iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002
Sun, 01-18-2009 - 11:34am

Maybe the best place for this is the Education Debate board, but I can too easily predict how they will answer this one, so I will bring it here:

One major difference I have noticed between the Canadian System of education and the American one is the use of tracking.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
In reply to: trouchflute
Sun, 01-18-2009 - 12:20pm

I've always been conflicted about this one because of many of the reasons you mentioned. When I first started teaching



iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
In reply to: trouchflute
Mon, 01-19-2009 - 5:16pm

My response could get long so bear with me. This was the topic of discussion in our in-service today, and I can say that in some way, I'm in favor of tracking. We discussed how to keep it flexible yet give students the path they need to be ready to exit our building with diploma in hand.

I teach a class designed for students who are identified in the special education program or have reading levels low enough they flounder in the regular classroom. They are mostly juniors and seniors. They're placed there because the other two teachers in my department don't seem to be able to reach those kids. One teacher is only in her second year of teaching and seems to think that a senior-level type of curriculum and teaching style works for freshmen and the other thinks that college-level teaching works for all students, even though he agrees we need these classes for those who struggle. Neither one of them has the understanding of what it takes to help these students. To teach these students Shakespeare would be a waste of my time and resources and only serve to make them feel lost, resentful, and like an academic failure. We're talking about students who need help in how to fill out a job application, how to read opinion-editorials in the newspaper, etc. A few years ago, I saw these classes as pointless, but as I've watched too many of them struggle in other English classes and I learn more about the necessities of students like this, I've come to believe that we have to start doing more to help these students.

This all may seem ridiculously simple to some, but keep in mind that I work in a very small rural school district where our staff is limited, and after the big bomb the superintendent dropped on us today, funds are virtually non-existent. Plus, as I was oh-so-not-gently reminded in a podcast by education technology guru Kevin Honeycutt recently, we're all responsible for educating these students.

It doesn't mean that I find no academic value in classic literature. Quite the contrary, but I do feel we could be doing much more to meet the needs of students. Roughly 45% of the students leaving the high school where I teach will not be attending a four-year university. They will be going directly into the workforce or they will be attending a technical school or a community college. I do everything I can to expose them to the things they will need beyond the walls of our building, but when it comes to things such as technical writing and functional workplace reading, I am the only person in my department teaching these things. I'm incredibly frustrated by this, and while my cohorts in my department agree with the need, they offered nothing in the way of ideas on how to make it more equitable for our students. Striking the balance of helping the students who are effortless academic successes is as frustrating as finding structure to help those who fall through the cracks because they aren't on grade level.

  "Aut dosce, aut disce, aut discede"