Semester Project Essay Model Part 2 of 3

Although I am not going to insert the entire second section of my essay into this post, I will put one of my paragraphs here. It seems tedious to read up to 4 paragraphs that all have the same innate structure, if my goal is for you to read mine as a model and then mimic its structure and sequence.

In the model below, please take note of transition language, quote length & integration, response to the idea embodied in the quote, and end of paragraph return to the major claim & transition. These are four key traits of a synthesis paragraph and should be evident in yours.

Sample Body Paragraph

Deborah Ball arrived at an East Lansing elementary school with plans to teach for one year, but she ended up staying much longer and collaborating with Magdalene Lampert, a graduate of Harvard’s education school. Both taught elementary math in a unique way, much different from other practitioners. They coined their approach TKOT–That Kind of Teaching. Once the two women found the instructional strategies that united them, they began a summer program. They partnered with Michigan State’s education school to teach future teachers the best methods for approaching elementary math. Ball and Lampert would teach a lesson in front of as many as 19 potential teachers. After the lesson was over, all 21 of the adults in the room would reflect on what they noted and refine their understanding of teaching. The author describes the atmosphere in chapter two, “At the summer program, the group’s focus was sustained, the tone serious; it was as if they were not in an elementary school, but in a laboratory. Or maybe, Deborah thought, a surgical theater” (55). The surgical theater metaphor embodies Green’s argument that to create effective teachers, we must create an environment where master teachers are observed by developing teachers, and there is culture of focused reflection and improvement. This makes logical sense because the strongest teachers are forced to continue to look for the best methods and developing teachers see, in great detail, what an effective teacher does in the classroom. They are given insight into the process a master teacher uses when designing lessons, assessing students’ understanding, and determining next steps. Unfortunately, this system requires great investment. If teachers are to take time out of their teaching day to observe and reflect, substitutes must be hired, and additional rooms and time must be set aside for collaboration and reflection after observations are complete. All of these factors led to the demise of the Michigan State model, and this failure is exemplified in the Green’s third chapter, A Spartan Tragedy. She recounts how education schools across the nation are following a model that is cheaper, but does not work. On page 84 Green writes about the three step process most students followed through Ed school, “First, there was the overview of academic subjects….Then came the ‘foundations’ courses….Finally, there were the methods classes.” None of this three part sequence actually taught future teachers how to affect a student’s learning directly. It becomes clear that to affect student learning and to improve schools we can simply no longer rely on the out-dated, three part model that assumes teachers will rise independently and without the help of master teachers and time spent observing and reflecting. With this realization, Green writes her largest chapter about the Japanese education model, one in which lesson study, jugyokenkyu, is the central tenet.

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One Response to Semester Project Essay Model Part 2 of 3

  1. Pingback: December 8th to December 12th | Mr. Almon's Classroom

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