Sunday, March 27, 2011

Child-Centered Teacher in UK Sacked for Saving 5 Boys' Education

Here it is, another anecdote from the good-teacher vs. bad-system movement:

5 students that are completely beyond help, and one teacher who decides to put them first. So much so that she uses their first names and their group nickname in a fictional tale about how people in a downward spiral can turn everything around if they want to. The boys identify with the characters, I'm sure it's partially because their first names are in the book, and they actually read it. The students do so well, are so inspired to learn and straighten their lives out, that they all go on to post-secondary education. The teacher is given promotions and kudos.

The teacher's husband, without her knowing, puts the book up on the Internet and the teacher gets canned. Read more...

This is how we reward the world's best teachers.

The importance of missing the mark

Pay for performance. It's currently a pretty hot issue. There's plenty articles telling us how poorly it's working, too. A great summary of US and UK tests on pay-for-performance is at the Telegraph. Basically, giving teachers incentives for improving test scores of $3000-$15,000 is not effective in increasing the children's test scores.

I'm sorry, but everyone's completely missing the mark here!

Making History

So as adults, I ask how much of what you learned in History lessons do you use today? I'll say I use more of it in helping my children with their classwork -- and that's the be-all and end-all of the facts and details I was spoon-fed in K-12. In SPITE of the fact that I've done historical re-enactment! In other words, absolutely NOTHING I learned in K-12 classes helped me EVEN with my hobby of historical re-enactment! Shame on the school system!

Math - to Curriculum or NOT to Curriculum

My son loves math. He's got a lot of talent for math, and frankly I think schools and big textbooks hold him back. I don't really feel confident teaching Algebra, even though I think I remember all the important basics and could always brush up from resources online. However, I'm very confident that my son can almost teach himself Algebra with the right tools and materials.

Remedial Writing

My son has had quite the journey regarding writing challenges ever since Kindergarten. He was identified as gifted, but also earmarked for needing occupational therapy (OT) for handwriting. So in 1st grade, he went to a gifted program and had 1:1 instruction to try to correct his fine-motor issues.

I have a genetic nerve disorder, and perhaps my son is not entirely in the clear. However a neurologist didn't find anything in particular wrong, and so the OT continued until 7th grade.

Due to his continuing difficulty with writing, my son avoided writing like the plague.

Quality Schools Part 2

Don't forget to read my Part I on this topic!

I didn't realize that one of the books I already own has a whole chapter (a long! chapter) dedicated to quality schooling. So I started reading The Quality School (William Glasser) and the introduction referred back to that chapter in Choice Theory, so I went to the chapter and read it.

I'm so impressed with this concept, I want to make it a cornerstone of my homeschooling experiences.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

William Glasser & Quality Schools

I can't wait for my books that should be arriving on Quality Schools. I already have several of William Glasser's books: Choice Theory, Counseling with Choice Theory and The Language of Choice Theory. The Quality School is going to be arriving on my doorstep shortly. Aside from how you treat your student (in my case homeschooler) in terms of verbal contact, there's a basic difference in how children's learning and work is treated that returns dignity, respect, and a higher level of useful expectations to the children.

Basically, children work at their exercises until their work is an A or B level. Barely-passing work is no longer accepted.

High School Homeschooling

Right now it's on the table with my family whether we're going to homeschool my son for High School. I tried to contain myself. I've tried pacing myself. I've tried just gathering information and thinking, but I think I've gone overboard with planning.

I think that homeschooling should be about what's right for a particular student.

Radio Show Pulled

Not-so-breaking-news: I pulled Let's Heal the World Together, and I'm saving the idea (and the logo) for a later date. I pulled it before I had surgery in December last year (2010). This has freed up several hours of my week, which I'm currently dedicating to my family and my own health.