In the 140 classrooms studied, both low- and high-achieving students learned most in mathematics, reading, and writing, when teachers emphasized conceptual understanding, complex problem solving, advanced skills and performances, discussions of alternative solutions and points of views, extended writing, and student-generated ideas and products rather than restricted skills practice.” Linda Darling-Hammond, The Right to Learn
I pulled Linda Darling-Hammond‘s book off my book shelf a couple of weeks ago, when I first saw, via Facebook, her name as a suggested candidate for US Secretary of Education. She has been one of my favorite voices of reason since I was first introduced to her research about 10 years ago. In a nutshell, she has her finger on the pulse of teaching in a test-driven climate. I allowed myself to be swept away with visions of “what if…” What if we had a scholar, a dynamic researcher, and a practitioner advising the President?!?
Since the announcement of Arne Duncan as our new Secretary of Education, I’ve been in a bit of a tailspin. Two recent articles by Gary Stager and Alfie Kohn (thanks to Nancy Ludu for sending me this link) sum up my disappointment.
I suspect Tom Chapin’s A Song for Students might make for the perfect theme song:-(