Category: Curriculum


The Great Descartes Intelligence Caper: What Educators Should Know About Brain Science and Mindset

For centuries French philosopher Rene Descartes pretty much dictated what we believed about the human brain. He argued that the mind and brain were separate—made of different ingredients and following different rules. The brain, according to Descartes, was a physical, material thing existing in space and time and following the laws of physics. The mind (or the soul, as Descartes called it) was immaterial, a repository of non-physical thoughts, not taking up space or obeying the laws of matter. The […]

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Improving Our Practice: A Case For Coaching (Part 5)

For the final post in our Case for Coaching series, I will summarize one short section of The New Yorker article that inspired the series: Personal Best, by surgeon and author Atul Gawande. Gawande speaks with Jim Knight, of the Kansas Coaching Project. Knight started the Kansas Coaching Project in the belief that the quality of teaching is the number one factor for student success and that the best way to improve teaching is through coaching.

Élite performers, researchers […]

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Improving Our Practice: A Case For Coaching (Part 4)

What Does Effective Coaching Look and Sound Like?

I live in Colorado where skiing is big. Although I grew up here and I stand by the belief that there is nothing better on this earth than a great day of skiing, I admit I am no hotshot. I do like to go fast, but I am quite content to sail safely down the wide, smooth green and blue runs.

My knees do not like moguls, but my son loves them, and I […]

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Improving Our Practice: A Case For Coaching (Part 3)

Teacher Interview

Cassandra Madewell is in her fourth year of teaching 9th grade English in Lewisville Independent School District near Dallas, Texas. Inquiry By Design has been working with LISD for the past three years, and, in addition to the pedagogical changes within the IBD curriculum, Cassandra and her teammates credit their instructional coach, Tammy Williams, with revolutionizing the instruction in their classrooms.

While Cassandra had never worked with an instructional coach before, she is an athlete, so she understands […]

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Improving Our Practice: A Case for Coaching (Part 2)

Last week, I visited a district with whom Inquiry By Design has been working for about three years. I was facilitating a series of peer learning labs (link to previous post). We were a group of about ten teachers and district leaders. Our morning teacher host introduced herself and summarized for the group what we would be seeing in her classroom that day. She provided a little background on how things have changed since first beginning implementation of the Inquiry […]

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