1. Based upon our discussions thus far, what is the role of the teacher in American society? Do you agree? Provide evidence from readings to support your position.
After reading so many things about teachers and schooling in American Society, basically it can be said that public schools and teachers are at the same position in all around the world. Although both of them are important milestones of a Society, they don’t receive much value. Even I come from a different country; I can literally say that we have the same issues there.
First of all, I want to talk about the facts that chapter #2 mentioned about teachers in American Public Schools. The majority of the teachers complete professional development activities about any other three sources: district, college or professional association. Even though they complete them along with some instructional testing, they still need more training about two areas: integrating technology into classroom and teaching students from diverse backgrounds. This is because of lack of materials or sources at schools and diverse population at Society. This is also the one of the major problems that teachers face with during their teaching. Moreover, there are so many things that cause negative impact on teaching; such as low salary and high working hours.
As I mentioned before, teachers don’t receive much value here. Even they work so hard to make positive changes in Society, develop future generations and create better citizens; Society doesn’t offer much positive things to them. On the other hand, teachers have great role in here. There are so many things that we discussed in class in terms of portrait of a teacher. As a future teacher, I agree with all of them.
2. What do you think are the biggest challenges to effective teaching? What is your evidence? What strategies can you develop to address these challenges?
I think that challenges start from the beginning of the becoming teacher journey. According to the reading in the RAVITCH, state standards and tests to have a teacher certificate create different situations. It is said that teachers deal with different standards each time because of different requirements of the states. I believe that this is quite effective reason why they leave their job in two years. Even though they take more college classes and have master degrees than before, it is hard to pass the required exam.
Second, I believe that lack of material and sources is one of the challenges that teachers face with. There are lots of schools that don’t have computer access of technological materials for students. In today’s world, technology plays a great role in effective teaching and teachers should use it to integrate students into classrooms. Because of changes in tools such as smart board, projectors, computers etc. teachers need to take basic computing class to be able to manage class activities properly. However, without additional opportunities it becomes more challenging for teachers.
Third, as it mentioned on the chapter 16th there are lots of challenges that teachers has been dealing with for years. Among them, I think the most important one is the low salary. To earn less money than any other professions causes some negative effects on this field. We all know that teachers raise and create great generations for future. They try so hard to follow new strategies, use technology, and create a better environment for their students. However, it is totally sad that they have to do a second job to survive.
As future teachers, we can clearly develop ourselves to not to face with the same issues during our teaching. According to the NEA survey, teachers have more master degrees then before. I think this is a very good example of the major strategies that teachers might use. If a teacher has master degree and take instructional, practical and theoretical courses, I believe that he will walk the half of the way so fast. These kinds of characteristics will facilitate this journey. For instance; he will probably be able to pass state certification test and after being teacher he will use what he has learnt from college effectively. He also will have the knowledge about how to use technology in class. All that said, we can change negative effects and the most challenging things in our lives by working so hard and believing in ourselves.
3. What role does formal schooling (e.g., institutionally-supported formal education–can be public or private) play in American society?
Formal schooling provides free education to all of the students. No matter where they come from, what language they speak or what religion they believe, formal education promotes same opportunities to them. This is the first place that people learn literally how to be a best citizen, how to study with diverse population, how to think and explain their thoughts. Formal schooling, even it is private or public, has great expectations and goals for the next generations. Students basically start their formal lives by the chance of getting access to free education. This facilitates the conditions to see the world, understand and think about it.
Formal schooling is the best place to learn how to integrate with the other people around us. There, we shape our personalities and behaviors by the communication with peers and the things that we learn from teachers. Moreover, we learn how to share, communicate, collaborate, participate in activities and think critically. Especially in 21st century, schools play a stronger role in creating a generation that think more critically than other generations. I think this is very important about how to develop our nations in a better way.
4. The standards and accountability movement is part of a larger school reform movement to change how schools function. Based upon our course readings, what are the most pressing issues facing teachers, schools, and reformers? In what ways might their interests align or collide?
According to the chapter #2 of the Death and Life of the Great American School System that I have recently read, some states made a systemic reform in 1990 in which public officials and educators established a curriculum, set standards for proficiency and chose matching textbooks. They tried to reorganize the entire curriculum goals. However, it was difficult to align them. The greatest obstacle was to require numerous stakeholders.
The reform was about the schools with poor and low performing students. It included almost all students. District schools tried to use this system and make an achievement. However, only district 2 was able to manage to adapt Balanced Literacy which is well defined structure and methodology plan. It also focuses on reading strategies. According to this plan, children were supposed to teach one another. All teachers should have learnt new vocabulary, new ways of teaching, and new ways of interacting with one another.
Among schools, only District 2 –New York made a great achievement, became a national symbol of success that year and caught a great attention of corporate reformers by focusing on literacy. On the other hand, there were other conclusions and critics about this reform. First of all, teachers who took part in it found it a waste of precious time in the school day. Moreover, after surveying teachers about the time they spent in professional development and comparing achievement goals of their students, authors of the book concluded that engagement in professional development with such reform didn’t provide a significant influence on student achievement in either literacy or mathematics.