Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Case Study Offer from a Colleague

One of my fellow Harvard Ed School colleagues recently cited the course we took from Professor Duckworth as one of his inspirations for the model for urban school reform he uses now. Thus, he saw no better way to bring it back full circle.  

Please read below and let him (Ammerah Saidi at know if you or anyone else may be interested.  


I have an opportunity for anyone looking to develop a case study around instructional innovation/authentic learning/youth empowerment & mobilization/resistance around educational reform.  

I currently teach 8th grade  ELA in Detroit, MI in a new charter school that has allowed me to implement my model for urban school reform (see attached document with rubric). However, implementing the model has come with constant resistance and friction from parents and some administrators.  It has made for a fascinating climate and culture.  Consequently, I’d like to have an outside party examine the work and write a case study about it.

This model for urban school reform demands the implementation of 3 critical elements: critical pedagogy, academic rigor, and community-school interactions.  The English/Language Arts class I teach centers on 3 grounding objectives:

  1. Developing Critical Reflection and Assessment (regarding self, the world, our work, the work of others) 
  2. Developing Critical Thinking Skills (analysis, synthesis, evaluation)
  3. Developing skills of Argumentation/Debate and Research
The classroom and school is designed to be anything but typical.  In my classroom, students are constantly empowered to drive their own learning and encouraged to question established hierarchies, process, and systems.  They are supported through a curriculum which not only develops their cognitive abilities but also their character and capacity to lead movements and community initiatives.  The percentage of talk within the classroom (as calculated by students) is about 80% student voice and 20% or less teacher/adult voice.  Moving into the second semester, students will be taking an even greater control over their learning and development through scaffold exercises in self-evaluation and resource outreach.  Students have also developed, implemented and evaluated workshops they have designed for their peers, their teachers, and their parents.  

Among the classroom practices:
  • Student facilitated debates around issues of social justice.
  • Peer, self developed assessments used to grade assignments (collective grading)
  • Sociological community explorations (used to inform program development around problems in the community)
  • Failure is removed as a threat--an accepted and even encouraged part of the learning process
  • Push for innovation and norm-questioning
  • meta-cognitive documentation and process development
  • Direct application and distribution of pedagogical language (e.g. application of Bloom's used by students)
More details can be provided upon request.    
In my personal pursuit of developing effective pedagogical practices for urban youth, I believe having an objective third party researcher come in and document his/her findings (both the functional and dysfunctional) is critical.  This would also help me identify and develop pedagogies that increase capacity for youth learning and mobilization.  

Please let me know if you or anyone else would be interested in taking me up on this offer.

Thank You!

Ammerah Saidi 

I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary."

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