Author Archives: mprater

About mprater

I'm a recently retired school teacher/administrator continuing to help people grow through personal learning. When not blogging, I do consulting work for schools and organizations, make presentations at conferences, and research for publication. At the same time, I have to set aside enough time to enjoy the "good life" of retirement!

Motivate Students to Learn Without Rewards

Basic behavior management tells us that you need to give something back when you take something away. It’s not good enough to say, “Don’t do this” without saying “Do this instead.” Mediocre teachers master the art of saying “don’t” very … Continue reading

Posted in Student Motivation, Teacher Motivation, Teaching Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Loving the Unloveable Student

I recall clearly an experience I had early in my career that changed my perspective on teaching forever and made me an immeasurably better teacher. On the day before school started we received our class rosters in our mailboxes. I was … Continue reading

Posted in Student Motivation, Teacher Motivation, Teaching Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

No More Teaching

When thinking about teaching, many of us conjure images of a wise sage standing in front of a group of youngsters, dispensing knowledge as eager students absorb new enlightenment. In fact, Webster defines teach as “to cause to know something,” or “to … Continue reading

Posted in Student Motivation, Teacher Motivation, Teaching Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

What Effective Principals Do

Do principals really have an impact on student achievement? Of course they do! Research including my own indicates clearly that principals affect student outcomes. Browse my publications link to find more detailed discussions, but here is a quick summary of … Continue reading

Posted in Administrators' Corner, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

What Students Want Us to Know

In all our talk about education reform, why don’t we listen to the group who is most affected by our actions: the students? Many schools administer surveys to various stakeholders, including students, on a sporadic basis in response to state or … Continue reading

Posted in Administrators' Corner, Education in the News, Policy and Analysis | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Grouping Students for Effective Learning

Many educators have a natural aversion to grouping students by ability level. Granted, leveling in a traditional sense by dividing entire grade levels of students into high, medium, and low groups is an ineffective practice. That’s because learning is too … Continue reading

Posted in PLCs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Engaging in a Process of Formative Assessment

With everything being said today about assessments, we should fully understand the process and how it impacts learning. But I fear that many educators fail to use formative assessments to their maximum potential. Much of the fault lies in thinking about … Continue reading

Posted in Administrators' Corner, Testing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

College isn’t for Everyone

Over the past decade or more, policy makers and educators have focused intensely on college readiness programs at the high school level.  A well-educated student is one who has mastered the skills necessary to be successful at the college level, … Continue reading

Posted in Administrators' Corner, Education in the News, Policy and Analysis | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Student Achievement: Principals Do Make a Difference

The principal’s role has become increasingly complex and difficult as the nature of society, political expectations, and schools as organizations have changed.  Principals today can no longer simply “run a tight ship” and expect things to sail along nicely.  The … Continue reading

Posted in Administrators' Corner | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Developing Better Teacher Evaluation Systems

With many states passing merit-pay laws, it is imperative that we find a good method to evaluate educators effectively. A new report from The Brookings Institution, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., says a way to accurately judge student … Continue reading

Posted in Administrators' Corner, Education in the News, Policy and Analysis | Tagged , , | 4 Comments