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Editor’s Choice Content Award

3 min read


We’re trying something new here at SmartBlog on Education. Beginning this month, we’re launching a monthly education content award, recognizing content written by educators, for educators that inspires readers to engage, innovate and discuss.

The SmartBrief Education team consists of editors and writers who sift through thousands of sources each day, reading a variety of content, including blogs and commentaries written by you and your peers.

In an effort to recognize some of the innovative voices in the field — quick disclaimer: there is so much wonderful content out there that I’m sure we’ll miss some — we’ve asked our team to nominate their favorite content each month from which we’ll choose two winners for the Editor’s Choice Content Award.

This month’s winners challenge educators to reconsider stereotypes and rethink how they use their professional experiences and knowledge in the classroom.

Hilary Conklin for Middle School: Not So Bad, published by The Atlantic (Jan. 14)

In the commentary Middle School: Not So Bad, Hilary Conklin goes a step further and contends “It’s pretty great, actually.” Keep in mind that Conklin is a former middle-school teacher who now trains teachers for their work in the classroom. So you can’t discount her sunny position on middle-schoolers on the basis that she hasn’t been there. She has. A theme in this commentary — the idea of challenging stereotypes — is a lesson we can apply to many other areas of education, from urban and rural education to teacher satisfaction and back to the notion that middle-schoolers are “hormones with feet.” This post challenges us to look beyond the surface. As Conklin notes, “…kids at this age are capable thinkers who are deeply interested in learning more about — and contributing to — the world around them.”

Listen to an interview with Hilary Conklin about winning the award.

Online Education Radio at Blog Talk Radio with EduTalk on BlogTalkRadio

Bill Ferriter
for What Role Do Hunches Play in Professional Learning Communities?, published by the Center for Teaching Quality (Jan. 10)

Bill Ferriter — a veteran educator — begins this blog post with a comparison between educators and NFL football players — a timely comparison given that it’s Super Bowl season. He celebrates experienced educators as stars in the classroom where they use their years of on-the-job training to make last-minute calls that help students win the game. OK, you’re wondering: “Where’s the challenge to rethink how we use our professional experiences in the classroom?” Well, not so fast, so I’m cheering teachers along as I read Ferriter’s post, and then I stop short. He breaks the running play with an assertion that while hunches based on years of experience are important in the classroom, they shouldn’t be used to make every decision. Teachers, Ferriter writes, need the kind of life long learning skills we desire from doctors. He challenges educators to be ready — with data — to support the decisions they make in the classroom.

The Editor’s Choice Content Award is produced in collaboration with SmartBrief on EdTech. Stay tuned for next month’s picks.

Melissa Greenwood is SmartBrief’s senior education editor, with responsibility for the content in a variety of SmartBrief’s education briefs. She also manages content for SmartBlog on Education and related social media channels. Prior to joining SmartBrief, Melissa held a variety of positions in the education field, including classroom teacher and education editor and writer.