Monday, January 4, 2016

Favorite comments of '15: Regular Visitor

On Social-emotional studies

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.
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