Thu, 31 Aug 2006
Freedman letter to NY Times....

To the Editor,

Samuel Freedman's attack on the fetish on reflection in colleges of
education and among educators puts only the front sight on the target.

Reflecting on teaching practice requires the freedom to alter course,
change the practice, and, importantly, to criticize the roots of the
practice. Curricula regimentation and high-stakes standardized tests make
that almost impossible, stripping teachers of the freedom required to
reconsider what is being taught, and how. Expected practices originate far
from the classroom, usually in textbook companies, and the key evaluator, a
test score, has more to do with parental income than pedagogy.

Reflection can, indeed, be vapid. Mere reflection on practice can
re-produce old practices in new forms, changing nothing significant.
Reflection can be just, "did I do this well?" rather than, "Why am I doing
this; who is served?"

Applying the rear sight to analyzing teaching today would require asking:
In a society dedicated to perpetual war, producing greater inequality
everywhere, what is the role of an educator? Or, perhaps more personally:
How can teachers keep our ideals and still teach?

Dr Rich Gibson