Behind the Classroom Door; 25
The topic on this week's Behind the classroom door are from Northern Illinois University College of Education is the role of teachers and special personnel in the schools. Here's the moderator Dean Robert F. top. Here again is the change that staking place in education and taking place very rapidly. Instead of one teacher in charge of the classroom the teacher has many special assistants or supporting person now. Psychologists nurses social workers psychometry those who administer tests secretarial services and teaching assistants in a variety of forms. Are now becoming part and parcel of the modern school. What a contrast this is to the old one room rural school where the teacher was the gusto d'un the clerk the secretary and occasionally found it necessary to do a little teaching. Now we seem to be moving into great changes in this regard.
I think the most recent terminology concerns the teacher support his staff I think today we feel that a teacher really needs a supportive staff to to provide for more diversification of activities to provide the teacher to make a teacher's task a more manageable guy. Did I list most of the examples of supportive staff. Lloyd Well one thing that you didn't mention and that is probably one of the most recent developments and that is the teacher aide movement is taking it taking place in Illinois and all across the country. I don't even know because of the need for teacher aides stated on our active legislation which permits a teacher aide to work legally in the classroom. One is a teacher a do in the classroom that helps the teacher. All they can do many things. The state law
that was passed by the seventy fifth General Assembly states that if the teacher aide is going to work in the instructional program that they must have one year of college as a minimum training for the job. Now at the present time there are many programs set up across the state to prepare teachers aides for this job but there are many other teacher aides in the schools who who don't have this year of college and they can work at other things such as clerical duties and and other types of work in a school but we still we do have many teacher aides who actually tutor the children under the direct supervision of the teacher. They may work in the library. Well this is a Grade 0 rows. Then the child who needs individual attention and the teacher can give every child individual attention can turn this youngster over for that particular period or time to a specialist. This is especially important these days with the complicated instructional
devices that are coming out and they are being made made available to teachers. It takes time to plan programs to be used on on these instructional new types of instructional media. These teacher aides all three teachers so that they can develop custom made programs for individual children no longer will we have to have the teacher treating an entirely class and entire classes as a single group. But she can meet their individual needs. I think perhaps the community colleges or junior colleges in the state would seem to be the logical institutions to develop. Programs for preparing teacher aides. I think analogy is often drawn with the medical profession that we could not expect the M.D. to handle all matters of routine matters
and everything in connection with medical practice. You go to see a doctor in the clinic and length of time you spend in the clinic. It certainly bears little relationship to the amount of time you spend with the physician. Teachers spend much too much time today in non-instructional on duties duties that are fairly routine and could be learned very well by a teacher aide. In fact it's been said that if a teacher could be relieved by having teacher aides in the classroom these other jobs would be handled better than they are being handled I think so. There are going to be a lot of teachers have a sigh of relief when they discover that perhaps they don't have classroom I mean noon duty or this means supervising children during the lunch period or playground duty and they don't have to prepare all the attendance reports. And I can
recall in my day we had the monthly attendance report to prepare a very complicated summary of attendance and some of us never did learn how to do that. It's a secretary state care of it. This issue of teacher reads or this idea of having teacher it is still a fairly controversial one in the state and in the nation. This past year there was a study conducted in Illinois of all the school systems in the state to determine whether or not they had teacher aides in what they were doing in the schools. And we found that 20 percent of the schools have teacher aides. And I know and I also noticed in this study that 50 percent of the school superintendents who answered a questionnaire indicated that they thought that there was a place for teachers in their schools just 50 percent however. Well I mean I wonder though Lloyd if it isn't because a teacher aide and I stated on I would being new statute that you indicated was passed
when just a year ago or so I was the only one here I think the idea that 50 percent of the administrators already see the need for the teacher it would be a fairly large percentage especially since we are preparing people to be teacher aides and of course there will be a period of time when we learn how to use teacher aides and in Williston He also showed that in the short period of time that there were. Literally hundreds of teachers in the state working with hundreds of teacher aides and predictions are that it will see the day before. Not too many years will find that there will be probably a teacher aide for every teacher in the school. I think it would be helpful I do think that of course we're talking about one type of specialist within the classroom and that would be that perhaps a person who is not a specialist in the true sense. Wow. Our topic would be related to the other specialist such as a music specialist the
arts specialist also ating a teacher. I think that the self-contained classroom concept in other words the idea of one teacher going into a classroom and being responsible for all instruction within the classroom is an outmoded concept. I realize that many people disagree with that. But I. We mentioned in one of the previous panels that women for example tend not to be too interested in science. I think it's also true that by and large women instructors or teachers in the elementary grades do not take great interest in physical education. You know as a result the science program has not been what it should be in many schools. In addition to that the physical education is often nothing more than a recess. There is no articulated program to develop coordination and physical skills on the
part of students. Well I think Ray that the idea of the self-contained classroom. It doesn't go as far as to urge one teacher to be in charge of everything because I think for many years now it's been recognized that all teachers can't teach music wow. Not all teachers can't teach are well and that they need some supplemental help with physical education and of course we're moving now into the kind of supplemental help you get in science through clothes TV I think clothes television is going to have a tremendous impact on the teacher who has charge of a group of children and as we think of the self-contained classroom which of course is not entirely self-contained we realize that it was established created in still has many supporters in its modified form. To meet the needs of the children of those ages because here is one
skillful adult dealing with the same group of 25 or 30 children throughout the school year and this adult comes to know these children well. Whereas at the high school departmental I's level any single teacher is liable to have one hundred twenty five different children in the shift or stored subject matter and away from the developmental process and the individual learning differences among children. So I think there's not much argument anymore we don't believe that there should be anything as complete as a self-contained classroom in the sense of the ole rural school but we do believe there is something to be said for the transition the child from home to school during this critical learning period and then moving on into the concentration on subject matter and learning that is characteristic of the departmental life level. There is also the problem of giving the teacher a manageable task.
How did that rare teacher who can do all these things well. Music arc language arts mathematics. That teacher also needs help because to expect a teacher in this day and age with all of the materials and learning aids and things that she has to work with to expect her to not only be proficient in all of those things but also expecting her to do all of those things necessary planning and evaluating and so forth makes her task I'd say unmanageable. Well somebody said that the typical elementary school teacher was spending what percentage less than half of his time on instructional object if the rest of it was routine of various sorts. Well one of the advantages of the self-contained classroom has been the fact that it enabled the teacher to get to know the child better through our studies of child development and so forth. We learned that if the teacher understands the child in his
background his home she can do a better job in working with this child. Now Ray said that he expected two people to disagree with what he said about the self-contained classroom. I'd like to point out this fact. It is true that a teacher cannot master all of these dist disciplines all of these subject matter areas. Yet isn't it true that we expect the child to master all of the subject matter areas. I don't thanks all the All I know. I don't think we expect a third grader for example to master language arts. We expect the third grader to learn that portion of the language arts that would be included in the third grade curriculum and to progress as far as he can during that period. But by having a teacher who has thorough knowledge of language arts it's certainly going to help the individual
progress faster. I admit that theoretically it's very good that we have one teacher with a group of 25 or 30 students. He gets to know them well and understands their strengths and weaknesses. Frankly I find that has very little to do with the purpose of the classroom. If a teacher is a poor teacher and we have to admit that throughout the United States there are many teachers who are poor. If you had a third grade teacher who was a very poor teacher and that's the only person you know my teacher with whom students would come in contact for that entire year. I think those students are going to be hurt materially. It's going to affect them. From then on I picked third grade because I think at the third grade certain basic skills are being established by the youngsters. If the teacher is poor and reading for example the child is going to be hurt and it's going to take a long time for him
to recover Well it's hard to debate and support the poor teacher at any level. I am I'm sure that everything a teacher does is at the lower grades is more significant than anything that teachers do in high school or university. The impact is greater. Child is more plastic more receptive to learning and the learning that he acquires particularly attitudes and habits are lifelong. But I think the goal is not to have a poor teacher. I'd have to correct myself before we leave that by poor teacher. I didn't mean poor in all areas I meant poor in a specific area such as reading. Yeah if you use if you break down a self-contained classroom concept. And you use people in the fields in which they are better prepared and more knowledgeable it would be possible with an elementary school to have the
reading program largely controlled by those individuals who are reading specialists who like reading. Now that doesn't mean they're going to teach all the reading but at least they're going to be in charge of making out units curriculum guides including what should be included in the curriculum program and would work with teachers who need assistance. I think I want to take issue with you re on your filing so I was hoping you were on your feelings towards the self-contained classroom now. I don't think that we can do away with the idea of the self-contained classroom for the reason that you stated I don't think that's a valid reason. Because most elementary teachers I think are good elementary teachers and I think that the importance of the child having his teacher and then portions of the teacher being able to provide an atmosphere of acceptance and security for this first grader. This second grader this third grader I think is is more important than what you're
talking about. I think it may be important but I still feel that when we say the teacher relates automatically 25 to 30 students and in fact it doesn't occur teachers are human or certain students they respond to well or other students they don't respond do well there and some children will have a natural aversion for certain teachers. And if they have to spend an entire year with that type of teacher I think it's a shame. I think at the high school level the departmental ization and help we still at the high school level can maintain a close relationship by having what they call floating in homeroom teachers and either is a homeroom teacher who picks up a small group of children when they come into the high school. It's a four year high school as freshman at teacher meets with that small group every day and stays with that group when they're soft Amar's juniors and seniors. So by the end of that four year period I think the homeroom teacher
knows the youngsters just as well. An elementary teacher knows the students in his class. Well there are some modifications taking place we recognize that completely self-contained classroom doesn't exist we have team teaching for example that's coming into effect. Well I still don't agree with Ray on this because I spent nine years in a semi departmental elementary school where we had self-contained classrooms through third grade and then beginning in fourth grade. We had this fourth grade child had five teachers and and then again a fifth grade A sixth grade again he had five teachers. And I know of the adjustment that These fourth graders had to go make from going from one homeroom teacher to five. I think Lloyd you're doing exactly what Maust proponents of. Team teaching and differentiated instruction do when they criticize.
A movement away from self-contained classroom and it is to draw dichotomy between a self-contained classroom and departmental ised instruction. You can have one teacher in charge of a classroom. In fact in charge of everything that occurs within a classroom and still have specialist work within the classroom the fact that the teacher that the teacher is responsible for the 25 students doesn't mean that that teacher has to teach all subjects to those 25 students. And I think that weaknesses in a self-contained classroom that prevents a specialist from coming in or consultants from coming in and working in the classroom. And I don't mean just specialist in music. Well sort of OK as there is a school psychologist for example I wonder how many communities actually have a school psychologist or psychologist available. I know the better school districts have one
but he or she is spread so thinly across many many schools hundreds of children that I wonder what impact the school psychologist has. I think in schools. That have different calling in implying an AFS sufficient number of school psychologist to work directly with youngsters. There is a growing trend to have the school psychologist work more with teachers so that the responsibility is that when a student is having a problem the teacher works with the school psychologist in relationship to the student and then the teacher deals with the child and structures the situation. Some causes that condition a serious enough that a referral would have to be made to the school psychologist or perhaps even to a psychiatry you know as we add the differential of differentiated personnel there are going to be going to be some problems of adjustment among the individuals
themselves. You know teachers have been pretty much in charge of their classrooms whether they were elementary or secondary school teachers. They were largely the boss when it came to organizing things and now they're going to be calling on specialists and we've we have some problems here I think. I think you definitely pointed out the fact that the role of the classroom teacher is changing whereas formally the teacher was supposed to have a manner at her command. All the important content that was available in that subject field not now I think the teachers becoming more and more a director of learning activities. She'll call on the specialists to have a better command self-instruction all devices school psychologists will be available and be the teacher's job to coordinate all of these activities. I think
I was saying that the teacher teaches the ways been taught. And you have to look at a university or teacher education institution to see what changes are occurring there in order to tell what type of changes will occur in a public school and in terms of. A soft landing classroom I suppose we have that to a greater degree in teacher education institutions than we do in a public school. Most instructors. I'm not talking just in the field of education but in all subject matter fields tend to go into the classroom and lecture for the period or carry on some type of discussion. And they have little in the way of team teaching little in the way of a differentiated instruction occurring at most college campuses. I really believe that educational television is going to
provide one of the best means of enriching instruction. The old idea of lecturing or the old idea of one person with his limitations providing all of the instruction is going to have to go. I think educational television will become a tool of teachers and they'll have well-prepared educational programs that will supplement what they're doing. Well I think that television is doing that at the present time in the home that it is supplementing what is going on in the school and I think in many respects the homes where there are television in the home of the tape recorders and record players and so on. They may be in advance of some of the schools of fire. Fire is providing good learning and environment. Isn't there a danger though in assuming that because we have educational television the teacher doesn't have to have the knowledge. I was thinking in terms of
foreign language that occurs after Sputnik a great deal of emphasis was placed upon flag or foreign language in the elementary schools and part of this was accomplished by television programs teaching foreign language. And yet you know what happened in some cases is children seem to be able to acquire knowledge in a foreign language far faster than the teacher who had not received formal foreign language training at the college level. And. As a result the teacher was little value in terms of supplementing a program. And of course since many of the programs the early programs were AM Paddy or the airborne television some schools on fringe areas of television reception might miss a program or two programs and the whole class would be lost when the program would come back on a third day.
First I'd like to say that after hearing Ray's definition of the self-contained classroom I don't disagree with him as much as I did before. However there is one problem I think with his concept of what the self-contained classroom ought to be and that has to do with financing because when you have follow his ideas here you're going to have one teacher with the children all the time and then you're going to have someone else in the room half the time or two thirds of the time which means that you have two teachers in the same classroom. And that does create a financial problem. I think as a former school administrator it would be natural for you to look at. Finance is perhaps an determining program. Frankly I would much sooner look at what would be a good program and then find some means of financing it preferably by eliminating practices. Research tells us are not effective. Failing For
example I think we have a great deal of research evidence that failing youngsters in the elementary grades achieves nothing. The children a second year tend to do no better in fact in many cases. Many studies they found that they do poorer they suffer from a self-concept. Yet many schools are failures. If you have a small school with 30 teachers and every teacher fails only one youngster in a year that means that you need to complete new classroom for the following year to take care of the 30 who have failed. You need a new teacher. You need all the books for those 30 youngsters. So I think there are a lot of ways of getting money by eliminating undesirable practices in schools and using that money to support desirable practices. Perhaps one of the reasons we're talking about specialized personnel and prevent failure.
And I wonder if we are going to have more social workers on the job. We're going to be analyzing further why children fail. I nor any of us who have been in a school in schoolwork for a period of time are often surprised to discover what handicaps children have in their homes particularly the children that come from poor homes and the social worker may be able to assist with this. We have nurses too and we have physical examinations many times the only interference with a child's success is a physical handicap that is undiscovered. And so these specialists are going to help us discover what the cause of failure may be. And then of course rather than keeping the child back a year or two which might be desirable if you were quite mature or at least a mature one for one year only. We'll try to keep him along with his group
and to supplement his instruction and correct his handicaps that may prevail. Well I hope Dean topped that. You're right about the use of television but I can't be as optimistic about the future of television as you seem to be. I know that in a few places where they were experimenting spending millions of dollars in television instruction now eight nine ten years ago they have seemed to make the progress that we'd expect him to make and I also know that for example the military services were doing lots of things with television 10 years ago and today they're doing much less. Well I think it's a mistake in that use of the medium rather than the fault of the medium. I'm pretty convinced that some day television will be similar to textbooks will be able to pick our programs as carefully. But who knows maybe the next five years will determine this. I think also Lloyd that the difference may be that much of the criticism of television was based on the idea that local teachers had no
control over television that was broadcast from some remote spot because circuit television certainly has grown rapidly in the United States and many schools and on I for example have closed circuit television programs that enable a specialist to reach a large number of students and at the same time. You have complete local control of the programs. Well we've covered many subjects haven't really. When we concerned ourselves with the special assistance to the teachers in something this coming on the scene rapidly and I suspect it's going to improve education for our children behind the classroom door produced by WFIU FM and cooperation with the College of Education at Northern Illinois University each week focuses its attention on one of the many challenging aspects of public school education. The program is
- Behind the Classroom Door
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- Behind the Classroom Door is a radio series from WNIU-FM about education in the United States. In each episode, faculty from the Northern Illinois University College of Education address specific issues related to public school education and operation. The program is produced in cooperation with Northern Illinois University and distributed by the National Educational Radio Network.
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-5-25 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- APA: Behind the Classroom Door; 25. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-833n140d