From `Seeds': a flavorful sampling

The flavor of ``Seeds: Some Good Ways to Improve Our Schools'' can be sampled through the rambling headings given to some of the short sections. Some from Chapter 2, ``Improving Teachers'': ``Bad teachers are mean, intellectually dishonest, ill-prepared. Good teachers are passionate, skillful, intellectually curious, scholarly.'' Next we move to, ``Remove poor teachers from classrooms immediately. Let them, instead, do lunch, hall, recess, phone, and supply room duty.''

Some others: ``Let the poor watch the rich. Have teachers who don't know how, watch teachers who do.'' ``No one should teach in a US school who has not taken high school or college physics.'' ``Make every teacher a reading teacher. Split the school in half to make the classes smaller. Tutor the needy.'' ``Make every pupil a teacher. Class size then is one to one, and tutor learns more than tutee.'' ``More Socratic teaching needed. Less didactic teaching needed. Lecturing on how not to lecture -- out.'' And, finally, ``Old teacher can, too, be taught new tricks.''

Parsons ends each of her seven chapters with a checklist. That at the end of Chapter 4, ``Improving Discipline,'' is revealing: CHECKLIST

1. Cooperation instead of competition.

2. Democracy not autocracy.

3. Consensus instead of intimidation.

4. Rewards for all, not just a few.

5. Drama for the ``troubled'' as well as the achievers.

6. Pairs instead of working alone.

7. Variety instead of stultifying routine.

8. Alternatives instead of a single syllabus.

9. Contracts instead of edicts. 10. Co-op ed instead of vocational training. 11. Counseling not preaching. 12. Coaching instead of lecturing. 13. Merit pay not single salary schedules.

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