American Educator: Winter 2005-2006

  • In Her Own Words

    Excerpts from Sandra Feldman's Many Speeches and Columns

    Why Public Education?

    I grew up in a very poor community, in Coney Island, on the edge of another community called Seagate. Seagate was—still is—a middle-class enclave cut off from the rest of us, literally, by a gate and security guards. You needed special identification to get through...

  • Child Soldiers

    The New Faces of War

    The rebels told me to join them, but I said no. Then they killed my smaller brother. I changed my mind.

    –L., age 71

    By P. W. Singer

    One of the original sins of humanity has been its inability to live at peace. From the...

  • Why Now?

    P. W. Singer

    The desperate position in which many children around the world find themselves is almost unimaginable. Although positive in some terms, the developments of globalization that dominated the last quarter century have left many behind, while rending many traditional societies and mores. The brunt...

  • Child Soldiers Speak Out

    These quotes are from former and current child soldiers from Colombia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Burma. These children's willingness to speak out is deeply appreciated.

    By P. W. Singer

    If you join the paramilitaries [the AUC in Columbia], your first duty is to kill. They...

  • Ask the Cognitive Scientist

    How Praise Can Motivate—or Stifle Daniel T. Willingham

    Question: I keep hearing conflicting things about praise. Some say that too much praise can decrease students' motivation, but others say praise boosts self-esteem and, therefore, you can never praise too much. Should I praise my students? How much? For what? Are there times...

  • Examples of Constructive Praise and Encouraging Comments

    Daniel T. Willingham

    Label the praiseworthy action, not the child.

    These examples point out a single instance in which a student has been helpful, honest, or organized. There is no pressure for her to always be that way.

    "You saw that Amy was having trouble memorizing her part for the play, so...

  • How Spelling Supports Reading

  • "Education Work Is Union Work"

    A Tribute to AFT President Sandra Feldman, 1939–2005

    Sandra Feldman was president of the AFT from 1997 to 2004 and, before that, president of the United Federation of Teachers, the AFT's New York City affiliate. She will be remembered in many places for her many roles: civil rights activist, New York City trade union leader, child...

  • Spelling Instruction: Key Content and Strategies for Kindergarten through Seventh Grade