Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Teaching Tip #39

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #39
The Trouble with textbooks.
I’m stealing this from a book I read this summer for a graduate course on teaching reading in the content areas: Subjects Matter by Harvey “Smokey” Daniels and Steven Zemelman.
Solution #3 – Stop having textbook-centered courses altogether.
For me this is easy, as for 5 of my 6 classes, I get to make the curriculum up as I wish.  But not everyone is so lucky.
The obvious concern here is that you get everyone doing their own thing and accountability and common assessment disappear.
That’s a legit issue.  But look at this example – “when we looked at Matt’s handmade collection [Matt is an inner city English teacher who put his own curriculum together], we realized how good it was that there is no senior English textbook at this school.  Form the Library of Congress website, Poetry 180, and a few other selected sources, Matt had created a gorgeous and distinctive set of poems, all by and about African Americans, perfectly suited to his class, matched to their age and experience, attuned to their previous literary diet, and aimed at their interests, today.  No textbook could ever do that.  Now, that’s what we call teaching.”
Isn’t that why most of us got into teaching?  Who the hell goes into this profession to teach from a textbook?

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