Thursday, August 16, 2007

Judgmental Cookie discusses Lock-Step Teaching

Ew. My math specialist friend is going back to teaching and being an instructional coach at a school that is apparently "2 steps away" from being closed due to low scores on the state exit exams. She mentions that every math subject teacher will now have common lesson plans and will have to teach the same things and plan together and do the same activities because the school is in trouble and this is their (last-ditch?) effort to right things.

That sticks in my craw. Suppose you have a teacher that is not successful and needs some help and suggestions on how to present a topic. Just because they're using a from-above sanctified activity, does not mean that it will automatically be successful. The same qualities of their teaching that makes them not successful will still be there with this worksheet (or such).

Sure, make sure they're covering the same topics, but then go in and make general teaching suggestions and follow through and update and check up on the teacher to measure if there's progress made. Don't stifle potentially new and better ideas and creativity by dictating what and how one should teach. I know my friend will do all of these things as she is awesome, but this "everybody does identical work" thing does not sit well with me.

This also does new teachers a disservice. If everything is handed to them/us, they/we will probably never learn to create their/our own activities and will always be at the whim of the textbook companies and such.



  1. Anonymous12:56 PM

    I'm with you, up to the new teacher part. Learning to teach is hard enough. Why make newbies write their own (invariably inferior) lessons? Let them use what's already there, and as they gain experience they can modify the plans or junk them and replace them to fit their own styles and interests.

  2. Anonymous4:48 PM

    Good point. I guess I'm thinking along the lines of "here are some activities we've used. You are free to use them or create your own and run it past us".

    Ms. Cookie

  3. Anonymous7:58 PM

    Yeah, I think that's a different story. I would agree with you there.

    What I still resent (11 years later) was that I was expected to write daily lessons (and I did) in my first year, when there were perfectly serviceable lessons lying around that no one would share with me.

    I needed to work, hard, on management skills, and instead sweated stupid lesson details. Totally unnecessary.

  4. Anonymous10:45 PM

    Yup. If there's a more efficient way to teach new teachers about management skills than presently seems available, that would be great. But it seems to be that you don't learn until you're in the thick of things and then you only learn if you make the effort or if someone is watching you and probing for what's happening in your classroom and making good suggestions. .... Maybe that's the "constructivism (?)" style of teaching.

    Ms. Cookie