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On the IB thread in the chat board, someone (Farrar perhaps) mentioned the idea of "rigorous busywork" and I didnt want to derail the thread, so I thought I would start a thread here about it. 

After reading that statement, I felt lightbulbs go off inside. I had what I have always considered a solid high school career, but since beginning homeschooling, I have felt my own education was lacking somehow. But I did so much work in high school. SO MUCH. And looking back, most of it I would classify as rigorous busywork. Do 20 calculus problems all of the same type. Write lots of random papers. Memorize lots of random dates. Do lots of posters and projects. But I dont think most of it led to a deeper or richer understanding of the materials.

I am desperately trying to avoid this in my children's education.

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Ha. Yeah, that was me.

I think it's hard to tease apart because there's also this idea, which I didn't fully get until I encountered old school and classical homeschoolers, of overteaching. And that can actually be positive. Like, mastery does require going beyond in terms of practice sometimes - and that's something that schools don't seem to know anymore.

On the other hand, yeah, I see a lot of this. Kids pushed to read and read and read, write and write and write, do and do and do... and there's no greater connections made, no deeper levels reached. It's hard to say it's not rigorous because they're genuinely doing pretty high level work... but it's joyless and repetitive. I think a lot of it is about - and I say this all the time - seeing education as a product and not a process. When education is a product, then creating more and more products - more essays, more test scores, more grades, etc. - is a part of how you show success in creating the product. When education is a process, then there's an understanding that stopping to do more with a single paper or a single topic is more worth your time.

My feeling is that it's not so hard to avoid if you just try. That's the case with so many of these things that people worry about... as long as you're trying, you're probably not going to fall into that trap.

Edited by Farrar
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There are two different goals in play here: to educate the student, and to satisfy other people that we have educated the student. The latter requires a lot of time spent on assignments and production of artifacts and test scores.
I'm a fan of compacting as much as works for any given student--e.g., instead of the page with 20 easy questions and 2 hard ones, do three of the easy ones and the two hard ones, and if those are not an issue, we're done here.

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I think there is a lot of homework for the sake of homework where people humble brag about how many hours of homework are being done and how little sleep is being had.  It is a competition.  It makes people feel good that their kids have the most homework and least sleep.

It is so incurious as to content and meaning.  Unless it can be reduced into test scores or being in a high class placement.  That is supposed to be a shorthand for content and meaning I guess?  Oh, or is it just a shorthand for hours of homework and sleep.  
 

 

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I have come to believe that the problem revolves around assessment. Continual assessment creates stress and destroys intrinsic motivation. I could take the exact same IB program, remove the assessment, allow motivated students to decide when they had mastered each unit, and create a beautiful learning environment. 

I have been reading a book that says the best teachers *buffer* their students from the external educational environment. You cannot *avoid* it, but you can be buffered. So my goal with my boys was to learn for the sake of learning, to follow their interests and their own timeline, and then have them take a formal assessment at the end. I did the research to have him take the most useful assessments but also the fewest required. We would not talk about the assessment during the year of learning, and only focus on it for about 3 weeks at the end right before the exam. This kid of buffering allowed my older boy to embrace learning because it was authentic and done for his own goals.  External pressure and assessments are just bad bad bad, and IB is full of them. 

I also think that without the gift of *time*, students never develop a sense of self. They never have time to simply contemplate. The problem is that in our society, doing 'nothing' is considered a waste of time. But it is during the 'nothing' that a person is formed. 

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5 hours ago, Lecka said:

I think there is a lot of homework for the sake of homework where people humble brag about how many hours of homework are being done and how little sleep is being had.  It is a competition.  It makes people feel good that their kids have the most homework and least sleep.

It is so incurious as to content and meaning.  Unless it can be reduced into test scores or being in a high class placement.  That is supposed to be a shorthand for content and meaning I guess?  Oh, or is it just a shorthand for hours of homework and sleep.  
 

 

My local news had a FB post about the national report cards and people (not just one) blamed the low scores on no homework. One even said they pulled their kid out of ps and sent them to a charter school because of it. All I could say is homework is not the benchmark of a good school. 🙄Assigning homework for homework's sake has been proven to be ineffective. Meaningful homework specifically assigned to work on weaker skills is where you get the most efficient use of homework time. 

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@lewelma, which book are you reading? I have been homeschooling for 4 years and for the past year I have realized the necessity of shielding my kids from the crazy pressure and testing. Andrew Kern has a audio lecture on the Circe site that discusses assessments that bless. I found his ideas helpful and similar to what you described.

I often think about the hobbies I pursue as an adult and how it would kill the pleasure if I were regularly assessed on my proficiency of my learning. That is a soul-sucking way to live.

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I am reading 'In search of deeper learning.'  

https://www.amazon.com/Search-Deeper-Learning-Remake-American/dp/0674988396

I like 'assessments that bless.'  I think that the best of assessments is the ones that challenge you to come to a high standard. Ones that focus on developing deep thinking and insight.  I do not do any testing in my homeschool.  But in 11th and 12th grade, my kids had to/will have to take the NZ national assessments.  Luckily for us, they are incredibly well designed.  But I have worked hard to reduce the assessment load to about a quarter of what school students here have.  Enough to drive my boys forward and prepare them for university, but not enough to burn them out or destroy their love of learning.

 

Edited by lewelma

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I will also say that my older boy has developed deep insight into philosophy/ethics and literature through reading and discussion.  He never wrote papers on these topics until his 12th grade year and he never took tests.  He just read read read, and then we talked. He has been given very high praise in writing by 2 of his humanities professors at Uni, recommended for a by-invitation-only seminar, and asked to apply for the humanities scholars program. This is WITHOUT tests and only the occasional paper all through high school.  We gave him the TIME to read and to think deeply. Space to be. This is critical.

Edited by lewelma
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I have written about this before, but we banned electronics at 9pm.  We are in a small apartment and go to sleep at 10pm.  My ds was a night owl and just wouldn't go to sleep until 1am or later.  So he had hours in our lounge with an electronic piano and lots of books/magazines.  So all through highschool he read for 3 hours a night year round - books like Crime and Punishment and 100 Years of Solitude, and magazines like Scientific American, National Geographic, and the Economist.  He learned to play the piano and he thought.  There was nothing else to do except sleep, which he didn't want to do. 

Space and Time was all he needed. 

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That is very helpful, thank you. I just put "In search of Deeper Learning" on my homeschool Amazon list. 

I love how deep conversations are both relational and educational. I love how I can prioritize what is valuable to me, guide my kids towards deeper thinking, and it "counts" towards their education, without nary a worksheet in sight.

The gift of time sounds so...trivial and obvious, perhaps (I hope this does not read as a slight to you - it is an observation of the current zeitgeist). However, in modern society I think it is often taken completely for granted. The gift to exist in one's own head and have the space to think one's own thoughts. Modernity confers a lot of advantages, but there are serious drawbacks as well. Solitude is a lost art.

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11 minutes ago, annegables said:

The gift of time sounds so...trivial and obvious, perhaps (I hope this does not read as a slight to you - it is an observation of the current zeitgeist). However, in modern society I think it is often taken completely for granted. The gift to exist in one's own head and have the space to think one's own thoughts. Modernity confers a lot of advantages, but there are serious drawbacks as well. Solitude is a lost art.

Oh, I think it is much more deeply rooted.  I believe that learning by kids only 'counts' if it can be identified as learning.  Just reading. nope. You must either be taking a proper course, or take a test to prove your knowledge, or study something that people 'count' as real.  I wrote this up about my two boys last week. I was discussing the feeling that giving time is inefficient and uncertain, and that unless a self-directed activities are recognizable as 'learning', it won't count. We as a society don't trust teens not to squander their time, so we don't give them any.

 

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I have come to believe that depth comes from personal interest and involvement. I could have used an AP prep program, or a great books program, or any other sort of humanities/social sciences program, and the results would NOT have been the same. DS had the *time* to have the energy to read. And this has become very clear as his reading has tanked during his senior year in high school when things got so crazy and during his first 1.5 years at MIT. Without *time*, there is no initiative to better oneself. To dig deep into what it is to be human. To dig deep into who you want to be. *Time* is the key. 

The problem with giving *time* to kids is that they seem to squander it. I had many many sleepless nights thinking that there was so much that *I* could have made sure that he did. Books to read, conversations to have, ideas to cover. But these would have been top down. The problem, however, with giving *time* is that it seems inefficient. What exactly is being covered? Anything useful? Should I step in? Should I check up? What about kids who seem to "waste" it?  It just seems so much less assured. But depth requires time. Filling the day with work means by definition that deep thinking can't happen -- kids get into the box ticking mode, and box ticking definitely does not equate to deep learning and thinking. It was only when I went to write the transcript and course descriptions did I realize how much had been accomplished when ds was doing nothing. Nothing was the key to his education. Without screens, there was nothing else to do than think deeply and sleep.  What more do teens actually need to grow?

I think, however, that I did a good job celebrating his learning. When he would start reading a book, I used that as motivation to go get it on audio and try to keep up.  He loved being ahead of me, and he loved discussing the ideas. I also embraced deep thinking about world problems. We had Nuanced discussions about complex ideas with no clear solution. Basically, I supported his independent learning by being engaged but not in any fashion directing or controlling. I think he came to believe that he led me, which in may respects he did. So although he was in charge, I was in the background supporting his efforts through very subtle encouragement and by embracing a life-long learning approach. So I did drive this education in a way, but clearly so did he. Personal connection to his learning was key. Programs for us (except AoPS & science) were a complete fail.

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Developing interests is a funny thing.  I think that many of us have heard the stories about kids with passions, and that homeschool kids especially have the time to find their passions.  But IRL I have not found this to really be true.  I used to be an unschooler (and in some ways still am), and I remember sitting around with other moms wondering where we had gone wrong, because our kids had not developed any passions.  In hindsight, I now know that they were just too young.  Most were under 10.  But more interestingly, I have come to believe that passions have to be recognized by adults to be considered 'passions'. Kids can clearly be doing something a LOT, but if you can't label it with a NAME, somehow it doesn't count. Sad but true.

So my kid LOVES his ECs.  Just look at that siggy -- it is NUTS. Nine daily activities each week, many for 2+ hours. For a long time I thought he was just social, but once I labeled it, it became a passion.  And once I could call it a passion, my ds was proud of his efforts and could talk about it in a way that led others to be really interested. And he began to see it as a passion. 

So the name of his passion is Leadership.  My ds is trying to develop the skills that are required to be a leader.  And as this passion has developed, it has also led him to new interests for careers.  Specifically, he is interested in being Mayor. So why am I calling it leadership?  Because he purposely continues to go to activities with younger kids (age 12) because he is trying out different techniques to manage them -- manage their behavior but also influence them to work as a group to a common goal.  He is also using his D&D group to work on his leadership as he is the Dungeon Master so is in charge of a group of peers. Often after one of these activities, he will ask us about this or that leadership problem.  And once he had a name for what he was doing, he started doing it MORE.  He started thinking about leadership more, he started trying to purposely lead younger kids more.   And once success built on success, he started being more proactive in other areas of his life.  For example, he is not very flexible but loves gymnastics, so he decided that his focus would be on upper body strength (required for men's gymnastics) which is why *he* chose to join the gym.  And then because I am busy with tutoring, he also has to get to all these activities by himself, which has its own EF challenges.

I can easily make these activities into official classes just like I did with my older.  Read 1 book and write 1 paper, and I have a practical leadership class and a drama class. And just like with my older boy, *I* facilitate and encourage these endeavors.  I am currently reading and discussing the 48 Power Laws book with my ds and dh at night.  We discuss how people manipulate others, and pull up examples both positive and negative in our own life. With the amount of time we are spending, this could be a half class in the Psychology of Leadership. Next up, we can read and discuss difference Leadership styles for a course in Comparative Leadership.  And for his geography paper right now he has decided to compare how the first leaders in the DRC and Botswana impacted their country even to this day.  Basically, it is in the eye of the beholder *what* is academic. And it is up to me to help his interests grow.  It could have been so easy to say "oh, he is just really social." And never ask what was happening, what he was thinking, how it was impacting his sense of self.  I think for passions to develop you need a parent who can recognize possibility and encourage it. 

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9 hours ago, lewelma said:

Oh, I think it is much more deeply rooted.  I believe that learning by kids only 'counts' if it can be identified as learning.  Just reading. nope. You must either be taking a proper course, or take a test to prove your knowledge, or study something that people 'count' as real.  I wrote this up about my two boys last week. I was discussing the feeling that giving time is inefficient and uncertain, and that unless a self-directed activities are recognizable as 'learning', it won't count. We as a society don't trust teens not to squander their time, so we don't give them any.

I fully agree with this statement! The longer I homeschool the more I realize that the bolded is what I think has killed most adult's desire to learn deeply. 

I read on here a while before jumping in to the conversations, but you and 8filltheheart have always inspired me with how you have rejected the bolded, painstakingly forged your own path (and watched your kids blaze their own trails), lived in the uncertainty, and ended up with young adults who are interesting and self-directed. That takes guts. 

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5 hours ago, annegables said:

I fully agree with this statement! The longer I homeschool the more I realize that the bolded is what I think has killed most adult's desire to learn deeply. 

I read on here a while before jumping in to the conversations, but you and 8filltheheart have always inspired me with how you have rejected the bolded, painstakingly forged your own path (and watched your kids blaze their own trails), lived in the uncertainty, and ended up with young adults who are interesting and self-directed. That takes guts. 

Well, thanks for the kind words. I'm honored to be categorized with 8, because she inspires me too!!

My younger has also taught me quite a bit about deep learning. He is a kid who is completely unwilling to learn without deep conceptual understanding. And this is painfully slow from the point of view of a standard timetable set down from on high. 

Earlier this year, I decided to start the traditional high school science, starting with mechanics in physics. Because It was going to be his first more 'rigorous' science with a textbook and proper problems (before we had been reading books like The Way Things Work), I wanted to get him used to this style of learning. He wanted to learn physics because he knows he will need it to be a geographer (earthquakes, volcanoes, water flow, etc), so he was motivated and ready to dig in. And I chose mechanics to start because it was so plug and chug, so from my point of view, easy. So I made my 10 week plan, and our goal was 3 pages a day. Read about a new idea, do the practice problem, rinse and repeat. It was a disaster.  Mechanics is a massive oversimplification which at a high school level completely goes against intuition because you drop out things like friction.  And to this boy it made no sense.  I had a couple of really good resources and just kept pushing him through it.  Just do 3 pages a day. Do the math. It will make sense as you practice.  3 pages. 3 pages. I just kept thinking that this is *the* way we do rigorous science. I have the national exam, I know where he needs to be, I have set the schedule that will allow him to get through physics and chemistry by university..  But this was a big fat mistake because he did the 3 pages and the math and the practice and finished 10 weeks of learning. He was even getting the problems right, but with NO idea what mechanics was.  He told me after 10 weeks "I don't even know what Force is." Um. Well, OK. What the hell have we been doing for 10 weeks? Apparently wasting our time. 

So during the 2 week break, we brainstormed.  What had gone wrong? Why the big fat fail?  And we decided that he needed to discover the principles on his own to make those deep connections. I still wanted to get through set content, and not have this a free for all bunny trail exercise, because he is in 10th grade and needs to be getting ready for university. But clearly what we did with mechanics was a bust.  So we laid out another 10 week plan.  4 weeks for exploration - anything you want to study on waves (our next physics topic). We got curved mirrors, lenses, lasers, water in the bathtub, etc. He played, he explored.  He watched you-tube videos.  Then the next 6 weeks, he would follow his own path to get through set content. He had a 6-page summary/notes page, and he would dig deeper into each topic by more exploration, more you tube, but this time also in-context real-life problems, not just drill. He would tick off topics as he mastered them, but the goal was mastery NOT just doing the 'work.' And only he could decide if he had truly mastered a topic. This approach was a mixture of self-directed exploration but with a goal of set content. And at the end of 10 weeks, he had covered about 1/2 of the content he had covered in the 10-week mechanics unit, but this time he actually knew it.  And now 5 months later, he still knows it in a deep and meaningful way, but mechanics is completely gone.  

For me, these two examples represent the difference between rigorous busywork and deep learning.  In mechanics, the goal was to get through the content efficiently and in a teacher top-down way with the goal of being about to take the national exam at the end. If it wasn't on the exam, we weren't studying it; and if it was on the exam, he needed to be able to do at the end of 10 weeks even if it made no sense, because I had budgeted 10 weeks because that was how much time I felt we could spend on this one topic. Rigorous sure, but busywork because he was just going through the motions to please me and the test. This led to disengagement, frustration, and at times anger. 

How had I lost my way?  And so quickly?  I think it is because we are brainwashed to see information as being *taught* rather than *learned*.  We don't trust the student because they don't know what they don't know, and because exploration-style learning covers LESS content in the same period of time, so it is inefficient. But it is only inefficient from a teaching point of view -- how much can I cover? It is not inefficient from a student point of view - how much I have learned? I am OK with getting through half the content of a schooly education, if the half that my boy knows is deeply understood and able to be applied to new contexts in creative ways.  

So lesson learned. Keep to our long standing path of *learning* not *schooling*.

Ruth in NZ

 

 

 

 

Edited by lewelma
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23 hours ago, annegables said:

A masochistic pissing contest.

Haha! Fwiw, I think you *could* make an argument in favor of some busywork, but I agree eventually it becomes this natural selection contest, where only a certain type of student survives.

Done to a certain degree, the work can promote skills of independence like:

-persistence

-problem solving

-executive function (breaking into tasks, scheduling, making a plan, etc.)

and so on.

But yes, done to the farther degree, it shows who can handle that. My dc *can't*. Neither can. And what I've found is a really extreme toward why bother with any busywork misses the *goals* behind the busywork. 

And probably for a percentage of kids, it really won't matter how much you trim down. For others, really careful stepping up of the load helps build stamina and skill. It's really specific to the dc how much that needs to be.

I agree, the burnout level work kids are having in high school isn't healthy. I talk with ps parents whose kids are doing so much math by 10th that they NEVER WANT TO SEE MATH AGAIN. Clearly that's a fail, even if the kid did pass a BC calc exam. But I look at my dd and I don't know whether I could have done more. College is very fatiguing to her, and they've had to ramp up the load. You could say I didn't do enough, but reality is getting the load out is just *hard* for her. So in her case, too much would have discouraged her, making her thinking she didn't have the ability. 

I like to think of the world as needing all kinds of people and that we're wise to educate to our child, not to a theory.

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We have people here who've sent multiple, multiple kids to Harvard, and they'll talk about how very streamlined their work is, how the kids have time for contests and projects and other things...

If you're new, your tip of the day is to learn how to google site search. You go to your google browser bar and type in the terms plus site:welltrained.com  So for instance, when you're really bored on a Friday night (or Sunday), you might google site search and see everything Muttichen ever shared about literature or math or history. Something like "muttichen history site:welltrainedmind.com" and you get results like this muttichen history site:welltrainedmind.com

Do it for anyone you want. Well not me, I'm crazy, haha. But yeah, google site searches are a great way to see how ideas and methods worked out for people over time. Then you stand on their shoulders. :smile:

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42 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

but I agree eventually it becomes this natural selection contest, where only a certain type of student survives.

I think you are right. I also think in addition to a student's learning style, drive, and EF skills, it has to do with speed of intellectual maturity. Some kids take longer to mature. They may end up with a learning style that matches university, and drive and great EF skills they would allow them to succeed, but they might just develop these things later than 'allowed' in our current system. 

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

We have people here who've sent multiple, multiple kids to Harvard, and they'll talk about how very streamlined their work is, how the kids have time for contests and projects and other things...

If you're new, your tip of the day is to learn how to google site search. You go to your google browser bar and type in the terms plus site:welltrained.com  So for instance, when you're really bored on a Friday night (or Sunday), you might google site search and see everything Muttichen ever shared about literature or math or history. Something like "muttichen history site:welltrainedmind.com" and you get results like this muttichen history site:welltrainedmind.com

Do it for anyone you want. Well not me, I'm crazy, haha. But yeah, google site searches are a great way to see how ideas and methods worked out for people over time. Then you stand on their shoulders. :smile:

Thank you for this! The search function here is challenging, and I know there is so much wisdom to be gleaned from old threads. And I dont think you are crazy😁.

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2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

We have people here who've sent multiple, multiple kids to Harvard, and they'll talk about how very streamlined their work is, how the kids have time for contests and projects and other things...

If you're new, your tip of the day is to learn how to google site search. You go to your google browser bar and type in the terms plus site:welltrained.com  So for instance, when you're really bored on a Friday night (or Sunday), you might google site search and see everything Muttichen ever shared about literature or math or history. Something like "muttichen history site:welltrainedmind.com" and you get results like this muttichen history site:welltrainedmind.com

Do it for anyone you want. Well not me, I'm crazy, haha. But yeah, google site searches are a great way to see how ideas and methods worked out for people over time. Then you stand on their shoulders. :smile:

I put my name in and wow that was a trip down memory lane! Thanks!

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5 hours ago, lewelma said:

I think you are right. I also think in addition to a student's learning style, drive, and EF skills, it has to do with speed of intellectual maturity. Some kids take longer to mature. They may end up with a learning style that matches university, and drive and great EF skills they would allow them to succeed, but they might just develop these things later than 'allowed' in our current system. 

Yes there's definitely that element. My dd is blooming a bit later and even admits it. However really her processing speed and language dropping when she's fatigued are both major disabilities in a college setting. It means she has a horrible time getting papers out and CANNOT produce at the rate they expect. And yet, when employers get her, they like her!!! She brings a lot to the table and is quite bright and creative. But she's not going to be the fastest or the one with the most endurance. 

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I think we also make a god of writing (ducking tomatoes now). The kind of writing matters--and most people aren't going to write literary essays past college. We act like everyone is going to be an English major or an attorney.

Writing does not equal communication skills either. They are not completely synonymous. I've read a lot of stuff that had the right elements in it, and it's still pointless outside of an English class.

We need more ways to help students with communication issues opt out of the writing rat race and do more useful writing while building the EF needed to handle larger writing projects that someone who has good nonverbal thinking might need to do. Engineering reports and a literary thesis--not the same thing. A business plan and a literary essay--not the same thing. A status report for your boss and a literary essay--not the same thing. A scope of work assessment/action plan and a literary essay--not the same thing. SOAP notes or a review of body systems in healthcare and a literary essay--not the same thing.

We push people into the same kinds of communication and composition classes at the college freshmen level. All thinking about thinking, and not thinking about writing as a problem solving medium or a way to communicate complicated information. 

I was a tech writer--I know I am biased in that regard, but I have yet to find a use, personally, for literary essays, personal essays, etc. Once in a while a persuasive essay, but most of the time I've needed to be persuasive, it's been on the job, and it's been about factual things, not something historical or cultural.

There are a lot of really smart people who can write a literary essay but not communicate something useful in a powerpoint, lol!!! 

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NZ education is writing focused.  But although you must do writing assessments to earn your diploma and gain university entrance, they do not have to be in English.  There is a massive list of what counts for your required writing credits - specific assessments in: Biology, Geography, Classics, Chemistry, etc. The list is huge. Take a look:

https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/assets/qualifications-and-standards/Awards/University-Entrance/2019/UE-lit-list-from-1-April-2019-FINAL-v2.pdf

My younger boy will do NO literary analysis AT ALL.  He is a deep thinker about books and poetry, and does not need writing to document this.  I also think he would hate literary analysis specifically because he is so deep with his reading of texts. 

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4 hours ago, kbutton said:

I think we also make a god of writing (ducking tomatoes now). The kind of writing matters--and most people aren't going to write literary essays past college. We act like everyone is going to be an English major or an attorney.

Writing does not equal communication skills either. They are not completely synonymous. I've read a lot of stuff that had the right elements in it, and it's still pointless outside of an English class.

I agree with this. I find fascinating from reading these boards and reading lots of well thought out writing, how much some adults practice and enjoy writing. There are people on these boards who do more useful writing for free and for fun than they probably did in college. Or at a job. They easily push out several thousand words on a somewhat obscure topic. 

I would love it if my kids grow up to be as articulate in their field/hobby as some of the posters here. I want my kids to be able to have deep and satisfying conversations about interesting books. I did a lot of writing in high school; the writing taught did not transfer into skills I actually use now. 

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On 12/5/2019 at 7:03 PM, kbutton said:

I think we also make a god of writing (ducking tomatoes now). The kind of writing matters--and most people aren't going to write literary essays past college. We act like everyone is going to be an English major or an attorney.

Writing does not equal communication skills either. They are not completely synonymous. I've read a lot of stuff that had the right elements in it, and it's still pointless outside of an English class.

We need more ways to help students with communication issues opt out of the writing rat race and do more useful writing while building the EF needed to handle larger writing projects that someone who has good nonverbal thinking might need to do. Engineering reports and a literary thesis--not the same thing. A business plan and a literary essay--not the same thing. A status report for your boss and a literary essay--not the same thing. A scope of work assessment/action plan and a literary essay--not the same thing. SOAP notes or a review of body systems in healthcare and a literary essay--not the same thing.

We push people into the same kinds of communication and composition classes at the college freshmen level. All thinking about thinking, and not thinking about writing as a problem solving medium or a way to communicate complicated information. 

I was a tech writer--I know I am biased in that regard, but I have yet to find a use, personally, for literary essays, personal essays, etc. Once in a while a persuasive essay, but most of the time I've needed to be persuasive, it's been on the job, and it's been about factual things, not something historical or cultural.

There are a lot of really smart people who can write a literary essay but not communicate something useful in a powerpoint, lol!!! 

 

But isn't this because that kind of writing, and the thinking that goes with it, is integral to the nature of university education?  It's probably the #1 thing that a university education is meant to develop.

 

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35 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

But isn't this because that kind of writing, and the thinking that goes with it, is integral to the nature of university education?  It's probably the #1 thing that a university education is meant to develop.

Maybe. Shrug. I am not all that invested in that argument, honestly. I was not part of the cerebral crowd at college. I think there are lots of ways to apply one's intellect that don't involve a lot of language and meta analysis via writing. I am also not sure that meta analysis via writing translates/generalizes to all fields of study and thought equally. 

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