Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Teacher Education As Viewed By The New York Times

Alexander Russo takes an insightful look at a lengthy New York Times article (he has the link) published in last Sunday's edition. The Times piece attempts to give an overview of the state of teacher education while pondering why such programs aren't doing a better job of preparing America's teaching corps for service in the classroom.

For some reason, this excerpt from the Times piece caught my eye. To set the stage, teams of education students at New York's Lehman College are giving their "final presentations," in a class called Ethics and Professionalism in Childhood Teaching. The class was to exemplify, "the research-and-theory wing of education."
The next presentation was called "Balanced Curriculum" - the coordination of standards and testing with students' abilities and needs. The team began by asking, "What is a balanced curriculum?" They invited the audience to make suggestions. ("An equal amount of time distributed between all subjects" was one.) Then they revealed that they had looked for the answer in the dictionary. "We decided to look up 'balance' and 'curriculum' because 'balanced curriculum' is not in the dictionary," Karen Dhillon, one presenter, told the class. Ms. Dhillon recited the dictionary definitions of both words - equilibrium and harmony, for the word "balance"- then stacked plastic blocks on a toy scale. She tried repeatedly to balance the blocks, without success, as she commented on how hard it was to maintain a balanced curriculum.

Both presentations got A's. "They're all going to be fabulous teachers," Dr. Ross said later. "They're really reflective. That's what really makes a competent educator, is someone who really reflects on their practice."
I doubt that these folks had a more productive experience in their Teacher Education Program than Mz. Smlph had in hers.
Entries for the 26th edition of The Carnival Of Education are due tonight by 10:00PM (Eastern) 7:00 PM (Pacific). Please send entries to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net. The Carnival's midway should open here at the 'Wonks Wednesday morning.

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