joe bower

joe bower 1


like so many others not documented on this site (yet adding him today), Joe has been a great influence/support/encouragement. (the ideal of being able to document everything.. just by thinking/talking – in the mean time – i often leave out the obvious – to me)


adding page as listening to Joe here:

feb 2015

Do Schools Conceal o Reveal Learning?, X Intl Seminar

i am a teacher. i actually do the work.

5 min – intro’d to Alfie

i kind of wish we could all have amnesia for a while and forget how we think we do school – largest obstacle to changing school – memory

shared video of girl skiing down slope.. talking herself into it.. using that as an example of what school could/should be like

8 min – we have to stop competing.. just stop it

16 min – assessment is not a spreadsheet – it’s a conversation

assessment is not measurement

in education it’s relationships, relationships, relationships…. but you can’t bar graph relationships..

assessment – to sit beside

giving judgment free info

no raised eyebrows

20 min – when kids said – you mean we did this for nothing… i realized i was onto something..

grades are tools we use to get compliance..


i have no use for someone determining my kids learning if they haven’t been in my school… stop providing data for people who aren’t visiting schools

24 min – what replaces grading… children should experience their success and failures not as reward and punishment but as information – Bruner

24 min – the children are always watching.. in particular.. how will we treat them when we do something wrong – Howard Gardner

25 min – if you need tests and grades to see what children are learning.. my question is – what have you been doing.. you should be seeing the learning as they are learning. everything that’s important can still be observed and described…

? does it have to be observed to be learning.. – back to your title.. and my thoughts of real- ness above..

we need to start allowing children’s learning to speak for themselves…

we’ve got to make the learning more transparent – greatest evidence for parents to know their kids are learning is to see them learning.. tech can help with that

how to grade without grading… i have no gradebook.. i look at evidence in portfolios.. and then i use my professional judgment.. and then i ask them.. (kids describe it in a blog post – and i use that as my primary document for making a report card) – the report card grade is the first grade they got from me the whole year..

32 min – my experience with detoxing students… grades are the school’s drug of choice

1. intervention.. i come in and say – we’re not going to do this anymore.. we’re going to take a break for a year while you’re in my class

2. honeymoon sobriety… we stop talking grades and just learn – you show me a student that cares about grades and i’ll show you parents that encourage that

3. withdrawal symptoms.. existential vertigo – we can be addicted to things that aren’t good for us – i need you to tell me what i am even if it’s not good

4. sustained sobriety.. the problem with letting kids think for themselves is that they might think for themselves..

5. relapse.. reassured by old school and disturbed by its absence… ie: what have i been doing.. have you been preparing me or am i going to get in a lot of trouble next year   (35 min) – have we been learning – yes. is there a better way to get ready for hs?

6. mindful reflection.. ending the race to nowhere  – after going back into the water (the game of school)… they miss it… ie: it was nice to take a pause and do something authentic

38 min – free unstructured outside play is at an all time low – very disturbing

sarah – i just really want to get an a – because my auntie has breast cancer – and i said – sarah – that’s the best reason to do the poster – we cheapen it with grades

41 min – years later auntie says to school/grades – some things we just can’t do anything about.. and i thought – that’s not what you did with cancer – you fought it and won


46 min – on response to Graham‘s question – our democracy – not our economy – is dependent on public education

47 min – Cathy Davidson must be there.. i hear her voice – she asked for a vision of what a day is like..

53 min – on redefining poverty/success

54 min – unsustainable to expect teachers to spend more time with other people’s children than their own

we look at test scores.. when .. 1 in 4 children live in poverty

not an education problem… a society problem…

56 min – stop doing things to children and do things with them.. same true for teachers..



fitting with thought about real ness .. ie: the more we can see it the less real it is.. hence the need/obsession to define it..


find/follow Joe:

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jan 2016 – sending love. energy. deep gratitude.

jan 3 – rip big/little brother.

rip j bower