Saturday, June 7, 2014

Choosing a school

We had a lively faculty lounge conversation today about the best way to choose a school for your child / family. The consensus was you should keep in mind you will never get everything you want. The best you can hope for is to get most of what you want most of the time. Shoot any higher and you are guaranteed to meet disappointment at best.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A ban on American texts?

Initial reports in the British press declared that the government banned US authors from national end-of-compulsory-education (Grade 10) examinations for students in England. Subsequent reports show that the changes were less sweeping and more nuanced. But why would such a thing have been considered?

Electronic Media

"The average young person from 8 to 19 now spends literally every waking moment outside of school on the Internet, watching TV, listening to music on MP3 players, texting, or using some other electronic device average of seven and a half hours daily ... Those who spent the most time consuming media had markedly poorer grades and more behavioral problems." (Kaiser Foundation reported in The Week Vol 10 Iss 449)

First time tutoring

Today a young (ish) colleague asked me if I had ever done any tutoring. I have, but that's another story. She wants to offer private lessons for extra cash and asked for some pointers. Her first challenge? She was totally unsure about what tutoring is. In other words, she has no idea.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Common Core is not a Curriculum

Let me start by saying that I think the Common Core is a "good thing". It establishes a set of standards against which students, schools, districts, states, and the nation can be measured. So why is it apparently controversial?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Are all Private Schools the same?

Something on the radio caught my attention. The speaker was raging against non-public education and throughout the interview, lumped all non-public schools together. I have worked in both public and non-public schools and know there are different types of public schools: traditional, K-3, K-6, magnet, charter, GATE etc. There are also different types of non-public schools.

Why is Community Service controversial?

I don't understand why student community service is so often challenged or why it is not seen as something positive. Even when renamed "service learning" so as to emphasize the educational benefits, it is still controversial.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Swearing or mobile devices?

When I started teaching, an argument raged over whether to allow students to use their "natural" language in class. This paralleled discussions on the use ebonics, local dialects, slang and profanity. The consensus was that students learn and use their "natural" language anyway and they do so outside the classroom. They needed us, teachers, schools and curriculum, to learn more formal styles, a wider vocabulary and a more complex grammar.

Islamic Trojan Horses

If you read the British press recently, you saw regular front-page stories about "Islamic Trojan Horse" schools. Apparently, some muslim radicals hatched a plan to put their people onto school boards and then to use those people and/or parent pressure to make life so difficult for principals that they resign.

Missing Posts

I have just noticed my posts for the last year and a half have disappeared, undoubtedly because of something I did while playing around with the formatting options offered to we amateurs by blogger. I do have some of the missing posts in draft form which I will re-post. The others are sadly gone, but if anyone notices something they liked or which they linked to has gone, please let me know.

Is certification needed?

So US charter schools and UK academies / free schools are able to hire anyone they see fit as teachers, or as responsible adults in charge of young people. Some make much of this, claiming that this allows these schools to make "better" appointments and which should be extended to all schools.