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Why Do You Ask?

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

Friday, July 31, 2009

WHY POSTEROUS IS AWESOME!

I used to write only to my Blogger blog.  It is a good program, and I still use it.  But Posterous is becoming my favorite way to blog.  Here's why.

  1. It is done through email.  (Yes there are disadvantages like control of picture placement, consistent tagging, etc.).
  2. It posts quickly.  Usually in under 10 seconds.
  3. BUT HERE'S THE KICKER: It automatically sends my post (or a link to it) to Twitter, Blogger (which resends to Twitter about an hour later), Facebook, and email.
Why is that important?  Because my network of friends, colleagues, and PLN use different social networking sites.  By using Posterous, I can post once, and get things to all places where "my people" are.  I receive comments from readers through Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Posterous, and email.

Very powerful because it is so simple. 

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous

How To: Make Current Events A Primary Part of Class

As I am preparing for the upcoming school year, I wanted to use current events from the countries/regions we are studying to be a part of class; either as starters, discussion questions, debates, or report topics.

I have tried to find easy ways to do this several different ways in the past, but I didn't like the look or feel of what I ended up with.  I knew I wanted RSS feeds, and I wanted everything on a single web page (for easy viewing, and to project on the board in my classroom).

If you would like the current events feed for yourself, here it is:

http://www.google.com/ig/sharetab?source=stb&stid=10996885980617846813509f0d4f1a19875168a153c8e9a736970


I finally found a way to make this work like I want it to.  Google - who else?

Here's what I did:

  1. You have to have an iGoogle account.
  2. I created a new tab (something I forgot about being able to do - Use it or Lose it syndrome).
    1. Next to the HOME link, there is a drop down menu that says ADD A TAB.
    2. Give the new tab a name - Mine is "World News."
    3. Go to this tab (blank page).
  3. In the upper left corner of the iGoogle page there is a drop down menu where I selected More > Even More.
  4. On the Even More page, I chose Alerts.
  5. In the Create A Google Alert box...
    1. Type in the search term
    2. Choose the Type (News, Comprehensive, Blog, etc.) - I chose News.
    3. In the 4th drop-down area you can have the information emailed to your Gmail account OR...CHOOSE FEED.  Choose Feed here.
    4. Click Create Alert button.
  6. The next page gives a choice of of viewing it in your Google Reader or add to iGoogle.  Add to iGoogle, and it will create a box with the three most recent items.
Very clean-looking page.  A very handy tool, as long as your school district does not block your ability to create an iGoogle page (ours used to).

I plan to use this a starters, fillers, idea generators, and to connect real-world events to the mandated curriculum, so the mandated curriculum doesn't seem so disengaging.

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Weekly Web Reads (weekly)


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Ability Grouping Issue - An Analogy

The LooneyHiker and Mr. Teacher are having a thought-provoker this week.  LooneyHiker quotes Mr. Teacher below:

“The speaker was obviously against ability grouping. He said that in the past, some people have put the high kids together in one class and the lower kids together in another class. In this situation, the low kids tend to learn a lot and the high kids learn a lot, but the gap between their knowledge grows even wider. Whereas in a mixed-ability group, the high kids will pull the lower kids up, and so the knowledge gap is decreased.”

This made me think about grouping and whether I should group or not. I think there are times grouping is good and sometimes it isn’t appropriate. As a teacher, I need to look at what the objective of my lesson is and how do I plan to achieve it. If grouping is the best way to do that, then that is the way I need to go. I do not believe that one size fits all and just because I group for this lesson, doesn’t mean it should be done for all lessons.


Mr. Teacher's excellent question, that deserves much more attention:

What I'm wondering is, is our goal here really to shrink the knowledge gap, or is our goal to teach every kid as much as possible? And is it really better to have a smaller gap at the end of the year, where the high kids have increased, let's say, 10% and the low kids have increased, let's say, 30%, OR is it better at the end of the year to have high kids that have increased by 50% and low kids that have increased by 50%?

The thing about teachers is that most (nearly all) of them have a big heart, an over-developed sense of "being fair," and wish that everything would be equal.

The reality is, things are not fair, and everyone is not equal.

So the debate and practice of ability grouping continues to be an issue.

I wish to question the thought that the speaker (in bold), and so many others, wish would work. 

"...in mixed groups, the high kids will pull the lower kids up, and so the knowledge gap is decreased."

I disagree; though I wish I didn't have to.

Here is the analogy, on a behavior level.

If you are a parent, you know how important it is for your children to "keep good company."  When your child is hanging around the wrong type of person, you are concerned, and sometimes you will deny them the friendship.

If you are a teacher, in a parent conference, how many times have you said (or wanted to say) "one thing your child needs to do is choose his/her friends more wisely. Their behavior is affecting their grades."

Why is this the case?

Because we know that it is much more likely that the "bad" behavior will influence the "good" behavior, and drag the good behavior child down.  Even though someone may be "salt of the earth - light of the world" people, we know that "bad company corrupts good morals" is more prominent. 

I think, through observation, practice, personal experience, and cognitive psychology that the same is true with mixed grouping.  The lower level has more influence in bringing down the thinking level of the "high" ability kid than the higher level influences the thinking level of the "low" ability kid. 

I won't even mention the resentment the "high level child" has by being put in a situation where they have to teach the "low level child."  Oops...just did.

I hate to say it.  I wish it wasn't true.  But in my years as an under-achieving student, and teacher who looks out for the "underdog," I just can't drink the mixed-ability-grouping Kool-Aid.

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why Don't Students Like School (ch. 3)

I once read or heard, "When you start hearing the same thing from multiple sources, you might want to pay attention."

Well, Willingham is now the third or fourth person I have read this year who is pushing the use of stories (or story-form) in the classroom.

First was Dan Roam - The Back Of The Napkin

Second was Dan & Chip Heath - Made To Stick

Third was a metacognitive moment listening to Ken Robinson, and reading The Element.  Robinson demonstrates (rather than lecture about) that through story telling, one remembers things best.  Robinson does not really espouse quantitative research, but rather, through stories provides a qualitative research method that rings true for many people.

And now - Daniel Willingham.

Talk about a panel needed at an ISTE convention!

Chapter 3 discusses why we remember things, and why we forget other things.

"Memory is the residue of thought."

Thinking takes place in the "working memory" of the brain.  Calling upon the "long-term memory" makes the process of thinking easier and more efficient: thus the need for certain things (basics like mulitplication tables, states and capitols, etc.) to be memorized.

Things can't go into long-term memory until and unless they have been through working memory.

Attention, emotion, repitition, and wanting to remember things is good, but not enough to ensure memory or learning.

Thinking about meaning is what works.  But structuring lessons to ensure students are thinking about the right things is of equal or greater importance.  One has to think about the "right aspect of meaning" in order for things to be learned and remembered.

Learning = things that end up in long-term memory.

Organizing a lesson plan in story-form will help students comprehend and remember.  The story must focus on the meaning we want students to think about.  Story does not mean lecture.  Stories should not provide too much information; leave room for inference (the need for background knowledge is necessary too).

The four Cs of an effective story: Causality, Conflict, Complications, and Character.  All of these wrap around action wherein the storyteller shows rather than tells a story.  Follow the formula (don't reinvent a proven story form).

Why stories work:
  • Easy to comprehend
  • Interesting
  • Easy to remember

Favorite quotes"

"Trying to make the material relevant to students' interests doesn't work."

"Effective teachers have both qualities (style and organization).  They are able to connect personally with students, and they organize the material in a way that makes it interesting and easy to understand."

"My intention here is not to suggest that you simply tell stories, although there's nothing wrong with doing so.  Rather, I'm suggesting something one step removed from that.  Structure your lessons the way stories are structured, using the four Cs: causality, conflict, complications, character.  This doesn't mean you must do most of the talking... The story structure applies to the way you organize the material that you encourage your students to think about, not to the methods you use to teach the material."

------------

In movies, the conflict usually does not present itself until 20 minutes into a 100 minute film. Characters are introduced first.  Situations that identify causaility are hinted at.  Complications are the subplots of conflict.

When it comes to teaching, we must forcus on the questions instead of the answers to keep the answer interesting.  We focus so much on the answers, and students are conditioned to "get the right answer" that little appreciation is given to why the answer matters.

Using mnemonics help people memorize material they need to develop background, or material that, on its own, is not meaningful in and of itself - but must be present in order for other things to be understood. (Multiplication tables, vocabulary, states and capitols, countries, land and water forms, periodic table, parts of speech, etc.).

Great example of how technology can prevent learning is given.  I don't know of any teacher who has not experienced the example given about students focusing on the whiz/bang features of a tech tool instead of the content of the lesson which was to be presented using the tech tool.

Attention grabbers at the beginning of class may be the wrong time for them.  Very interesting viewpoint.

Discovery Learning usually leads students to think about the wrong things, unless done exceptionally well.

Make thinking about the meaning unavoidable. 

Use mnemonics when necessary, then apply the new memories to think about the meaning of something the memory is a prerequisite for.

Organize a lesson plan around the conflict.  The conflict is the question that makes the answer interesting.

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weekly Web Reads (weekly)


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why Don't Students Like School (ch. 2)

"Factual knowledge must precede skill."
 
Willingham demonstrates how the Education Technology gurus are somewhat wrong in their argument that there is little (or no) reason to memorize anything since you can look it up on the Internet. The argument that the information we learn today will be out of date un 5 years, therefore it is better to teach and practice critical thinking and evaluative skills to determine validity of information.
 
That got my attention.
 
Data from the past 30 years is conclusive that THINKING WELL REQUIRES KNOWING FACTS.
 
The processes teachers care about most (critical thinking, reasoning, problem solving) are deeply connected and impossible without factual knowledge that is stored in long-term memory.
 
Teachers must make sure that students acquire background knowledge in line with practicing critical thinking skills.
 
Willingham discusses how chunking works, why it should be used, and how to do it effectively. Factual knowledge is what allows for chunking.
 
Favorite quotes:
 
"...background knowledge allows chunking, which makes more room in working memory, which makes it easier to relate ideas, and therefore to comprehend."
 
"...much of the time when we see someone apparently engaged in logical thinking, he or she is actually engaged in memory retrieval."
 
"When it comes to knowledge, those who have more gain more."
 
"...Einstein was wrong. Knowledge is more important then imagination, because it's a prerequisite for imagination, or at least for the sort of imagination that leads to problem solving, decision making, and creativity."
 
"We must help children learn background knowledge."
 
Seven implications for the classroom are then given to assist teachers I'm making this happen.
 
The final idea (discussed in the next chapter in detail) is about "stickiness." I'm eager to compare this with the Heath brothers' - Made To Stick - SUCCES model (which I am using along with Dan Roam's Back Of The Napkin) in my class next year.

iPhoned
 From R. Murry

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why Don't Students Like School?

Daniel Willingham's new book is a must read for teachers who care about their students' learning. Chapter 1 has enough material to change teaching practice to make the book worth the price.
 
There are 9 chapters; so imagine the value.
 
Each chapter begins with a question, modeling his theory and practice. Cognitive science is then discussed. That's all well and good, but each chapter concludes with a SO WHAT? list of things teacher can use in their classroom setting.
 
Brilliant > Brilliantly simple > but not Simplistic. My kind of reading.
 
Favorite lines from chapter one:
 
"Instead of making the work easier, is it possible to make thinking easier?"
 
"To the extent that you can, it's smart, I think, to assign work to individuals or groups of students that is appropriate to their current level of competence. Naturally you will want to do this in a sensative way, minimizing the extent to which some students will perceive themselves as behind others. But the fact is that they ARE behind others, and giving them work that is beyond them is unlikely to help them catch up, AND IS LIKELY TI MAKE THEM FALL STILL FURTHER BEHIND." [emphasis mine]
 
I'll post my learnings here. Can't wait.

iPhoned
 From R. Murry

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekly Web Reads (weekly)


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Family Hiking

I'm blessed to watch wife and son working together to hike down very steep incline. Very proud of son here.

iPhoned
 From R. Murry

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous

Our Students Are Missing Out On Childhood

Two seemingly unrelated pieces of information have come my way in the past two days.
  1. Michael Jackson's life and death, and speculations
  2. Alfie Kohn's book, The Homework Myth
Kohn's first chapter is "Missing Out on Their Childhood."  I have never been a proponent of homework, even as a kid.  I, like my younger son, could listen to what a teacher had to say, not take notes, and remember nearly everything a teacher/professor said.  I have read much and widely, at one time having a personal library of over 7500 books.  I enjoy philosophy, of the ancient kind, as much as anything.  It is amazing how little things really have changed, no matter what people seem to think of the advancement of technology.  Anyway...

Homework, it seems to me, is invalid for at least two reasons:
  1. If a student is required to sit in school for 7.5 - 8 hours a day, why is it that they haven't learned a day's worth of material in that amount of time?
  2. Homework takes away from allowing the family to have the influence they should have with a child and/or the parents are the ones completing the homework.
How does homework relate to Michael Jackson?  One of the things critics and fans of Jackson have in common is that he missed out on his childhood because of his talent.  Brooke Shields even mentioned during the memorial ceremony that she and Michael connected because they both were "made to be adults at an early age" and when they were together they simply wanted to be kids.

Kids. They can't win. They are either chastised because they are without supervision, or they are so overly supervised by parents that they can't learn from their mistakes (because they aren't allowed to make a mistake).  I work with both kinds.

I have kids whose parents (both of them) are working 2 jobs, 16 hours a day, to make things work out for their family.  Older siblings take care of the younger ones.  These families are criticized because the kids have no supervision.

I have other kids whose parents are able to leave work early during football season to watch practices...everyday.  What kind of job do they have?  They drive $40,000 dollar cars to stand on the sidelines to watch practice.  These kids have too much supervision.

Both kinds of kids are missing out on a childhood.  Some are made to have adult responsibilities before they are capable of handling them.  Others never learn about responsibility, because their parents protect them from having to be responsible or accountable. 

I admire the parents of the first child much more.  They are doing the best they can to make life better for their children.  Teachers should "come along side" of these parents and children to help the child experience childhood (not just schoolhood).

I teach 7th grade.  I had students last year who did not know how to play hide-n-seek, kick the can, or freeze tag.  They had never heard of Scrabble, played a game of Hearts or Spades, or watched the Wizard of Oz.  They had never been on a hike, skipped a rock across a pond, or seen snow (a girl actually teared up when I let her go outside to make a snowball).

It seems to me that we are not working to develop the whole child.  As Ken Robinson humorously states, "Schools are about creating brains, and nothing below the shoulders is addressed."  How do we go about developing the whole child?  That is a question I seek to begin answering this next school year.  I have to build background with my students so they can understand the content.  I am hoping to have movie days and go hiking on nearby trails on weekends throughout the school year. I would like to go to museums and landmarks in our area.  I want parents to come when they can.  I have a couple of other teachers interested too, but we'll see how things go.  I have been working on weekend trip destinations this summer.  I'm nearing a completed schedule.  I really want this to work.

If you have any suggestions, pieces of advice, or ideas please let me know.

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

High atop Disney Mountain in Dalton, GA

iPhoned
 From R. Murry

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous

Making Teachers Better At Their Craft

In a previous post, I posited that Professional Development is actually Systemic Indoctrination.

My reasoning behind my belief is that districts provide/require teachers to attend certain training, even if the teacher does not require training in the learning provided.  That is an indoctrination technique.  I am not saying that one cannot learn from the sessions, I'm simply saying that many teachers would likely benefit more from something different than the opportunities provided by their district.

Teachers should be the best learners in the classroom.  One of the keys to being the best learner is to know what you don't know, and identify ways to learn what you don't know. 

I submit to you that teachers have relegated their responsibility of learning what they need to learn to become better teachers to their administrators.  Administrators, well-meaning and money conscious, provide PD that will help the most people for the least amount of money.  That is part of their responsibility.  The problem is that when the PD offering does not meet the needs of everyone, it is actually a waste of money.

Assume a normal school setting.  Among this group of people, it is believed that all teachers can benefit from some type of classroom management refresher course.  Teachers will be awarded 2 Personal Learning Units (PLUs) for attending and completing the required work; work that is kept "private" and seldom worth sharing anyway. 

The "advantage" to the teacher is they do not have to research anything to get some of their required re-certification PLUs.  The benefit of the administration is that they know what the teachers should know, and can "judge" accordingly. 

The defacto result is that administrators determine what they want their faculty to know, how they want their faculty to approach teaching, and when the learning will occur.  This is an outdated model of PD.  The cost, relatively speaking is cheap, and what could be better?

Well, I have developed (and continue to do so) my professional capacity for free, through my Personal Learning Network (PLN).  As I have stated here, and directly to my Superintendent's new blog, I have learned more from my PLN than I did in my M.A. degree and Ed.S. degree.  This is mainly due to the fact that through my PLN, I had already discussed, participated in projects, and/or created online resources for my students before I entered the academic programs.  So when I say, "I got my degrees for the pay raise" I'm not kidding.  It was the only way to get paid for what I already knew.  Again, I chose my educational pursuits, with advice from a Superintendent who told me to go into a tech-related degree, because anyone can become an administrator, but not all administrators can understand technology.  That was in 2001.          

Teachers, like doctors, could benefit from learning about the new developments in their field.  The doctor for whom my wife works heard about robotic surgery from a colleague.  He read about the prospect of using it in his practice.  He later attended a conference on robotic surgery, and is soon going to a clinic to get hands-on opportunities to use the technology.  He will be the first to use robotic surgery (in his field) in our community.  He chose what he wanted and needed to learn, he is fully engaged and committed to learning it, and the future benefits will be rewarding personally, professionally, and monetarily.  He did not wait for the hospital, where he has surgical privileges, to decide he should learn this.  He is treated as a professional, and as such he is able to determine his true area of need for improvement.

The question administrators should begin asking is not, "What professional development do we want to offer our teachers so they can be re-certified?," but rather, "Teacher, what professional development are you going to seek out this year?"  Why not begin allowing (requiring) teachers to build PLNs to discover what is happening in the field of education?  Why not allow (require) teachers to conduct action research, write articles, develop class wikis/nings or YouTube channels, or blog for PLUs?  That could cost the district much less (maybe nothing), be more rewarding, and contribute resources to other teachers.

We ask our students to "do" work.  We know that creating is the new highest level of thinking.  Why not use this approach to Professional Development?  If teachers are the best learners in the classroom, why not allow them to prove their learning through the new tools Web 2.0...3.0 provide. 

It's time for school districts to catch up to the opportunities to provide true learning, teaching, and education.

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous

How Can The USA Win A War Against This?

From CNN - Taliban leader training, then selling children to be suicide bombers.

Sorry, can't get embed to work.

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous

How Can The USA Win A War Against This?

CNN reports that Taliban leaders is training and selling children to be suicide bombers.

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/js/2.0/video/evp/module.js?loc=int&vid=/video/world/2009/07/06/robertson.child.bombers.cnn

Embedded video from <a href="http://www.cnn.com/video">CNN Video</a>

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How Can The USA Win A War Against This?

From CNN - Taliban leader training, then selling children to be suicide bombers.

<script src="http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/js/2.0/video/evp/module.js?loc=int&vid=/video/world/2009/07/06/robertson.child.bombers.cnn" type="text/javascript"></script><noscript>Embedded video from <a href="http://www.cnn.com/video">CNN Video</a></noscript>

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Why Professional Development Isn't Working For Teachers

I struck a chord with several colleagues, and other teachers, with my previous post on Why Teachers Aren't Any Good.

Ultimately, it is two things:
  1. Professional Development (PD) that has turned into Systemic Indoctrination.
  2. Teachers who no longer believe they are able to lead themselves or their classrooms without someone telling them what to do, how to do it, when to do it, etc.
So, what is wrong with PD?  Today, I am going to only give the brief answer (after all, you had to read a lot from the previous post).

Professional Development has become like today's classrooms, and I am confused about it all.

In many PD sessions of the past several years, teachers have been told to differentiate, realize that the needs of their students vary, understand student learning styles, and individualize instruction.  We are even mandated to create Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) for "special needs" children.

But, when it comes to PD, teachers' individual needs and learning styles are not taken into consideration.  Professional Development has become a one-size-fits-all, this is what you need this year, likely driven by economics project.  That's why I tune out the second a presenter makes the statement, "Most of you already do much of what we'll discuss today."  That statement is usually made within the first 15 minutes of a presentation, as the presenter reads the faces of the teachers, see the depression set in, attempts to salvage the situation as best they know how.

In an attempt to provide meaningful assistance to teachers, districts that provide system-wide, school-wide, department-wide PD often waste the time of teachers, the money of the tax-payers, and deteriorate the internal motivation of their best teachers. 

As I said, this is the short answer.  Later, I will provide details in how I think PD can change for the betterment of educators.

Thanks for reading.

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous

Friday, July 03, 2009

I Know Why Teachers Aren't Any Good

Okay. This hit me like a face card while holding a 5 & 6 in a game of blackjack.
 
Background setting #1 - I'm a teacher. I've taught for 15 years, and started in my early 30s. I was in business-related, self-employed fields prior to teaching.
 
Background setting #2 - I'm reading Cesar Millan's books on leading dogs. His mission of "I rehabilitate dogs: I train people" makes so much more sense to me after reading his work. Much of his information is more about people than dogs; in the context that unbalanced people screw up naturally balanced dogs. In other words, when you see a messed up dog, the human is likely the problem.
 
In one section, Millan says all "social animals" (humans included) want leadership, and when it is absent, followers fight for power to fill the void. Man, does that describe education's problems or what?
 
So, why aren't teachers any good? How does it relate? Here's my premise.
 
Teachers are good; at least they were good at one time. But they have been consistently and continually told they are not. They now believe the lie to the point that it is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
 
Because of a true leadership vacuum in the educational arena "false leaders" have been fighting to take charge. They have done this through things we call Professional Development. People who were tired of the classroom, or sought "fame or fortune" or power in a para- school organization (or even within a school system) have made careers by telling teachers that what they are doing isn't working, so do this instead.
 
"This reading program works better than what you are doing." "Technology is the only thing that engages 21st century learners." "Math should be taught differently than in the past." "Teachers should be using RSS, PLNs, Twitter, blogs, wikis, etc."
 
Teachers have been Professionally Developed to believe they cannot do their job without trying something different every year. Schools have become breeding grounds for experiments for businesses, venders, college professors, or publishers to make quick turnkey money by convincing teachers that they are not capable of doing their job without constantly changing how they do their job.
 
So here's the problem, as I see it. Teachers never become "professional" because they never develop themselves with what they know could make them better at their art. They let others tell them what to do in their classroom.
 
They have been relegated to the calm-submissive dog instead of the calm-assertive leader they should be.
 
Sadly, school district leaders enforce the deterioration of teachers (perhaps unknowingly) by mandatory Professional Development, which is really Systemic Indoctrination.
 
Again, summarizing the Dog Whisperer himself, most people have the ability to become a pack leader but they have been told so many times throughout life that they are not good enough in other things, so they project that energy, and readily believe the lie.
 
Imagine, now, that teachers have been told they are not doing their job well enough; they need to use "data" to make decisions, yet they are not qualified to interpret the data. Besides, teachers shouldn't have to be bothered by the data, because they have lessons to plan. "Someone else will interpret the data for you and tell you how to teach."
 
Magically, the data shows that you should teach math this way... or reading this way... or use more technology... or... begin doing whatever you are not currently doing.
 
Change what you are doing is the bottom line - every time - without fail.
 
Teachers now lack the belief that they are capable of teaching and leading their own classrooms! But that's okay; perhaps even preferrable.
 
Why preferrable?
 
Because Professional Development will teach you how to do the new thing, and as a bonus, we'll give you Professional Learning Units to renew your teaching certificate.
 
Sounds great, until you begin to realize that you have not learned much of what will help YOU be a better teacher. You haven't chosen one thing that you know you needed in order to improve yourself. After years of the PD cycle, you believe you are unqualified, underqualified, or even inept at doing what you once loved to do -- teach children.
 
Then, as teachers near the middle to end of their thirty years, they figure there's no reason to fight it anymore. Just hang on, lay low, and get through each year. No need to get better; the "leaders" will tell us what we need.
 
Then we'll go into our classrooms, do our duty, and kids will still be kids; rejecting what adults seek to feed them. And because students feel the energy we project, they will seek to become the class "leader" because the one thing they have learned for sure is that their teachers will not know how to lead them.
 
Then teachers will get frustrated wondering why the "new" thing isn't causing the students to want to learn any better than the past methods.
 
The reason things aren't better is because teachers have given away their right to be a leader in favor of being told what they must do (treated like dogs). Students sense it and respond accordingly; by trying to usurp the authority teachers have relegated for the sake of receiving Professional Development: the kind of Professional Development that only perpetuates the cycle. This cycle has actually developed into a spiral downward into despair for many in our profession.
 
Some quit, others surrender, and others seek systemic change as ones crying in the wilderness, sadly believing that the government really wants education to change.
 
Phew, that's been brewing a long time. Thanks for staying with me.
 
iPhoned
 From R. Murry

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous