Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Box

Jenny's colleague is right, in her comment that my plan is still "inside the box." I realized that after I finished writing the first post. It doesn't look so different from a lot of ed school programs. The second post does not, perhaps, step far out of the box but begins angling at what would need to be different to create an excellent program: extremely rigorous classes, lots of time in the classroom closely connected to what one is studying, tighter feedback circles in terms of the observations, assignments, and teaching that students do.

Mrs. Ris suggests a residency in teaching. I will confess I haven't had a chance to follow the link she provided, but it sounds promising.

The magic could come in a carefully constructed sequence of courses aligned with structured observations and student-teaching. Maybe the first semester is all observation. The future teachers could be assigned to one classroom to do regular observation (every day or every other day) in addition to special visits to observe teachers with specific strengths or students with special needs. Classes could include Child/Adol. Development, Philosophy of Education, Classroom Management 1 (yes, I think this should be a separate course, as well as a thread woven through the program), an introductory methods class. Second semester could be similar to current student-teaching, maybe continuing in the same classroom observed during semester 1. Over the course of the semester, the student-teacher would take over more and more classroom duties, with mentorship from the regular teacher. Classes could include another methods class, Learning & the Brain, the literacy class, the special education class. During the second year, the teacher might have his or her own classroom for 2 periods per day, with mentors observing but not all the time. The teacher would have to begin reflecting on his or her own practice in order to improve. Assignments would be, as often as possible, useful for the classroom or designed to foster reflection on events in the classroom. It would be a hard year - a lot of work and long days - but possible (many of us have taught full time while taking 2+ classes at night...). If the program extends to a third year, it could be more or less full-time teaching coupled with just one or two classes and a final project. I wonder if the final project could be akin to the portfolio, reflections, and videos required by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards...?

I don't know if that's out of the box... I think probably not.

I have an entire textbook on education of the gifted to read and understand and learn by August 20th, when I am taking a test for a gifted-education add-on to my license. Why I am doing this is another whole post.


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3:17 AM  

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