We continue our study of Whatever It Takes with chapter 2: "What Do We Do When Kids Don't Learn?" If you recall from last week's reading, this is one of the three essential questions of the PLC theory. The content of this chapter might challenge us a little by asking some difficult questions. It is important work, however. Use the time today to really dig in and address some of those tough questions with your peers. I applaud you for your work on previous chapters and it is my hope is that you and your team members will continue to work together and get the most out of your PD time. I will also encourage you to take time to read comments from the last two chapters. You'll find that the staff at MstM is a collection of conscientious, deep-thinking educators committed to student achievement. Happy reading!
1. This chapter describes the different responses of four schools that confront students who are not learning. Are there other responses you can identify?
2. Do you agree with the assertion that “in the real world of schools, we have all four of these responses occurring in the same school at the same time. . . . Students in the same school who experience difficulty in learning will be subject to very different responses based upon the beliefs and practices of their teachers”? Cite evidence from your own school to support your answer.
3. The authors contend that PLCs approach time and support for learning from a very different perspective than that of traditional schools. Summarize that difference in your own words.
4. Educators could argue that time and support for learning have always been variables in school. They could point to retention, summer school, remedial programs, and schools that design curricula to stretch 1 year of algebra into a 2-year program as examples of traditional approaches that give students extra time and support for learning. Why would the authors reject these strategies as inconsistent with their message?
5. The chapter concludes with the scenario of what happens to Johnny Jones when he is not learning. Do you agree with the idea that “this situation represents the norm in most schools?” Why or why not?