Education Reform LO9710

Barry Mallis (
3 Sep 1996 09:48:21 -0400

Replying to LO9661 --

Reply to: RE>Education Reform LO9661

In my heart I feel strongly that Marion's ideas have a basis in real need,
and are philosophically correct.

We often and naturally glide around another question which is inexorably
linked to current weaknesses in education: the teacher corps, such as it

Little of substance may transpire to alter for the positive our children's
schools if teachers face such strong currents of traditional
curricula--and if they themselves are asked to be agents of change when
such behavior is TREMENDOUSLY DIFFICULT for any adult.

The strong currents paradoxically carry the teacher and student swiftly
downstream to a vast, engulfing sea where points of reference are much,
much harder to come by. Our nascent attempts to connect our students with
sources or watersheds are essential to making everything from Tolstoy to
tool-making vivid, connected, human.

And who are these teachers by and large? They are each one of us on this
list. They are just like you and I. And just as some of us can fathom
the idea of circulating day in and day out among a room full of people
seeking--or forced to seek--knowledge, skill and inspiration for living,
many of us cannot cope with such a thought. Teaching within schools in
the broad sense is a difficult task for which many or most are
ill-prepared. And many of those with positive intention and ability lose
momentum within the currents of withering tradition.

I strongly urge entrepreneurs on this list to consider initiatives which
bring students into the workplace. There, have your co-workers
demonstrate the need for contribution, collaboration, communication and
challenging (of assumptions). Tie that demonstration to english, math,
literature, science, debate, foreign language. Show the students and
teachers a world of requirements, demands, fulfilling exchange and pride
in work. Make the connection which teachers and students have long been
denied in too many places or which have simply played no direct role in

I profess that I am jaded toward teaching nowadays. For some in teaching,
jargon, buzzwords trends and fads wallpaper much of the same stultifying
practices. For fifteen years I was a classroom teacher, and worked my way
toward some small degree of inspiration for my students. I wasn't always
good in the classroom. But I got better, learned as I grew older, brought
a greater and greater breadth of understanding to my work.

I left because I couldn't raise a family on the tailings left by
communities for their teachers. Lousy teachers who should have been let
go were not. They and their attitudes crowded me out. Call it wimping
out by me if you want. Student feedback was ignored. Objectives were
misplaced or never grasped.

Strangely, I find myself back in the teacher/facilitator role with adults
at my company. How often they approach me and say "Barry, you should have
been a teacher." I smile and thank them.

Talk about a feedback loop! Teachers need a principled philosophy of
unimaginably rich, experiential education in ALL areas; and such a
philosophy requires excellent teachers. where to start?

Best regards,

Barry Mallis
Total Quality Resource Manager
Keene, NH

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