Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why Schools Need to Take Another Route


"students who are placed in high-ability groups have access to far richer schooling experiences than otber students."

This quote from Why Schools Need to Take Another Route is very true.  Jeannie Oakes talks about the study done and written about in the book A Place Called School.  This study reported that students in higher level english classes were taught more education advancing knowledge and were more likely to score higher on their SATs.  I read Steph Bourgeois's blog and noticed that she makes a good point.  Separating the slower learning students from the faster learners is a big disadvantage for the slower learners. Although a school may have a set curriculum, i feel that most teachers pick what they want to teach based on what they feel their class can handle. This holds back students when it comes to the SATs.  People wonder why students that are put in the lower level classes are less likely to go to college.  Its a mystery.....

"For example, in average classes, many teachers expected relatively little of students. They established set
routines of lecturing and doing worksheets,held time and workload demands (both in class and for homework) to a minimum accepted and sometimes even encouraged distractions, and rarely asked students to think deeply or critically. When classes are conducted in this way, average students, too, are deprived of the best that schools have to offer."

This goes back to the beginning of the semester when we talked about the students slipping through the cracks.  Some students are almost ignored and others are focused on too much.  The schools need to find a balance.

"In the standard classroom, instruction is characterized by:
• Competitive whole-group instruction.
• Lecturing as the prevailing teaching strategy.
• Common assignments.
• Uniform due dates and tests
• A single'set of standards of competence and criteria for grades."

This list reminds me of Alfie Kohn's list of what shouldnt be in a classroom.  As I read this i thought about my classes in high school.  If there was a student that needed extra time or needed to take a test on a different day or after school it, the teacher let them.  Now in college, ive seen examples of both.  Some professors lecture for the entire class and i fall asleep and end up teaching myself the material better than he does.  Others give different assignments, let us work on different things and sometimes have different due dates which makes the classes and the work more interesting.

I hope that in class people will have more stories from their service learning or even personal experiences in classes.  Should be interesting! :)


  1. I agree with you, the list is very Alfie Kohn. I noticed a lot of his influence especially when Oakes urges group work and interaction with meaningful content. When I was in fifth grade, my class was very split with the upper level kids and lower level kids and I feel as though that really helped the lower level kids. They were able to learn good study habits and were in a positive atmosphere.

  2. I agree. It is definitely all the bad signs that Kohn talked about. I liked the choice of quotes. They really show how horrible schools really are, even in 2011.

  3. I really liked all the quotes you chose to use this week!!