Monday, March 12, 2012

Interesting article on education.

This article was printed in the Washington Post.

The war on teachers: Why the public is watching it happen

Here is my comment:

I agree completely with the author here. Workers who feel supported do their job. Workers under threat, in any industry, watch their backs. An attack on teachers can only serve to undermine education. I have another thought about why education is failing and why teachers are so demoralized and that is because we, as a society, have agreed to have teachers take their "eye off the ball." The most fundamental component of an education is the relationship that exists between student and teacher. Rather than support our teachers in keeping their eyes on the student, we have them looking in different directions in two specific ways. First, teachers are overly pressured by outside requirements, of which "No Child Left Behind" is a major culprit. These standards force them to overly think about results, rather than the child in front of them, what that child needs to learn, and in the end, this compromises the results. Second, teachers are overly consumed about things that happen in the home. By placing so much weight on homework, rather than on classroom instruction, they end up depending on environments over which they have no control. Then, they spend time trying to get the child and parent to do something outside of their domain, and often spend large amounts of time fighting over, and lamenting about, what may or may not be happening outside the class. There is certainly room for standards and there is certainly room for homework. But the teacher's primary focus, to be effective, has to be on that special relationship he or she has as a mentor to a specific group of kids. Kenneth Goldberg, Ph.D.

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