Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NCTQ advocates return to blackboards!

Having read the National Center for Teacher Quality (NCTQ)  report on teacher preparation throughout the country I was eager to see what they considered to be model programs. The report was so damming of such a large percentage of the 2000 or so teacher education programs reviewed that  the few programs they  held up as model programs must be remarkably good.

So, being a math educator I went straight to the Louisiana State University video to see what NCTQ thought was a model approach to teaching elementary school mathematics. The commentary by the professors, students, teachers and administrators had been clearly carefully scritped to include what we all know is good about math education as well as the importance of having close ties with mathematicians in the university math department. The video clip began with a college professor filling a blackboard with equations very much like he could have done in the 1950s or 60s.

This remarkable anachronism, the use of chalk and a chalkboard,raises serious questions about the LSU program. I haven't used chalk or a blackboard for at least 10 years since we discovered that chalk dust and computers do not live well together.There was a SMARTboard being used in a public school classroom later in the video but it looks as though LSU is still using blackboards in their university classrooms. This would imply that prospective students cannot use their laptops in the college classroom, that there is no instruction in the use of a SMARTboard and that students are not taught how to teach math through the use of technology such as iPads and interactive on-line activities.

One of the other videos at one of the other colleges also showed the extensive use of a blackboard.
I find this quite remarkable.

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