- Would the world be a different place if we focused on local problems first? Or would that only increase our capacity for prejudice? I am still struggling with the issue of "global competence." If the neighbouring district has a homeless student population of 25%, should I focus on helping make a difference on that issue...or should I give my money and support to relieve issues in Haiti or Pakistan? How we make choices---how do we help students prioritize---in a time when we know more about what's happening worldwide and have so many options available?
- There is a lot of angry banter in the last month about public schooling in America. Maybe you watched Education Nation. Perhaps you've been reading shared ideas at the Huffington Post or other items in your RSS feed. I am not a fan of any of these, but I have been pausing to think about what is the work of a teacher? What should we expect teachers to do? Beyond that, what are the problems associated with education that we can solve? Given unions, local control, meddling by the feds, state laws, Billionaire Boys Clubs, and every other group with an interest in education---where is the common ground?
- Beyond that, if we don't have the societal conditions in place to get to the kinds of conversations about instruction that we want to have, what should we do? Who is responsible? For example, if students don't have access to quality health care, nutrition, and safety at home---then learning is impeded. I don't want to make excuses here. Impoverished children can and do learn. I have yet to see a school that doesn't fight hard for its kids. I am just thinking about how we as a society need to enable change.
- Good teaching requires a Swiss Army knife of skills: classroom management, questioning strategies, interventions/reteaching, assessment, planning for instruction, etc. It's unreasonable to expect teachers to spring fully-formed from ed school experiences. However, which of these skills are absolute musts? What should happen to teachers who don't develop facility with all the tools?
- Unpacking standards and deconstructing learning goals can lead to valuable reflection and conversation among teachers. However, it is unreasonable for a teacher to understand what interventions are appropriate for every student in every subject (especially at the elementary level). What supporting materials should be provided---what should teachers be left to struggle with? Where is the balance in terms of teacher autonomy and support needed to ease the load?
07 October 2010
Just because I haven't been blogging doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about a lot of education-related...stuff. Here are a few topics I've been kicking around in my head. Perhaps you'd like to ponder and weigh in when the time and posts come: