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The readiness is all
June can be a giddy time of hope and despair in schools across the land, especially in faculty rooms as teachers don their robes and await their cue to participate in another graduation ceremony. They shake their heads, amazed that Joe or Sally is actually getting a diploma, and weep with laughter as they trade memories of the seniors who seemed most impervious to learning. "Joe had modern European history, and he had US history. So in my English class I felt safe in asking if anyone could tell me why so many Irish flocked to America. Joe raised his hand. 'A malaria epidemic,' he suggested." Big explosion of laughter from that corner of the faculty room. But filter out the laughter, and what remains is the frustration over the poor skills and knowledge of too many high school graduates. The senior class is a mirror into which teachers are uneasy gazing.
|Dr. Mary-Helen Immordino-Yang|
|"I'm hoping that we can really make rich conceptual advances for the role of emotion in learning and in education, because educational settings are social ones. The emotions that people experience in those settings shape the way..." – Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang|
Better than anyone, they know that nothing is really amusing about education. From the rising tide of mediocrity to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) to the Race to the Top Fund to high drop-out rates, educators are (top)
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reminded incessantly of the need for something better.
Anyone interested in education—teacher, administrator, parent, student, researcher—knows that what we have isn't working as well as we want it or need it to work. We are in it together, and we will either solve our problems together or 100 years from now, people will continue repeating the same conversation that began in the 19th century. That's our common ground, our desire to make our schools better. Today we have the opportunity to look at education from all these perspectives, allowing us to unite experience and science, theory and practice, intuition and insight—provided we bring to the endeavor certain traits:
- A desire to work with others, a belief in the power of many perspectives, and a belief that we can help each other
- An openness to accepting new ideas and to examining old assumptions
- A willingness to feel the points of view of others and open channels of communication
- The effort to understand and align our goals
The overriding purpose of this course is to stimulate conversation within this wide community of educators. Share your ideas and insights, and engage the ideas of others, by participating in online discussions (Note: On this Annenberg site, you will find a Teacher Talk listserv. We hope you will use it to discuss with others your ideas and experiments.); joining the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society; attending and presenting at conferences and workshops; visiting one another's classrooms, schools, and research labs; challenging the practices and policies that seem ineffective or counterproductive; inventing new approaches; and writing, sharing, and publishing your ideas.
Despite the struggle, perhaps we can come together as a people who speak one language and build the schools that embody our hopes.