Monday, May 19, 2014

I'd like for you all to take a look at something...

This is one of those big, complex stories that are themselves subplots of still bigger, more complex stories. These subjects tend to get out off if you approach them too ambitiously. The best way to handle them, at least for me, is to keep each post small and manageable, at least while you're laying the groundwork (blogs are good for that).

I've been meaning for a long time to write about Relay Graduate School of Education and its role in the education reform movement. Lots of moving parts here, but there's one very important part that I think we can pull out and address as a stand alone question:

Does getting a master's from Relay require graduate level work?

When you have a minute, check out Relay's website then watch a few of these videos. They're all short and relatively self-explanatory. I don't want to go into content, pedagogy, or applicability at this point (that can wait until later posts), but I do want to mention that the most interesting (hooking the lesson) is also the least representative.

Here are some of the videos which, as far as I can tell, are used as part the school's flipped classes:

Lesson plans*


Wait Time

Clear and precise directions

Strong voice and positive framing

Hooking lessons

It's been a long time since I took a methods class but this looks a lot like what I remember from sophomore and junior level courses. Are these things you would normally see at a graduate level? I realize these videos are only part of the program but this description of the curriculum does nothing to allay my concerns:
The Relay GSE curriculum comprises two core components. First, graduate students learn core instructional practices in planning, delivery, and assessment of teaching and learning that are necessary for all teachers, regardless of the subject or grade level they are teaching. These practices are sometimes referred to in the education field as “general pedagogy.” Second, graduate students will learn how to teach their specific subject at one or more specific grade levels. Math teachers do not learn geometry, for example, but rather how to teach geometry and how students learn geometry. This is sometimes referred to as “pedagogical content knowledge.
Help me out on this one. Based strictly on the information Relay provides us, would you say this constitutes graduate or undergraduate level work?

*Not sure if intentionality (intensionality?) means what he thinks it means.

1 comment:

  1. Anecdotes ahead.

    In NYC in the early 2000s when I was teaching in the public system, a bachelors in ed and a masters in ed were equivalent degrees with equivalent coursework and the state treated them as such. If you had a bachelors in ed (at least 48 credits at an accredited school, as I do), it was expected that your state-mandated masters for permanent certification should be in your subject area and not ed school again as that'd be redundant.

    So no, ed school did not require graduate level work, regardless of the institution.

    I have a friend in Washington state with a PhD in a science who decided to become a high school teacher. The state requires him to get a masters in ed anyway, which he is doing now, and he confirms that nothing he's doing is graduate level work.

    I'm resisting the temptation to further malign ed schools.