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Theodore Sizer Educational Reformer. Meghan O’Connor Amanda Reagan November 1, 2006. Theodore (Ted) Sizer. A little about Ted . . . His contributions to education Impact on curriculum (group activity) Ted and Nancy Conclusion. A Little About Ted . . . “Biography”

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Theodore Sizer Educational Reformer

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Theodore sizer educational reformer l.jpg

Theodore SizerEducational Reformer

Meghan O’Connor

Amanda Reagan

November 1, 2006


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Theodore (Ted) Sizer

  • A little about Ted . . .

  • His contributions to education

  • Impact on curriculum (group activity)

  • Ted and Nancy

  • Conclusion


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A Little About Ted . . .

  • “Biography”

    • Born June 23, 1932 in New Haven, CT

    • BA, Yale University

    • Doctorate, Harvard University

  • Credentials

    • Teacher

    • Dean, Graduate School of Education, Harvard

    • Headmaster, Phillips Academy

    • Professor and Chair of Education Department, Brown

    • Founder, Coalition of Essential Schools (1984)

    • Founder, Annenberg Institute for School Reform

    • Co-Principal (with Nancy), Parker School


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A Little About Ted . . .

  • Writings

    • Places for Learning, Places for Joy (1973)

    • Horace’s School: Redesigning the American High School (1992)


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His Contributions to Education

“Arguably the leading educational

reformer in the United States”

An educational progressive who believes that the current education system is not doing its job –

Did not just give theories – he put his theories into practice.


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His Contributions to Education

Coalition of Essential Schools (CES)

  • Founded by Sizer in 1984

  • Result of five-year study conducted with colleagues

  • Horace’sCompromise (1984)

  • Schools fail to help students use their minds’ well

    • Lack of focus

    • Class periods too short

    • Little emphasis on connections between subjects

    • Teacher/student ratio too high

    • Assessment focused on quick grading vs. demonstrated

      depth of understanding


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His Contributions to Education

Coalition of Essential Schools (CES)

  • “Essential”

    • Focus on few most essential things

    • Meet them head on

    • Do not try to do and be everything

  • Schools reflect their communities, no two schools alike

  • “Coalition” is critical

    • Collaboration, borrowing

    • How communities can assist each other

  • Top-down reform models do not work

  • Common principles that can be adapted to specific communities will drive positive change in education


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Coalition of Essential Schools (CES)

BASIC PRINCIPLES:

  • Learning to use one’s mind well

  • Less is more, depth over coverage

  • Goals apply to all students

  • Personalization

  • Student-as-worker, teacher-as-coach

  • Demonstration of mastery

  • A tone of decency and trust

  • Commitment to the entire school

  • Resources dedicated to teaching and learning

  • Democracy and equality


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Group Activity

  • Five groups

  • Using the hand-out as a reference, each group will answer one of the following questions:

    • Choose a subject and discuss the impact these principles might have on designing curriculum (“what” is taught to learners) for that particular subject.

    • What is the impact of these principles on instruction (“how” curriculum is taught to learners)?

    • Choose a subject and design an assessment that will enable students to “demonstrate mastery” of that subject.

    • You are a teacher in an essential school, walk us through “a day in the life.”

    • Based on your understanding of these principles, discuss the top three pros and cons of essential schools.

  • Group debrief


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Coalition of Essential Schools

  • Results

    • Better attendance, lower drop out rate

    • Better academic performance

    • Positive behavioral impact

    • Greater number continuing to higher education

  • Critics

    • Have to change schools if disagree with narrow focus

    • Impedes “rite of passage” progression

    • Too difficult to get people to change how they think

  • Reflection 20 years later

    • Problem is with systems, not people

    • Change will not be as dramatic as initially hoped

    • Parents need to help drive change

    • Charter schools/Essential schools


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Ted and Nancy

  • Nancy Sizer – also a seasoned, well respected educator

  • In retirement Co-Principals, Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School

  • Co-authored The Students are

    Watching: Schools and

    the Moral Contract


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What this means to Curriculum

  • Not a list of items to be checked off

  • Against drill-lecture-test system of unconnected material

  • Inter-disciplinary instruction is the ideal way to teach a topic

  • Less breadth and more depth

  • Student driven curriculum


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So take another look….

SCHOOLS SHOULD: to name a few

  • Teach mental skills (i.e. independence and creative writing)

  • Use student’s curiosity to drive curriculum

  • Use in-depth projects – not tests

  • Interdisciplinary study rather than segregated subjects

  • Collaboration between students and teachers

…do you agree or disagree??


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Thank You!

Questions or Comments?


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