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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Reinventing the Wheel

Someone explain this to me like you were teaching my 7th period class (read: having to repeat yourself because of the goldfish like attention span).

Why is it that in education we constantly have to reinvent the wheel.

Every single freakin' year it's something else.

"Oh! This year we have a new standardized test!"

"Oh! This year we need to re-tool the bell schedule to allow more flexibility for the students to explore learning opportunities with electives."

"Oh! This year we should re-assess the dominant paradigm in student-centered learning, oriented classes and stuff!"

"Oh! This year we need to re-tool a new bell schedule to allow more rigidness for the students so as not to waste time with electives."

There's this fear in education that our kids are not going to be prepared for life and that it will be blamed on education. This is fair, since it is an easy target for blame. But I'd rather be a scapegoat, than experiencing this year after year roller-coaster ride of dumping initiatives if they're not home runs. We can't get kids 100% ready for their futures.

I hate to sound old-fashioned but if a lot of it was good enough for me when I was a student, wouldn't some of it be good enough today?

Remember how we didn't even use computers back then, except when your English class went to the computer lab (an old textbook closet with three Macintosh Performa 5200's and a broken dot matrix printer) twice in your senior year to write business letters? Well, look at us now. We've adapted just fine.

Now, I'm a charlatan if I don't incorporate technology into a vocabulary quiz. A quiz that I'm not allowed to give a 50 on, by the way.

And what's with tweaking the writing portion of standardize tests? When did writing change? Besides, everything you write at 18 years old is crap anyway. You think I'm wrong? Dig up some of your old stuff and sit down for a laugh. The point is that they'll get better.

The funny thing is that we have all these changes, but foreign language credits still remain at their pathetic place in the graduation requirements. Somehow being only able to say, "My shoes are green," in your choice of language is seen as progress.

No, I'm not saying we should not progress as educators. I'm not saying change for the better should never come about. Progress is progress, after all. But, hey! Can't we back off for a little. It does us no good when teachers (and students) have to re-learn everything all over again--year after freakin' year.

Oh, by the way, did you hear? They have a new test for the students next year.

It's great. I promise.

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