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May 26, 2010



This is very interesting. Let me tell you, as a teacher who tried to give my students valuable content and the ability to analyze the world around them, question the status quo and become passionate about life... the system is not set up for us. Any of us, teachers or students interested in a profound education. My kids are still young, but I am always wondering about where and how a progressive, liberatory education can be found.


Excellent piece Leigh. I often thought about this when I was teaching middle school. I felt I was struggling to try and "sneak" interesting things into my curriculum while still trying to check off all the boxes and prep for the standardized tests. Rowena is right "the system is not set up" for teachers who strive to do this in most cases. I prefer the IB curriculum, which puts more emphasis on language learning, cultural analysis and community involvement, to the American system.


interesting to read your thoughts Leigh. I have the same views about the Australian system and living in England now I can see that the education system here is continually being evaluated but no changes are ever made. I guess that comes back to being comfortable with what we know and a strong resistance to change

Leigh Shulman

What did you teach? And do you ever think of going back to teaching?

I think this has been more on my radar now because I miss being in the classroom and (maybe) am about to return. But the main reason I quit in the first place is the limiting methods of education.

Even if you are the type of teacher who seems to expand the horizon, there are so many state and federal rules (in the US for sure) that must be met before you can work toward teaching how to think.

How to find a more liberatory education? Homeschooling is an option, but I'm not sure it's an answer. Seems like the system (perhaps worldwide?) is ripe for revolution. Because it seems to be breaking down now.

Leigh Shulman

Did you teach in IB schools? Or attend one?

I know a limited amount about the IB curriculum but it does seem to work well. I wonder if it's possible to expand it to an entire system.

And yes, I also agree with Rowena. The system is not set up for teachers who want to go as far beyond teaching for the test as possible (and I think there are many teachers who do want that).

Leigh Shulman

It's frustrating to see how much time and energy goes into evaluation with no actual change.

I'm not quite sure how to address it. My way until now has been to actually be in the classroom and work toward something different. It's an exhausting way to teach, I think, particularly when personalized attention and deviation from the norm is not supported by the system as a whole.

That means one teacher must provide all input and reflection for 30 or more students.

I'm not yet sure how to address it, but I do know I want to go back to teach. Working on that now.

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