Tolarian Study Hall.

After School Training Day at the Edu-Mountain…!

Today will be the second segment of the “Mastery Learning” training at my school site. The last training focused more than I would like on the idea that grades didn’t matter, except for the fact that student grades were the entire thrust of the hour and a half long presentation. Which is it, right?

The trouble with a training like this is the “trickle down” theory of knowledge. I went to the trouble of reading actual primary sources of the content being taught, before the training sessions. As a result, I was a ble to have real access to the creator’s insights, as well as the decades of studies that have been done, as well as the implementations. I was able to contact real experts, and ask them the various questions that I had, because I was asking people that were involved in the research related to the topic of Mastery Learning, or doing interesting studies related to it.

The thing is…staff trainings in LAUSD are not done by true experts. They are done by people who have gone to a training, and successfully put together their notes into a Power Point presentation, and a set of hand outs with related activities. They aren’t terribly knowledgeable about the content, and haven’t really gone out of their way to do much more than sit in a training like the one that they are giving. As a result…since they are starting from a small knowledge base, they can’t really convey any more knowledge than they have…in fact, they almost have to convey less. That’s the “trickle down” effect, and it has a whole lot to do with why solid ideas in education wind up looking nothing like the actual theory when implemented.

I’ll be sitting though that kind of thing today. Last time, the Principal came to sit at my table, which kind of bugged me. At least there was no crying.

It bugged me because…well, he’s not a bad guy. He’s just the kind of guy that sits in a training like this, participates as much as is necessary, and then feels like somehow a “silver bullet” of teaching has been discovered. That is, until the next training, which might have a different cure all, does everything “silver bullet.” He’s just not all that evaluative about what’s going on around him, and that lack or organization and evaluation are eventually going to impact ME.

At this, point, right now, it isn’t.

For reasons that I don’t fully remember, my co-teacher can’t actually be in this training on the same day as I am, which is inconvenient. If she were present, I’m sure that I would feel like there were “take away” elements that I wanted to try, because she is terrifyingly enthusiastic. She isn’t, though, so it is pretty much time that I don’t enjoy spending, and profit very little from. Even given that separation, she appears again in today’s art, with some kind of big ol’ armored glove that I guess she got recently. Don’t try to look back and figure it out, this is its first appearance.

I just felt like drawing it.

The general look and feel were inspired by Anime Club, and a manga I have been reading called “Hollow Fields.” The premise of “Hollow Fields” is simple…the protagonist, Lucy, accidentally enrolls in a school for evil geniuses. The worst student of any week gets detention, and no one comes back from detention. Ever. She’s not prepared for the classes, making it a comedy of errors with a sort of steampunk fantasy setting. Her classes are things like “Elementary Grave Robbing,” “Killbot Engineering,” and “Cross Species Transplantation.” It’s charming and macabre at the same time, and the classes are pretty much as futile as my training today.

The title, of course, is derived from a banned Magic: The Gathering card, “Tolarian Academy.”

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