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  •  While I was teaching, several methods (1+ / 0-)
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    Liberal Thinking

    rose and fell. They all had good points and were short in some areas. The problem is not the "new" teaching program or style or philosophy that schools and districts adapt. The problem is the lack of support/implementation.

    Whether it is Inquiry, Learning Styles, any of the various Phonics methods that came and went, or any of the reading programs that are out there; the issue is training the teachers, making sure all the materials are provided and periodically updating teachers and administrators to make sure the program is in place.

    Hint: the more expensive the program becomes ( and publishing companies make sure that it will become expensive), the less likely the school will have the funds to maintain the program beyond implementation.

    Teachers like trying new ideas and methods. They like teaching their students and helping them succeed. It is a wonderful experience watching "the light bulb light up" in a child's eyes. What drags teachers down is the abuse that the system heaps on teachers. The assault on professionalism. The mounting unnecessary paperwork and meetings where the "wheel is reinvented"! I can't tell you how many curriculum meeting I attended and curricula I "helped" "write" where real ideas were shot down and all those hours resulted in huge tomes and binders that no single teacher could get through or master in the year or two it was implemented then rewritten.

    Teachers KNOW what kids need to learn. Teachers like learning new methods of presentation and implementation. But teachers also discover that which "worked" so well the first year, doesn't seem to have quite the same effect the next year and then he/she brings in their own ideas to reach the few students who aren't responding for whatever reason and then the "new idea" falls apart and begins to show lackluster results.

    Yes, "The Hawthorne Effect" is alive and well in teaching.  We should all remember that schools are there for the kids and need to be a "threat-free", happy experience for kids. That is more important than all "essential questions", goals, targets and whatever else is out there.

    The one innovative thing education should do is bring back recess for the younger students. Let them run around, refresh their minds, learn to play with other children. Let them be happy and get some exercise. And, when they return, give them a healthy snack and then start teaching them again. I used to love "milk and cookie time" back when that was considered "healthy!

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 05:24:17 AM PDT

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      I appreciate your perspective on that. One thing I don't want to see is more busy-work for teachers. And, I think you're exactly right that teachers like learning new teaching methods. What I'd like to see is that natural tendency supported.

      As for cutting recess, Bronson and Merryman say this:

      The brain needs a break, kids need to blow off energy, cutting recess increases obesity, and it's during recess that children learn social skills. Tools suggests a different benefit entirely--that during playtime, children learn basic developmental building blocks necessary for later academic success, and in fact they develop these building blocks better while playing than while in traditional class.
      I guess I'm sorry that teachers are put through what seem like completely empty exercises. I assure you that if I were in charge that wouldn't happen. (That is to say, it would happen because I'm human, too, and I'm sure I'd make mistakes.)

      But, take comfort. It wouldn't surprise me if, after quite a lot of empty exercise, we find that some of the teaching methods that work the best are the ones we've been using all along. I think that would be quite reassuring.

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