The Ins and Outs of Teaching English Abroad


Teaching English abroad is an amazing opportunity for educators to learn critical skills in culturally responsive teaching and we at ShiftED know many teachers in US classrooms who bring back a world of knowledge from their time teaching abroad.

There will be a feature on one such teacher later, but for those considering teaching abroad Amy over at teachertravelermoneysaver gives a great run down of the pros and cons of teaching abroad as a

1. Volunteer

2. Intern

3. and ELL Teacher.

However, regardless of path, teaching abroad is always recommended. It opens up the classroom to today’s global landscape. Read more for the full details. And if your passport is not yet ready to be stamped, try applying for the Lumen8 program instead, where you can broaden classroom horizons on a local level.

Have you taught abroad? What did you think? Let us know in comments or at

Hot Topic for a Hot Day

So, it’s finally hot outside.

94dd9c00-c8c2-45c3-bcf8-5b85774899db_463x347And, speaking of things that are hot: let’s talk about evaluating teachers. Almost every state is talking about how to do it right. We at ShiftED are all about empowering teachers so they can empower students. Like folks in any profession (and, not coincidentally, just like students), educators’ performances improve most when they are given thoughtful, constructive feedback and specific guidance based on classroom observations. Check out this article from the NY Times on a thought-leading professor from the University of Michigan who might just have a formula worth trying.

What do you think about the subject? We want to hear your thoughts on positive solutions for teacher evaluation. Comment below!

Growth Mindsets in Early Childhood

Deborah Farmer Kris, a lifelong educator, has written a great primer to getting young children to develop a growth mindset over at the KQED blog. She offers (and elaborates) on three simple tips for adults:

  1. Replace generic praise with process praise.
  2. Harness the power of yet.
  3. Tell stories of resilience.Bike

Read more to find the fleshed out details and start changing your interactions with kids today!

How do you encourage the little ones to keep trying after they fail? We would love to hear from you at

Extra Credit

In business and in education good leadership is key to the success of an organization. Just as we want to continually celebrate achievements of innovative teachers and enterprising students, we at ShiftED believe it’s just as important to celebrate school leaders who strive to be agents of positive change in their communities, districts and individual buildings. Do you know school district leaders who have brought fresh, successful ideas to their school communities? Nominate them here for EdWeek’s Leaders to Learn From profile for 2016. Then tell us right here in the comment section about the school leader you nominated and why. We want to feature you and your innovative leader on ShiftED!

Gates Ways

Some of America’s favorite innovators are college dropouts. And educators can feel more than a little daunted when defending their value in the face of multibillionaires’ successes sans formal education. In response to edu-skeptics (and in support of higher ed) Microsoft’s Bill Gates published a reflection on the importance of obtaining a college degree. A New York Times article bolsters Gates’ post with even more research.

Our favorite highlights:

‘“The problem isn’t that not enough people are going to college,” Mr. Gates writes. “The problem is that not enough people are finishing.”’

“Education, as David Autor, the M.I.T. economist, notes, is not a game of musical chairs. More educated societies generally become richer, healthier and better functioning over time.”

Public Education: Finland v. India


The U.S. is not the only country grappling with questions on how to shift its public education system. Teach for India alum Prachur Goel is asking some tough questions from Mumbai, where he taught in a local slum.

While many might think that comparing a large, over-populated developing nation to the most sparsely populated member of the E.U. would not yield many useful results, Prachur makes some deep, system-based statements that should be considered everywhere there is public education, regardless of the circumstances.

  • An education system is not defined purely by what happens inside the classroom.
  • The highest performing education systems are those that provide excellence with equity, not choice.
  • Children must play.

Read on to learn about what Finland can teach us, with an Indian comparison.

What do you think about equity and choice? Do you have any experience with education abroad? We would love to know! Tell us what you think in comments, or at

What will be the legacy of the class of 2015?


In a great Op-Ed for the Oakland Tribune, Scott Morgan, Founder and CEO of Education Pioneers, explains why education can be an exciting, challenging, and rewarding path for young graduates.

  1. Teaching experience can be powerful and life-changing.
  2. After teachers, skilled leaders and managers have the highest impact on a student’s learning.
  3. Leaders in education take on complex and challenging problems, as they would in any other field. But in education, the stakes are higher and the rewards oftentimes more meaningful.

Impact, legacy and the greater good are all important aspects of a career, and energetic young grads will find all of those in education! Read on to find more benefits at the Education Pioneers blog.

Know a young person in education or want to meet some? Connect with us! At

Graphics and Glitter and Gaps, Oh My!

How to Keep Your PD on Point

Sylvia Duckworth, an “AIM French teacher and techno-geek” out of Toronto, shares “10 Things Teachers Want for Professional Development” in a happy little infographic. The value of the list is threefold: 18121142350_682ac1f50a_m

  1. PD Content creators ought to constantly keep these in mind when researching and developing curriculum for educators
  2. School leaders should use these as an evaluation tool when selecting programs for in-house training and in recommendations for offsite training for their teams. Additionally, there are a few reminders on how to remain a team player when attending professional development activities with your team.
  3. Although the infographic speaks of what teachers already want, it’s a good reminder on what to look for when seeking out your own development opportunities.

More artful edu-wisdom from Sylvia can be found on her twitter @sylviaduckworth or her page.

 “I will never miss the glitter…”

No time is a bad time to share stories that restore faith in humanity. And this reflection on the saints who are preschool teachers is no exception. If you’ve ever parented a 3-year-old, cared for a 3-year old, or observed a screaming one in the aisles of a Wal-Mart, you know that wrangling even one of these angels is not for the faint of heart. So head over to the Huffington Post to read about just a few of the things we ought to thank preschool teachers for, then go find a teacher and thank her yourself. Faith in humanity: restored. 

Want to share a story of an outstanding teacher? Tell us:

Gaps and Overlaps

When considering the achievement gap that plagues our at-risk and under-privileged youth, we think of the traditional classroom and efforts that can be made to close that gap during the school year. What we often overlook is the perpetuation of the achievement gap that occurs during the summer months, when students with fewer academic resources at their disposal face a continued lack of resources: a viable network for finding employment.

According to the superintendent of school in Rochester, NY, “There is no other time in the lives of minority and poor children in the nation where the opportunity gap is so widened than during the summer time.” But all is not lost! Read on in this EdWeek article to see what proactive cities across the country are doing to empower the youth in their community this summer.

Is your community linking youth with opportunity? Tell us about it:

Direct Yourself

We’re always looking for schools who are “doing it right” when it comes to the 21st century learning movement. Change is never easy, and enacting meaningful change when it comes to education comes with a lot of bureaucratic red tape, budget limitations and a well-padded comfort zone that must be overcome. So when we find schools that seem to have found a way over or around those hurdles, we’re excited to learn more and share their inspirations with the world. Prepare to have your mind blown by – that’s right – seventh grade chemical engineers. Read it here

Do you know of a school doing progress, disruptive, impressive thing? (Bonus points if it your school!) Email us:

 Readers Gonna Read

If you happened to read “Five Ways to Keep the Pencil Sharp This Summer” on the Lumen Touch blog last week, then you received a little nudge about reading outside your comfort zone. If you’re still stuck on where to go, check out this week’s book recommendation:

Remember when the crazies at Duke University gave every incoming freshman an Apple iPod? The catalyst of that hair brained brilliance, Cathy N. Davidson, writes about the experience, as well as her other experiences with disruptive learning in her book: Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. Read a full summary here. Or buy it here.

Do you have book ideas to contribute? Email us:

 On the Blog

This week on the blog, find out what competitive cooking, reality TV and project-based learning have in common. A few ingredients may leave you queasy, but we hope the recipe itself helps you cook up some delightful project ideas!

Share your project-based learning ideas! Email us:

Start Off Your Summer With a Shift

If you’re reading this from your beach chair…do the rest of us a favor and have an extra cold one in our honor.

Play Grounded

Last week we brought you a TED talk on play and happiness as vital learning mechanisms. And because some of us haven’t had a recess since Michael Jordan was king of the courts and the Titanic was sinking on big screens everywhere, we couldn’t resist revisiting the concept of play for a second week in a row.

In a New York Times Opinion piece earlier this month, David Kohn entreated his readers: “Let the Kids Learn Through Play.” The idea, an innovation that (ironically) taps in to more traditional education sentiments, pushes back against movements like Common Core. New standards like these demand more advanced reading and writing skills be mastered earlier than ever before while pieces like this cite evidence of the harm this may cause a child’s long term learning and development. Read Kohn’s full piece here.

Game On

You have died from dysentery. If this line conjures up images of intestinal issues and not of the pixelated Apple II screens, we apologize for the unpleasant confusion. The Oregon Trail game, to which that morbid line refers, was released in 1971 and was the first in a long line of video games designed to guide and enhance learning.

But as MIT professors Eric Klopfer and Scot Osterweil note in this article, the trail – er –path that has led educators to gamify education in attempts to “make learning fun” may have been more like beating that dead horse on the Oregon Trail than truly taking students to the next level. Not sure the difference between games and gamifying? Read on here for clarification.

Have Your Career & Your College Prep, Too

Enough about play; let’s talk about work – in school and beyond. If 40+ states plan to successfully implement the Common Core standards they’ve adopted and have students leave high school “college and career ready,” they certainly have their work cut out for them. Note the operative conjunction: AND. Not the reductive “OR” that might track (GASP) certain students towards trades and others towards academic.

The state of California seems to have found the missing link (the magic AND) that may just let students have their cake and eat it too. Linked Learning. If talk of cake hasn’t made you too hungry, head over the Hechinger Report to see how California schools are putting the AND in “college and career.”

This week on the blog…

It’s an ode to summer break with some tips for teachers on how to de-stress AND stay sharp this summer. And even if you’re like us, still working for those weekends all summer, these tips won’t hurt you either. Go here to learn about sharpening that pencil without leaving any shavings.  shutterstock_84128584


Have opinions about what we share? We want to see your comments!

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