Re: DSM: RE: Recommended reading


rhonda goebel (rrands@chicago.avenew.com)
Wed, 18 Aug 1999 08:46:20 +0000


> Of course, some teachers are trying to do a good job. They are swimming
> against the tide, at the very least, attempting to teach within a framework
> designed to actively hinder learning.

I'm one of those drowning against the tide. I have found that the
school establishment does an effective job at reproducing itself by
disallowing virtually any movement, however slight, away from their
established norm, sometimes to the point of self-contradiction or
hypocracy. Two examples come to mind.

 At our in-service training last year before the start of school, we had
a staff discussion on how to implement concepts from a book on
brain-based research. When I pointed out that according to one of the
tidbits of brain-based research listed in the book people naturally
begin to read anywhere between the ages of 4-10, and asked how we can
include this vital piece of info in our school, before any discussion
could take place the principal stepped in to say that because of outside
pressures, we could not adapt that info to our school. So we continue
to have pull out reading services for kids as young as 6, spending
thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars on forcing young
people to read before they are ready. No matter how reading services
are masked, these kids are shamed, many plagued long term with feelings
of inadequacy. Wildly enough, it seems all the staff agreed with the
principal.

The second example is a projection of what will happen this Friday at
our next annual in-service, this one on inquiry based learning. We will
be 'trained' in how to facilitate inquiry into subjects, following the
lead of the children's interest. Yet all the packaged curriculum will
not only remain and be expected to be followed (tenured teachers have
actually lost their jobs for not following the script), but will be
added to. Millions of tax payer dollars are spent on the purchase and
update of packaged curriculum, just in our district alone. And then the
tax payers get to also pay for our futile training so we can perceive
and label ourselves as a 'progressive' school system. All at the expense
of children's natural growth. Teaching in the establishment has been
the most illogical reality I've ever experienced.



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