Sunday, February 06, 2011

Educating The Educators

I was talking to an old friend who became an administrator (yes, I am selling out because I still call him friend) about new teachers and how they all seem to not use text books and rely solely on worksheets generated by programs like Exam Gen.  I was lamenting the fact that kids need text books to have model problems to refer to and resources to use.  I was complaining (something I do quite well) about how the sheets were randomly put together and the problems generated did not necessarily reinforce or even represent what we were trying to teach.  I wasn't surprised when he agreed but I was shocked when he added, "I know.  That is what all the young teachers do in my school too,"  He seemed okay with them doing this.  (Maybe he was just taking he easy way out.  He is not the math chairperson.)

Who is to blame for this?  Possibly the education classes these young teachers are taking?  I know things were different when I started teaching.  We couldn't just hand out sheets because back then, tests were carved on huge pieces of stone and they were just too heavy for one teacher to lug around. The kids were forced to bring their own rock and chisel to class and leave those heavy books for use at home.  Teachers stood in front of the room, asked questions, developed concepts and had the students solve problems which got more complex as the period progressed.  Then, the class went home and practiced on their own.  Yes, it was the dark ages but kids actually learned more and did better.

I just finished preparing a test for my algebra students.  Since I wanted several graphs in the multiple choice section, I broke down and used the test generating program.  It took quite a while to find appropriate questions and even now, I am not 100% satisfied with the outcome.  Some of the young teachers are graduating college so stuck on technology they do not know how to use their brains.  The education they are getting is not much better than the one they are giving their students.


Kimberly said...

I agree. There is far too much worksheet use going on. I am not a teacher, yet. I am hopefully going to be student teaching in the fall and graduating in December. I just want you to know that there are colleges out there that teach us to use our minds and not to rely on worksheets so much. The truth is, I have seen many new and seasoned teachers relying on worksheets pretty consistantly. I think it is because it is the easiest route. I don't believe worksheets are the answer to education. I believe hands on experience is. Applying things to real life. I hope this gives you some hope for education.

Anonymous said...

I went to Hofstra University and the Curriculum and Teaching Department is as ANTI-WORKSHEETS as they come. In fact, when were given assessments in our graduate course work, we were rarely given exams. The professors used alternative ways to assess their students by making s write papers, plan group presentation and develop thematic units and lesson plans.

I received a great education from Hofstra University, especially my training in early childhood education. This is where I attribute my progressive style of teaching.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Hofstra even teaches their students in every specialized area, Bloom's Taxonomy, something that is majorly over looked now a days in schools.

I've noticed that Bloom's Taxonomy Questioning hierarchy with applying lower level thinking skills and then scaffolding to higher level skills are rarely used appropriately anymore. At least I am finding this in most city elementary schools. Can't say for the middle or high schools.