Big Idea #6: Compartmentalization versus Feasibility
Jul 31st, 2007 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

The actually coding of the interviews should tease this idea out better, but it is worth discussing these two perspectives at this point.

I have often thought about the problem finding process including the idea of student metacognitive feasibility. In other words, as a student is trying to develop a problem that eventually produces a highly successful project, he or she must consider the feasibility of the project. In other words, does the student have the necessary personal expertise, access to others with expertise, the funds, the materials, the equipment, the resources, and the time. (Are there others that I am missing?)

However, looking at some of the very successful students, I think the scope of the problem is somewhat greater than what is actually presented. Work done by the student is often greater than what is presented as well. So what has happened? It seems to me that the student has compartmentalized the project. He or she presents only one facet (albeit a powerful one) of the project. The student has selected work to exclude for some reason (i.e. it wasn’t finished, it wasn’t flashy enough, it was too tangental, it was too long ago . . .)

So I wonder where the compartmentalization and the feasibility intersect and where they diverge.
Just thinking about it . . ..
Jul 22nd, 2007 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

Edited from the “W” Bulletin.

A veteran educator with 30 years of experience has been hired as the new assistant superintendent of the W. Public Schools. This past week, A.G. was unanimously approved for the position at a special meeting of the Board of Education. She will take her post on Monday, Aug. 13.“I’m very excited,” Ms. G. to administrators and members of the Board of Education after her approval.

Dr. G.R., superintendent of schools, called Ms. G. “very skilled, inclusive, and collaborative” and echoed the sentiment of the rest of those in attendance that he was excited to begin working with her.“First and foremost,” Dr. R. said, “she’s a kind person,” an attribute that was vital to being a part of the W. staff.

Ms. G. was one of 30 applicants for the position, seven of whom were interviewed, according to E.A., director of human resources and general administration. Ms. A. said all other applicants’ résumés were “significantly pale in comparison” to Ms. G.’s.

Ms. G.’s educational philosophy is “making sure that all children get the best education possible.” But to fulfill this, she doesn’t want to immediately change the way W. schools are running.“The first thing I need to do is acclimate myself to what they do, look at some data and see what needs to be done, if anything,” she said.

“You have to be able to touch every area with enough expertise to make decisions,” said D.W., secretary of the Board of Education. “That’s what we see in this résumé.”

Ms. G. earned her bachelor of science degree in physical education from the University of Bridgeport in 1975, a master of science degree in counseling from the University of Bridgeport in 1985, and a sixth year diploma in administration and supervision from Southern Connecticut State University in 1991.

“Your credentials are impeccable,” said T.E.D., member of the Board of Education, this past Thursday. “There was a good fit.” Your credentials do fit very nicely with our needs,” said K.B., chairman of the Board of Education.

Ms. G. said she’s excited to get to work.“I’m a very strong advocate for children, I have a good sense of humor, I work very, very hard, I have an open-door policy, and I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves and get involved,” she said.“I’m sensing you will fit in well with this group,” Ms. W. said.

Ironic? Best of Luck.

Big Idea #5: Parents
Jul 4th, 2007 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

It’s amazing to see where your “filters” on data come from. At my daughter’s 5th birthday party, I was talking with my uncle and we were briefly speaking about my dissertation. I gave my stock explanation for what I was doing . . . “I’m looking at how students come up with their ideas for their science fair projects.” He responded with a sarcastic “Their parents and their teachers,” to which I said that the students I was working with did not do that.

But then I realized, that this idea is BIG, especially in the context of overall continued improvement of authentic research projects. Students with good projects don’t get their ideas from their parents. Often those ideas will be too unsophisticated; they will lack novelty; they don’t reflect extended engagement in a topic area.

If there is to be transferability in this study, it is important to demonstrate the role that parents should and should not play in the science research process. I must look closely at the demographics to see what students wrote about their parents. My general recollection was more in line with “putting the poster together,” “listening to me practice my presentation,” “checking my research paper for grammar.”
Quoteable Quote
Jul 1st, 2007 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

We’re pioneers, striving to predict the future by INVENTING it, rather than PREVENTING it. ~Alan Kay

A worthwhile thought as I consider my role as a science research facilitator, and an educator who tries to use instructional tools, like cutting-edge, “push-the-envelope” technology, for continuous educational improvement, often at the chagrin of an IT director.
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