Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What needs to be asked

I just went to my yearly County In-Service at another school. This consists of about 30 elementary science teachers sitting around listening to the "Science Person" from the County Board of Education. In our county, science is one of the few subjects that has its indicators/curriculum written by the teachers themselves. This has already been done.

Today we spent about 4 hours discussing the order (pacing) in which these indicators will be taught this year.

My point:
What did we do?
The wrong questions were being asked at this meeting. We spent the valuable time arguing/explaining the reasons why certain teachers wanted certain indicators to be taught at certain times. Most of the time was spent with teachers complaining about their situations, complaining about students and how they forget everything that is taught to them, and complaining about other teachers. At the end of this meeting, we figured out the first quarters pacing and have an idea of what the remainder of the year is going to look like regarding curriculum.

What should we have done?
We should have discussed how(the processes involved) to teach these children. This is a realm that is not addressed anymore, it seems.

We are going to continue to have students that can't remember taught curriculum, struggle to learn, and fall short on processing skills if we don't address HOW to teach. This involves the activities and the processes that we require our students to take part in.

1 comment:

JJ said...

Oh, Woody. You have the exact reason why our children are not achieving. So much time is spent on teaching the skills for the test when what we need to focus on is the processes students need to learn and eventually own the information. It really doesn't matter what content area is up for discussion.
How are our students connected to learning and how are our teachers orchestrating that learning? It is such a different way of teaching for so many educators that I think it will be a while until educators once again can create a grass roots movement.

The difference now is also the accountability of the TESTS. Too bad we haven't yet realized that students who own their own learning actually perform better than those who go through the motions.