Saturday, October 20, 2012

Part 1: Open Letter to Authors of books for teachers

It is wonderful when an author of educational books sells 200,000 copies.  Bravo.

I want to see this book in Italian, Turkish, Spanish...
Then I find out that some of those books are available for $2 or $3 -- the books aren't valued or on the desks of principals who are in charge of schools with bored students.

How can we get this information into the heads of teachers, parents and students so that they advocate for change?   That's a lot of pressure on a principal.  "Why are these parents asking if I've heard of The Big Picture book?"

So I started this group called Network Of Educators  -- just say NOE! to boring classes.


This is a long post but I hope you will still with it.


Here's a letter that I sent to an author of Brain-Based research books...

Hello from Florida

I'm a graduate student in Fort Lauderdale.  I have an opportunity to interact with students from other countries -- I teach English to international teenagers.

The Story
In 2009 I was teaching a class of students from Italy and three of their teachers asked to sit in my class. The teachers took notes. "How did you learn to teach this way?" they asked me. "I copy Dennis Littky's method: (1) Ask students about their goals. (2) Help them learn the skills they need to reach their goals."

Theory: Teachers of English in classes of fewer than 14 students tend to spend less time lecturing. These teachers usually ask students "what do you want to learn to talk about?"  They can show other teachers how to lecture less.  James Zull observed that his students fell into a passive state of mind when he lectured to them.  He stopped talking at his students and he asked them to do projects and to ask him questions.  Sometimes he starts talking at his students again ... and they start to become passive again ...  page 127 in his book The Art of Changing the Brain (2002).

Teachers of English know how to get students involved in the lesson -- and teachers of other subjects might copy those techniques to make their lessons more active and engaging. 

I am ready to speak at  schools or in a single  classroom.  I want to observe good teachers and become a better teacher.  Here's my dream:  talking to a group of teachers and students and then stopping....  to hear their questions.

I'm writing to you to ask if you have materials that have already been translated into other languages

(other languages are planned

I am collecting materials from, particularly the speeches of Dan Pink, Ken Robinson and Sugata Mitra, to share with teachers in other countries.

Eventually some of these teachers ask me, "Can you show us how to transform our classrooms" and I want to turn them onto books like:

Dennis Littky   The Big Picture:  Education is Everybody's Business (purpose:  the community is needed to transform schools, and this book can inspire mentors to come to schools and to open their job sites to high school student interns)

Eliot Levine:  One Kid At A Time.  (specific tips and ideas for lesson plans)

Fischler, Abraham:   Building Better Schools   (quotes to change the culture of a school)
Translated in Spanish
Posters translated into six languages

Richard E. Clark,  two key articles
Fully Guided Instruction
Five Popular but Questionable Principles of Multimedia Learning
Translated into Turkish and Spanish  (both articles)

Barak Rosenshine's  "17 Principles of Instruction"   
translated into Portuguese, Spanish, French (by UNESCO)
I arranged translation into Turkish

I'm resigned to the fact that I'm not going to make money from these ventures.   The students who ask me to "Please come help my teachers learn your methods" and the teachers who ask me for advice are not in the position to pay me.   Most of the translations are done by volunteers.

I find it painful to read email messages like this one:

I met Isa through a friend from high school. Isa has a son, Matteo, who texted her the following message around 4 pm: “Another six hours of my life wasted” referring to the day at school. That’s what motivates me to “get out there.” I spent an initial 20 minutes by skype with some of Matteo’s teachers and we plan more interactions. Their questions centered on “How do you as a teacher connect with each student?” I’ve sent them some translations of transcriptions of Ken Robinson’s TED talks, but they need more.

So, what I’m after is actually two steps:
  1. permission to translate and distribute a segment of your books that you would like to expose to a wider market.
  2. The translation of the full book. (eventually perhaps 2015 or 2016, depending on resources) (if translations are not yet available)

  3. Here are some of my assumptions:
  4. a)  most teachers will not read a book
    b)  many teachers might read posters with quotes taken from selected chapters of a book
    c)  some teachers will read a chapter if the book is translated into the teacher's native language.
  5. I particularly like the Rs that you have laid out in your chapters.
  6. I'm focused on getting more attention on Barak Rosenshine's article about "17 principles"  ... particularly in Latin America.
    I'd like to then expose teachers to books like your books.
  7. Is there a convenient time when we could talk about your dreams for your book?   I find that if I give away materials, I get more people to read the words than if I charge for the book.   It's less revenue but more satisfaction.
  8. Thank you for your time.
  9. Steve McCrea
  10. 954 646 8246   email


Please look for 
Part 2:  Open Letter to Authors of books for teachers

It is a letter that I sent to Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor, who run the innovative educational company called Big Picture    <<< yes, click and give them some hits.

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