Cuban’s Guiding Principles

In a recent post, Larry Cuban described his “guiding principles on teaching, learning, and reform”. They could be mine as well. Below I have included his points & a few comments. Be sure to read the entire post – context matters!

  1. No single way of teaching works best with all students. Because students differ in motivation, interests, and abilities, using a wide repertoire of approaches in lessons and units is essential. …

  2. Small and slow changes in classroom practice occur often. Fundamental and rapid changes in practice seldom happen. … Over the decades, experienced teachers have become allergic to reformer claims of fast and deep changes in what they do daily in their classrooms. As gatekeepers for their students, teachers, aware of the settings in which they teach, have learned to adapt new ideas and practices that accord with their beliefs and that they think will help their students. …

  3. School structures influence instruction. The age-graded school structure, a 19th century innovation that is now universally cemented to K-12 schooling across the U.S., does influence what happens in classrooms in expected and unexpected ways, depending on the context. …

  4. Teacher involvement in instructional reform. … The history of top-down classroom reform is a history of failed efforts to alter what teachers do daily.


Ideas for Reforming Teaching Practices?


… the provenance of reform ideas can be found in the daily experiences of sitting in classroom many years ago. And those ideas, as Mary Kennedy reminds us, are distorted because children are emotionally involved with their teachers and  know little about the planning, the improvisational decision-making during lessons, and work outside of school that teachers do.

From a post by Larry Cuban in which he describes where ‘education reformers’ often get their ideas and data – as the old adage goes, everyone is an expert on schools because they went. Yet being in a classroom (at any level) does not tell the entire story as Cuban suggests. The comments to this post are also interesting.

Students and the Purposes of Schooling

Public schools, however, do far more in every community big or small. They transmit social, political, and cultural values to young children and youth; they encourage groups to mingle in ways that segregated neighborhoods and gated communities cannot. They help children and youth grow emotionally and socially…

 Students are more than “brains on a stick” and schools are more than bricks-and-mortar.

via (post title: High Tech Blinders about Students and Purposes of Schooling)

Purposes of schooling … an important question, one that is not often asked, or is answered by a simple notion of job preparation. In this post Larry Cuban talks about online education, in doing so, his points about the importance of public schools to communities and their many purposes is interesting. All of us, and teacehrs in particular should reflect on this important question.


Good Question!

Those selling “21st Century Skills,” “college for all,” KIPP, charter schools, common core standards, and pay-4-performance, however, want schools to prepare children and youth for what is, not for what society should be. These advocates have seen, and continue to see schools as boot camps for society as it is…

Yet each generation of reformers has contained those who also see public schools as instruments of social change that can make the lives of marginalized children far better than now exist. They are hardy and tough-minded; they do not let the facts of the past cloud their dreams nor halt their efforts. The question, then, remains open as it was a century ago: What role should public schools in a democratic society play?


democracy and education 

photo © 2009 CHRIS DRUMM | more info (via: Wylio)


from the blog post: A Pedagogy of Culture and Power: School Reform for Social Justice | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

In this post, Larry Cuban asks what the purpose of schooling should be, education fo rthe world as it is – or should be. A great questions that has implications no matter the answer. IS the answer one, the other, or both? I encourage you to read the original post and reflect an this important question.