kitchen table math, the sequel: exo attends a professional development presentation

Sunday, March 21, 2010

exo attends a professional development presentation

We recently had a PD which was called "Differentiated Use of Textbook". The presenter, former elementary school teacher from PA, started withe following: "The textbooks are boring, they contain too much dry information and too littl pictures and connections to technology".

Mind you, she presented to a high school teachers. Especially in math and science, it's common among us to be annoyed with extremely heavy textbooks with TOO MANY pictures and TOO LITTLE of information so we rarely request that kids carry textbooks to class relying on lectures and for homeworks they use online versions.

Now, this whole differentiated textbook talk can be summarized a s following: sorry, kids can't read. So let's group them together and do this activity, and that activity, and this one activity so they will not need a textbook at all! And everyone will feel better, because stronger kids can go and research more online! And weaker kids can be assigned points for participation!

Temple Grandin would say this is an example of "the bad gets normal."


Catherine Johnson said...

When you look for it, you see everywhere examples of a bad situation being re-framed as something good.

In this case, the kids can't read, so that gets re-framed as: textbooks are bad, projects are good.

I believe that's what's going on with the belief that early reading instruction via balanced literacy involves children "taking risks." The need to be resilient enough to keep guessing and missing is re-framed as something good: children are risk takers!

VickyS said...

Maybe it's also "Sorry, kids won't read." I hate to admit my kids will not read textbooks. They get a lot from lecture, and they will do their reading for lit classes, but they will not read a textbook. I think you have to make textbook reading a habit in elementary and middle school for it to happen in high school. Too bad there are no textbooks before high school...