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
June 14, 2012
You won't find several things in private schools which you will find in public schools. Large class sizes, no consequences for unacceptable behavior, uninvolved parents, and cuts to activities and programs are not things which you will commonly find in private schools.read more
Large class sizes
One of the reasons parents send their children to private school is for the individual attention small class sizes afford. You want your child to interact with her teachers. You don't want her to end up hiding in the back of a large class room. She's in private school because she wants to learn. So do her classmates.
When you have 12-15 students in a class, you really can teach. Discussions, analysis and explanations are much easier to facilitate with a smaller group. Everybody's opinion matters. From the teacher's perspective it is much easier to assess progress when you are teaching a small group. You can make eye contact with everybody instantly and determine whether they've got it and you can move on or whether you need to go back and reteach.
Small classes play to the reality that everybody learns differently. Students receive information in different ways. They process it differently. The skilled teacher is always assessing where her students are vis-a-vis the material being covered.
The other factor which is so important for effective teaching is that the class is homogenous in the sense that the students want to learn, they are not embarrassed to excel and they are unafraid to ask questions. Lots of questions. With...
January 10, 2012
You want the best possible education for your child. The local school district is reasonably good but is facing some drastic budget cuts next year and, as far as you can tell, probably for many years after that. You don't want to sacrifice your child's educational opportunities neither do you want to spend money needlessly on other options, such as private school
Private school makes sense on so many levels because everything's there. The facilities, the staff, the activities, the academics - the lot. Homeschooling is certainly doable, but the onus is on you to track everything and make sure all the paperwork is completed and submitted and approved.
So, what about some of those rumors you have heard about private school? Well, those rumors are indeed true.
They are not just for rich kids any more. Decades ago you might have been able to make a case that some - but certainly not all - private schools were just for the children of privileged, wealthy families. Interestingly enough, most of the top American private schools started with very altruistic motives and aspirations. They were committed to creating a better society populated with skilled citizens who could think and reason.
In the 21st century the pendulum has swung
back to those idealistic roots. There's hardly a private school out there which doesn't have diversity as one of its top priorities. That means school now proactively seek out applicants from every quarter of society. Not just the kids...
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...
April 15, 2013
Here are a dozen or so girls' schools' public thoughts about themselves and their missions.
Why Private School,
Getting into Private School,
Paying For It,
Running a Private School,
About Private Schools
Learn about the benefits of private schools and how they work.
Kinds of Schools
The various kinds and types of private schools
What goes on in private schools
Private school associations and guides
Seattle Area Schools
The Seattle area is home to many fine private schools as well as to major companies such as Microsoft, Boeing and Starbucks.
Boston Area Schools
The metropolitan Boston area offers a wide range of academic and cultural activities. Just as impressive is the area's selection of private schools.
A list of directories of private and independent schools.
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Note: Data has been gathered from the Dept. of Education, schools, and commercial data sources.