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collaboration time is the key
Old 07-25-2010, 02:14 PM
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This thread is fascinating. I think what really matters when choosing a reading and/or writing program for teachers to have enough time to develop their craft through collaborative planning and evaluation of student work. 10 years ago San Diego threw out the basal programs in favor of units of study. They gave intensive training for teachers and made it mandatory. Most teachers were frustrated and complained about this mandate. But the hours and hours of professional development helped me to be a better teacher. At my school, teachers were given time to discuss and plan. We took time to review student work and plan our next steps for instruction.
UOS requires teachers to be thinkers who are masters of formative assessments. Unfortunately, even the best of the best teachers cannot do a very effective job of implementing UOS without the proper professional support. If there is no time for teachers to prepare for lessons, review student work, and reflect on the effectiveness of lessons then UOS will be mediocre at best. Scripted basal programs remove these factors from the equation. Just read the script and turn the page. So what is best? If the teaching profession continues to put more and more demands on teachers while eroding salaries/benefits and planning time then UOS and other labor intensive approaches will fall by the wayside in favor of follow the script programs. It is cheaper and safer to have a bunch of robots than a group of thinking teachers who might start asking too many questions and make demands which support them as professionals. New teachers probably won't be see the effectiveness of UOS like many of us did years ago. That is because the money is gone for training and prep time. Essentially it is a sink or swim situation. No wonder teachers are wanting basal readers again.

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