professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Here we go again

I posted last week about teacher evaluations and about one "instrument" for doing evaluations from Charlotte Danielson. Lo and behold, today there is a new piece about Danielson and her instrument here: What is amazing is that the latest critic of the Danielson approach is Danielson herself. It is, at best, though, disingenuous. And it reminds me of other instances wherein districts bought into a program and then ruined it in the implementation.

My first real encounter was with Madeline Hunter back when I was teaching in Alief. Here is a link to the MODEL we were expected to follow: Now, don't get me wrong. I think knowing how to design and implement and evaluate lessons is a good thing. But this good thing went horribly wrong quickly. We now had a TEMPLATE for lessons. Each lesson had to have all areas filled in. Evaluation was based on how well I did my Madeline Hunter impression. Imagine all the schools with all these little Madeline Hunter clones teaching. It was incredible. Emphasis was placed on elements and things (how to use an overhead effectively) and not on teaching and learning. Autonomy was lost. This prompted Madeline Hunter herself to write an article entitled, "What's wrong with Madeline Hunter?" in which she discussed how her model was abused when implemented (

And so it goes. In my 40 years as a teacher, I have seen models and programs come and go. I have seen wars break out over the one right way to teach (remember the reading wars, the grammar wars, the writing wars? I do, and I somehow survived them all). This concept of one-size-fits-all runs rampant in education. Each time something is imposed from without (looking at you CCSS), there are going to be problems. And when something is implemented without benefit of actual teacher input, the results can be even more devastating. And, of course, once again, the real victims are the kids.

I hereby apologize to my all grown up now middle school kids who were forced to use hand signals when I did "checking for understanding." I apologize for attempting to bring closure at the end of 45 minutes whether we were ready for closure or not (especially when I was being observed for evaluations). I apologize for grammar packets (basically worksheets stapled together) and for making kids underline the subject once and the verb twice. I would like to think we are done with taking away autonomy, but I know that teachers are still being told what to teach, how to teach and assess it, and on what day it should be done. I am so grateful that I have total autonomy in my teaching. I know that my cohorts in crime are happy with this arrangement as well.

After all, what would a garden be without variation? Would the ocean be so intriguing if there were not shades of blue within?
Tags: idiocy, programs
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