Advice Needed

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5 thoughts on “Advice Needed”

  1. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Center for Collaborative Education, whose motto is oddly “Transforming Schools for Student Success”, are simply out of touch with reality. They are high intellects who don’t want to actually be in a classroom. If you spend more than a few minutes on the site, you will realize that, no joking around here, these people could in fact be a sick group of individuals. I would be honest jen. If they ask you what you got out of it say something like, “Well, I read around a bit and decided to just wait until this meeting to hear what some of you more experienced teachers have to say about it.”

  2. Go to their “About Us” page; then click on “Vision, Mission + Impact”. Use their statements to further what you know about good teaching. Be enthusiastic. Here are their statements with comments:
    Mission
    CCE’s mission is to transform schools to ensure that all students succeed. We partner with educators and leaders to develop strategies, processes and tools that support our vision of schools that prepare every student to achieve academically and make a positive contribution to a democratic society. How is anyone going to argue with this? That’s because it’s so bland and reliant on what they know everyone wants. So just say that you agree: students need to be prepared to achieve and make a positive contribution to a democratic society. The emphasis in here on “democratic” is your friend.
    We fulfill this mission in three primary ways:
    Creating, supporting and sustaining learning environments that are collaborative, democratic and equitable
    Building capacity within districts and schools to adopt effective practices that promote collaborative, democratic and equitable learning for students and educators
    Catalyzing systemic change at the state, district and school levels through policy, research and advocacy work
    This is edubabble, just throwing out words without regard to meaning. What is “collaborative”? Where all stakeholders work together to accomplish a task. Don’t you already do that with TCI? What is democratic? Where all stakeholders are heard and contribute to the decision-making process. How does a pre-determined Scope and Sequence include students in the decision-making process about what they will learn? (A hallmark of rigor and relevance, by the way: students determine what they will study and delve into it deeply.)
    Impact
    We measure our impact through the lens of CCE’s vision; flexible schools in which:
    Democratic values are nurtured and modeled; equity and diversity are intentionally embedded in all practices
    Yes! nurture those values by allowing students a voice in what they will learn and in what direction the instruction will go. (Then just try to apply that in a math or science class with a scripted lesson plan, pacing guide, and benchmarks.) Do these democratic values also extend to administration-faculty and intra/interdepartmental interactions?
    Teaching and learning are purposeful, challenging, and have value beyond school Preach it, brother! Foreign Language instruction must have as its purpose the acquisition of and ability to use the language in “real-world” communication. Research shows that this is highly challenging. [N.B.: Challenging does not equal onerous.] Only acquisition – not learning about the language or being able to recite memorized dialogues – has value beyond school. Only methods of instruction that lead to acquisition meet this criterion.
    Decisions are made as close to the learner as possible How does a grammar syllabus and pre-determined Scope and Sequence get decision making close to students? Since pursue student interests will “cover” the essential grammar and structures of the language, why not pursue those student interests and allow the learner to be involved in the decision making?
    Assessment demonstrates the competence of students and educators in multiple ways This certainly needs clarification. What kind of assessment? What do they mean by competence? Are other factors such as poverty, family situation and background, student interest, etc. taken into account? These things are also relevant data.
    Educators work in a collaborative community of practice to improve teaching and learning Great ideal. Share how much you have gotten out of collaborating on Ben’s blog and express your desire to collaborate equally effectively with your colleagues to understand and implement the latest research on second language acquisition. Offer to provide them with articles from VanPatten and others. [The blog has a huge amount of information and lots of links available.] Be enthusiastic.

      1. You will probably be the only person who actually knows something about the organization’s vision and mission. Everyone else will either not bother or go immediately to the “tools and resources” without having any context in which to view it.
        Good Luck!

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