When I was in first grade, I was taught to read using a system called, “I.T.A.-The Initial Teaching Alphabet”. Never heard of it? No wonder. I.T.A. used a fake, Latin-ish type of alphabet with somewhere between 43-45 symbols-depending on the year you started the program. Each symbol represented a single sound in the English language making it a type of phonetic reading without it actually being reading. Confused? So were the students. As far as I understand, it died a valiant death when people caught on that it was a waste of time and its’ graduates couldn’t spell properly even years later.
With a 42% increase in reported cases of ADHD since 2003, no doubt you have dealt with this challenging issue in your classroom. It is estimated that 11% of children between the ages of 4-17 years old have been diagnosed with ADHD. This translates as follows: If you have 28 students, at least 3 will exhibit serious problems with concentration and following directions, become easily bored or frustrated, exhibit impulsivity, constantly be on-the-move, lack time management and organizational skills and have social problems. Not only are these children disruptive to themselves and the teacher but they can also negatively influence other students.
What was the most popular course offered at Harvard University in 2006? What class at the University of California at Berkeley was so in demand that it has now become available online for free where nearly 30,000 people have already signed up and there is an expectation that up to 100,000 will enroll? Not law. Not economics. But rather…drum roll please…“Happiness”.
One in 10 Americans take antidepressants (one in four women between the ages of 40-50) and, in a study done from 2005-2008-most likely the statists have increased-antidepressants were the 3rd most common prescription drug taken by Americans from the ages 18-44 years old. According to the Center for Disease Control, as of 2010, suicide was the 12th leading cause of death in the United States. Is it no wonder that we are searching for ways to learn what seems to be so illusive; happiness?
Hertz Furniture video blogger Mor Rossler discusses class size and how it affects students. Recently, schools have been trying to reduce the amount of students in each classroom. Is this to our student’s benefit? Would resources be better spent on teacher resources and the quality of our teachers? Does class size affect academic success?
Watch the video and learn more!
In a continuing effort by the Obama administration to improve our school system, the Department of Education has been directed to develop a strategy for evaluating U.S. teacher training programs. These standards are meant to improve teacher preparedness for entering the classroom as too many believe that our teachers are sorely under trained for the important task at hand. Following a period of public comment, the new proposals are expected to go into effect next year.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan stated that, “Poor teacher preparation programs produce teachers who are under-prepared, ineffective and frustrated.” How have we gotten into this sorry state? Well, Duncan, along with the 2/3 of the new teachers who feel that they are ill-equipped for the crucial task at hand, believe that universities often treat schools of education as “cash cows”. They are comparatively cheap to operate yet attract a high enrollment. This, perhaps, lowers the incentive to develop excellent teacher education programs.