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John Gross

Could not agree more but......Starting with the administration. One needs a school infrastructure that is friendly to this type of thinking. Otherwise, one gets needs improvement on ones evaluations because the "old school" pervades in our schools today. Silence is golden, orderliness is a must and the "test" must be passed to show "growth" in math, science, etc. States demand it and we all know there's only one way to reach the goal, straight rows of quiet robots.

To share the problem, parents need to reinvent priorities. We need discipline in our schools. Look around you! I'll wager that in many schools today a program of this type would be a welcome change for the students who care absolutely nothing about learning. Only their cellphones, Facebook, MP3 players and so forth. When education allows these airheads to be excluded or separated out from the genuine "educable" students, then we've made some progress.
As long as we're changing why not take away the requirement that all must attend school?

Lloyd Brown

Self-prepared for life beyond the classroom - well said. But how can teachers who have never worked outside education have the needed experience of 'beyond the classroom' to be effective coaches.

I taught for 5 years, and then completed an exciting 25 years in industry in a range of countries, and would like to go back teaching for my last 10 working years and would do a far better job than my first 5 year - but the pay would be only 30% of what I earn which is a very hard transition to accept.

Jennifer Roland

I'm working on a compilation of the best articles from the past 5 years of Learning & Leading with Technology, published by ISTE. I am hoping you and your readers would be interested in visiting my blog and nominating your favorite articles.


W. Crockett

Being an school administrator I couldn't agree more. I bet John would be surprised to know that there are many administrators out there that do not subscribe to the "Cemetery" classroom.

Discipline problems don't just occur, and I would venture to say that most students care about their education. I think this can be proved by the 90%+ attendance rates most schools have.

We get into trouble when we force upon them "artificial rigor," great term Dave. At my school we have a term, sadly enough WADILT, pronounced wa dilt, We've Always Done It Like That. Why do we force students to complete "projects" that are neither fun or engaging or don't use the tools/strengths of the learners of today? Probably the same reason why we still buy the 2008 Encyclopedia Britannica for the Library. WADILT


Ahh, the amazing triteness of this post. The repetitiveness. The singing of the party line. How absolutely positively remarkably uniform, lemming-like, and dull.

I wish a had a cold lager for every time I've read this same '60's psycho-whatever this past year.

If you teach your daughter that a research paper is dull and worthless, you are hardly doing her any favors. No wonder my friend Laura at OSU finds that her students the past decade can't write or research their way out of a wet paper bag! Should I introduce you all?

Sometimes in life, you have to research and write on topics that don't interest you. In fact, for most people that is the case. I didn't really want to learn how to fill out an OPW grant app this week, but guess what?

As for memorization, what do you suppose that actors and singers do most every day of their professional lives? What do professional basketball players spend their days doing if not rote? What do military recruits, officer candidates, entire companies and brigades spend their training cycles doing? I sure want my pharmacologist to have a bit of memorization in his background. And my bridge engineer.

You got some right: 'The time has come for teachers to move away from brief exposure to topics, and instead, move closer to authentic learning'.

Rote memorization, repetitive practice, and solid research and writing are the path to that.

Dave Sherman

Yea, Ed. You really nailed it. I will make sure that my daughter memorizes the capitals of all 50 states before bed tonight because that will definitely help her in school tomorrow and in life 20 years from now.

The flaw in your argument is that you equate solid research with only one way to do research. There are many ways to teach students how to research a topic. The "old fashioned research paper" might be good for you, but is it the only way? Why not teach numerous strategies and let them choose? (Sorry if that strays off the company line)

No, I am going to teach my daughter to think for herself so she is prepared to solve problems in life when she encounters something that she did not memorize for some test given by a dull teacher who focused on lecture and rote memorization. Maybe your friend Laura needs to change - not the teachers in the elementary and middle schools.

My post is repetitive? Isn't that the exact word you use in your last sentence? It appears as if your idea of good instruction is more uniform, lemming-like, and dull than this post.


Ah, "thinking for themselves"! Another great 60's hackneyed phrase seen 1000 times in late 2007. Oh, how innovative, fresh, and insightful! 'Twould that only I could think so originally!

When your daughter has redesigned the world's most complex electronic system 2 years out of college, talk to me about 'prepared to solve problems in life'.

When American students return to the engineering, science, and medical programs in our colleges, tell me how great "critical thinking" instruction is.

When our students are familiar with a small fraction of the history that European students are, we can sing the praises of "Authentic learning".

When schools with 20% literacy rates in 9th grade are few and far between, fine we'll hear about self-directed learning and intrinsic meaning...whatever you think that means.

Meanwhile, go to the back of the line of the misinformed who preach this junk day in and day out. Yuck.

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