2 Reasons This Blog Can Help You
Mom, Dad, Here are a couple of reasons why you might wish to read my blogs.
Reason #1 –Do you really know what is happening in your child’s classroom?
Parents routinely send their children off to one of a variety of schools. Most days, most parents ask their children the standard question, “So, what happened at school today?” and they get the standard answer, “Not much.” This leads to the second and usually final question, “Do you have any homework?” which generally gets one of two responses “No” or “I did it in class.” The discussion dies. Everybody is cool. There have been no educational disasters today. It’s business as usual. So, except for those parents, mostly moms with children in the primary grades, who volunteer in the classroom, parents have no specific information about what is going on for 185 or so mandatory instructional days each year that they pack their kids off to school. They expect the teacher and the school to do their part and to allow them to get on with the business of life.
Part of my blog is going to shine a light on the kinds of specific practices that may or may not be happening with your child’s classroom at school. This illumination will lead to better questions for the parent to ask their children as students and their teachers as professionals. For example, do you know 16 specific spelling rules that will allow a child to learn to spell more than 12,000 words? I do. Would this information help you or your child’s teacher to do better than sending home a weekly 25 word spelling list to be memorized? – a list that cannot be generalized to other similar words and which a best teaches 1000 words per year for each of the 5 or 6 years that spelling is taught.
If you are a homeschooling parent, would this help your teaching?
Good trial lawyers are taught to never ask a question for which they do not know the answer. I expect to help parents to frame better questions and to have positive suggestions if the question does not evoke a sufficient answer. I will provide such specific information in my blogs as lessons and practice sheets.
Reason #2 – There are gaping holes in the training of our teachers which need to be filled. You can help.
I have run learning centres for children and adults for almost 35 years. My colleagues and I have taught more than 100,000 children and adults basic literacy skills during that time. We even give a money-back guarantee for learning.
I was a classroom teacher, a school principal, and a “school psychologist” before that. I have some real life experience in the trenches teaching kids, especially those in academic difficulty. I’ve also helped in the writing of a few books. And just for the record in 200, I was given the National Literacy Award (Educator Category) for our work with disadvantaged kids and adults.
Occasionally, I have the need to hire and train new tutors for the centre. Last week, I began the training of a new staff member, a certified teacher with several years of experience teaching English in South America and in the Middle East. She is an eager, bright, young woman, ready to learn whatever I offered to teach her. I began by asking her what she knew about “Project Follow Through”. As expected, I got a blank stare and a touch of nervous anxiety. She is not alone.
As a guest lecturer to many schools, colleges, community service clubs and universities, I have asked this question numerous times. Only rarely does a hand go up to answer the question. When I ask how they came to learn about Project Follow Through, they always reply, “I read about it in your book.”
The reason this question is important is because Project Follow Through is the single largest, longest running study involving a half of a million American children at risk of school failure. It compared 16 different educational methods head to head over almost 20 years to see which, if any, would benefit children who were economically and/or socially deprived. It cost the American taxpayer more than 2.2 billion 1970’s U.S. dollars, showed two effective methods, and was immediately deep-sixed by the U.S. Office of Education.
Our teachers know nothing about this, the largest educational research study ever done. Nor are they taught much if anything about the only two effective methods emanating from that study. In short, our teachers are being denied the benefits of research and the effective practices that are developed from such studies.
This is not unusual, the medical profession took a century to adopt the sterile technique of washing their hands between patients after Semmelweis clearly demonstrated that it was a cure for “childbirth fever” aka blood poisoning that killed one-third of mothers entering maternity wards. The surgeons of the day rewarded this life-saving finding by driving Semmelweis out of his Vienna hospital. It took a century for what we now know as “sterile technique” to become mandatory in the health profession. Pioneers get the arrows, settlers get the land. It is no different in education.
My new applicant also knew nothing of the sixteen rules for teaching spelling and reading. She was shocked when she saw them. Would these methods have improved her ability to teach English? I think so. Would they help you if your child is not being taught them today? I think so. These strategies run through the entre curriculum. They are as helpful in math as they are in reading comprehension.
I expect to sprinkle these specific strategies into my blogs and to provide you a practice sheet for each strategy that you could share with your child’s teacher. If the teacher’s colleges won’t provide this information to its student teachers as part of their professional training, maybe we can help them out.