Thursday, October 2, 2008

Topic: Teachers and Policy

10-second survey: How teachers can begin to chip away at restrictive teaching policies.

Title: “Building the Realism Bridge: Shaping Policy Through Collective Research.” M Proctor and P Demerath. Language Arts (September 2008), 42. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: Narratives by teachers of how they teach successfully will contrast sharply with prescriptive teaching policy and will gradually lead to changing the policy.

Comment: Apparently a word I never heard—“policy”—in my years of teaching and supervising from 1956 to 1990, has become the new buzz word in education The authors of this article have discovered a new approach to research in which teachers gather their narratives of successful teaching practice to contrast with prescribed “policy.” Makes sense.

These narratives should enrich any prescribed curriculum—if teachers will be willing to share the secrets of their success. A counterforce could be payment to successful teachers. Then teachers might not be willing to share. I worry about that. One day I will tell you about my experience with a group of talented primary teachers who were asked to suggest a curriculum in writing for the early elementary grades. It might have been a vision of the future, and it was frightening
. RayS.

The purpose of this blog, English Updates, is to review interesting contemporary (2008-2009) articles from professional English education journals at all levels—elementary, middle school, junior high school, high school and college.

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