Friday, September 25, 2009

The School of One

Check out this NYT article on The School of One. At a middle school in NYC, each day students get a "playlist" of worksheets they need to complete for the day. Each student has a laptop. Each assignment is computer graded. Students compete with each other to finish first, or to get the best scores.Teachers are there to answer questions, move students along, etc. The Chancellor of NYC schools thinks this will allow more students to learn and move more effectively through school.

My 13-year old daughter has an English class taught by a near-retirement teacher. Each day he hands out a worksheet. The students sit in silence and complete the worksheet. if they finish early, they read silently. No talking allowed, certain strange rules (like on homework--only hand-written work will be accepted). The teacher sits at his computer all day long. He scares the heck out of the kids.

Are these two examples similar? What is to be learned? Is it enough to allow students to move at their own pace? Is this better than nothing? Better than the current practice in K-12? HE?

1 comment:

Peter said...

Not to hijack your blog, but an interesting part of the article was where the teacher said something like "no one is doing anything like this". Why does everyone think they are the first to come up with something when it is just not true.

Elementary teachers at my school (see very old) used to move us through the spelling lists at different paces dependent on how we did on each test.

When I was teaching HS in the early 90's we used a software program for biology that placed students dependent on how they had performed previously.

Just because the newspaper comes out to interview you does not make one an educational innovator.

Sorry for the rant.