- Paperback: 104 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (July 28, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0787974668
- ISBN-13: 978-0787974664
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.4 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,218,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Good Teacher in Every Classroom : Preparing the Highly Qualified Teachers Our Children Deserve 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
Developing the Next Generation of Highly Qualified Teachers
What kind of experiences do children need in order to grow and learn? What kind of knowledge do teachers need in order to facilitate these experiences for children? And what kind of experiences do teachers need to develop this knowledge? A Good Teacher in Every Classroom addresses these questions by examining the core concepts and central pedagogies that should be at the heart of any teacher education programand recommends the policy changes needed to ensure that all teachers gain access to this knowledge. This book is the result of a blue-ribbon commission sponsored by the National Academy of Education.
With two million teachers entering the workforce in the next decade, A Good Teacher in Every Classroom offers a blueprint for educating this new generation of teachers. The book is filled with solid recommendations for helping new teachers develop a basic understanding of education, teaching, and learning. And, it explains why and how teachers must learn to connect with different cultures, develop curriculum that meets students' learning needs, manage common behavior problems, and assess academic progress.
About the Author
Linda Darling-Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommum Professor of Teaching and Teacher Education at Stanford University and served as co-chair, with John Bransford, of the National Academy of Education's Committee on Teacher Education.
Joan Baratz-Snowden is director of Educational Issues at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). She was vice president for Education Policy and Reform and for Assessment and Research at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Since 1965, the National Academy of Education (NAE) has sought to advance the highest quality education research and its use in policy formation and practice. NAE is an honorary membership society of the most respected scholars of education from the U.S. and other countries. In addition to this book, the Academy sponsored Preparing Teachers for a Changing World, which provides the research foundations for the recommendations contained here.
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In the realm of teaching and learning common "good" marriages include "good teaching," "good students," and "good work." What makes "good" a four-letter word are the unproblematized, common sense implicit notions of the word. Common sense tells us that "good" teachers, students, and work are positive, effective, successful, and productive. By some interpretation(s), "good" may even include a moral element, as in "Ms. Ruiz is a good person" aka buena gente aka good folk.
According to The American Heritage Dictionary (1985) good is defined as "having positive or desirable qualities." The top five entries on [...] define good as:
1. Morally excellent, virtuous; righteous; pious: a good man.
2. Satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree: a good teacher; good health.
3. Of high quality; excellent.
4. Right; proper; fit: It is good that you are here. His credentials are good.
5. Well-behaved: a good child.
How do Darling-Hammond and Baratz-Snowden define "good" in their text, A Good Teacher in Every Classroom: Preparing the Highly Qualified Teachers Our Children Deserve? They do not. As a matter of fact, within the first three pages of their text they swap "good" for "effective"--in essence exchanging an interrogation of the word for an uncritical operationalization of the enterprise of teaching. Instead of unpacking "good teaching" by asking questions such as, "Who decides what good teaching looks like?" "How is good teaching measured and rewarded? And by whom?" And, "Does good teaching imply `behaving' properly? According to whose rules?" The authors spend their precious social capital (Darling-Hammond especially, as she is a well-positioned, revered teacher educator) enumerating, categorizing, compartmentalizing, and truncating teaching and teacher preparation in ways that would make any neo-liberal stakeholder involved with education twitterpated. Its all good.
A critique of this text demands a look under the rug for what's been swept aside and hidden in the name of brevity, political correctness, and safety. In other words, we must examine the context from which the text was published lest we indict the messenger instead of the message. The title, A Good Teacher in Every Classroom: Preparing the Highly Qualified Teachers Our Children Deserve, may ring a bell for readers who are currently working in K-12 schooling.
Preparing "Highly Qualified Teachers" is one of the major components of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) which mandated that all academic core classes be taught by a "highly qualified" teacher by the end of the 2006-07 school year. An ongoing debate between policy makers, teachers, and other public organizations centers around not only how to define "highly qualified" teachers, but on how to assess good teaching. Presently, the NCLB defines highly qualified teachers as those who:
* Have obtained a full state certification (including alternative certification); and
* Hold a license to teach in the state; and
* Have not had certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis .
Among the many responses to the call for increasing numbers of highly qualified teachers we find the volume reviewed here. The text is one of several artifacts produced by the National Academy of Education's Committee on Teacher Education and was paid for by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement. As such the text reads like a politically neutralized executive summary.
Inoculated against the fever of revolutionary critical pedagogy, A Good Teacher in Every Classroom: Preparing the Highly Qualified Teachers Our Children Deserve, uses the same tone as a mother who says through a well-rehearsed saccharine smile, "Of course Roxy-with-her-face-pierced can come for dinner. I'm sure your grandparents will really enjoy meeting her." Are Darling-Hammond and Baratz-Snowden happy on the outside, pissed-off on the inside? Does their affiliation with the federal government implicate them as "yes women?" Should the authors get to cash in a "Get Out of Jail Free Pass" simply based on track records of being critics of the rotten state of schooling themselves? Am I, a consumer (stakeholder myself), permitted to level a harsh critique at a text so clearly victimized by the power of having to serve itself up to the mighty master Tio Sam?
¿Me atrevo? Claro que sí.
The strongest critique to be leveled against the text resides in the mis-use of language. The authors use pairings of words to name phenomena and allude to symbolic, implicit understandings. Some examples of this type of mis-use include: "good teaching," "the social purposes of education," "the social purposes of education in a democracy," and teachers "contributing to society." Read through a neo-liberal, progressive lens it would be hard to find fault in a well-respected scholar's discussion of preparing teachers to be contributors to society. No harm done. However, read through a critical lens the mis-use aka lack of making explicit the implicit, exemplifies one of the gravest errors (read: evils) of neo-liberal, progressive educators and educational work--assuming everyone gets it. Assuming that readers "get it" is to assume we all share the authors' perspective of "good teaching" and even more troublesome, that we all possess similar understandings of broader concepts like the "social purposes of education in a democracy" simply because we can "name" them.
In his discussion of the problematic of the liberal approach to inquiry (in reference to analyzing the politics of the "hidden curriculum" in schooling), Henry Giroux (1983) asserts the liberal approach does work naming and describing the conditions of schooling but provides, "...little to no understanding of how the social, political, and economic conditions of society create either directly or indirectly some of the oppressive features of schooling" (p. 55). Throughout the Darling-Hammond and Baratz-Snowden text we see naming in place of understanding.
To illustrate the gravity of the problem Giroux describes, I will compare two citations which address the same issue of teacher agency.
(1) "Teachers should know how to examine their own cultural assumptions to understand how these shape their starting points for practice..." (Darling-Hammond & Baratz-Snowden, 2005, p. 22).
(2) "Thus, if teachers are to move beyond the role of being agents of cultural reproduction to that of being agents of cultural mobilization, they will have to critically engage the nature of their own self-formation and participation in dominant society, including their role as intellectuals and mediators of the dominant culture" (Giroux, 1983, p. 68, citing Maxine Greene, 1978).
In a seemingly intentional censoring of all criticality as evidenced by the stark contrast of the two quotations above, the lackadaisical text, A Good Teacher in Every Classroom, upholds the dominance of neo-liberal discourse as righteous and morally correct--We are so certain that what we believe is good we can't imagine you may not believe the same thing.--thereby marginalizes, or worse vilifies any critique or critics (radical or conservative) as inherently cynical and negative.
Facing the potential of being judged as cynical, we must press on.
¡Que Viva la Revolucción!
Who does it benefit that this sanitized text was written by two well-regarded educators whose body of work includes critique of systemic inequalities and injustices present in schooling?
Jamie Grinberg (2008) writes in a blog, Problematizing Teacher Development from a Critical Perspective, found on the Paulo and Nita Freire Project International Project for Critical Pedagogy ([...] He provides a thought-provoking critical perspective, "Teacher growth, teacher learning, teacher development, can be liberatory, critical, and transformative. However, the discourses that categorize and objectivize teacher development and its institutionalized practices are immersed and grounded on pathologization and surveillance of teachers as an essential construct."
Darling-Hammond & Baratz-Snowden authored, on behalf of a large committee of other well-know and respected scholars (e.g. James Banks, John Bransford, and Frances Rust), a volume supporting the potential for teaching and teacher-training to be completely overhauled if (1) we follow quantifiable, positivistic formulas, and (2) if we believe in what the authors refer to as a teacher's "vision of teaching" which will purportedly develop after the appropriate training, placements, and mentorship.
To advance Grinberg's assertion, I posit the volume reviewed here benefits those who pathologize teachers and cite the recent American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference as evidence.
The recent AERA conference in New York City saw somewhere around 30,000 attendees many of whom, literally thousands of whom, make their living on the pathologization of teachers; researchers, publishers, certification agencies, teacher trainers, government agencies, etc. generate many forms of capital through investigations, analyses, diagnoses, and "medication" all created and maintained to help teachers "get better." Having some of the best pathologists on the case (the members of National Academy of Education's Committee on Teacher Education), lends significant credibility to the diagnosis and the medicine proposed in A Good Teacher in Every Classroom. Of note, the book opens with the authors drawing a parallel between the credentialing of doctoring via codifying practices and establishing standards which took place in the early 20th Century to what could and should be done in teaching. They cite A Good Teacher in Every Classroom as a making "large strides" towards a similar model level of professionalization. Perfect.
What the hell does good mean?
Good means righteous.
Good keeps it real.
Takes it to the streets and brings it home at night.
Good comes correct.
Uses privilege to transform and liberate the meanest among us.
Come what may.
Good teaching, according to my reading of Brookfield (2006), who samples heavily from Herbert Marcuse, states:
Those lucky enough to have access to revolutionary knowledge and information have a responsibility to use their knowledge to help men and women realize and enjoy their truly human capabilities. (p. 208)
Good teaching, according to my reading of Darling-Hammond and Baratz-Snowden (2005), is ... Dime con quién andas y te diré quien eres.
Brookfield, S. (2005). The power of critical theory: Liberating adult learning and teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Darling-Hammond, L. & Baratz-Snowden, J. (2005). A good teacher in every classroom: Preparing the highly qualified teachers our children deserve. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Giroux, H. (1983). Theory resistance in education. Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey Publishers, Inc.
Grinberg, J. (2008). Problematizing teacher development from a critical perspective. Downloaded on March 23, 2008 from [...]