Friday, February 01, 2013

the real core...

This year, public schools across Arkansas are being pushed to implement the Common Core, which is intended to make every child across America the same in their understanding of things and in their ability to read and do math. Who cares now whether you like reading or what you have read as long as you can fill out bubbles on test sheets and read the questions well enough to get an adequate test score?

I think differently about all that. This year I arranged for teachers and school board members from Eureka Springs Public schools to meet with A+ Schools about reintegrating the arts in the curriculum, but learned there's no time in the local teacher inservice training schedule, as training in Common Core Curriculum has taken every bit of spare teacher inservice training time for the whole year. The article in this link describes what our public school students have to look forward to: How Common Core is Depressing America's Intellect, Not Making it Brighter.

At Clear Spring School, we've got the hands, hearts and the arts pretty well in place for life-long learning so we have been investing our teacher training time in Teacher Effectiveness Training. It is a system with proven rewards that has been around since the early 1970's. I first became certified in Teacher Effectiveness Training when I worked with emotionally disturbed children in Memphis in 1971, and I've been a believer in it ever since. When my daughter was in preschool at Clear Spring School, my wife and I took Parent Effectiveness Training in school sponsored classes. For me, this is a great refresher course. By being a better listener, a teacher can actually deal with the real core issues that prevent student success in the classroom, and empower their students as self-directed learners.

In the school wood shop on Wednesday, students were busy wood burning the Elven rune of a quotation about the pleasure one gets from reading on the bench we've been making for the school office. As student's worked two students took turns reading to them about history and geography. They didn't have to read. They weren't asked to read. They read and shared their reading for the pleasure of it. And that it seems, is what is being forgotten in the Common Core Standards. The object of education should not be to make all our children the same, but to help them to discover their own unique contributions to human culture. This is not unrelated to Teacher Effectiveness Training which encourages teachers to listen to and discover the unique voice of each individual child. For those readers who are not teachers, but are parents or involved in personal relationships, either Parent Effectiveness Training or T.E.T can help make things much better.

Today in my wood shop, I'll be listening to wood, paying attention to its grain and character and making best use of it. When things go wrong, I have the ability to fix things or derive new direction from my mistakes.

Make, fix and create...

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