Entries Tagged 'Media Reviews' ↓
March 31st, 2013 — Book Thoughts, Media Reviews, Teacher Reads
According to an elementary school principal in Cherry Hill, NJ:
For those coming out of college, getting a full-time position immediately is not going to happen. (Asheville Citizen-Times, 2/19/2013, p. 2)
This might be an exaggeration because a few new teachers are hired every year, but the point is important. A glut of teachers has been created by recent staff reductions.
From the perspective of school boards trying to hire the best teachers, this is an unprecedented opportunity to hire the most highly educated ones. School boards that adopt the six-virtue definition of the educated person can advertise like this:
Independent School District is hiring elementary, middle and high schools teachers. We define the educated person as one whose intellect is understanding and imaginative, whose character is strong and courageous, and whose spirit is humble and generous. Applicants should possess a bachelor’s degree in education and complete an application in which they describe how they model and teach those virtues.
If new hires modeled and taught the six virtues, school communities would see:
1. Test scores go up.
2. Bullying go down. (Each incident would be an opportunity to teach U, I, S, C, H & G.)
3. Second language learners welcomed into the school community.
4. Struggling students with more opportunities for success.
5. Parents feel welcome.
6. High morale — those who aren’t six-virtue teachers would leave, affording more opportunities to hire six-virtue ones.
7. Teacher & student leadership grow.
The list could go on and on. The six-virtue definition of the educated person is the key to hiring “educated” teachers. Without it, school districts will miss this opportunity, and tomorrow’s teaching force will be just as uneducated as today’s.
All school boards have to do is believe in the six-virtue definition of the educated person. It costs absolutely nothing, which makes it the holy grail of school reform — improvement at no extra cost.
If you are a school board member who believes in a different definition of the educated person, please share it in a “comment.” Or nominate a virtue that is not a combination of these six. Or describe a knowledge or skill that can be learned without the six virtues.
February 7th, 2013 — Book Thoughts, Cut the Crap, Media Reviews
According to the Huffington Post, you were unhappy that one of your patients did not show up on time for her appointments:
An OB-GYN in St. Louis is under fire after posting a Facebook status about one of her patients. According to KMOV, Amy Dunbar, a physician at Mercy Hospital, was so frustrated with an expecting mother’s lateness that she ranted about it online.
Did you really “rant” about a patient being late? Surely you realize we “regular” people have to wait 40-80 minutes in uncomfortable waiting areas every time we have a medical appointment. Surely your medical school taught you to schedule your days so you never wait for patients, even if that means they have to wait for you — 20 minutes in the lobby and 30 minutes or more in the exam room. I love the irony of an unhappy MD because someone was late.
It’s simple, if you want your patients to be on time, be on time! And don’t give me that “we are short of doctors” crap. If we are short of doctors it’s because your medical schools limit enrollments so we ARE short of doctors. And the AMA keeps it that way, not because it is difficult to become a doctor, but so you can charge ridiculous prices for the marginal services you provide.
Or if you did more to educate the public about prevention, your patient load might decrease enough that you could be on time once in a while. But that would blow your cover — the great myth of the busy, devoted MD, whose time is more important than everyone else’s.
What a crock! If you want veneration, be on time once in a while.
February 7th, 2013 — Book Thoughts, Cut the Crap, Media Reviews, Teacher Reads
The six virtues are sometimes criticized for stating the obvious. But educators state the obvious all the time. Some even get paid to state the obvious to large audiences. Bill Daggett has been getting paid to state the obvious for more than 20 years.
According to him, students are more likely to respond positively to math problems that are relevant to their lives. He gave two examples:
Calculate percentages of advertising in a newspaper. Tour the school building and identify examples of parallel and perpendicular lines, planes and angles.
And district superintendent Dr. Beth Everitt said,
That’s a framework that’s interesting and relevant to students. It’s important to put their work into a context that they can understand.
Cut the Crap
Thirty-five years ago I “tricked” students into learning by assigning activities relevant to their lives. Does Daggett know why educators don’t “trick” students more often with relevant lessons? It’s not because they disagree. It’s because they lack the imagination, courage, and humility to develop meaningful, relevant lessons within the constraints of a K-12 school.
It’s because today’s educators dutifully learned three vices in their own K-16 experiences:
A. They learned intellectual incompetence as they sat still, kept their mouths shut, and didn’t ask too many questions.
B. They learned to fear truths like: (1) America has been shaped by a history in which our government stole land from the native tribes during the 19th century. (2) Public education provides unequal educational opportunities in nearly every state. (3) Our capitalistic economic system would collapse if citizens did not make unnecessary, unhealthy purchases.
C. And they learned to be proud — proud to be an American, Texan, Minnesotan, Floridian, etc.
Of course not all K-12 teachers demonstrate these vices, but these qualities and behaviors are the norms I have seen in public schools over the last thirty years.
Instead of adopting the six-virtue definition of the educated person, public school policy makers hire people like Bill Daggett and district superintendent Everitt to state the obvious — “It’s important to put their work into a context that they can understand.” Brilliant.
February 5th, 2013 — Book Thoughts, Cut the Crap, Media Reviews, Teacher Reads
According to PBS’s American Graduate project, this is a “simple question at the center of almost any discussion on education reform.” Hari Sreenivasan does not answer the question, presumably because:
. . . the answers are many and often complex, and the question can lead to highly polarizing debates over exactly how and how often teachers should be evaluated on their job performance.
Cut the Crap
The answer is simple, if you know the six virtues of the educated person.
PBS doesn’t know the six virtues, so they broadcast a program about teacher evaluations at a charter school in Connecticut that goes through extensive evaluation procedures. The school has a 360 degree evaluation process and a five-stage career path. Does anybody else think it strange that they go through so much, but they don’t know “What makes a good teacher?”
Maybe I shouldn’t pick. So what if the question was posed and never answered? So what if they broadcast a story about a charter school that does not answer the question?
At the end Jeffrey Brown invites us to go online:
There’s much more online, including a video about Bridgeport Academy’s strict rules, uniforms and college expectations. Plus, tell us what you think makes a great teacher.
Good teachers are understanding, imaginative, strong, courageous, humble and generous. But don’t take my word for it. Remember your own “good teachers.” Did they bring the six virtues into their classrooms, or were they ignorant, unimaginative, weak, fearful of truth, proud or selfish? Why don’t you come to this website and answer that simple question. I love irony.
January 9th, 2013 — Book Thoughts, Media Reviews, Teacher Reads
“The Common Core: Educational Redeemer or Rainmaker?” (Teachers College Record, 2012) is an article that claims common core advocates profit from its implementation. We should not be surprised. Just like other American institutions, public education is now driven by the buying and selling of goods and services. Some say this is a good thing because capitalistic principles and practices are positive social forces. When it comes to public education, though, capitalism conflicts with the ideal of equal educational opportunity (EEO). In public education, capitalism is water, EEO is oil.
I discovered this ten years ago, while teaching a graduate course at a for-profit, family-owned school in Nicaragua. My students were the school’s North American, English-speaking teachers. And their main gripe was that all programming decisions were made with an eye toward profit. Continue reading →
August 12th, 2012 — Book Thoughts, Cut the Crap, Media Reviews
The headline reads:
5 Lessons Our Kids Don’t Learn in School For Success in Life
The author is Jennifer Owens. According to her LinkedIn summary, she has never worked in K-12 schools, so I am not sure how she knows kids don’t learn these 5 lessons in school. I suppose, like most people who write about improving education, she is working from a sample size of one — one family, one type of school, one period in history.
Continue reading →
July 12th, 2012 — Book Thoughts, Cut the Crap, Media Reviews, Teacher Reads
If you believe we should define 21st Century skills, but not define what it means to be educated, check out this blog or download this PDF. If you realize that modeling and teaching the six virtues covers these skills, read here.
Three ideas from 21st Century skills blog: Continue reading →
June 4th, 2012 — Book Thoughts, Media Reviews, Teacher Reads
A must-read for school personnel is Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal’s Reframing Organizations (RO). It uses clear language to explain an idea that is so simple it can be remembered and applied in even the most complex, hectic, school situations. The theory behind RO is that school people acquire a full understanding of school situations by looking at them through four different “frames:” (1) structural, (2) human relations, (3) political, and (4) symbolic.
Continue reading →
June 1st, 2012 — Book Thoughts, Cut the Crap, Media Reviews
The title of the Education Week blog, “Curriculum Matters,” is a play on the two meanings of “matters.” It addresses all kinds of curriculum issues (matters); and because curriculum influences everything in the school, it “matters” above all else.
That is why blogger Catherine Gewertz described how principals are being brought up-to-date on the implementation of the new Common Core curriculum.
Continue reading →
May 26th, 2012 — Book Thoughts, Cut the Crap, Media Reviews
With Facebook going public we have been inundated with reports about how social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Linked In, etc.) are revolutionizing how we communicate. Two recent NPR programs featured guests making the following claims. (I can’t remember the programs. I was in the car.)
1. “Social media are revolutionizing how we communicate” — Really?
Cut the Crap
They are not. We have communicated via text since the invention of writing, through music since the playing of musical instruments, and through images since the invention of photography. Those were revolutionary inventions. Facebook and Twitter allow us to share in these formats WITHOUT being social.
2. “Social media (Facebook) are changing teenage life“ — Really?
A Stanford professor found that teenagers are lonely, even though they spend a lot of time “presenting themselves” on Facebook — posting pictures and stories, constantly changing their order and their “presentation.”
Cut the Crap
No change here. Teens have always been self-absorbed and lonely. By the way, teens have always bullied, too. (I am not excusing it.) We now call it cyber-bullying, but it is what teens have always done, just with another tool.
3. “Social media are ubiquitous; but, we are not more social“ — Really?
Cut the Crap
Calling something “social” does not make it so. Technology writers had to find an appealing name for a new technology. They called it “social media” because nobody would use it, if they called it “narcissistic media.” There is nothing “social” about social media. Facebook, Twitter, and the others make life better in some ways; but “social” life is not one of them.