INTERVIEW WITH TEACHER & REPORT OF KNOWLEDGE GAINED
The interview in this study was conducted with Kari, raised by a single mother and the oldest of two children having a younger brother. Kari's parents were both supportive of her educational pursuits although her mother barely kept the household running on her meager salary and her father was married to his second wife and had three other children by the second marriage. Kari's mother has told her to apply to whatever college she most wanted to attend and assured her that the funds would be there for her to go to her college of choice. Kari's grandmother cautioned Kari's mother about building up Kari's hopes but Kari's mother knew that Kari's grandmother little understood that she was in a poverty income level that would result in Kari being the recipient of government grants and student loans ensuring she could indeed attend college and where she most wanted. Kari applied and was accepted at a top-notch university and the same week Kari left for college her grandmother passed away from a three-year long fight against cancer. Kari achieved high grades in college at what was a Christian-based university and her high level of ethics coupled with her deep faith took her through to graduation and right into an elementary school teaching job where her dedication and natural talent to teach were immediately acknowledged. Kari was deeply concerned about the state of affairs in today's public schools. There were only she and one other teacher in the elementary grade she taught and the other very senior and tenured teacher along with her classroom were visibly and perceptively lacking in luster like an old library where the books had not been dusted in far too long. Kari understood that this environment was not conducive to student learning and achievement although she wasn't sure how this situation would be attended to. Kari intuitively understood that there were many things about the educational process that were lacking and she noted that lack of civic education in today's schools is prevalent. Kari also noted that many students did not have the level of support at home in their learning that was necessary for student achievement to occur. Kari was very active in her community and church which served to shape and fine tune her view of the world around her. Carrie was extremely influenced by what she perceived as a 'systemic' dominance over the education of children in which the system sought to prescribe from the top down how learning and assessment should be managed on the micro-level. The many requirements set out by governmental regulations and laws and standardized testing assessment of students left the teachers little room to teach according to the natural progress of their students and this disallowed the classroom instructor to ever find their best teaching self resulting in teachers leaving the profession in droves and very few aspiring teachers following to fill in the needed places for teachers in today's schools.
It was Kari's belief that teaching and assessment were inherently linked and that there was a natural progression to teaching and assessment which involved integration of the curriculum into the teaching and assessment process. This is addressed in the work of Jones (2008) who relates that it does not matter which educational philosopher one studies or how many the ever recurring theme of the link between instruction, curriculum, and assessment is present. In fact, assessment informs the practice of instruction and the content of curriculum. Jones asks whether assessments "create within the students a lack of belief in his or her ability to read, or did the assessment identify a need for more effective curriculum and instruction in teaching the students to read?" (p.1) Jones (20008) asks how curriculum and instruction impact the assessments and how important is curriculum instruction and assessment "in the teaching and learning cycle." (Jones, 2008, p. 1)
Assessment, from the view of Kari was not the end-all or the finish line but instead a place of gaining knowledge and becoming informed...
In addition Kari believed that self-actualization and harmony with one's destiny or in the work of Aquinas to realize the "beatific vision of God, which related to both the spiritual and physical realms" was the ultimate goal of education. Herbert Spencer was instrumental in the development of the believe in society about evolutional growth which gave strong support for "individualism, human freedom, and the need to keep state and church from interfering in human affairs." (Jones, 2008, p. 4) The lifelong purpose of Spencer was the development of "a comprehensive sociology of knowledge curriculum that explained the evolution of society and predicted social change." (Jones, 2008, p. 5) The life view of Herbert Spence is reported as having been "materialistic and premised on the idea that true religion had to do with the worship of the 'unknowable'." (Jones, 2008, p. 5) Attaining the knowledge of what was 'unknowable' mean that he would have to apply "science to vital life activities." (Jones, 2008, p. 6)
It was the belief of Thomas Jefferson that education should be based in science with all schools teaching "reading, writing, and arithmetic…" while acquainting students with English and American history as well as Greek and Roman history. Thomas Jefferson held that education should be "scientifically based" and Jane Adams had a focus on students that were bilingual and immigrants and would be open to the testing and segregation of data that are presently used in identification of areas that are weak and in the attempt to fill the achievement gap. Jane Adams held that the curriculum should be comprised of not only knowledge attainment but practical instruction in regards to "teaching students how their knowledge can be used in solving critical, social and economic problems." (Jones, 2008, p. 5) Thomas Jefferson believed in the "common school and developed the idea further. A common school was one where people from different backgrounds could live 'peaceably and productive in a common society." (Jones, 2008, p. 6) Another believer in the common school is that of Herbert Mann. Mann went on to develop the idea ever further. A common school is reported as being one "where people from different backgrounds could live 'peaceably ad productive in a common society." (Mann cited in: p. 7) Mann developed his concept of civic education and believed that individuals should lay aside their own individual interests and come together for the 'common good'. It was Mann's believe that the curriculum should teach "moral values and ethic using a basic morality apart from any religion ideas." ( p. 8) It was the belief of Mann, just as was the belief of Spencer that education had the capacity to build a society that was perfect due to the process of inherent social evolution.
Kari came to realize that while she did believe in traditional education that her view of education was constructed upon the traditional education framework but was a diversified form of traditional education that allowed for the individuality of the learners with their varied talents and efficacies. Kari believes much as did Ghandi that the education of a child requires allowing the child to experience and explore their own creative impulses and that allowing this resulted in activities that held meaning and purpose for the learner and one that included a "cultural element" in that the "power of education would come from a learning environment hat encouraged a child's interests and curiosities'. (Jones, 2008, p. 13) From Kari's view not only are there different intelligences but there are variations in the levels of intelligence contained within each diverse forms of intelligences that the learner may possess.
In order for instruction to be informative and for the information the learner receives to be effectively taught, the modes and materials of teaching must necessarily be flexible enough to enable the various intelligences that exist among learners in today's schools. Jones notes that the unbalanced approach towards instruction, curriculum, and assessment that has been take over recent decades has resulted in lower student achievement so low in fact that for the first time in the history of the United States "the educational skills of one generation will not surpass, will not equal, will not even approach, those of their parents." (Jones, 2008, p. 10)
Kari, like many other teachers while in pre-service wondered where the disconnect was between instruction and assessment and discovered like many others that the curriculum simply was not designed to enable students in achieving under the present assessments. The curriculum does not inform the instruction and this results in instruction failing to enable high achievement when students are assessed for their learning. State quite simply the students are not achieving when assessments are conducted because the curriculum…
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