Friday, February 04, 2005

Many New York Teachers Unhappy With Group-Think

Apparently, many New York City teachers are unhappy about a teaching methodology that was adopted last year at the insistence of Chancellor Joel Klein. (bio here) The teachers say that the "workshop model" (with it's emphasis on group-work) is ineffective.

The "workshop model" was used primarily in math and English, but has lately been used in all subjects in schools across the city.

Apparently, this method directs that the teacher present 10 minutes of instruction, which is then followed by 40 minutes (?!?) of student group work. Finally, the lesson is concluded by a 5 minute period of time for "sharing."

The method's objective is to replace the teacher as the "Sage on the stage," with a "give-and-take" style of learning designed to help students that are lagging behind.

Steve Nathan, a social studies teacher at Russell Sage Junior High School, (in Forrest Hills) expressed his concern by saying that, "We are no longer teachers, We are coat racks."

Teacher Jeff Zahler said, "Can you imagine trying to teach physics in 10-minute sound bites?"
According to the source, so many teachers are unhappy with this teaching method that they staged a large protest at education offices in Long Island City.

EdWonk's Note: It would be great to get feedback from any New York City teachers in order to learn if this article is accurate in its portrayal of the amount of teacher dislike for the "Workshop Method." Or has dislike of the program been exaggerated by President Randi Weingarten of the teachers union.

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