Curriculum – 7

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16 thoughts on “Curriculum – 7”

  1. This question seems to imply that I have devalued DPS or HFW curriculum (I praised Alisa’s just yesterday). There is nothing I have ever said about DPS or the TPRS community besides that you are experts and my heroes and my friends. You deserve to have your communicative and innovative methods valorized and I tried to share something that I thought would help.

    I wanted to carry a burden with you, but not if you are truly happy with your assessments and curriculum. You don’t see the suffering? I’m truly happy for you and your school. But there is suffering in my building. You don’t see a 4% emerging when you teach and test wordlists? Because that happens in my school. Are Ben and I paranoid? It seems like there was a revolution and a couple “I feel ya”s…but now doubt has set in.

    Are your schools healthy? The white kids and the Hispanics? The language minority kids? They’re passing classes and assessed compassionately and fairly? Those are the kids I care most about. French is fun, but I’ll be honest it was the weirdest thing this year for half a day to teach white, high SES, L1 literate kids who have never faced racial slurs or been made fun of for their accent, or been made to feel uncomfortable for their ethnicity. Your kids are probably fine. Mine are suffering. In math, science, ELA, everywhere…oh except the playground.

    So I’m going to fight for compassionate assessment and child-focused curriculum in my building.
    I’m not apologizing for my quote because I will always fight abusive tests and antiquated curriculum.

    I’m never going to fight you for using the lovely method you’ve kindly taught me and that DPS bravely promotes. I am your sincere friend.

    1. Claire they’re all suffering. My mostly white high mostly high SES kids are suffering. They’re suffering from the relentless insistence on the mind in place of the heart. Thank you for your leadership. It’s heart centered and as Ben my hero said its leading us out of the forest of mind. That’s a bad neighborhood. Thank you for putting down bread crumbs and then putting down more when the vultures of fear – yes fear – eat them so we will lose our way again and never find a path out of our egocentric minds and into our hearts where education lives and shines.

      1. I was one of the four percent. Ok not gonna lie. The one percent. It DAMAGED me. For years I fought my “inferior” heart. I truly have had to fight my way back to my heart. I lived there once. Before I learned to read perhaps I lived a pure heart centered existence. Once I began reading freakishly early I was encouraged to build my self esteem on my brain. However the heart has its own way. My love of reading led me to the heart through -what else – stories.

  2. One can still love a people but not the violent institutions that govern. Yes, it’s about that “m” word, the egos etc…

    One downfall to being mainstream is that you are held accountable to those with the money. But if there is no attempt there is no change. Locally there can be change but grown-ups have to look within to find their hearts once again. There are battles everywhere but the kids have no say they have been stamped out, appeased by tech, ignored, misunderstood, neglected and treated like the mini egos of parents.

    Teach the kid not the subject is what I was taught in my pre service. Now it’s time to go full circle. We have more internal work than it seems.

    Thanks Claire for bringing up the students you advocate for. Thanks Tina for bringing up your testimony. There are too many “isms”separating our youth. There are too many “isms” separating us.

    1. So many Admin though know that language programs are horrible. Most of them have never seen real meaningful language teaching so they go with the flow. In my experience (super short) they aren’t aware of any alternative.

  3. “Claire they might also like to hear about that time you asked the governing body of an educational foundation …”

    Jen has suggested investigation into the accreditation process and I think this is a brilliant idea.
    From my experience, it seems that most of the evidence submitted in the reaccreditation process is in narrative format, with supporting evidence like the template that Lance thought was required from NEASC. I emailed and clarified with Patricia O’Brien the associate director of NEASC, who states “The Commission does not specify any particular template for the presentation of information about curriculum or programming decisions.”

    These boards and any federal programs do not care about templates beyond their ability to document the curriculum that we as highly qualified professionals are required to develop for our students. They don’t offer any form of template because they want to hear directly from the experts–us.

    The accreditation process serves two important purposes: documenting best practices every few years for schools that are doing OK, and remediating practices that aren’t working for failing fixing schools.

    When the school is failing they immediately turn to the ESL teacher to come up with a narrative that describes a more robust plan to teach English language learners with better curriculum. I’ve been down that road a time or two and I promise they don’t want templates. They want Innovation. Let’s give it to them. Don’t settle for inferior S&S out of fear that we’ll be rejected.

      1. Oh nice!

        I remember lots of narratives from the last round of NEASC. We were told that basically they are charged with checking to see if we do what we say we’re doing.

        So the colleague at this (current) school who told me “all the templates must be the same” is following an order from someone else. Imma track this @#$t down.

        What I am wondering really is “Who is (insert organization here…ACTFL / NEASC /Common Core / ??? ” and who are the actual people who made up the stuff that “everyone must follow?” Who made them boss? What is the research that underpins these requirements?

        1. Thank you for your work and investigating how to realistically implement this in schools. We live in the real world with real school politics, and I love your comments and questions strategizing the best way to fight those politics and make compassionate curriculum a reality.

          If you don’t mind, I’ll repost what you wrote and try to start a discussion on these important questions in the forum, jen.

  4. Right on, jen. There is no research to support their position. It’s a scam. That’s why I keep asking Claire to put the machine gun on this topic. Apparently few care even here on the blog. Why? It make me so happy to hear you say that you are going to “track this @#$t down.” At least that is something, a start, one teacher ACTING.

    Why? Because nobody is doing it. Lemmings. Sheep. That’s all there is. What we perceive to be business as usual is a catastrophe for kids. Hopefully, we will continue hammering that point here. I am happy that Claire is patient. Don’t forget, however, that we are in the process of moving the assessment discussion over to the Forum, so it will appear less and less here, so it doesn’t take over the blog.

  5. I just watched a few of Sir Ken Robinson videos for my MA class he says that “from the time kids are on school we educate kids from the waist up, then focus only on their heads” I realize that there is no heart in our system no wonder kids are going crazy. They’re being taught and expected to live disembodied like so many of those professors that write the curricula.

    1. Wow. I didn’t get Ben’s heart/head dynamic until I met Ben last week.

      From Ben’s example, I had several take aways, but I was generally overwhelmed by the level of courage needed to really teach with heart and mind. Some say whole-child, Ben says whole-body or body-centered learning. Ben gets the heart behind our method–he feels it like no one else.

      This week, one moment will stick with me in particular… when I saw Ben’s posture and composure when he sat in a chair and modeled waiting non-compliant children out. Ben’s at his most volunerable and bravest when he sits back in his chair and patiently waits the kids out. Ben doesn’t let them hide behind cutting up so they don’t have to show up. He tames them (I love Ben’s constant reference to the Little Prince) by just refusing to move on without them. He waits.

      He’s blogged about it, but seeing his confidence and courage in the chair in front of me was powerful.

      Unlike the rest of the fearful teachers in the building, who nervously jolt at the word “rigor” and the hundreds of pages of curriculum to cover, Ben sits bravely and waits. And when they eventually come out of hiding from behind their hoodies, they follow Ben with their hearts.

      Thanks, Ben for this lovely lesson and wonderful coaching.

      1. Can you flesh this out more Claire? I want all the details! This is exactly what I need. A picture of the whole discourse. Who said what and then how that was met with ? silence? a smile? ??? Oohh tell us more! I know nothing replaces being there in person and I tortured myself about the decisions I made this summer. But moving forward now, so anything else you can share about this will help SOOOOOOO MUCH!

        1. Ben spoke before Wade Blevins demoed and appropriately the subject was on being “in your body.” “Authentic” was a word that came to me while he created the story in Cherokee. Wade showed us with his good-natured smile and infectious energy: he was 100% in the story (granted, stories with newbies who don’t speak a word of L2 are super-challenging but I could see the “in your body” message. Wade was there…really present in the story. But not bouncing around wildly to compete for kids’ attention. He was just clearly engrossed in what he was doing.

          Ben followed up with a lovely explanation of being in your body when you teach and it all clicked for me.

          We had a good laugh when Ben dramatized the squirrelly, insecure teacher who was desperate to make kids laugh. “Do you like the story? Do you like me? If I’m fun enough can I keep kids, parents, and admin happy?” (Paraphrasing)

          “Frenetic” was the word two audience members/attendees used. They felt Ben’s truth.

          Finally, Ben as a self-possessed storyteller returned to his body and the One Word Image took off. The room felt Ben’s shift to confident leader. A stronger big tree with presence and self-love enough to share with all who join in the story.

          It was quite an experience. You had to be there. If anyone deserves to share in Ben’s insights it’s you, Jen.

          1. I love this. I have felt that frenetic energy as I struggle to impose an irrelevant lesson on a bunch of kids that can sense the lack of truth behind the subject. I have tried to be the cartoon character teacher bouncing around infront of the kids hoping I’d be able to make it through to to the next bell.

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