American Educator: Winter 2003-2004

  • Notebook

    From AFT

    One-Page Fliers on No Child Left Behind

    No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the 2002 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is an enormous, confusing, and extremely important law. It is far from perfect—legislation never is. Nevertheless, NCLB presents a vehicle for...

  • Heading Off Disruptive Behavior

    How Early Intervention Can Reduce Defiant Behavior—and Win Back Teaching Time Hill M. Walker, Elizabeth Ramsey, Frank M. Gresham

    More and more children from troubled, chaotic homes are bringing well-developed patterns of antisocial behavior to school. Especially as these students get older, they wreak havoc on schools. Their aggressive, disruptive, and defiant behavior wastes teaching time, disrupts the learning of all...

  • Prevention Begins with Screening

    Hill M. Walker, Elizabeth Ramsey, Frank M. Gresham

    Early intervention is critical for preventing antisocial behavior. The longer children go without intervention, the more bridges (to adults and peers) they burn and the more committed to acting out they become. And if they reach just 8 years old without such intervention, their bad behavior is...

  • Good Behavior Needs to Be Taught

    How a Social Skills Curriculum Works Hill M. Walker, Elizabeth Ramsey, Frank M. Gresham

    Social skills training may sound at first like just another requirement to be piled onto teachers and crammed into precious teaching time—just another thing that parents, not teachers, should be doing. But school requires a unique set of social skills like sitting quietly, sharing, and...

  • Dealing with Jimmy the "Terror"—How an Intensive Intervention Works

    Hill M. Walker, Elizabeth Ramsey, Frank M. Gresham

    To grasp the importance of a "selected" intervention, meet Jimmy. Jimmy was commonly referred to as a "terror" soon after entering kindergarten; he had a short attention span and was agitated much of the time—going off at the drop of a hat. Academic tasks and appropriate group behavior (e.g.,...

  • Resources for Finding Effective Programs

    What Works: Five Promising Discipline and Violence Prevention Programs

    This brief report by the American Federation of Teachers offers easy to use descriptions of five effective programs for preventing antisocial behavior. Each starts with a chart of targeted grades, materials,...

  • How Disruptive Students Escalate Hostility and Disorder—and How Teachers Can Avoid It

    Hill M. Walker, Elizabeth Ramsey, Frank M. Gresham

    Managing unruly behavior is one of the most difficult, frustrating, and even frightening parts of being a teacher. Intervening when children are young with evidence-based programs is the "Gold Standard" for preventing, or at least greatly reducing, disruptive behavior. Ideally, chronically...

  • Teaching Poor Students: How to Make It a Prestigious, Desirable Career

    A Title I for Teacher Pay Act? Matthew Miller

    School A is in a middle-class neighborhood—with all that implies. School B is in a poor one, with crime, gangs, overwhelmed parents, many children with behavior and academic problems, broken buildings, bureaucratic demands—and salaries that are lower than at School A.


  • Ask the Cognitive Scientist: Why Students Think They Understand—When They Don't

    Daniel T. Willingham

    Question: Very often, students will think they understand a body of material. Believing that they know it, they stop trying to learn more. But, come test time, it turns out they really don't know the material. Can cognitive science tell us anything about why students are...

  • How to Help Students See When Their Knowledge Is Superficial or Incomplete

    Daniel T. Willingham

    What can be done to combat spurious feelings of knowing in students? Remedies center on jostling students away from a reliance on familiarity and partial access as indices of their knowledge, and encouraging (or requiring) them to test just how much knowledge they recall and understand....

  • Mayday at 41,000 Feet—Watch Those Units!

    Steve Silverman

    As a long-time science teacher, many times I get answers like this to mathematical problems: "Twelve."

    Like any well-trained dog—I mean, teacher—I automatically blurt back, "Twelve what? Are we talking about 12 eggs, 12 pencils, 12 pounds, 12 liters, or 12 pieces of metababbaboobinite?...