A wonderful article with lots of ideas by John Jensen,Ph.D.–about why teacher prep and teacher inservice don’t always translate to better teaching and learning.

He cites a Teacher of the Year’s ADAMANT insistence that his students learn the material. The teacher insisted on hard work. Drill. Repeat. Hard work. Drill. Repeat.  How different from the current mode–that kids will learn if we just present material to them; they’ll learn by osmosis. etc.  Alas, it does not work that way. Kids have to practice; “practice makes myelin’-the connectors in the brain, according to Daniel Coyle in The Talent Code.  Greatness is not born. it’s grown. Practice, practice, practice–especially if the skill is hard.

But, alas, it’s not to be, as we now believe that kids will simply pick up what they need to know. 

According to this article,  teachers don’t learn from each other.  So good ideas are not shared. Even about being ADAMANT that kids learn!  Inservice may not be enough.   If only we encouraged more teachers to be like this one–and supported them in their efforts to be sure their students actually learned the materials–NO EXCUSES!

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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