Friday, September 9, 2011

you can't teach teachers how to teach

We all have had that one teacher that you absolutely hate for whatever reason; maybe their tests were impossible, maybe they gave a lot of homework, or maybe they just "don't know how to teach." I could tell you many of stories of my frustrations with teacher that just didn't know how to teach. I have found myself in many situations teaching myself the materials of the class. When I don't get a grade that I'm satisfied with, I immediately blame it on the teacher.

But the other day I was reading an article on about the education system in America. According to the article, about 5,000 people participated in a Save Our Schools march, an organization mostly of teachers and parents protesting for more funding for schools, more local control over the curriculum, and an end to standardized tests. In this article (which you can check out here), teachers shared their stories about their fights with the school on the way they taught. The story that caught my attention was that of Sabrina Stevens Shupe. This 25 year old teacher taught students to find what was relevant to them in an active, engaging way. However, she was told to stop teaching that way and to focus more on skills that will help students on standardized state tests.

Uhhhh, seriously? You can't teach a teacher how to teach! No one knows how a student learns better than a teacher. Think about it, kids spend more time around their teachers than they do their parents in most cases. The relationship between the teacher and the student is essential for a student's success. No one, not even parents, know how a student learns best than a teacher.

Here is where I think the most problem lies. No one realizes that not everyone learns the same way. Parents, professors, government officials, etc. need to understand that you cannot force upon a student one way of learning. Just because your neighbor's kid has a photographic memory doesn't mean you can force your child to develop a photographic memory to do well. It doesn't work that way. If reading doesn't help your child learn the material, it doesn't matter how many times you make them read that same chapter over and over, he or she is NOT going to grasp that material. It's not because they're stupid, it's because that's not how they learn. But of course, after they get their unsatisfactory scores back, they're going definitely feel stupid. They are are going to feel like there's absolutely no way for them to do better because they can't grasp any material through reading the text book and that is what leads to our wonderful drop out rates.

I blame this manner of thinking completely on standardized tests and the competition it has created between states to see who has the "smartest" kids. No, you don't have the most intelligent kids in your state, you have a bunch of well trained students turned robots. There is no way to measure a student's intelligence. You can't judge a student's capability with a number or letter grade.

I can't blame the teacher anymore. They try to teach the best way they can with the conditions and paycheck given to them. It's time to change our way of thinking and the way our education system works.

Don't give up,


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We're Hera and Naz. Both of us are full time biology majors at the lovely University of Southern Indiana. When we're not out doing nerdy school stuff, we enjoy shopping, drinking slushies, and of course, writing on this awesome blog.

'What Makes the World Go Round' was started in August of 2011 to be a catch-all for our thoughts. We try and update as much as we can, depending on how hectic our lives. So bear with us. :) Please feel free to browse (by clicking on the cloud tabs above), comment and/or subscribe. We love hearing what you have to say!

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