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I most vociferously disagree !

Posted By: Lynn Allen on August 30, 2006
If we subscribe to what Vicki Snider proposes, we will be going back to the "dark ages" in education that too many teachers never left! Both the learning process and the learning outcomes are important. We are not just teaching subject matter, we are conveying values that make up a whole person. Using tactics that insult and humiliate students, curricula and materials that are sexist, biased or racist, Eurocentric, etc. do not help prepare our children to be good citizens or global thinkers. As far as I am concerned, this is a great problem with American education. Being treated with disrespect teaches children to be disrespectful and poor sports; being insensitive teaches children to be intolerant and often to bully others. Americans are very Americentric, much as colonial Europe was so Eurocentric that they disregarded the rights and cultures of those they came to dominate. Americentric political leaders get us embroiled in conflicts around the globe without understanding the dynamics and effects that our behavior and attitudes have on others. this makes for war and other kinds of global conflicts.
We must practice what we preach and model the behavior we want our children to embrace.
In addition, why can't learning be fun, interesting, relevant and still be hard work and sometimes difficult? Why can't teaching be ecletic while also incorporating phonics and direct instruction? Why can't those exciting teaching techniques that we use for the "brightest and the best" to challenge and excite the gifted students also be used with all students to make them excited about learning and school?
Statistics from the Minority Student Achievement Network (Ron Ferguson from Harvard University and others) insist that African American and Latino students are motivated by factors other than "good grades" or "high test scores" and that one important factor in high achievement has to do with the relationship between the students and the teachers. whether we like it or not, social environment does affect children's abilities to concentrate and function sometimes. Being malnourished, having chaos in the home, working part-time, divorce, death, etc. - let's be realistic. That doesn't mean that we give the kids a "pass", but it does mena that sometimes we need to accommodate or help find solutions.
I do not want to go back to the "dark ages". I have seen innovations (Jaime Escalante, Ron clark, Marva Collins, and the KIPP Academies just to name a few) that have had outstanding results in the educatin of their children. These children are life long learners enthusiatic about school and will be better citizens and future leaders. This is how we leave no child behind.


Lynn Allen
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 I most vociferously disagree ! by Lynn Allen on August 30, 2006
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