Forum 9- K-16 Collaborations

Username:  Paul Grobstein
Subject:  minisymposium
Date:  2003-07-15 13:21:15
Message Id:  5984
Here are the questions for the minisymposium on K-16 collaborations:

What experiences with college/university/graduate educators were most valuable to you as a teacher? Think both about experiences you had as a student and experiences (like outreach programs) since you became a professional teacher.

What would you like college/university/graduate educators to be doing that would improve education for all students? to help you with your own teaching?

Name:  Joyce Theriot
Subject:  Professor-Teacher Collaborations
Date:  2003-07-16 01:07:45
Message Id:  5985
In my opinion, the Professor/Teacher collaboration is vital to student achievement. All teachers need SUPPORT which means to do the following: sustain, encourage, defend, fund, endorse, buttress, cheer on, assist, back, reinforce and collaborate.

Teacher collaboration with professors, experts and other professionals can provide some or all that a teacher seeks to perform with verve. I am renewed by attaining a deeper understanding of science content and as a consequence am better able to lead my students to their own constructed understanding via detailed questioning. Dr. Zbig Dziembowski at Temple University has been a valued influence on my science understanding and delivery. In addition, we have collaborated on grants that give funds, reinforcement, materials and endorsement to my job. Best of all I enjoy our zesty and at times conflicting arguments about pedagogy. Zbig definitely keeps me on my toes by often offering a European assessment of the American educational system. I value this "out of the box" thinking and respect his opinions.

Within a school or a district teachers must look for guidance and support as well. These are people who can sometimes support through insulation. They give you a life preserver and brace you through the storms or cheer you on in the good times. The science supervisor in my district has been an admired and significant mentor for me. Dr. Conn has allowed me to vent unedited complaints and stood by me during unfair confrontations. She considers her fleet of science teachers as a wealth of knowledge that must be protected in order to clear the way to teaching with excellence. She is our advocate and in so doing gives students the best opportunity for success.

I don't think that it's necessary to have only one to one collaborations to advance teacher support. Professors or Professional Developers that are conducting classes can facilitate collaboration among the teachers themselves to foster reflective practice. The Serendip Institute and associated forum has served this purpose well. Additionally, Paul Grobstein et al has provided space for teachers to create their own web site and given them the tools to continue to improve or modify it. I applaud their scheme to cultivate future teacher collaboration through technology and I am appreciative of the skills that they furnished.

Name:  Julie
Subject:  Wednesday's Posting- collaboration
Date:  2003-07-16 07:39:17
Message Id:  5986
I found Joyce's comments insightful and I realize the important link that university programs provide to the chain of education. I also realize that it is my weakest link. My most significant experiences have been with undergraduate educators (a very long time ago.) Since then my experiences with higher education educators have been like a smorgasbord- a class here and a class there.Even in graduate school those long term collaborations seemed a rarity.

I would like college educators to see us more than an institution in which to place student teachers. I would like to see true collaboration between students- undergraduate/graduate to K-12 kids. Help us to prepare them for college life or the working world if they so choose.

Name:  keith
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  7/16/03
Date:  2003-07-16 09:15:52
Message Id:  5987
I feel that during my undergraduate studies, the curriculum was geared too much towards the "ideal classroom." In my opinion and experiences, there really is no such thing. Most of the concepts assume the fact that the classroom is structured in a vacume. That there are not any external factors that disrupt the flow of a classroom. Some of the more extreme behaviors in the classroom are only touched on in specific courses. I feel it would be more appropriate to paint a more realistic model of a classroom.

Many of the concepts that are taught are well meaning and do have some fundamental aspects that are applicable. But in fact many of them do not take into consideration many of the classroom management issues (especially in inner-city schools).

I think it would be benifitial to young teachers to be able to observe and experience these settings (granted they are available) as much as possible. I am not sure there is an answer in terms of preparing begining teachers for such an experience. But I do feel that many of the obsticles of an inner-citty classroom still exist in all classrooms, just not at the same scale.

Name:  Angie
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Collaborating
Date:  2003-07-16 09:17:58
Message Id:  5988
There is a program called "Upward Bound" that takes place on a campus setting even though the individual has not graduated from high school. I believe that having programs like this in place helps prepare the individual for what lies ahead for them in the academic area. A lot of our students are not prepared and experience a rude awakening as to what they need to do. And as I reflect on my undergraduate experiences, I remember sitting in a class that I thought that one of my professsors talked way above (on another level) than what I knew. I knew that it wasn't just me because others expressed their concerns and I evolved from a family of educators. It took me a while to get use to the class and learn how to tape record the lectures. That was the only way that I could figure out what was happening ( I would replay and decipher what was being said in class.) Everyone does not learn by the book, I prefer the hands-on method. This not a criticism but a point of view that can help other students get through a class where there is difficulty in deciphering what the professor is trying to say.

Can you tell me what are some of the problems that arise when in-coming freshmen arrive for class? What can we help them with in order to make things run a little better for them? Having a liason/link with college students can help serve as a mentor. For career days, more professors should be given the opportunity to share with high school students as to what will transpire.

It helps knowing that there are caring professors out there to guide or help you whenever a concern arises. Just having someone to talk to and seeing that they were committed to what they were doing helped me.

Name:  Linda M
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  wed AM
Date:  2003-07-16 09:21:33
Message Id:  5989
What came to mind first is actually what didn't and does not work. The current program for student teachers in most colleges gives these teachers-to-be the most minimal contact and experience possible. They go into their first year of teaching with such limited experience and practically little or no support that it is a wonder so many people choose to continue after that first year. It is no wonder that so many opt out.

Institutes of higher learning need to change their idea of what higher learning is when it comes to preparing candidates who will have our children's minds in their hands and whose own well being and confidence/competence is at stake. We need longer periods of classroom training; ideally student teachers could spend a paid residency of at least 1 year benefitting themselves and the schools more than current systems allow. Today's status quo does not provide any of its constituents with what they deserve or need.

Name:  shellie
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  minisymposium
Date:  2003-07-16 09:25:03
Message Id:  5990
As a teacher and a counselor I found a great deal of value taking courses at colleges. Courses, like this one, bring many new ideas to the brain. Also working with colleagues stimulates the brain and encourages daring ideas to be tried. Sometimes one needs a little push in the right direction.

This year I had a college student working with me. She was doing a 6 week internship. This was a beneficial experience for both of us. It was wonderful to see her relate to the children--she was a lot closer to their ages and this was helpful.

My wish list: more interns--college students interested in exploring careers in schools; college students interested in working with students and their science projects--that's big in my school; students to work as tutors; college prof giving staff development--that's you ,Paul--what we get is not the best.

Name:  John Dalton
Subject:  Collaboration
Date:  2003-07-16 09:25:06
Message Id:  5991
First, during my thirty-five years of teaching, there has been one constant: the poor quality of staff development. Invariably, it has been poorly planned and delivered. Only when universities or outside agencies have been involved has it been truly professional development. It's not my purpose to attribute blame, since there are real reasons why internal staff development doesn't work. But, that's a subject for another day. Here, I would like to suggest a means by which universities could be more helpful.

The best professional development that I experienced involved Professor Woobie from Millersville who taught a group of Philadelphia teachers Latin so that they could enhance vocabulary acquisition in their classrooms. We met centrally, and he taught it like a college course. He clearly had something to impart. That's why it worked. Too often "professional" development deteriorates into a gripe session where there's simply a forum for venting.

I would like to see local universities engage in outreach where they provide further instruction in subject areas. This could be done by means of conferences or sponsoring classes. Naturally, I'm highly appreciative of our Summer Brain Institute.

Second, during the last fourteen years, I have been seriously engaged in Service Learning. I am a fervent believer in its efficay both for those who volunteer and for those that they serve. Specifically, I have been involved with having high school students volunteer in elementary classrooms supporting literacy. It's my strong belief that school districts could benefit not only from this kind of mentoring in literacy, but also in mathematics, and science. I would strongly encourage universities to engage in this praxis.

Name:  Mo
Username:  Anonymous
Date:  2003-07-16 09:27:24
Message Id:  5992
The most valuable experience in college was student teaching. This course allowed me to actually work with students. It's like getting your hands wet without washing them. Taking college courses do not prepare teachers for the classroom. More hands-on courses should be added to the education curriculum. There is also a need for more staff development and summer institutes (like brain & behavior). Every teacher should be enrolled for at least one course every summer with a stipend of course. There is also a need for training on the new scope and sequence curriculum frameworks. The School District of Philadelphia comes up with new curriculum ideas constantly without training the teachers on how to apply them correctly in the classroom. What a waste! As a student I always thought my teachers were well prepared. Now I often wonder how many of those teachers were actually faking it. Graduate schools would help teachers more if they focus on practices that could be applied in the classroom.
Name:  Randal Holly
Subject:  Symposium Questions
Date:  2003-07-16 09:35:48
Message Id:  5993
What experiences with college/university/graduate educators were most valuable to you as a teacher? Think both about experiences you had as a student and experiences (like outreach programs) since you became a professional teacher.

One experience immediately comes to mind. I was enrolled in a writing course at a community college in 1984. The section of the course was added so as to reduce the number of students who were overloading another section offered at the same time. As a result, this section consisted of only eight students. The instructor who arranged for this section addition was the English department head. Having an exemplary teacher and such a small class size allowed for greater attention to be given to those who were having difficulties organizing their thoughts when writing. Reflecting upon this convinces me that I probably would not have had as much success in my other coursework had it not been for this early experience.

What would you like college/university/graduate educators to be doing that would improve education for all students? to help you with your own teaching?

I always felt that at the college/university/graduate level, instructors are greatly concerned with the acquisition of knowledge in a particular subject area. Obviously, this is a mandate. However, only minimal pressure exists that requires one to make improvements as an educator.

In light of this, I have noticed that a great many instuctors tend to exhibit a single-mindedness with respects to how best one can impart this knowledge to others. I believe both teaching assistants and professors would benefit immensely from the exposure gained in teaching methodology courses.

Username:  Anonymous
Date:  2003-07-16 09:38:11
Message Id:  5994
The most helpful aspect of my practicum was the amount of extended time working in the field and the supervision I received. I believe I was especially lucky to have such interesting and caring supervisors.

However, I think most teachers today do not have enough time processing their experience in a non judgemental atmosphere. I think the coaching model used in some teacher retention programs is the way to go. The coaching process develops collegiality, self reflection, and curiosity. Adult learners need to be engaged in learning by finding their own areas of interest and development. Too much of the time is spent pouring information into their heads, instead of teaching adults how to be better observers of their behavior, and the behavior of others. There is much more to say on this topic.

Name:  Sheila Michael
Username:  Anonymous
Date:  2003-07-16 09:38:54
Message Id:  5995
To improve education . . .
Educators and instructional leaders must utilize reflective practice as a tool to improve classroom teaching and learning. When teachers engage in reflective practice and open discourse, teachers will become better equipped to identify their practical knowledge and to develop their philosophy of education to improve classroom teaching and student learning outcomes. Sharing experiences and classroom practices is necessary to teacher development. Teachers must learn new ways of teaching, through professional development, thus they need to connect their new knowledge with what they already know and do in their classrooms and discard what may have been useful in the past. Teachers must constantly examine there teaching styles and theories of practice utilized in actual classroom episodes, to reconstruct curriculum meaning to focus directly upon the classroom experience. Teacher must be allowed to recall experiences and to criticize it in the privacy of one's reflective moments, but also to provide a knowledge base to identify what we are learning about teaching.
Name:  Antoinette
Subject:  K-16
Date:  2003-07-16 09:38:58
Message Id:  5996
My most valuable experience during my teacher preperation was student teaching. I taught at a private school for and received payment. Not only did I have a mentor, but many other teachers 'took me under their wings' and allowed me to have that important learning curve. I believe that one semester, with a master teacher in the room does not prepare new teacher for what they will experience.

As a special ed teacher, I have been allowed more latitude than many other regular ed elem. teachers......

Name:  Miss Geneva E. Tolliferreo, M.
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Professional Experiences
Date:  2003-07-16 11:29:44
Message Id:  5998
Good Morning!
When I reflect upon my youth I recall having my childhood friends sit on the porch steps as I led 'the class'. One of the things I remember 'teaching' them was "The rain in Spain...". Enunciation {getting it right} was important to me even then. When I recall my high school years, which were spent in public school {my first 8 were in Catholic school}, I realized teaching was my vocation. It was a simultaneous call and choice. I have been blessed to always have good teachers. My entire high school experience was excellent. Through maternal illness, paternal job closing, and personal senior year teacher meaness {the only exception} I entered college as a secondary English major. Due in large part to my high school involvement with student goverment, yearbook committee, marching units, etc. I knew high school was my level of choice, and time has proven this true.

Essentially these early characteristics have continued through my professional endeavors. I am hard but fair, and yes my students and I have fun. As a public school administrator I support the current agenda of our district. As an adjunct professor I pray the benefits of my 15 years of experience as an Educator lend support and insight to the aspiring administrators and graduate students I interact with.

For the School District of Philadelphia I pray our system will recognize the importance of each grade and level utilizing the same texts, workbooks, and manipulatives; on the same paceing schedule system wide {not to be confused with our former pacing practice}. We have excessive movement of students throughout the school year, and they are at a disadvantage when they transfer into the same grade, at another school, doing something completely different. Teachers would also have the advantage since they would be in a better position to accept a student at an 'on task' point, rather than having to bring them up to par. Budget wise, we would save major funds which could be put to better use in classrooms via increased teacher hiring or increased teacher allotment {$50 simply is not enough, nor is it competitive}.

Colleges need to realize that today's students are diverse learners, and therefore colleges must be able to accomodate their learning styles without sacrificing the importance of completing their assignments correctly. We must create overcoming graduates that are positive contributors to society, as oppossed to frustrated dropouts that are likely to be social systems dependents.

Name:  Regina Toscani
Subject:  Minisymposium K-16
Date:  2003-07-16 12:44:13
Message Id:  6000
I appreciate the willingness of college staff at this gathering to listen to K-12 teachers. I think it is a great method of improving the overall education system. I am disturbed by the high percentage of new teachers leaving public schools. In reality, the Phila. school district offers little support for the novice teacher. Much depends on the principal of the school. I believe that to improve these "symposium" , administrators need to be invited (and encouraged) to come and participate.

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