Archive for DavidPenberg SmartBlogs

How many times have you heard the term “best practice” uttered during a board meeting, a workshop or a conference presentation? Too many, I am afraid. In a profession enamored with buzz words, this one gets used with the frequency of “awesome” and shares the same shallowness.

The term “best practice” is used like a master key.[…] Continue Reading »

There is lots of work and talk these days about social and emotional learning. The need for resiliency, grit and determination has become part of the parlance of many educators, and this is a good thing. But there is hardly any reference to humor and happiness. Ever wonder why? Is there anything more specific and salutary to life than the capacity to laugh?[…] Continue Reading »

This list is not a recipe, but more a map — a way of approaching leading as a learner, not from a pedestal or from the stands, but on the ground.

  1. If you are a swimmer, or not, it is about buoyancy –lightness, grace and flow — and stamina — determination and endurance.
  2. Never ask people to do something you would not do.
  3. […] Continue Reading »


In those first days when everyone is replenished and well rested, there is a gleam in people’s eyes, and everything is freshly painted and clean, as if invigorated with a sense of possibility. Before the deluge of time, events, assignments, tests, fires to put out, parents to call, meetings (upon meetings) to attend takes over, I invite all of us to think and ponder together the Big Ideas (Ideals), and the Essential Questions that drew us to teaching.[…] Continue Reading »

Mission statements hardly ever inspire. They should. They can. But most don’t. Have you ever noticed the similarity from school to school, of the same jargon, vagaries, and stale language? If there was a proctor for school mission statements, most would be accused of plagiarism.

Mission statements too often speak in the soothing, humorless, marketing brochure, and your-call-is-important-to-us- language of the market.[…] Continue Reading »