Thursday, March 8, 2007

Thirteen Things That are Right about Education

Thirteen Things That are Right about Education
Edition #5

1. The teachers - I've taught elementary school for 20 years. Teachers are human and make mistakes, but I believe they are the biggest asset to public education. The teachers I have known are in education for the right reasons and have the children's best interests in mind.

2. The kids - Most kids come to learn. Sure, there are exceptions, but most children want to learn. They want guidance and structure, and someone who believes in them to show them how to improve themselves.

3. The parents - Again, there are exceptions, and unfortunately the exceptions are the loudest, but parents are generally very supportive. I have 9 parents in my classroom weekly. They are helpful, polite, and truly want to help the kids learn. Their attitude toward learning and the children is a great asset to my class!

4. Staff Development - As teachers we are required to keep learning. Theories and strategies of teaching are constantly changing, and we have to change with them. Continuing to learn is a good thing.

5. The emphasis at our school is on learning, and not on teaching. What did the kids learn today? Not, what did I teach today? A slight, but very significant change in the way we evaluate the day and each lesson.

6. Care Teams - We have Care Teams made of teachers from our grade level that we meet with regularly to discuss specific concerns within our classrooms. We help each other brainstorm solutions and strategies to deal with difficult situations or learning problems.

7. Technology - Even our kindergarteners have technology competencies they strive to meet. In a technological world, our children will be prepared.

8. Back to the basics. I love the emphasis on reading, writing, and math. The others are important, but the emphasis on reading, writing, and math is a must.

9. Cross curriculum instruction- This goes with #8. Reading, writing, and doing math within the context of Science and Social Studies. We don't stop one subject matter to teach the next. We combine them, link them all together, and teach one within the other. It necessary for a well-rounded education.

10. Safety of our children - Unfortunately this is something schools have had to address. We do tornado drills, fire drills, and lock down practices. We have procedures for reporting every kind of abuse, locating strangers in the building, bomb threats, and evacuations. Our staff is well trained to deal with hostage, trauma, and emergency situations. We're all certified in CPR and have trained in first aid.

11. Performance based evaluations - hands-on learning. Can the children demonstrate that they have the knowledge? We don't just want them to repeat it back to use, we want them to show us or prove what they've learned.

12. Awareness of learning styles. Children learn in different ways. We try to incorporate all of those styles in our classroom. We want children to become proficient in many avenues of learning and even try learning styles with which they aren't entirely comfortable. We are giving them all the tools possible to become life-long learners.

13. Emphasis on higher-level thinking skills. This goes with #11. There is a strong emphasis for children to THINK, not just repeat facts. It's important to tap into those higher-level questions that require children to think and solve situations. There's a push for teachers to turn the tables on the students. Let them create the word problem, or ask the questions about the Science lesson, or come up with a solutions in the story. Children are becoming active participants in their learning, not just spectators who can repeat facts.
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Carol said...

Great list. I agree with you. I believe there are many wonderful things about public education.

Joan said...

Good upbeat post. I enjoyed reading this list.