The Death of Tiger Mom (Part 1 of 2)

It’s been over a decade since Amy Chua launched her notorious writing career describing the benefits of being a Tiger mom. In her book, she told how Asian moms were “better” and pointed to the exceptional academic performance of her children — and Asian children generally — as proof. And she’s right. Asian kids have, […]

It’s All About Relationships

We all know that “without relationship, learning suffers.” Can’t we do better building relationships among learners and educators? It turns out that we can…

Writing as Learning

Writing is not what you think it is. “Writing is an act of discovery!” “Writing gives us power.” (says, Dr. Robin Reagler, longtime writing expert). Here’s a plan to improve your LEARNING through writing.

Habits of Mind Drive Success

Any parents looking to build Character into your children? We have found that the “Habits of Mind” overlap with key character qualities. Build the Habits of Mind in your kids and you build their Character!

Don’t Teach Your Kids to Read (Part 2 of 2)

I continue the provocative idea of prioritizing Self-Control over Reading. This week, I describe how self-control can be built through “student engagement” and include examples and strategies for families to consider.

Don’t Teach Your Kids to Read (Part 1 of 2)

His mother yelled his name as he raced past me. She was close on his heels. The child, probably around age 4 or 5, was holding a package of sausage under his right arm — I’m not making this up — and, given the smile on his face, it was clear that he was having a great time grocery shopping with mom. Mom, not so much.

How Your Child Rocks Learning!

Dr. Scott pays tribute to arguably the greatest rock guitarist ever – Eddie Van Halen – in this blog discussing interest-based learning. Van Halen epitomized the pursuit of interest-based learning as he perfected playing the electric guitar while inventing a number of innovations connected with that same instrument. Parents! Can you form a plan to support your child’s interest/passion/drive? Read on for tips on how to do it.

Smack Down Response to NYT Op Ed

Dr. Scott Van Beck takes on Harvard professor Jal Mehta’s recent op ed in the New York Times. This “Smack Down” hammers long-standing and antiquated beliefs about school (without using a folding chair!) Take a read and choose your side!

Is School Blockbuster or Netflix?

Blockbuster failed because they didn’t realize that our world was moving towards “Anytime, Anywhere, Everything.” If your child still sees school as “the place where learning happens,” then they may suffer the same fate as Blockbuster. Learning is now Anytime, Anywhere! Here’s how to do it.

When drowning on dry land, jump into deep water

If your child doesn’t want to learn over the holiday break, it’s likely because they have been “drowning” in a school environment that is dull and uninspiring. Now’s your chance to push them into the “deep water” where the excitement to learn can be reignited! Here’s how…

Two Pathways to a Learning Pod

Learning Pods — which are a form of “Microschool” — are set to revolutionize learning. Parents keep asking us, “how to establish a FUN, FAIR, and POSITIVE learning pod?” Here’s how.

Looking for the “Sick and Tireds of Being Sick and Tired”

Are you a parent who is dissatisfied with your child’s learning? We mean, REALLY dissatisfied? Are you “sick and tired” of 1) schools that produce students who can’t learn on their own, 2) of feeling ignored by your school, 3) of a school system that is stuck in time? If yes, then for the sake of your child, it’s time to build a new approach.

Baby, You Can Drive My Car

Teaching our kids how to be self-directed, independent, life-long learners intimidates us as much as teaching them to drive a car. But we do teach our kids how to drive and eventually get comfortable letting them take total control of a 4,000-lb metal box capable of going 100 miles per hour down the highway. Why is it we’re not ready to teach them how to take total control of their own learning? Parents, it’s time to step up!

(Part 2) Blame Thomas Friedman

Part 2 of “Blame Thomas Friedman” contains a simple “baby step” suggestion to help parents build self-motivation and self-direction in their children. (Maybe you’ll even thank Mr. Friedman… one day.)

Parents ≥ Teachers

I was a middle school and high school principal for 10 years. During that time, I saw many parents who allowed teachers or principals to make all the decisions about their child’s learning, with little or no input from the parent. It’s time to flip the script.

Blame Thomas Friedman (Part 1)

Parents: What’s your reaction to Thomas Friedman’s quote? “ a world where you will change jobs and professions several times, the self-motivation to be a lifelong learner will be paramount.” It’s time to pivot to a different type of learning.

The Art of Negotiation

When I was a high school principal, I was visited by many middle class parents asking favors for their children. Here’s what parents need to know to negotiate improved learning for their children. (Part 1)

Toilet paper or diploma? – that is the question.

Self-directed learning is the undiscussed civil rights issue of our time. When a learner is able to define, plan, execute, and evaluate their own learning they cease being owned by the traditional school system. The learner now possesses skills they own and cannot be taken away for a lifetime.

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

I spoke with a parent today whose 7-year-old will be expected to spend many hours on, or near, the computer each day. Really?! This rigid, “More is Better” model of learning will not lead to a love of learning, student engagement, or learning independence.
Instead, consider an integrated, “Less but Better” approach… and decide which will work better for you and your young learner.

What if School Did Not Exist?

Education is being disrupted in real time and basic assumptions about “school” are rightly being questioned. Co-Founder of The Education Game, Dr. Scott Van Beck, leads a new blog series we call “What if…?” Each discussion will compel readers to explore basic assumptions about education that may no longer apply. This week’s question: “What if schools did not exist?” We welcome your comments.

The Unbundling of Education

COVID is massively accelerating the “unbundling of education.” Instead of a “one-size-fits-few” model, COVID is driving innovation, experimentation and personalization (finally!). Welcome to the future of education… don’t mind the mess.

Anxious Parents: Here’s Your 6-Week Playbook to Prepare for the Fall

Parents: Before you decide on virtual, home, hybrid, “Learning Pod”, private tutor, or online courses, walk with me through a 6-week process to develop a plan that can flex with the expected disruption of the coming months (years?!). Here’s your Playbook that looks far beyond COVID.

Fear-Less This Fall: A Parent Story

Every parent is feeling afraid. Their fear comes, in part, because they have not clearly defined their risks and developed mitigation strategies. Here is one parent’s story.

COVID Almost Killed Me and FrankenSchool Tried to Kill My Child’s Education

COVID almost killed me and FrankenSchool almost killed my kid’s education. No one can convince me that restarting traditional school in the fall makes sense. The risks are too high for too many. But there is another way: home learning. It will be hard… but the benefits far outweigh the risks. Let me show you how.

To Parents with Black Boys

Parents with Black boys have been reminded that raising their sons is tricky/dangerous business. But we can be order out of the chaos… if we stay focused.

The Playbook for Highly Engaged Parents

Losing Trust She asked me with surprisingly little emotion in her voice. “Why should I trust anything you say,” she started. “After the corruption, dysfunction, and failed promises, how can any parent trust you…” her voice trailed off as she looked for the right words. “…to trust you to make sure that MY child is […]

COVID: Education Smoke. Not Fire.

COVID is a minor educational problem. There, I said it. Truth. For decades, in the 7th largest district in the US — and in many schools around the world — the majority of kids are not mastering the basics (especially Black/Brown boys). Truth. COVID isn’t the crisis. It is short-term smoke from a long-term raging […]

Death of Tiger Mom (part 2 of 2)

I am continuing my attempts to declaw Tiger-parents. Click here for last week’s post. As a reminder, I am a Black man. I have a Black son. I am recovering from life as an Asian Tiger mom. These may seem unrelated, but they are linked.  Tiger moms represent one side of the educational spectrum. They […]