01 septiembre 2011

Educación: caminos a seguir

El siguiente artículo es de la autoría de Tracy Stevens, escritora y dueña del blog "A Better Education". Preferimos mantenerlo en su idioma original para que el artículo no pierda su calidad y que su comprensión sea libre de posibles trabas causadas por la traducción. Igualmente trataremos de traducirlo al español.

Dos opiniones encontradas, que se manifiestan en la forma de educar. ¿La educación basada en lo que dicta el maestro o aqulla sustentada sobre la oportunidad dada al alumno para que estudie o se familiarice con los libros a partir de sus propios intereses? La autora del artículo discute con la primera estrategia, entre otros motivos debido a que haría que aumente la deserción de los alumnos. Les dejamos el link hacia una película que trata este tema más profundamente: http://www.cuevana.tv/buscar/?q=freedom+writers&cat=titulo

Is Fiction Frivolous?

A few weeks ago I was reading an article by E.D. Hirsch, who said that reading choices in school should not be "random" and that fiction is "frivolous". His point was that the teacher should choose books based on topics of study, rather than students choosing books of interest to them, thereby strengthening other Core Knowledge subjects while improving literacy.

At first glance, taking every opportunity to interleave subjects and focus learning seems like a good thing, especially if your focus is on test scores and retaining Core Knowledge facts. But if you are concerned about nurturing a love of learning, valuing individual interests, or even getting kids to want to read, this is not a good strategy. This line of thinking can extend to art, music, recreation, and movement. If they do not directly contribute to a highly focused subject, than they are not worthwhile. I could not disagree more! Let's not squeeze all of the beauty of life out of education, please! Not only is education far less enjoyable when we do this, we fail to reach the most at-risk students and increase the drop-out rate.

Giving a reader, especially a struggling one, a choice in what they read encourages them to read more and to delve into a subject until they are satiated. Giving students a modicum of control over parts of their education is to invite them to actively participate in it.

In the effort to help boys who straggle far behind girls in literacy, there has been a concerted effort by educators and publishers to provide books that will greatly appeal to them and be within their reading ability to help nurture literacy. These books are called high interest/low level and feature subjects like sports, animals, and all things “gross”. I know from experience that these are the books of choice for many a struggling reader. Do we really think that keeping kids interested and active in their education is unimportant? How sad that curiosity and interest would be casualties in the maniacal effort to raise test scores.

In an article by Nancie Atwell
(here), The National Council of Teachers of English were frantically looking for volunteers to defend the teaching of literature because the Common Core State Standards Initiative, dominated by test-makers and politicians, were busy writing the K-12 Common-Core Standards behind closed doors and did not see the worth of book reading. What? Even high-brow literature is unworthy?

When I was learning to read, I was taken to the public library once a week and was allowed to choose a bagful of any books I liked. At one point I was reading a lot of Danielle Steele books. These books did not boost my test scores or elevate my education (except maybe socially) but they kept my nose in a book for hours at a time until I grew tired of them. My bookshelves later filled with books that were not in the Danielle Steele genre, but I appreciated that I could choose what was interesting to me – both in school and at home to encourage a lifelong love and ability to read. I hope my children will have the same choice and say in their education.

Tracy Stevens

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