Back to Basics 2.0
(The Basics of the Hidden Curriculum )
Teach Governance Before Academics
The fact is you already do it because it is one of the inescapable facts of the hidden curriculum. The challenge is to get further away from the dictatorship end and move your teaching more towards the democracy end of the governance spectrum.
Manage For Engagement
Provide activities that lead to deeper learning, not boredom. Assessing the climate of your classroom and school needs to include measures of psychological need support, motivation, and/or engagement (emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and agentic). One well-established tool for this is The Hope Survey. Another is the annual Gallup Student Poll which is free. More tools need to be developed and incorporated into the management of schools.
When it gets hard, provide more need support, not less.
Satisfying needs is the basis for deeper learning and deeper learning is the foundation of good citizenship. More support creates better citizens. Beyond air, water, food, shelter, and sleep, all humans also have primary needs for relatedness, competence, and autonomy. It is inadvertently thwarting those three psychological needs at the end of the list that creates many of the problems with the disengagement of both teachers and students.
For more information about Back to Basics 2.0 buy the book More Joy More Genius.
I'm Don Berg, the founder of Attitutor.
My mission is to integrate deeper learning into all K-12 schools.
My lens for that task is education psychology, specifically motivation and engagement.
I've discovered that the secret is creating more joy in order to reveal more genius in teachers and students.
As a psychologist I have studied what it takes for organizations to help generate that joy through effective leadership.
If you’d like to learn more about my work, I invite you to get in touch.
Most Schools Won't Fit
While emphasizing the parent perspective this book is a quick read and provides two practical guides for all kinds of leaders. One for dealing directly with children and other people by supporting their primary psychological needs. The other is a guide to recognizing engagement. When you see more engagement then you know your efforts to support their needs is succeeding.
Education Can ONLY Be Offered
This book emphasizes a larger perspective on education and suggests design criteria that leaders can use to facilitate a community conversation about rethinking their current school or designing a whole new one. The design/redesign process encourages building on a combination existing strengths and the science-vaildated core of human nature, primary human needs.
New Book Just Released!
More Joy More Genius
Don Berg brings new insights from the psychology of learning to the policy realm in More Joy More Genius. This book empowers school leaders to mobilize complex, whole-system change for both teachers and students.
Back Cover: Reliably producing deeper learning is the key to successful K-12 schooling. We will know that deeper learning is being sustainably fueled when joy is as normal for high schoolers as it is for kindergartners and first graders. The absence of joy means that students and teachers are disengaging. Disengaged students or teachers defeat the purpose of school in the same way that running out of gas defeats the purpose of a car. Cars have fuel gauges to enable drivers to more reliably fulfill their purposes. Psychologists can gauge the fuel for deeper learning. Managing psychological gas tanks is as simple as supporting the joys of teaching and learning.
More Joy, More Genius provides tools for better psychological fuel management. The book includes:
A policy resolution to help you organize a deeper learning reform campaign
Back to Basics 2.0: Rethinking what’s basic in K-12
The psychological foundations of deeper learning explained
Design criteria for making deeper learning a sustainable organizational habit
I have spent years making my living in the grassroots political arena. As the founding and current Treasurer of Portland Clean Air I have helped our team build an organization of effective community activists. I understand the relationship between administration and the action it enables. This background enriches my perspective on what is required to ensure that positive changes in a school can be sustainably supported by the larger community in which it is embedded.
Your leadership team will benefit from my enthusiasm for helping them create the kind of learning environments they first dreamed of when they started out. I can help them see their challenges in new and exciting ways. For instance, the goal of a great organization is not to eliminate all the problems, the goal is spend more and more of your time and energy on worthy problems. It is the human condition to have problems, make sure you choose good problems to have.
Public Speaking & Professional Development
I love to engage with an audience on the psychology of deeper learning and how organizations can best facilitate it. I will customize my presentation to suit your organization and prefer to include interactive elements, as well.
I have presented at a variety of conferences and schools: Portland State University, AERO, Reed College, International Self-Determination Theory Conference, Clark College, Oregon Substitute Teachers Association Annual Conference, EdCampPDX, Concordia University Portland, and more.
Thank you for your interest in my work. I bring a distinctly psychological perspective to the challenges of leadership and education. In particular I focus on deeper learning and the psychological foundations upon which it must be built. I'd be glad to share my enthusiasm for these crucial issues with you and your organization.