Thursday, January 07, 2010

Teachers Prepared for Reform?

THE Journal comes through in the thought-provocation department again with its article entitled "Report Shows Teachers Not Adequately Prepared for Education Reform," By Scott Aronowitz.

Citing the report released in December by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning (CFTL), the author reports that in California, despite top-down efforts to reform education into sync with the demands of 21st century living and working, though many teachers possess the skill set to function effectively, "many more are simply not up to the task."

Details are at the article, and I'm only here to point you to that, but when you go, please budget a few minutes in your busy day to scan the comments and to add your own. This is a discussion worthy of your attention and your contribution. It certainly got me on my soapbox:

"Education reform?" A buzzphrase so hackneyed it's beyond cliche. Alvin Toffler said it, echoing some of the other best minds amongst those focused on the future: "We don't need to reform the system; we need to replace the system." Is there any hope for doing so? A tad, and active administrators like Chris Lehmann, principal of the Science Leadership Academy in PA, are fighting the good fight. An essential issue that is seldom mentioned is the need for any realistic system of education to value and reward creative, scientific, literary, social, vocational, etc. learning outside of 8 to 4 schoolday instruction. Another is to flex around changing family work and play schedules, perhaps offering something like 20/7 availability of synchronous instructor time, face-to-face or online, with group meetings and their necessary experience with social skills offered the same way. Sit them in rows (or in circles--the "new rows") in classrooms from their least productive circadian hour to a time when a little more non-academic scheduling can keep them in line until their parents can pick them up and shuttle them home? No longer justified. Hope for those kinds of reform? Only a tad from a set of systems so entrenched by custom. The most destructive and inhibiting words in the English language? "We've always done it this way."

The complete report, "The Status of the Teaching Profession 2009," along with summary materials and recommendations, can be found here.

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