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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Stories about education in my country...Once...

5 Comments:

Blogger Teresa said...

I am a first generation female from rural Arkansas. My parents never finished school but my father understood that the only way to preserve our democracy was through education and spent hours talking to me about the importance of education around the world that he had observed as he traveled with the military. He also spent hours talking about women and how they were viewed around the world. He lead me to think of going into science as a girl growing up in a small community where girls married and lived on small dirt farms.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Mike Muir said...

Stories are a powerful way to help others understand - especially about situations they aren't familiar with or haven't experiences. Toward that end, I've started collecting the stories of teachers and other educators involved in 1to1 learning with technology initiatives.

They can be found at http://www.1to1stories.org.

6:15 AM  
Blogger amina said...

Coming from a country where math is worshiped and children can write and read at kindergarten, I still think I have missed so much. I missed questioning my teachers, experimenting with my environment, and I missed being excited to go to school.

6:21 AM  
Blogger ilknur said...

Teaching to test is a problem in my country because of the fact that most of the apreciated schools and colleges accept students through a nation-wide entrance exam. This is a problem because of the fact (among others) that some students are becoming just Math or Science experts to some degree without any real social life for their age. Some of them become teachers in the future as experts only in their field. Another issue is that, we have an open university (Anadolu University) which has almost a million distance education students. My guess is that it must be a real challenge to have that many students and still provide an effective education.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Janet Swenson said...

Here's another classroom story from my early days. One of my students, let's call him Luke, started 9th grade as a good student and a standout athlete. As the semester wore on, he started sputting his head down on his desk during class, and when I would ask him to sit up, he would do so obediently. After a few minutes, he was sound asleep! I took this quite personally (Oh, so my lessons are sufficiently engaging to keep him awake, huh?!). After several weeks, of this type of behavior it just happened that I assigned an essay about a challenge the students had encountered and overcome. Luke wrote about a challenge he had encountered and NOT overcome. He was leaving school to go to his job at the carwash, working there until late and night, and getting up to go back there before school in the morning. He was now failing most of his classes, and he couldn't figure out what to do. After I read the essay, I took Luke aside and asked him why he was working so many hours. He wasn't working for bread or shelter, he was working so he could dress like the other kids and pay car insurance. We're raising kids in a culture of materiality then wondering why they feel it's more important to have possessions than to learn. "English education" had a hard time competing with new shirts, new sneakers, and a car.

What does that have to do with anything we're talking about here? When teachers are deemed to be doing a poor job because students' test scores are low, I think we have to look first at whether the student *cares* about his/her scores. Are standardized tests really a reflection of what students know and can do?
Janet

9:30 AM  

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