Some signs of improvement.
There were a lot of good comments on my last post. I’m all for ‘open exchange’ even if people don’t agree with me.
I’m hearing a lot of people say that TFA is receptive to constructive criticism. If that’s the case, it’s a new thing which I’m glad about. My comments stem from a frustrating 10 year period from 1995 to 2004 where I’d submit feedback forms from my workshop that had comments like “These are ideas I never heard before.” I felt that the feedback forms were ignored since year after year, I’d get the same sorts of comments. TFA showed no interest in trying to incorporate any of my suggestions into the curriculum.
As a veteran teacher who is trying to ‘teach’ TFA how to do better, I should not just concentrate on the negative, but also on some of the positive things I’ve seen. Here are some:
1) Something TFA seems to be stressing is getting a lot of data for assessing the students’ mastery of objectives. This wasn’t stressed for a while, and it’s so important to get that feedback so I’m glad to see that incorporated into the institute.
2) A good friend of mine is a principal of a middle school in The Bronx. He went to observe some CMs teaching Math in their summer placement schools. He described to me what their lessons were, and they were really impressive. Full student participation, organized activities, and a post-assessment to make sure that it all sunk in. He hired both of these teachers based on their great lessons.
As an outsider to the institute, I’m not really able to get first-hand accounts of what’s going on there. All I can really go by is what comes back on my workshop feedback forms or what I’ve seen people say on their blogs or as comments to what I’ve written or feedback from my friends who have experienced the institute first-hand.