Archives for the month of: April, 2015

From a UK teacher:

“It wasn’t until I had been teaching 11- to 18-year-olds for four years that I realized I had been consistently misled. Up until that point I had trusted my teacher training to provide the best of what had been discovered in the discipline of teaching and learning. If I had been shown a method or theory by which I could perform my job more efficiently, I assumed it would have been forged in the crucible of experience and evidence. I assumed that what we knew about teaching, say, chemistry, for example, progressed in a linear, accumulative way. But I found the opposite.

As a philosophy and religious studies high school teacher in the United Kingdom, I discovered that a good deal of what was considered orthodoxy in my profession was unsubstantiated. I believe many of my teacher colleagues in the United States have made similar discoveries.

In 2004, I had just emerged from the U.K. Department for Education’s Fast Track recruitment program into teaching, where I had spent weekends learning about Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a program called Brain Gym, and how to sort my students according to their learning styles. I was told that my students possessed multiple intelligences, and it was strongly hinted to me that the more technology I could accommodate into my lessons, the better their needs as digital natives would be met. My initial classroom design of rows and columns was frowned upon, and tables and horseshoes were recommended. And all because, I was told, the research confirmed each avenue.”
Group Work for the Good
Unpacking the Research behind One Popular Classroom Strategy
By Tom Bennett

And see:
Do we want to become a 21st-century skills district?

Irvington Parents Forum at Yahoo Groups
Irvington Parents Forum on Facebook
Irvington Union Free School District
BoardDocs
Irvington USFD Board Meetings – YouTube

American schools have been largely constructivist for the past 15 years.

Constructivism means:

Every education school in the country teaches constructivism, and all public schools are required to hire only teachers who have attended education schools (or taken a required number of courses in education, which they take from education departments). This means that every teacher below the age of 45 or so graduated from education school taking it as a given that students should spend their days constructing meaning and conducting inquiries in groups. (Every teacher except for the handful who searched out other views on their own, that is.)

So here we are, 15 years after education schools stopped training future teachers in the techniques of moving knowledge from their own minds into their students’ long-term memories. From America’s Skills Challenge: Millennials and the Future:

  • In literacy, U.S. millennials scored lower than 15 of the 22 participating countries. Only millennials in Spain and Italy had lower scores.
  • In numeracy, U.S. millennials ranked last, along with Italy and Spain.
  • In PS-TRE, U.S. millennials also ranked last, along with the Slovak Republic, Ireland, and Poland.
  • The youngest segment of the U.S. millennial cohort (16- to 24-year-olds), who could be in the labor force for the next 50 years, ranked last in numeracy along with Italy and among the bottom countries in PS-TRE. In literacy, they scored higher than their peers in Italy and Spain.

This isn’t just a problem of urban schools:

  • Top-scoring U.S. millennials (those at the 90th percentile) scored lower than top-scoring millennials in 15 of the 22 participating countries, and only scored higher than their peers in Spain.

America’s Skills Challenge: Millennials and the Future | ETS | 2015
And see: Education schools don’t teach teachers how to teach