Friday, December 23, 2016

Teacher: A one-size-fits-all approach to instruction is stifling our classrooms - The Washington Post

Teacher: A one-size-fits-all approach to instruction is stifling our classrooms - The Washington Post:

Teacher: A one-size-fits-all approach to instruction is stifling our classrooms

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Lily Howard Scott is an educator who first worked with children as a teaching artist, visiting schools in Brooklyn and using playwriting and creative drama to help kids access curricula in unconventional ways. She decided that she wanted to continue  creative, child-driven work in the context of her own classroom, so she earned her masters degree in literacy and childhood education from Bank Street College of Education.
Scott has taught first through fifth grade in New York and California, and currently teaches third grade at PS 321 in Brooklyn. Lily says she believes that the most meaningful learning occurs when teachers design or adapt curricula to meet the needs, strengths, and interests of their students. The current trend of standardized learning, she said, harms students and teachers alike. In this post, she elaborates on this idea, exploring how schools can attract — and retain — great teachers. The answer, she says, “is so intuitive as to seem absurd.” Yet it has eluded many school “reformers.”

By Lily Howard Scott
Everyone has an opinion about what’s wrong with American education. Classrooms are overcrowded. Funding is misallocated. Segregation persists. Politicians, principals, and academics have rancorous debates over how to best fix our schools. On at least one issue, however, everyone agrees: Students deserve great teachers. But how can we attract — let alone retain — them?
One solution to recruiting better teachers, often mentioned but rarely implemented, is to pay them more. That would certainly help. But even with a higher salary, those who would make excellent teachers will never enter the profession — or remain in it — unless schools offer them something else: the freedom to put their judgment and talents to use to help students as best they can. This is so intuitive as to seem absurd.
But, as I’ve experienced as an elementary-school teacher, this freedom is increasingly at risk. The current trend toward standardized learning — scripted curricula and prescribed classroom-management routines — is shackling educators around the country and Teacher: A one-size-fits-all approach to instruction is stifling our classrooms - The Washington Post:

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