Standards, Objectives, and Goals, oh my.

So I have been trying to continue this blog but I hit a major roadblock. After a month of research, i can’t find a common definition for what a standard, an objective or an educational goal is. What I have found is that depending on the district, state, or country, the definitions jump around. One state will give a definition of a standard and the next will call it an objective and then the next will call those benchmarks and then focus on goals, which the next state calls an objective.

So I ask all of you. What are your views on all these terms? What is a definition you would give to each? Please comment or write me with your ideas. I desperately need them to continue this conversation.

Thank you.

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The State of the Public Schools

Recently I have been trying to piece together my educational ideology. I remember doing a couple of these for education classes. Unfortunately they were all from before I had even set foot into a classroom.

Reflecting back on my education it still astounds me that the most important part of becoming a teacher, the class time, is reserved until the last semesters. Nevertheless, I came across one of my old educational philosophies the other day. Curious, I read the grade I received, a B, then proceeded to see what ideas I had come up with. After getting a third of the way through and reading far too many power words and popular theories that I was sprinkling throughout the paper, I realized that I couldn’t take it anymore and placed the document in the trash can.

My curiosity didn’t subside however. I sat back trying to think of what my educational ideology was and ended up in an argument with myself. What I found was a broad scattering of ideals and theories, but little in the way of a weaving pattern that complimented each other. I realized that I needed to nail down my own belief systems on education into something tangible. I needed to bring together all of the experts, research studies, books and theories that I had been collecting all these years and see what bigger narrative I had.

What I found was that there are four main influences to my educational ideology. These different aspects come from a variety of sources and in the future I hope to share them and their authors with all of you. But to begin with, next post I will mention yet again the greatest influence I have ever come across as a teacher: Linda Darling-Hammond.

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Structure of this site for now.

I have been thinking about how I want this blog to look and feel and what I want it to portray. While I am far from set on these ideas, I feel as though I have come up with a beginning. Just like the leaf structure above, these ideas are chaotic and constantly changing direction.

First, I am currently learning the differences between categories and tags and realizing that both are rather pointless but of the two categories are more useful for broad based organization. I follow a number of blogs, vlogs, YouTube stars and online video and podcasting organizations and from these I have begun to mine them for what I believe has made them successful. One of the primary features I have seen that has brought them all success was this idea of categorization. One of my favorite contributors is a video game blogger named TryHardNinja who posts game clips with commentary on YouTube. He would make series in relation to his different games. Another is Christian Belt who writes a blog called Arcane Brilliance and has a number of major themes he focuses around.

With that I have decided on keeping this experiment to 4 categories for now but I am open to any and all suggestions. The categories or series I will be focusing on are: Controversial Educational Issues, Education Policy, Educational Technology and My Teaching Experiences.

Controversial Educational Issues will come from a number of places such as major headlines in the news, changes to curriculum, books and lesson ideas I come across and hopefully suggestions from those who follow this. Just to give a couple examples of topics I may cover, here is a sampling:

  • Is It Time for National Standards in Education?
  • Have Charter Schools Fulfilled Their Promises?
  • Can Large High Schools Provide a Quality Education?
  • Should Students Have the Right to Lead Prayers at Public School Events?

My attempt in this is to create a discussion on these topics to get a wide range of ideas and perspectives. For these I hope the comments stimulate positive discussions and better understanding of the opposing views.

Education Policy will focus on the ideas and theories from education experts, and some unexpected sources, that I have found to be very meaningful and that are pushing us in the right direction. Some of these are from people like Linda Darling-Hammond, Sir Ken Robinson and Edutopia. The goal is to give my evaluation of these theories based on practical application. I will comment on them for their strengths and weaknesses. I have a growing list of lectures and other media revolving around this but every day I find new resources and I am always looking for more. I will be counting on the suggestions of other to find these great ideas.

Education Technology is the byproduct of my growing hate of podcasts and other movements of this field to saturate the classroom with every new fad, from SmartBoards to iPads to Twitter accounts. Just because the technology is out there doesn’t mean it has to be used in every school and every subject. Also, I have found few resources out there for the every day teacher in the average school with limited technological opportunities to still be able to implement effectively a couple items into their classroom. I will use this space to discuss my views on iPad apps, the iPad itself, class websites, computer programs and other techy things that pass by me.

Teaching Experiences. This is where I just rant about the things I observe or have learned from teaching. If I find a new idea that works or one that fails, I have a place to let it all out. If there is something I want to discuss but it doesn’t really fit into the previous topics, here is where I plan to toss it. If I get a question or comment that brings up new ideas, I have a place to discuss it. This is the Potpourri of my blog.

Second, I plan to also extend an idea that some of my peers and I came up with. We started a conversation salon to discuss these same issues but with the requirements of work and family, scheduling became a nightmare. So my plan is to return to these same people and hopefully tap them as guest bloggers and contributors to this undertaking. Who knows if they will even be interested or if this will even be a success but I’m giving it a try nonetheless.