1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Quantity versus Quality?

This is a fascinating file! http://165.224.221.98/surveys/international/intlindicators/pdf/Teachers_working_time.pdf

It gives a comparison of the US and other countries with respect to the number of hours teachers teach. It does not provide statistics of how the students fare in this countries, but it is fairly common knowledge that these countries are (generally) doing better to educate children.

We have, I think, tended to equate hours of teaching with higher student performance. Not to say that students will "automatically" do better the fewer hours (individual) teachers have to teach them, but it does seem in the American system that the so-called accountability is (mis)placed on teachers instead of students.

What teacher at the secondary level hasn't felt exhausted and demoralized at the end of a week, thinking, "I have nothing left!" Our American system seems to resemble more of an assembly line than a school. Undoubtedly, American adminstrators think, "Those lazy Europeans! Those teachers do nothing!" But look at the quality of their "product." Less is more.

Wow, a school that expected more preparation (by giving them the time and breathing space necessary to do it well) and less contact hours per year from teachers. That would be innovative (and so simple).

3 comments:

Freder1ck said...

less IS more. I think of the example of l'Arche, founded by Jean Vanier. It does not attempt to be the solution to the problem of helping mentally disabled people in society but to witness to the value of the person. L'Arche houses typically provide a home for only a few people. Instead of imitating the scale of current schools, it would be interesting to see a school that focused on educating a few students well...

PostPaganBaby said...

Precisely. The school I teach at has been agitating for "expansion" and "new campuses" (we're a public charter), but the school lacks a coherent vision, so the paradox is that they want to "export" an ambiguous product .

Charter schools ought to be trying out things on a smaller scale, not simply imitating the "corporate" model of most school districts. What is called "accountability" seems to be mere bureaucracy.

Putting the human person at forefront of the educational project is something I am very desirous of doing in a more coherent and broader way (not simply trying to do it "by myself" as a teacher but with others).

Freder1ck said...

Did you see this article?