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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Readings

In an order, the things teachers need to do to attain recognition are the same as the things students need to do. If students are expected to submit writings based on their researches, this is also what teachers should do. If students are expected to do digital storytelling, this is also what teachers should do.

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Any plan would be voluntary.

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We could use the old university model of teaching. New affiliates would be given a reading list, and online “lectures” or discussions would “cover” these readings, but the important events would be a series of written examinations, in which affiliates demonstrated both their writing skill and their command of the materials. Teachers who want to be “certified” could challenge these examinations. The emphasis would thus be on knowledge of the core body of material rather than on spending time in the classes, whether live or online.

The curriculum would have three parts:

Skills: (such as using oral history, doing research in archives, doing research-based writing).
Readings: (familiarity with a selected list of readings in history, pedagagy, and literature.
Attitudes: Demonstrated commitment to accepting direction, collaborating with others, meeting responsibilities, service to others

Readings in Philosophy
A one-book treatment of the Great Books, such as Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind (our teachers should have at least a conversational familiarity with the main outline of the Western tradition)
A one-book treatment of the contemporary world, such as Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue (we need a shared text to frame our discussions of what do kids today need to know)
A one-book interpretation of the ideas in the U.S. Constitution, such as Russell Kirk’s The Roots of American Order (the fact of our linkage to each other in a constitutional regime maybe the strongest source of unity for public school teachers)

Readings in Education
A book that presents a clear development sequence for understanding and discussing students, such as Kieran Egan’s The Educated Mind (Questions of what is taught when and how can be discussed more clearly with some theory of how teenage minds are taking form)
A book that presents a one-volume history of public schooling, such as Diane Ravith’s Left Behind (New education programs should look to the past both for innovation and for cautionary tales. Nearly everthing we’ve discussed doing has been tried before).

Readings in Pedagogy
A book that presents a view of how to teach literature
A book focusing on how to do oral history
A book focusing on how to teach history
A book focusing on close reading or Socratic dialogues
A book focusing on the place-based approach
A book focusing on how to teach writing

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 06/29 at 01:32 PM
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