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6 thoughts on “Chattanooga”

  1. Elliot Wolverton

    A friend of mine runs a hospital in Miami. He oversees the daily operations of the hospital and coordinates the hiring of doctors – things like that. I called him to ask if he has anything to do with evaluating the doctors’ professional performance. He said no, explaining that he has no degree in medicine, just in hospital management. He said that the evaluation of the doctors in his building is left to the people with medical degrees. He also told me that he tries to get doctors working together, however, and that the more doctors work together, the higher recovery rates in his building climb. He tells me that the exciting thing in the hospital management business right now is doctors working together within the building and on the internet to get better at what they do. I remember he made the point that it would be “ridiculous” (his word) for somebody to evaluate a doctor without a degree in medicine.

  2. Ben, you said, “And the gorilla in the room is to get the teachers at the school building level to agree on what good teaching is.”
    I have been thinking about this, and processing it. I like being able to sit with an idea for a while and let it percolate.
    Anyway…I think before we can come together and agree what good teaching is, we have to come to terms with what are the goals of education? What do grades mean?

  3. (I posted before my thought was done, sorry!)
    But, what I’m thinking is, if we don’t agree on what the outcome should be, then we will never be able to agree on what good education is. If my goal is to be able to have students leave my class and be understood by a native speaker, and my colleague’s goal is to have a student leave her class and be able to read a novel in a literary analysis, and a third colleague’s goal is to have a student leave the class being able to conjugate the verbs and recognize the linguistic patterns inherent in the language… well, each of us will approach the class in a different way.
    Good teaching will reflect the goals of the teacher, and of the outcomes set by the district.

  4. There were a couple of middle school teachers who couldn’t make the grammar thing happen with 7th and 8th graders and, in caustic articulation meetings with their high school counterparts lasting many years, were told by the high school team that what they were doing in their middle school classrooms (CI) was just “playing”.
    They told the middle school teachers that they taught “academic” Spanish. Their position was clearly supported by the district and state standard/objective that said that students will learn how to write in the target language.
    Their position regarding the “playing” (CI) at the middle school was correct in terms of what the kids (who knew nothing else), the parents (who believed that the school must be right because the teachers had teaching degrees), and the administrators believed to be good instruction in foreign langauges. They successfully sold their product. That 96% of the kids dropped out before completing the offered programs was not a particularly popular aspect of the overall discussion.
    It must be stated, however, and it is the overall purpose of this blog space to point to things like this, that, in terms of the kids, those who dropped out because they felt stupid at languages as a result of the “academic” approach taken by the high school, those teachers were wrong. Because, as teachers, our job as civil servants is not to tear kids down, but to build them up.
    So, Profe, I say that good teaching is doing in the classroom that which builds kids’ self esteem up to high levels of confidence and success as people.

  5. Angel Benito i Aguilar

    Bona nit,
    M’encanta aquest tema, regarding the goals of education
    As Freire mentioned: “Education should raise the awareness of the students so that they become subjects, rather than objects, of the world. This is done by teaching students to think democratically and to continually question and make meaning from (critically view) everything they learn. ”
    He talked about “banking education”: He talks about the fallacy of looking at the education system like a bank, a large repository where students come to withdraw the knowledge they need for life. Knowledge is not a set commodity that is passed from the teachers to the students. Students must construct knowledge from knowledge they already possess. Teachers must learn how the students understand the world so that the teacher understands how the student can learn.
    I found the information at the following website:

  6. Angel this is an indictment of data driven schools. They don’t believe that knowledge is any more than a commodity, to use Freire’s term. Which takes creativity and insight and human skills out of the picture of what a student is. Analytical ability and memorization become the only skills that are important.
    Which pretty much describes robots. No wonder that what we do with kids is resisted so strenuously by so many teachers. It’s hard work to instruct kids in more than data when all that the system requires from them is data.
    But relaxed conversation in the target language is such a wonderful fabric for a class. Kids trained to think that what counts are the SAT fabric and the grades fabric and how they score on tests (tests that merely describe how hard they worked in high school) are being deprived of some of the more other wonderful fabrics of life – pleasant interaction with other humans. And laughter.
    Not to mention a feeling of actually learning something for real.

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