We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A preliminary program for the National Council of Teachers of English conference (Nov. 18-21, Orlando) lists a session, "Leading Out Our Profession Through Advocacy," that blames Ronald Reagan (whatever happened to blaming Bush?) for scripted lessons and mandates handed down to classroom teachers in the cause of school reform: "During the Reagan years, systems and structures were set in place so that corporate giants and government would have more control over education," resulting in policies such as No Child Left Behind and now even the Obama Race to the Top. The NCTE workshop's answer to all that? "Critical reflection, dialogue, and action toward an educational reform and advocacy that enables teachers and learners to collaborate, explore, engage, and renew ourselves through positive, empowering, professional advocacy."
If I can peer clearly through the edubabble, I think this is a union training session. Not certain, though. By the way, what's a "learner"?
"Not all the professorial deliberations are so dreary. Consider the fun-loving folks at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics who, at a regional conference (Oct. 28-29, New Orleans), will be devoting much attention to using games and gambits to teach math. "The Way to Students' Minds Is Through Their Stomachs" (grades 6-8) advises: "Use food such as doughnuts, cookies, soft drinks, candy, pizza, and many other foods to teach and reinforce math concepts. This workshop will make algebra, math connections, data analysis, geometry, measurement, problem solving, reasoning, numbers, and operations come alive for your students."
Here's an offering from an upcoming conference for School Counselors in Maine:
A.5 Hidden Agendas: Who is Advocating for What? (All)
This workshop is primarily designed to help counselors become more aware of the power of hidden agendas in schools and the roles counselors play in identifying and addressing those agendas. Participants will engage in an activity designed to build greater consciousness of possible hidden agendas and explore ways to shift the energy and direction of those agendas.
A lot of those presentations at conferences end up being given at primary and secondary schools across the country, as some sort of inservice training. The reaction of most teachers to these is to roll their eyes. Here we go again, they think. The nth time this has been packaged. Education fad of the year, or the biannual fad.
The ed school people are always trying to find THE NEXT BIG THING, to reinvent the wheel, instead of trying to uncover what in 2,500 years of formal classrooms has worked- and not worked. Different learning styles was the buzzword for a while. More current research states that different learning styles is just bunk. If you think that used car salesmen are the epitome of flim flam artists, you haven't met an ed school theorist. By comparison, the stereotyped used car salesman is a straight talker.
It is interesting how many education-speak buzzwords appear in the highlighted paragraph: "reflection," "collaborate," "advocacy," to mention just a few. You could write several paragraphs- or pages for that matter- interspersed with those education-speak buzzwords, and received a standing ovation at those conferences. Buzz, buzz, buzz.
That the word "advocacy" appears so many times suggest to me that these educators feel burned by requirements for No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top and want to fight back via their union policies. I agree, just what the heck are "learners"?
NRO has a new James O'Keefe (the ACORN expose guy) video of a NJ Educational Administrators conference. Much of the bad stuff is merely petty, childish, and profane; a few things are cause for real concern.
Assistant Village Idiot
"What's a 'learner'?"
Department Of (Not Much) Education and NEA/AFT jointly-approved NewSpeak for: "Student who remains compliant to our wishes and absorbent to our b*llsh*t." Also, "Who we use to justify all the silly cr*p we do, and the phoney-baloney cr*p we spout."
I can honestly attest to it - I was a middle school/high school classroom teacher and union member in good standing for nearly 18 years, before finally smartening-up a bit and leaving to earn an honest living. The last five years I was in the "profession", the horse-manure piled higher by an order of magnitude every year.
Your remarks about "eduspeak/write" brought a deep chuckle. Can you beliee that back in 1969 I was grad asst. editor of the UMass School of Ed. 'house organ', TREND. As an English major/teacher I finally had to insert a slam at "educationese", the buzz-words jargon of the trade whereby you can slip the standard tripe in and out of sentences at random and it all ends up sounding the same. Now here you are forty+ years later howling at the wind with the same desperation. EEEK!!!