Friday, December 30, 2011

Deirdre Mundy, Laura, and momof4 on Differentiated instruction in the one room school house

http://oilf.blogspot.com/2011/09/differentiated-instruction-in-one-room.html

Deirdre Mundy said...

The other plus of the one-room school house was that grade-acceleration was easy and subject-based. If a first grader was a math whiz, he could just work on the third grade lesson and recite math with them, even if he needed to stay with his age mates for reading.

On the other hand, discipline was probably LESS of a problem since the majority of families who bothered to send their kids to school would punish them if they were disobeying the teacher......

I think the closest modern equivalent to the one room school house may be home schooling-- which is more possible now, since in Laura's day simply providing food and clothing for the household was a full time job for BOTH pioneer parents and their kids!

Also, the pioneer school day was shorter and had a long recess... but the school wasn't expected to provide social services, just education....

And (to be negative here) pioneer one-room schools weren't the norm--- in the East, there was enough population density to support larger schools and individual grades. (Compare Laura's experience in Minnesota to Betsy and Tacy's, only about 80 miles down the road and 20 years later! )

And pioneers were a self-selecting bunch, in terms of hard work and discipline-- school was more likely to be a treat than a punishment, whereas for the city kids the alternative to school wasn't working the farm, but wandering around buying candy and playing with the hordes of other kids.......

So I'm not sure we really could recapture the ideal...
Laura said...

I've done some work on my family history - and many of my relatives attended one room schoolhouses, or small schools. A couple were even school teachers. It is simply amazing to read their letters and diaries. Their level of knowledge, even if they only attended school to 6th grade or 8th grade, was more than our High School graduates today! (Not counting current events of course!).

My great-grandmother spoke only Swedish until she went to school, and only went until 8th grade. However, she could easily hold her own in any Community College today.

On the other hand, my daughter suffered through current educational practices for a few years, when she attended a local parochial school. It wasn't as bad as the local public schools, but they used a lot of group work, journaling and other constructivist methods.

So to answer your question - Yes, I would join you going back to the "Good, Ol' Days" of Schooling. In a heart-beat!

momof4 said...

My DH attended a Catholic ES where all the teachers were nuns and had been trained by their order. It sounds like the Normal Schools some of my ES teachers attended. In both cases, teacher preparation was both explicit and practical; no fuzzy theories, just math, phonics, grammar and the disciplines. Today, the teachers at Catholic schools have attended the same ed schools as the public teachers, so it's not surprising to see the same stuff in the parochial classrooms.

I also have relatives who had less than a HS education and who were far better-educated than today's HS grads (or better). I also had relatives who attended one-room schools until HS, and acceleration was common.

Deirdre; I loved the Betsy-Tacy books - haven't heard anyone else even mention them!

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