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Letters to the Editor...
Teaching and theory

I agree with EMA on the topic of theory in
education.

I, too, was an older student when I
returned to college, and I had a husband
and two children. I, too, had worked in
the "real world", as an insurance claims
supervisor for nearly 10 years.

I attended Phillips University in Enid,
Oklahoma, a very small campus. We had
maybe 15 students going through teacher
courses when I did. One professor, Dr.
Robards, taught all but two of the methods
classes. She was a born teacher.

Dr. Robards set her schedule so that she
could spend a major portion of at least one
day actually out in the elementary schools
in Enid. Not as an observer. Not as an
aide. But actually teaching. She knew
what was going on in the classrooms.

We learned some theories at the time --
like the theory of the "teacher-look". We
actually practiced it in class. Dr.
Robards talked with us about the current
theories being tossed around out there, but
she pointed out that theories come and go.
She felt it was important that we learn a
good solid foundation of skills for
teaching. She encouraged us to read and
study the theories, but to not always
readily accept everything just because a so-
called expert claimed it was best.

I have long believed that being a
consistent, fair, caring teacher with high
expectations in and of itself would help
lay a solid educational foundation for each
and every child.

I have seen so many theories and so many
experts come and go. What seems to always
remain is that those teachers who set high
expectations and then help their students
meet those standards -- those teachers who
remain consistent and fair -- those
teachers who genuinely love their students
and show it -- those are the teachers who
help students succeed with or without the
many theories out there.

Does this mean I don't try to incorporate
new practices or theories into my
teaching? No it does not. I simply choose
those things which seem right for my
students' learning styles.

What I do NOT appreciate is being told that
if I don't buy into the theories then I am
less of a teacher.

Sharyl
8/05/00

This month's letters:

  • Gifted/Talented Lesson--End of GT Chatboard, 8/16/00, by Lynn/ms/pa.
  • Teaching and theory, 8/05/00, by Sharyl.
  • Let's review the system - teachers too., 8/03/00, by L. Canale.
  • Teaching: What's theory got to do with it?, 8/02/00, by EMA.

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