Posts Tagged ‘politics’
Over at Gravity and Levity, Dave wrote a post entitled Five Things Schools Must Do to Avoid Extinction. Dave says schools need to embrace cell phones and iPods, stop blocking internet use, have teachers who police their own ranks, have school-based merit pay, and make sure teachers have experience in the arts.
Upon reading his list, I came up with two versions of my own. The first:
Five Things Schools Must Do to Avoid Extinction:
1. Recharge community spirit. There are many negative stereotypes (and harsh realities) about parental involvement in struggling schools. New research suggests parents of children who attend schools in low-income communities want more opportunities to engage with the school. Administrators and teachers must innovate how we reach out to parents of different economic realities, languages, and cultures. Schools should be part of the foundation of community renewal.
2. Invest in intellectual and professional communities of teachers. Schools, teacher preparation programs, unions, and other stakeholders must work together to create a system where mentor-apprentice relationships thrive, collaboration (between teachers in and across schools) is the norm, and all teachers have access to research-based and field tested pedagogical strategies.
3. Allow kids to play and think for themselves. Recent studies link recess and free choice time to academic and social success. As I’ve said in earlier posts, “I’m a constructivist: I think that children construct their own knowledge when they encounter experiences that intrigue and challenge them”. Children form and challenge schema through play.
4. Re-interpret the one room schoolhouse. Americans seem most comfortable in clear hierarchies – especially the ones we have created in schools. Grades are an example – we group children by age and establish rigid definitions for what it means to be at or below grade level. We track students by academic and language “ability” and social behavior. I understand why administrators and teachers prefer tracking: it seems like the most efficient way to deliver content at the level of students. I see classrooms like families. In a household, family members learn from each other even though they are different ages and have different goals/needs. Older siblings learn from younger siblings, parents learn from children, etc. Families are communities of learners just like schools should be. Instead of thinking about classrooms in terms of the supposed age or level of the students, we should think about them as diverse learning communities, where the different abilities of students help them learn from each other.
5. Acknowledge differences in culture without negative comparison to the culture of power. Instead of embracing the diversity we see in our learning communities, we often wage campaigns to rid children of differences. Although students must learn English in school to succeed in our society, we should praise the their status as students who navigate more than one culture and language successfully. Home cultures influence how students interpret and learn from the world we create at school. We must try to understand where are students come from with an attitude of respect.
Now, a more satirical list:
Five Things (“Underperforming”) Schools Must Do to Avoid Extinction:
1. “Smoke ’em out”. Cycle through new leaders and teachers each year. As George W would say, we have to smoke underachieving teachers and administrators out of their caves.
2. Scripting: eliminate the “teach” from teaching and replace it with a script. Community building, figuring out student needs, teaching students at their social and developmental pace is too hard. Reading a script, snapping fingers, and waiting for answers in game-show style is better.
3. Woo foundations and nonprofit organizations. There is a positive correlation between money available for grants and sound pedagogical decision-making, right?
4. Keep kids away from their communities and alienate parents. There is a positive correlation between time spent keeping children out of their community and test scores, right?
5. Support programs that bring new, unexperienced, teachers to the most needy students. We want teachers who are young and creative enough to innovate the education system (but whose lack of access to, and practice using, research-based educational strategies leaves them little recourse but to use uber-traditional practices).
Whether you are catching up on your reading at the beach, attending a few professional development conferences, or enjoying the many perks of spring break life (including but not limited to waking up and changing into a new pair of pajamas for the day), you will find great minds blogging about fascinating topics.
Although sitting around on the couch all day seems unproductive, Joel came up with 50 Online Reference Sites for Teachers over at So You Want To Teach?. After watching a a John Stossel program, John Holland got out of his pajams and wrote False Alarm: It’s Only John Stossel posted at Inside Pre-K.
Larry Ferlazzo made sure that his movie watching had educational value and posted The Best Places To Find Theatrical Movies On Science, Math, & History at Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites Of The Day For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL.
At the beach, John Holland (Inside Pre-K) is sipping colorful drinks and explaining the “accountability for preschoolers in MD” from his Explanation Provided? post. Michael Mazenko (A Teacher’s View) continues the debate he started on his Home Ec Returns post after tossing a frisbee on the beach.
SwitchedOnMom opted for professional development and a conference where she experienced Jay Mathews – Live! (The “More” Child). At another conference about higher education, Jim presented a talk on How to Navigate the College Financial Aid System (Blueprnt for Financial Prosperity) and Nate Desmond explained 12 Ways to Waste Money in College (Debt-free Scholar). Dana gave a presentation about her b-school experiences In Search of Sustainable Careers – 5 Reasons Why I Would Not Go Back to Business School (Investoralist) saying, “Do business school lead to sustainable careers? Some points to consider in face of global financial chaos.”
During a trip to DC, Matthew Ladner debates policy wonks about The Rhetorical Rights and Wrongs of the Obama Speech (Jay P. Greene’s Blog). Bradley Shea of bradley shea.com defends his views about The Need For Breakfast Clubs. After a visit to the White House, Bill Ferriter spoke about The Impact of Market Norms on Education. . . posted at The Tempered Radical, saying, “In this post, the Tempered Radical responds to Barack Obama’s recent pleas to young Americans to serve their nation by working in classrooms. “That’s just plain beautiful,” the Radical writes. “There’s one problem, though: Education has gone through a painful transition in the past two decades, from a profession driven by social norms to one driven by market norms.”
Scott McLeod presents Help wanted: Sites that connect classrooms across the globe? posted at Dangerously Irrelevant, saying, “A growing collection of places that allow teachers to connect their classrooms to others across the globe!”
After attending a debate tournament with students, Soldave presents Preparing students for English speech & debate contests posted at Big in Japan.
At a local library, Kim of Wild About Nature gives a book talk entitled Book Review: One Wolf Howls. After a tutoring session, Bogusia Gierus Nucleus Learning explains why Tutoring is like a GPS | Nucleus Learning. From a computer lab, Travis A. Wittwer presents TECH & TE(A)CH posted at Stories from School: Practice meets Policy.
At a delightful park picnic, Joanne Jacobs muses that The revolution is not a picnic (posted at Joanne Jacobs). Andrew Bernardin passes the sandwiches and edits his Jacks of All Topics, Masters of None post which is now at The Evolving Mind.
Mrs. Bluebird tries to relax after A Rant – Casting Off Accessories, Teacher Accountability and the Reality of Our World posted at Bluebird’s Classroom, saying, “Mrs. Bluebird is fed up with parents who aren’t parenting.”NerdMom presents Technology, Education and Life posted at Nerd Family.
While cleaning out a bookcase in a classroom, Clix pondered reading and posted SSR times at Epic Adventures Are Often Uncomfortable, saying, “As we struggle through difficulties in the classroom, it can be helpful to remember that other great heroes also faced near-impossible challenges, and even triumphed!”. Pat also spent time in her classroom and thought about classroom management. The resulting post is Catch Them Doing the Right Thing at Successful Teaching. Adding to the classroom management discussion is Jim McGuire. He presents Where Does Hard Work Come From? posted at The Reading Workshop, saying, “What causes students to work hard? This post takes a look at students’ work ethic.”
Madeleine Begun Kane uses her break to indulge a writing habit. The result is A Robot Violinist That Plays Better Than Your Kid? posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog. TeacherC does the same and produces a narrative entitled On Mercy Killing in the First Grade (or, how I stopped worrying and learned to appreciate punch lines) at An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog. Mike Holden shares Part 1: What is happening with teaching jobs? posted at DoE- Dave on Ed. Miss Profe writes about past experiences with students in Número Uno posted at Pensamientos.
That concludes COE Spring Break. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of education using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page. There were many submissions to this carnival. If your post did not make it to the midway, please try again next time!