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The ABPC Blog

Active Listening Is a Critical Tool for Educators. Here’s How to Sharpen It!

Active listening is a critical skill for teachers, administrators, coaches, parents – everyone! And just like developing any craft, active listening requires intentionality and the ability to turn off that inner “here’s what I know” voice that seems to be ever present in our mind. Cathy Gassenheimer shares five big take-aways from the new book “Listen Like You Mean It.”

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How We Can Avoid the Trap of High Conflict and Open the Door to Understanding

Like many of us, author Amanda Ripley noticed the growing strife emerging in American culture and wanted to better understand why people – and sometimes even whole communities – find themselves involved in conflicts that become quite ugly. Her curiosity and wide-ranging study produced the new book High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out. Cathy Gassenheimer shares highlights.

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Our Students Will Thrive If We #OverEstimateKids (The Sequel – One Year Later)

In 2020 Jeremy VanEgmond began promoting a cause close to his heart – the need to “overestimate” what kids can do by encouraging them to pursue their passionate interests and make a difference in the world. The Pike Road Elementary assistant principal, who first wrote about his #OverestimateKids campaign for us last year, follows up with specific actions educators and parents can take to help create “shining moments where kids make connections we never gave them a chance to make before.”

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What’s In a Name? A New Study Finds Many Parents Prefer ‘Life Skills’ to ‘SEL’

Whether we call it SEL or Life Skills or something else, writes Cathy Gassenheimer, schools have always had a role in preparing the next generation for success in the adult world of college, careers, the workplace and citizenship. In a functioning democracy, school systems supported by the public will always need to provide a well-balanced mix of academics and skills for living that support an open and resilient society.

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How “Useful Delusions” Might Help Teachers and Students Be More Successful

We are all delusional, and sometimes delusion can be a good thing. That’s the valuable lesson found in Useful Delusions: The Power Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain, written by science journalist Shankar Vedantam. In her review, Cathy Gassenheimer draws a connection between Vedantam’s conclusions and researcher John Hattie’s top classroom influencers. Could “useful delusions” increase the impact of collective efficacy in our schools?

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To Reach the Highest Levels of Student Learning We Need High-Functioning PLCs

In the face of so many recent disruptive experiences, writes ABPC’s Stoney Beavers, now is a good time to rethink the PLC process and ask ourselves some hard questions. Will they be extensions of administration? Loose collaborations? Or genuine communities committed to professional growth and advancing student learning? Inspired by the work of Robert Marzano and Richard DuFour, participants in our PCN and KLN networks will explore these and other essential questions this year.

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Back to School with John Hattie: What Covid Is Teaching Us About Next Steps

Now that we’ve had a summer break, Cathy Gassenheimer suggests we take a moment to look back at the past school year and identify what we’ve learned. She’s summarized a recent article by John Hattie sharing his take on the silver linings of a difficult pandemic year – and what Hattie believes we can do to solidify the positives and let go of ineffective pre-Covid practices.

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Our 2021-22 KLN Guiding Text Will Help Us Assure High Reliability Leadership in Our Schools

Professional learning inside this year’s Key Leaders Network will focus on leading high reliability schools, using the five-level framework developed by Robert Marzano and incorporating much of the collective work ABPC networks have been doing over the past several years to improve teaching and learning. This year, writes Assistant Director Stoney Beaver, KLN will build on what we have all accomplished together.

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Curiosity Can Be Our Superpower

“I’ve come to see that curiosity is not simply one more tool in the engagement toolkit but an innate human trait that can help all of us in a multitude of ways,” writes Cathy Gassenheimer. “Because I now believe curiosity to be a kind of superpower that we can all tap into, I’ve created a guide to some of the ways we can put it to good use.”

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Our 2021-22 PCN Guiding Text: Marzano’s Expanded Vision of The New Art and Science of Teaching

Guided by Marzano’s expanded vision and based on the work of ABPC’s diverse design team, the Powerful Conversations Network will meet educators where they are in 2021-22. PCN will support the challenges of bouncing forward after a very difficult 18 months. Participants will collaborate as they identify essential standards, share ways to re-engage students, and develop authentic tasks that help all our young people become effective and confident learners.

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