Monday, November 23, 2009

How would you answer?

A recent survey question from the State of Connecticut addresses one of the criteria they would like to be a part of the new evaluation process for new teachers.

"Promoting engagement in and shared responsibility for the learning process and providing shared responsibility for the learning process and providing opportunities for students to initiate their own questions and inquiries."

We were asked to rate how important to the overall effect of teachers is this criteria. The breakdown then had us answer based on its importance for teachers in years 1-3 and over 3. Then we were asked how important the criteria is in promoting student learning.

I voted for minimally important. I guess its my recent infatuation with Core Knowledge and the idea that there are certain pieces of knowledge student should just know.


At 8:37 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Also took the survey. The questions seem long, involved and the answers are most likely not representative of actual research results.

What we think about these issues is an opinion and most likely not scientifically sound.

I suspect the state department knows this. I wonder if there are studies of scientific result to compare opinions with reality.

I agree that there is a foundation of learned skills and sets of information necessary to find, read, evaluate the worth and veracity of information. I wonder if there is much agreement on those items of information necessary to find and use the world of information in a logical and useful way.

At 6:22 PM , Blogger Mr. B-G said...

Engagement, responsibility, and ownership in the learning process are all very important in my opinion.

My best students are engaged, responsible, and take ownership in their education. I'd rate these attributes highly, as they are essential for meaningful learning.

Thinking back on my own education, the courses I most enjoyed and found meaningful were the ones in which I had ownership in the learning process and was able to explore my own areas of interest.

At 9:42 PM , Anonymous Mandy said...

Do you think students should be able to pick what they learn about? How do you think this could be done in the classroom? Also do you think it would make teaching harder or easier?

At 12:59 PM , Blogger Mr. B-G said...

It's about allowing students to make individual decisions within a framework established by the teacher and the curriculum. For example, all seniors at my school need to write a research paper in MLA format that draws on a variety of sources.

Students can work with the teacher to generate appropriate topics. I think this makes teaching easier when students are able to become engaged and take ownership of their learning

At 1:43 PM , Anonymous Mandy said...

I agree that it would make teaching and learning easier. I think it is good to let students explore their own ideas with a few guidelines from the teacher.
I have a question for you.
Do you think standarized testing is the best way to evaluate students? What do you think should be used to evaluate student's knowledge?

At 5:56 PM , Blogger Mr. B-G said...

Standardized tests are one way to measure what a student has learned. We should remember that they are just that - one means of measurement.

I think effective teachers use a variety of formal and informal assessments to evaluate students' knowledge.

At 2:06 PM , Anonymous Mandy said...

I also believe teachers should use many methods to evaluate students progress. In some classroom I feel like teachers try to teach to the test.
Iam in a college education class and I am suppose to ask questions about topics we learned about. I know this is off the topic of what we were speaking about but what do you think about teaching gay/lesbian curriculum in the classroom?

At 4:02 PM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

Mandy, I agree completely with Mr. B-G, which is rare. Standardized tests are only one measurement (though often a highly critical measurment). We do have an obligation to teach to the standards of those standardized tests. What many critics forget is that those tests should be testing the standards provided by the state. We need to have standards, and we need to measure our students' progress towards those standards.
However, we cannot forget the importance of multiple forms of assessment. A strictly multiple-choice assessment might not be the best indicator. An essay exam has equal limitations.
As to gay/lesbian curriculum in the classroom, you should clarify. IF you mean, should students be exposed to short stories or novels which contain that topic and are well-written, absolutely. Just as students should be exposed to an understanding of religion as it relates to understaning literature, students need to see how literature helps us understand the world around us.
As always, the problem begins when teachers begin to advocate a belief system. I might be an avowed capitalist, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't challenge students to explore socialism/communism while we study Animal Farm. Unfortunately, our colleagues have not always walked that line very well. The result is an uneasy public constantly wary of our "liberal" or "religious" leanings.

At 5:24 PM , Anonymous Mandy said...

I think it could be short stories or novels. I just meant talking about that type of family structure in the classroom. I am in early childhood education, so I think books would be appropirate. I feel like some parents and schools may be opposed to having this type of material in the classroom. If teachers are not pushing their views, but just teaching the subject do you think it is inappropirate. How would you handle people who had a problem with the issue?

At 5:39 PM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

Hmmm...early childhood education? Might be too early, unless a student in the classroom had two moms or two dads, or the subject was relevant to a student's experience--brother, sister, etc.. Developmentally, I believe early elementary is too young for the topic. But that is strictly my opinion. I'm not against talking to children about difficult topics, but I sure wouldn't go out of my way to bring them up.
When parents have concerns, it is best to build the relationship at that point. In the end, you might see the topic as necessary and prudent, but they might not. You have to be willing, as a public servant, to do what the public feels is acceptable.

At 7:14 PM , Anonymous Mandy said...

I believe I feel the same way. I think if a child is in a gay-headed family gay books or material shoud be brought into the classroom, so the child does not feel excluded. I am not sure what a good age would be to teach children about the topic. I know they see it on TV and in the media and the media normally gives off a negative attitude toward the subject. It is hard as a teacher to bring up these types of subjects.
Another question I had was how do you feel about teachers private lives being in the public eye? We were talking about this in class and schools may not hire people if there is a photo of them drinking on facebook. Do you think this is to strict or appropirate for the profession.


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