Draft of Conference Proposal on Video-based Learning for Instructional Improvement


Conference Session Proposal Draft

Title: Enhancing Teacher Preparation Online through Video-based Modeling and Feedback


Although video of teaching practice has long been a part of the national discussion concerning teacher observation and evaluation (i.e., TIMSS 1999 Video Study), online video-based pedagogical practice has only recently been acknowledged in the research literature as a cornerstone for effective online and face-to-face teacher preparation and continued professional development (i.e., Archer, Cantrell, Holtzman, Joe, Tocci, & Wood, 2016; Borko, Koellner, Jacobs, & Seago, 2011; Derry, Sherin, & Sherin, 2015; Gaudin & Chaliès, 2015).

The University of Florida College of Education faculty and staff have unique expertise in planning and implementing innovative online video-based pedagogy for the purpose of improving teacher and leader preparation and professional development. Motivation of online students played a key factor in the initial decisions to redesign coursework to include professional video in addition to synchronous observation video software (i.e., Guo, Kim, & Rubin, 2014). Some examples of our efforts include the implementation of synchronous and asynchronous video solutions (with annotation) for teacher observation and pre-service mentoring, embedded video of UF graduates modeling teaching best practices within our online courses, expert and practitioner interviews and case studies woven through online discussions, and targeted video demonstrations of instructional strategies for teaching students with dyslexia.

In this session, the demonstration and effectiveness of these design changes will be discussed, including the sharing of student feedback regarding how these changes have impacted their instruction in the field.


Archer, J., Cantrell, S., Holtzman, S. L., Joe, J. N., Tocci, C. M., & Wood, J. (2016). Better feedback for better learning: A practical guide to improving classroom observations. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA.

Borko, H., Koellner, K., Jacobs, J., & Seago, N. (2011). Using video representations of teaching in practice-based professional development programs. ZDM Mathematics Education, 43, 175-187.

Derry , S., Sherin , M., & Sherin , B. (2014). Multimedia learning with video. In R. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 785–812). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Gaudin, C. & Chaliès, S. (2015). Video viewing in teacher education and professional development: A literature review. Educational Research Review, 16, (41-67)

Guo, P. J., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos. Paper presented at Learning @ Scale 2014 Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.

 More at- https://www.academia.edu/25847583/Enhancing_Teacher_Preparation_Online_through_Video-based_Modeling_and_Feedback

Searching through Language: Translations of Hadrian (W.S. Merwin) & Limits of Human Perception


Below, I have included a couple of translations of the only poem ever to have been found attributed to Hadrian (A.D. 76-138). The first word in the original Latin, animula, translates to little soul or small soul.

These first three photographs capture the relatively hard-to-find Pheonix Book Shop chapbook, Three Poems. I have a copy (only 100 were ever made, and it is signed by the author in 1968). The second poem is Animula. This was a kind of translation, I believe. But, it was more of Merwin’s work than an actual translation of the original.

The fourth photograph is from Merwin’s Selected Translations (2013, Copper Canyon Press) and includes a small bit of description about the origin and attempt to truly provide an adequate translation of Hadrian’s work. This is also included at the end of Merwin’s 2009 collection, The Shadow of Sirius (also Copper Canyon Press), which won the author his second Pulitzer Prize. His first Pulitzer was for the collection, The Carrier of Ladders (Atheneum), in 1971.


These variations on the poem are vastly different from one another in content, form, and intent. You can read a little about Merwin’s thoughts on translation and the impact of this act on the rest of his learning in his interview with Paul HoldenGräber in 2010 (here), or watch his discussion with Michael Silverblatt in 2012 (here). A nice, printable pdf version can be found at the Poetry Society website (here). The first version included here is probably (since it was published in The Carrier of Ladders as well as the chapbook) an attempt to create anew from the inspiration drawn from the original Hadrian poem. However, it could be the lifelong pursuit of understanding that sometimes takes the form of endless revisions. This is what I would like to believe.

Language, in one description, is a temporary attempt to articulate this experience of being alive and being human. Language may attempt to communicate; however, The most important things in this life are not easily communicated in any form (including verbal and written languages, visual representations in paint or sculpture or architecture, music, etc.). Language is temporal at best. It “works” well enough for a time. Then, it must evolve to something new. Sometimes, this can mean an entire language changing or being lost. With spoken and written languages disappearing at an alarming rate, we are reminded of the temporal nature of everything. Language, like our individual lives, does not last forever (here is a list of extinct languages).

This small poem that has interested Merwin for a good portion of his life could be symbolic of humankind’s attempts to grapple with larger meaning. But, it is only a poem, a short verse. How could it convey so much? I am reminded of Adrienne Rich’s (a friend of Merwin) title for her final book, Tonight No Poetry Will Serve (2011). Poetry can be fawlty. It can evolve. It is indicative of what it conveys. It is temporary. For me, this poem (and this author) are reminders to keep searching, to not completely become comfortable with what I believe I know. Merwin wrote (in “The Nomad Flute,”another poem from The Shadow of Sirius), “I have with me / all that I do not know / I have lost none of it.” Merwin reflects often on the limits of memory and language. The Shadow of Sirius is probably the collection which captures this so starkly throughout its poems. Here is the complete text of “Going” from the same collection:


Only humans believe
there is a word for goodbye
we have one in every language
one of the first words we learn
it is made out of greeting
but they are going away
the raised hand waiving
the face the person the place
the animal the day
leaving the word behind
and what it was meant to say

There is a constant wrestling with the limits of communication. These very brief poems carry the weight of the world, prophetic and powerful, not unlike traditional religious texts. This is probably not accidental. Merwin wrote hymns as a young boy. His father, a Presbyterian minister, would have probably remarked on the following passage from Corinthians (King James Bible): While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Even as language is a temporal excercise, Merwin describes the thumbing through pages of his father’s 1922 copy of Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language “in search of meaning” (from the poem “Inheritence,” The Shadow of Sirius, p. 32). In one of his three “forwards” to each section of the Selected Translations, Merwin admits that this practice of translation (and, maybe all writing) has “evolved” and is essentially an “unfinished art” (2013, p. 281).

Maybe, I am rambling beyond what I attempted to describe in the beginning, which was just the dissimilarity of two translations by the same author. Maybe I’m searching for something that’s not in these texts, something that is just beyond them. Maybe it’s in the past, and I am wrestling with some existential questions that one of my favorite poets can’t help me resolve.

These “eternal” things (2 Corinthians 4:18) are perhaps the mysteries that will keep us pursuing clearer understanding…although Joseph Joubert (as translated by Paul Auster) warns that in some cases, it may “rob them of their illusions.” Of course, Joubert is referring to one of man’s symbolic preoccupations, looking at the stars. Merwin continues to search, not worrying of the loss of mystery. He knows that his attempts to capture the uncapturable are futile, but they are attempts nonetheless. Perception changes as we age, as we experience new things. We attempt to hold experiences, thoughts, and create things from these elements. They may not be good forever. But, as John Berryman told Merwin (and Merwin passed on to the reader in the poem, “Berryman”:

I had hardly begun to read
I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can’t

you can’t you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don’t write

Knowing we may fail is not an excuse to try to communicate, to connect with others. That is where the magic is- in the trying. Maybe this is what Merwin meant when he admits in yet another poem from the life-changing volume that won him the second Pulitzer,”from what we cannot hold the stars are made” (from “Youth,” The Shadow of Sirius, p. 39).


Selected References

Auster, P. (1997). Translations (Selection of Joseph Joubert’s Notebooks). Marsilio Publishers.

Merwin, W.S. (2013). Selected translations. Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press.

Merwin, W. S. (2012). Interviewed by Michael Silverblatt on April 18, 2012. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/41266851

Merwin, W. S. (2010). Interviewed by Paul Holdengräber on October 22, 2010 at NYPL. Retrieved from http://www.nypl.org/sites/default/files/av/transcripts/merwin_transcript.pdf

Merwin, W. S. (2009). The shadow of Sirius. Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press.

Merwin, W. S. (1997) Flower and hand: Poems 1977-1983. Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press.

Merwin, W. S. (1970). The carrier of ladders. New York: Atheneum.

Vidal, J. (2014). As forests are cleared and species vanish, there’s one other loss: a world of languages. The Guardian (US Edition). Retrieved on April 28, 2016 from http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/08/why-we-are-losing-a-world-of-languages

Brief Reflective Notes on the Leadership of E-Learning, Technology and Creative Services


Although, this department (ETC) has been a fixture of UF’s College of Education for a number of years, this year has been a year of optimization of services.  Throughout the past year, our department has coalesced into a very agile and forward-thinking group composed of five distinct sub-teams. These teams, usually not found clustered in one department, all work intimately to help our faculty to reinvent online education practice, implement new ways of teaching and learning; build engagement and support for alumni, current, and future students; create web designs that leverage learning, usability, and aesthetic design; and, support the building of collective efficacy and collaboration through internal marketing and awareness. The main pursuit of this office is to become leaders of instructional design for the university and the field of higher education.

Instructional Design for Online Learning in Higher Education

It is generally acknowledged that online educational experiences offered by most institutions of higher education do not reflect identified high-yield learning strategies (e.g., Hattie, 2009; Marzano, 2009), specific strategies (including frequent and specific feedback) for the online environment (Mandernach & Garrett, 2014; Mayer, 2015), or the teacher presence (Ragan, 2015) found in their analogous face-to-face counterparts (Berrett, 2016). A recent national survey conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (2016) suggests the problem may rest in multiple areas, including the preparation of faculty and staff to create pedagogically sound digital learning opportunities. The report suggests, “high-impact educational practices are offered by many institutions, but rarely required.” Additionally, the findings indicate that approximately 36% of Chief Academic Officers report that “most of their current faculty members are using digital learning tools effectively in their courses.” This seems to ring true. Incidentally, the UF College of Education (CoE) has earned its first #1 ranking from U.S. News and World Report for our online graduate programs during my tenure. However, “faculty credentials and training” was still cited as an area of need in the scores that make up this ranking.

Our College of Education and its faculty have the greatest experience on campus in planning and implementing innovative pedagogical change in any context, including but not limited to online learning. This wellspring of expertise must inform future University of Florida endeavors in online education. Recent work in the area of multidisciplinary approaches to teacher preparation being offered online include the newly formed Center for Elementary Excellence in Teacher Preparation, the cross-department institution of teacher observation and mentoring through synchronous and annotated video solutions, cutting-edge research agenda (including the exploration of cognitive and social neuroscience methodologies and technologies) of Educational Technology faculty, video-based research conducted in SESPECS, and the digital outreach efforts to communities of learners led by our CoE-based centers. It is imperative that the teaching and learning research ecosystem fostered here at the College of Education is leveraged in support of the growing need for expanded online degree offerings and highly individualized learning environments.

Brief Notes re: Strategies in Redesigning ETC in 2015-2016

Communication and Collaboration

One of the main goals for this past year for ETC has been investing in relationships, connecting departments doing similar or complementary work, and supporting the improvement of all online activities. The first collaborations included the analysis and restructuring of hardware (servers) and the gap analysis of current websites. This massive undertaking (three months) was a change that could happen through collaboration with IT and wouldn’t necessarily impact the ETC staff directly. In effect, this change, and the rebuilding of the relationship between the two offices, allowed the instructional and cultural changes to happen more gradually. This direction allowed for the planning of slower change of “behaviors of people” in our department over time (Deutschman, 2005).

Relationships with key stakeholders of faculty, specifically department chairs, were revisited with renewed vigor and transparency. I led this charge, supported by our administration and instructional design. Additionally, the web design team leader assisted with the “soft sell” of our services, creating digital “profiles” for key department areas.

Employing Research-based Attributes of Highly Effective Online Learning

Our team has led the way for the implementation of attributes associated with effective online learning, backed by the understanding that designing online educational experiences founded in learner motivation and interest rely on shared contextual learning activities that promote the use of technology in service of creating authentic online collaboration and interaction (Sawyer, 2016) while supporting a personalized learning approach (U.S. Office of Educational Technology, 2016).

Specifically, we have worked to offer online learning opportunities that promote explicit articulation of student outcomes, the integration of assessments (formative and summative), learning designs promoting self-directed and collaborative learning, and implementing professional development strategies that assist faculty in embracing and utilizing technology effectively for teaching and learning (U.S. Office of Educational Technology, 2016).

Learning Asset Production and Digital Asset Management

Early on in the transition, it was agreed that investment in high-quality videography and other learning material design was a priority in enhancing and/or redesigning the existing online courses, and we created a mobile video unit and a small studio. Furthermore, the investment in these resources would help other areas of the College of Education, including the Office for Alumni Affairs and News and Communications. The video and photography digital learning assets produced support three main areas of work:

  1. Research-based video observation for learning (e.g., teacher video self-reflection or leader preparation in observation practice to inform instructional improvement). This focus is supported by recent research in video-based teacher observation for reflection on practice (e.g., Gates Foundation, 2010; Stigler et al., 1999), in teacher preparation and professional development support (Guaden & Chalies, 2015), and evaluation (e.g., Kane, Wooten, Taylor & Tyler, 2011).
  2. Classroom video examples, lectures, and expert interviews as digital pedagogical support. The literature informing this work includes the measurement of student engagement in video-rich MOOCs (e.g., Guo, Kim, & Rubin, 2014), the examination of the impact of case-based video assets for instructional design (e.g., Gomez, Zottman, Fischer, & Schrader, 2010), and the review of the impact of teaching video used in professional development courses (Borko, Koellner, Jacobs, & Seago, 2011).
  3. Marketing and awareness video for external stakeholders of the College of Education (including alumni, partners, and legislators).

In addition to video, which has increasingly become vital to our work, our department has employed instructional, user-centric design principals to everything from websites to paper-based marketing material for programs. The team has built and maintains a digital asset management (DAM) system with photography and video archives that may be accessed by media and communications personnel throughout the college. Illustration, animation, graphic design, and branding were all employed to assist in redesigning the aesthetic look of courses, websites, ideas (e.g., STEM Hub and logic models for grant applications), and physical space (e.g., banners, posters).

Cultural Change

In the effort to improve the culture of the College of Education’s Office for E-Learning, Technology, and Creative Services (ETC), we have explicitly engaged in an initiative that has motivated the internal stakeholders of our office to revisit our commitment to improving and supporting online and hybrid instruction for all degree and certification programs. I have worked closely with each of our internal teams (instructional design, web design, creative media production, systems administration, and student support services) to establish attainable but rigorous goals and have provided opportunities to build processes to achieve their goals. We planned a retreat to revisit and explore our identity and better understand our mission, to interrogate our shared beliefs and values as a group, and to plan strategies to build and strengthen relationships across our college and the university (Wheatley, 2005).

Mark Dinsmore (Associate Director for Enterprise Systems) and I targeted staff to take on informal and unofficial but recognized leadership roles, mentoring and reinforcing goals and objectives daily within small groups. We instituted a weekly department huddle with a focus on shared “project-based” discussion. We also created an “on boarding” series of strategic meetings for all new programs and those being redesigned, including every facet of the department. This continuous project/program-based improvement model in group meetings and individual mentoring allowed all teams to engage in discussions.

Implementing Uniformity in Processes of Support and Production

All sub-departments of ETC have been assisted in documenting and codifying processes for production of digital learning assets, courses, websites, reports, etc. This work has been difficult but has provided uniformity to the stages of design and delivery of learning experiences for all courses and programs. Our team has worked to become cohesive and build on strengths associated with assisting faculty, students, and the College of Education.

Some Foci of the Department in 2015-2016

  • Creating innovative CoE course content production that includes video, photography, graphics, animation, software, etc.
  • Designing or optimizing online pedagogy, supported on researched best practices.
  • Refining of data analysis for strategic support for all departments.
  • Supporting faculty innovations, research, and outreach/communications.
  • Supporting student recruitment, alumni and student engagement, and success through effective web strategy (social media, web redesigns, graphic design, illustration, etc.) and student services.
  • Hosting and supporting infrastructure of products as diverse as web applications to large databases used in research or in testing.



Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2016). Recent trends in general education design, learning outcomes, and teaching approaches. Retieved on April 1, 2016 from http://www.aacu.org.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2010). Measures of effective teaching (MET) project–Working with teachers to develop fair and reliable measures of effective teaching. Retrieved on December, 7, 2012  from http://metproject.org/downloads/met-framing-paper.pdf

Berrett, D. (2016). Instructional design: Demand grows for a new breed of academic. The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 4, 2016.

Borko, H., Koellner, K., Jacobs, J., & Seago, N. (2011). Using video representations of teaching in practice-based professional development programs. ZDM Mathematics Education, 43, 175-187.

Derry , S., Pea , R., Barron , B., Engle , R., Erickson , F., Goldman , R., Hall , R., Koschmann, T., Lemke , J., Sherin , M., & Sherin , B. (2010). Conducting video research in the learning sciences: Guidance on selection, analysis, technology, and ethics. Journal of the Learning Sciences , 19, 1–51.

Derry , S., Sherin , M., & Sherin , B. (2014). Multimedia learning with video. In R. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 785–812). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Deutschman, A. (2005). Change or die. Fast Company, 94, 53-57.

Fullan, M. (2009). Turnaround leadership for higher education. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA.

Goeze, A., Zottman, J. Schrader, J. & Fischer, F. (2010). Instructional support for case-based learning with digital videos: Fostering pre-service teachers’ acquisition of the competency to diagnose pedagogical situations. In D. Gibson & B. Dodge (Eds.), Proceedings of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) International Conference 2010 (pp. 1098-1104). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible-learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.

Kane , T. J., Wooten , A. L., Taylor , E. S., & Tyler , J. H. (2011). Evaluating teacher effectiveness in Cincinnati public schools. EducationNext, 11(3).

Mandernach, B. J. & Garrett, J. (2014). Efficient and effective feedback in the online classroom. Magna Publications White Paper. Retrieved on March 28, 2016 from             http://www.magnapubs.com/white-papers

Marzano, R. J. (2009). Setting the record straight on “high-yield” strategies. Phi Delta Kappan, 91(1) 30-37.

Mayer, R. E. (2015). The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (2nd Edition). Cambridge University Press: New York, NY.

Ragan, L. (2012). Creating a Sense of Instructor Presence in the Online Classroom, Online Classroom, 12(10), 1-3.

Sawyer, K. (2016). The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (2nd ed.) Cambridge University Press: New York, NY.

U. S. Office of Educational Technology. (2016). Characteristics of future ready leadership: A research synthesis. Retrieved on April 2, 2016 from http://tech.ed.gov/leaders/research/

Wheatley, M. (2005). Finding our way: Leadership for an uncertain time. Barrett-Koehler: San Francisco, CA.

Stream of Conscience Morning Rambling on Recent Reading


Simone Weil’s describes the potential beauty of popular will in its purest form and once it is corrupted by collective passions triumphing over individuals in her last essay, On the Abolition of All Political Parties (1943).

“Similarly, a certain mass of water, even though it is made of particles in constant movement and endlessly colliding, achieves perfect balance and stillness. It reflects the images of objects with unfailing accuracy; it appears perfectly flat; it reveals the exact density of any immersed object…When water is set in motion by a violent, impetuous current, it ceases to reflect images. Its surface is no longer level; it can no more measure densities. Whether it is moved by a single current or by several conflicting ones, the disturbance is the same.”

Weil proposes that this eventual inner ethical conflict is detrimental for mankind and can have grave consequences.

“If a man, member of a party, is absolutely determined to follow, in all his thinking, nothing but the inner light, to the exclusion of everything else, he cannot make known to the party such a resolution. To that extent, he is deceiving the party. He’s thus finds himself in a state of mendacity; the only reason why he tolerates such a situation is that she needs to join a party in order to play an effective part in public affairs. But then this need is evil, and one must put an end to it by abolishing political parties.”

Although Weil is not technically discussing the social philosophy concept of “Groupthink” (coined by William Whyte in a 1952 Fortune Magazine article), the group dynamics that include the “rationalized conformity” associated with Groupthink are present. Weil is pointing to the idea that independent thinking is lost in the blind group loyalty. Weil is concerned with the individual being lost in the decisions made to support group passions. I would suggest that this inner conflict isn’t far from the concept of society’s accepted form of schizophrenia posed by Deleuze and Guattari in their Anti-Oedipus (1972). In their (arguably rambling) text, the authors describe individuals as alienated from the start in a society built upon capitalism (and I would add…any other man made conceptual structures to guide society as a whole).

Isn’t this same concept of smothering the individual in support of the group mirrored in the concepts discussed in Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Freire, 1970)? In his text, Freire uses the terms of “colonizer” and “colonized” but is accurately describing the oppression of one group by another. Some of these oppressive actions may include those that are perpetrated by the oppressed individuals, unintentionally complicit and diminishing of the self in service of the new group’s will.

Some reading from the past month (citations are possibly incorrect):

Blocker, J. (2016). Becoming past: History in contemporary art. University of Minnesota Press.

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (1972). Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. Penguin.

Freire, P. (1968). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Bloomsbury Publishing. New York, NY.

Guattari, F. (2008). Chaosophy: Text and interviews 1972-1976. MIT Press: Semiotext(e).

Guattari, F. (2009). Soft subversions: Text and interviews 1977-1985. MIT Press: Semiotext(e).

Weil, S. (2004). The notebooks of Simone Weil. Routledge.

Weil, S. (2014). On the abolishment of all political parties. NYRB Classics. New York, NY.

Stream of Conscience Regarding Pre-Gesture, Erasure, and Silence- Part 1



This post was largely drafted via dictation to Siri (iPhone 5) en route to work.

Francis Bacon, a largely self-taught artist, said that the first mark of the canvas was the most powerful.

Bacon had an artistic vision that was informed by the various media of his time. So, movies like  Battleship Potemkin and images like the pope frequently easily entered the frame of his canvas. Bacon was painting not things or portraits but a visual schema of his psyche, one littered and entangled with images both representational and symbolic.

What of impulse before the Gestural scraping of paint on the canvas for that first “indelible mark”?

What I’m asking is what happens to the paint in the heart and the mind prior to the first mark on the unprimed canvas? Ever prolific, this too was recorded for Bacon. He would actually test color and test the way his brush hit a surface on the walls in his studio.

What of all of this practice? Is it meaningful? Is it something to be recorded? Is it more than practice?

It felt like scientific study. A question is asked, a hypothesis is pronounced or declared, and off goes the scientist to decide if the process or the outcome is something worth investigating further. It always felt like this for me. I would grab my alto saxophone or my trumpet and I would play completely alone in a room or a racquetball court somewhere in town. Almost everything I played was recorded on a cassette. I suppose I recorded out of habit or out of necessity to hear what those sounds not only sounded like while I play them but once I was out of that moment.

The sound invariably changed once I left the moment of actual creation. My ear would pick up things that I just liked in retrospect, but it felt like something worthwhile. The process became the art, the meaningful pursuit for some communication or the meaningful pursuit of a way to communicate with sound. The communication may have been only shared with myself at the time but had some significance in the way I processed information in a variety of other subjects.


This morning I’m listening to David Gross. His album, Things I’ve Found to be True, captures this gesture before the published gesture I guess. However, none of this feels like simple practice. If feels very much like David Gross is scraping into the messy areas of creativity to find something just beyond his reach.

Do the quiet scrapings that move through the sound space of Gross’ record originate from the same space as the automatism-based drawings of Robert Motherwell or Matta (his teacher)?

Does this experiment in silence or in near silence have any root in the foundation of the movement known as “New London Silence” with which cellist, Mark Wastell, and harpist, Rhodri Davies, are known?

Heddy Boubaker’s Lack of Conversation does the same, albeit dramatically different in process. Boubaker may focus more on filled space then Gross, but both have an intense need to do things with the saxophone that may not have been heard before or prior to their respective recordings. It’s not so much about the recording of something that’s never been done as much as it’s about recording something that you don’t know what it’s going sound like prior to playing. It becomes an act of freedom and also bravery.

Something about this area artistic creativity reminds me of Paul Auster’s White Spaces a prose (almost a prose poem, and it is included in his collected poems) that captures a sense of emptiness (or, rather, openness) that very few artworks capture. There is a great deal about this piece here.

In the last few years, several musicians have taken to almost “erasing” their sound to bare minimal marks. Assembling just the brass and woodwind players alone, one could create an orchestra of silence or near silence. These include Nate Wooley, Axel Dorner, Radu Malfatti, Greg Kelley, etc. This list could go on for days if one were to collect the names of musicians that are often working on the outside of normally accepted musical sound, like Gabriel Paiuk (sound artist from Buenos Aires) and Taku Sugimoto (guitarist from Japan). The list is endless because artists are all searching for that method of communication in a time where probably so much Sal fills our day it’s a stripping away to the essential elements that informant memory or soft around the subject. It may even be the stripping away of the subject itself.

One famous example of this is Robert Rauchenberg’s Erased to de Kooning, a pencil drawing by Willem de Kooning that was erased by Rauchenberg after being given permission by the artist. The image, or what is left of the image, is mounted in a beautiful frame. The “indelible marks” are almost nonexistent; they become pentimenti.


What is it that draws me to this openness? This erasure?

Why am I entranced by Mary Ruefle’s Little White Shadow, a short book, appropriated and erased by Ruefle in the creation of something new? Isn’t this a reworking of Radi Os (Ronald Johnson) or A Humument (Tom Phillips)?

Why do I create work that is also engaged in some secret history of absence or erasure? What do I gain from it?

Why do I create musical works (like the one linked) that attempt to do much the same as these? Or like this one (Track 9)?


There is so much more that could be connected…so much more ether, nothingness, absence, silence.

Maybe I am interested in exploring this creative “first act” or non-act…because I am a teacher. The moment that a student learns…there is a magic that happens in that moment. Some term this a “lights go on” moment. Some call it awareness. I think it has to be the most powerful emotional moment…reaction to awareness of learning. It is something beyond what I could ever hope to describe.


As I write this free thought exploration down, I am thinking about how art isn’t really separate from that moment at all. It is that moment. It must capture something that is not able to be captured, something that is just outside of normal “practice” or just beyond reach. To get there, maybe we have to erase what has come before.

Maybe we have to erase ourselves a bit.

Perhaps all art needs to be destroyed and erased and lost in order to build the simplest of blocks of coherent expression back into existence. Maybe, it’s a building back to relevance.

Q Methodology: A Brief Background and Sample Pilot Study with School Principals (Student Paper Draft, 2007)


No copy-editing has occured to provide this post some clarity. APA is almost ignored. But, the general curiosity remains. I have always been interested in identity and how we define ourselves throughout our lives and careers. The following was a brief paper and pilot “study” completed with a group of principals in 2006.

Very Brief Background

Q-factor analysis originated soon after Charles Spearman invented factor analysis at the start of the twentieth-century. Factor analysis, according to Steven R. Brown (1980), has been historically “used as a procedure for studying traits”. In this role, factor analysis has been popularized by social and political science. However, Brown explains that factor analysis can be used to factor persons, thereby creating what William Stephenson (1953) terms “person-prototypes”. This, Brown asserts, would require a separate methodology. This methodology, entitled Q, is described by Hair (1998) as “a method of combining or condensing large numbers of people into distinctly different groups within a larger population.”

Although G.H. Thompson was the first researcher to work with Q-factor analysis, he was not positive about its future (Brown, 1980). He believed that it had serious deficiencies, which I will discuss further in a moment. However, one researcher named William Stephenson was more excited about the possibilities of Q. Since its discovery, Q-factor analysis has been used widely in the social and behavioral sciences.

The main structural difference between Q and R analysis is summed up by Raymond Cattell’s description of the “data box” (1988). Cattell names three main components of a factor analysis: persons or cases, items, and occasions. He said that how we organize these components would structurally change the procedure. For example, in R-factor analysis the items signify columns on a matrix, while the persons completing the items represent rows. In this picture, one can see that the items would be grouped to create less factors, thereby creating types of items. Inversely, in Q-factor analysis, one can place the persons in the columns and the items in the rows. This process would create person-prototypes as previously mentioned.

The person-prototype idea is one that has revolutionized the social sciences. Researchers are able to make a case for a certain person type linked to various areas of behavioral disorders. One such study, conducted by Porcerelli, Cogan and Hibbard (2004), was created to better understand what personality traits men possessed who were violent towards their partners. The Q-sort was very large, 200 items long, and was completed by several psychologists and social workers very familiar with the many cases of domestic abuse. The end result supported the notion that these men were “antisocial and emotionally dysregulated.” Thus, it may be argued that these violent men have some things in common that make them stand out from others, person-prototypes.

Q-methodology has been employed by other fields of inquiry recently, as well. In Woosley, Hyman and Graunke’s work with student affairs problems on college campuses using a population of only three, the researchers wanted to explore whether Q would be a promising evaluation tool for the student experience (2004). They found, when asking these participants to sort ideas concerning their jobs on campus, that the students were excited about the process. During a post-sort interview, they all expressed enthusiasm for the activity and the results.


Even with positive stories of Q like these, there are a few reasons why some researchers refuse to use this methodology or see any potential for its use. For example, one could easily discern from the discussion of the data box that a researcher could just take a set of data gathered for an R-factor analysis and apply it to the Q-structure, thereby completing another full analysis of the same information. Cyril Burt championed this form of usage in the Thirties (Stephenson, 1953). This is one point of contention for Stephenson. Stephenson explained that the procedure for collecting the data was part of the methodology. He stated that the Q-sort, the activity of participants physically sorting items in a prescribed pattern under certain conditions, was part of the overall methodology. One could not collect the data for the specific purpose of running an R-factor analysis and simply rearrange the data in a way appropriate for Q-analysis.

Many researchers disregard Q-factor analysis due to its lack of generalizability. They may claim that such a small sample could never be applied to a much larger population. In this respect, they may be correct. A Q-analysis is meant to really be something like a case study. It may be applied in some fashion to another situation, but the data collection is of a moment in time, or an occasion.

One of the main reservations I have with the Q-methodology is the focus on researcher-designated language. The language or items that are selected for the sort are done so by the researcher, not the participants. Thus, there may be some error in communication.

Sample Q-Sort Methodology

The particular focus of my sample Q-sort was a group of principals that are currently participating in the North East Florida Educational Consortium Principal Leadership Academy (PLA). The academy is only a year old, and the current version is a pilot run of the program that has been designed for principals who are undergoing some preliminary training to facilitate a school-wide action research project. The academy is comprised of twenty-four participants, principals with little experience or early-career principals to principals with a great deal of experience or seated principals. Because the leadership experience was quite varied among the group members, my hypothesis was these principals could be arranged in groups by experience and/or leadership style.

The items I decided to use in the Q-sort were the behaviors that the state recommended to the districts might be associated with the ten newly-adopted Florida Principal Leadership Standards (April, 2005). Of course, these behaviors were all optimal based on the standards. Thus, if a sort was using these written behaviors, there would be no “wrong” answers. This was important in establishing trust amongst the participants and me. This was no competition or evaluation of how they relate to and sort these behaviors. If they were aware at the outset, that there was no “correct” way to sort these items and there was no evaluative component to the sort, they may be more honest in the sorting process.

Another possible dimension that could be added to the sort that would possibly yield richer results would be the grouping of leadership behaviors into two categories, transactional leadership behaviors and transformational leadership behaviors. Due to the fact that these behaviors were never verified to actually represent either form of leadership, the Q-sort would have to be labeled an unstructured sort. (Appendix A).

After deciding which behaviors I would use as my items (16 sentence strips), I turned my attention to the actual Q-sort process.

Consulting Fred Kerlinger’s Foundations of Behavioral Research (1973), I was able to formulate a methodological plan. Kerlinger clearly maps out the process of setting up a practice Q-sort activity, or what he calls a “miniature Q-sort”. He writes that the participants may only sort a few items, as little as ten. This would not be optimal, he goes on to explain. Kerlinger insists the more items that one has available for the participants to sort, the better the results. Another piece of useful information was the discussion of the sort design. Kerlinger describes the physical act of sorting the items. He sets up a wonderful method of manipulating the items into a quasi-normal distribution, a Likert-type scale (with seven points) where the participant may choose whether the item is most like them or least like them. The participants are limited with the amount of items they can place at a given point. With this method of distribution, the sort resembles a normal curve. I used this example to help plan the sort activity with the principals in the PLA.

With the example below, the top line is the number of items that may be placed at each point on the Likert-type scale, and the bottom line is the scale itself. In this example, 7= items most like me, and 1= items least like me.

1 2 3 4 3 2 1

7 6 5 4 3 2 1

The sixteen items could be sorted in this quasi-distribution very easily by the participants. Each behavior strip contained a number, so that the participants could easily record the placement on the data sheet provided (Appendix B). I created ten identical envelopes containing the sixteen principal behavior strips. Then, I created a large poster displaying the procedures of the sort and the limitations for each placement. I would let the principals sort the behaviors after an already scheduled PLA meeting. They would be separated, mostly for the purpose of providing space for each participant.
On November 2, 2005, the participants completed the sort and carefully filled out the corresponding data sheet as I monitored. The purpose for monitoring was the successful completion of the stated procedures. This was explained to the participants. Once I collected all of the data, I began entering into SPSS 13 to start the analysis. The SPSS software is really set up with R factor analysis in mind, the columns are used for mostly organizing items (refer back to the discussion of Cattell’s idea of the Data Box). However, it is important to note that one may enter the participants in the columns as nominal data. Then, one could easily enter the numbers of the sorted behaviors as the rows. Then, the factor analysis procedure is the same from this point on.

Analysis and Interpretation

In this discussion of the results of this particular practice Q-analysis, I will be addressing the interpretation of the results yielded in Q-analysis in general. I will also be referring to Figures 1-7, yielded by the SPSS software during this practice analysis.

Figure 1 displays the correlations between the individuals based on how they sorted the leadership behaviors. We started with ten factors (individuals), and we are given ten separate factors in this table. This matrix enables the researcher to make some general statements about how each participant correlated with another. Remember, a 1.0 is a perfect correlation, so those are usually the person correlated with themselves. If one consults Hair’s opinion on the cut-off point for correlations, the cut-off for looking at correlations is anything under .450. This makes sense, because the researcher is really looking for correlations that are nearer to 1.0, as stated above. For example, one can see that there exists a strong correlation between LF and LB (.625). Thus, we could state that they may have sorted somewhat similarly. Inversely, M is not correlated to LB very well at all (.050), leaving us to assume that these two individuals may have sorted the behaviors very differently. However, this is all that we can ascertain at this point.

Table 1.


In Figure 2, the researcher is focused on communalities, or how much of the original participant/factor was extracted/recreated in the analysis. The glaring observation that should be seen at the fore is N (.557) shows the least in common with the group as a whole. At this point, it would help the reader to know that N was the only non-principal participant in the sort. I offered her the chance to take part in the sort to have an even number of ten participants in the activity. N has never worked in an educational administration position.

Table 2.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.22.24 AM

Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.

The next step in the analysis is to look at the Eigenvalues and percent of variance that may be explained by the factor analysis (Table 3). When the data was entered, I wanted to isolate the factors that had Eigenvalues of 1.0 or greater. This would present four factors or, in the case of the SPSS output, components. These factors/components are the “person proto-types” discussed earlier. With this table, one can discern that almost 81% of the variance is explained in the analysis. This is very positive for two reasons: first, I now can see that four factors or person proto-types was a good number to represent most of the variance and, secondly, the low number of four factors is a good reduction from the original ten.

Table 3.


A scree plot of the factors will confirm that four factors/components is a good representation of the whole. To read the scree plot in Figure 1, one must look for the area at which the downward motion of the line comes to a plateau or a leveling off. It is apparent to me that the original interpretation of the number of factors was a wise decision. The plateau of the scree appears after the fourth factor. One may argue that this point actually does not level off as much as it jets upward slightly. However, being aware that this point represents the odd-man out, N (the participant with no experience in an educational leadership role), I believe that four factors truly does represent the whole in the best way. After reviewing this output originally, I ran the analysis again isolating only three factors. However, there ended up being a few of the original participants/factors left out of the whole. Thus, I opted for the four-factor analysis model.

Figure 1.


In the next step of the analysis, the researcher begins to examine the extent to which each original factor is represented by the four composite factors or proto-types. The first matrix (Table 4) shows the extent to which each of the original components is represented by the four factors created before the rotation and the variance is distributed more evenly amongst the factors. In other words, we can see which of the person-prototypes each individual fits in the best. For example, M is definitely more associated with the first extracted factor. With this matrix, we can only begin to see how the participants might relate to the person proto-types created. To gain a clearer picture of the relationship between the participants and the composite factors, one needs to consult the rotated component matrix.

Table 4.


In Table 5, the output from the rotation (using the varimax criterion) is more accurate in describing how the well the components is represented by each of the factors. With the background knowledge of all the participants, I could easily see justification for each of the participant’s placement in the matrix. I set the analysis in SPSS to create an output that would arrange according to size. Thus, looking at the matrix, the researcher can see the participants that share the most in common grouped together. In the first column, the first three participants are strongly correlated at .917, .868, and .659 respectively. It is interesting to note that these three principals represented by the first factor are the three most experienced of the participants. Additionally, these three administrators started a statewide reading reform together, meeting monthly for the last five years to discuss and share ideas with reference to the reform.

Table 5.


In the next factor, F (-.915) and K (.904) are represented. F, it appears, is very negatively correlated to K. K has been a principal for one year and has worked as an assistant principal to one of the participants represented in the first factor. F was the principal of a failing school last year, and now is a new principal at a K-22 special needs school. They actually appear to have sorted the behavior strips almost the exact opposite of each other.

The third factor has LB (.928), LF (.716), and N (.714) correlated to each other. LB and LF are both first year principals. N is the non-principal among the group as stated previously. It makes sense to me that they may have sorted the behaviors similarly.

The final factor includes BA (.790) and R (.560). R does not appear to correlate highly with any of the four factors. This grouping is the only one that seems to contain two individuals that have very little in common in their backgrounds. When I forced the analysis to create only three factors/components, BA was left out of the final grouping of factors.

Before leaving the analysis, it is important to speak to one last piece, the variables/behavior strips and their value to each of the factors (Table 6). These values are in the form of Z-scores, making it easier to see how each person- prototype sorted each behavior (interpreted by columns) and how each behavior strip was comparatively sorted in each person- prototype (interpreting by rows). Daniel (1990) explains that these values or standardized regression factor scores are “utilized to determine which items contributed to the emergence of each of the person factors.” Remembering that the first eight strips were designated as transformational leadership behaviors and the second eight were designated as transactional leadership behaviors, one can now find some patterns in how the prototypes sorted. It could be argued that the first group organized the transformational leadership behaviors as more like them than the transactional leadership behaviors. For example, behavior strips # 1, 2, and 4 all score very highly in the matrix for the first group. In contrast, the third group scored behavior #1 negatively, less like them. However, the third group also scored transformational behavior strips # 2 and 4 highly.

Table 6.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.23.16 AM

Taking into account that the scores did not really follow a trend that established any of the groups as definitively transformational or transactional, it is probably safe to say that the participants were grouped according to another criterion. We can say that the participants were grouped with others who sorted a set of behaviors similarly on that day at that time.

There are two facets of the Q-sort and analysis that I would change if I were to conduct a similar study in the future. To begin, it would be more structurally sound to use many more behaviors in the sort. The added information that they could rate may yield different results in the analysis. Additionally, I would not group the Florida Principal Leadership Behaviors into the two leadership styles, transformational and transactional. This created an unstructured sort, or one based on items that were not used previously in this manner. There has been no research linking these particular items with the labels transformational and transactional.

This practice Q-sort and analysis is narrow in scope. Judgments concerning the principals’ sorts are not applicable. The purpose of this study was to simply find out if the principals could be placed into groups or factors that seemed to make sense. Knowing the backgrounds of the participants allowed me a different lens at which to look at the analysis that many researchers may not get when conducting a Q-sort. It allowed me to understand why I think the participants grouped the way they did.


Brown, S. R. (n.d.) The history and principals of q social sciences methodology in psychology and the social sciences. Retrieved Nov 2, 2005, from http://facstaff.uww.edu/cottlec/QArchive/B.

Brown, S.R. (1980). Political subjectivity: applications of q methodology in political science. London: Yale University Press.

Daniel, L. G. (1990). Operationalization of a frame of reference for studying
organizational culture in middle schools (Doctoral dissertation, University of New Orleans, 1989). Dissertation Abstracts International, 50, 2320A.
(UMI No. 9002883)

Hair, J., Tatham, R., Anderson, R., & Black, W. (1998). Multivariate data analysis. 5th ed. New York: Prentice Hall.

Kerlinger, F. (1973). Foundations of behavioral research. 2nd ed. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.

Nesselroade, J., & Cattell, R. (1988). Handbook of multivariate experimental psychology. 2nd ed. New York: Plenum Press.

Porcerelli, J. H., Cogan, R., & Hibbard,S. (2004). Personality characteristics of partner violent men: a q-sort approach. Journal of Personality Disorders, 18(2), pg. 151-162.

Stephenson, W. (1953). The study of behavior. 2nd ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Woosley, S. A., Hyman, R. E., & Graunke S. S. (2004). Q sort and student affairs: a viable partnership?. Journal of College Student Development, 45(2), p.231-242.

Always Asking Questions & Always Learning


Working on the University of Florida’s College of Education Online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership has provided me a golden opportunity to learn more about Florida’s educational leaders. The last few years of my career have led me into very divergent, but exceptional, learning opportunities. From leading the development of curriculum for online courses to setting up methods for large-scale registration and submissions for district-based inquiry, I have not been able to rest much on what I have learned previously in my career. I am constantly in challenging (but insanely exciting) situations.

With the Online M.Ed., I have been given the chance to search out and interview principals at all levels of career experience to be included in the courses. I believe this “real-world” perspective from leaders in widely varying school contexts provides the students with an extraordinary unique advantage. It has provided me something extraordinary as well. Next to finishing my dissertation and teaching my elementary and high school students, learning from these wonderful leaders has been the best part of my career in education.


The leaders pictured include (L-R): Hudson Thomas of Pompano Beach High School (Broward County), Roxana Herrera of Palm Springs Elementary School in Hialeah (Miami-Dade County), Dr. Joseph Joyner- Superintendent of St. Johns County Public Schools, Lynette Shott of Flagler-Palm Coast High School (Flagler County), Scott Schneider of Terry Parker High School (Duval County), and Lawson Brown of Charles Duval Elementary School (Alachua County). These are only a few of the leaders we have interviewed.

The cover stars of the flier below are two exceptional leaders: Christy Gabbard and Stella Arduser of P. K. Yonge Developmental Research School at the University of Florida. They are also featured on our website now (https://education.ufl.edu/edleadership-med/).


Remembering Creativity and Imagination- Two Examples


1) Creativity and Imagination as Learning Tool

It is not an understatement to claim that my students taught me a great deal about almost every facet of my life, including having an open mind to the creative impulse that would be incorporated in my own work. After teaching all day, I would somehow find myself behind a canvas, a piano, almost anywhere that I could “make” something. This morning, I remembered one student who (no matter the assignment) would consistently impress me over and over again. Her ability to access her imagination in such creative ways really inspired me. An example of her work (at fifteen years of age) can be seen below. This was a survival manual created while reading Lord of the Flies. Every page has been created through the use of cut paper. Again, this is one small example from a student that created many works of art.




2) Creative Reflection for School Improvement

As a developer of professional development for principals, teachers, and school-based leadership teams, I was given the opportunity to work with many leaders, both formal and informal. One of the most reflective of these inspirational leaders was Denee Hurst of Dixie County Public Schools. Principal Hurst’s principal leadership academy portfolio (in its organization and its sheer breadth of documentation of reflective leadership) is one of the best examples of a leader’s thoughts and projections of where she intended the school to go academically and culturally. Hurst included not only artifacts that support her intention of raising student achievement (e.g., classroom walkthroughs, emails, professional development, aggregated data and projections, etc.), but provided additional cultural ephemera such as photographs of staff PD and school activities. Principal Hurst has been an advocate of teacher and principal inquiry and participated and taught during several inquiry showcases facilitated by the UF College of Education Center for School Improvement (led by Dr. Nancy Dana). One of the best examples of a leader who constantly seeks engagement and improvement of the world around her can be found in Denee Hurst.


Filming at St. Johns County School District and Reflection



Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to interview a few members of the district leadership in St. Johns County School District, including the superintendent (Dr. Joyner- pictured above), who left me reflecting for the rest of the evening. Dr. Joyner spoke of servant leadership, shared values, and his passion for doing the best thing for the students of the community. Two of his principals echoed his drive for the continuous improvement of the learning experience for all students while staying true to the core values of the community in which they serve. This interview experience was something very special. I felt like I was granted a small glimpse into the inner workings and decision-making of the school district. More than that, I felt as if I was not interviewing but learning more than I had expected, reminded of my own core values and my continuing education. The day left me reflecting long into the evening and this morning. I am grateful for this chance to better understand one of the state’s top leaders and his leadership team.


This experience kept reminding me of reading beyond the Greenleaf book about servant leadership. It reminded me of the philosophical writings on values and ethics that meant so much to me (Keirkegaard, Scarry, Simone Weil, etc.), and I was off revisiting things that I had kept on our shelves at home (probably as some sort of physical version of my mental schema). There has never been a way to silo, compartmentalize or categorize experiences as discrete things with no relation to one another. Things are related, even when it is imperceptable. For me, this is a basic truth. The experience of interviewing these individuals, my own personal desire to grow in my understanding of the world, and the reading that has kind of continued to build my Borges-like library are all connected. My dissertation, which is centered on perception and a desire on the participants’ part to lead education, is related. I may not have made all the connections or discovered the links between these facets of my life, but I am certain that they are not completely divorced from one another. I was reminded of this yesterday during a simple interview with really amazing people.



Dewey and Vygotzky on Art and Some Favorite Books on Aesthetics


Aesthetics and the blind search for a cogent statement that would tie an aesthetic philosophy neatly in a bow are kind of Quixotic aspirations for me. However, I again search through Merleau-Ponty, Sontag, Adorno, etc…and learning theories…which always lead me to these two gentlemen.

“Apart from organs inherited from animal ancestry, ideas and purpose would be without a mechanism of realization…the intervention of consciousness adds regulation, power of selection, and redisposition…its intervention leads to the idea of art as a conscious idea- the greatest intellectual achievement in the history of humanity.” – Dewey, Art as Experience (1934)

“We shall never be able to understand the laws governing the feelings and emotions in a work of art without proper psychological investigation. It is also remarkable that the sociological studies of art are unable to completely explain the mechanics of a work of art.” – Lev Vygotzky, (1925)


Favorite Books about (or regarding aspects of) Aesthetics:

  • Susan Sontag– So many…Against Interpretation, Regarding the Pain of Others, Illness as Metaphor, On Photography, Styles of Radical Will….and just endless short essays. I just bought a copy of the complete essays collection through the late 70s…brilliant collection.
  • Elaine Scarry’s On Beauty and Being Just…anything by Scarry is good, but this is focused on aesthetics and is really excellent.
  • Maurice Merleau-PontyPhenomenology of Perception, because of its expansive scope…and his radio lectures, The World of Perception, because it is simplified and easily digested.
  • John Dewey– Art as Experience- wonderful connection to his other work. If you are even remotely interested in perception and learning/interpretation, this book is kind of required reading.
  • Gerhard Richter– The Daily Practice of Painting (essays and interviews, etc.)
  • Francis Bacon, Interviewed by David Sylvester– Actually, this was kind of like my bible during a certain period of my 20s. Any interviews with David Sylvester are going to be amazing. These are definitely the most defining and honest he’s had with an artist. This goes way beyond art, though. It gets to the crux of what it means to be human and struggling with any form of creative act. The title is
  • Lev VygotzkyThe Psychology of Art…This little masterpiece (as well as most of his writing) wasn’t really available to the world until the last few decades. However, this book (1925), is way ahead of its time and builds a beautifully written narrative on what it means to perceive a work of art, what art represents for humanity, and what can be learned. Great education thinker.
  • Carolee SchneemanImaging Her Erotics…This is essays, interviews, etc. with one of the recognizable faces of body art/performance art/feminist art. Schneeman’s writing and discussions lead the way for great essays and books by Karen Finley (A Different Kind of Intimacy), Amelia Jones (Body Art/Performing the Subject), and Jane Blocker (What the Body Cost…which is one of those books that changes you…and Where is Ana Mendieta).
  • Recently, I am enjoying Tim Ingold’s anthropolical-based essays on creativity. These are available through a simple search. Almost everything is fun to read and starts my mental motor.
  • Getting back into T. Adorno’s Aesthetic Philosophy…the one he was writing when he died. This should be treated as a encyclopedia…at least for me, it is. I can’t start in that book in a normal way. I just pick it up, and where the pages fall open, that’s where I start reading.
  • KadinskyConcerning the Spiritual in Art. Awesome and tightly written…very unlike his own paintings, which are gorgeous and labyrinthian types of compositions.
  • Just another great book- Pamela M. Lee’s Object to be Destroyed (on the work of Gordon Matta-Clark….but, again, jumps into all kinds of a philosophy on aesthetics).

Not posting direct links to purchase these things. But, if you find any of the titles interesting, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor in finding, borrowing, purchasing, or stealing a copy.

Some covers:




Links Related to Poverty & Opportunity in Education- My Notes


Random links related to my thoughts on poverty and access to opportunity in education. This is completely random, and I collected studies along the way. I will attempt to produce a cogent thought at some other point. For now, here are some notes.

Do you believe that every human being deserves an opportunity to learn, to become an informed citizen of the world?

Do we treat the symptoms of the issue or the issues at the root of the problem?

“To critics of the reliance on standardized testing, the problem is a matter of emphasizing the wrong metrics. Equal access to high quality education, they argue, is the key to improving student learning.’We’ve been focused on test-based accountability, but testing does not equal accountability,’ Linda Darling Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford University, said at an event on the results in Washington on Tuesday. ‘Accountability is when you have a system that works for each and every child.'”

– Maya Rhodan (Read the article at this Link) on PISA results in Time, December 2013.

Teachers College Article

October 2013 Washington Post Article on SAT scores and socio-economic status

2009 NY Times Article on SAT and socio-economic status

In her dissertation Linda Ruth Williams Sorhaindo (2003) examined a sample of 9,000 4th and 8th grade student achievement scores in the Miami-Dade Public School system. She compared student scores and tested to see if there was a relationship between degree of poverty and academic achievement test scores. Read more here.

Check out Jeremy Allan Moore’s (2011) dissertation correlating poverty and student achievement scores in Florida here. Hint from his abstract-

“This study was successful in quantifying correlations between poverty and student achievement in Florida by utilizing FRPL as a proxy for poverty and FCAT as an indicator of student achievement. Correlation results ranging from -0.761 to -0.855 demonstrated strong associations between these variables. Over the span of years observed, as poverty levels increased in Florida schools, 76 percent to 86 percent of the corresponding student achievement scores decreased. These connections provided measured relationships between poverty and student achievement.”

Moore (2011)

Creativity and Dr. Dorothea Lasky – Links and Appreciation


Dorothea Lasky is a force for creativity.

Her poems burst with color and neccessity. Her short lines are full of fire. Earth, water, and wind are present in her most recent book, but there is much fire.

Not only a respected and established poet (her books- Awe, Black Life, and Thunderbird- can all be purchased at Wave Poetry), Dr. Lasky examines the role of creativity in learning. Her dissertation, her articles for academic journals, and her class syllabi all reflect this deep passion for the creative act. She creates spaces in her writing and her teaching that allow others to experience the power of the imagination and the possibility of experiencing something transcendent.

But, you can read for yourself.

Here is a small list of some of her articles, interviews, and her book on poetry in education:

Could Poetry Start an Educational Revolution?

2012 article in The Atlantic

Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry

Making Space for the Act of Making: Creativity in the Engineering Design Classroom

Examining small “c” creativity in the science classroom: Multiple case studies of five high school teachers

Interview w/ Phantom Limb

Interview w/ The Conversant

Standardized Tests don’t Equate to Stronger Cognition


Standardized Tests don’t Equate to Stronger Cognition


“In a study of nearly 1,400 eighth-graders in the Boston public school system, the researchers found that some schools have successfully raised their students’ scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). However, those schools had almost no effect on students’ performance on tests of fluid intelligence skills, such as working memory capacity, speed of information processing, and ability to solve abstract problems.”

Thoughts about teaching and learning: Multi-tier System of Supports for Learning


Thoughts about teaching and learning:

Multi-tier System of Supports for Learning

After teaching in the elementary and high school environments, teaching and creating learning activities online, and spending time teaching adults and pre-K students to read, I have come to reflect on some things regarding instruction and learning. I will start to keep some posts geared toward these ideas. This reflection, which may be insane and unfounded, has to do with  differentiation.

The only “solutions” to the Two-Sigma Problem addressed in Bloom’s research and subsequent articles (listed below) include:

1. Effective teaching/facilitation of learning- There are no magic bullets here. A teacher who knows their students (whether online or face-to-face) and can motivate them, stimulate curiosity, and build their students’ self-efficacy will have a better chance of creating lifelong learners. The differentiation of instruction and the providing of supports for all learners can be called many things. It is referred to as RTI, MTSS, and many more names/acronyms. However, it doesn’t matter what it’s called…one-to-one tutoring is a conversation wherein a student is constantly engaged in a learning discussion. In small groups, targeted to need, the students are reinforcing one another’s learning through the social action that’s taking place. In the whole class/group, teachers must be aware of various indicators of learning from individual learners. The class must be held as a learning community, not unlike Socratic seminars or problem-based learning activities. In these situations, learners are engaged, motivated, and supported by the teacher and other students.




2. Online education with adaptive software only fulfills part of the need of most learners. Most learners need more than a Storyline-based online course wherein they are constantly “moved” back or forward in an online environment based on responses to questions/formative assessments. There needs to be opportunity to discuss, to reflect on learning…to bounce ideas off other learners. Facilitation does this, some online social networking does this, and even forums do this. But, online instruction that is not facilitated can only work with adult learners who are engaged with a learning activity due to a requirement (traffic school) or a personal need (getting a certification for work or to open up opportunities outside of a person’s current situation). This is not stated as clearly as I’d like to state it…but, curiosity and community can’t be forced. There has to be a relationship to the learning.

3. Finally- adults only learn what they find value in learning. Perception of value is the key…more on that later.

Bloom’s Two-Sigma Problem (1984) links:

Click to access TheTwoSigmaProblem.pdf

Click to access el_198405_bloom.pdf

Working References for my Proposal (with a photo of Cy Twombly’s Academy and another of me after reading all of these)



Twombly- “Academy”


Me, just after reading all of these.


  • Abbate, F. J. (2010). Education leadership in a culture of compliance. Phi Delta Kappan, 91(6), 35-37.
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My art teacher in high school, Dale Newman, once asked the class to paint pieces of the ceiling. What I loved about this act was that it allowed me and the rest of my classmates to define part of the room, part of the space we inhabited every single day. We were designing our environment in a small way. This had a deep impact on my own teaching…years later. I asked the students if they’d like to paint the ceiling like it was part of the sky. The building was old, and the rooms could feel small and stifling. We decided to paint the ceiling, grow a garden, etc. It had very little to do with a specific lesson and more to do with life. Sometimes, we all need to just change the setting to make our lives a little more like our dreams.