Character matters. A lot. Here's where I get off the bandwagon, however: grading students on character as a means of highlighting and developing these critical qualities.


What students want most is to know that they belong somewhere, that they'll be accepted and valued by their classmates. Consistency? The last refuge of the unimaginative.


Improve the quality of our public schools by applying various management strategies used in the business world? Model business lessons, heralded as tough, effective reform, don't always look like the strategies being seen in business-to-business advice about managing systems and working effectively with people.


If test scores improve as a result of the imposition of CCSS, it will be because teachers decide--one at a time, school by school--to reshape their own instruction, conforming to these national standards and the aligned tests. Not the standards themselves.


Why should 21st century students use their valuable time building sets, memorizing corny dialogue and hoofing inexpertly across the stage?


Unlike other nations (hint: Finland), we have never had a structured, purposeful national conversation about gutting and reorganizing the system around the kind of education we want for all children. What are our primary goals? What does educational success look like?


Teachers know many ordinary things whose value is underestimated or even proscribed in the technocratic race to "improve student achievement."


So, what did I learn from this exercise? I loved putting my own long career into a framework of books that have influenced, guided, and affirmed me.


Claudia Swisher: "I see my ten books as putting into words something I didn't even know I needed to know. Giving me permission to be more authentic about my own work."


The idea was to choose ten books that had an impact on us--books that turned our thinking in a new way, changed our teaching or our beliefs. Agree or disagree with our choices?


The opinions expressed in Teacher in a Strange Land are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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