December 11, 2013
Teacher training in classroom management is insufficient, study finds
Most teacher colleges appear to spend at least some instructional time on classroom-management techniques, but it’s often incomplete, not based on research, or divorced from the student-teaching component of preparation. That’s the gist of a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality, which used a sample of the syllabi and other materials collected for last summer’s teacher-preparation review for the analysis. Unlike other NCTQ reviews, this one doesn’t give ratings or grades to programs, but it’s still pretty harsh in its condemnation. One big problem, it says, is that classroom management is often said to be “embedded” across classes, leading to fragmentation and incoherence in how the topic is taught.
New York Times
After setbacks, online courses are rethought
A study of a million users of massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, released this month by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education found that, on average, only about half of those who registered for a course ever viewed a lecture, and only about 4 percent completed the courses. Much of the hope — and hype — surrounding MOOCs has focused on the promise of courses for students in poor countries with little access to higher education. But a separate survey from the University of Pennsylvania released last month found that about 80 percent of those taking the university’s MOOCs had already earned a degree of some kind.
OECD warns west on education gaps
Mr. Schleicher, the head of education at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which administers the tests every three years to about half a million 15-year-olds in 65 countries around the world, also noted significant improvement in Vietnam. He described it as a poor country whose students outperformed peers from many wealthier nations — and did even better once differences in income were taken into account. “On a level playing field, the British look even worse,” he said at a press conference here.
Who says math has to be boring?
One of the biggest reasons for that lack of interest is that students have been turned off to the subjects as they move from kindergarten to high school. Many are being taught by teachers who have no particular expertise in the subjects. They are following outdated curriculums and textbooks. They become convinced they’re “no good at math,” that math and science are only for nerds, and fall behind.
American PISA scores: Math has to be at least a little boring
This weekend, after American students failed to impress on the international PISA exams, the New York Times editorial board ran a piece asking “Who Says Math Has to Be Boring?” By “boring,” the Times apparently means any math that is substantive in a traditional sense: “arithmetic, pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, trigonometry.” So let me answer the question: Anyone with an understanding of what math actually is believes it must sometimes be boring.
Los Angeles Times
California schools fear losing millions for low-income students
Major California school districts fear they will be shortchanged millions of dollars in funding for their low-income students under new state rules requiring them to verify family incomes every year. Officials in Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno and elsewhere are scrambling to collect verification forms but said that hundreds of families have not yet turned them in — potentially jeopardizing funding that school districts are counting on this year. At stake, for instance, is $200 million in L.A. Unified and $6 million in San Diego.