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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What Happens in School

We have now come full circle and are uselessly spinning our wheels.  In our English Department meeting today we practiced our new method given to us by the Educational Overlords of NY State.  Our students are to be the beneficiaries of 'reciprocal teaching' and 'fractal learning'.  I don't have any idea about what those terms mean either, but that's the method and we are to stick to it.  For the next month, we're to use in class what were, in the 1990's, called 'cooperative learning groups', where each group has a recorder, questioner, summarizer and predictor.  With our reading passages, this 'reciprocal learning' (or is it fractal learning) system is to be used and then we're to focus on summarization.  This is to be done for the next month.  Naturally, there is a test on the summaries in the beginning, and the same type of summary / exam at the end of the month to show progress.

To add to the litany of nonsense and student destruction, we have to do the SLO (Student Learning Objective) exams in mid to late May as well.  The amount of actual instruction, in the style the teacher is accustomed to, or good at, continues to dwindle.  We're putting our students through continual batteries of exams and experiments.  The students, in English classes only, all HS grades, are to be lab rats to see if this system 'works'.  I  will go out on a limb and say, in advance, that the results will be positive and spectacular.  What teacher is going to record a worsening of performance?  After the wonderful results roll in, then the bureaucrats and the educational foundations and corporate parasites roll in to shepherd the staff in 'training' for this one size fits all system that will cure the ills of a 'focus school' (read: failing) like mine.

The system being propagated is an old one.  This is the early 90's cooperative learning craze all over again.  In the public education sector, student centered learning and other pro student rhetoric is bandied about, but what choice do the students have?  This comes from on high, as do all of our systems and fads and orders, and the students routinely lose.  The staff despises this nonsense, as it has no intellectual underpinnings.  The 'research' that supposedly supports this stuff links to the authors' own research and is the same leftist, ineffective pseudo empowering babble from 40 years ago.  (How do I know this? Because in education school I had the Paulo Freire / John Dewey playbook thrown at me countless times).

Our young adults continually lose.  They see the forest from the trees on these matters, and quickly realize there is little of substance to be had, and react accordingly.  This, combined with endless testing, is sending the cratering public school system even further down.

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