Monday, May 27, 2013

Good teaching follows and leads the student

Came across this quote today in a book written by a British educator. It is by the formidable gentleman to the right, Edward Thring, Headmaster of Uppingham School.

There are probably few, except the reformers who insist on curriculum mapping and common formative assessment, who would disagree.

The teacher makes the taught do the work and occupies himself in showing them how to do it and taking care that they do it.  His work is to direct, suggest, question, enspirit; he adapts himself in every possible way to the individual minds, never resting until he had made them master of the skill required and seen them become capable of working on their own account.  Teaching takes any shape whatsoever, is fragmentary changing as the difficulties of the pupils minds change and disregards all precise plan, provided that a close, laborious and exact exercise of mind is the result.  The teacher makes the pupils work and stands and falls by what they do.

Thring, circa 1821-1887.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

From the category of OMG...

I missed this story:  Pearson is now including product placement in its tests.

Here is the post from The Answer Sheet blog in the Washington Post.

Pearson argues that they are using authentic texts and the trademarks are part of the original readings.  In a recent third grade reading test for New York State, third graders read passages that included references to Legos and Mug Root Beer.

We recently gave the new reading test to students in Virginia, another Pearson product.  As promised, there were many more non-fiction texts than literature.

Many more.  And they were pulled from current media.  And there is a reference to at least two major American products.

Teachers, of course, are forbidden to speak of what is on the tests.  We are threatened with the loss of teacher credentialing.  Pearson is threatened with.....?

I suppose if teachers reveal the test content Pearson might have to create new items and that would cut into their profits.

So you will have to ask your local public school student what they had to read about.  I have an official gag order.

We used to read Emerson, Frost, excerpts from plays, short stories.  No trademarks on them.

Who's dumbing up or down?

I think Noam Chomsky had something to say about our culture creating savvy consumers and not critical thinkers.  "Too much democracy" can really get in the way of the indoctrination of young people into a "life of conformity."