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Another revelatory text after the revolution?

Posted By: Garreth Heidt on June 21, 2005
Wasserman certainly has the years of experience to speak with authority on many issues. But I have to wonder if her text isn't filled with straw men. So much of what she is speaking out against seems antiquated, at least in my neck of the woods. I'm a teacher and teacher educator and I can tell you that I've encountered very few teachers who resemble Miss Stellwagon. Multiple Intelligence theory is well known among them, and terms like Understanding By Design or backwards lesson planning are part of their working vocabulary.

Sure, the strictures of standards, NCLB, and Adequate Yearly Progress often prove more harmful than helpful, but what's so stunning about that?

I've not read the book, so my comments here might be off base, but the review is rather extensive, and it gives a fine sense of the arguments she lays out. And in that, I return to the title of the post. Too many books today seem to have arrived at the party too late.

While I appreciate yet another voice telling me to teach students, not curriculum; to create student centered classes where self-guided inquiry is the norm; to be metacognitive and introspective; to be "the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage"...while I appreciate that, I'm getting tired of it. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I read too much. I'm getting tired of reading "My time in the treches and what I learned there" stories. They're just adult versions of "What I did on my summer vacation."

Let's not kid ourselves. There's much work to be done. We're still discovering Dewey's brilliance and striving to employ a reconceived pragmatism. We're reflecting on the magic of the 60's and "Teaching as a Subversive Activity" and what power it might still have for us. For the most part, the teachers with whom I work, and the teachers whom I teach are all far better than the teachers I had during my own schooling in the 70s and 80s. And when I look at the elementary school teachers I've met, I'm darn glad they'll be teaching my son.

Yes, Miss Stellwagon's are probably still out there. They won't read this book. And those of us who are riding the waves of change in education really don't need another voice announcing tired epiphanies.

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 Another revelatory text after the revolution? by Garreth Heidt on June 21, 2005
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