Sunday, March 13, 2011

Content is King

The Core Knowledge Blog has a great post on educational reformers called Ed Reformers for Illiteracy. These reformers ignore content and curriculum at our students' peril:
If you are opposed teaching a common body of shared knowledge to all children, you are opposed to teaching children to read. You are in favor of illiteracy, either by choice or indifference. You favor damaging our most vulnerable children by denying them the most critical thing: the functional knowledge they need to succeed.
They also point out that critical thinking is not a skill that can be learned outside of content knowledge. For example, someone who has domain specific knowledge of chemistry will not be able to apply critical thinking skills to history without the domain specific knowledge that field requires. Teaching content = Teaching reading!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hidden Agenda Unveiled

On every staff for which I have worked, there are always a few who get the feeling that I have a hidden agenda. Well, today I confess that they are correct. I have always had a hidden agenda and it's about time I revealed what I'm REALLY trying to accomplish. For example, ...

  1. When I share teacher data from every classroom on school wide assessments my goal is that teachers learn from each other.
  2. When I observe a class and head straight to the student least likely to know what's going on, I just want to make sure that student is learning just like the others.
  3. When I ask reflective questions about a lesson I've seen, I want to understand what the teacher was intending to accomplish and how she was going about doing that.
  4. When I insist on using nearly every staff meeting opportunity, it's because I believe that the more time our staff spends together thinking and discussing about teaching and learning, the better we will become.
  5. When I ask teachers to allow me to videotape and view their lessons it's because I want them to learn about their own best practices and how they can get better.

With these examples and many more, my hidden agenda is that it's all about the learning. I hope this provides some relief to anyone who was thinking I had some sinister or evil plot in mind for my methods and madness. Please excuse me for keeping up the game because I've still got a lot to learn.