March 15, 2013
Why teach boys in a single sex setting? Aren't boys' schools archaic and out of touch? Aren't boys more likely to succeed in a coeducational setting? What are the advantages of educating boys in a single sex setting? The answers to these questions and many more are varied, contradictory and subjective. Furthermore the amount of research into boys' education is fairly limited. With those caveats in place let's explore some sources and resources for those special corners of the education world which are boys schools.
A good starting point for our exploration of boys' schools is the IBSC. Just like the National Coalition of Girls' Schools
is one of the major umbrella organizations for girls' schools, so the International Boys' Schools Coalition
is one of the major umbrella organizations for boys' schools around the globe. It champions boys' schools. It encourages research on the education of boys. The IBSC terms its research papers Action Research Projects. Papers such as Teaching Boys at the Coal Face: Mining Key Pedagogical Approaches
, Ready, Willing, and Able: Boys and Writing, Volumes I & II
, Journeys into Masculinity, Positive Relationships, Positive Learning,
Boys and Digital Literacy
and Boys and Reading
give you and me valuable insights into teaching boys. As you read these papers you begin to realize that the secret to boys' schools is that they are appropriate for many young men. Not all young men. But many. Boys' schools offer an approach to learning and character building devoid of...
December 15, 2012
I asked Vicki Larson to give us some detailed answers to my questions about Waldorf education. (I must disclaim that my eldest daughter attended a Waldorf school.) Vicki is Director of Communications and Marketing at Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge, New York. She is also the schools Alumni Relations Coordinator and Diversity Committee Chair. ~ Rob Kennedy
What sets a Waldorf school apart from public schools? Is it curriculum? Teaching style? Philosophy? Other characteristics?
The Waldorf curriculum differs from a public school or other independent school curriculum in philosophy, teaching style, and the kinds of relationships the students develop with their teachers and classmates.
Philosophy: Uniquely designed to meet children at each developmental stage, Waldorf Education is based on child study and observation. Our academically challenging, arts-infused curriculum includes block-style learning and develops adults who have the opportunity to reach their full potential, excelling in many areas, unafraid to take risks as they work to solve problems. In our school environment, academic standards are rigorous and stress is minimized by strong relationships, ample artistic and physical activity, and opportunities for joy and discovery. Media and technology are managed very differently than in many other schools: they are introduced in an age-appropriate way and are understood and used as tools rather than ends unto themselves. Waldorf Schools do not "teach to the test" (as independent schools, we are often exempt from state testing, though most Waldorf students take the SAT and other standardized tests) and we prioritize experiential learning. We also believe that natural materials...read more
December 12, 2011
You know you are in a progressive school when...read more
You don't see AP courses as part of the academic curriculum.
Until the middle of the 20th century many schools simply taught their students facts and figures. You memorized and regurgitated information. Indeed I can remember being taught this way at Rosyln School and Westmount High School back in the '50s and '60s. That's just the way you were taught back then. All of your academic work was focused on what you could expect to be tested on in your final year end exams. This all led inexorably to a forbidding set of examinations known as the Junior Matriculation. If you did well on that set of examinations administered at the end of Grade 11, you went off to university for more of the same.
Progressive schools by definition are schools which espouse the ideals and ideas of landmark educators and thinkers such as John Dewey and Francis Parker. At the beginning of the 20th century they were considered visionary by some, radical by others. The progressive curriculum was more varied and experiential. Students just didn't sit there passively listening to a teacher lecture about the material. They actually were encouraged to learn by discovery through a variety of hands-on activities. Teachers no longer had to get through a plethora of outdated materials simply to be able to say that they had 'covered' the required coursework. There was time to stop and explore. Have discussions. Stimulate analysis. Encourage critical thinking.
Naturally there was no...
November 13, 2011
Montessori schools enjoy an enthusiastic following with approximately 4,000 certified schools in the U.S. Most of these are private schools. Only about 200 public schools use the Montessori method. Because Dr. Maria Montessori did not trademark the name Montessori,
any school can claim to be a Montessori school. Just because it says it is a Montessori school does not mean that it is the real thing.
You will know that you are in a Montessori school when you observe or detect the following features.
The teachers are not teaching.
It sounds like a contradiction, doesn't it? Teachers not teaching? That's because Montessori teachers don't run their classrooms in a conventional manner. You won't see desks lined up with children sitting watching and listening to a teacher at the front of the classroom.
The International Montessori Index
explains how this works:
"Except for infant/toddler groups (Ratio dictated by local social service regulations), the teaching ratio is one trained Montessori teacher and one non-teaching aide to 30+ children. Rather than lecturing to large or small groups of children, the teacher is trained to teach one child at a time, and to oversee thirty or more children working on a broad array of tasks. She is facile in the basic lessons of math, language, the arts and sciences, and in guiding a child's research and exploration, capitalizing on his interest in and excitement about a subject. The teacher does not make assignments or dictate what to study or read, nor does she set a limit...
October 12, 2010
Progressive schools are different from traditional schools. Their educational philosophies and teaching methods are different. Because there are so few progressive schools, relatively speaking - only about 75 schools call themselves progressive - most people are surprised when they discover that these schools exist. Here then are five facts about progressive schools which we hope will encourage you to find out more about progressive education.
1. Most progressive schools don't issue report cards.
Professor John Dewey disliked the notion of children sitting in rigid rows listening to a teacher, memorizing facts and regurgitating those facts on command. Dr. Dewey felt that students needed to learn by doing. Implicit in this philosophy of education is an aversion to testing and report cards. You will monitor your child's progress in less traditional ways. Instead of receiving a document with traditional grades such as A's and B's you will receive a reporting detailing your child's progress in a variety of areas which the school feels are important.
2. Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools are progressive schools.
Instrinsic in a Montessori
education is the idea that a child needs to explore in order to learn. Learning is guided in the Montessori classroom. The teacher does not direct the learning. She guides it. Classes are multiage so that a younger child learns from older children. Waldorf schools are world-famous for developing children's imaginations. Reggio
Emilia inspired schools emphasize the involvement and collaborative aspects of educating their students. These are approaches and ideas which are not usually...
April 15, 2013
Here are a dozen or so girls' schools' public thoughts about themselves and their missions.
Getting into Private School,
High School Issues,
Jobs in Private Schools
Kinds of Schools
The various kinds and types of private schools
Top Roman Catholic Boarding Schools
These Roman Catholic boarding schools offer good value, great educations and a faith-based community experience.
For Profit vs Not for Profit Schools
What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of a for profit versus a not for profit school? Is one kind of school better than the other?
Waldorf schools offer a well thought out approach to K-12 education.
Why teach boys in a single sex setting? The answer to this question and several others here.
Schools for Gifted Children
Teaching gifted children requires deft handling. These children need intellectual and sensory stimulation. But they also need guidance and careful nurturing so that they grow up handling their special gifts and themselves appropriately.
You Know You Are in a Montessori School When....
Montessori classrooms are different from the classrooms in conventional schools. Here's what to look for.
Special Needs Schools
Do you think your son has a learning disability? Not sure what to do? A special needs school might be the way to go.
5 Facts About Progressive Schools
Progressive schools are different from traditional schools. These five facts highlight some of those differences.
Vicki Larson provides detailed answers to my questions about Waldorf schools.
The Oldest Schools
The oldest American private school is Collegiate School in Manhattan founded in 1628.
- Read more articles (23)
Note: Data has been gathered from the Dept. of Education, schools, and commercial data sources.