Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Panel Debates What Makes a Good Teacher



  1. After attending the panel discussion last night on proposed changes to teacher licensure, I'm equally frustrated and encouraged. The discussion was a good one and the panel seemed fair yet pointed. Dr. Bennett didn't really answer any questions and presented a muddled view of what he's trying to do and a very muddled batch of "research" that he says backs up the proposal. In fact, alot of what he said in public seemed in contradiction to what the proposal actually said (this should be worrisome to Indiana parents). He talked a good game about "listening" and collaboration but this hasn't been how we've seen the department behave so far (I do give him credit for showing up and asking folks to formally comment on the DOE website). There are just so many unanswered questions and contradictions that frustration seems to be the general mood. Real questions remain about teaching kids with special needs, kids coming from poverty, kids learning english and a general sense on just what makes a good teacher.

    Sadly, the big question now isn't "is this bad for Indiana's kids?" but rather, "just how bad is lowering standards for teachers going to be??"

  2. Tony Bennett's comments and beliefs that he will "move aggressively to acknowledge professional experience from other fields" for new teachers poses some nightmarish problems for children in schools.

    How is a former scientist going to teach your child how to read? Knowing how to read and teaching it are very different.

    How is a novelist going to teach your child how to read? Even with knowledge in literature, teaching children how to read requires specific teaching methods that one does not acquire with a literature degree.

    How is an engineer or mathematician going to teach your child how to add and subtract when they have not worked with children before? Knowing mathematics and teaching mathematics are two very different skill sets.

    Parents, think of your own degrees. Could you go into your child's classroom and teach the subjects? Could you get the children engaged and learning in all areas? If you answered no to this question, then you are also answering no to the proposed changes Tony Bennett is proposing.