Friday, January 4, 2013

Favorite Comments of '12: Anonymous, Auntie Ann, and Niels Henrik Abel

On Processing Sandy

Anonymous said...

I've been in museums when school field trips were in progress and I haven't been impressed that the kids are getting much value from the experience. Most simply wander around aimlessly. Some have lists/questions and some have adult guides (chaperons, teachers or docents) but, even a science museums with interactive features, most kids seem to push/pull without any real thought. The exception has been homeschooling families/groups (I've asked the adults what kind of group they were), with advance preparation and specific objectives.

I think that classroom use of a good art DVD series, with appropriate classwork would be a better use of time, particularly for kids who are academically behind. For kids in cities, by 7th grade, they can and should be encouraged to visit local cultural/government/historical site on their own time - writing a report/answering questions on same could be extra credit.
Auntie Ann said...
This also ties in to the studies that show that effective teachers are effective in large part because they have their students spending more time actually on task than less-effective teachers. A fun classroom tends to be distracting, more-chaotic (let's make up a rap!--a recent option at our kids school,) and disjointed. Constantly churning the classroom to go to different stations, or to assemble and reassemble in small groups, or to have the day chopped up into short classroom bursts interspersed with short enrichment classes (not knocking art or science or gym, just the way the day is scheduled into 45 minute or shorter sessions,) leaves less time for tedium to build; less time for skills to build too.

Which then ties into the studies that show having ineffective teachers two years in a row is disastrous for kids, with literally a lifetime of consequences.

No drill-and-kill, because it's boring.

No long periods of concentration, because (come on!) the kids can't handle that; not when they're used to flashing lights, loud noises, and fast visuals. Asking them to actually focus, and working to develop their attention spans and concentration is just boring!

No chalk and talk, because some studies of high school science students show that they learn science better with hands-on experiments; therefore, it must also be true of all other skills, from basic phonics to art history. And besides, lectures are boring!

No corrections on homework and no revisions required, because the kids' tender feelings can't handle criticism and they have a panic attack at the sight of red pen marks on their papers. Besides, revisions are so boring!

Everything about school these days seems to be exactly structured to *not* teach or to *not* allow kids to actually learn anything.
Niels Henrik Abel said...
Regarding the teacher-as-therapist: How is it that they can get away with essentially practicing psychotherapy without a license? Seminars do not a therapist make. Besides, there's entirely too much emphasis on "feeling," and nowhere near enough on "thinking" - note how often people preface their opinions with "I feel..." rather than "I think..."

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