Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Social-emotional studies

From the U.S. history book American Vision, the text used in Philadelphia's public high schools:


C T said...

Seriously? Who ever asks themselves whether they would draw a flowchart in their journal?

Why so much navel-gazing? Who cares what high school students feel? It's history class, not a psych eval. History isn't important merely because of its subjective interesting-ness to teenagers.

Oh, Philadelphia, site of such a proud historical past! Yet they waste history class time on fake journal entries about imagined "adventures."

Auntie Ann said...

I'm beginning to think educators really would rather be psychologists.

Anonymous said...

It looks like they're looking for doubleplusungood crimethink.

Regular Visitor said...

We have been abroad for this past academic year and will be again this year and one of the things that has been a revelation is textbooks. Of course the system is entirely different than in the U.S. as textbooks are a cost borne by families and as such there is pressure to keep them priced affordably. As a consequence there are no full color throw in the kitchen sink heavy monstrosities. The textbook that my seventh grader used for history last year is much closer to a text that would be found in an American University. In fact not even for an introductory 101 type course, it was more akin to what you might see in a higher level course. It’s a focused text that detailed the history of the region with useful black and white maps and simple black and white photos of artifacts from museums. Homework questions required students to show they had read the chapters and could explain why events at the beginning of the chapter led to later events at the end. Leaving aside that the journal assignment seems useless for the study of history, the prose seems to be at third grade level. “Describe your feelings as you read a selection or look at a photograph. Are you angry, frustrated, or sad?” Perhaps just bored and underchallenged by the material. It seems sometimes that the textbook industry in the U.S. is seriously off the rails.

Katharine Beals said...

Regular Visitor, what country were you in last year? Were your kids in an international school or a regular one? Thanks so much for your perspective--I'm very interested in international comparisons of textbooks.

Auntie Ann said...

Books have gotten badly out of hand over the years. I kept wondering why the high school kid's books seem so much worse than when I was in high school. I remember heavy backpacks, but nothing like today.

Well...I have in 3 algebra textbooks:

- The New School Algebra, by G.A. Wentworth, published in 1898.

- Algebra: Structure and Method. by Dolciani, et al., published in 1990.

- Algebra 1, by Littell, published in 2007.

There's a photo of the three of them here

Their respective weights are: 1 pound, 3 pounds, and 5 pounds.

The 2007 book is larger in every way. The cover is at least an inch longer and wider than the 1990 one, and there are at least 200 more pages, and the weight of the paper is heavier and glossier. Each iteration gets about an inch longer and wider and adds a couple of pounds.

Last time I checked, algebra hasn't undergone any changes since 1898 or 1990.