I agree with your comment here:
However, a good teacher doesn't teach from a textbook. Its there as a reference tool only. I know a lot of teachers, especially the older ones, do
use the book. But in an ideal world that wouldn't be the case.
I am curious if you are concerned about the effects of the standardized tests? Many teachers have expressed outrage that the necessity for a school to
score highly on these test, in order to receive funding, has made it so teachers are forced to spend a significant portion of the year doing nothing
but teaching from the text book. They believe that they are no longer teaching anything but the ability to recite on demand.Do you believe this to be
Here's what's happened since No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was passed. Before, I could pitch my lessons to the "higher" leveled student. The
benefit of this was that the higher performing students weren't bored, and the lower performing students were challenged. All the research indicates
that we have to challenge the children or they lose interest.
Since NCLB and standardized testing, we have to spend a significant portion of the time doing "drills." Its basic route memorization to get the
students to pass the test. Research also indicates that performance on a standardized test is NOT a good indicator of how much a child has learned.
Lots of reasons for this; children get nervous, test anxiety; I've actually had children so nervous they threw up when it came time to test. This is
entirely the fault of the teachers and the school, who put so much pressure on these kids to do well. We shouldn't do that....but when your job
depends on the kids scoring a certain percentage, its hard not to. So now we pitch our lessons to the lower-achieving students just to make sure they
get the basics. This means our higher students are bored (a very bad thing) and the entire class is "dumbed down," so to speak.
The other problem with standardized testing is that it tests a student on the students' current grade level. However, that grade level may not
correspond to a student's actual intellectual level. For example. When I taught fifth grade, I had students who came to me reading on a second
grade level. These children worked incredibly hard and managed, by the end of the year, to be reading on a fourth grade level....a growth equivalent
to two years. However, the tests are written on a fifth grade level. They struggled to read the tests, and failed. So here I had children who had
done a tremendous job of growing, yet they thought of themselves as failures, all because of one test.
That year I also had a Hispanic student move into my classroom who spoke NO English at all. Guess what....she still had to take the tests. In
Also what are your thoughts on the schools' role in the physical deterioration of children over the last several decades? This is another issue
teachers have expressed outrage over. Do you also believe that the lack of physical activity and nutrition while the child is in the schools' care is
to the detriment of the child?
edit on 16-1-2013 by harvib because: (no reason given)
Another huge yes. Here's a rant I wrote about that just a couple of weeks ago: Want to
improve schools? Get rid of recess!
We know, through tons of research, that children need to move. They simply cannot sit behind a desk all day and learn. This is especially true for
younger children and boys. Exercise (in the form of Physical Education) is a necessary component of learning and should be an every day class. Its
not, though...because we need more time to teach to those tests.
What's also important is recess, a time for children to have unstructured interactions with each other. This is critical for recharging students and
for developing social skills. Yet more and more schools are doing away with recess time altogether.
When I was in school (I'm 37) we had recess until 8th grade. Then we had two twenty minute breaks in high school, in addition to lunch. Now, recess
ends at fifth grade. I'm not sure what the break schedule is in high schools.
My husband teaches 8th grade. This is no joke.....the state mandates how much physical movement the children need per day. In his school improvement
meeting, they were trying to find a way to meet this requirement. Believe it or not, they counted the time spent walking to classes as part of the
phys ed requirement. Disgraceful.
I'm working on my doctorate in education, and I think my dissertation is going to be on the detrimental effects of taking away recess. Hopefully my
research can do some good, whenever I get it finished. That's in the future, though.