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Shawn On the Border

Do high school teachers not teach anymore?

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Creekland,

 

If you can find a way, I would definitely suggest watching the lecture that regentrude posted. The speaker is entertaining, and he has real data collected over a number of years to back up his assertions.

 

If you make it through to the end, he discusses how he puts these methods into practice in an actual class, and the method is much like you describe -- ask a question, require the students to be silent and answer via iClicker -- this way he can see who knows what. Then he tells them to convince the people sitting next to them of the correct answer and allows the kids several minutes to discuss the problem. He asks them to vote again, and then he spends 3 - 5 minutes lecturing on the topic and explaining the correct answer.

 

So the method he purports is not mostly "guided" discovery. He does mention that he thinks this method works because the students have an easier time of convincing each other of the correct answer because the ones who understand are "closer to" their period of not understanding. They can better see how to explain the concept because they remember not understanding it and how they got to knowing it. He says that it's often very hard for an expert to explain a new concept well because he doesn't really remember a time when he didn't know it. Dr. Mazur's explanation made a lot of sense to me. I know that I spent countless hours banging my head against a wall trying to explain certain math concepts to my oldest. They just seemed so obvious to me....

 

I was also skeptical after watching the first part it because I wondered how a study conducted at Harvard (where students are very capable & motivated) would apply elsewhere. He does address this and uses examples from community colleges as part of his data.

 

After watching the whole thing, I did wonder how/whether this method would work in a high school setting because one might lack the motivated students. The presentation might argue that conducting the class in this manner would engage the students better and help them to become motivated, but my gut says I'm not so sure about that in a high school setting.

 

Anyway -- I thought it was a really interesting lecture and if you can find a way to download it and watch it later, I'd strongly suggest it.

 

Brenda

 

We can hardly watch 2 - 3 minute videos here. There's no way I can watch one that is more than an hour, but your description was very appreciated.

 

I still say it would work for college and/or perhaps in a high school class with motivated students. Ours are not motivated, nor are they all capable of "getting" the correct conclusions. If they had to pre-read notes, most won't. Those won't even look at study guides when they have a test the next day. I could give quizzes out from examples and many would still get them incorrect. Our kids get 3 points each day if they even attempt their homework (usually 5 questions). Very few get full credit each chapter. The apathy is amazing.

 

But, some are motivated and I work on the apathy to get them working in class (even if not out of it). So, the second problem is that many are not able to "see" correct answers/relations the way one would want future research people to be able to (or STEM majors in general). These kids are gifted in other areas and get really frustrated with this type of math. If one shows them how to do something, then they can get it - esp if one also shows why. If they have to get it the first time on their own? They can come to tears. Not everyone is designed to be a researcher.

 

Then there are those who do get it. They are elevated as the "smart ones" and others soon learn to just copy from them. These kids are NOT always good at explaining how they got something, nor do they often want to take the time to teach others, so copying it is. The teacher can't be at all 6 groups at once.

 

An experienced teacher who knows their material is often far better at showing a student how to "get" a relationship better than a student who has just learned it. I can see his point that an "expert" in the field might not be - and probably isn't. I know I had profs in college who were great at their discipline, but poor teachers. There are also poor teachers in high school, but good teachers don't have that problem for their subject. They know where kids tend to get lost and how to fix it. (NOTE: As homeschoolers, we do have a disadvantage that we need to be good at everything, and personally, I know that's not true.)

 

I've had even "smart" kids get going on the wrong path and start showing that to others. The Primacy Effect means they will remember this "wrong" path first each time for many years afterward. That's NOT a good thing. And if they taught their group that, there's now 4 with the wrong first memory that needs to be overcome. We don't have electronic ways of showing the students they are correct first.

 

I felt like this when my oldest was in ps elementary school. They had switched to a new math program (Investigations), which as supposed to be more discovery-based. That program, and a few other issues, caused us to homeschool, so for us, it really was a blessing. However, for the kids who stayed in the system, they had to suffer for 5 or 6 years before the administration realized that standardized test scores were slipping, and they changed to a new program.

 

The sad thing is that all of the children in the program for those 5 or 6 years cannot "get back" the time they lost not learning math. Their math understanding will likely suffer for a long time. I guess that's why once dh and I understood the state of things, I went and talked to the principal about our concerns. At that point, I realized that the math program wouldn't be changing in time for my son to learn math, so we needed to make a change. I afterschooled math for one year, and that just gave me the confidence that hsing could work, and we've never looked back since.

 

It's sad to say that the time cycle required to change something that is not working (at least in our local ps) is just not quick enough to help the students that are experiencing the problems.

 

Best wishes,

Brenda

 

And this is where we're at. I just graded tests from my top class of 8th graders. They are in their 2nd year of Alg 1. The test covered basic stuff IMO and the average ended up being 79% with the range going from one student at 100% and one student at 45%. The student who got 100% (and a couple others in the 90's) could EASILY have done a normal Alg 1 course last year and be on Geom or Alg 2 this year. (I know them and their older siblings.) They are held back by our curriculum and system. The average students in this class are not getting significant portions of Alg 1 even with this being their 2nd year. Something's not right...

 

I didn't teach a thing toward these tests, so this is what I'm working with starting this 10 week full time job... I need to try to catch the others up and keep the class going - with the apathy (less apathy in this class fortunately) - and with our curriculum. I can tell you right now there won't be much "kid discovery" going on compared to "teacher led." "Kid discovery" is simply not working. Even the student who got 100% does a bit of "normal" Alg outside of school. His older sister is our NMSF this year. She also doesn't like this curriculum as it doesn't cover enough. However, their success is being used to show how great this is without mentioning they do extra. It doesn't matter that most kids do poorly.

 

Sorry. While I will admit that this type of learning can work well for the right people in the right situation (including homeschoolers or Harvard kids), I will never support it in an average or below average middle or high school based upon my experience. I think those who do support it have massive blinders on and are basing their thoughts upon their own method of learning without understanding that not everyone is wired as they are.

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One advantage of the "interactive" teaching methods are that they prepare the students for college and for real life. My oldest dd said that the hardest part of her freshman year in her SLAC was learning to speak up and substantively contribute during class meetings. All her college classes are discussion style.

 

I went to high school in the 70s, we always had to contribute to class, at the board, answering questions, doing various presentations. I had a few teachers who really used these methods to keep kids on their toes...sometimes by embarrassing them into working, sometimes by a huge dose of positive reinforcement.

 

College lecture classes were a complete shock to me though. I liked the self-directed learning that happened in upper-class seminars.

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In high school, they teach FIVE classes/day usually. That gives them 30 min. for lunch and 45 min. prep period/day. That should be plenty of time to prepare if they've done their lesson plans over the summer.

 

45 minutes - 9 minutes per class in your example. That 9 minutes is hardly sufficient to prepare. Are you suggesting they work through their lunch too and never have any kind of break?

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OTOH, there are professors (also at Harvard) who have divorced themselves completely from a lecture model and teach ONLY by problem solving and group activities at a college level, achieving better results than before.

Look up Eric Mazur "Confessions of a converted lecturer".

 

 

This may work well for students at a school like Harvard, but I have found that this does not work well for my students. I have used iclickers in this manner in a large lecture room. SOME of the students loved it; it was fun, it was entertaining, they got to push buttons, and they got to talk to their friends during class. Other students did not like it; they would say "Why did I pay money to explain problems to my classmate?"

 

Beyond whether the students liked it, I had three major issues:

 

(1) On exams students did significantly worse than students did in semesters in which the iclickers were not used.

(2) I found that the students were cheating in that one student was answering on multiple clickers. I thought my attendance was at an all-time high, but realized that I would get 250 answers but have only 160 students in the room.

(3) I was not able to cover as much material as before. I do not think that covering more material is better if students are not learning, but my exam grades indicated that more learning was not occuring and my best students were being held back.

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and he said all of his teachers lecture, and he must take notes. We live in a small rural area, and I have been happy with most of his teachers, especially his math and science teachers. He wishes they would talk less, so he had to take fewer notes. :D

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Yes, at my son's high school, students have to go in front of the class to explain how problems are solved, perform parts of literature (his lit. class will be performing Henry V in spring), give short speeches, etc. This probably varies from school to school.

I regained my faith in humanity for a whole few seconds while reading your post. :D Sounds good!

Don't forget also that many parents will come in protesting angrily if their darling failed, even if their darling did absolutely zip. If you don't START with support from the principal, the principal will either fire the teacher or just change the grades himself.

Amazing how the times have changed. When I was a kid, one was hiding one's poor grades from one's parents and prayed they do not inquire about them or learn about them from other sources - at least not before the weekend (so that one could "socialize", of course, rather than be "encouraged" to stay in to study by one's parents :lol:). Plus, in just about any conflict between a teacher and a student, parents were supporting the teacher. Sometimes, looking at today's world, it is like looking through one of those crazy distorting mirrors where things are pretty much upside down.

The Teaching Gap by J.W. Stigler and J. Hiebert describes the differences between US, Europe and Japanese methods of teaching.

I will look it up, thanks. :001_smile:

This is how it was done when I was growing up. If you can get up in front of the class, tell the chapter in detail, work out problems in front of everybody and answer questions from previous material, you really know it! And yes, you never knew when you were going to be called and in which class, so any given day you had to be 100% prepared for everything. Unlike here when students just have one science class, we studies phisics, biology, chemistry every semester, all of them. I never thought I would say anything positive about USSR, but I wish my kids could grow up with same teaching methods. I don't know how highs chools work here, but from what I am learning, I am becoming very concerned and frankly puzzled.

It is totally counter-intuitive to me too. I have been trying to figure it out for years, and even though in theory I know how things work, it is just so weird for me on so many levels (both content-wise, how things are fleshed out, and pedagogy-wise, which approaches are typically used).

 

We had these "interrogations", which were also unexpected at times, and quite often graded (it was one of the components of your grade - oral examinations throughout the year). Not that we were angels - like all kids, we too were coming to school with half-hearted preparation and without homework, at times, but on the whole, the level of work and discipline in the class was not bad because of those approaches.

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Amazing how the times have changed. When I was a kid, one was hiding one's poor grades from one's parents and prayed they do not inquire about them or learn about them from other sources - at least not before the weekend (so that one could "socialize", of course, rather than be "encouraged" to stay in to study by one's parents :lol:). Plus, in just about any conflict between a teacher and a student, parents were supporting the teacher. Sometimes, looking at today's world, it is like looking through one of those crazy distorting mirrors where things are pretty much upside down.

 

 

 

This was life when I was growing up in ps too. It's not that way with the majority any longer.

 

And... I still call on kids to come up and do problems or give answers from their seats. I spent my whole day doing that today. I honestly think it keeps them more involved. My classes are going to be far more teacher led than group led - unless I hear differently that I absolutely must use their "failing" method. Ethically I just have problems with it knowing it fails so many students. (At times I let groups work on a problem, then call on students to see what they got or to put it up on our board, but explanations are teacher led.)

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Don't forget also that many parents will come in protesting angrily if their darling failed, even if their darling did absolutely zip. If you don't START with support from the principal, the principal will either fire the teacher or just change the grades himself.

 

This!!!!

 

I could fail all my students if that were accurate in terms of their understanding, and my school would support me. However, I would never hear the end of it from parents. The parents don't care if their children learn anything - they are wanting that almighty A in the class. I have parents pull their kids out of AP and honors classes so they can get better grades in the regular track.

 

I teach Spanish. There is no need for me to lecture 30 minutes at a time. I want my students to be speaking and writing. They are learning a foreign language. You only learn it if you use it. Do I lecture? Yes. Do we practice? Yes.

 

I guess I am confused about how "going back to lecturing" is going to improve our educational system. There is no real data to support a decline in student achievement in many areas. - ACT, SAT, drop out rates. It all has remained relatively constant, which is impressive considering more children are educated through 12th grade and more are taking these exams than ever before. In fact Illinois requires every child to take the ACT, and we still out score the national average.

 

What has changed is that children need to learn to be "learners". The jobs waiting for them are completely different than any generation prior. They need to have skills they can apply to a variety of settings. They learn these skills through doing activities, writing, discussions, etc in their classes. I think there is a place for lecturing, but every day? Every class? Many of you talk here about the need to tailor education to student needs. Many teachers don't lecture long periods because that only meets the need of auditory learners - unless there are some visuals. How can you condem teachers for trying to meet the needs of a variety of learners? Perhaps the problem is not the method, but the fact that your child does not learn that way.

 

I also don't appreciate the comment about needing to plan all of my lessons for the entire year over the summer. I do plan all summer (completely uncompensated). However, I cannot plan every detail. How can I meet student needs planning that far in advance? I may need to repeat material, I may need to spend extra time on something. I can build a framework, and design materials and projects, but sitting and "writing lectures" would be a waste of time.

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45 minutes - 9 minutes per class in your example. That 9 minutes is hardly sufficient to prepare. Are you suggesting they work through their lunch too and never have any kind of break?

 

Yes this is what most people expect from teachers. Then the public complains about our union - when clearly we are regularly being asked to teach (and often raise) other people's children on our time and our dollar.

 

I adore my job. I have a great school, administration and students. However we live in a society that tears teacher's apart. It's very sad. We are the ones willing to do this work.

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I teach Spanish. There is no need for me to lecture 30 minutes at a time.

 

I think foreign language instruction is completely different from math or science instruction. History and literature would fall somewhere in the middle, I think.

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Yes this is what most people expect from teachers. Then the public complains about our union - when clearly we are regularly being asked to teach (and often raise) other people's children on our time and our dollar.

 

I adore my job. I have a great school, administration and students. However we live in a society that tears teacher's apart. It's very sad. We are the ones willing to do this work.

 

That depends on where you live. Here,many would like to make teaching a full time job, with planning and other professional activities done when children aren't in attendance. Won't fly due to the union - most want the summer off completely.

 

For the record, here you teach 5 of 9 periods. 2 of these may be supervised study hall or the you may have a double period class or two in which case the 2nd period is study hall in that subject. The rest are lunch and professional. You must hold 2 half hour sessions of after or before school help weekly for ms or hs. You may opt to teach or tutor for a sixth period. Your dept will get together and cooperate in lesson planning for those teaching the same class to different sections. There is no need to make your own tests..the district has purchased test questions from a supplier.

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I think foreign language instruction is completely different from math or science instruction. History and literature would fall somewhere in the middle, I think.

 

I would disagree with you about math, I really would.

 

Although I definitely think there IS a place for lecture, students also need lots and lots of practice working problems in order to actually learn it. As was said about Spanish -- you only learn it if you use it. Working fewer examples in-class (I halved the number I presented) and allowing time to do the same problems as guided practice has raised the test scores of my students tremendously -- (I teach college btw.)

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My husband sat in on my sophomore's Com Arts class on Friday and his impression is that the teacher does no teaching at all and very little in the way of classroom management.

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I would disagree with you about math, I really would.

 

Although I definitely think there IS a place for lecture, students also need lots and lots of practice working problems in order to actually learn it. As was said about Spanish -- you only learn it if you use it. Working fewer examples in-class (I halved the number I presented) and allowing time to do the same problems as guided practice has raised the test scores of my students tremendously -- (I teach college btw.)

 

:iagree: I'm still playing with my numbers, but I've noticed just from subbing if I do [teacher] guided practice, more students seem to pick it up correctly. When I do homework checks, many students have incorrect answers and won't ask questions about them even after I put the correct solutions on the board (not worked out - just the solutions). I've had to start deducting points from their homework grade if I see wrong answers just to get them to check their homework. (The "right" answer has to be there only after they've had access to it.) As I've mentioned before, the apathy is incredible.

 

Guided practice is not me standing there lecturing. It's showing something (this is lecturing), then letting them work in their groups on something, then returning to our Promethean board and picking students to put it up or tell me what to put up (pending time). Then repeat or simply do other examples.

 

Our book, on the other hand, wants the kids to figure it all out themselves with guided (unclear to them) reading and only a little bit of teacher led interaction, then the teacher wandering around for questions. That's what doesn't work for the vast majority as most don't care to figure it out nor are many capable of doing so at this age (or perhaps the way their brain is wired).

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I would disagree with you about math, I really would.

 

Although I definitely think there IS a place for lecture, students also need lots and lots of practice working problems in order to actually learn it. As was said about Spanish -- you only learn it if you use it. Working fewer examples in-class (I halved the number I presented) and allowing time to do the same problems as guided practice has raised the test scores of my students tremendously -- (I teach college btw.)

 

I agree with this. I had a math teacher in high school in the 90s who really made us do a ton of problems on our own. It was frustrating at times, but I really learned the material. I think there has to be a happy balance.

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Different subjects are always going to need different methods - you can't give a history class like a math class. And different levels are also going to differ. A university seminar for students deep in mathematics is just not the same as kids trying to figure out algebra, or multiplication. There is a big difference between 9, 15, and 20 year old brains, not to mention aspects of the material.

 

Personally, I think in most cases kids shouldn't be asked to do homework. Many simply aren't in a position to do it because their home life doesn't support it, and if they do it wrong all that has happened is the wrong method has been learned, even if it is corrected the next day.

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Personally, I think in most cases kids shouldn't be asked to do homework. Many simply aren't in a position to do it because their home life doesn't support it, and if they do it wrong all that has happened is the wrong method has been learned, even if it is corrected the next day.

 

I have to disagree with this. My students who do the best are those who consistently have their homework done and check their answers - asking questions if they have any. Those who do the worst are those who often don't have their homework done on time. There's a pretty direct, strong correlation in my classes. Granted, some of that could be the home life, but I know a couple of my "good" students do not have a rich, solid home life. School is their escape.

 

In our middle school students have 45 minutes every morning where they can do their homework and ask for assistance from any teacher. If they get stuck at home or don't have time, they can get things done in that time period.

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I have to disagree with this.

 

And I have to strongly agree with your disagreement.

 

Literature students need to be reading outside their classroom, English/History students need to be writing essays outside the classroom, Math students need to be working problem sets outside the classroom, Foreign language students need to be memorizing vocabulary and paradigms outside the classroom, etc. etc.

 

If all work had to be done in the classroom, you couldn't get half of what needs to be done in high school accomplished. Moreover, the vital life lessons of independence, planning and internal discipline aren't taught, which are probably bigger problems in the long run.

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If all work had to be done in the classroom, you couldn't get half of what needs to be done in high school accomplished. Moreover, the vital life lessons of independence, planning and internal discipline aren't taught, which are probably bigger problems in the long run.

:iagree:

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:iagree:

 

I disagree from experience. I went to a relatively homework free high school. It wasn't free of work - we worked in class and everyone had room in the schedule for a study hall. There were no disruptors and students who hadn't met the pre-reqs were not included. Much work was accomplished. Today's classrooms waste a lot of time due to the remedial work that must be accomplished. The differentiation for my mathy son in middle school was to hand him the homework and let him complete it in class when the headbanging third go on the topic was presented.

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I disagree from experience. I went to a relatively homework free high school. It wasn't free of work - we worked in class and everyone had room in the schedule for a study hall. There were no disruptors and students who hadn't met the pre-reqs were not included. Much work was accomplished. Today's classrooms waste a lot of time due to the remedial work that must be accomplished. The differentiation for my mathy son in middle school was to hand him the homework and let him complete it in class when the headbanging third go on the topic was presented.

I would have been LIVID as a child if I had had scheduled a study hall. :001_smile:

 

Generally speaking, the reason why I oppose it is because I do not buy into an idea of a "nanny school" (i.e. a school with daycare elements, such as free periods to study, more than a minimal break, extracurriculars incorporated into the mandatory school day, etc.), I believe a school ought to be exclusively an academic institution, no less and certainly no more. I think everything else is an infrigement of my personal freedom to own my time and I want a school to be maximally efficient in what it does. I actually see no reason for a grade school child to even have lunch break at school, since all the grade school kids need to learn can be accomplished in some 20ish classroom hours weekly, i.e. 4ish classroom hours daily. Things do get more complicated at upper middle and high school, so you need to either operate with a six day week and/or allow for some afternoon periods as well. BUT, I still believe the school should be guided by the idea of maximal efficiency.

 

In practice: lesson time is not to be wasted. It is a time for presentation / lecture, debate (i.e. the group element that has to occur there) - not more. There is no need to have five math lessons weekly if effectively you can have three and allow for students THEMSELVES to decide how much practice they need and want to get a certain grade. So, instead of forcing everyone to have five lessons of math each week (just a random example, which may not even work in practice), I say we OFFER - not coerce, but OFFER - additional classes for those who want extra help, office hours, etc., while for "regular work" we allow just as much time as can be optimally efficiently used. Ditto for most subjects, with more of a college schedule, and the actually learning is a student's responsibility and something he has to adjust his own time to. So, my mindset is entirely opposite: think of me as an educational libertarian, more than an educational socialist. I believe in MINIMAL school, rather than in maximal school (in terms of time), and in personal / family, rather than "societal" / professors' responsibility to make kids learn. I believe in short school days (and a personal / family responsibility on how kids are going to be supervised the rest of the time, not an institutional responsibility), extremely efficient lessons, and learning per se delegated to students, to own it to the extent they wish. The school is there to provide structure (equipment, lectures, office hours, library, freedom use of those resources) and evaluation. The actual learning is a personal and family responsibility, not the institution's, in my eyes.

 

I would hate remedial work in a regular classroom. That is the ultimate product of grade inflation. When I was at school, remedial work was your own problem OR there were separate hours for that which you could opt to attend (after regular classes) OR you hired a tutor (or, if your family was stingy at the sole thought for paying to somebody to sit with you and do your work, you did it on your own without a tutor, which is the way most kids did it), and you could never be THAT behind because kids were simply. not. promoted. if they failed to meet certain expectations. So, there was no time wasting in class.

 

I even philosophically oppose homework as yet another infrigement of liberty and as coercion for its own sake. :tongue_smilie: I think Americans assign way, way too much homework and put way too much weight on it being completed. Ideally, homework is minimal too, because not all individuals need equal amounts of practice - and ideally, it is suggested rather than forced (let alone made a percentage of grade). Ideally, testing and homework are divorced completely - if you can reach your goals with less work than suggested, good for you. I especially oppose "creative" nonsense assigned as homework. If I want to make an art project on a poem, I can certainly do so in my free time, but in a school English class, a school should teach efficiently, the actual content to a high academic level, rather than entertain me. I believe "engaging" with content is what a person does on their own, or in a group they study outside school, or what family does as informal learning, etc. When it comes to schools, I have a complete "business only" mentality.

 

I am so sorry that the rest of the world does not seem to share my ideas on education. :( Things are really so simple in my mind, with so obvious solutions: minimize school time, maximize free time, responsibility on the learner, school provides additional choices but does minimal coercing as to HOW the content is going to be mastered (because most of "learning" is designed to happen outside school hours), parents cannot blame teachers because it is understood to everyone that teachers present / evaluate / moderate discussion rather than actually make kids learn so the responsibility to learn and continually be prepared is kids' and, perhaps by extension, parents' (although on a high school level, I am pretty much of an opinion that a personal responsibility prevails). Exactly the way it WAS once, when schooling WAS a lot more efficient.

 

I just do not get the idea that one should actually learn in school. Some do, but for most, school has a "glueing" effect: it is there to glue the pieces of the puzzle, provide a certain variety of perspectives, and a certain structure. So, it is possible to have a 100% attendance and flunk - because one did not do one's work. Showing up for school is half the work, but the actual digesting of the material / preparation for class / revising is the student's responsibility in their free time. And as people need different amounts of time and learn at different hours, in my view, it should be completely divorced from any kind of requirement to be physically present in a school building.

 

Off my soapbox now, sorry I digressed again, but because I have really strong opinions about it, I am having a hard time NOT expanding on the "why"s behind my opinions. :lol:

 

ETA: All of the political allusions here are made as comparisons only and are not to be taken for my actual political philosophies on anything, LOL. Just sayin' so that nobody accuses me of bringing politics onto boards or "implying things" or whatever. :)

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I have to disagree with this. My students who do the best are those who consistently have their homework done and check their answers - asking questions if they have any. Those who do the worst are those who often don't have their homework done on time. There's a pretty direct, strong correlation in my classes. Granted, some of that could be the home life, but I know a couple of my "good" students do not have a rich, solid home life. School is their escape.

 

In our middle school students have 45 minutes every morning where they can do their homework and ask for assistance from any teacher. If they get stuck at home or don't have time, they can get things done in that time period.

 

If you've planned your classes including homework, it isn't really very surprising that the students who do best are the ones who actually do it. Those kids might even be the best students without assigned homework if they have more supportive home environments. This kind of anecdotal evidence isn't really very useful - you would at the least have to compare a class designed without homework to one with - not students who don't do assigned work with ones who do.

 

There has been a fair amount of research around the utility of homework, and it is not all that stunning. On the other hand, it has downsides - it favours kids who are in a position to actually work at home and who have parental supervision or other help, and it eats into time that could be given to other things.

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Can we define homework?

I am in favor of writing essays for literature classes. So writing assignments are something tangible one has to hand in to the teacher.

The rest is where it becomes vague for me. For example, in my world a biology teacher would assign chapters that correspond to the lectures in the class as homework. What that means is you sit down at home and learn the material. There is nothing tangible to turn in, but if you haven't done your "homework", when you are called in to the board to discuss any topic, you will get a bad grade. So in essence a kid would have homework every day, which would mean sitting down and learning different topics for different classes that are tested at school either orally or in a written exam. So even though it doesn't result in something tangible to turn in to the teacher, without completing the homework it would be nearly impossible for the majority of kids to do well in school. How would one go about learning without having anything assigned?

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Can we define homework?

I am in favor of writing essays for literature classes. So writing assignments are something tangible one has to hand in to the teacher.

The rest is where it becomes vague for me. For example, in my world a biology teacher would assign chapters that correspond to the lectures in the class as homework. What that means is you sit down at home and learn the material. There is nothing tangible to turn in, but if you haven't done your "homework", when you are called in to the board to discuss any topic, you will get a bad grade. So in essence a kid would have homework every day, which would mean sitting down and learning different topics for different classes that are tested at school either orally or in a written exam. So even though it doesn't result in something tangible to turn in to the teacher, without completing the homework it would be nearly impossible for the majority of kids to do well in school. How would one go about learning without having anything assigned?

We agree. ;)

 

I use homework to basically mean tangible things to hand in. I think those should be few and far between, while "homework" would exist in terms of self-directed learning and of course that teachers would estimate which chapters cover it, suggest additional literature as needed, etc. So you know at all times what you are expected to know - but whether it takes you 50 problems or 1 problem to get to the point of knowing it, it is something between you and you, not you and professor.

I also fully believe in an educational model where students prepare for classes (e.g. required readings are supposed to be done also in advance of some lectures, not only as follow-ups, etc.). My point is that I wish to divorce this self-study element (which is a crucial element of any good education) from evaluation (i.e. you should be tested on your concrete testable knowledge, not "effort", "homework points", etc.) and from coercion (because people really differ vastly in how they prefer to learn, how much time they need to prepare themselves, etc. - wanting to do it all in class is wrong, IMO).

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I teach two Spanish classes at a charter high school. My students' standing homework is to review their notebook (which I check every couple of weeks). In addition, I assign activities to be completed and turned in. The point of the activities is to increase their Spanish input and to give them practice speaking. The activities are: listen to a Spanish song twice, watch 15 minutes of Spanish TV, listen to Spanish radio for 15 minutes, watch a movie they know set in Spanish for 30 minutes, read an article in Spanish (one I provide or one they find themselves), read a children's book in Spanish, have a conversation with a Spanish speaker, call my Google Voice number and talk for 30 seconds, and call my GV number and read a paragraph they've written. For each they provide me details. Even if they don't actually do the activities, they still have to use Spanish to fill in the sheet, so it serves its purpose.

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My point is that I wish to divorce this self-study element (which is a crucial element of any good education) from evaluation (i.e. you should be tested on your concrete testable knowledge, not "effort", "homework points", etc.) and from coercion (because people really differ vastly in how they prefer to learn, how much time they need to prepare themselves, etc. - wanting to do it all in class is wrong, IMO).

 

Got it. I agree absolutely!

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I disagree from experience. I went to a relatively homework free high school.

 

"Homework" as in assignments to be turned in, graded, and part of your final grade? Or, "homework" as in "any academic activity outside of class"?

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Ester Maria, I wish we could do things as you describe... but the powers that be have decided otherwise.

 

I wish homework (as in math practice) weren't part of any grade. It is because the majority of kids do better with practice outside of class and the majority wouldn't do it if it weren't part of their grade and parents/state/country insists on all kids doing well. (Three components in there.) Failure is not an option without a lot of documentation. Even then, it's often blamed on the teacher.

 

The vast, vast majority of students in our school see learning/education as a chore and try to do the minimal possible. Then they want to graduate and get into decent colleges or get a high paying job that also requires minimal work.

 

Part of why we pulled to homeschool is because I want my kids to see learning as enjoyable and a great way to discover more about life. Homework in our homeschool was never graded nor accounted for in our grades. It was a case of doing as much or as little as needed to "get it." I vastly prefer it that way, but at our public school, there's no choice.

 

Fortunately, my youngest has retained his love of learning even in an apathetic school. He's even managed to rub off that love of learning on a couple of his friends (who were apathetic, but are changing or have changed). I admit to being worried that the opposite would happen. He still does the bulk of learning outside of school - without homework. He seldom has homework (doesn't have math this semester). But his As in school are hardly a good measure of true, deep, learning. The courses have been so dumbed down that few kids need to do any outside learning/effort (graded or not) to be at their level.

 

As I've said many times, the more I work where I do, the more discouraged I get - especially now that I'm full time and see the apathy day in and day out from some. (Others do try - it's not everyone who doesn't care - just the majority.) I can make most work through entertaining, cajoling, threatening (detention - grades - contact parents), but I can't open up some brains to the joy of learning for learning's sake. By 7th and 8th grade these kids have been so engrained that "learning is a chore" that it seldom appeals to them.

 

And I repeat that it's not just me. Two teachers I work with have been working there since before I started 12 years ago. They both freely talk about the decline in student interest, especially in the past few years. It's as frustrating to them as it is to me.

 

On a different subject totally, hubby now has his SC Professional Engineering license and is working on getting one for Hawaii. We're seriously considering moving if the right job comes up. For now he's just doing projects in both states (as well as here in PA). Honestly, I don't think the schools in either state are necessarily different or better, but if we move, I'll likely find a different job rather than subbing/teaching. It'll be a nice break for me.

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On a different subject totally, hubby now has his SC Professional Engineering license and is working on getting one for Hawaii. We're seriously considering moving if the right job comes up. For now he's just doing projects in both states (as well as here in PA). Honestly, I don't think the schools in either state are necessarily different or better, but if we move, I'll likely find a different job rather than subbing/teaching. It'll be a nice break for me.

 

I love Hawaii. Do you know which island?

Creekland, I saw an article about microfinancing in U of Chicago magazine that might interest one of your sons. Here's the link:

 

http://mag.uchicago.edu/economics-business/ends-and-means

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We agree. ;)

 

I use homework to basically mean tangible things to hand in. I think those should be few and far between, while "homework" would exist in terms of self-directed learning and of course that teachers would estimate which chapters cover it, suggest additional literature as needed, etc. So you know at all times what you are expected to know - but whether it takes you 50 problems or 1 problem to get to the point of knowing it, it is something between you and you, not you and professor.

I also fully believe in an educational model where students prepare for classes (e.g. required readings are supposed to be done also in advance of some lectures, not only as follow-ups, etc.). My point is that I wish to divorce this self-study element (which is a crucial element of any good education) from evaluation (i.e. you should be tested on your concrete testable knowledge, not "effort", "homework points", etc.) and from coercion (because people really differ vastly in how they prefer to learn, how much time they need to prepare themselves, etc. - wanting to do it all in class is wrong, IMO).

 

Oh my goodness, are you talking about high school? Not college? Sorry but the American culture has deteriorated and there is NO way this will work. Half the kids don't do the homework even though it is graded. I'm guessing very few would do it if it were not. They are only there to graduate and will only do what they have to. There is no intrinsic learning going on ( or very little). Seriously. I could see this working in college. In fact, I remember my college algebra class not giving a grade for any homework and I did very little of it because it was EASY and I didn't need to. But I was paying for school and it was my own fault and my own responsiblity. Education for high school is looked upon as a right. They have to provided it for EVERYONE of ALL BACKGROUNDS. Unlike Europe where they have tracks, everyone is lumped together here. There is just no way the public would go for it. No way at all.

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Oh my goodness, are you talking about high school? Not college? Sorry but the American culture has deteriorated and there is NO way this will work. Half the kids don't do the homework even though it is graded. I'm guessing very few would do it if it were not. They are only there to graduate and will only do what they have to. There is no intrinsic learning going on ( or very little). Seriously. I could see this working in college. In fact, I remember my college algebra class not giving a grade for any homework and I did very little of it because it was EASY and I didn't need to. But I was paying for school and it was my own fault and my own responsiblity. Education for high school is looked upon as a right. They have to provided it for EVERYONE of ALL BACKGROUNDS. Unlike Europe where they have tracks, everyone is lumped together here. There is just no way the public would go for it. No way at all.

Of course it would work if there was a strong initiative to go for it. Kids are not stupid, if they figure out they cannot pass with the current modus operandi, they adapt. Give it only a few years, refuse to promote those that have proven incompetent when tested, and it will become a new standard. True, possibly with 90% failure rates the first year, but even that will regulate itself with time.

 

American schools have a version of tracking with advanced classes, APs, etc. - it is just that the stratification happens on individual subject level, rather than a whole class level (grouping similarly-abled and similarly-interested kids into one class to take multiple or all subjects together, which is typically how it happens in Europe).

 

I do not see how it contradicts education as a right. Everyone has an access to it, what they DO after they have an access to it is what counts - and if they fail and prove incompetent and are disinterested and do not work, well... well then they fail, comme il faut.

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Of course it would work if there was a strong initiative to go for it. There won't be. I know it is a sterotype and I know that there are exceptions (Ben Carson comes to mind.) But in the inner city or other very impoverished backgrounds the mind set is that you drop them off and they are educated... If they even do that. So basically, no one from the inner city would go to school because they couldn't pass. Even the way it is now, in Texas schools either 30-50 percent of the kids drop out as it is depending on what stats you look at.. Then you have thousands of COMPLETELY undeducated kids wandering the streets... Kids are not stupid, if they figure out they cannot pass with the current modus operandi, they adapt. Give it only a few years, refuse to promote those that have proven incompetent when tested, and it will become a new standard. True, possibly with 90% failure rates the first year, but even that will regulate itself with time.

 

American schools have a version of tracking with advanced classes, APs, etc. - it is just that the stratification happens on individual subject level, rather than a whole class level (grouping similarly-abled and similarly-interested kids into one class to take multiple or all subjects together, which is typically how it happens in Europe).

 

I do not see how it contradicts education as a right. Everyone has an access to it, what they DO after they have an access to it is what counts - and if they fail and prove incompetent and are disinterested and do not work, well... well then they fail, comme il faut.

 

I agree with you in theory. I do. This is the way it SHOULD work!!! I wish it could. I don't think the American Public has the background to do it. Right now in Texas the big push is making sure that ALL get up to testing standards in all the subsections. So the hispanic children who are the only ones who speak any English in the house and have only been here 3 or 4 years, very low socieconomic must score a certain percentage on the test or the school gets marked down. So if 90 percent of the shool does well, but 5 out of the 10 minorities in the school don't, the school fails. So the effort is for EVERYONE to do well. To find a way for those that have no family support or cultural background to do well to get up to the standard. They see THAT as the right to education. The right for everyone to do well. My problem is that you cannot DO that for someone. The student must desire that. I would love to do as you describe, but the culture just isn't there. I'll vote for it!!! I think is a great plan, but if you tried it you would get screams about how it is unfair to minorities and underprivileged kids.

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Then they want to graduate and get into decent colleges or get a high paying job that also requires minimal work.

I agree. But then what do we as a society? Instead of disillusiong them RIGHT AWAY in high school that they cannot get good results without an accompanying effort - we "encourage" them, do not do reality checks with them, have them end up with debts and light degrees with no real perspective... Sounds much more cruel to me than my ideal of an education.

 

I just think it is wrong, on some stage, to obtain a results from a young adult as a result of coercion. On some level, it is their life and they have to begin to own it. When I was a child, by the end of upper middle school nearly all the conversations with professors, parents, other people... went into that direction. The standards are set, but how much you actually do and what you actually accomplish is firmly a result of your own effort and abilities - just like in real life.

I can make most work through entertaining, cajoling, threatening (detention - grades - contact parents), but I can't open up some brains to the joy of learning for learning's sake. By 7th and 8th grade these kids have been so engrained that "learning is a chore" that it seldom appeals to them.

:grouphug:

 

It seems to me like at least once every few weeks I have this conversation with some teacher. Everyone is frustrated, but their hands are tied because of the dictatorship of mediocrity and subpar education that they are basically forced to provide in spite of what they realistically could do if you just allowed them. No wonder that people are running out of that field without looking back as soon as they can - even if they entered with honest idealism and zeal for teaching. It is so sad, and all because of that crazy political correctness, schools being redefined into daycares, etc. :(

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So the effort is for EVERYONE to do well. To find a way for those that have no family support or cultural background to do well to get up to the standard. They see THAT as the right to education. The right for everyone to do well. My problem is that you cannot DO that for someone. The student must desire that. I would love to do as you describe, but the culture just isn't there. I'll vote for it!!! I think is a great plan, but if you tried it you would get screams about how it is unfair to minorities and underprivileged kids.

I know. :( Which is why I am sorry that most of the rest of the world does not share my logic - although I know quite a few individuals, surprisingly, who will behind the closed door and whispering admit there may be something to what I am saying, LOL.

 

Nobody has a right to succeed. People have a right to an ATTEMPT at success, and a support throughout that ATTEMPT.

Nobody has a right to happiness. People have a right to a PURSUIT of happiness.

 

I do believe that education is a right and that the choice to treat it as a universal right is one of the pinnacles of our civilization, but I believe in the right to a CHANCE to get educated - in a right to that infrastructure, guidance, a place in a classroom, a freedom to use school resources. I do not believe that one's right to an education includes an automatic right to succeed and I vehemently oppose the lowering of standards in order to promote more and more students.

 

Minorities and underprivileged children have always existed, and will always exist, in all societies. A society can never be perfect, but I still believe that meritocracy is the way to go in spite of all the arbitrary differences between people. I am all for schools offering extra help, extra support - but for the core requirements to remain uncompromised. And yes, if you do not meet the requirements, you fail, because that is the only way to go in my eyes. As soon as you relativize things, you are starting a death spiral that is very hard to reverse - as soon as you once compromise on academic quality requested for each grade for the reasons of political correctness or such. Which is why I am so pessimistic about the future of education in general, because it seems to have reached the point of no return, the public is simply to accustomed to it and wants it, the gap between private and state education is ever wider (and instead of requesting higher standards for their children, parents are all about lowering standards! incredible!). We can basically sit and cry.

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Now if we could only make you Secretary of Education. :D

I know. :( Which is why I am sorry that most of the rest of the world does not share my logic - although I know quite a few individuals, surprisingly, who will behind the closed door and whispering admit there may be something to what I am saying, LOL.

 

Nobody has a right to succeed. People have a right to an ATTEMPT at success, and a support throughout that ATTEMPT.

Nobody has a right to happiness. People have a right to a PURSUIT of happiness.

 

I do believe that education is a right and that the choice to treat it as a universal right is one of the pinnacles of our civilization, but I believe in the right to a CHANCE to get educated - in a right to that infrastructure, guidance, a place in a classroom, a freedom to use school resources. I do not believe that one's right to an education includes an automatic right to succeed and I vehemently oppose the lowering of standards in order to promote more and more students.

 

Minorities and underprivileged children have always existed, and will always exist, in all societies. A society can never be perfect, but I still believe that meritocracy is the way to go in spite of all the arbitrary differences between people. I am all for schools offering extra help, extra support - but for the core requirements to remain uncompromised. And yes, if you do not meet the requirements, you fail, because that is the only way to go in my eyes. As soon as you relativize things, you are starting a death spiral that is very hard to reverse - as soon as you once compromise on academic quality requested for each grade for the reasons of political correctness or such. Which is why I am so pessimistic about the future of education in general, because it seems to have reached the point of no return, the public is simply to accustomed to it and wants it, the gap between private and state education is ever wider (and instead of requesting higher standards for their children, parents are all about lowering standards! incredible!). We can basically sit and cry.

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I would have been LIVID as a child if I had had scheduled a study hall. :001_smile:

 

 

In practice: lesson time is not to be wasted. It is a time for presentation / lecture, debate (i.e. the group element that has to occur there) - not more. There is no need to have five math lessons weekly if effectively you can have three and allow for students THEMSELVES to decide how much practice they need and want to get a certain grade. So, instead of forcing everyone to have five lessons of math each week (just a random example, which may not even work in practice), I say we OFFER - not coerce, but OFFER - additional classes for those who want extra help, office hours, etc., while for "regular work" we allow just as much time as can be optimally efficiently used. Ditto for most subjects, with more of a college schedule, and the actually learning is a student's responsibility and something he has to adjust his own time to.

 

So, my mindset is entirely opposite: think of me as an educational libertarian, more than an educational socialist. I believe in MINIMAL school, rather than in maximal school (in terms of time), and in personal / family, rather than "societal" / professors' responsibility to make kids learn. I believe in short school days (and a personal / family responsibility on how kids are going to be supervised the rest of the time, not an institutional responsibility), extremely efficient lessons, and learning per se delegated to students, to own it to the extent they wish. The school is there to provide structure (equipment, lectures, office hours, library, freedom use of those resources) and evaluation. The actual learning is a personal and family responsibility, not the institution's, in my eyes.

 

 

You are describing an independent study situation, where students who are studying the same material come together to an expert and ask questions and clear up misconceptions. Many people would rather that the expert lead the learning, so it is more efficient as no misconceptions would occur.

 

Many people would like to have their child test out by examination, however the unions here do not allow it. Seat time is very very important for their full employment and their social experiment of closing 'racial' gaps.

 

 

I would hate remedial work in a regular classroom. That is the ultimate product of grade inflation.

 

It's not grade inflation, it's developmental differences. Some of the cultures here in the US care for their 0-4 aged children by putting them in a large group daycare or by letting them fend for themselves as much as possible. They do not arrive able to learn the K material as they have not acheived one-to-one correspondence or learned sufficient vocabulary. Even some college educated folks beleive that it is the school's job to teach preK concepts such as color and last name.

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Many people would like to have their child test out by examination, however the unions here do not allow it. Seat time is very very important for their full employment and their social experiment of closing 'racial' gaps.

 

 

Can you elaborate? I don't understand why testing out to go into higher level class could harm anybody either a teacher or a student. What is their logic?

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Can you elaborate? I don't understand why testing out to go into higher level class could harm anybody either a teacher or a student. What is their logic?

 

You'll have to take that up with the social experimenters. As it has been related here: having leveled classes cheats those who have more to learn, as they no longer have age-peers to learn it from. For ex., vocabulary will be picked up more readily via immersion than by formal classwork in K-2. Hard to play hide-n-seek if no one is there to teach hiding your eyes and counting to ten. And so it goes, until the groups are so split apart that honors classes become socially acceptable.

 

The other issue is full employment. Many children don't need 13 years to master the high school curriculum. Rather than group them by instructional need, they are grouped by age, where they spend a lot of time waiting rather than mastering material new to them. Should they be allowed to subject accelerate, there would not be the need to have as many teachers as in the current set up where they are forced to spend much time repeating the prior year's material when they don't need to. We are in a period of declining enrollment. If these teachers don't get sped and esl certificates and students who have that need, they'll be out the door. Unless of course, we decide to go to smaller class sizes to keep all the teachers employed.

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Many children don't need 13 years to master the high school curriculum. Rather than group them by instructional need, they are grouped by age, where they spend a lot of time waiting rather than mastering material new to them.

 

I had a student the other day in my 7th grade Alg 1 class tell me he and a buddy had done Alg 1 at home with books their parents bought them. He wondered what he'd be able to do. At our school? Nothing. He's already at the top of our class grade-wise and has to stay in this class for the rest of 7th grade and then finish Alg 1 in 8th grade. We now require all students to do 2 years of Alg 1 and they can't start Geometry until 9th grade... (2nd year of this)

 

I felt sorry for him. He's great in class. Many kids who are bored become behavior problems. He certainly isn't. I easily have about 5 others who could speed along and get all of Alg 1 in 7th as they used to offer, but it's not an option anymore. It's better (supposedly) that they sit in my class bored and are there to help the "slower" students - a couple of whom shouldn't be in there at all IMO.

 

I agree that our educational system at many schools is messed up and not in the process of getting better.

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All of his core class (English, history, science, and math) involve a great deal of discussion and lectures. Latin may be the exception. They're piloting a new program that is self-paced and online.

 

His history teacher completes a power point presentation in class and then makes it available for review on the class web site. They do read and take notes from a text (American Pagaent), but the majority of information is presented in class by the teacher. The English class is literature based, and other than an assignment or two from Norton's, there is no text book. While almost all of his classes utilize text books, they don't seem to be the meat of many of the courses. The exception there is probably math.

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I love Hawaii. Do you know which island?

 

Creekland, I saw an article about microfinancing in U of Chicago magazine that might interest one of your sons. Here's the link:

 

http://mag.uchicago.edu/economics-business/ends-and-means

 

Sorry! Missed this yesterday when I was skimming...

 

His current project is on Oahu, but I'll admit to liking both Kauai and the Big Island better if we were to move there. Of course, it would depend on how close he had to be to his job.

 

One big potential "pro" is that youngest thinks he wants the University of Hawaii as a potential college (for their Ethnobotany program). He's been wavering on that just a little lately though - thinking more Tropical Ecology - so I'm not certain if it will change, but it could be very nice to be "in-state" when it comes to finances.

 

One big con is how far away we would be from our families - and they aren't getting any younger. The other big con is the change in cost of living. We'd sell our farm here and just be able to afford a regular house or condo there. I'd miss the extra space.

 

We love Hawaii though... We'll see how the project goes and how many projects there might be behind it.

 

Thanks for the micro-finance article! It's good to read both the good and the bad about an industry. Fortunately, the firm Seth hopes to work for is non-profit and has a very good "success" rate. When they aren't successful they write it off and don't use horrid tactics to collect. It's a Christian firm, but, of course, provides opportunities to people regardless of faith as there's no desire to "buy" converts. One of the reasons oldest chose his college was due to the philosophy of microfinance at his Christian college vs that of secular schools. I personally agree that the "for-profit" microfinance firms are on shaky ground. As with any other business or program, there will always be varying levels of "success" pending how "success" is defined.

 

Anyway, I'll be forwarding on that article to my oldest, but it wouldn't surprise me if he's already read it. ;)

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Should they be allowed to subject accelerate, there would not be the need to have as many teachers as in the current set up where they are forced to spend much time repeating the prior year's material when they don't need to. We are in a period of declining enrollment. If these teachers don't get sped and esl certificates and students who have that need, they'll be out the door. Unless of course, we decide to go to smaller class sizes to keep all the teachers employed.

 

So basically what you are saying is if a child can handle IP French (because maybe he learned at home or ...), he won't be able to place into that class until he goes through the standard progression of classes even if he/she doesn't need it?

Same with math??? We can't ask for placement tests to determine which class to place a child??? I know there is no option of any acceleration in elementary school, but then again, elementary schools aren't set up well for it. But in middle and highs schools it would be so easy to correctly place a child in the class.

Are those practices standard more or less across all schools, or do they depend on individual school districts?

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So basically what you are saying is if a child can handle IP French (because maybe he learned at home or ...), he won't be able to place into that class until he goes through the standard progression of classes even if he/she doesn't need it?

Same with math??? We can't ask for placement tests to determine which class to place a child??? I know there is no option of any acceleration in elementary school, but then again, elementary schools aren't set up well for it. But in middle and highs schools it would be so easy to correctly place a child in the class.

Are those practices standard more or less across all schools, or do they depend on individual school districts?

 

the charter school I teach in is 6th-12th grades and will place students where they need to be. It's a small school though and we're very flexible.

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You are describing an independent study situation, where students who are studying the same material come together to an expert and ask questions and clear up misconceptions. Many people would rather that the expert lead the learning, so it is more efficient as no misconceptions would occur.

But the experts do lead the learning. :confused: I was not talking about a situation where you hand all the materials to the kid and say, "Good luck, see you on exam, and if you need me before that, here is my email and my office hours are Mondays at 10." (Although I believe there should be an option of credit by examination - otherwise known as... homeschooling? :lol:, i.e. being a non-attendant student). It is still teaching, but a more efficient teaching because the time is not wasted on those who choose not to prepare or who would like everything spoonfed to them so they do not have to do the slightest work on their own. Thus less hours totally, because you simply cut on all those unnecessary periods of creative projects, revising, etc., and go back to the basics.

It's not grade inflation, it's developmental differences. Some of the cultures here in the US care for their 0-4 aged children by putting them in a large group daycare or by letting them fend for themselves as much as possible. They do not arrive able to learn the K material as they have not acheived one-to-one correspondence or learned sufficient vocabulary. Even some college educated folks beleive that it is the school's job to teach preK concepts such as color and last name.

I believe you can always excuse things by saying that there is a myriad of arbitrary differences between people (socioeconomic, genetic, health-wise, personality-wise, etc.) and that you are being more just by not treating all the people the same way. I believe that is a wrong approach, because that is the ultimate source of grade inflation and lowered quality for all. If they arrrive not being able to learn the K material and they do not do well in K, maybe they should be given extra attention in additional classes (without making other kids attend it who do not need it) / taken out of regular K classes and separated into ability-based groups until they catch up / or just let sink or swim and repeat a year if necessary. I do not think other kids ought to suffer lower quality education as a result - if you have a group-based education and you actually care about all kids in a group, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. I absolutely do not think that regular education should be tailored to above-average kids (intellectually), but I also do not think it should be tailored to the bottom third. That is, effectively, what mainstreaming means in practice quite often.

 

I do understand why one is opening a huge can of worms if one has a "sink or swim" approach and so it happens that the majority of those who fail are minorities. But that is the only way to go, ultimately. ALL would benefit from better education - when you lower the quality of education, it is only kids' and parents' egos that benefit, and even that not on the long run, as they figure out at some stage that they were essentially cheated on their education in spite of having been continually promoted.

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So basically what you are saying is if a child can handle IP French (because maybe he learned at home or ...), he won't be able to place into that class until he goes through the standard progression of classes even if he/she doesn't need it?

Same with math??? We can't ask for placement tests to determine which class to place a child??? I know there is no option of any acceleration in elementary school, but then again, elementary schools aren't set up well for it. But in middle and highs schools it would be so easy to correctly place a child in the class.

Are those practices standard more or less across all schools, or do they depend on individual school districts?

 

It depends on the school districts and the states, but yes. There are also some people who are very vocally against acceleration (i.e. more than algebra in the middle school) because it will widen the achievement gap. If the most any child can take in middle school is algebra 1, then there isn't as big a difference.

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I didn't read the whole thread but..

 

At our local highschool the majority of teachers definitely lecture/teach! There are some teachers who just pass out handouts and write assignments on the board but definitely in the minority.

 

One of ds17's teachers (his freshman year) just lectures and assigns homework and doesn't even use the textbook. It was one of ds17's favorite classes, because of all the discussions and not having to just read a textbook.

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Getting back to the initial question, I don't quite understand the implied definition that lecturing is the only form of teaching.

 

For any class, there's some baseline of information which the student must understand before you can have any kind of discussion, comparison or debate. There are several ways to convey this base data: in-class lecture, reading a textbook, watching an online video, etc.

 

I don't see that lecturing is always a more effective way of transmitting this information, and it seems that it takes time away from the things an interactive teacher can do much better than a pre-recorded text or video. Those are to tutor, assess, and clarify points which were misunderstood.

 

I like the experiment that a number of school districts are trying in Math, where the students watch a Khan Academy video at home, and then demonstrate at school that they can do the corresponding problem sets. That way, the teacher spends all her time assessing, correcting, and validating what the students have learned.

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