Friday, April 20, 2007

Our field trip to another high school...

While I was disappointed to not watch students engaged with education, I came away from yesterday's field trip to the tech and science charter school in Denver with lots of questions.

Does their principal's comparing restaurants to schools make sense? We do choose to go to the Mexican restaurant rather than the Mexican/Italian/Chinese/American Deli Bistro because its ability to specialize tends to create better food. As teachers, would we truly become better if we specialized more (ex. 5 Government sections rather than 2 history and 3 government)? Would we become more innovative if we could focus on fewer preps? Or would we get tired of making the same dish 5 times a day? As one who loves cooking and has faced limited opportunities to do so with my broken arm, I know how bored I am with my cuisine lately. Would that be me in my fifth attack on the issue of federalism?

If a Gates funded school seems like they will have to find funding sources, how can we afford to make the huge changes needed here? Simply getting power to rooms is an issue before we actually power up any laptops. Will our community cough up those types of resources even if they will purchase persoanl laptops? Is a school our age and size really the right building to retro-fit the new world into? Can their architect do the remodel????

Time to go watch an old school production of The Music Man and see if my son's trombone holds together and daughter's smile leaves her face. And as I am watching the creative forces on stage, I'll be remembering the principals discussion of only serving the important 17 dishes rather than the full menu of opportunities. Where does drama fit into his dream?


Blogger bkitch said...

These are some great questions. Karl shared with us (cohort 2) his thoughts and experiences when observing this school. I currently teach 3 preps and love it! It is a bit more work, but I get to see student growth at different stages and see freshmen, sophmores and seniors and really get a sense of their differences and their similarities. In addition, I feel like my day has a good balance and doesn't drag (like the same thing can tend to do).
However, I also think that as the learning/teaching becomes more constructivist and we move away from complete rote memorization and kill and drill and fill in the blank worksheets and multiple choice tests, clases become more inclusive of individual differences. This may leave the door open for more integration of cross curricular content including the arts and such (at least that is what I am hoping for).
I also value "the drama" and the unmeasurable value of the "electives" to students. After all my love was Spanish and philosophy 2 subjects that were always "electives" in high school.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Karl Fisch said...

As usual, I mostly have questions, not answers. But I do wonder about at least simplifying to perhaps just two preps, which helps avoid the burnout issue but does allow more focus. How do we provide the well-rounded experience that many of us think is good and necessary, yet not stretch our students so thin and try to offer and "cover" so much stuff that it ends up being mostly meaningless?

But I still question the very way we're even framing the question, because the focus is on the "preps" - the courses - and not the students. Because perhaps the question shouldn't be where does Drama fit into all of this, but where does Western Civilization?

12:52 PM  

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