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Victims And Facilitators

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But does this make kids hard to teach? Of course not, because in "education land'' all pupils are gifted--at something. And it's the job of the teacher to find out what.

Teachers can no longer merely teach. We must be facilitators, resource people, guides, strategists, role models. And our job isn't just to help kids learn. We are supposed to restructure the curriculum to make it a dynamic challenge for our searching pupils. And we are expected to provide individualized instruction to shape the many unique personalities in our classes into a coherent community of learners by means of rigorous standards, meaningful intervention strategies, and effective interpersonal interactions. In this best of all worlds, we should ensure that our pupils encounter significant dialogues that foster and facilitate their synthesizing and critical thinking skills. The pupils should critically evaluate their own investigations and be encouraged to share information in a dynamic, meaningful, and effective manner.

In sum, teachers should enhance the autonomy and authenticity of each one of their 30 or 40 students, broaden their perspectives, and increase the likelihood they will grow up to be useful, pro- ductive, tolerant, voting citizens.

And if school kids aren't reading Beowulf in the original Old English, building nuclear reactors in the school basement, and arguing about the relative merits of Arthur Schopenhauer and Immanuel Kant, it must be the teacher's fault.

Charles Breinin
The author teaches earth sciences at Bennett High School in Buffalo, N.Y.

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