Here’s something I just cannot let pass.
Last year about this time, I published this blog post on the pedagogical fad of the “flipped classroom.” The theory of the flipped classroom was presented at a professional development meeting as a fait accompli several months earlier in the school in which I served. When I asked in this session about students living in homeless shelters, or in other circumstances where broadband internet is unavailable, and therefore the various videos on which the flipped classroom depends, the presenter and his administrative enablers had no answer.
So, I am not at all surprised to find in Google headlines this morning this report on the homework gap and its relation to students’ struggle in school. The culprit? Why it is none other than the absence of a reliable internet connection. My reaction? Roll “Theme from ‘The Vindicators'” by The Fleshtones.
Readers of Mark’s Text Terminal may recall that I posted this this item earlier this year about a particularly egregious incident of police violence in the dismal school in which I have worked this year.
I’m pleased to report that justice prevailed
In this instance, I hope Dr. King was right: “Let us remember the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
“The Sumerian god of water and wisdom. Enki lived near the ancient city of Eridu in his watery palace in the Abzu—probably the Persian Gulf. This god, like his later Babylonian counterpart Ea, was principally responsible for ordering the functions of the elements that affect life on earth. Cleverest of the gods, he provided the land with sweet water, fathered Uttu, the goddess of plants, found a way to rescue Inanna from the underworld, and saved mankind from extermination in the great flood. He was not, however, infallible. While in his cups, he let the goddess slip away with his “divine decrees,” which would give supremacy to her favored city of Erech instead of to Eridu. His attempt to create man was a pathetic failure, and it was left to the goddess Nintu to mold of clay a satisfactory human being.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
[May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and during themed history months I endeavor to keep the focus on pedagogical materials related to the history of the group whose achievements and culture are observed. That said, occasionally a blog post comes along, such as the one below, that are simply too important to let pass. Jan Resseger has written cogently–I’m hard-pressed, frankly, to imagine how this case could be summarized more cogently, and I envy Ms. Resseger’s talent as a prose stylist–about the disaster that is Betsy DeVos. I believe her policies, particularly where the kinds of struggling learners I have served throughout my career are concerned, have already found a home in some schools. Indeed, the school in which I currently serve has a well-established track record of ignoring the special needs students who have enrolled in it.]
It surprised me to hear the word “clickbait” in Betsy DeVos’s working vocabulary. I wonder if it wasn’t put into her speech—on Monday in Baltimore at the Education Writers Association’s annual meeting—by one of her more with-it staffers. I confess that as a retired person, I was slow several years ago to grasp the meaning of the term, but as a blogger I know I paid attention, even before I knew the word, to the number of people who click on posts about particular topics. I realize, of course, that my purpose is to do justice, not to pay attention to the number of clicks on different subjects, but like all writers who post on-line, I notice. And I grieve about the paucity of clicks on worthy topics.
As you have, no doubt, heard by now, Betsy DeVos went to the Education Writers Association and asked the nation’s education journalists…
View original post 1,422 more words
[Here’s an interesting blog I discovered this morning on Twitter. It’s definitely worth a look.]
Welcome to Pedagogy & American Literary Studies
PALS is pleased to welcome a guest post by Alex Bernstein a poet, teacher, and editor in New York City. Please find below Bernstein’s descriptions of how he made Robert Hayden’s poetry more accessible through Drake.
Poetry is a great medium for teaching students close reading skills. Usually, when introducing poetry to students who have never enjoyed reading at all, I say that poems are meant to be difficult because they are designed expressly to reanimate and reactivate the language we already know. This disclaimer often leads to relief: if you use language, I say, in any way on a daily basis, you can actively read poetry. The poet and teacher, Matthew Zapruder, says in his collection of essays, Why Poetry (2017), “the true difficulty—and reward—of poetry is in reading what is actually on the page carefully” (18). For me, the “reward” of poetry in the classroom is seeing…
View original post 1,630 more words
[As a nation, we ignore this development at our peril]
You’d have to be pretty out of touch to have missed that teachers, who have been striking all year from West Virginia to Kentucky to Oklahoma to California, have been showing us their pay is inadequate and their working conditions are horrible. Schools in too many places feature huge classes (too few teachers) and an absence of counselors, social workers, librarians and nurses. All this ultimately signals a school finance problem stemming from the Great Recession a decade ago and state legislatures and governors determined to cut taxes.
All this is well documented in academic research. Emma Garcia and Elaine Weiss recently released the first in a series of studies from the Economic Policy Institute, a report they summarize in a short, policy piece: “In our report we argue that when issues such as teacher qualifications and equity across communities are taken into consideration, shortages are more concerning than we…
View original post 1,218 more words
This article on homework from The Atlantic–a practice of which teachers really ought to be skeptical–is definitely worth a look.