Silhouettes of Business People Meeting with Social Media SymbolsHow can you get students excited about STEM, improve their skills and prepare them for the workforce? Join education and industry leaders for a lively, interactive discussion on bridging the gap between association partner relationships and students’ STEM skills. SmartBrief Education presents its inaugural STEM Pathways Roundtable Discussion, an event series exploring the real-world ways in which education and industry can work together to improve students’ STEM skills and guide them to careers in STEM fields. Join us for this groundbreaking new event series.

STEM Pathways Roundtable #1: Association Leadership Roles
October 23, 2014, 10 AM – 12 PM
SmartBrief Headquarters, 555 11th St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C., 20004


The event is free to attend but space is limited. Register today to secure your spot.


Panelists will lead a lively, interactive discussion on how associations can take a leadership role in developing and promoting STEM programs that help fill workforce needs, the challenges to these types of STEM programs, and how industry and education can come together to solve these problems. (read more…)

classroomFor those who are comforted by labels and the certainty they provide, it is difficult to embrace the idea that we can unlock the potential of many of our students by determining how they learn. Once we decide that many diagnosed learning disabilities refer to having trouble in a school-based learning environment, we can move forward with defining individual learning styles, brain strengths and intelligences.

We’ve all been through the laborious process of having a student identified as having a learning disability. This process usually involves filling out a vast amount of paperwork and waiting sometimes over a year for the testing to occur. Then detailed results are shared with teachers and parents. The report usually includes various generic strategies for helping the student be more successful in the classroom — not necessarily to maximize their learning potential. The report then leads to the creation of an individual education plan and more paperwork and meetings. (read more…)

classroom 2Picture a classroom full of students and a lone teacher, who is riffing on some personal opinion she or he has. Now picture the look on the students’ faces as they listen to their teacher. Do you see faces of engagement or detachment? Are they tuned in or glazed over? Do they agree, and if not, do they feel equipped to voice their disagreement, or to even challenge their teacher’s premise?

The first images of student reactions we conjure tell us a lot. Perhaps they are flashbacks to our experiences as students. As flashbacks go, we find ourselves replaying the extreme memories — both the teachers who enraptured us, as well as the teachers we wrote off with deep apathy or even resent. For some of us, our snap mental images of student reactions are our personal projection of how we think a class ought to be. We can see it so tangibly: lively discussion, spontaneous laughter, the dance between deep learning and whimsical moments, and the two-way reverence between teacher and students. (read more…)

leadershipWe all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve. – Bill Gates

As a teacher, you will certainly be the recipient of some negative feedback, solicited or otherwise. The comments may focus in on your teaching style, how well you communicate, whether a child likes you, etc. Even if the remark was delivered with constructive intent, you may resent the experience and develop a negative view of a parent, child or administrator.

It is important to remember that there is nothing to be gained from harboring negative thoughts. Almost every form of criticism can teach us something powerful about ourselves. The next time that someone approaches you with some unwanted feedback consider doing the following:

  1. Listen well. Hear them out without interruption. Mirror back what you heard for clarification. If there is something that you disagree with, hold it until the end. This way you validate them and open further lines of communication.
  2. (read more…)

professional developmentAs I read education blogs, news editorials and Twitter, I sometimes am struck by the “us vs. them” mentality I see between veteran and newer teachers. The purpose of this article is not to demonize or laud either one of these groups, but rather to promote the idea that teachers should support one another. We all got into this profession for the same reason, and I suspect we will find that we are more alike than we realize. What’s more, both veteran — those in the profession for 10 years or more — and newer — those with five or fewer years of experience — teachers have valuable, unique skills and perspectives and could learn from each other. In the end, we all want to do the right thing for our students.

Veteran teachers can offer wisdom and assistance based on their years of experience. They have already developed curricular materials for their subject area and should be willing to share these with teachers entering the profession. (read more…)