Intro to Teaching – Week 10 – Reading Notes

Cohen, D. K. (1990). A revolution in one classroom: The case of Mrs. Oublier. Educational Evaluation and Policy. 12(3). 311-329.

Rereading – Mrs. Oublie was also assigned as a reading in Qualitative Research 🙂 Interesting to read it with a different lens.

  • Something old, something new: missinterpretations of policy lead to partial teaching practice change.
    • “Is Mrs. O’s mathematical revolution a story of progress, or of confusion? Does it signal an advance for the new math framework, or a setback?” p. 323
  • Teachers may not be willing to change way of teaching
    • “She thought that her revolution was over. Her teaching had changed definitively. She had arrived at the other shore.” p. 325
  • How to teach teachers not to teach by telling, by telling them how to teach?
    • “If students need a new instruction to learn to understand mathematics, would not teachers need a new instruction to learn to teach a new mathematics?”. p. 327
    • “Hence teachers are the most important agents of instructional policy (Cohen, 1988; Lipsky, 1980), but the state’s new policy also asserts that teachers are the problem. It is, after all, their knowledge and skills that are deficient.” p. 326
    • “Teachers also would have to learn a new practice of mathematics teaching, while learning the new mathematics and unlearning the old.” p. 327

Zimmerman, J. (2014). Why is American Teaching so Bad?

  • Women as teachers – lower salaries, maternal instinct
    • That helped save money for taxpayers, because school districts could pay women less than their male counterparts. It also capitalized on women’s natural instincts and abilities…” 
  • Quality of teachers in decline – create Teach for America – but still need Teacher Professional Development
    • “By 1980, Texas Monthly published an award-winning article showing that public school teachers in Houston and Dallas scored lower on reading and math tests than the average sixteen-year-old in nearby suburbs did.”
    • “Everyone understands that you can’t be a nurse without attending a nursing school with carefully developed standards that must be met if candidates are to be systematically inducted into the profession. Most of our schools of education lack such high standards.”
  • Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) – Lee Shulman, Stanford
    • “I am a full professor at a major research university, but I could not, without much preparation, teach high school chemistry.”
  • Japanese teachers have weekly routine for PD
    • “Japanese teachers even have a separate word for this process, jugyokenkyu, which is built into their weekly routines. All teachers have designated periods to observe each other’s classes, study curriculum, and otherwise hone their craft.”
  • American education is technocentric
    • “But the countries that are outpacing us at school, like Japan and Finland, are noticeably low-tech in their classrooms; they recognize that it’s the teacher that counts, not the technology. In America, by contrast, we’re always looking for the next gadget to improve—and, one suspects, to supplant—our beleaguered teaching profession.”