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As part of our English Language class we were asked to teach every week 1 idiom, 2 phrasal verbs and 1 random word in a creative way to the rest ofthe class. This site has several idioms that look interesting and funny, and are not hard!
Nice list featuring a lot of sites that I’ve posted before and a few new ones as well!
I recently took a day off from teaching to visit two high-achieving schools in an affluent suburb of Detroit, not ten miles from where I teach.
My principal asked me why I was interested in visiting these suburban schools. I explained that these schools consistently produce Michigan’s top ACT averages and send countless students to the country’s prestigious universities; therefore, there must be something the principals and teachers are doing that I can learn from.
She was skeptical that I would be able to improve my teaching practices from this visit – after all, she’s worked in the inner city for over a decade. I was skeptical of her skepticism. Maybe there was something she missing. I went anyway.
I returned to work the next day, anticipating my principal’s I-Told-You-So facial expression. I had nothing to say. She was right.
I saw nothing spectacular in my visit to the suburban schools. I saw a great sociology teacher. I saw a few energetic English teachers. I saw a mediocre French teacher. I saw a boring history teacher. I saw a disorganized social studies teacher. I saw a terrible – and I mean terrible – Spanish teacher. Overall, the teaching wasn’t incredible. As a second year teacher, I’ve delivered lessons that have been great and some that haven’t been successful. None of those lessons – the good or the bad – would have seemed out of place at these schools.
The students weren’t particularly inspiring, either. They were excited in sociology and in one of the English classes. They were mostly on task in the other classes and were always compliant. In French, a few kids were falling asleep. In Spanish, they whispered to one another about how awful the class was, but completed their assignment anyway.
Everything was surprisingly… mediocre. The day was underwhelming.
And yet, despite the mediocre teaching, those students will outperform my students by at least 6 points on average on the ACT. (According to the statistics, anyway.) That’s the achievement gap: white students from affluent communities outperform students of color from low-income communities across the United States. There are no geographical exceptions to this rule. The achievement gap is real. It is ugly. It is a painful representation of the history of oppression that defines the United States.
On a semantic level, however, I have begun to take concern with the achievement gap. ”Achievement” is a terminal state that suggests attainment or accomplishment. In terms of education, a student’s achievement is determined at the end of a particular unit, grade, system (6-8, 9-12, etc). If a student does not achieve, there are a myriad of reasons that may have caused that failure, including teacher quality, parent support, classroom technology, school resources, etc. In the current education debate, it’s no question which of those reasons has been pointed to the most.
My trip to the suburbs showed me that the problem isn’t achievement – what comes at the end of an educational pipeline. The teacher quality isn’t markedly different. Instruction isn’t significantly better or worse. The problem isn’t achievement – the problem is whatever comes before a student even enters the classroom. Things like physical health, psychological wellness, proper nutrition, access to healthcare, a parent’s education – things that are out of the control of the individual classroom teacher or building leader.
In today’s education debate, the real issue – poverty – takes a back seat. Instead, we waste our time discussing teacher effectiveness, merit pay, school closures, etc.
Why don’t we talk more about social services? Eliminate poverty, racial inequality, sexism – and you’ve eliminated the achievement gap. The problem isn’t what happens in the classroom. The problem is what happens when a student isn’t in class. I’m no longer interested in discussing the achievement gap. Talk to me about poverty.
I have the slight impression that in Chile is the same issue: poverty and social inequality. But if you say this out loud, you’re immediately accused of being communist D: