Monday, February 05, 2007

The Outrage of Project Follow Through - Chapter 3

Chapter 3 is out... yeah! I am not going to bother analyzing it, because others are much more adept at that than I am, but I do want to say one thing. This chapter literally made me shake with anger.

One of the recurring themes in the book, was how much the school establishment worked against the implementation of the Direct Instruction model. I found myself cussing the various antagonists out under my breath as I was reading. The stupidity of some of the characters is amazing.

There was one bright spot in the chapter though. In a fairly long and very descriptive passage, Zig describes a well run kindergarten class room. Here is a teaser:

As soon as the bell rings, the teacher says, “Everybody, you can finish your worksheet later. It’s time for our morning warm-up. So get those thinking engines ready to go. The blue group is ready ... so is the yellow group.”

The aides are positioned on each side of the room. The teacher walks to the chalkboard. “We’re going to start with the days of the week. Tell me what day it is today ... Get ready.”

The teacher claps. As she does, nearly all of the children respond, “Tuesday.”

The story is much more involved, but illustrates how the teacher and the aids work together, like a well oiled machine. It's amazing how much attention to detail is given to every aspect of the learning environment.

As I read the passage, I couldn't help to get a little depressed as I thought about all the trouble my bright 1st grader is having reading, yet here is a story about poor kindergartners from disadvantaged homes who were performing above the level my daughter is now. It's enough to piss you off.

(cross posted at KTM)

School of the Future Luvin'

School of the Future preparing students for what’s to come

Naiomi Dillon of the American School Board Journal is drinking the SOF cool aid.

As with work, the 170 freshmen students
(most of whom hail from lower-income
backgrounds) craft and update their
schedules on a daily basis and frequently
take work home, conducting research or
creating presentations on laptops assigned
to each of them. Instruction is wholly
project based, forcing students to learn
how to collaborate, listen, plan, think critically,
and communicate—all skills considered
essential in the 21st century.
There is also some talk about Microsoft's Education Competency Wheel, which from the tone of the article is the next best invention since... well the wheel.

Seems to me that some people think that all our education system needs to do is to teach kids how to make powerpoint presentations. Content is just a detail.