The following is excerpted from the essay, "When Pedagogic Fads Trump Priorities" in the 9-29-10 edition of Ed Week. The author is Mike Schmoker, an author, speaker and education consultant.
"First we need coherent, content-rich guaranteed curriculum - that is, a curriculum which ensures that the actual intellectual skills and subject matter of a course don't depend on which teacher a student happens to get...
Second - and just as important - we need to ensure that that students read, write and discuss, in the analytic and argumentative modes, for hundreds of hours per school year, across the curriculum...
Third, we need to honor, beyond lip service, the nearly half-century-old model for good lessons that all of us know, but so few consistently implement:
Good lessons start with a clear curriculum-based objective and assessment, followed by multiple cycles of instruction, guided practice, checks for understanding (the soul of a good lesson) and ongoing adjustments to instruction... multiple checks for understanding may be the most powerful, cost-effective action we can take to ensure learning. Solid research demonstrates that students learn as much as four times as quickly from such lessons.
For decades we have put novelty and the false god of innovation above our most obvious, proven priorities"...I've been in touch with Mr. Schmoker to congratulate him for the courage to speak the truth. I hope to continue the dialog. He also takes on "differentiated instruction" and mindlessly incorporating technology into lessons as if "that will rescue poor instructional plans from failure."
I rarely say this, but, if you disagree with him, you are either wrong or hypocritical! Yup, dems fighting' words!
And now for something completely different...
"All Truth passes through Three Stages: First, it is Ridiculed... Second, it is Violently Opposed... Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer (1778-1860)
" You've got to be taught To hate and fear, You've got to be taught From year to year, It's got to be drummed In your dear little ear You've got to be carefully taught." --from South Pacific