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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Book Report - Part 4 - Pursuing Relevance

The analogy of doctors with teachers has always fallen short for me. Doctors receive training in diagnosis as well as treatment. Teachers receive next to no training in diagnosing student "problems." Teachers are told what "problems" students possess. Teachers may refer students to others who diagnose problems and then give teachers a checklist of individualized instructional strategies. Teachers may or may not know why they must follow the checklists or what the strategies are meant to do for the student. So the analogy is not complete and therefore not applicable in my opinion.
This is not to say that I can not, or do not, appreciate the point that is being made.
I have always wondered why someone who never visits my class, or any public school, has a clue as to wait children need to learn. Curriculum, in and of itself, is a concept of convenience rather than importance. What my kids should know is not necessarily what they need to know; at least at a prescribed age or grade level.
At this point in educational history, teachers have abdicated their rights to choose and create their own curriculum. The time has passed for this fight. "Reformers" talk about how teacher unions have too much political power. The only power thbones I have associated with are in their ability to save me 10% on my insurance needs. Those who claim the power of unions to save the jobs of poor teachers are out of touch. Good teachers lose their jobs with one accusation of a student claiming sexual misconduct, when infact the claim is made because the student failed a test.
For nearly 10 years I have said to teachers who attended my workshops, "Students learn what they want I know." I claim this as my own truth. The authors say "No one will learn anything he doesn't want to know."
Two things this chapter seeks to question - How do people come to know? and What is worth knowing?
Two good questions. Again, my questions are who should determine the answers to these question? Who is truly qualified to arrive at a conclusion?
Perhaps the most sound piece of advice... "The enthusiasm that community leaders display for an educational innovation is in inverse proportion to its significance to the learning process" (p. 57). Does this mean that when administrators, boards, and superintendents espouse a certain curriculum-methodology-program and claim it will benefit all students while at the same time dictate individualized- differentiated instruction that teachers should apply critical thinking and implement their "crap detector?"
 From R. Murry

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous


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