4 thoughts

  1. Things got busy, and I didn’t get to make this comment to El Jefe in the first post of this topic.

    El Jefe, please don’t tell me that you’re one of those people who thinks that teachers lecturing and students taking notes is the only way for a child to learn. This is in reference to the many derogatory “arts and crafts” comments you made previously.

    First of all, cross-curricular activities have been proven to work. If a student isn’t good at the English curriculum, but is interested in art, then something like a senior memory project can catapult their interest from one to the other. That’s just common sense.

    Furthermore, students who participate in the arts, at school or away, are statistically more successful academically and socially.

    Education in the arts:

    …makes a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has proven to help level the “learning field” across socio-economic boundaries.
    (Involvement in the Arts and Success in Secondary School, James S. Catterall, The UCLA Imagination Project, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, UCLA, Americans for the Arts Monograph, January 1998)

    …has a measurable impact on youth at risk in deterring delinquent behavior and truancy problems while also increasing overall academic performance among those youth engaged in after school and summer arts programs targeted toward delinquency prevention.
    (YouthARTS Development Project, 1996, U.S. Department of Justice, National Endowment for the Arts, and Americans for the Arts).

    Education changes, and teachers must change with it if we expect our students to be successful.

  2. The problem is that we currently have English teachers that couldn’t tell an adverb from a chitlin. Reducing present standards must, by definition, lower quality of teachers even further. Paying a bad teacher more money will never be a solution. Education needs redirection, standards, and focus on “learnin’ ” rather that social correction.

  3. Well, I can’t say i’m a pure lecturer but I do not totally advocate constructivist education. I would rather gauge my educational approach as being a mix of lecture and discursive techniques. It really depends on what I am teaching as my styles can be diverse.

    When teaching ESL I concern myself with vocabulary development and “drill and kill” exercises. This builds knowledge of verbs, nouns, prepositions, etc and syntactical familiarity. I also do a lot of reading and speaking exercises since it builds proper pronunciation and can help with the ease of conversational skills.

    This differs from when I taught developmental composition. I *did* take a different approach whereby I used both constructivist (see: Kenneth Bruffee and John Trimbur) and rhetorical (see: James Berlin and Linda Flower) approaches. Both sides allow for group work and social concerns to be used as a model.

    In reference to the Senior Memory Book project, I would have to say that it didn’t appeal to the artistic side in myself nor a number of my graduating class. Cross-curricular work has its merits and I can see the validity of using it in the classroom but it should never be the sole method of instruction as some in the field have advocated. A happy medium is my favored approach but I prefer to mix and match instead of following one extreme or another.

    Let me say that my original comments on the prior thread were meant to draw out conversation and to see various defenses to people’s ideological approach in reference to education. Perhaps I went over the line. I am more than willing to converse with anyone on here, real life or e-mail, regarding their thoughts on education and various curricular beliefs. Debate and interaction are keys bridging some of the gaps I have between my experiences and other peoples experiences. Hell, I do this with my mother to see her thoughts on education and it gives me a better understanding of her area (Elementary/Early Childhood Development).

    My main concern isn’t with the delivery of the content but to ensure that the level of the content stays high. Simple, direct methods are more potent than meandering about through projects. E.D. Hirsch highlights many of the problems that lie in projects, web-based searches, etc. and I highly recommend that teachers look through his works and decide for themselves the pedagogies they have been taught. If they choose to stick to their guns, that’s fine.

    Anyhow, I am back in the states and am willing to have a conversation with anyone about their beliefs. I’ll buy the coffee.

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