i'm writing out of lurkdom, haven't even been a very good lurker lately; just got through sorting out 70 or so unread posts, so i apologize in advance if i have misread this topic that i have chosen to respond to :-)
there was some popular movie awhile back wherein a new teacher gave all of her higschool students an "A" from the get-go. all they had to do was to keep it. they did this by being involved in the class. i know film isn't real life even when it is based on it, but i find the idea a good one.
i think there are plenty of teachers who feel that their hands are tied and that they don't have enough freedom themselves, as teachers, to put their ideas into pratice, but there is still plenty they can do, in small ways, to bring freedoms, even if limited in scope, to the students, and these can have a great impact on some or even many of their students if not all.
for instance, in a college english class instead of a written final exam, which was usual and easiest for the teacher, we were offered the choice of creating our own final exam. either we created our own, or he would create a typical written exam for us. we had the freedom to choose how to express our knowledge of the subjects we had been studying (Greek literature (and presumably its influence on contemporary english-language) ). we had to get our topic approved by him mainly in order for him to have the opportunity to make suggestions and less so that he could exert authority. we all decided to create our final exam. we divided into groups. i and a few others came up with a group therapy session. one was chosen to be a modern day psychologist/therapist. the rest of us took on the roles of those we'd read about: medea, clytemnestra, oedipus, (and some others - this was over a decade ago). it was completely improvisational. the only thing we agreed upon beforehand were a group of questions from which the therapist could choose according to the direction she thought the "group therapy" was going. it was great! we all demonstrated how well we knew our characters, even more so than just writing (regurgitating) a report about them because we had to really get into them in order to become them, in order to portray them. of course we were graded - this is public college in san francisco.
i guess through all this i'm just trying to add to the debate that i think great things can come of public teachers doing what they can here and there with "private school" ideas without having to take on the entire board of education.
ciao, peace and blessings
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Mon Nov 05 2001 - 20:24:29 EST