This book was recommended to me by a library patron; she said it was her mother's favorite book. Since it was a memoir about teaching, I decided to giThis book was recommended to me by a library patron; she said it was her mother's favorite book. Since it was a memoir about teaching, I decided to give it a try. The strengths of this book actually made me kind of sad...specifically, the author is very straightforward about the economic and professional issues facing teachers. The issues he faced in the 1920s and 1930s in Kentucky are the same issues we are dealing with today. While some of his teaching methods resonated, I had some difficulties with the justifications for violence in the book. The descriptions of conflicts sometimes seemed so far-fetched, I decided they had to be true...otherwise, they would make more sense! Overall, I strongly recommend this book as a first-person view of school systems in the early 20th century. This would be a good book to put you in the right frame of mind for tackling Dewey. ...more
This book is actually quite scary, from a philosophical perspective. That's the source of my one star rating...I read this during a philosophy of educThis book is actually quite scary, from a philosophical perspective. That's the source of my one star rating...I read this during a philosophy of education class. Unfortunately, that was over a year ago, so without reviewing my notes and/or spending considerable time thinking about it, about all I can come up with right now is "Behaviorism Bad." It was a fairly easy book to read....more
This book was just what I was looking for, and then some. It is packed with concise information to help me better understand how to use inquiry in a sThis book was just what I was looking for, and then some. It is packed with concise information to help me better understand how to use inquiry in a science classroom.
I'm transitioning to a career as a science teacher after working in nuclear power for a decade. My high school and college science classes were not inquiry based; they were traditional, old-school, lecture and take the test type classes. While I have a strong content knowledge base, I'm a little bit nervous about how I'm going to teach using a method different from the way I was taught.
The first four chapters include a brief theoretical background on inquiry learning, including a comparison between inquiry based classrooms and traditional science classrooms.
Chapters 5 and 6 discuss activities and lab experiments. Four levels of activities include demonstrations, activities, teacher-initiated inquiry, and student-initiated inquiry. I particularly liked the section discussing discrepant events, as that builds on content covered in my science lab methods course. Chapter 6 covers ways to modify existing lab experiments to incorporate more inquiry.
Chapter 7 includes tips and ideas for classroom management in an inquiry classroom.
Chapter 8 covers assessment. I consider this to be one of the weaker chapters in the book because of what it does not contain. It contains many ideas for using rubrics, performance tasks, monitoring charts, interviews, and other forms of authentic assessment. This information is great and exciting, but I felt like it ignored the reality of a world of multiple-choice, standardized NCLB tests. I had hoped for tips on how to integrate standardized test-prep into an inquiry classroom.
Chapters 9-12 are case studies covering specific topic areas. They include a sample activity and a complete discussion of how it is implemented, including a questions and answer section from the teachers.
Throughout the book, print and internet resources are mentioned as applicable to a topic. Most of the links were still active, although I did find one or two dead ones. A 13 page appendix listing resources is included, as well 5 pages of references.
I was inspired to take over 20 pages of notes while going through this book (checked out from the campus library). I expect to reference my notes frequently, until I am able to buy my own copy. ...more
This is the assigned text for a graduate level class called "Principles of Assessment." The class is a condensed summer class, being taught over a thrThis is the assigned text for a graduate level class called "Principles of Assessment." The class is a condensed summer class, being taught over a three week time period.
This book contains bare-bones information about assessment. With the supplemental handouts the instructor provides, it adequately provides basic information for most of the students taking the class - graduate students going into special education or school counseling. For the group of us taking this class as part of an alternate licensure program, the book is a little of base.
It starts off with a discussion of reliability and validity. Different test formats are discussed in a middle section. Specialized types of tests (aptitude, personality, intelligence, etc.) each get a chapter. The final two chapters are on test bias and legal issues surrounding testing.
I started to say that this book contained too much information on specialized (standardized) tests to be very valuable for the classroom teacher. It doesn't really; it just contains insufficient information on formative testing, testing modifications, performance assessment, portfolios, etc.
I'm reading another assessment text, Classroom Assessment What Teachers Need to Know, to get an alternate viewpoint. I'm not as far along in that book, but so far it seems to contain more information that is geared towards classroom teaching.
I suspect that the other text was selected for our class because it is shorter and easier to read. Plus, Popham includes some opinionated material which could be distracting to students.
I'm reading this as part of a class - I've been writing reaction papers on each chapter. I'm going to use selected parts of my reaction papers as a reI'm reading this as part of a class - I've been writing reaction papers on each chapter. I'm going to use selected parts of my reaction papers as a review.
Chapter 1 -This chapter reinforced my belief in the need for strong interdisciplinary and integrated scientific education. This chapter challenged my idea of the primary goal of science education. In my high school, physics and chemistry were both considered to be classes for college bound students, with physics primarily for those who might go into scientific careers. I have unconsciously adopted a bias in favor of science as college preparatory work as opposed to being essential knowledge for everyone.
Chapter 2 - I was surprised at how much curriculum choice influenced instructional methods and saddened to hear that NSF-funded programs are not widely used (although I’m slightly skeptical of NSF reviews of NSF curriculum). The research on undergraduate achievement which showed that addressing fewer topics in more depth in high school physics classes resulted in higher grades in undergraduate physics courses makes logical sense to me based on my prior conceptions. I am also not surprised that state assessment methodologies result in more focus on content mastery and less on laboratory experiences and instructional techniques, although it was interesting to read about the New York and Vermont experiments with performance assessments.
Chapter 3 - I am surprised that the typical laboratory experience is still the most common model in high schools. I am also impressed with the increased understanding across all subgroups shown by some of the integrated instructional units. I am curious about the results of scaling them to larger populations. Additionally, two relatively minor comments struck me as being noteworthy. On page 89, it is stated that “Students tend to adjust their observations to fit their current beliefs rather than change their beliefs in the face of conflicting observations.” I had not considered how deeply student perceptions could influence cognitive processes. From page 93: “Some research on typical laboratory experiences indicates that girls handle laboratory equipment less frequently than boys.” This has been a personal trait I have noticed throughout my life. I still have to consciously force myself to be more adventuresome with laboratory equipment, a skill that seems to come naturally to some classmates.
Chapter 4 -I was discouraged to find that laboratory experiences are so isolated from the classroom. I also was surprised by the limited range of some of the experiences, with the pendulum experiment being one example. It seems so obvious that the second method (where students pick variables to explore, identifying the dependent and independent variables, and then analyzing the results) would provide a much better learning experience. I also was struck by the description of the permeable membrane experiment. Trying to simultaneously measure two variables is complex and probably causes many students to completely miss the point. I remember some of my undergraduate experiences being this way. We had little time, and a complex, cookbook list of things to do. It was often not until I was writing the report afterword that I understood why or what I was doing. I was also struck by the study of three high school teachers (page 130). The unengaged teacher who spent most of his time at his desk had students who more frequently engaged in discussion and in the laboratory activity than the other two. Although none of these teachers was ideal, I was surprised by which one was most effective. ...more
This book has been on my reading list for the past year based on great recommendations on Goodreads; I’m happy to say that it lived up to the hype. IThis book has been on my reading list for the past year based on great recommendations on Goodreads; I’m happy to say that it lived up to the hype. I started to get hooked reading the introduction by Donald Macedo. His use of the term “culturally schizophrenic” resonates with me because it reminds me (a little bit) of how I felt as a woman, working in engineering, in the Navy. I felt compartmentalized, like the different parts of my world did not connect. I don’t think it was exactly the same feeling Macedo was describing, but it gave me a reference point for thinking about situations where two diverse cultures clash. Also in the introduction, Macedo discusses how students in some parts of the world risk punishment and imprisonment to read Pedagogy of the Oppressed, while in most United States undergraduate and graduate programs, it is omitted. My first instinct when reading this was very cynical; of course it was omitted, because educational leaders are scared. If people read Freire and understand how full of domination the banking model of education is, they’ll be hesitant to become part of the U.S. school system. Students will be overcome by despair, and the colleges of education will lose the next generation of school teachers. I was thinking of this from an education as social reproduction viewpoint. When I got to the preface, written by Freire, I was awed to find that he had a response for my cynicism. He talks about the fear of freedom – particularly, he talks about the views held by oppressors that “It is better for the victims of injustice not to recognize themselves as such (Freire, 2000, p. 36).” I could see that my response came from my own personal fears, combined with a lack of faith in the students pursuing careers in teaching. This book has given me a completely new way to look at educational practices. From assignments and discussions in my methods class to my daughter’s parent teacher conference, I have started to see ways in which education could be more liberatory and less an exercise of power and domination. I don’t mean to imply that my methods teacher or my daughter’s teacher are unusually domineering – mostly, I’m thinking of things that are systemic and related to a banking system of education or are antidialogical in nature. The language at times was difficult; this is a dense book, packed with thoughts and ideas. I had to read it slowly and will be reading it again in the future. Personally, this book also provided a good answer to a question I’ve been asking teachers: why don’t we have national standards in education? On the surface, with a highly mobile society and increasing demands on teachers’ time, I thought that national standards would keep every state and local school district from reinventing the wheel periodically, allowing the educational focus to be on children. Freire’s idea that the people have the responsibility to decide what they need to know (based on the process of identifying generative themes) made me see the potential for oppression and irrelevance in adoption of national standards. In one of those strange coincidences of life, I then found an opinion article on the New York Times website about a national standards project: http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.co.... I came away from reading this book feeling uplifted and excited about the possibilities of practicing freedom as a teacher; at the same time, I’m daunted by some of the systemic obstacles that I will face. ...more