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The Teacher, Not the Method, Is the Key

June 01, 2004

Though much is true in Hugh Osborn and Margaret Gayle's May 27 commentary, "Let's Get Rid of Learning Factories," they miss the point. All of the educational "gimmicks" they mention are worth diddly-squat in the hands of poorly trained teachers. This nation should engage in a Sputnik-type crash program to do what many other countries do -- namely, to make sure that all teachers are experts in their fields.

Osborn and Gayle's thoughts about the need to motivate students are well placed but the solution is to train teachers in motivational strategies based on expertise in their fields, not necessarily on gimmicks such as games and fun. The great teachers use many different teaching strategies. They all work in the hands of the expert "live wires." Concentrate on teacher training, not gimmicks.

Steven B. Oppenheimer


While studying to obtain my bachelor's degree in sociology I waded through some of the hundreds of studies done on how to better educate our children. I finally came to the conclusion that it is not that we do not know how to create a system that really leaves no child behind; we just prefer to find new ways to beat a dead horse. The suggestions in the commentary have all been tried in various studies and they work exceedingly well.

If we expect the next generation to be smarter and more adept at solving the problems that this generation had caused, we have to walk away from the dead horse and go find one that is alive.

Ron Ranft

Lompoc, Calif.

Osborn and Gayle's description of a "new model of education" is already in place in over a million homes in the United States. It's called "home schooling."

Maria Elena Kennedy


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