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Getting Smart Podcast

Aug 15, 2018

Today, Tom has a conversation with David Michael Slater. David is a teacher at Pine Middle School in Reno — he’s also an author of dozens of children’s books and has been writing and teaching for over 20 years.


David believes that having another passion beyond the classroom is helpful for a teacher. In his first nonfiction work, Slater enumerates many of the bad, obsolete, and corrupted ideas that have become part of the basic operating system in American elementary and secondary education. The book is called, Were Doing It Wrong: 25 Ideas in Education That Just Dont WorkAnd How to Fix Them. In pithy, short chapters Slater exposes some bad assumptions and makes the case for how good ideas have gone bad.


Join David and Tom today as they go through several chapters of his book and discuss issues such as age-based education, why teachers are leaving the field, regarding the student as the client, helicopter parents and absent parents, the guidance gap, the writing crisis, and more.


Key Takeaways:

[:16] About today’s episode with David Slater.

[1:11] David’s educational background.

[4:35] When did David start his writing career? And why?

[5:40] How and when David writes.

[6:14] Does David write by-hand or on the computer?

[6:26] The background on his latest nonfiction book, We’re Doing It Wrong.

[8:05] Why is age-based education a problem?

[9:13] One of the reasons why David wrote this book, and one of the main reasons why teachers are leaving the field.

[10:41] David’s take on chapter 6 of his book around student-centered learning.

[12:19] What’s wrong with the metaphor: the student is the client.

[13:44] David’s take on “helicopter parents”.

[15:05] David’s thoughts on absent parents.

[16:25] David and Tom discuss the guidance gap.

[17:40] David talks about the immense issue that is the writing crisis, and how David combats this within the school where he teaches.

[23:43] David’s concerns about automated writing feedback systems.

[25:29] David shares some of the other topics and issues in his book, We’re Doing It Wrong.

[27:30] What David’s next book is on.

[28:35] What David is currently teaching at Pine Middle School and his other endeavor: We’re Doing It Wrong website and podcast.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Pine Middle School

Were Doing It Wrong: 25 Ideas in Education That Just Dont WorkAnd How to Fix Them,

by David Michael Slater

David Michael Slaters Amazon Book Page

Health and Science School

Smart Parents: Parenting for Powerful Learning, by Tom Vander Ark, Bonnie Lathram,

and Carri Schneider

Were Doing It Wrong Website & Podcast


For More on Reimagining K-12:

Listen to: Season 3, Episode 18 What School Could Be: Ted Dintersmith on Powerful Learning.


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