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Mary G.

So, basically, does this mean that we get to tell Ruby Payne what she preaches is less than stellar? And all of those lazy teachers (as we all cross our fingers that we neither are nor ever will be one of THOSE) that sit around the lunch table or that den of pessimism (otherwise known as the teacher's lounge), do we get to tell them to get off their butts and respect each and EVERY one of their students enough to want them to make those neuron connections? When it comes down to it, having this attitude permeate in our classrooms, telling our students they can achieve to new levels they can determine, would it be so hard?


One of the things I struggle with as a current educator of teachers and former K-12 educator is the gap between research and practice. The example outlined in todays blog is a prime example of this break down. As a K-12 educator I wanted tangible answers and as a scholar I now strive to ask the right questions. At times it seems difficult to bridge the two. For some reason educators at all levels still seem to struggle to see the links between research/theory and practice/real world.

I believe there are two basic reasons the work of Payne (and others like her) is so widely accepted. First, I think we in schools of education often fail emerging educators by not translating theory/research into the lived experience/reality of today's teachers. We forget to show teachers how this work helps us to be better educators and solve everyday problems. Secondly, I believe teachers flock to the quick fix answers offered by Payne because it is easier then looking at the larger issues and our roles within those.

All educators want to serve students effectively. We want to fix problems and create opportunity. We are a well intended (sometimes misguided) group. In an era that is so critical of education we will listen to anyone offering answers. This becomes problematic when we forget research/theory in our daily pursuits. Research and theory tells us that Payne's work is not best practice and it is the job of scholars to help translate this to practicing educators. I see Payne's work as an opportunity for scholars to practice what they preach and engage emergent educators in critical discussions to address everyday issues in their classroom.

Susan S add to these insightful comments, I think that educators are completely missing the fact that the students process information differently than students of yesteryear. I thought that Rob's comment about implicating us, as teachers, in the project of student learning, is SO true. When are teachers going to realize that students crave opportunities to reflect, act and share?? Teachers cannot expect students to sit passively and absorb information. These students are more challenged by computer games than their school work. Please, don't tell me how NCLB hinders teachers from creating interesting learning opportunities! Rather, I would encourage educators to stop spending precious time complaining and finding excuses. Use it for learning about the wonderful young people with whom they work. Students want to tell us what they think or what questions they can generate about a topic. How can we use a variety of tools, strategies, and information to create meaningful learning environments? When will teachers realize that the power that they clutch so tightly is strangling the very children they want to help? The vacant senior seats and blank expressions on the faces of children are providing educators important clues....In the words of Marc Prensky, engage me or enrage me!

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