Teaching Lessons: What KIPP Did—and Didn’t—Learn From America’s “Best” Teacher

Wanting to keep this post handy, and link it to the discussion of “discipline systems” we had in the #CLMOOC

Andrea Gabor

Real Talk2

Two things struck me as soon as I metaphorically cracked the spine of my e-version of Real Talk for Real Teachers, the latest opus by best-selling author and public-school teacher extraordinaire Rafe Esquith: How many of his ideas were borrowed by KIPP. And, yet, how radically Esquith’s philosophy and his renowned teaching methods differ from those we’ve come to associate with KIPP and KIPP-like charter schools.

Esquith teaches fifth grade at Hobart Boulevard Elementary, a traditional public school for mostly poor Latino and Asian kids in Los Angeles. His new book led me back into the pages of Jay Mathews’s book on KIPP, Work Hard. Be Nice, which refers to Esquith as “the most interesting and influential public school classroom teacher in the country.”

Esquith is the specter that haunts KIPP’s founders in Mathews’s book. He is one of two mentors whose teaching practices so influenced…

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Fred is a Teaching Artist, an arts integration advocate & a social justice activist. He is near completing a two-month Residency as String Game Performance Teacher at Calabasas Elementary School in Watsonville, CA, and performed at the 2015 Santa Cruz Storytelling Festival. He also serves as Teacher Consultant for Professional Development with UCSC's Central California Writing Project and as their Technology Liaison to the National Writing Project. He is a Connected Learning Facilitator and coordinates Face To Face Drop Ins on Connected Learning biweekly at Arts Council Santa Cruz County. He teaches self-directed & connected learning via real-world projects & string games through his Original Digital Project, an Associate of the Arts Council.

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