Friday, October 1, 2010

Twitter Book Club: John I. Goodlad (1979) What Schools Are For - Chapter 5

"Parents rate their school higher and trust the decisions of local principals and teachers more when they (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

This is exactly the problem find with how the whole national conversation about education, catalyzed by the film "Waiting for Superman," and propagated by NBC's devotion to a national conversation about education with their "Education Nation" project. It is what prompted me to post these four Tweets:

Education has always been a local issue. If NBC is serious about affecting change they should bring #educationnation 2 local affiliates.less than a minute ago via Twitterrific

Education Policy conversations at a national level tend to miscategorize what really goes on in schools. #educationnationless than a minute ago via Twitterrific

On a national platform it is too easy to show 1 ex of poor schooling & use it to generalize about all public schools. #educationnationless than a minute ago via Twitterrific

@NBC bring #educationnation 2 your local affiliates & host discussions about schools locally with people who actually work in & with them.less than a minute ago via Twitterrific

"Schools must possess the authority and freedom essential to exercising [the] responsibility [for the quality of its own existence]."Goodladless than a minute ago via Twittelator

When external agencies impose accountability assessments and prescriptive solutions to poor results it undermines this fundamental condition for their success. It is, like Chinese Handcuffs, the counter-intuitive solution that solves the problem.

"We must reverse the trend of assigning most of the authority to remote levels of the education system, (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

"The healthy school has a sense of mission, identity, and wholeness that pervades every aspect of its functioning." Goodladless than a minute ago via Twittelator

I believe so very strongly in this. If schools are allowed, or required, to be viewed as simply resources available to help the public along they will not be successful. They will, and I have seen this happen, wither like a dead branch on a tree and die. I think it is also true for any learning community, not just schools. This effect can be achieved around more than just an institution. Look at the successful online learning communities in our PLNs. That sense of mission can be different for individual members in a learning community but each person must bring this quality out and show it.

In successful schools, "the principal is a person with a strong sense of personal worth and potency, who (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

"When people appear to be carrying chains not of their own forging and are willing and able to perform more (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

Yet another good argument for the elimination of standardized testing and value-added assessment.

"the criterion of accountability for the principal is based on the development of a comprehensive (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

I agree with this statement only in so far as the principal is given the authority that allows them to be responsible for this. Too often this authority is taken away because of externally imposed mandates and the depletion of resources. This statement lies at the heart of equity issues in public schools.

"the [successful] principal purges from his or her mind those views of instruction that offer panaceas and simple solutions." Goodladless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"When students are Involved in and excited about what they are doing (to the extent of being immune to (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

"This involvement occurs, regardless of the techniques of external motivation employed, when the subject (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

Would it be a copyright infringement to print these two quotes on t-shirts and posters and sell them to teachers? I want to put these quotes somewhere all teachers will see them everyday when they go into work.

"A mastery approach to learning, as recommended by Benjamin Bloom, within a nongraded structure offers much (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

I think the term mastery in the last couple years has been co-opted to mean "teach harder." When I teach middle and high school students I teach for mastery by giving feedback on projects and assignments, giving them back to students to continue to work on, and not accepting their work until they have mastered it. In the process often we have to change course in the approach to attaining mastery based on individual student needs. What I have been hearing lately when the term "mastery" has been employed has been more akin to the increased drilling of rote memorization techniques until the student can repeat lists. I saw a good example of this false mastery on MSNBC's Education Nation on Monday when they brought out a KIPP math teacher to show how he teaches factors. What he did was simply rewrite a T-payne song so students could more easily memorize the factors of various numbers. This is not mastery. How many of those kids could list for you the factors of the numbers in the song but not know what they mean? Teaching for mastery involves teaching for understanding and to attain it a student must also want to master the content. Teaching for mastery starts with the student internalizing the learning objective and the teacher guiding them to attaining them. Mastery is a responsive, not reactionary pedagogy.

"Management may be part of leadership, but management alone is no substitute for leadership." Goodladless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"Interestingly (60 or 70 years ago) principals were viewed more as head teachers than as administrators and not at all as managers." Goodladless than a minute ago via Twittelator

When I first read Goodlad five years ago this quote stuck with me. Actually, since the book was written in the late 70s the actual quote says 30-40 years, I have updated it. I believe strongly any effective reform of our schools today must strive to reclaim this. Move principals closer to the business of education.

"for far too many school administrators, learning and teaching no longer are at the core of their daily existence." Goodladless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"the improvement of curriculum and instruction calls for delayed gratification." Goodladless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"Our work, for which we will always be held accountable, is to develop, justify, maintain, and articulate (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

"Improving the schools we have does not require new legislation, sweeping innovation, massive infusion of (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

Why do so few people understand this? Don't we have enough data about the effectiveness of these failed approaches to make a data-driven decision to stop these practices?

"Improvements beyond the cosmetic are more likely to occur if several schools are joined in a network for (cont) than a minute ago via Twittelator

This seems to be a recurring theme in the books printed before the rise of the WWW that I have been reading for Twitter Book Club. Goodlad, Dewey, Illich, Papert, and Freire have all, in their pre-Internet texts, called for the need for and the potential power of a network of teachers, or PLN, to make change in schools. In many ways, Twitter Book Club is an homage to them and an appropriate medium in which to honor them.

"The creation of an educative society may call for less schooling as we know it now, or more in some places and less in others." Goodladless than a minute ago via Twittelator

No comments: