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Chapter 5: The Future of Teaching and Learning

Will Richardson Solution Tree Press ePub

It’s easy to conclude that our freedom to learn on our own terms means we in education should singularly focus on developing kids as powerful autodidacts who can teach themselves anything from Minecraft to microorganisms. To be honest, I lean toward that quite a bit. Obviously, I still believe that schools and teachers have a huge role in the learning lives of our kids, but in my view, children are autodidacts out of the womb. But almost by design, schools systemically take away their agency over learning and, in the process, reduce engagement and enthusiasm for it.

That’s got to change. As Cathy Davidson and David Theo Goldberg (2010) write in The Future of Thinking:

The future of conventional learning institutions is past—it’s over—unless those directing the course of our learning institutions realize, now and urgently, the necessity of fundamental and foundational change. Most fundamental to such a change is the understanding that participatory learning is about a process and not always a final product. (pp. 14–15)

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3 SOTL and Interdisciplinary Encounters in the Study of Students’ Understanding of Mathematical Proof

Foreword by Mary Taylor Huber Edited by Indiana University Press ePub

CURTIS BENNETT AND JACQUELINE DEWAR

For students working toward a major in mathematics, learning to appreciate the need for proof and learning to create and write proofs present significant challenges. Much as using the scientific method through hypothesis confirmed by experiment is how scientists discover new information, making conjectures and trying to prove them is how mathematicians discover new results. Unfortunately, whereas the scientific method is a major part of K–12 science education, by 1989, mathematical proof was marginalized in the high school curriculum (Greeno 1994). The 2000 National Council for the Teaching of Mathematics standards have remedied this problem somewhat (Hanna 2000), but many students begin college thinking that mathematics is simply a set of techniques, formulas, and theorems that others have discovered, rather than thinking of mathematics as a creative discipline where new information is being discovered daily.

These misconceptions about mathematics add to the challenge of developing mathematics majors’ understanding of the crucial role of and need for proof. The college and university mathematical community has been addressing this problem in many ways for some years. Not surprisingly, students’ understanding of proof has been the subject of many studies. The many misconceptions students have about what constitutes a proof were detailed and categorized by Gureshon Harel and Larry Sowder (1998). Students from secondary school through college have major difficulties with the tasks of proof construction and proof validation (Weber 2001; Selden and Selden 2003). In a study by Angel Recio and Juan Godino (2001), less than 50 percent of 204 beginning students at the University of Córdoba (Spain) produced a substantially correct proof of an elementary number theory statement, and 40 percent relied solely on empirical evidence.

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Dismantling Public Schools: Reflections against Neoliberal Education Policy

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Dismantling Public Schools

Reflections against Neoliberal Education Policy

NATHALIA JARAMILLO

At the time of this writing, the U.S. senate has confirmed Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. Her confirmation was one of the most controversial to date in the Trump administration, requiring a tiebreaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence. Of all the 2017 Trump cabinet nominees, DeVos has been among the most contested, and within some activist and political circles, despised. To many, DeVos is the epitome of neoliberalism in education. Her platform espouses school choice as equality of opportunity, vis-à-vis the dismantling of public schooling and the redirection of public monies toward an aggressive voucher, charter, and virtual school system. Put simply, public schools are being privatized.

The general public outcry and denouncement of DeVos as secretary of education signals a deep discomfort with the steady encroachment of neoliberal policy in education. Neoliberalism, in its most rudimentary form, promotes an agenda of economic and social transformation under the sign of the free market. Such a position strikes deep at a society’s need to consider the aims and objectives of education. The free market determinism espoused by so-called education leaders such as DeVos suggests that teaching and learning should be cast in terms of profitability alone. Profitability is partly monetary, in that corporate entities will be given the opportunity to bid for educational contracts at will, but there is also a human dimension that needs to be considered. At stake is the very subjectivity of our youth and the ability of our society to challenge the corporate encroachment in our social institutions and to have a voice at the table about what kind of education should be in place to attend to our society’s needs.

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Teachers’ Micropolitics and School Change in Vietnam

International Journal of Educational Ref Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Chi Binh Bui

ABSTRACT: The study describes and analyzes teachers’ micropolitics to serve two purposes: to understand how teachers make sense with the way change is led and to interpret if the way they make sense can influence the change process. This empirical study revealed the following: Teachers felt that their professional development was affected because of change tasks; the way they made sense as such would predictably determine the change process; teachers’ micropolitics was always played out in inseparable interaction with leadership; and the forms of teachers’ micropolitics and teachers’ seniority were surprisingly correlational.

This article first revisits two important concepts: the professional self and the subjective educational theory concerning micropolitics, which often occurs in various forms during school change implementation. These conceptual instruments are two components in teachers’ interpretative (cognitive) framework. Instrumentalizing them in practice is necessary for school leaders to spot teachers’ micropolitics and lead change. The article then presents the methodological underpinnings that guided my study—from study design to research question formulation, data collection, data analysis, and interpretation. Some basics of the study context are also mentioned to enhance the rich description of the data collected. What follows is an analysis of the results and discussion. I argue that, predicated on the analysis, educational research in micropolitics must be done in its interaction with leadership to adequately reflect educational realities. At the end of the article, I mentioned study limitations and recommend some issues for further research.

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4 Assessing Students Responsively

Laurie Robinson Sammons Solution Tree Press ePub

CHAPTER 4

ASSESSING STUDENTS RESPONSIVELY

It was a day of long-anticipated celebration and nervousness as an anxious young man arrived at his new independent law office on its first day of business. After completing law school, he had spent months researching the perfect city where his fresh start would take place in a charming, downtown, turn-of-the-century brick building listed on the historic registry—the type of space where he had always envisioned a successful, well-reputed lawyer would operate. He decorated his personal office to reflect the high-powered attorney offices he had seen often in popular courtroom dramas on television, displaying his diploma in a regal, gold frame above an impressive walnut desk. Professionalism was evident throughout the office décor, while a different story churned internally.

The office door was wedged open awaiting his first client. Nervous yet confident in his skills, the young man looked up to welcome the unnamed footsteps approaching his office. He quickly picked up the receiver from the office phone on his desk and, to appear as if he were engaged with an important client on the phone, spoke into the receiver to address his make-believe caller.

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