate the grow of inner discipline.
Our teaching objective is to make the pupils not only responsible for
their own learning process, but also for their own learning environment.
We give them real responsibilities.
I've found this advice of a teacher in one article:
I would like to suggest a way to make the children feel as if they can contribute to how their class is run.
Giving children the feeling as if they can contribute is in my opinion a very strange attitude, a contempt of the respect for the children.
When they feel that they are not really responsible, you will have
disciplinary problems after some time.
Dalton education is based on the consistency of three assumptions:
It is the interdependence that makes pupils contributors in the
educational process.
Classroom management in Dalton is in the first place the visualizing of
the organization and secondly giving children the opportunity to be the
owner of the learning process.

But when you visualize the organization, be careful for too many
incentives like in this example.

January 27, 2012

New Dalton school

Congartulations to the team of teachers of the Rehobotschool.
They passed the visitation of the Dutch Dalton Association and are an official Dalton school now.
I was happy to work with this team many times.

January 26, 2012

Classroom management ??

Classroom management

More often I mentioned the inspirative site of EDUTOPIA
See here examples of effective class management.

January 24, 2012

Tomorrow Dalton coaching

One of my nicest tasks: coaching the school of my grandchildren. They follow for the second year the Dalton training and will be official Dalton school next school year.

The Photocopier Challenge

Those who are following this Dalton blog know in the meantime that this book is one of my favorites.
Today I like to share "an easy and straightforward way of finding out the extent to which you are waisting your time".
It is the Photocopier Challenge.
Simly print out the list of questions below which challenge the pedagogical imperatives of your impending actions with the photocopier and stick it on the wall near the machine:
* Why have I printed paper copies?
* What types of activity will this lead to?
* Are these activities to do with learning or filling the time?
* How is the sheet going to be marked?
* How is the learning going to assessed?
* How much of the worksheet do you intend to read to the whole class?
* Do all students have to start from yhe beginning?
* Do all students have to work through to the end?
* How could it have been done without any photocopying in the first place?

January 23, 2012

Dalton development in Senegal

I've got the internship report of two Dutch students from the
Teacher's University in Leiden.
Caitlin Stoop and Annette Hooijmeijer stayed several months at
'Espérance Laique school' in Grand Mbao, Senegal.

The report is available for those who are interested in this great Dalton project.

January 21, 2012

Daltonplan Pädagogik

The German version of our latest book is coming out soon.
Yesterday I had a meeting with our editor about the final adjustments.
The designer will make a new lay-out of the book and a new cover.

The book must be available before the end of February 2012.
Information and orders at ARKO editors

January 20, 2012

International contacts are traditional in Dalton

The philosopher Bertrand Russel said :
‘What human beings really want is not knowledge but security’ .
Although I agree with this statement, I think there could be a danger in it, because we must not be satisfied with the security that our Dalton model is successful.
We must work permanently and enlarge our Dalton knowledge because we are never finished with education.
The theory of Helen Parkhurst proved the educational value in the past and even nowadays it is still actual.
Since the first international Dalton conference more than 88 years ago In London, Dalton International renewed that good practice and created the platform to exchange the interpretation of her concept.
Ellen Stein, director of The Dalton School in New York, wrote in the article, published in the first magazine of Dalton International :
“One reason that Dalton has prospered for almost a century is that we have been willing to adapt the Plan to the changing realities of our world. But that raises other issues: Have we stayed too much from Parkhurst’ s original intentions in that adaptation?”
Permanent self – evaluation is necessary to keep us active and critical.

Children don’t go to school to learn, they go to school to have experiences.
And when teachers are able to find a balance between knowledge and experience in their educational design, their pupils will be satisfied.
Teachers like to have experiences as well and we create a platform for it during international conferences and school visits.
There will be many opportunities for it in 2012.

January 19, 2012

Assignment board for Kindergarten

This is the last example in the context of visualizing Dalton
organization in Kindergarten.

January 18, 2012

Elements to visualize Dalton organization in Kindergarten

Material to visualize the 'day program' developed in Poland
Moje Bambino

January 17, 2012

The Kindergarten is basic for all education

Since 1985 Kindergarten is completely integrated in the system of
Primary education in the Netherlands.
Children from 4 - 12 are together in one school, accompanied by one
team of teachers.
From that moment of integration we started in our school to develop
material to stimulate the Dalton attitude of the youngest children.
Our school was Dalton school already since 1929.
The teachers who worked with the youngest children were very creative
in bringing the three Dalton assumptions to their educational level.
As far as possible we stimulate the kids to take own responsibilities.
The idea was to visualize the Dalton organization in many aspects.
I like to give some examples during the next days.
Our material, developed in 1985 in Utrecht, form the framework for
the Dalton implementation in Kindergarten in the Netherlands and
other countries in Europe.

Many years later I've read the book of Robert Fulghum, one of my
favorite authors. I totally agree with his statement.

January 16, 2012

Number of visitors

In one month there were 653 visitors of this Dalton blog.
But only 27 official followers and no comments.
I hope this will change in the next future.
You are kindly invited !
The next days I will bring some practicle examples of
Dalton organization in this blog.
I take them from my PowerPoint presentations.
Reactions are welcome here or by Email.

Dalton International
is the platform
to share
brilliant ideas.

January 15, 2012

Targets of Dalton International



January 14, 2012

Our latest Dalton products

Our latest Dalton material is made to use by teachers in the classroom.
Very practical material.
The main book has even perforated pages to take out and make it
available for the children: special assignments and many action guides.
We developed a board game to give the teachers' meeting a new impulse.
Schools are very enthousiastic about this material.

January 13, 2012

Learning is a self organizing system

These words are from Sugata Mitra.
He is a professor in India and he initiated a very interesting
Take your time to watch this presentation of 17 minutes and you
will have another view on your daily 'struggle' in education.

Dalton Association in Poland

Many Dalton initiatives in Poland have resulted in the establishment of the Polish Dalton Association.
In their website you can find all the connections and the co-operation with other valuable initiatives.

January 12, 2012

A Dalton assignment is a contract

Yesterday I could work with the team of teachers from this school
in Rotterdam.
The topic of the workshop was:
'How to make an assignment'.
The group of teachers discussed and worked with topics like
* differentiation in design
* registration and self correction
* free-choice-assignments

But the most important issue was the discussion about the difference between a task / assignment and a contract.
Helen Parkhurst emphasizes the influence of the pupil on its own work.
The pupils must be stimulated to take initiatives and to take more responsibility for their own learning process.
Using the word contract instead of assignment has as result that the teacher is more focussed on the necessity that pupils must have influence on their own work.
Distributing attractive worksheets is in some cases a pleasant break of the normal process, but its not based on the Dalton assumptions.

January 11, 2012

January 10, 2012

The role of the head teacher

I found an interesting article about managing a school.
Since many years I stress on leadership in educational management.
Chris Edwards once corrected me when I used the title director of
a school. He gave me the advice to use head teacher.
And this is exactly what I mean: the head teacher must be there
in the middle of the team of teachers. He must be present and give
the permanent inspiration to his colleagues.
The headteacher is in the school and not in his room.
But I know schools in which the team not even know if the director
is in the building.

School aims are strongly influenced by pressures from the external
environment. Many countries have a national curriculum and these
often leave little scope for schools to decide their own educational
Institutions may be left with the residual task of interpreting
external imperatives rather than determining aims on the basis of
their own assessment of student need.
The key issue here is the extent to which school managers are able
to modify government policy and develop alternative approaches based
on school-level values and vision. Do they have to follow the script,
or can they ad lib?
By leadership, I mean influencing others actions in achieving
desirable ends. Managing is maintaining efficiently and
effectively current organisational arrangements. I prize both
managing and leading and attach no special value to either since
different settings and times call for varied responses.

Leadership and management need to be given equal prominence if
schools are to operate effectively and achieve their objectives.
“Leading and managing are distinct, but both are important.
The challenge of modern organisations requires the objective
perspective of the manager as well as the flashes of vision and
commitment wise leadership provides” (Bolman & Deal, 1997)

from NCPEA /Tony Bush

January 3, 2012

Five leadership strategies for the New Year

May I advise you to read this very inspiring article?

Wishing you a good start of the New Year.

January 2, 2012

January 1, 2012