Saturday, March 26, 2011

the good teacher (part 1)

I've written a lot of posts about how this move toward standardization and the repetitive chant of mathandsciencemathandsciencemathandscience are harming our kids' capacities for creative, insightful, problem-solving (which will, in turn, have negative effects on the world's future).

The underlying and insidious motive in this movement is pretty scary: since America has moved very rapidly away from an economy that produced goods and services in widely distributed variety toward an economy that is almost exclusively tied to information management, we really can't have future workers who dream of anything other than mathandsciencemathandsciencemathandscience.

And lots and lots of people are buying into that idea.

Remember, it's us or them, and we need to be deathly afraid of the 8th-grade kid from Finland who can outperform an 8th-grade kid from Vermont on a bubble-in test of mathandsciencemathandsciencemathandscience.

And lately, a lot of us have been buying in to the notion that if that kid in Vermont can't kick the Finnish kid's ass, it's the fault of the teachers who have not yet drunk from the chalice of mathandsciencemathandsciencemathandscience Kool-Aid.

So, we're standardizing teachers, too.

And standardization means lump everyone into the same, generic, bubble-test proficient middle.

Make them all the same.

It's the only way we can beat Finland and ensure future generations of dull-witted, thoughtless, soulless information management workers.

It seems like, throughout history, the greatest teachers have always been the ones who DIDN'T do what everyone else was doing.

The kids who grew up and made the greatest impact on the world, also, DIDN'T do exactly the same things that their classmates did.

The new paradigm for students and teachers: make them all the same.

Is that what we really want?

Not me.

I know a couple great teachers. Not many, though. The great ones get pushed out of the profession by the torch-wielding villagers who pray to the bubble-in standardized God of mathandsciencemathandsciencemathandscience.

I'm going to talk a little bit about some cool teachers whom I do not know personally, but I've heard about things they do from kids around the country who send me emails about their classrooms.

It's pretty good stuff.