Friday, September 27, 2013

How to Avoid What Works Best in Motivating Students

In all the literature coming out of the US Department of Education, why is it I never see reference to the one thing I know that works in motivating students, but especially students in high needs communities- individual attention from a teacher, coach, arts instructor, school counselor or librarian that goes well above and beyond the call of duty and lasts for years? I know from personal experience that this works. And I also know there is no short cut using testing, technology and scripted teaching that is a substitute for it. Then why isn't it mentioned, must less promoted?. Because to have this work, you need teachers whose careers last more than a few years, who live in the communities they work in and have the cultural capital to connect with the young people they teach. And finding and supporting such teachers would go against every single education reform which is currently being promoted- which, whether intentionally or not, increasingly generates a revolving door labor force that is forced to work from scripts and has no time to give students individual attention. And because of this, don't be surprised if our schools, in ten years, do an worse job of education students in need than they do now, while demoralizing those still hanging- just barely- to middle class status.

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