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Author Topic: Education and the modern generation  (Read 4949 times)

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Offline Trieste

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #150 on: May 24, 2013, 05:08:01 PM »
My grade 11 history teacher had an odd format: He'd give us a subject, presenting two sides to it, and spend about a week on typical classroom lecturing/assignments. Another week was basically open-ended research. At the end of week two, we would be expected to pick a side and debate it formally.

I still think this is the best way I've ever seen of engaging students with history and making them understand the how-and-why aspects.

I had to do that in history, and then in college I had a polisci instructor that didn't let us pick sides - he had a series of issues where students were to argue pro and con (things like censorship, sex education, etc) and he assigned students to them. Whether you agreed with the side or not, you had to argue what you were assigned - and when it came time for the debate/presentations, he was much harsher in his questions and critiques on the sides that students traditionally agree with... Although he still threw some pretty tough questions at those who were arguing sides that are traditionally less popular with students.

So even if you agreed with the side you had been assigned, you were expected to defend the crap out of your position. I was assigned to argue the pro side for censorship - it was extremely interesting.

Offline Healergirl

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #151 on: May 24, 2013, 05:11:56 PM »
trieste,

Arguing the Devil's Advocate role is a mind expanding experience.  You may well see more value in the position you opposed.  And at the very least, you will gain insight into the weaknesses of that position.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #152 on: May 24, 2013, 05:13:50 PM »
Healer Girl,

Hence why my biggest complaint with society, at any time, in any generation, at any point, is whatever given movement, demographic, or faction is currently engaged in disparaging, discrediting, and inciting people against intellectuals and intellectualism. There's always someone doing it, and at the risk of generalizing about the ignorant plebeian masses of the mob (too late) it's rarely the other intellectuals.

I've sort of come to embrace elitism, as it were . . .

Offline Healergirl

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #153 on: May 24, 2013, 05:19:25 PM »
I believe Heinlein said something to the effect that the people who actually solve problems are the enemies of Right(as in culturally proper)-Thinking people everywhere and always have been.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #154 on: May 24, 2013, 05:21:20 PM »
There's always someone doing it, and at the risk of generalizing about the ignorant plebeian masses of the mob (too late) it's rarely the other intellectuals.

Often it's also people who wanted recognition from the intellectual establishment that they didn't get. Goebbels was a failed novelist and playwright, for example; or for a less Godwin-esque instance, Nixon's crew back in the Sixties and early Seventies, in a lot of ways the co-founders with Barry Goldwater of modern conservatism, was chock-full of frustrated conservative intellectuals who felt angrily out of step with the times. (Not least among them Kissinger and Nixon himself.)

Offline Neysha

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #155 on: May 24, 2013, 05:24:18 PM »
Not sure how schooling works in y'all's respective countries, but well, what should be covered in... for example... A Secondary/High School History class? Keeping in mind... you have maybe 120 hours to cover it. (roughly estimating four months, or 16 five day weeks worth of classroom time, at 1.5 hours/90 minutes a class)

I don't know - it's pretty hard for me to imagine not knowing that particular date (start of WW2). But it may be a cultural thing - I'd risk saying that WW2 was more traumatic event for us Poles, than for Americans. So "September 1st, 1939" is one of these dates you learn as a child...

You mean December 7th, 1941. You missed it by like two years.  ::)

KIDDING!

*runs away*

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #156 on: May 24, 2013, 05:34:20 PM »
Not sure how schooling works in y'all's respective countries, but well, what should be covered in... for example... A Secondary/High School History class? Keeping in mind... you have maybe 120 hours to cover it. (roughly estimating four months, or 16 five day weeks worth of classroom time, at 1.5 hours/90 minutes a class)


Neysha makes a good point, because of course the answer to what should be covered is, well, everything.

Personally, I'm inclined to say that you should try and break it up over the four years. Something like

Pre-history/Ancient History; Late classical to the dark ages; Medieval to Renaissance; Then early Industrial to Modern.

Of course, what you really ought to do is break that down further so you can examine politics, scientific development, and art in every era. So say, that's three classes. THen you take three more STEM and  . . . Fuck, why aren't their more hours in a day XD

Offline Healergirl

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #157 on: May 24, 2013, 06:00:42 PM »
Neysha,

*snerk*

Many Asian commentators hae observed that from Japanese textbooks, one gets the idea that the War in the Pacific started with Hiroshima and ended with Nagasaki.

Offline Neysha

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #158 on: May 24, 2013, 06:17:00 PM »
Neysha,

*snerk*

Many Asian commentators hae observed that from Japanese textbooks, one gets the idea that the War in the Pacific started with Hiroshima and ended with Nagasaki.

Hey now... at least some of them have made horribly insensitive and mind numbing attempts at expressing sympathy... for their actions during WW2.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #159 on: May 24, 2013, 06:19:32 PM »
Here's something that would possibly add to our educators' ability to fit more into the day, but I guaran-damn-tee it that it's going to upset some people.

Our teachers should not be teaching our kids how to act like civilized people. 

Maybe K and pre-K should do some, but things like teaching kids to be polite, to respect others, to make responsible choices, to stay safe - these are things that parents should be teaching their kids before they even reach public schools.  There are hours lost because kids don't even grasp the concept of listening to the teacher, or not throwing pencils at other students, or staying in a group on field trips, or even simply lining up for class dismissal or heading to lunch.  And this is based on what I've seen with the 'Honors' classes around here.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #160 on: May 24, 2013, 06:53:57 PM »
Here's something that would possibly add to our educators' ability to fit more into the day, but I guaran-damn-tee it that it's going to upset some people.

Our teachers should not be teaching our kids how to act like civilized people. 

Maybe K and pre-K should do some, but things like teaching kids to be polite, to respect others, to make responsible choices, to stay safe - these are things that parents should be teaching their kids before they even reach public schools.  There are hours lost because kids don't even grasp the concept of listening to the teacher, or not throwing pencils at other students, or staying in a group on field trips, or even simply lining up for class dismissal or heading to lunch.  And this is based on what I've seen with the 'Honors' classes around here.

This gets back to the point though that there's no real system or method in place for ensuring people are good parents. In the words of an age old comedian "You have to get a license to own a dog, but any asshole can make a kid."

Offline Caela

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #161 on: May 24, 2013, 07:42:17 PM »
Here's something that would possibly add to our educators' ability to fit more into the day, but I guaran-damn-tee it that it's going to upset some people.

Our teachers should not be teaching our kids how to act like civilized people. 

Maybe K and pre-K should do some, but things like teaching kids to be polite, to respect others, to make responsible choices, to stay safe - these are things that parents should be teaching their kids before they even reach public schools.  There are hours lost because kids don't even grasp the concept of listening to the teacher, or not throwing pencils at other students, or staying in a group on field trips, or even simply lining up for class dismissal or heading to lunch.  And this is based on what I've seen with the 'Honors' classes around here.

+1, totally agree Oniya!!!

This is also not helped by the fact that teachers have, in many ways, been hamstrung when it comes to controlling their classrooms. After all, you can't actually punish the poor darlings! You might hurt their itty bitty feelings!

I fully intend for my daughter's teachers (she'll be starting K this fall) to know that if she acts up, they have my full support in disciplining her in whatever fashion they deem appropriate (sentences, stick her in a corner, no recess, whatever) and that I should be informed when I pick her up so that follow-up can be done at home.

Offline Branwen

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #162 on: May 24, 2013, 07:46:37 PM »
I fully intend for my daughter's teachers (she'll be starting K this fall) to know that if she acts up, they have my full support in disciplining her in whatever fashion they deem appropriate (sentences, stick her in a corner, no recess, whatever) and that I should be informed when I pick her up so that follow-up can be done at home.
I always love and appreciate when parents like you do this, but just be aware that we teachers are still bound by the rules of our administration, handbooks and school boards.  We can't just willy nilly discipline them in the same manner you do, even with your consent. 

Usually, that's not an issue because parents like you don't have kids who lack in how they behave.  It's like it's reinforced at home or something.  :)

My worst kids, even worse than the ones with more or less absent parents, are the ones who tell me "My mom/dad is my best friend."  Oh, hecks no. 

Offline Caela

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #163 on: May 24, 2013, 08:00:50 PM »
I always love and appreciate when parents like you do this, but just be aware that we teachers are still bound by the rules of our administration, handbooks and school boards.  We can't just willy nilly discipline them in the same manner you do, even with your consent. 

Usually, that's not an issue because parents like you don't have kids who lack in how they behave.  It's like it's reinforced at home or something.  :)

My worst kids, even worse than the ones with more or less absent parents, are the ones who tell me "My mom/dad is my best friend."  Oh, hecks no.

I totally get that you guys have guidelines you have to follow, that's part of why I want to know when she acts up though...I'm not bound by those guidelines and can ground her, take away toys/privileges, make her write sentences of my own at home, etc. One of the things my current daycare provider as said she likes about me is that she knows I'll follow up when she lets me know the mini has been acting up and I never act like my child's poor behavior is somehow her fault.

The mini might actually tell you I'm her best friend, but she also knows that I am both a friend and a Mom and if she misbehaves, the Mom will discipline her appropriately! She told me once, in a fit of pique, "You're not my friend!" and looked shocked as all hell when I just laughed at her! Five minutes later she came out of her room, hugged me apologized for acting like a brat and informed me that I was still her friend and she was also sorry for yelling at me. :) You can be a friend and a parent, you just can't let the friend part trump the parent part.

Oh, and is it bad that I am actually looking forward to her learning to read and write better (she can write a bit already, but her letters are very much those of a 4 year old) so that I have a reason to buy a set of encyclopedias? "Oh look, you can't listen when your teacher tells you to calm down, copy out these fie pages for me...word for word...and if you missed any when I check it, you'll write three more."

Offline Branwen

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #164 on: May 24, 2013, 08:08:02 PM »
I'm sorry, I should have offered some background.  I teach kids ranging from 14-18, so by that time if Mom/Dad is their best friend instead of their parent, things are out of control.  It's totes fine - and super adorable - that your little thinks of you as her friend because that's a huge relationship in her mind and a big compliment to you.  Both of my kids have tried the same 'I'm not your friend' bit and I reacted almost identically to you.  Students try it to from time to time.  I'm like "Oh no.  I've made a teenager mad and depressed.  Whatever will I do?" very dramatically then just move on.

Those of you speaking to curriculum, do you know where your school's curriculum comes from and how much of it is dictated at the state or national level and how much is open to teacher design?  In Texas, The United States of America, my curriculum guidelines are laid out by the state and I must follow them.  At a district level myself and other teachers write a scope and sequence and then how to deliver the curriculum through the scope and sequence is left as the craft of the individual teacher.  So while you may say "I want to see more X in biology and no Y" it's not up to me, it's decided by the state.

I can, do, vote to put people in power who value education but in Texas that's, erm, problematic because we're such a deeply conservative state.  I did serve on the state board for textbook approvals a few years back and was a very minority voice when it came to keeping intelligent design nonsense out of books and solid evolutionary theory in it.  None of this 'teach the controversy' crap.  I took a major browbeating from people around me for that with only a few supporters but we kept it out.

Offline Caela

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #165 on: May 24, 2013, 08:30:46 PM »
Ahhhh, yeah, I fully expect her to be in the throws of disliking me by the time she's a teen! lol I'm hoping she'll still know that she can talk to me if she needs to, and I know we'll have what I hope won't be entirely uncomfortable discussions, but I won't be her best friend anymore at that age. :D

Oh and I must say, thank goodness for rational minded people on those text book discussions!!! I don't want some of that crap filtering through to my own child, but if it does...well I can always add essays and research projects to her summers off if needed.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #166 on: May 24, 2013, 08:53:33 PM »
When I've complained about curriculum it's because, from what I saw in the text books, the little Oni was ready for 7th grade math this year.  In her previous school, the math teacher encouraged them to work at their own paces, and even though she coasted, she was still up to dealing with expressions using variables.  One of her former classmates (back in Ohio) is 'coasting' a bit this year - and taking 9th grade math as a 6th grader.  This kid was their 'go-to' for math questions at Academic Challenge.  We spent almost all year getting the 'oh, we'll have her evaluated...' line before they finally told us that they had never gotten her gifted assessment from Ohio and that we were supposed to have requested it in writing.

Offline Branwen

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #167 on: May 24, 2013, 09:37:31 PM »
When I've complained about curriculum it's because, from what I saw in the text books, the little Oni was ready for 7th grade math this year.

That's a wonderful point, Oniya, for several reasons.  As you say, based on the curriculum presented in the book, the little Oni was far in advance of the curriculum as published in the textbook.

For years two states, Texas and California, drove the textbook industry.  They were the largest purchasers of textbooks and publishers catered to each states' standard, largely building the book around them.  When a district in say, Kentucky, bought a book they'd get a modified (or not) Texas or California edition.  This often mean that the curriculum teachers and parents saw were based on Texas or California standards and not at all related to your state's standards or, indeed, may not have been age appropriate.  Both Texas and California service an extremely large percentage of students who are in poverty and ESL.

This is beginning to change as most states have adopted the Common Core curriculum.  Publishers have basically abandoned Texas and are now working to create texts that work for the majority of the other states.

So what I believe may have happened is you and Little Oni got a textbook that was far too low in level for her for these reasons and because she's scandalously smart like you.  :)

Offline Trieste

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Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #168 on: May 24, 2013, 09:41:02 PM »
It's not necessarily a new thing. They wanted to skip me at least one grade in elementary school at one point, but my mother told them not to do it because she was worried about the social damage of putting me in with much larger, older kids. (Which ... a year or two would have been.) A couple other kids in my school were skipped, here and there. I think that's the general solution for most schools. Kid is bored = skip grades (and chunks of their educations).

Offline Branwen

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #169 on: May 24, 2013, 09:44:09 PM »
It's not necessarily a new thing. They wanted to skip me at least one grade in elementary school at one point, but my mother told them not to do it because she was worried about the social damage of putting me in with much larger, older kids. (Which ... a year or two would have been.) A couple other kids in my school were skipped, here and there. I think that's the general solution for most schools. Kid is bored = skip grades (and chunks of their educations).
It ignores the social development of the child as well.  A good GT program should address this, but when testing and accountability  ::) drive things, you ignore the GT kids because they'll do fine without you.  You also ignore the hopeless kids because you can work and work with them and not get them above standard.  Average kids - here do these drill 'n kill worksheets. 

But bubble kids, those of you right on the razor's edge of passing or failing?  Hang on because you're going to be worked six ways to Sunday.

Offline Caela

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #170 on: May 24, 2013, 09:52:49 PM »
It ignores the social development of the child as well.  A good GT program should address this, but when testing and accountability  ::) drive things, you ignore the GT kids because they'll do fine without you.  You also ignore the hopeless kids because you can work and work with them and not get them above standard.  Average kids - here do these drill 'n kill worksheets. 

But bubble kids, those of you right on the razor's edge of passing or failing?  Hang on because you're going to be worked six ways to Sunday.

I hate that attitude! I know that there is little that can be done about it, but I wish there were a way to gear classes more toward these groups of students. Put the GT kids in a class that will challenge them, the average kids in a class that might bring them up as well, and the problem kids in a class that might have a chance of motivating them to do better, instead of making them compare themselves to other kids and giving up on themselves.

Oh, and to explain my position better...I was one of those kids that was bored out of their minds and my grades totally suffered for it...so did my relations with the other kids in my class because I just couldn't understand why we were still on a subject that I understood the first time the teacher explained it!
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 09:54:06 PM by Caela »

Offline Branwen

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #171 on: May 24, 2013, 09:59:08 PM »
I hate that attitude! I know that there is little that can be done about it, but I wish there were a way to gear classes more toward these groups of students. Put the GT kids in a class that will challenge them, the average kids in a class that might bring them up as well, and the problem kids in a class that might have a chance of motivating them to do better, instead of making them compare themselves to other kids and giving up on themselves.
I concur.  So do most teachers.

The problem is that's called 'tracking' and has been found to be Bad and Mean.

Offline Caela

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #172 on: May 24, 2013, 10:07:52 PM »
I concur.  So do most teachers.

The problem is that's called 'tracking' and has been found to be Bad and Mean.

I say a big, fat, PFFFFFFFFFFFFT!!!! to that! I fail to see how it is Bad and Mean to teach children to the level they are at. And I don't just mean a grade level. I think it would be interesting to actually see how children did in a setting where they weren't assigned an arbitrary grade (with the exception of K as a starting point) but were assigned to classes based on their actual ability. You'd end up with some classes with differing ages but kids are good at adapting and you wouldn't have just one kid who got skipped a grade, but a group of kids of varying ages who are all at the same level and learning at the same speed.

For myself, in this type of environment, I'd have been with much older kids for reading/literature/grammar/english and with students my own age, maybe some younger in something like Mathematics. It would have challenged me, avoided the massive bouts of boredom that drove my teachers crazy too (I can't tell you how many times I got into trouble for bringing my own books to read in class, ANY class, and just ignored my teachers going over the same thing for the fifth time) and made my educational experience a much more positive one because it would have worked to my strengths and improved on my weaknesses.

Offline Branwen

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #173 on: May 24, 2013, 10:12:26 PM »
If the teacher had time, resources and authority they could ability group to accomplish that goal.  Unfortunately time and authority are always in short supply in a teacher's supply cubbie.

Tracking is also expensive and requires more teachers.  Shoving kids willy nilly into a one size fits all classroom is cheaper.  Education requires money, mainly from property taxes, and people vote against raising them regularly. 

Offline Caela

Re: Education and the modern generation
« Reply #174 on: May 24, 2013, 10:20:11 PM »
If the teacher had time, resources and authority they could ability group to accomplish that goal.  Unfortunately time and authority are always in short supply in a teacher's supply cubbie.

Tracking is also expensive and requires more teachers.  Shoving kids willy nilly into a one size fits all classroom is cheaper.  Education requires money, mainly from property taxes, and people vote against raising them regularly.

It would also require a bit more specialization, especially at the elementary level, because it would be set up more like a HS, with kids going from one class to another. Not one teacher having to split her classroom, but kids almost starting with a "schedule" like they have in Middle and HS.

As for needing more teachers and money...even if we don't change how we teach one iota, we need those. Call me silly, but it irks the hell out of me that the federal government will spend billions on foreign aid (particularly to dictatorships or countries known to be hostile toward us), specious research projects, ridiculous pork barrel projects etc; instead of spending that money on something useful...like improving our schools, paying our teachers a decent wage, and ensuring that our children can do things like read/write/and balance a checkbook!

Going to stop before that turns into a rant.