edutopia Archives - The Jose Vilson


One of my newer commenters, Jim Doherty, left this comment in reply to my Edutopia piece:

The key piece to me is the questioning piece. I think that I always hope that my actions will serve as a model for my students, but I realize more and more that I need to explicitly point out the behavior that I want the students to see. I need to be clear when I am questioning in a way that they can use themselves. I am good at this in one-on-one conferences, I need to be better when I am talking to a group of students.

That’s a big part of my classroom routine. Having kids think for themselves is something many of us wish we could achieve, and it’s still a work in progress for me. More often than not, it’s about making sure kids know we’re not going to give them an easy way out of their thinking. Thanks, Jim.

Mr. Vilson



Paul Tough

My latest Edutopia article explores the four words I can’t stand to hear from my students (with an analysis of the lies we tell in schools):

The discussion around “I can’t do this” can be broken down into three general levels:

  • They genuinely don’t understand the material.
  • They’ve had a long day and just don’t have the energy to work any more.
  • They have a situation at home that currently distracts them.

There are levels to “I can’t do this” that don’t get discussed, either. The current discussion around lack of effort focuses on “grit,” the cure for lack of effort — and with good reason. Paul Tough’s book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and The Hidden Power of Character gives you a sense that he believes, with the right level of effort and conditions that help translate effort into success, any child can overcome his or her disposition.

Read more here. Share and comment if it moves you. Thanks!

Mr. Vilson

*** photo c/o ***


Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin

I wrote an epic post on Edutopia about transforming teacher leadership, especially for those just starting out. Here’s something you ought to know:

1. Know Your Stuff

My advice to any teacher leader, new or old: know what you’re talking about. Teachers respect leaders who have expertise and demonstrate confidence in that expertise. Having classroom experience goes a long way, but if our message doesn’t sound classroom-based or substantive, it won’t ring true to your colleagues. For instance, if you’re asked a question about the Common Core State Standards, you should know about the shifts in English, the practices in math or the integrations in science, even if you disagree with the standards. In other words, know your stuff. Nothing inspires confidence like reading up on important policy and having a good sense of how that applies to the classroom.

Read the rest here. Click. Comment. Share. Thanks!

Mr. Vilson

image is from here:

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Short Notes: With Tears and Cheers

July 7, 2013 Short Notes
Mona Eltahawy

A few notes: Edutopia highlights five, count em, FIVE books I think you should read. Just go. Read em if you haven’t already. [Edutopia] When discussing the path of citizenship, this is what really matters. Five fifths human. [Los Angeles Times] The New York Times editorial board thinks there should be changes made to the […]

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The NFL Draft Has Lots To Teach Administrators [Edutopia]

April 29, 2013 Mr. Vilson
Tyrann Mathieu at the NFL Scouting Combine

Here’s my recent article comparing the way the NFL recruits players in their scouting combine to what public education currently does. Stats and Equations vs. the Team as an Ecosystem Trying to develop equations for player effectiveness doesn’t always work well. ESPN tried to develop its own quarterback equation, but found it wasn’t that simple. […]

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My Exclusive Interview with The Amazing Robert J. Marzano [Edutopia]

April 1, 2013 Mr. Vilson

Last week, I got an exclusive interview with Robert J. Marzano, Ph.D on his latest book, The Art and Science of the Art of Science of Teaching, Leading, and Instructurizing. Here’s an excerpt: The Art and Science of the Art and Science of Teaching, Leading, and Instructurizing: How Everyone with a Thought About Education Can […]

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My Philosophy On Math Pedagogy, And Other Tidbits [Edutopia]

March 21, 2013 Mr. Vilson

Here’s an excerpt from my latest at Edutopia (including a diss on Robert Marzano and the like). It’s about engaging math teachers: Keep This Rule of Thumb: Complete, Consistent, Correct By “complete, consistent, correct,” I mean we should allow multiple pathways to a correct answer that a) allow for full understanding of a given procedure, […]

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