October, Mid-Term Program Stop

Time goes by and I am in the middle of the Program, actually already passed it last week.  School visits will continue now to  Indianapolis, Columbus, Evansville and hopefully in the beginning of November to  Sacramento, California.

Yes, history teaching and learning is different here: testing takes a lot of time from interactive teaching and learning. Multiple-choice questions on  history; who did what and when? Was was the name of the treaty signed after WWI? To some extent those questions sound so irrelevant, when I think about historical thinking and understanding. Multiple-Choice questions leave so little room for terms like causation, change, consequences, significance, continuity and perspectives, which are really valued very high for historical understanding.

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The US educational policy ” No Child Left Behind” was introduced in 2001 and  according to the legislation, schools must pass yearly tests that judge student improvement over the fiscal year. These yearly standardized tests are the main means of determining whether schools live up to required standards. If required improvements are not made, the schools face decreased funding and other punishments that contribute to the increased accountability. So there are lots of tests all the time, because no child should not be left out and the guarantee for that is to test and to test…

In a sense I now see my own IB system´s benefits even more: we really need to concentrate on those approaches and terms, in order to succeed and also become familiar with the term historical consciousness, which is THE ONE  for deeper understanding of the past. History teaching and learning is not about memorizing the facts, it is so much more.Historical method requires students to question the past, propose a hypothesis, check the available sources and analyze the source with respect to their reliability. Finally the aim is to answer the research question and find different interpretations. Instead of being knowledge givers, we teachers should be knowledge facilitators. What I have seen so far, has not been  so much related to historical thinking and understanding. But, next; An IB school visit  in Indianapolis, maybe that will make my day!

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All the experiences will enrich my FDAT- Grantee semester; This is a good opportunity to reflect my own teaching and work as a whole. This program is a chance to develop teaching skills and understanding of U.S. educational policy and to enhance abilities to work in diverse and multicultural environments. Schools in the US are really characterized by rich ethnic, cultural, language and religious diversity.The Progressive Policy Institute ( 2008) has estimated that 50 million Americans (0ut of 300 million) spoke a language at home other than English in 2008. Hence the term “multicultural education” is a reality in here.

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See you!

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