Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Recent Topic: The Way It is.

Purpose of this blog: Review of interesting articles and ideas in English education journals, K-12.

10-second review: One person’s assessment about the nature of education today from the teacher’s perspective.

Title: “Technologies and Truth Games: Research as a Dynamic Method.” DD Hassett. Language Arts (July 2010), 457-464.

Quote: “Currently language arts instruction is besieged and beleaguered by standards, curricula, and testing. As educators and researchers, we find ourselves struggling for the inclusion of children’s and adolescent literature, writing for real purposes, and critical discussions, while our daily work is constantly interrupted by assessments and guidelines for the next standardized…. [test].”

Comment: In sum, real teaching is being interrupted by the necessity to meet standards and pass standardized tests. It’s a theme that occurs in many of my journals. It’s hard to see a middle road in this wrong-headed emphasis.

I have well-meaning friends with whom I have argued as forcefully as I could against attaching test scores to teacher competence. I have tried to explain that teachers will refuse to work with students who have difficulties because they will not test well. These friends adamantly refuse to listen or try to understand.

I have argued that rewarding teachers who have a reputation for being excellent will mean that all teachers will protect their own ideas and methods and keep their ideas to themselves. They will resist working together and sharing.

It’s a problem. There has to be a solution, a way of balancing accountability with professional freedom and creativity in the classroom. RayS.

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