If you haven’t seen this talk, then check it out. It’s much of what Krashen and Ravitch have been saying forever! While not being about the FL classroom, I feel it sums up a lot of what we have also been saying on your blog about the US education system.
• Control for poverty and we score at the top. So, poverty and it’s implications (hunger, scarce resources, etc.) are the root problem, not teachers, standards, and tests.
•We have no valid research showing that testing and higher standards and comprehensive teacher evaluations will improve schools. The schools that outperform us on international tests do not have the high-stakes testing and standards. But we treat our nation’s teachers and students like “lab rats.”
•And why not look at those top-performing schools? What are they doing right, besides having lower child poverty rates? E.g. Teachers have higher relative salaries, more initial and continual training, and it’s a higher-respected profession in society.
•The business model can’t simply be applied to education. Standardization leads to one-size-fits-all curriculum and assessment.
•Tests create a “backwash effect,” in that what is tested is taught and we teach for the test. And that currently also means that English and Math eclipse all other subjects.
•What percentage of potential instruction time goes into test prep and testing? What amount of money goes into the development and administration of these tests? The old adage is relevant: “You don’t grow a pig by weighing it.”
•What about the psychological effects (anxiety, depression, low self-esteem) of the testing on teachers, parents, and most importantly: the students?!!! (And we wonder in such a high-stakes schooling system why there is so much darkness, pain, and violence in our schools. . .)
•We continue to run schools with “carrots and sticks,” disregarding the vast body of psychology research that supports the ineffectiveness and negative results of such an approach.
•So long as our culture is all about preparing students to “compete” in the workplace and in the world, compassion and cooperation will continue to fall by the wayside.