Practice, Policy, Philosophy: Sharing Bank Street on a National Level

December 30, 2008 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

posted by Elena Canaras ’07, Special Education teacher, Hawaii

I love what I’m hearing about putting the Bank Street practices and philosophies at a more national level. I graduated from Bank Street in May 2007, and taught in a public school in the south Bronx for three years. Recently I have moved to Hawaii, where I teach Special Education at a public school on an army base.

“Wow” was about all I could say when I noticed the way reading and writing, as well other programs, were conducted out here. Worksheets occupy most of the students’ time. A Reading Mastery program is the primary source of reading. When my students came to me the first day of school, it was obvious they just wanted to go back home. The joy and excitement I’m used to seeing from most young learners was nowhere to be found. Now it’s a different story for my little guys. They come in with a different attitude about learning and realize that, “yes,” it’s okay to inquire about the material being learned and then share it with your peers AND teacher. Much much more magic is happening here in our little classroom.

Unfortunately I can’t say the same about the rest of the school. We have such strong and smart educators who are just not given the proper training to make learning more interactive. I’ve talked to so many educators and hear them share such fabulous inspirational ideas; I try to make their voices heard in a way that doesn’t make me sound like the “know-it-all,” but this is challenging, and will take some time.

What I’m saying is that this Bank Street-going-national way of thinking (so to speak) is brilliant and I’d love to be a part of it. Let me know what I can do to make this happen. What we do as Bank Streeters (and hopefully educators in general) is so important because we’re creating a “future society” and we want to see these children be the next Obama or John Lennon or Bobby Kennedy or Margaret Thatcher (or any other inspirational educated icon we can think of). Above all I want to see a society filled with people who make good choices and reflect on what they do and care about the wellbeing of themselves and others. Who doesn’t? But what people (not just educators) must realize is that it starts with education. By making the Bank Street philosophy the national standard (if you want to use that word), this holistic and profound way of educating youngsters could be achieved!

Entry filed under: classrooms, philosophy, policy.

The Powerful Impact of a Positive Vision: Is a Future Barack Obama in Your Class? Innovation is Not One-Size-Fits-All: A Letter to Arne Duncan

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Join the conversation among Bank Street College alumni blogging on education policy, practice, and point of view. Explore issues, ask questions, share what's actually happening in our classrooms, schools, museums, and communities. To submit a post, please send it to:

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Some of Our Past Bloggers

Alisa Algava ‘08, leader of a small Hudson Valley progressive school
Gloria Arenson ’58, psychotherapist
Bill Ayers ‘84, UIC professor, Chicago
Fred Baumgarten ‘84, writer/musician/naturalist/father
Keith Berman '03, founder/president of Options for College and Bank Street’s LinkedIn moderator
David Bowles ’08 (SFC ’93), museum educator at the Rubin Museum of Art
Elena Canaras ‘07, Special Education teacher, Hawaii
Virginia Casper, Bank Street faculty member
Jim Clay ‘88, director of a Washington DC Quaker preschool
Mary DeCamp Cotterall ‘87, Reading Specialist, Michigan
Judy Coven ’77, retired public school teacher and former Antioch University faculty member
Leslie Day '93, adjunct instructor at Bank Street and author of Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City
Mary Louise (Molly) Day ‘76, Lab School teacher, Chicago
Liezel de La Isla ‘99, Prague International School teacher
Diane Trister Dodge '70, founder and president of Teaching Strategies, Inc.
Meghan Dunn ’08, 3rd grade teacher, Brooklyn
Steven Evangelista ’01, co-director Harlem Link Charter School, NYC
Janine Fetters ‘02, Senior Associate of Parent Engagement at NACCRRA
Dena Florczyk '88, middle school teacher and founder/director of The Nigerian School Project
Hollee Freeman '94, writes about parenting issues for the alumni blog and was featured on BSCAA's April 2012 Career Panel
Ellen Galinsky '70, is President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute and author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs
Joanne Ruvolo Gannett ‘84, Columbia College art history professor, Chicago
Joan Goldstein ‘67, sociologist and educator
Margot Hammond, Director of the Center for Early Childhood Professionals
Carol Hillman ‘67, early childhood educator, author, and Long Trip co-leader
Pam Jones ‘05, Bank Street advisor and instructor
Lee Klinger Lesser ‘87, trainer for the Parent Services Project
Preminda Langer ‘97, teacher trainer
Claire Milam ’97, life coach, Austin, Texas
Rabin Nickens ‘03, Speaker, Trainer and Educational Consultant
Beth Norford ‘89, consultant and former School for Children teacher
Susy Ogden ‘97
Marion Palm ‘95, Leadership in the Arts alum, writing tutor, poet and singer
Jessica Poser, assistant professor of art education at UIC, Chicago
Jesse Pugh '76, BSCAA President
Meg Rauen ‘06, former Chicago elementary school teacher, NY
Linda Reing, Bank Street Director of Alumni Relations
Rosalind Rothman '62, retired NYC teacher and guidance counselor
Kyla Ryman '92/'97, educational coach and consultant
Ariel Sacks ‘06, middle school teacher, Brooklyn, NY
Linda Appleman (Guidall) Shapiro ‘81, psychotherapist and author
Barbara Silver ‘80, literacy consultant and former NYC first grade teacher
Andrea Penny Spencer, former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Bank Street
Debbie Stone ‘84, former teacher/co-director of High Valley School
Rachel Theilheimer ‘74, chair of teacher education at BMCC/CUNY
Theodore Timpson ’05, founder/president of Young Spirit Foundation
Eleanor Traubman '95, is Editor in Chief of Creative Times, a blog which promotes NYC's performing, visual and literary arts
Allison Warren '08, new mom, recent grad, and early childhood teacher
Max Weinberg ‘03, Francis Parker School teacher, Chicago
Ted Wells ‘07, 4th grade teacher at The Park School, Brookline, MA
Tracy Wiessbrod ’03, kindergarten teacher and stay-at-home mom

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