Friday, December 23, 2011

Barry Garelick, FMA, and JC on The Stereotype of Rote Learning in East Asian Classrooms:

(http://oilf.blogspot.com/2011/01/stereotype-of-rote-learning-in-east.html)

Barry Garelick said...

The argument posited by the Times and others is compelling for reform math apologists of all stripes and colors. By saying that the Chinese system is test oriented, then getting high marks on a test is evidence of lower order thinking, and that getting low marks on a test is evidence of higher order thinking. Sort of like the excuse I used to use when a beagle I had wouldn't obey any of my commands. I told people it was because she was so smart she knew exactly what the command was but she just was choosing not to follow it.

FMA said...

Saying that Asians are less creative or that tests like PISA aren't a good indicator of competence are self-comforting mechanisms. We see that they are ahead of us but we want to comfort ourselves by saying it doesn't mean anthing because (enter excuse here).
America really needs another Sputnik Moment. Obviously PISA results aren't waking us up to reality. Maybe China trouncing us on clean energy will wake us up. They're already ahead of us. Hopefully we will wake up before it's too late to catch up.
Bob Compton, producer of 2 Million Minutes and the upcoming film The Finland Phenomenon put it well:

"If your kid has graduated three years behind the rest of the world in every subject, how do they catch up? It’s very serious."

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=151583

JC said...

Why so much opposition to drilling in American education? Neuroscientists say that something has been learned when a connection for it has been created in the brain. Building these connections requires repetition (drilling). You simply can't learn without repetition. The brain simply doesn't build connections without it.

Creativity won't be much use to our students if they don't know anything. Knowledge and creativity have to go hand-in-hand to be useful.


FMA said...

"Why so much opposition to drilling in American education? Neuroscientists say that something has been learned when a connection for it has been created in the brain. Building these connections requires repetition (drilling)."

There is a big disconnect between how we actually learn and how too many educators think we should learn. It is a problem of ideology over evidence.

4 comments:

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

Practice is important, but there are better ways to practice than drill.

Obi-Wandreas, The Funky Viking said...

It should be noted that the difficulty of training beagles has nothing to do with their intelligence (they are smart) but everything to do with their stubbornness.

C T said...

Better ways to practice than drill? Please, what are they?!
I've been working on addition facts with dd7 for over a year now. I have tried SO many things (other than drilling) to help her learn them by heart. Although she's quite bright and has no difficulty memorizing random factoids about animals, she just wasn't memorizing the basic addition/subtraction facts, which has been slowing her down as we progress into multi-digit addition/subtraction (and soon multiplication). She understands new math concepts quickly, but her lack of automaticity with math facts means that math lessons requiring addition and subtraction have been painful and drawn-out.
I recently gave up on avoiding drill. Part of her daily math lesson now is a math fact drill sheet. It's for her own good and she knows it, so she doesn't resent the drills. I wish all the fun methods I used before had worked, but they didn't, and the drilling is working. I judge a system of teaching "better" if the child actually learns the taught thing (not just becomes acquainted with it) in a positive way--drilling seems better to me in this case.

Anonymous said...

"Practice is important, but there are better ways to practice than drill."

Practicing and drilling are the same thing. You do something over and over again until you can do it automatically. Drilling (practice) is crucial to learn many skills that students, dancers, musicians and sports stars need to have. There's no getting around it, whether we like it or not.