RE@L Repost: A Holiday Gift to Our Readers: Tom Whitby's "My Island View" Holiday Gift: Keys to Educational Reform: Sharing!

RE@L-logo_Corp_TM_New-Tag_8-15-17_CMYK-300x127    101-Regular-Deluxe-2018-WebWhat holiday gift can we give our loyal RE@L Readers?

We want something to give that will last longer than a two-year old fruitcake from Aunt Matilda. So, we are looking for a gift that keeps on giving and keeps getting better the more we use it.

Like Aunt Matilda’s fruitcake, a good blog is one that gets better the more good ingredients we add to it. A fruitcake a lot like this one. It looks delicious!

We didn’t have to ponder long when this gift notion rose to the top of our list:  “Toward Better Teaching and Better Learning.”  We thought it has everything to do with a vault of well-formed plans for systemic change, educational reform and the key to open it and pass it on

Here’s our holiday selection for our readers, borrowed from longtime K12 Blogger, Tom Whitby.

Whitby2Here’s Tom Whitby’s time-honored blog from two winter holidays ago, called: “A Key to Educational Reform.”

We think you will find Tom’s insights and suggestions very helpful for improving your version of K12 professional development.


Tom Whitby’s Holiday GiftRead his blog excerpt below:

“The flipped classroom, maker movement, project-based learning, blended learning, student centered learning, hour of code, collaboration, direct instruction, and lecture, there are passionate teacher advocates supporting each of these methods as the best way for kids to learn. I am sure that there are some additional methods or movements that I have not mentioned.

imagesEach of these methods to teach can be effective with many groups of students. The burning question should be however, which is the best way to affect the greatest education reform? The focus for change in education seems to be in finding a way to best teach our students….I think that may be the wrong focus for reform. I believe that if we want to affect the greatest number of students by the way they are taught, we need to better educate their educators about the way they teach.

Collaboration has become an integral part of professional development. We need to not only endorse collaboration, but we need to support it. It is a key to adult learning and teachers are adults.

exploring-andragogy-5-638We must approach all Professional Development through Andragogy, an adult’s learning, and not pedagogy, a child’s learning. Teach adults as adults.

There is not a college or university in the world that can graduate teachers with all that they will need to know to carry them through a thirty-year career as a teacher. The world and everything in it changes too rapidly for that to happen. Learning has to be ongoing. The term life long learner does not only apply as a goal for kids. It is essential for anyone wanting to exist, strive, survive, compete, and flourish in a modern tech-driven society.

…..If standards have to be drawn up for education, why not have standards for PD? The biggest problem with the implementation of common core, beyond the testing aspect, was the fact that there was no support for PD.

….Until we recognize that the greatest effect that we can have on education is by continually educating our educators to the constant and continual changes occurring in their profession, there will be little change in the progress we hope to make in education. We have now and will continue to have 20th Century educators trying to teach kids to live and learn in a 21st Century world.Professional Development must be part of a teacher’s job description.

UnknownIt should not be solely on the backs of teachers to find it. Schools on a regular basis, and not just one, or two PD Days a year should deliver PD on a regular basis each week. Faculty and Department meetings should be more than a mandatory gathering to talk about schedules and policies. Teachers must be given collaboration time to connect with colleagues to implement changes. The best people need to be placed in supportive coaching positions to help facilitate, and reinforce these changes.

Doing PD as we have done for the last two centuries doesn’t seem to be working. This is the one thing that most educators agree with. If we are to better educate our kids, we need first to better educate their educators.” 


RE@L thanks Tom Whitby for this fine Holiday blog. He has raised many good points about more ways to improve K12 education through more Professional Development.

RE@L believes that the quickest way to help already over-burdened teachers is online collaboration with other teachers: Facebook, Twitter, find blog columnists: Here’s a sample to bookmark: Tom Whitby, Vicky Davis, Scott McLeod, Kyle Pace, Shelley Terrell, Anne Jolly…click the names to see their sites… they, and many more experienced educators, are willing to share their ideas too.

So that’s our Holiday Gift to our readers:

Sharing tips with each other is a gift that keeps on giving.



 Best wishes to all our RE@L Readers

for a Happy Holidays!

Cheers for an Even Better New Year!

Dale and Tom

Tom King & Dale LaFrenz

Dr. Tom King has served for over 40 years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Saint Thomas in the School of Education. The Saturn School of Tomorrow, formerly a St. Paul Public School, was his visionary response to educational reform needed in K-12 schools. Saturn was a lighthouse on the frontier of school change. Tom served as an experienced high school mathematics teacher, a school administrator at Saturn School and Director of Technology for the St. Paul MN Public Schools. Tom is also a member of the RE@L Team ----- Dr. Dale LaFrenz is Chairman of RE@L, Inc and one of the founders of MECC, Inc - the Minnesota company that brought “Oregon Trail” and more than a hundred products to millions of K12 students across the world. His work in building new paths for MECC’s “consumer” market” was instrumental in the start of an Industry in K12 EdTECH: including school-markets, students, teachers and parents. RE@L Inc continues to serve K12 as a LearningProduct "launching pad" for schools, online learning and the rapidly growing STEM market as a whole.