Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Time Must Be A Variable For Student Success

The Obama administration is now putting out a monetary package to encourage states to be a catalyst for change. In order for a state to qualify, it must demonstrate that it is tying student performance to teacher performance so as to determine effective teaching. But, where is the recognition that we need to modify the system rather that ask teachers and students to do more with something guaranteed not to engender success for so many?

Nowhere in my readings have I found encouragement and funds to reward systems that are trying to build an educational environment based on students’ mastery and making time a variable. As long as time is fixed, then student progress is what is variable within the fixed time frame. Thus, 30% of the student population is punished through failures.

If we moved in core areas - mainly English and Math - to Computer Based Learning ("CBL" or Computer Assisted Instruction “CAI”), the student becomes the class and each student is given time to master the materials. Further, what is learned becomes a tool for future learning. In science and social studies, projects that are meaningful to students can be agreed and assigned. Small groups then may use technology for research purposes as well as to make powerpoint presentations to fellow students. This transformation cannot be done without the community, without curriculum design and without teachers who are trained to utilize the environment correctly.

Student management also is important so that the teacher, the student and the parent see the progress of each student. This type of system provides accessibility to all partners, including the principal and state, as well as a vehicle to help determine the effectiveness of the learning environment in the classroom.

If you know of locations where the above model is being used, please let me know. Overall, appreciate your thoughts on transforming our educational system to treat each student as the class.


Blogger Connie said...

Dr. Fischler... Look at this website about a district in Colorado who has eliminated grade levels and let students progress on their own pace.


7:34 PM  
Blogger Steve English Teacher said...

I agree that time should be a variable -- and I hope the schools in NYC are including options, alternative assessments, to allow flexible test-taking. (See also Howard Gardner, Intelligence Reframed, after page 167). As a teacher of students of English as a second language, I know that some students do better if they can take an exam home with them and then, after much practice, come in on Monday with a strong performance. That's a motivated student. That student does four times the work that a student does who sits and writes his answers... So I remove time and I ask the students who take more time to do an especially good job... I read somewhere that if the teacher expects that the students will do a lot of work, then the students often do the work. Teacher expectations are projected onto the class. Best wishes,,

10:50 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Attempting to contact Dr. Fischler Am former Ossining student... class of 59... over 100 are gathering Oct 10th for 50th reunion... have web site about class with many comments you would find of interest
Would love to have comment from you to read at reunion (or come to event if in area)

Bruce Hutchins... OHS '59 Colgate Univ. '63... Principal Dracut High School, Dracut Ma 1972-2002... retired Cape Cod

5:13 PM  

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