Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reply to Katie Stoynoff's Article

I recently read Katie Stoynoff's article in the Huffington Post entitled To Strength Education, Strengthen Teacher Education Programs. It is an excellent article with many sentiments that I agree with. Now, being Canadian, we have a different teacher education program but ours is not without many of the same faults as our peers across the border.

There are problems with our current educational model, that can not be denied. It seems that everyone has an idea as to the source of the problem and how to fix it. Many people push technology as the panacea that will cure all of our ills. Many look to a lack of funding or a lack of standards or a lack of standardized testing. Some blame the students whereas others blame the parents. Teachers of course are never left out of the equation (see Bill Maher' rant for more on that).

When a system is failing, there are no easy answers. However, many of the so called causes are not causes but effects. When you want to change a system, it must be done from the top down. And that is were I completely agree with Stoynoff; let's change Teacher Education to better prepare new teachers.

Where I don't agree is her insistence that we raise the GPA admission standard. Teachers who did well in the current school model will be more likely to propagate that model indefinitely. In Ontario, you must have a university degree to teach; this denies many potentially excellent teachers who chose to go to college instead. It also propagates the hegemony of public schools being feeding grounds for universities, thereby further alienating those students who do not wish to attend university.

Her point of Mr. Shank mixing fun with instruction is one that is not made enough. When did we decide to separate fun and learning? But, that is for another posting ...

What do you think about this article?

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