"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, July 27, 2009

Explaining the Mumbo Jumbo to the Dumbos

The proudly-stupid Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana had this to say the other day about that citified, new-fangled college talk that them there teachers is using on our kids in Indiana:

“Arne Duncan could not be superintendent or principal in Indiana,” Daniels said of Obama’s education chief and former superintendent of Chicago schools. “He doesn’t have the right credentials.” The governor enunciated “credentials.”

Asked about how the Ball State University teachers college will have to adapt, Daniels explained, “When the Professional Licensing Board begins starting next week to redefine what is required to get a teaching license in Indiana, the schools of education are going to have to make some major changes of their own. They are not going to need as many people teaching what to me is mumbo jumbo. We’re going to expect students who want to teach spending much more of their time studying the subject they are going to be teaching in the schools
There are good reason besides credentials that Arne Duncan should not be a superintendent or a principal, not the least of which is his promotion of an entirely unethical and abusive use of tests in schools. But this post is to offer the anti-education capitalists in charge of U. S. education policy a basic primer in some of the coursework regularly offered as part of accredited initial certification teacher preparation programs. Most of these course descriptions are from Alverno College, one of the top teacher ed programs in the country. A few are California Lutheran University. If Governor Mitch had his way, we would dispose of this kind of unnecessary mumbo-jumbo.
Social and Cultural Foundations in Education 3 credits

The historical, social and cultural foundations of American education, as seen through a historical narrative, with an emphasis on the diversity of contemporary schooling. Major philosophies of education which have informed American education and how they affect schooling in a society of multiple cultures. Fieldwork required.

Theories of Teaching, Learning and Development 3 credits
Theories of teaching, assessment and development of learning. The influence of those theories on content, methods, and classroom environment, including the use of technology, and their application in improving academic achievement for all students. Fieldwork required.
Human Development and Learning
(3 credits)

Students examine theories that address the development of cognition, emotion, and motivation as they apply to learners of various ages, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and learning needs. Students evaluate the application of theories in diverse learning environments, building an understanding of the dynamic interaction between and among teaching, learning, and assessment in work with adolescents and young adults.

General Methods of Teaching
(4 credits)

Studying a variety of instructional models and learning theories, students plan and implement differentiated instruction and assessment, reflecting both the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards and the Wisconsin Teacher Standards. Students analyze multiple classroom settings to design model learning communities focused on student engagement and learning. They design, evaluate, and use technology to enhance learning environments, and they address the teacher as professional by developing an initial philosophy of education. To provide an opportunity to apply their learning with regard to instructional design, students are assigned a minimum of 20 hours in a field experience in which they work with diverse middle and/or high school learners.

Literacy in Early Childhood
(3 credits)

Students examine the scope of an early childhood literacy curriculum, focusing on emergent literacy, oral language, reading, writing, and literature. Among components integrated in this course are phonics, spelling, and sight vocabulary. Students learn to make sound decisions, teach literacy learning strategies, select appropriate materials, and design developmentally appropriate learning experiences and assessments for the early childhood learner.

Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
(3 credits)

Prereq. LTM 611 ; LTM 612
Students learn to see the connections between large curricular goals and the assessment of student learning in the classroom. Employing a process called backward design, they identify performances that capture the big outcomes and design both appropriate instruction and meaningful performance assessment using specific criteria. They explore assessment-as-learning, a formative approach that includes criteria, self-assessment, and feedback to guide learning.

Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics 1
(4 credits)

This course, which integrates the learning of mathematics with methods of teaching, is designed for students who are preparing to teach at the elementary school level. Students study the mathematical structures and operations related to sets, whole numbers, integers, rational numbers, and real numbers. They use the properties of these systems to develop algorithms for the operations defined in each of the systems. They explore the use of manipulatives and technology in building understanding of concepts. Through the study of national, state, and local standards, and contemporary mathematics curriculum projects, they learn teaching strategies. They also gain experience with professional practices such as the development of lesson plans, unit plans, and assessment instruments designed for a variety of learning styles. Throughout the course, students evaluate themselves on their ability to analyze and solve problems as well as on their ability to communicate mathematics effectively.

Science and Social Studies in the Elementary Curriculum
(4 credits)

Prereq. LTM 611 ; LTM 612
In this course, students explore methods of teaching science and social studies at the elementary school level. Drawing upon previous experiences in lesson and unit planning, they incorporate science, health, social studies, and technological content knowledge with process skills and assessment strategies. Students design integrated learning experiences based on appropriate frameworks linking science and social studies to other content areas, including art, mathematics, and language arts.

The Learning Organization and Social Change
(3 credits)

Students draw upon a range of disciplines and theories to examine organizational culture, including patterns of leadership, authority, and communication and their impact on the climate of the organization. They analyze case studies of organizational change, identifying sources of success and failure. Critiquing varied approaches in particular settings, they develop proposals for achieving goals for ongoing growth and improvement.

Arts and Movement in the Elementary Curriculum
(2 credits)

Prereq. A 135 or MU 101
Students make meaningful and effective connections among the arts - music, art, dance, and drama - within the integrated elementary curriculum. They develop practical abilities in the integration of the arts and movement across the curriculum and apply teaching and learning theory in the design of developmentally appropriate lessons, the meaningful incorporation of technology, and the use of assessment strategies.

Literacy in Middle Childhood, Early Adolescence, and Adolescence
(4 credits)

Prereq. LTM 611 ; LTM 612
Students study the process, methods, and materials of literacy development in order to facilitate literacy in middle childhood and adolescence, recognizing the range of student needs they may encounter, including those of the non-native speaker of English. In addition, they develop approaches to the integration of language arts across the curriculum. Students learn to interpret standardized assessment information as well as to develop meaningful classroom assessments of literacy.

Portfolio Assessment
(0 credits)

The LTM 640 portfolio assessment demonstrates LTM students' readiness for student teaching. Students prepare a folder that documents their proficiency in the ten Wisconsin Teaching Standards and the Alverno graduate education abilities. The portfolio review process consists of two parts. First, an internal assessor (Alverno faculty member) and an external assessor (administrator, teacher) evaluate the portfolio against established criteria. Second, the assessors conduct an interview with each student in which the student highlights several artifacts, presents and comments on an electronic demonstration of teaching effectiveness, and answers questions on teaching, learning, and assessing in general and on portfolio contents in particular.

Educational Inquiry: Research in Action
(3 credits)

Prereq. AC 613
Students examine the nature of systematic inquiry by using an action research perspective as they address questions related to improvement of their practice. Focusing on the context of learning environments, they explore the assumptions and applications of varied methodological approaches. They develop skills in conceptualizing researchable questions and in designing research projects appropriate for their own professional practice and specific setting.

Student Teaching
(9 credits)

Prereq. LTM 640 ; Praxis II
Student teachers demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge in the design and implementation of content-area lessons and in the establishment of appropriate relationships with learners that support growth. They develop a portfolio documenting their work and its impact on student learning as well as a professional development plan to guide their growth as beginning teachers. Student teaching is a full-time, full-semester commitment, based on the calendar of the local school.
If it isn't clear by now, Governor Mitch, how right you are about this mumbo-jumbo, perhaps it is time to visit one of these John Dewey Commie Camps to get a firsthand look at the indoctrination of American teacher candidates. Get some firsthand facts so that you can impress upon the people of your state how they would be so much better off with your cutting edge thinking on all matters educational. Who knows--you could be the next Republican Education President. Hard shoes to fill, Governor Mitch, but I think you have it in you.


  1. Even for Daniels, this is stunning.

    Daniels pushed for the first Bush tax cut. But would the cuts affect the surpluses? According to Daniels at the time, there were "surpluses as far as the eye could see."

    My jaw dropped when he became governor.

  2. It may be helpful to delineate the differences between a holder of a multiple subject (elementary) and single subject credentials. From your post it would seem that all a science teacher needs is what you put in your post; of course, to teach high school science, you need a degree in science as well as your teacher prep program.

    I think much of the problem with the discussion around reform is the fact that we conflate the 2 typoes of credentials when they are really quite different in terms of who the holders of said credentials serve.

    What do you think?

  3. Anonymous9:39 AM

    I'm not sure "facts" are going to help in this situation. The Daniels of this world think that if you know a field, you can teach it. You and I know the importance of pedagogy, but subscribers to the open-brain-insert-knowledge school of learning don't understand why a teacher would need to know anything more than "sit down and be quiet. Now I will tell you what you need to know."

  4. Anonymous6:18 PM

    It really comes down to how we define knowledge. Our politicians (specifically Daniels and Bennett) see knowledge as something you give to others. Someone needs to introduce them to the learning sciences to see how far we have moved in our understanding of learning. They are living in the "emipiricist" era where as we have then moved through the rationalist and now are among the sociocultural era where we realize the value of learning with others, learning from others and sharing our cultures to create a common classroom culture. When we see teaching as just knowledge and not pedagogy we are in danger of moving back to rote learning opposed to cooperative learning.