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Joseph Williams
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Joseph I. WIlliams
What Works in Education



APA 5th Edition Template

Running head: WHAT WORKS

 

 

 

 

 

What Works in Education

 

 

 

Joseph I. Williams

Indiana State University


INTRODUCTION

Learning is a cumulative art. As there can be a curriculum of the classroom, there can also be a curriculum of the home. The Websters dictionary defines curriculum as a series of planned instruction that is coordinated and articulated in a manner designed to result in the achievement by students of specific knowledge and skills and the application of this knowledge. Including locations, there are differences between home curriculum and classroom curriculum. Teachers and parents often hold diverse value systems, beliefs, attitudes and perceptions of where, when, how and to what extent curriculum is implemented. As a result, there are public schools, private schools, charter schools, religious schools, home schools and so on. Each of these types of schools exists to instill in students the values and beliefs of parents. However, when parents show interest in children's learning at home, and participate at school, they affect their children's achievement. Leopold & Penn (1995) wrote research of more than a quarter-century validates the importance of family involvement in education. Contemporary studies have found consistent evidence that when parents encourage children, show interest in children's learning at home, and participate at school, they affect their children's achievement, even after student ability and family socioeconomic status are taken into account.

Language forms the core for both the strengths and weaknesses of students. Research shows that children acquire language best through meaningful experiences. Phonics is well-known method for teaching first graders to read. Children that are taught with phonics, first rehearse a letter, sound it out, and repeat it with games, sing-along songs, and reading activities. Next, they are introduced to blending conceptsputting letters together to sound out words. Last, readers practice using words of only the letters and sounds that have been reviewed. As expected, phonics is one way to introduce the art of language. However, phonics alone does not directly develop critical reading skills. The Partnership for Reading (2000) suggests that individual language arts should not be taught in isolation of each other nor should skills necessary for reading and writing be taught in isolation of actual reading and writing experiences. Readers should be encouraged to write and tell stories, which helps them analyze, draw inferences, and make judgments on the connotative power of words. In the primary grades one of the first critical reading skills the teacher might attempt is to develop in students the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy.

There have been many ideas, techniques, and innovations for the classroom that have come and gone. But theres no telling what the future will uncover. Kids might be hooked on phonics today but may require a 12-step program to get unhooked tomorrow.

How mathematics is taught is just as significant as what is taught. A learners ability to reason, solve problems, and use mathematics to communicate their ideas develops only if they actively and frequently engage in these processes. Teachers should work toward situations that give pupils a chance to consider purposes for mathematics instead of simple formula recall. The natural curiosity of children, eager to understand their surroundings, is often overlooked by instruction that discourages inquiry and discovery. Teaching math with objects helps learners to develop comprehension by using realistic contexts and applications that appeal more to students' intuitive sense. Rather than a routine presentation of instruction ideas, instruction should provide repeated opportunities for students to generate, discuss, test, and apply mathematical ideas and validate their findings. Herbert & Heidema (1992) consistently stress several things:

      Problem solving should be the focus of school mathematics.

      The study of mathematics should emphasize developing higher order thinking skills, understanding of concepts, communicating about mathematics, making mathematical connections, and applying mathematics.

      Basic skills in mathematics should be defined to include more than computational facility.

      School mathematics should provide for an integrated study with increased emphasis on content such as geometry, measurement, patterns, relations, numeration, probability, statistics, logic, algorithmic thinking, and applications.

      Mathematics programs should take advantage of technology such as calculators and computers.

The mission to improve education is a concern that is enforced by laws in the United States. In January of 2002, President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act. The Center on Education Policy (2002) wrote, The central feature of this law requires the states to adopt a specific approach to testing and accountability, intended to lead to higher achievement for all children [Online]. The Center on Education Policy (CEP) maintains that the federal government would assume a more aggressive role and would take direct action to improve poor performing schools that receive federal funding (2002).

In fall 2002, new teachers hired with Title I funds or teaching in school-wide programs must be highly qualified. All Title I supported paraprofessionals who perform instructional duties and who were hired after January 8, 2002 must have completed at least two years of college or must meet a rigorous standard of quality as determined by a test. In fall 2002, students in schools that have failed for a second year to meet the improvement provisions of the prior law will have the option of leaving the failing school and enrolling in a different public school in the district.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, students in an estimated 8,652 schools will qualify for this option.  The local school board must pay for some or all of these students transportation expenses. In fall 2002, students in an estimated 3,000 schools will be offered both the option of public school choice and of taking away from the public school system their per-pupil share of Title I funding (between $300 and $1,000 per child) and transferring that amount to a private company, religious institution, or non-profit organization to pay for after school tutoring or other supplemental services.  This provision applies to students in schools that have already been labeled as failing for three years under the previous federal law.

As an African proverb goes, it takes a village to raise a child. In the U.S. it takes governments, laws, teachers, school administrators, school directors, parents, and communities to ensure no child is left behind. Education should be a cooperative process involving the home, the school, and the community and that all parents can participate actively in their children's schooling. It places responsibility for parent involvement primarily on the school and encourages parent participation in decision-making, school activities, and home study. It also provides for training of school staff and parents themselves, with parents helping to decide the focus of training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

Center On Education Policy. (2002). A new federal role in education. Retrieved October 7, 2002 from http://www.ctredpol.org/fededprograms/newfedroleedfeb2002.htm.

Herbert, M., & Heidema, C. (1992). Submission to the Program Effectiveness Panel of the U.S. Department of Education. Aurora, Colo.: Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning.

International Studies Education Project of San Diego. (1998). Preparing todays children for tomorrow. Retrieved October 7, 2002 from http://wwwrohan.sdsu.edu/dept/istep/index.htm

Leopold, G. & Penn, P. (1995). Field test of family connections 2 in Putnam County, WV. Charleston, W.V.: Appalachia Educational Laboratory.

The Partnership for Reading. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Retrieved October 9, 2002 from www.nationalreadingpanel.org.

Watson, D.J. (1987). Reader-selected miscues. In D.J. Watson (Ed.), Ideas and Insights: Language Arts in the Elementary School, 218-219. Urbana, Ill.: National Council of Teachers of English.

 

 

 

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