And perhaps someday, we could even figure out a way to get children out of their seats...perhaps even out of the classroom, outside where they could release pent-up energy...and view something called "nature"...We could call this experiential learning aid "recess". Ah, but I am indulging in dreams today. ;)
After lengthy conversations with our school principal about the lack of adequate education for gifted students in math, she finally admitted that the math program is designed to be "egalitarian" and meet the math needs of the majority of kids who will go into liberal arts fields and will not need advanced problem solving abilities. She said that for the STEM oriented kids the school has purchased SmartLab, which is an elaborate series of computers with advanced graphics and movie making software and robotics equipment that cost around 300K, for kids to play with. Some bright shinny techie things instead of math education.
Apparently a lot of schools have been replacing actual lab science with computer simulations of lab experiments...in addition to the point that this approach doesn't work as well in terms of getting kids out of their seats and making the learning truly hands-on, it also kind of misses the whole point of science, which is that *you can always, at least in principle, see for yourself*...you don't have to trust an "authority."
And a black-box computer model is every bit as much an authority today as Aristotle's books were during the Middle Ages.
Katharine Beals, PhD, is the author of "Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right-Brain World: Strategies for Helping Bright, Quirky, Socially Awkward Children to Thrive at Home and at School" (Shambhala/Trumpeter)
Katharine is an educator and the mother of three left-brain children. She has taught math, computer science, social studies, expository writing, linguistics, and English as a second language to students of all ages, both in the U.S. and overseas. She is also the architect of the GrammarTrainer, a linguistic software program for language impaired children.
She is currently a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and an adjunct professor at the Drexel University School of Education.
This site uses left-brain and right-brainnot as physiological terms for the actual left and right hemispheres of the brain, but as they are employed in the everyday vernacular. They appear here in the same spirit in which people use type A and type B (themselves the relics of a debunked theory about blood type and character type): an informal shorthand for certain bundles of personality traits.