ERIC Number: EJ900959
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 2
"There Are a Lot of Really Bad Teachers out There"
Phi Delta Kappan, v92 n2 p51-55 Oct 2010
While attending an August in service, the author thoughtfully listened to a consultant's rationale for a multi-year process to standardize the county's 9th grade English classes. After reminding the group of the literacy crisis, the consultant assured them that standardization would solve at least two problems of equity. First students in the same school might have different experiences of English 9 because they had different teachers. Second, the county's migrant students lost instructional time because they moved often. With the new standardized curriculum, a student might move from School A to School B and find her new English class (literally) on the same page because all classes would be taught the same way. While this plan had a certain logic, the author acknowledges that teachers all over the country face a similar conundrum: Standardize and impose their own progressive methods, or be the victims of mandates with less progressive roots. While the author and the consultant share the same interest in improving schools, the author feels that the consultant's diagnosis, that there are a lot of really bad teachers out there, fails to consider the influence of environment on teachers' actions and decision making. The consultant's solution to "bad teachers" was a large dose of control in the form of a mandated, uniform program. Teachers' actions are controlled, but the teachers' decision-making power--the teaching self developed through knowledge, experience, and reflection-- is largely bypassed. In this article the author objects to such an extreme level of uniformity in teaching because she argues that mandating practices in the effort to improve teaching paradoxically creates the kind of environment that undermines good teaching.
Descriptors: Grade 9, Teacher Competencies, English Instruction, Academic Standards, Educational Improvement, Counties, Equal Education, Curriculum Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 9
Authoring Institution: N/A