August 29, 2013

Training teams of teachers

With a 'board game' the team of teachers gives answers on different questions or dilemmas. Together the colleagues determine which Dalton aspects are highly developed and which ones need attention again.

More information HERE

August 27, 2013

Little Dalton - Hong Kong

Little Dalton in Hong Kong is a new leaf on our International Dalton tree.

The school is cooperating with Ascham in Sydney.

Visit the website of Little Dalton HERE

August 23, 2013


The last two decades have seen substantial growth in the use of reflection, not only in classrooms from elementary education but also in colleges and universities.
Dewey is generally pointed to as the scholar who first stressed the importance of reflection for learning.

Effective teachers are those who constantly reflect on their teaching.
Reflecting after a lesson makes them aware of their successes and failures, of their strengths and shortcomings. This allows teachers to assess and adjust their teaching. Because reflection can help teachers become better educators.

And a good educator organizes reflection in the classroom, 
The work of children should be regularly evaluated. But if the teacher teaches kids how to reflect, then they become owners of their learning process.

August 22, 2013

"Many schools are preparing children for yesterday"

The first of 11 Dutch ‘Steve Jobs schools’ was opened yesterday in Sneek/the Netherlands..
In this elementary school the Ipad is textbook, notebook, agenda and plaything at the same time. The pupils are learning typing instead of writing and they decide themselves where and when they study.
The zombies on the Ipad screen come menacingly closer. If the answer to the calculation not fast enough is typed, you're the Marylou.
At the right answer the zombie changes in a cheerful smiling stick man.
The children like it. "Zombie counting is much more fun than writing in a boring notebook".
A group of girls demonstrates the apps connected in their subject matter.
The little fingers go flying and agile across the screen. Last year they were still with books and notebooks for their nose at school. Now they sit in Sneek in a brand new building with the name "Master Steve Jobs School".
Which previously feared to find a surreal, sterile Apple Lab, will be disappointed. The cosy building has the decor of an ordinary primary school.
The books are just a side issue. The Ipad is the device.
The teacher is called here a 'talent coach' and the school is a 'community '.

The students are not following central classroom lessons, but work independently in groups which are classified by age and social development. With the Ipad, they have access to the digital learning environment. They get short instructions and after it they go for their work individually.  They organize their time themselves and can therefore do much at home.
Initiator Maurice de Hond believes that the traditional education is not following the actual development: “Many schools are preparing the children for yesterday. We prepare them for the world after 2030. The profit lies in the integrated approach”.
His concept of ‘Education for a New Age’ (E4NA) gets much commotion.
The German memory researcher Manfred Spitzer calls it a form of child abuse. But the reaction of the school: "We teach children to use the Ipad on a sensible way. There is a generation that missed the IT development".
The students are not following central classroom lessons, but work independently in groups which are classified by age and social development. With the Ipad, they have access to the digital learning environment. They get short instructions and after it they go for their work individually.  They organize their time themselves and can therefore do much at home.

The Minister of Education sees above all the benefits of this teaching method, but he ordered additional monitoring of the Inspectorate of Education.
Pupils must not suffer as a result of experimentation. Also this school must comply with the normal learning objectives and must test the results.

From an article in Algemeen Dagblad, Thursday August 22 , 2013

August 15, 2013

August 11, 2013

10 Ways to stimulate responsibility

1. Pupils can make decisions themselves.
Encourage pupils to make decisions about how they learn best. Create opportunities for them to pursue their own interests and practise skills in a variety of ways.  Cater for different learning styles. Don’t expect everyone to respond in the same way. Respect their differences. Integrate technology to encourage creative expression of learning.
2. Lead the process with open questions
Ask open-ended questions, with plenty of possible answers which lead to further questions.   Acknowledge all responses equally. Use thinking routines to provide a framework for students to engage with new learning by making connections, thinking critically and exploring possibilities. Create action guides to visualize such frameworks.
3. Reduce your instruction as much as possible.
Minimise instruction and talking at them in front of the classroom .  Dalton classes have no rows of learners facing the front of the class.  Arrange the seats so that students can communicate, think together, share ideas and construct meaning by discussing and collaborating. Every exchange doesn’t need to go through the teacher or get the teacher’s approval, encourage students to respond directly to each other.
4. Model behaviors and attitudes that promote learning.
Be an inquirer. Make your thinking process explicit. A  Dalton teacher is an active participant in the learning community. Model and encourage enthusiasm, open-mindedness, curiosity and reflection.  Show that you value  initiative above compliance. Stimulate  them to use their competences instead of stimulation of competition.
5. Ask for feedback.
Build up a thinking routine by starting always with focussing on the goal of the lesson. And at the end of the process get your students to write down what they learned, whether they enjoyed a particular learning experience, what helped their learning, what hindered their learning and what might help them next time.  Take notice of what they write and build learning  experiences based on it.
6. Test less
Record student thinking and track development over time. Provide opportunities for applying learning in a variety of ways. Create meaningful assessment, assignments that  allow transfer of learning to other contexts. Have students publish expressions of their learning on the internet for an authentic audience. Place as much value on process and progress, as on the final product.
7.  Encourage goal setting and reflection.
Help students to define goals for their learning. Provide opportunities for ongoing self-evaluation and reflection. Provide constructive, specific feedback. Stimulate to create individual student blogs. These are great tools for reflecting on learning and responding to their peers. Dalton works with teams and therefore a team blog could be feasable too.
8. Don’t over plan the learning process.
If you know exactly where the lesson is leading and what you want the kids to think, then you‘re controlling the learning. Plan a strong provocation that will ‘invite the students in’ and get them excited to explore the topic further. But don’t  plan in too much detail where it will go from there.
9.  Focus on learning, not work.
Make sure you and your pupils know the reason for every learning experience. Don’t give ‘busy work’. Give them individual assignments forms.  Don’t start by planning activities, start with planning of the ‘why‘.  And their assignments  develop learning experiences which will support independent learning.  Include appropriate tech tools to support the learning.
10.  Organise a pupils’ portfolio.
Rather than only reporting to parents about their children’s learning, they can show their developments by creating their own portfolio. The pupil talks about  strengths and weaknesses, how learning has progressed and areas for improvement. The portfolio combines the process and the product of learning.
Adepted by an idea of Edna Sackson

August 9, 2013


Teaching independence skills in the right way bolsters self-esteem, confidence, and the willingness to try new things.
Studies have shown that the most effective praise specifically identifies what the child do to achieve the goal, not the possession of an inherent talent or ability.
Children who are “smart,” “creative,” or “talented” know that these are aspects of which they have no control.
When children are praised for things they don’t control, they become less confident and more aversive to risk.
On the other hand, children who are praised for things they do control, they apply more effort in future assignments and are more willing to take risks.

August 8, 2013

Little Dalton - Hong Kong

The new Member of  Dalton International welcomes visitors of their website with the following words:

Little Dalton is a truly bilingual (Putonghua and English) kindergarten guided by the Dalton
Plan and modeled after New York’s The Dalton School, a world renowned school ranked among the Forbes’ Top 15 U.S. Prep Schools. Our aim is to provide a joyful environment that will nurture children’s inquisitiveness; develop their self-confidence in their own intelligence and ability to succeed; exploit their natural ability to acquire languages; and educate them to become happy, responsible and independent learners and thinkers.
We feel strongly that education led by teachers, examinations, and grades can produce excellent students, but not necessarily great learners and thinkers. Great learners and thinkers are driven by internal motivation, which can only be stimulated by giving our children appropriate autonomy, responsibilities, and opportunities for collaboration in their learning. This is the basis of the famed Dalton Plan, one of the most successful child-centered teaching models in the world, and the foundation of Little Dalton.

August 7, 2013

August 5, 2013

Röhner Dalton Consultancy  focusses mainly on assisting and coaching of individual Dalton teachers and teams.
Röhner Dalton Consultancy co-operates with Dalton International and KPZ Universtiy.

Regularly giving of new substantive impulses is a prerequisite for a good Dalton school.

Such a development-oriented inspiration I like to work out with the team at your school.
It is a customized approach based on a 'Flash visit' to all groups prior to a seminar.
These short observations in the workplace provide not only a stimulating report for the individual teachers, but it is also the starting point for a study day.  
The following topics/workshops, whether or not in combination, would be able to give further shape for a study day.
  • Optimize the classroom management
  • Working on the main line of independence, responsibility and collaboration
  • From  working independently to independent learning
  • Creating assignments based on individual differences
  • The effect of instruction
  • Arranging the free choice assignments based on multiple intelligences
  • Evaluating and reflecting with children
  • Reporting the work and progress of pupils on a Dalton way
  • Development of a  portfolio of pupils
  • Development of a portfolio of teachers

We can organize a seminar or conference  with an introduction of the modern way to implement Helen Parkhurst’s Dalton Plan.