Monday, September 04, 2006

Helpful acronym

A veteran teacher identifies patterns of how educational fads come and go:

1. They start out with an inital flurry of interest/activity, often based on the results of "recent studies" or surveys. We have to listen to the "experts" and keep track of the data they provide.
2. This is followed by a few people (usually someone in an "influential" position... not "just a teacher") in the district attending some sort of workshop/training to become an "expert" in this new approach.
3. This person often arranges to fly in some kind of "national guru" for an inspirational talk.
4. Interest spreads throughout the district thanks to a multitude of workshops/trainings on this great new approach.
5. Everyone signs up (not always willingly), takes the courses, and immediately starts using the "latest vocabulary" wherever they go.
6. Camraderie develops. Jargon abounds.
7. The new approach is tried in classrooms, with mixed results, but mostly bordering on "not so great."
8. There is reluctance to admit that this great new approach may not be all that it's cracked up to be.
9. Early adopters feel guilty and blame themselves ("I must not be implementing it properly," or "Maybe I don't have enough training.")
10. Interest wanes. Workshops become fewer and fewer. Jargon is used less and less.
11. Go to Step 1.
The site also has a collection of ed jargon under a section called Mechanisms to Advance New Understanding for Renewal in Education. As an acronym, this phrase spells MANURE.

Now even the kiddies are being taught ed jargon, as this Washington Post article shows.

Yeah, first we'll do SSR, then we'll do a constructed response!


rightwingprof said...

I might have added "This trendy method has even less to do with learning than the previous trendy method," but maybe I'm being cynical.

Love the blog.

HD_Wanderer said...

My parents were teachers. One jumped on every fad, the other refused to have anything to do with them. Very weird to watch the roller coaster cycle of the fads.

Great blog!

NYC Educator said...

It's good, but it neglects the new innovation of taking fads from ten years ago, giving them zippy new names, and putting them through the same old process with new, improved buzzwords.

That one's very big in New York City, and is a real big bucks item.

George said...

About a month behind on this post, but thought I'd chip in anyway. A veteran teacher told me the same - just wait long enough and it all recycles.

One funny example happened at the school at which I teach. We are all into PMA (Progress Monitoring Assessment), which in practice looks a lot like any classroom say in the late 1800's. The new idea was to use whiteboard squares distributed to students upon which they could write their answer, hold them up for the teacher to see, and the teacher could monitor their progress.