Will Okun, a Chicago English and photography teacher, admires a colleague who engages students with hip-hop lyrics. But he wonders why he has to become an entertainer to get students to care about learning. Guest-blogging for Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, Okun poses three questions for experienced teachers:
– What are the most fundamental differences between the American educational system and high-achieving foreign educational systems and what are the positive or negative outcomes of these differences?
– How has the approach to education and learning changed during your tenure as a teacher and do you believe these changes are beneficial or harmful to the American student?
– What has changed in our society and in our educational system to bring us to the point where high schools must now create incentives to â€œinspireâ€ and â€œmotivateâ€ low-income students to attend classes on a regular basis?
I’d welcome comments from teachers and from people who are familiar with other countries’ education systems.
Update: Here’s more from a middle-school science teacher, Anthony Cody of Teacher Leaders Network on getting students engaged in learning without gimmicks.