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Professor speaks on early childhood education at Oxford Round Table

April 29, 2003

An Austin Peay professor was chosen by the Oxford Round Table to represent the United States in early childhood education and to help lead discussions on contemporary educational policy in the United States, the United Kingdom and other selected countries.

Dr. Dolores Gore, professor of education, presented her research on measurement assessment of children, grades K-12, at the Round Table held March 21-29 in Oxford, England, and helped lead discussions on topics surrounding educational policy, learning techniques and student assessment.
April 29, 2003

An Austin Peay professor was chosen by the Oxford Round Table to represent the United States in early childhood education and to help lead discussions on contemporary educational policy in the United States, the United Kingdom and other selected countries.

Dr. Dolores Gore, professor of education, presented her research on measurement assessment of children, grades K-12, at the Round Table held March 21-29 in Oxford, England, and helped lead discussions on topics surrounding educational policy, learning techniques and student assessment.

Roughly 20 people were in attendance at the Round Table, representing such countries as Germany, France, Mexico, the United Kingdom and others from the United States.

Each country's educational policy and methods were discussed as possible models for others to use.

“We need to learn from one another,” said Gore. Though the conversation was heated at times, Gore stressed the importance of asking questions and comparing systems in order to identify what they, as a group, could do to help one another and improve their programs.

“Some good ideas came out of it,” said Gore. “In listening to representatives from other countries and their problems, it's reassuring to know you're not the only one faced with problems and that, ultimately, we're working towards the same goala better educational system.”

Much discussion and questions surrounded the United States' newest educational program, No Child Left Behind.

The plan, put forth by the Bush administration, states that schools must meet certain instructional criteria. If the child does not perform up to the criteria, the parents have the option of transferring him or her to another school.

Such a system lies in contrast to Great Britain's recent adoption of the Montessori
principles of “learning through doing,” which focuses on developing background skills in problem solving, reading and writing, in children as young as three, through sensory activities.

In the United States, school starts at the age of five and is more oriented toward academic memorization.

Although implemented only recently into the British school system, the Montessori methodology is based on skills development through performance at the child's own level and not on a general criteria.

Gore believes the Montessori method will be successful if implemented correctly, but she is doubtful such a program would thrive in the United States, where lack of educational funds is an issue. Still, she says, it would not hurt to monitor the British system to see if there is some element of it that would work here.

“We've tried various systems in the past,” said Gore. “It's good that America is open-minded enough to experiment with different systems and see if they work.”

After all, says Gore, it is the child who comes first, not the system.

“The first few years of a child's education are the most important. We have to start forming that background when they're young. If they don't have those first few years of nurturing, it does create a problem.”

Due to her extensive participation at the Oxford Round Table, Gore has been honored with a certification from Oxford allowing her to teach at that university.

Gore has served on the APSU faculty since 1982. She was a leader in initiating and establishing Clarksville's Head Start Program and the Child Learning Center at APSU, and was a participant in implementing Tree House of Clarksville. In addition to beginning a scholarship endowment at APSU designated for early-childhood education students, Gore was instrumental in developing APSU's 21st Century Classrooms. Her awards include 21 years as Kappa Delta Pi (education honorary) counselor, Distinguished Professor Award, Richard M. Hawkins Award and the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce Faculty Community Service Award.

The Oxford Round Table was established in 1989 as a forum for the study and consideration of current issues facing state and national systems of education. Its purpose is to promote human advancement and understanding through the improvement of education.