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.
- See more at: http://oilf.blogspot.com/2015/07/social-emotional-studies.html#sthash.MLhuzq2L.dpuf
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.