Random thoughts about what others are saying

October24

2006 UCEA Presentation Elmore.mp3

This piece was suggested by Scott McLeod. I found him very thoughtful, but Dr. Elmore is still convinced that education and delivery of instruction can be studied scientifically. He makes frequent analogies to how doctors do professional development, etc.

What I liked was the focus on having standards, reflection, and peer discussion/critique. It was focused on administrators, but I think it’s applicable to teachers themselves

I still contend that education is NOT an endeavor that is well suited to scientific analysis or study. All the problems that plague social science studies (sociology, psychology, political science) are exacerbated in the education setting. You will never have true controls in a study, and at most you will prove a relationship, and rarely able to prove the causation. I don’t think that means we should abandon analyzing our practices, just understand the limitations of taking a scientific approach.

Politics – Child health care in U.S. lambasted – sacbee.com

Seems like health care practitioners are not following procedures/protocols and they are not “ex-practioners” as Dr. Elmore suggested. My own impression having a dh who went to a law school, and just what I’ve caught in the papers about the medical profession is that the entry barriers to those professions is very high, but they are loathe to throw out fellow professionals not meeting standards of practice. For example, my state has a very high standard for licensing attorneys (a tough exam), and will not accept bar passage from any other state. The entry level is HIGH but, they police themselves, which teaching does not, and they are loathe to remove fellow professionals from that profession. If you follow market theory, to have this high entry level to the profession education would have to have higher pay, and be willing to live with having fewer teachers (because they would be weeded out). This would exacerbate the shortages we already have in the profession. Medicine has gotten around this by importing residents (doctors) from other countries. There never seems to be a complaint that there is a shortage of attorneys and I’ll let that statement stand on its own.

Kevin’s Meandering Mind » Blog Archive » Week in a Sentence: The Reflective Dogtrax

Kevin H (dogtrax) shares his practice of reflection using one sentence. Also, there is some audio of UMASS students doing an audio reflection. They are longer than one sentence, but not by much.

So this brings me back to Dr. Elmore’s original point, that we need standards based on higher level thinking and tasks that have some basis in the real world, we need teachers to be reflecting on their practice not just alone, but with their peers and administrators. Isn’t that what Kevin and the students at UMass are doing? I think it’s what I’m trying to do when I post my weekly reflections. Is this what all of us should be doing?

Dr. Elmore’s point that teachers need uniform high level standards of practice (as physicians have protocols) with rigorous self-reflection and evaluations to make us more professional is a good one, and the standards he is focusing on making sure that kids are getting inquiry from the highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy is something I agree with. His use of doctors as an example of a profession that maintains this practice after one becomes a doctor and uses it to weed out doctors who do not follow them is problematic. They may use it to weed out potential doctors, but doctors in practice stay in practice unless they commit gross acts of malpractice. Hey, something else to consider, intern doctors and law clerks (law students who work in firms) get stipends or salaries. Unless you are an intern teacher, you pay a university fees for the privilege of providing free labor to a master teacher (and hopefully gain some wisdom from them). If you’re an intern you pay the university part of your salary to provide guidance an insight into your teaching practices.

The last part of the speech (the one Scott made into a movie with pictures) is the strongest.

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