There is so much debate in education, whether we are talking about public education, private education, inequalities in what is offered to children, or high stakes testing, teacher and administrator evaluation and property tax caps. Some adults have a tendency to focus on the negative side of debates and sometimes they vilify people in the process. Finding Common Ground is not about vilifying people but searching for a common understanding.
As educators we have a positive or negative impact on our students and it is up to us to decide which one is the way we wish to be remembered. Three days a week, Peter explores issues that cover the emotional and social issues children face. He has focused on high-stakes testing, teacher and administrator evaluation, safeguarding LGBT students, drop-out prevention, school discipline, reaching students who are at-risk, using social networking for students and educators and other topics that effect educators, students and parents every day.
Finding Common Ground is read nationally and internationally. He enjoys hearing from readers, so if you like/dislike something you read on Finding Common Ground, contact him. Hopefully we can all find some common ground together.
3 Collaboration Tools and Tips for Education Leaders
August 23, 2016 at 3:49 PM
Providing opportunities for teachers to interact with collaborative tools can help them brainstorm ideas for their own instructional goals. So why don't more leaders do it?
John Hattie's Research Doesn't Have to Be Complicated
September 14, 2016 at 1:24 AM
John Hattie's research is often seen as complicated but it doesn't have to be. DeWitt explores the basics of Hattie's research, and how to go deeper, in this blog post.
“Whatever he writes is grounded in deep experience and respect for students, parents, and teachers. Peter is especially concerned with the social and emotional well-being of his students. That puts him out of the mainstream today, where the only thing that matters is test scores. He sees the big issues from the perspective of how they affect students. He cares too much about kids to command the attention of the powers that be. That says a lot about where we are today. We are fortunate to have someone with his wisdom regularly speaking out about the issues.” Diane Ravitch
"Peter DeWitt is one of the brightest minds in education. His insights are relevant and current. There is no one I would rather read in the field of education today." Todd Whitaker
5 Keys to Achieving Deliberate Practice
August 30, 2016 at 4:21 PM
Getting better at what you do can be achieved through deliberate practice. Here are 5 reasons how.
Grit, Growth Mindsets, and Technology
September 9, 2016 at 3:19 PM
We often want students to have grit or a "growth mindset" but we often lack it at the same time we are telling them to have it. Here are 3 ways to show our students what we want.
Instructional Coaching: Finally, an Easy Choice
September 20, 2016 at 7:06 PM
There are many reasons why instructional coaching is crucial to teacher development, and here are a few ways to do it well.
Rubrics Are Fine, But How Do I Get an A?
August 18, 2016 at 6:38 PM
Most educators begin developing rubrics by articulating what students must do to meet a standard or be "proficient." From there they identify two or three levels below "proficient" to describe students' progress and one level above to recognize higher or more complex learning. But what about their grades?
Last I Checked, Compliance Isn't a Learning Standard
September 1, 2016 at 7:08 PM
How many practices have we, as teachers, utilized out of habit without evaluating their effectiveness? How often do our students have to engage in compliant engagement rather than authentic engagement? Last time I checked, compliance wasn't a learning standard.
Why Can't Instructional Coaches Reinvent Themselves?
August 28, 2016 at 5:13 PM
We always tell students to learn from their mistakes but it seems that we don't give the same courtesy to instructional coaches. Why is that? Here are five steps coaches can take to reinvent their program.
What Are the Best Strategies for Surface to Deep Learning?
August 22, 2016 at 6:38 PM
We hear a lot about surface to deep learning. In this blog, Peter DeWitt explains the different between the two citing a recently released paper by John Hattie and Gregory Donoghue which explores the two levels of learning and what specific strategies go with them.
Are We Thinking About Growth Mindset Too Narrowly?
September 15, 2016 at 3:29 PM
Are we thinking too narrowly about the growth mindset?
How to Build Compliance and Kill Collaboration
September 19, 2016 at 7:14 PM
There's compliance and then there is over-compliance. Over compliance is built by chipping away at one's credibility and it starts one conversation at a time after the person leaves the room.
Why Do Students Think They Have to Be Perfect?
September 23, 2016 at 7:50 PM
Why do students believe they have to be perfect. It doesn't necessarily come from within. It may be pushed on them from the adults around them.
Observation: Can We Stop The One And Done?
August 25, 2016 at 6:44 PM
Teacher observation has been a waste of time for many leaders and teachers. Instead of looking at observation as a 1 and done, we need to look at it as a cycle, and this blog helps explain how to do it.
What Presidential Candidates, Brangelina and Reality Television Mean For Education
September 25, 2016 at 5:07 PM
We ask the question of why we don't have better candidates for president or why our friends would ever vote for a candidate we wouldn't. It's all tied up in our need to be entertained more than informed. Good news though, because we can change that in the classroom.
Leadership: It's Much More Than Doing Discipline and Blanket E-mails
September 6, 2016 at 3:57 PM
Collaborative leadership is about working in partnership with those groups that are a part of the school community, and there are 6 influences based on the research of John Hattie to help get leaders there.
Peter DeWitt, Ed.D