Sunday, March 7, 2010

Assorted on Teaching and Education

Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha Are Revolutionizing Education

Building a Better Teacher ;
He called a wedding videographer he knew through a friend and asked him if he’d like to tag along on some school visits. Their first trip to North Star Academy, a charter school in Newark, turned into a five-year project to record teachers across the country. At first, Lemov financed the trip out of his consulting budget; later, Uncommon Schools paid for it. The odyssey produced a 357-page treatise known among its hundreds of underground fans as Lemov’s Taxonomy. (The official title, attached to a book version being released in April, is “Teach Like a Champion: The 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College.”)

I first encountered the taxonomy this winter in Boston at a training workshop, one of the dozens Lemov gives each year to teachers. Central to Lemov’s argument is a belief that students can’t learn unless the teacher succeeds in capturing their attention and getting them to follow instructions. Educators refer to this art, sometimes derisively, as “classroom management.” The romantic objection to emphasizing it is that a class too focused on rules and order will only replicate the power structure; a more common view is that classroom management is essential but somewhat boring and certainly less interesting than creating lesson plans. While some education schools offer courses in classroom management, they often address only abstract ideas, like the importance of writing up systems of rules, rather than the rules themselves. Other education schools do not teach the subject at all. Lemov’s view is that getting students to pay attention is not only crucial but also a skill as specialized, intricate and learnable as playing guitar.

Andrew Gelman on the above article

Teaching: What I Learned Last Semester

Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College - Doug Lemov

Uncommon Schools


The national curriculum
The first draft of a national curriculum in maths, English, science and history is now online for public consultation.It covers kindergarten to year 10, with the planned changes for years 11 and 12 to be added in April.

National curriculum: the English experience
A three-year review of primary education in England says that the national curriculum and national testing has narrowed schooling and placed too much emphasis on basic literacy and numeracy.

'Workforce Futures'

Skills Australia has handed over a report titled 'Australian Workforce Futures' to the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. Skills Australia is an independent statutory body established to provide advice to the government on future skills.

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