The Delaware/Philadelphia PBS station WHYY will rebroadcast the P.O.V. documentary “The Hobart Shakespeareans” on Saturday night/Sunday morning, September 3, at 12:30am. (It is not presently scheduled for broadcast again in MD or NJ the next two weeks. Elsewhere, check your local PBS affiliate.)
A piece by Jay Mathews on washingtonpost.com (Augus 6, 2006) features Rafe Esquith (whose class is shown in this documentary) and KIPP schools for examples of the kind of teaching methods that appear to work, but that educators supposedly don’t learn about in schools and colleges of education.
First, to be just a little bit defensive personally, I will note for the record that Esquith’s example and practices have an important place in my curriculum classes. The KIPP model also is considered. Although I myself emphasize Esquith a lot more that KIPP, some of my students last year did extensive investigations into KIPP.
An important observation, though, is that principled consideration of these cases as examples of forms of practice in education is crucially different from viewing them as examples of “methods that work.” The principles that differentiate these ways of understanding things are seldom recognized. They will be developed here on this blog in future months, but for now I can only call attention to the Mathews piece as an example of one way of understanding.