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Topic: Great Teachers Can't Save America's Schools
Replies: 1   Last Post: Feb 14, 2013 12:45 AM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Great Teachers Can't Save America's Schools
Posted: Feb 14, 2013 12:45 AM
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Commenthing on Jerry Becker's post of Feb 12, 2013 10:22 PM (a link to the original post is provided below my signature):

Article in The Atlantic: "Great Teachers Can't Save .... Schools"
Gerald Graff & Steve Benton

The article is useful - but just how could people actually use it?

Well, one first has to draw some 'elements' from it.

Also, as you go along, get hold of ALL available ideas of all stakeholders, by posing them appropriate 'trigger questions' about the 'Mission' proposed for the school education system. A very large number of elements would most likely result. (Even from a glance through this one article, I've extracted over 30 elements).

But there is no point in just creating 'lists of things to be done or overcome'. We have DO something specific - and it is simply not possible to DO (or even to think of DOING) all the elements on the list.

What's needed at this point is to discover just how each of the elements in the list "MAY CONTRIBUTE TO" (or "HINDER") each other (and to the 'Mission' of your public schools). This is possible to do using the 'Interpretive Structural Modeling' (ISM) process invented by the late John N. Warfield.

Effectively developed and interpreted, such a model would turn out to be an effective Action Plan to accomplish the Mission: the elements at the lower levels of the model CONTRIBUTE to models at the higher levels. Thus, the focus should be to find out which of the lower-level elements are being performed satisfactorily. Those that aren't being performed satisfactorily will enable us to find out further things to do to get those done.

This process, systematically done, will usefully guide on specificaly what to work on day by day. I.e., even if the list comprises thousands of elements, we just need to fucus on the few elements at the lower levels of the model and this is quite 'do-able'.

Further, this process can help individual teachers to "improve their teaching"; or individual students to "improve their learning" (of any specific subject desired), and so on. This is a univerrsally applicable process - and all it needs are 'ideas' from stakeholders in the issues under consideration.

Here, as a starter, are some 'elements' drawn from the text of the article:

1. Quality of individual educators
2. Influence of individual educators
3. Value added to a classroom by individual educators (estimated at $250,000 [US])
4. Value to individual student of excellent teacher
5. Effective curriculum
5a. Value added by effective curriculum
6. Currently disconnected and muddled curriculum
7. Disconnected, muddled curriculum worse for students than bad teacher
8. Ensuring students receive consistent message about the "Dos and don'ts of academic practices"
9. Ensuring teachers are aware about the intellectual work they have to stimulate their students to do
10. Ensuring that students are adequately aware about the intellectual work they should do in school
11. Ensuring intellectual growth of students
12. Enabling creativity and problem solving abilities of students
13. Enabling students to express themselves correctly (grammarwise)
14. Enabling students to express their inmost feelings through writing
15. Enabling students to develop a strong thesis
16. Enabling students to figure out the right answers to problems posed
17. Enabling students to understand that every answer leads to further questions
18. Enabling students to develop themselves intellectually
19. Enabling students to develop themselves emotionally, spiritually
20. Enabling students to develop as human beings
21. Enabling students to make up their own minds
22. Enabling students to become aware of themselves as thinking, reasoning people
24. Discovering what may be the real needs of students in a class
25. Enabling teachers to design their classes to meet the real needs of students
26. Ensuring students and teachers understand each other effectively
27. Ensuring students are not confused about why they are in school
28. Ensuring students are clear in their minds about the purpose of their schooling
29. Preparing students for college
30. Enabling peer group discussions between students
31. Ensuring students do not lose their enthusiasm to learn
32. Ensuring students do not become cynical or disillusioned about school
33. Ensuring students do not drop out of school
34. Becoming articulate citizens and workers
35. Learning lessons needed for productive, useful and happy life
36. Ensuring students do not become confused by discrepancies and contradictions between different classes
37. Improving individual teaching performance
38. Giving students a clear and coordinated picture of how academic work is done
39. Etc, etc., etc. (Only a small number of possible elements have been extracted).

Jerry Becker's post dt. Feb 12, 2013 10:22 PM:
> ************************************
> From The Atlantic, Monday, February 11, 2013. See
> eat-teachers-cant-save-americas-schools/272700/
> ************************************
> Great Teachers Can't Save America's Schools
> By Gerald Graff and Steve Benton


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