Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Unethical Practices in Education

Are educators indirectly and unethically damaging students?

Gloria Ladson-Billings, in a speech to the National Wriitng Project on unethical education:

"I do spend a fair amount of my time in schools. I get to hear many things about what's quote "wrong with our students." And one of the things I hear is that children lack exposure or experiences. I hear this really at the early level a lot. So as a consequence, many of their classroom days are filled with day after day after day of experiences, but little, if any, teaching. Now I do believe that schools can and should offer students some interesting and new experiences, but those experiences have to be tied to student learning. . . . To take kids to the zoo or to the amusement park without some learning link to it, particularly when none of these high-stakes tests are going to ask them or hold them accountable for whether or not they've been to Six Flags, it's not only unfair, it's unethical."

Let's talk more about what is wrong with the teachers. Most of us, work hard. We get to school early, we stay later than we should. There is the daily lugging of a notoriously heavy bag of work home with us in the evening. We are educators because our strengths and passions fuel us to teach. We are all fallible in more than a few ways, our innate humanness make us so. We all have off-days and moments we'd rather the world not see, but the students entrusted to us in our classrooms see it all.

What regular practices are we continuing in our classrooms just because we have always done it that way?

What damage are we doing to our students?

What amount of time, not including that for community building such as in a Responsive Classroom model and social curriculum are we wasting on any given day?

What is the difference in your classroom between busy work and productive engagement leading to skill acquisition?

Looking with a critical eye, what are the unethical practices you could let go of?

Check-out more of Gloria Ladson-Billings speech to the National Writing Project: practices

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