Home > COM530 > Let’s read a book and talk about it, ok?

Let’s read a book and talk about it, ok?

Dr. Mike Schmoker, educational consultant, has just published another book:  RESULTS NOW: How We Can Achieve Unprecedented Improvements in Teaching and Learning.” Schmoker’s plea is in sharp contrast to those educators wanting to infuse all kinds of technology into classrooms.

Schmoker states right up front that the priorities should be what we teach and how we teach. “The simplicity of this approach could have a profound impact on providing a rich education, not for some, but for all students,” he writes.

On the idea of simplifying 21st century education, Schmoker comments that “history is not on the movement’s side. … The tendency to run after every ‘shiny new idea’ often leads to faddishness. … American schools still are not delivering a content-rich curriculum for all students.”

Success hinges on simplicity in priorities, Schmoker explained. And it doesn’t even have to be done perfectly, just reasonably well. “Students need to be able to read something, talk to each other about it, and write about it,” Schmoker stated. “This is mostly old stuff from the 19th and 20th centuries, not unique to the 21st century.”

How can a high-quality education be achieved by all students? “Get rid of the silly stuff in pursuit of some new fad,” Schmoker said. Instead, teach kids to read slowly, turn to one another to talk about it, and then write about it. Amazingly, Schmoker stated, only 25 percent of schools adhere to these seemingly mundane things.

Have you taken the time to read a good book lately?

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  1. November 9, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Perhaps the US should look into the educational system of some low-tech country and compare the students’ reading level there with students’ reading level here.

    I’m reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream,” which is the account of Ehrenreich’s undercover attempt to find employment. Although published in ’06, the book is probably more relevant now, with millions out white-collar professionals of work. Ehrenreich stresses her observation that employers are more interested in candidates that are “always friendly, upbeat, and have a positive attitude” than ones that are actually more skilled or experienced. I think my book relates to yours because schools nor employers are less dedicated to skill sets. Isn’t it funny how the most elementary things (like teaching children reading comprehension and critical thinking skills and placing the greatest value on proven work performers) can be ignored in convenience of other priorities?

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