Gnomicon 83

If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.

Gnomicon  83
Tuesday 31 July 2012

Read gnomica 1-50 here!

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“In the first place, God made idiots.  That was for practice.
Then he made school boards.”
Mark Twain (30 Nov 1835 – 21 Apr 1910)

Or He made university Schools of Education!  Whither the nation’s very best and brightest students, the next generation of teachers, invariably flock.

Mark Twain – you gotta love him!  A guy ahead of his times here as elsewhere.

Why, just yesterday (Monday 30 July 2012) the New York Times ran an article entitled (in the print edition) “Certifying Teachers, More by How They Teach Than How They Test.” (How about “by What They Know”?) One can imagine the fallout: more oversight boards, grant requests, committee studies, roving ‘examiners’, reports, conferences, recaps, analyses … all the usual dreary suspects.  But this time, of course, ‘they’ are at last — I am entirely confident – going to get it right,  “… de-emphasizing tests and written essays in favor of a more rigorous approach that requires aspiring teachers to prove themselves through lesson plans, homework assignments and videotaped instruction sessions.”   One “professor of practice” [sic ?] at Stanford University  helpfully explains that all of this is “analogous to authentic assessments in other professions, in nursing, in medical residencies, in architecture”.  As for myself, I entirely fail to see this useful analogy — but then again, what can you expect: after all, I was educated during the Pleistocene epoch of educational theory.

It is truly the terrifying but triumphant transformation of that ugly dying pupa of what little remains of any actual education into the gaudy glorious butterfly of meta-education to flit and flutter free about our fair land.

I hold my breath in expectant hopes for the ‘outcomes’ assessments to follow!

Now, let’s see here.

Let’s back up just a bit!

Presumably it is because education is in such sorry shape in the country that the new dispensation worked out by the country’s bloated Schools of Education is to be ‘implemented’.

But wait?

Why is education in such sorry shape in the country?

After all, the current catastrophe that now must be ‘fixed’ has, after much previous study and publishing and conferencing and so forth by the country’s bloated Schools of Education, been overseen and ‘implemented’ by the country’s bloated Schools of Education.  And now the country’s bloated Schools of Education are going finally to solve the problem they have created.  Again.

Yeah, sure thing.

You go, baby!

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3 Responses to Gnomicon 83

  1. Al Cram says:

    The real problem starts in the home. The lack of personal responsibility and the expectation that no one should feel pain or stress as they pursue the knowledge they will need has led to the expectation that all students are equal empty vessels, and a good teacher will be able to pour their considerable fund of pertinent facts into these vessels without much effort on the part of student. Students have been treated to inflated scores lest they have any sense of failure. Parents are quick to criticize the teacher for the students lack of progress rather than look at the lack of scholarly effort on the part of their child. The first time they reach a level where retention and the ability to apply said knowledge actually counts they may meet with their first serious consequence of this type of educational process,and as a result may burst into a theatre armed to the teeth and assuage their angst by spreading it to an innocent crowd!

  2. julie601 says:

    Let’s be fair about this. A ton of blame can legitimately be placed on poor teachers, school boards, Boards of Education, but what’s the bottom line? Doesn’t it all boil down to a performance based system – a system that says, “Okay, you didn’t get an A. We’ll water down that course, we’ll feed you pablum, forget the vitamins and minerals.” What happens to a kid’s imagination, his curiosity, when his primary focus is striving to ace every course and make it into Harvard? The good teachers – and there are some – are able to avoid the performance expectations paced on them and do what they’re supposed to do – nurture questioning minds, encourage the creative spark that lies in every child – not feed him the names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Seems to me to be a two-tined fork: This and Al Cram’s comments about parental responsibility. juliespeaks (See America Has a Problem)

  3. laohutiger says:

    Both Al Cram and julie601 make valuable points that bear much consideration — can’t say that I haven’t entertained very similar notions over the years. Thank you both for reading and thoughtful comments! laohu

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