Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Topic: Research and Reform

10-second review: Educators designed a program in teacher training in English for a specific locality—three rural communities. The educators soon learned that they were in a situation way over their heads. Moral: Recognize that reality will destroy idealism every time.

Title: “Everyone to the Rescue.” A O’Regan. English Education (Spring 1971), 165-172. A publication concerning the preparation of teachers of English by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: When the educators arrived on the scene of the three separate rural communities, they found that the communities’ problems were simply too complex to be resolved. The educators beat a hasty retreat without, mercifully, causing any serious social problems.

Quote: “Pend Oreille [the school for the rural communities] was made for saving. On our very first visit, heroic images crowded the mind. Here was a place that needed a steersman, a healer, a diviner, a law giver; here was a chance to give, to fulfill, to expiate—that above all; whatever kind of obligation education owed to society could be paid off here.” p. 168.

Comment: This is the kind of article that I see only rarely—an attempt to analyze what went wrong. In this case the problem was an idealistic view of the community, soon corrected by experience and reality. The people and the issues were much too complex. The educators needed to learn from Carol Kennicott in Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street. They cannot change people. If anything the people and the community will change the educators and the educators’ theories. RayS.

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