Monday, September 14, 2015

Random thoughts

I have neglected this Blog since coming to UW. In part, because I no longer teach methods courses and a big purpose for this blog was to make my thinking public for my methods' students who I hoped would see how reflecting on one's own teaching looks.

I've been in education in one way or another since 1968, and in that time I've seen things come and go, have myself weathered the "newest programs" as they went rolling by, and have been changed by one: the idea that content determines process - that in order to truly learn a subject, you have to learn the content, but also how that content (that is the knowledge) was produced, and what counts as knowledge in the field. You have to learn about the history of the discipline in order to understand the nature of the discipline. I taught science for 20 years - and I can tell you, students need to learn the history of science in order to understand the nature of science every bit as much as they need to learn about arthropods, or photosynthesis, or friction. Maybe more.

It makes me wonder, as teachers feel ever more pressure to "produce higher test scores" on tests that assess knowledge and skills that would be most appropriate in the middle of the last century, but the aren't doing students much good in the 21st century, how we can continue on the current path. How will we keep the brightest and best in the classroom? How will we attract the next generation of teachers? I keep reading headlines that scream about the teacher shortage in so many states -- and it will only get worse. It makes me wonder whether we will ever be able to get politicians and businesses out of the decision making about public schools. Depressing. But here is the awful truth: today, America's children are simply an income stream for corporations that have taken over testing and publishing in this country.


manoj katz said...

Your random thoughts arent random at all man, has an indirect order.Such online notes are sure to help the concerned parties quite well. No time to lose better to choose the writer for your needs!

Anonymous said...

Hi. How do I ask about a question on one of the Daily Common Core Practice passages? I believe that the indicated correct answer is not correct. Thanks!

java junkie said...

You can ask me, but I have absolutely no power to do anything about it. In an article recently published in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Sam Wineburg and a colleague take the CCSS to task about several questions with questionable answers. I would contact the person listed on the website from which you have obtained the practice question - but unfortunately, I can't imagine that this process will be easy!