One of the saddest things I've experienced in recent years, teaching the math methods classes, is teachers-to-be (a small number, thankfully) who shun classmates with learning disabilities or physical handicaps. It's as though they think whatever it is is catching--and they are not about to help out.
This didn't come from nowhere--the lack of CL in the schools and the competition in the broader society (which is getting more severe as resources dwindle) are making it hard to make a dent.
My concern is that many future teachers may not believe that working collaboratively is possible if the person to collaborate with requires any extra understanding. That reinforces a kind of thinking I was raised to believe was un-American. Or anti-democratic, anyhow.
Are others experiencing anything like this? I'm interested in hearing from other methods teachers about this.
Eileen wrote: >>Oh contrare, two years ago I taught a third grade where I had some of the top students of the grade level, and most of the lowest students in the grade level. A challenging mix at best, but the most surprising was the fact that the parents of the 'brightest' did not want their children in a class with these other students, and definitely did not want them working cooperatively with them. <<
>>As far as the parents of the 'brightest' were concerned their students were in competition with these other students and should not be attempting to help them in any way. They(the bright students) should be taking every opportunity to prove their superiority.<<
And I find that this resonates with what I'm seeing. Mind you, it's not a lot of my students--but there are some, and they will go into teaching, and it's distressing. It maps onto some much broader mean-spirited aspects of our society right now.
Rebecca Corwin Lesley College Cambridge MA ..........a college...................