Monday, December 30, 2013

Favorite comments of '13, cont: Auntie Ann and Anonymouses

On Does emotional processing in the classroom really lower anxiety and make us more successful?

Auntie Ann said...
What's rather shocking to me is in that in these scenarios it's the teacher who is bullying, forcing the kids to do things and talk about things that they don't want to, or are embarrassing, or will invite the ridicule of bullies when the teacher's back is turned, etc.

It's one thing to talk through fictitious scenarios--I see no reason why the teacher couldn't have used a made-up situation for this lesson--and it is quite another to force children, who don't have the rational mentality to know what to share and what to not share, and who easily are intimidated by adults, to divulge their own personal and private lives in front of all of their peers.

I find these snippets rather horrifying.
And another thing: how many social-emotional problems can be alleviated with nothing more than an hour of recess and free play every day.

Instead of looking for analytical and adult-based answers, maybe we should just let kids have more time to play.
Anonymous said...
Classroom teachers need to know how to prevent bullying (but not with discussion circles, please) and they need to be able to listen well if students need that -- up to and including asking students who seem troubled if there is anything they want to talk about, AFTER class. But there are very few teachers whom I would trust with the kind of dynamic you're describing for Ruler, and it's an imposition on kids who are emotionally stable to waste their time on this sort of activity. 
Anonymous said...
Play would teach any number of social and emotional skills, but the teacher wouldn't get to be involved at all. 
Anonymous said...
Play teaches lots of good social and emotional skills - if adults stay out of it and let kids sort things out on their own. Most adults today - both parents and school personnel - won't let this happen. Today's play is supervised and directed by adults. 


Anonymous said...

The Times article seemed to follow a pattern in education reporting where the reporter seems to accept all claims by "researchers" as valid. Education reporting seems to have just slightly more depth then the Real Estate section or the Food section. Statements such as:

"It may also make children smarter. Davidson notes that because social-emotional training develops the prefrontal cortex, it can also enhance academically important skills like impulse control, abstract reasoning, long-term planning and working memory. Though it’s not clear how significant this effect is, a 2011 meta-analysis found that K-12 students who received social-emotional instruction scored an average of 11 percentile points higher on standardized achievement tests. A similar study found a nearly 20 percent decrease in violent or delinquent behavior."

These statements are not questioned at all. Why not ask: Who conducted this study? How many people participated? What was the distribution of ages in the cohort? Was the study peer reviewed? Were any factors such as income controlled for? How did they define "violence"?

The whole article had a "gee whiz" feeling that seemed to have little skepticism of the basic premise.

Anonymous said...

The norms for educational research set the low bar for educational reporting.

"a 2011 meta-analysis found that K-12 students who received social-emotional instruction scored an average of 11 percentile points higher on standardized achievement tests."

In real research for real science they address these things called uncontrolled variables. For example, is the presence of "social-emotional instruction" in a school district tied to the available funding present at the district, and thus to real estate values and socio-economic status? Socio-economic status correlates with better than 11 points difference in standardized achievement tests, and more than 20 percent difference in violent or delinquent behavior.

There are no real experiments in education, just summaries, surmises, pencil-whipping, and wishful thinking.

You can't blame the reporters too much for not digging deeper, as the deeper you dig the more crap you find.

The most unfortunate facet of this phenomenon is that the mental midgets who do such fake research control our nation's educational agenda. This is one reason to work for decentralization: any random teacher has just as much chance of having a great program and an effective plan as the "experts."