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Topic: "Where I Stand" by Sabrina
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Jonathan Groves

Posts: 2,068
From: Kaplan University, Argosy University, Florida Institute of Technology
Registered: 8/18/05
"Where I Stand" by Sabrina
Posted: Oct 6, 2010 12:55 AM
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Dear All,

The following blog post "Where I Stand" by Sabrina on her blog
Failing Schools is a very good summary of many of the big ideas of
what school reform ought to be about.

The link to her blog post is

I especally like her comments about teacher accountability, recruiting
and training good teachers, and on creating high-quality learning
environments. It is clear that NCLB has sucked the life out of
learning in K-12, not to mention that these standardized exams focus
just on the superficial, surface level of things. And school politics
have made an extreme mess out of hiring and retaining good teachers
and even trying to identify good teachers in the first place.
And school politics have made a mess of surpressing creative, engaging,
thoughtful teaching and continue to demoralize teachers. With all
the administrators breathing down their necks all the time about
all these petty details to follow when teaching, I don't blame
those talented in math who quit teaching after a short time or
even to refuse to teach in the first place. Yes, we want support
and guidance in our teaching, but others trying to control virtually
every detail of our teaching is not supportive and does not
provide any real guidance in improving our teaching just as a tutor
doing homework for the students does not provide them any real
guidance for improving their understanding of the subject material.

Such demoralizing learning and work environments holds back the
governments' goals of wanting high-quality teachers in every
classroom. And, of course, we need to work on raising the standards
of how well potential teachers should know their subject material
before they begin teaching. One serious problem I see for trying
to identify those who are ready, at least in terms of understanding
their subject, is that the teacher license exams do not ask the
candidates to explain their answers. A potential math teacher
who cannot explain his or her answers to others is not ready to
begin teaching! It does not matter if he or she can discover a proof
without assistance of the Riemann hypothesis though I would be
quite impressed with the candidate's understanding of math.

I can relate to Sabrina's complaints about boring, unstimulating
resources because the resources we often get for the online schools
I teach for are boring and unstimulating; it is a wonder that the creators
of these resources didn't fall asleep while creating them. They certainly
don't stimulate more than a handful of students, which is especially
bad for online students who have a lot of out of school duties to
attend to. With all those distractions to face them, I can't
blame much of them for not wanting to deal a whole lot with school.
Who wants to spend much time on school with a crammed schedule
outside of school if they don't feel they will get much out of
school? And who really feels they get much out of something
that is boring and unstimulating?

This post is definitely worth reading and discussing.

Jonathan Groves

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