Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mixed messages

A new study, reported in yesterday's S.F. Chronicle, pushes teacher ed programs to prepare new high school teachers to do more than lecture their students.
"The job of the high school teacher has changed," said Margaret Gaston, president and executive director of the Santa Cruz-based Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. "They're having to deliver instruction in a new way."
To reduce the dropout rate and increase the number of students heading to college or the workforce, state reforms have pushed high schools to increase academic requirements, personalize and individualize the high school experience, and connect learning to the real world, according to the researchers.

The study encourages small schools, personalization, and project-based learning. Teachers knowing their subject matter is not enough, say the researchers. They need to be able to connect the curriculum with the lives of their students and with the world outside the classroom.

So once again we see the research pointing in the opposite direction from federal and state policies which increasingly mandate test-score-based merit pay and reward only, or mainly standardized test score results while encouraging rote learning. So much for data-based reform.

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