DSM: Comments from the mainstream

Mike Sadofsky (sadofsky@mediaone.net)
Wed, 14 Jul 1999 18:27:25 GMT

I thought the article below bears some relevance to the practices
within the Sudbury Model.

>Purdue News
> Teachers need more than strong content
> knowledge
> By Marilyn J. Haring
> The Education Trust, a nonprofit advocate for high-poverty
> schools, recently issued a study suggesting the licensing
> exams for K-12 teachers are not difficult enough.
> Education Trust director Kati Haycock asserted that
> passing scores should be raised to assure better teachers.
> While I agree that strong basic skills and knowledge of
> content are important, Ms. Haycock and many other
> education reformers are "fiddling while Rome burns."
> Since the publication of "A Nation at Risk" in 1983,
> well-intentioned reformers have insisted that many of the
> ills of K-12 education would be addressed by having
> teachers who were more carefully screened and had
> stronger content knowledge. This simplistic approach
> misses the point.
> The weaknesses in the arguments are twofold.
> They emphasize teachers' knowledge to the exclusion of
> skills in organizing and utilizing content specifically for
> teaching. It doesn't matter how much a teacher knows
> about a subject if he or she can't convey that knowledge to
> a student.
> The problems in our K-12 schools are far more complex
> than reformers commonly assume due to an overwhelming
> need for teachers to facilitate social as well as academic
> growth in students.
> Recent events in Conyers, Ga.; Littleton, Colo.; and
> Jonesboro, Ark., suggest that effective teaching and
> learning are no longer "a given" if teachers have strong
> basic skills and know their content. Rather, school is the
> one public social institution where each young person can
> be socialized into a responsible citizen. Teachers must have
> these socialization skills in addition to academic skills if they
> are to produce students who have outstanding test scores
> and also are outstanding citizens.
> The measures that must be a part of school reform go far
> beyond the tests of academic skills for teachers. In a recent
> article in Education Week, Maurice Elias and his associates
> suggested the need for students to learn ways to resolve
> conflicts without violence; to express their emotions
> appropriately and to recognize others' emotions; to have
> skills for interacting with others in the workplace,
> community and family; to engage in thoughtful
> decision-making; and to respect differences.
> We can no longer view education as learning the "three Rs"
> when a fourth R -- responsibility -- determines if a school
> environment is a safe one where all children can learn. The
> challenge in better preparing teachers is to combine their
> academic skills with those necessary to teach good
> citizenship.
> To the Purdue News and Photos Page

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