Year at Mission Hill, Chapter 4 Love and Limits

Working and playing — essential components of learning and keystones for establishing both the love and limits that create a safe space for each student. The question of how to best set appropriate boundaries within a loving context became all the more important because Mission Hill is a full inclusion school, meaning students with exceptionalities are not pulled out and separated from their peers.

This chapter unpacks the false dichotomy between social emotional learning and academic learning, looking instead at how they inform one another.

A Year at Mission Hill Chapter 1

missionhillBelow is the first chapter of a remarkable video series: A Year at Mission Hill. The premise, as described on the project’s site, is simple:

Ten videos. One year. A public school trying to help children learn and grow. The national conversation we need to be having.

What goes into creating a powerful learning environment for children and adults? Meet the teachers, families and children of Mission Hill as they experience the highs and lows of a year of self-discovery, exploration, and frustration. And join us for a national conversation about the state of public education as it is – and as it ought to be.

Every couple of weeks until mid June, a new chapter will be released. The chapters are accompanied by additional resources and invite you to become a part of the story at Faces of Learning. It is our hope that through this sustained, in-depth look at what works in schools, we can have a sustained in-depth discussion, as a nation and as a people, about what we want for our schools, and more importantly, for our students.

Image: Year at Mission Hill and Education Revolution


The Changing Face of the Teaching Force (Infographic)

ingersoll_croppedPop quiz:

Q: What is the current mode for years of experience in the teaching profession in the US? 

A: One.

In other words, ask all teachers how many years they have been teaching and “one” is answered more often than any other number.

The reasons we have come to this are complex (see the below infographic from the work of Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology at Penn GSE). Those reasons aside, the implications for this trend should give us all pause. With an ever increasing percentage of teachers having fewer and fewer years of experience we have both responsibilities and opportunities. We have a responsibility to cultivate conditions in our schools that support and propagate adult learning at the highest level. New teachers need the conditions and support to develop into effective teachers.

At the same time, we have the chance to shape these new recruits into the kinds of teachers that can provide students with meaningful, relevant, and transformative experiences. We have an opportunity (obligation even) and urgency to ensure we  rethink, redesign, and reshape schools into learning communities where students and teachers thrive.



Source of Infographic: The work of Richard Ingersoll at Penn Graduate School of Education

Image: Richard Ingersoll


The Power of Outrospection

Conflict: It Won't Stop Until We TalkRoman Krznaric’s website describes him as “a cultural thinker and writer.” He speaks on a range of topics including “empathy, the history of love, the future of work, and the art of living.”

His 15-minute talk outlining elements of his book, “How to Find Fulfilling Work,” offers this bit of Aristotle wisdom:

Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.

Capitalizing on such wisdom though, requires two requisite skills: 1. Ability to see and comprehend the needs of the world, and 2. Knowing one’s strengths, affinities, and talents. Toward the latter we advocate for increasing metacognition as central to empowering learners.

The former, Dr. Krznaric targets in his persuasive “The Power of Outrospection” talk. Below is the must watch RSA Animation of this talk in which he advocates for increasing empathy — for individuals and society.

He unpacks . . .

“a revolution of human relationships . . .”

“empathizing in both space and time . . .”

“scaling up empathy . . .”

and “expanding our empathetic imaginations.”

This reframing of how we look at each other and make sense of the world offers a compelling juxtaposition to the fact and test heavy approach to education currently sweeping the nation. It offers a contextual foundation from which to transform education.

Before embracing or rejecting education policy ideas, we might put it through these litmus tests:

  • How will this action be perceived and received by students?
  • Will the design and implementation of this pedagogical policy increase students’ ability to effectively recognize and seize the moment when they have reached the intersection of their talents and the needs of the world?
  • Will this increase the empathetic thinking and actions of education leaders, teachers, and, most importantly, students?

Thanks to Chris Lehman, Founding Principal of the innovative Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, for bringing this video to our attention. Be sure to check out the upcoming EduCon being hosted at SLA in just a few weeks. 

Image: From the RSA Animation of “The Power of Outrospection”

Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership

These “Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership” were published by Kent Keith in 1968 as a series designed for emerging student leaders. However, when it comes to efficacy, determination, grit, and tenacity — and really, just good old fashion putting vision into action — these are as true and relevant today as ever.

1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.

Love them anyway.

2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.

Do good anyway.

3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

6. The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men with the smallest minds.

Think big anyway.

7. People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs.

Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.

9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.

Help people anyway.

10. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.

Give the world the best you have anyway.