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Stories by Bari Walsh

By Bari Walsh 08/24/2016 9:45 AM EDT
Undocumented and Educated
In the four years since the Obama Administration launched the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, young, undocumented immigrants have gained visibility, opportunity, and some measure of stability. But their immigration status, and that of their parents, still inflicts a corrosive burden, says Roberto Gonzales, who has chronicled their experiences before and after the DACA protections. For educators who work with immigrant students, the weight of that burden requires new support services and a distinctive kind of outreach, particularly as young people move through high...
By Mary Tamer, Bari Walsh 07/08/2016 12:23 PM EDT
young green plant growing out of cracked pavement
Updated and adapted from a previously published story. How do you talk to your child — in a way that both reassures and acknowledges fears — in the wake of trauma and community violence?   Today's 24/7 news culture — now fed by livestreamed video chronicling trauma as it happens — provides an ever-open window to events that both children and adults grapple to understand. When bad things happen on the world’s stage, it is very natural and healthy for children to bring up questions at home or in the classroom, says psychologist Richard Weissbourd, co-director of the Making Caring Common...
By Bari Walsh 07/05/2016 11:16 AM EDT
A laughing mother looking down at her smiling baby
What do babies need in order to learn and thrive? One thing they need is conversation — responsive, back-and-forth communication with their parents and caregivers. This interactive engagement is like food for their developing brains, nurturing language acquisition, early literacy, school readiness, and social and emotional well-being. A dispiriting number of children don’t get that kind of brain-fueling communication, research suggests. In early childhood policy (and in the wider media), much attention has been paid to the so-called word gap — findings that show that low-income children hear...
By Bari Walsh 06/20/2016 4:53 PM EDT
Finding Your Summer Balance
Adapted and updated from a previously published article. For educators, summer is a time to relax — and to prepare, and to develop new skills, and to finish overdue household projects. How to find the balance between unwinding and achieving? Harvard Graduate School of Education lecturer Metta McGarvey — an expert in mindful leadership — offers strategies for making the most of the summer. Finding Balance “In my house,” says McGarvey, “my daughter claims I have the GTD gene — for Getting Things Done — because I typically buzz around doing things, sometimes at the expense of quality time and...
By Bari Walsh 06/14/2016 2:44 PM EDT
Feedback that Works
Teamwork and collaboration are bywords in education today, as they are in contemporary workplaces in all fields. More than ever, our daily tasks, our goals, and our overall performance are shaped and evaluated in collaborative settings, through peer and supervisory feedback. And it’s easy to agree that feedback can be a powerful tool for growth. Then why is it so hard to give feedback, and often even harder to hear it? Why do we feel that feedback misses the mark — that it’s generic or irrelevant, or, worse, that it’s undermining, or threatening? Part of the reason, say authors Eleanor Drago-...
By Bari Walsh 06/07/2016 12:01 PM EDT
The Costs of Poverty
More than a third of children living in low- and middle-income countries fail to meet basic cognitive and socio-emotional milestones, putting them at risk for lifelong deficits in mental and physical health, educational achievement, and financial stability, according to a new study by psychologist Dana McCoy of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  The study, appearing in the journal PLOS Medicine, is the first to directly estimate the extent of global challenges to children’s healthy development. McCoy and colleagues at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, where the research...
By Bari Walsh 05/26/2016 8:00 AM EDT
Convocation
In a Convocation ceremony filled with messages of hope, perseverance, and inspiration — and the rhythms of poetry — the Harvard Graduate School of Education affirmed its central mission as a community of learners dedicated to changing the world through education. HGSE degree candidates, their faculty, and their friends and family members gathered for the annual ceremony in Radcliffe Yard on the warmest day of the spring — the sunny afternoon well matched to the mood of the graduating cohort . “Lift up your eyes upon/This day breaking for you,” said Convocation speaker Freeman Hrabowski,...
By Bari Walsh 05/17/2016 11:35 AM EDT
Closing the Gap Year Gap
Thanks to the particular choice of a particular 17-year-old (whose dad has a high-profile job in Washington, D.C.), a lot of the world is talking about gap years. But as Malia Obama’s decision to defer her Harvard admission shows, the conversations can carry some very privileged associations — seemingly distant from the post-secondary options available to many less-advantaged or nontraditional students and families. So are gap years just another enrichment lever that only highly advantaged students can pull? Or is there a way to make gap year opportunities broadly accessible, without making...
By Matt Weber, Bari Walsh 04/28/2016 11:01 AM EDT
 The Principal Challenge
The principal’s role  — increasingly recognized as critical to a school’s vibrancy, its prospects for innovative change, and its overall success — is a pressure-filled job that is at once highly public and extremely isolating. When Sarah Fiarman first stepped into the role, she was determined to avoid common pitfalls and to cultivate the skills she thought she’d need to raise achievement. “I went into this role with a lot of passion and a strong sense of urgency that I wanted to improve the education of all children, and in particular children who’ve historically been not well served by...
By Bari Walsh 04/06/2016 11:08 AM EDT
How Teacher Partnerships Work
Learn by doing — it’s a well-worn mantra, and sometimes it works. But after you’ve learned to do something, how do you learn to do it better? For teachers, who still work mostly in isolation, the risk of hitting a plateau — of doing, but not growing, or of getting stuck in a bad habit of practice — is high. But “learning by doing” can work in a more focused way when the “doing” is guided by a successful peer and structured around a particular task. A new working paper just out from the National Bureau of Economic Research has demonstrated that for teachers (and perhaps workers in many other...

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