Friday, October 07, 2005

Off the Script

Trump’s Apprentice: The event planner girl just HAD to go . . . that was just the worst event planning I’ve seen . . . didn’t even advertise or do a banner or anything. I do think the Toral (?) thinks much too highly of herself and needs to go too. The project manager was just way to loyal to her on this task, and I don’t think it was that warranted. Markus seems to have redeemed himself in the eyes of the team, which shows that he must have finally learned something . . . although I get the feeling that he may shoot himself in the foot again. Gary has taken up the mantle of being the obvious jerk on the team.

Schools - Testing and Scripting: Over at Crooked Timber there is a small discussion going on about the PBS program “Making Schools Work,” that I am finding a bit interesting. There is a bit of disagreement about whether it is a good idea for teachers to have to be scripted in the classroom, and whether standardized testing is a good idea.

Now, I am not, nor have I ever been, a public school teacher . . . or any type of paid teacher for that matter. My whole teaching experience consists of the whole year that I have been teaching ESL to adults one night a week as a volunteer. But even armed with this little bit of knowledge, I think I can make a few knowledgeable statements.

I think scripting IS a good idea . . . especially for new teachers, but with the caveat that they need good initial training to know why they are doing what it says to be doing, and can be quite helpful for more experienced teachers. And standardized testing is NOT a bad thing, if done correctly and for the right reasons.

When I first volunteered for the Literacy Council, they needed new teachers right away and so I didn’t get the “official” training that new teachers are supposed to get. They gave me at teachers manual and sent me on my merry way. Let’s just say that my first semester was quite an unfocused mess. I tried to follow the directions in the teacher’s manual, but it wasn’t translating well to the students. So I started making up my own stuff to meet the objectives, which worked, maybe not better, but differently. Then, towards the end of the semester, a neighboring county did an ESL teacher training workshop and I immediately signed up. There I learned so much about lesson planning and how adults learn and how to incorporate this knowledge into our own lesson plans.

When I was finished with the workshop, I only had 3 weeks left in the semester, but things finally clicked for me. I looked at the lessons constructed in the Teacher’s manual and now understood how they were supposed to be conducted. (Thus my caveat about “having proper training.”) I also by now had enough experience to know what things to add to improve the experience for my students. The “script” - so to speak - made things easier so that I didn’t have to spend as much time on the lesson plan. And time that I did spend on the lesson plan was usually in finding supplemental information and conversational points that would be of interest to my particular class.

As for testing, for our program we test all of our students when they enter the program and then we test all of the students on a similar test at the end of the semester. They cannot study for this test and we (the teachers) are not allowed to let them know when they are going to be tested. (Since if they know, some of the students would not show up on the test day.) This allows us to see how much progress each student has made, and lets us know where to place them for the next semester. If this was they type of testing that they did in public schools, I would have no problem with it at all. However, the high-stakes testing that is going on now does not seem to be there to really help the students, rather seems like it is there to assign blame or glory to schools and districts. That is my assessment, but if anyone knows differently, please let me know.

Some of you guys watched the program . . . so I’m guessing you are interested in this subject too . . . so what do you think?

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll leave you with this poem:

Like Most Revelations
by Richard Howard
after Morris Louis

It is the movement that incites the form,
discovered as a downward rapture – yes,
it is the movement that delights the form,
sustained by its own velocity. And yet

it is the movement that delays the form
while darkness slows and encumbers; in fact
it is the movement that betrays the form,
baffled in such toils of ease, until

it is the movement that deceives the form,
beguiling our attention – we supposed
it is the movement that achieves the form.
Were we mistaken? What does it matter if

it is the movement that negates the form?
Even though we give (give up) ourselves
to this mortal process of continuing,
it is the movement that creates the form.


hazel said...

very cool poem, the kind that makes you think and think! enjoyed your other musings too. it's good to be here as my new me. ;)

Virginia Gal said...

I concur on the Apprentice summary - Toral sucks! Is she Indian - she is giving us Indians a bad name! Get rid of her. But I agree that event planner was abysmal, I wonder what she would say now if she saw how nice the boys had done their presentation. I knew the girls were going to lose when at the beginning they interviewed one of the girls and she was like "oh this is our task, women do better on this, blah blah" - I hate when Mark Burnett scripts the shows this way, it makes it borning to watch, cause its so predictable!
Probably why I've switched back to the O.C. from Survivor, cause Surivor has gotten bo-ring!