Education

“Since there is no single set of abilities running throughout human nature, there is no single curriculum which all should undergo. Rather, the schools should teach everything that anyone is interested in learning.”  John Dewey

On Teaching and Learning

Posted by on Jan 14, 2012 in Education | 0 comments

My own educational journey, mirroring both positive and negative aspects of teaching and learning, provided the major impetus for me to enter the field of education. One of the major reasons I wanted to teach was to provide children with educational experiences that mirrored the best of my own experiences while working to improve the ways in which children learn. From a very young age, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to explore and eventually make sense of the world around me. I spent hours watching someone repair a device in our home or...

read more

Education for All

Posted by on Jan 14, 2012 in Education | 0 comments

The Mind Trust has given the Indianapolis community a careful and well-reasoned proposal for improving education, as well as opening the dialogue with all segments of our community. In my experience as an educator in private, public and charter schools, I have seen great things happen when the collective creativity of teachers and local school administrators is brought to bear on solving issues involving the education of our children. No one approach, school, or philosophy (certainly not a top-down approach) will work in meeting the diverse...

read more

A Curriculum for the New Year

Posted by on Jan 14, 2012 in Education | 0 comments

During the winter break from my teaching responsibilities at the Project School, I have been able to catch up on some much needed rest as well as to read some wonderful books that help frame the complex issues we face in education. I was particularly struck by the questions all of us need to ask regarding what and how we teach, from the book, Teaching for Understanding, by Martha Stone Wiske. In the book’s introduction, Ms. Stone presents four questions about teaching and understanding that bear mentioning in this article. What topics are...

read more

Joy of Learning

Posted by on Jan 14, 2012 in Education | 0 comments

During the summer break, I had the opportunity to reflect on what has been written about education, as well as my own journey this past year, as I returned to the classroom. What strikes me most, is the overwhelming pressure we put on our children, our teachers, our parents, our community, and our leaders. While it is essential that we discuss critical issues affecting the education of our future generations and to seek answers to these issues, I want to challenge us not to lose the “joy” of learning. I believe we sometimes forget the...

read more

Returning to the Classroom

Posted by on Jan 14, 2012 in Education | 0 comments

Five weeks ago, I returned to the classroom as a 4th and 5th grade teacher at a Charter School in Indianapolis, after more than 25 years away from teaching in an urban setting. My decision has proved to be a wonderful and challenging experience. I have a very special group of students, many of whom were deemed to have been unsuccessful in other schools throughout the city. I believe that the school’s philosophy of “education for all” is not only a powerful statement but lived out daily as we work to help children succeed where others...

read more

Tradition

Posted by on Jan 14, 2012 in Education | 0 comments

I just finished reading an article entitled, “The Crisis in Contemporary Education” written by Mortimer J. Adler. In it he speaks about a “crisis as a turning point.” He goes on to describe how various politicians and organizations engage in “name-calling” when it comes to discussions about education. He asks us to attempt to balance tradition with invention, as they are both necessary to confront the crisis in education we now face. Is it possible for us to have a conversation that centers more on the needs of our children and...

read more

How Children Fail

Posted by on Jan 14, 2012 in Education | 0 comments

I am in the process of reading “How Children Fail” by John Holt. I was struck by his argument that children fail primarily “because they are afraid, bored and confused.” While I agree with many of the ideas he proposes related to the school environment, I feel that once again he, like others, is blaming the victim, our children for a failure to learn. While he places blame on teachers and schools, I feel he misses the bigger issue. How do we as a society and specifically the incredibly caring people of Indianapolis, fail to help all...

read more

Testing

Posted by on Jan 14, 2012 in Education | 0 comments

This week I had the opportunity to watch 4th and 5th graders for an entire day and became intrigued by the idea of evaluation and testing. What struck me was how much emphasis we place on getting the “right” answer versus the thinking process and skill development needed in the real world after children are no longer in school. For example, a teacher, not during a math lesson, put the equation 25 x 3 on the board. One girl in the class raised her hand and said that the answer was somewhere near 70, since she did not yet have mastery of the...

read more

State Cuts

Posted by on Jan 14, 2012 in Education | 0 comments

My first reaction to the proposal by our Governor to make cuts in education was one of outrage and sadness. How could we take even more away from our children’s education? But as I thought carefully through the potential impact, I realized that this would be an opportunity for all who deeply care about education to see where each of our school districts make essential cuts. Will districts and administrators live up to their professed core values or will we see cuts having an impact on the very things that can provide hope for the future of...

read more