Monday, December 24, 2007

Trust teachers to select their own textbooks 5

[See post 1 for context.]

Argument for top-down, one-size-fits-all textbook adoption:
It would ensure that all district students completing High School Physics would have a similar experience.

This would indeed be the case, assuming each school also had the same equipment and facilities, the students were of homogenous ability and motivation, and they all had the same teacher. Short of this, district students will have different experiences. They will all be taught the content standards. But they will be taught in widely varying methods honed by their individual teachers.

Teachers—who will be using the textbooks day in and day out in their classes for the next seven years—are best suited to select the textbook for their students.

Classroom teachers know better than anyone else which book is the best match to their students and program.

The district has a role in directing teachers what to teach. I can’t imagine the district would want to direct teachers how to teach. It would be untenable for the district to micromanage the delivery of instruction: which demonstrations to do on which day, the sequencing of topics and lab activities, etc.

The district hired physics teachers to do that. They hired people they trust to do the job correctly and effectively. I would ask that the district trust those individuals—the classroom physics teachers—to select the textbook that best suits their individual needs.

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