How Classroom Life Undermines Reform
By Mary Kennedy
(Harvard University Press, Paperback, 9780674022454, 279pp.)
Publication Date: September 2006
Reform the schools, improve teaching: these battle cries of American education have been echoing for twenty years. So why does teaching change so little?
Arguing that too many would-be reformers know nothing about the conflicting demands of teaching, Mary Kennedy takes us into the controlled commotion of the classroom, revealing how painstakingly teachers plan their lessons, and how many different ways things go awry. Teachers try simultaneously to keep track of materials, time, students, and ideas. In their effort to hold all of these things together, they can inadvertently quash students' enthusiasm and miss valuable teachable moments.
Kennedy argues that pedagogical reform proposals that do not acknowledge all of the things teachers need to do are bound to fail. If reformers want students to learn, they must address all of the problems teachers face, not just those that interest them.