professornana (professornana) wrote,

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from the trenches

Spent the last few days attending the TCTELA conference. In a former life, I was president of this organization. I am proud to be a member still and to have the chance to present sessions at the conference. This time, in addition to presenting, I was working our exhibit booth. That gave me the chance to talk to teachers about what is happening out there. Even though Texas is not a CCSS adopter, there is still much being handed down from above that wreaks havoc with the day-to-day life of the classroom. The teachers I spoke to were thrilled to have an ear that listened to the stories they had to tell (and in some cases a shoulder to cry on). Rather than repeat the indignities (and there are plenty), though, I want to remark on the resilience of the teachers who stopped by to talk. They are fighting the good fight: reading aloud, giving kids choice in books, using workshop to teach reading and writing, and sharing their own lives as readers and writers with their kids.

I want to thank all of you who are fighting the good fight, who are saying to those who are NOT in the classroom and yet still dictating what should go on inside those walls that you will continue to use the BEST practices, the ones we know work. I recall back during my doctoral classes, Dick Abrahamson had us scour the journals to find articles we believed were touchstone pieces. We found articles from the early part of the 20th century on the importance of reading aloud and articles from the 20s, 30s, and 40s about using authentic literature, about eliciting authentic response. These elements are not new nor are they responsible for what CCSS authors claim are the horrible state of education today. We have decades of research that support these elements. After 10+ years of NCLB and a couple years of CCSS, we have no research to indicate they worked at all or will work down the road. So, I think I will stick with the tried and true rather than the tired (dissecting text) and false (multiple choice/guess tests over texts).
Tags: heroes, teachers
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