Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A good read

Here is a link to a charming op-ed piece about child development and its curriculum implications: Playing to Learn by Susan Engel, the director of the teaching program at Williams College (from the 2/1/10 NYT). Some choice quotes:
Imagine, for instance, a third-grade classroom that was free of the laundry list of goals currently harnessing our teachers and students, and that was devoted instead to just a few narrowly defined and deeply focused goals.

What they shouldn’t do is spend tedious hours learning isolated mathematical formulas or memorizing sheets of science facts that are unlikely to matter much in the long run. Scientists know that children learn best by putting experiences together in new ways. They construct knowledge; they don’t swallow it.

Our success depends on embracing a curriculum focused on essential skills like reading, writing, computation, pattern detection, conversation and collaboration — a curriculum designed to raise children, rather than test scores.

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