Rebuttal, A. Feeley: Teaching methods need updating

In the editorial, "Shortened day will shortchange Auburn students," (Sept. 30) the Sun Journal admits to "resurrecting" its July 1 editorial, "A problem of time and cost in our schools," and so, in response, I would ask the opportunity to resurrect some of the ideas contained in my original rebuttal, from early July.

By reprinting the same writing, the Sun Journal’s editorial board reasserts its contention that learning can take place only in the classroom, which, as an educator, I know is simply not true. Learning is a life-long activity, and while the connection to a classroom teacher is a valuable piece of the learning puzzle, it is only a piece.

In my classroom this fall, the first three weeks of school were used to set up a classroom culture that can function in large part without me there. This is not so I will have less to do, but so I will have more time to help students innovative, explore and create.

My students are acquiring skills to help them learn beyond the classroom, and without my continual guidance. I can leave a plan, put a student in charge, and know that they will spend a vast majority of their time working and learning.

The methods I used to create this atmosphere are in large part because of the training I have received.

The educational system that developed in the United States during the mid- to late-19th century was based on a rigid time structure, where students took specific subjects each year and moved from grade to grade based on their age. Yet we still follow this outdated model and hope that subtle changes will suddenly make everything better.

Has the Sun Journal updated its printing and publication methods in the past 100 years? Have the skills needed to work at the paper remained the same since the papers inception? It is not likely, but the editorial board uses the same outdated argument to solve the problems with the educational system: make the students spend more time in a classroom and suddenly they will learn more, as though teaching methods are meaningless.

The purpose of education is to create thinkers who understand learning is life-long. Educators must inspire students to become intrinsically motivated and independent learners.

The proposed planning time is not meant to “shorten” the school year, it is meant to provide weekly opportunities for teachers to become more effective facilitators.

If students are motivated to learn, the amount of time spent in the classroom becomes less relevant, because learning continues outside the classroom and past the last bell of the school day.

Arthur Feeley, Auburn

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Comments

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Just a fad...

My math teacher in high school, back in the 70s, told me that calculators were a fad and not to use them. The problem is some educators will not open their minds to a better way to teach our young people. The default answer is to throw money at it. We have kids in shiny new schools with the latest technology, only to be burdened with some teachers who thing computers are the devil's work. Things will not change until we train and hold teachers accountable for what they do and fail to do in the classroom. In addition, parents should demand excellence from their children and their child's teachers. You'd be surprised how fast we can turn this around if we all have the same vision; children who can read, write, and reason and feel valued in our society.

 's picture

why do we need school time at

why do we need school time at all then? why not just have the teenagers come in once a week for guidance, and allow them to explore educational opportunities the rest of the week on their own?
i'm sure you are aware that over the summer, a portion of the previous years learning is forgotten. this is because in reality, most scholastic learning is done in the classroom, since there is a large portion of the parental population that could care less about their childrens' education, there are children with learning disabilities that need assistance and guidance, and there are language and poverty issues, i could go on. for many students the only time for them to learn scholastic material is in the classroom. for some kids, the only positive adult role models and physical and emotional support system is at school.
so you want to take time out of scholastic guidance in order to get more training in scholastic guidance? how would you like all nurse and doctors to stop treating you to run off and get training while you bleed to death? believe it or not, hospitals don't close down for staff training. training is done on their own time, for the betterment of patient care.
like i said, add 2 weeks to the end of the school year to give teachers time to implement their training in a real classroom.

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