Friday, May 20, 2011

Chowan Mission Team in Haiti

This week Chowan University has a mission team working in Haiti.  You can follow their daily experiences through their blog:  http://chowanhaiti.wordpress.com/

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Is Integration Allowed in Our Current Educational Climate?

This summer I am teaching a course on integrating English language arts and social studies.  On Tuesday night I asked my graduate students to consider whether integration truly is possible in this era of high stakes testing.  Since then I have realized that I asked  the wrong question.  Of course integration is possible.  Not only is is possible; it is one of the better approaches to instruction.  We have both craft knowledge and research to support that fact.

What I should have asked my students is whether integration is allowed.  Most of my students (27 out of 30) are in-service teachers, and many of them face limitations in how they are allowed to teach.  It seems that many curriculum planners and administrators have interpreted the accountability of mandated tests as meaning that the subjects must be taught in isolation.  It's this type of thinking that has led to the now common approach of teaching-to-the-test.

So what do we do next?  How do we convince decision makers who mandate instructional approaches that  the best way to prepare students for tests is to teach in the ways they learn best?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Welcome to Teaching with Zest

Although I have maintained a photography blog for several years (albeit rather sporadically), this blog is my first attempt at writing publicly about education.  This semester I am requiring my graduate students to maintain blogs to reflect on our course content and its implications for their teaching practices.  I think it only fair that I write along with them.

For those of you who are curious about the blog title, I am referencing Virginia Woolf's quotation, "Teaching without zest is a crime."