Classroom Contemplations

Essay
4:32 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

How To Teach Brown V. Board To A Class Of All Black Students

Sixty years after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, not all classrooms reflect the dream of desegregation.
Credit stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net

Here’s a question: How do you teach a class of all black students in an all-black school that Brown v. Board of Education ended segregation decades ago?

That isn’t a hypothetical question, but one I remember clearly asking myself. I was teaching American History for the first time in one of our nation’s many embarrassingly homogeneous schools. I could not, with a straight face, teach my students that segregation had ended.  They’d think that either they or I didn’t know what the word segregation meant.   

Read more
Classroom Contemplations
12:09 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Why Relying On Tests Only Reinforces Bad Behavior In Schools

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 10:00 am

There are some real perils to systems which try to reduce teacher performance to a single number, such as many of our new “value-added” formulas.

The first is that whatever you decide to measure — and, implicitly or explicitly reward — is what you are going to get.

Read more
Classroom Contemplations
11:58 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Classroom Contemplations: The Teaching That Evaluations Ignore

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 11:22 am

One of the things I want to do through this series is to expand the discussion of a teacher’s value. We cannot let the worth of teachers be defined narrowly by the test scores of their students.  We need to consider all of the different ways teachers have positive impacts on the lives of their students before we choose the criteria with which we judge who is doing a good job as a teacher and who is not.

One of the best ways to do this is to hear from teachers themselves.

Read more