Assistant teacher course/Teachers' handbook/Preparation

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Good schools see Citizenship as a means to raising attainment, not an add-on to be done after examination success has been achieved and a means to addressing statutory duties concerned with student voice, community cohesion and race equality.  Cquote2.svg

Citizenship Foundation

PreparationEdit

Cquote1.svg  The two theories chiefly associated with the separation of learning from activity, and hence from morals, are those which cut off inner disposition and motive -- the conscious personal factor -- and deeds as purely physical and outer; and which set action from interest in opposition to that from principle. Both of these separations are overcome in an educational scheme where learning is the accompaniment of continuous activities or occupations which have a social aim and utilize the materials of typical social situations. For under such conditions, the school becomes itself a form of social life, a miniature community and one in close interaction with other modes of associated experience beyond school walls. All education which develops power to share effectively in social life is moral. It forms a character which not only does the particular deed socially necessary but one which is interested in that continuous readjustment which is essential to growth. Interest in learning from all the contacts of life is the essential moral interest.  Cquote2.svg

Democracy and Education, John Dewey

This chapter is meant for class teachers preparing for an assistant teacher effort following the recommendation to select between 10% and 25% of the pupils of a grade for an initial group of assistant teachers participating in a course during a summer camp or summer school prior to grade eight.

If one assumes that one school will send about twenty pupils then the cooperation of four to six schools for a summer camp or summer school would seem appropriate. In the case of a summer school the schools can rotate the duty so that ever year another school hosts the summer school.

Preconditions for participationEdit

Sensible preconditions for participation are a prior kindergarten internship where the participants can conduct a Sally-Anne test and pior participation in a class council during the seventh grade. Participants should have above average grades but shouldn't be selected strictly for best grades, social behavior does play a role and teachers can take the liberty to select the most appropriate pupils from the group with sufficient grades. Pupils who have previously shown willingness to cooperate, to do voluntary work or to support less successful pupils should generally be more suitable to initiate an assistant teacher group than pupils who haven't shown any of these behaviors. Teachers can take the position that fairness concerning grades is not the issue here but that the goal is to form the team that will show the most dedication and deliver the best role models for other pupils, including but not limited to academic ability.

NominationEdit

Nominating pupils for participation could have the potential for dispute, but it doesn't have to be a problem. Parents may see the assistant teachers as an elite group and might want their child to join the group or might want to avoid having such an elite group in the grade. Qualified pupils should be able to join the assistant teacher group easily shortly after its introduction and unqualified pupils should be removed quickly from the group. If that argument isn't sufficient a good rationale is that the separation is meant as an exercise in citizenship education and that two groups are required for the purpose. It may also be helpful to explain that the nomination committee cannot allow parents to nominate pupils, otherwise that could be a bad example for others. The nomination committee can invite an advisory committee of parents to make an alternative list of nominations to prove the point (or be disproven). It is suggested that all nominees should be able to attend a summer camp, notwithstanding cost; pupils should at least be able to apply for a scholarship.

PsychologyEdit

Cquote1.svg  Children should only be taught those things which are suited to their age. Many parents are pleased with the precocity of their offspring; but as a rule, nothing will come of such children. Cquote2.svg

(Finally, as to those who should educate the fathers of the coming generation, Kant has left a word pregnant with the future far more than he himself was aware, and going far beyond the educational range of the time. C. A. Foley Rhys Davids)

On education (Über Pädagogik), Immanuel Kant

Pupils who are not nominated for participation in the initial training may feel disadvantaged. This is a side-effect that is tolerated and can provide motivation for the pupils to strive for qualification or to demand democratic development of the assistant teacher effort. The assistant teachers do form an elite group and teachers can feel free to support this view.

Assistant teacher groupsEdit

Cquote1.svg  Consistent with Vygotzsky's view, some researchers argue that children's peers are one another's primary socializers and cultural ambassadors. <...> It is in [children's] equating maturity with status that makes little children want to behave, speak and dress like bigger ones. According to Harris, older peers are enormously powerful influencing agents.  Cquote2.svg
DuBois, David L.; Michael J. Karcher (2005). Handbook of Youth Mentoring. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications Ltd. ISBN 0761929770. http://books.google.com/books?id=TtdR-GCYOw4C. 

Selecting an eponymous person or another name with a prior meaning (e.g. Ontologists, Sophists, Empiricists, Rationalists or Constructivists — but not "Men in Black") for a group of assistant teachers is recommended. Young pupils are otherwise likely to choose names they may quickly begin to consider silly, which runs contrary to the intended psychological effect to give the group a special meaning and to make its work especially meaningful. The initial group of assistant teachers should not be allowed to split, but can be allowed to split later on, when more assistant teachers have joined the effort. Assistant teacher groups can also associate with mentoring organizations or local chapters of mentoring organizations operated by high school pupils and college students.

Coopetition between assistant teacher groups can be enforced with a maximum group size. If the initial group or any group has reached the maximum size it can be required to split into several groups. If the assistant teachers are not interested to split a default partitioning can be class affiliation. The assistant teachers can join the assistant teacher group of their class by default but remain free to choose another group. The freedom to choose should be seen as an important personal liberty, because the psychological effects can be to allow assistant teachers to feel more in control of their educational aims and to invite assistant teachers to learn to act responsibly in a small social group of their own choice.

Assistant teacher groups can be guided to invent an intended organizational culture for themselves. Different classifications of cultural dimensions can be combined and refined by the pupils to specify their own intentional culture. The chosen name of a group should be an issue, of course.

It is recommended to prohibit partitioning by school branch or department, because this would create an undesirable connection between personal interests and the free choice of a social group; a pupil could feel compelled to base one decision on the other.

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