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Old 09-26-2011, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,821 posts, read 39,387,870 times
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It's not so far off the original topic, in fact...

Serious dedication to athletic endeavors (as well as music performance and other creative endeavors, actually) requires, among other things, discipline, which is EXACTLY what this thread is about.

Syracusa, it's obvious that you feel that being able to function well within a team setting is an overrated skill, and have some amount of hostility that individual efforts and solitary achievement are undervalued in favor of being a team player. However, their are athletics that champion individual effort, and there are many non-athletic activities that also teach one how to work well collectively with others toward a goal. Obviously, both are needed in order to achieve the highest level of success possible...just because sports apparently represent everything you hold in contempt, it doesn't really follow that participation in them is worthless in terms of potential for learning.

Athletics weren't my thing, personally. But if they had been, they'd have assuredly represented opportunity for learning and growth, particularly in the area of self-discipline.
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:23 PM
 
11,614 posts, read 19,724,832 times
Reputation: 12046
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
Go figure. So the only way to achieve self-fulfillment in this country is to be on a sports team. Everyone else is doomed. Now...there is something to be said about self-fulfilling prophecies, so I wouldn't put it past this cultural environment.

Allow me to the liberty to remain skeptical about the depth and quality of the bonds and conversations that can develop in a large team environment.

Otherwise, I believe we severely deviated from the initial topic.
Well nobody said that everyone else is doomed (except for you). Not all teams are large. Some have fewer than 20 kids on them.
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:36 PM
 
11,614 posts, read 19,724,832 times
Reputation: 12046
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
That being said - team skills is hardly a good enough argument for me. If any college worth its salt around here will turn their nose up at my children's hopefully high academic performance simply because they show no signs of having built "good enough team skills", there are plenty of other colleges in the EU (where they have citizenship) who will be all too happy to take them without the bee-hive/team-based extra-curricular syndrome.
Well in the US (I can't speak for the EU) the problem your children will have is that there are kids out there like this:

3.9 unweighted GPA.
5.2 weighted GPA.
National Merit Scholarship Commended student.
33 ACT score.

AND
Captain of the football team.
Captain of the wrestling team.
4 year lacrosse player.
4 year competitive weightlifter.
Youth football coach (volunteer).
Summer job.
Member of school's mentor service for new students.
Member of 2 academic honor societies.
AP Scholar.

Kids like this exist. They apply to the most prestigious universities. It's not enough to JUST get good grades. Sports does not have to be the thing that kids do outside of school but if you truly see your kids as being among the elite they need to have other interests besides school.
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:38 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 52,393,704 times
Reputation: 10476
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
Go figure. So the only way to achieve self-fulfillment in this country is to be on a sports team. Everyone else is doomed. Now...there is something to be said about self-fulfilling prophecies, so I wouldn't put it past this cultural environment.

Allow me to the liberty to remain skeptical about the depth and quality of the bonds and conversations that can develop in a large team environment.

Otherwise, I believe we severely deviated from the initial topic.
It isn't just athletics, it could be kids involved in band, choir, theater, speech, debate, robotics, ANYTHING. Go talk to some college admissions people in your area and ask them what they want in a their students. We are not making this up just to make you angry, this IS how it is.

My kids are involved in band (marching and jazz) and play golf. They also volunteer at our church. They have leadership positions in all of these (section leaders, team captains). They are great students, but not 4.0's (3.75 and 3.8). They have been on campus visits for some pretty selective schools and have pretty much been told they are "ideal" candidates because they have varied interests and have been involved with these activities for many years, showing advancing leadership rolls in these activities as well as having great success.

Go to this website: College Search - Find colleges and universities by major, location, type, more.

Put in a quick search for any of the schools you would want your child to attend and click on the "admissions" tab. You will see in black and white what they are looking for in their students. Here is one from one of the schools our daughter is considering:

Admission Policies and Factors
Am I on track?
Am I on track to meet test requirements?

Admission requirements:
Essay(s) required
Required: SAT Reasoning Test or ACT
If submitting ACT, the writing section is optional
Very important admission factors:
Rigor of secondary school record
Academic GPA
Important admission factors:
Application Essay
Standardized Test Scores
Considered:
Character/Personal Qualities
Class Rank
Extracurricular Activities
Racial/Ethnic Status
Recommendations
Talent/Ability
Volunteer Work
First generation college student
Level of Applicant's Interest
A note about the college's admission requirements: School record, high school GPA, test scores, and application essay important. Class rank considered.

"

While you will find that they want good students, they would rather have a strong B student taking hard classes then an A student taking easy classes. If you move down the list you see everything we have been trying to tell you. This school requires, as part of the admission process, an activities resume even.


Here is the same information from Harvard:

Admission Policies and Factors
Am I on track?
Am I on track to meet test requirements?

Admission requirements:
Interview required
Essay(s) required
Required: SAT Reasoning Test or ACT
If submitting ACT, the writing section is required
Required: SAT Subject Tests
Considered:
Alumni Relation
Character/Personal Qualities
Application Essay
Extracurricular Activities
Geographical Residence
Interview
Racial/Ethnic Status
Recommendations
Rigor of secondary school record
Standardized Test Scores
Talent/Ability
Volunteer Work
Work Experience
Academic GPA
First generation college student

Yale:

Very important admission factors:
Character/Personal Qualities
Class Rank
Application Essay
Extracurricular Activities
Recommendations
Rigor of secondary school record
Standardized Test Scores
Talent/Ability
Academic GPA
Considered:
Alumni Relation
Geographical Residence
Interview
Racial/Ethnic Status
State Residency
Volunteer Work
Work Experience
First generation college student
A note about the college's admission requirements: Honors work at secondary level, standardized test scores, and high degree of accomplishment in one or more nonacademic areas important followed by diversity of interests, background and special talents
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:42 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 52,393,704 times
Reputation: 10476
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma_bear View Post
Well in the US (I can't speak for the EU) the problem your children will have is that there are kids out there like this:

3.9 unweighted GPA.
5.2 weighted GPA.
National Merit Scholarship Commended student.
33 ACT score.

AND
Captain of the football team.
Captain of the wrestling team.
4 year lacrosse player.
4 year competitive weightlifter.
Youth football coach (volunteer).
Summer job.
Member of school's mentor service for new students.
Member of 2 academic honor societies.
AP Scholar.

Kids like this exist. They apply to the most prestigious universities. It's not enough to JUST get good grades. Sports does not have to be the thing that kids do outside of school but if you truly see your kids as being among the elite they need to have other interests besides school.
Sounds like a boy that graduated last year from our high school:

3.8 GPA (they don't weight GPA's here so off a 4.0 scale)
AP Scholar
Football Captain-named one of the top players in the nation even
National Champ Weightlifter
Best on Site/All State in Choir
Best on Site/All State in Band
All State Track
volunteer at our church--amazing kid

Accepted at Brown, Yale, Harvard, Cornell, Notre Dame (among others)....

The 4.0 genius I talked about earlier didn't get accepted to ANY of these schools....
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:43 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
32,126 posts, read 39,212,961 times
Reputation: 40589
A tale of two of my students last year, both of whom I wrote recommendations for and who applied to the same MD state university:

Number 1
decent but not spectacular grades, no AP courses, SAT scores within the desired range at the school, no school or other activities like a job or volunteering, African American male. Not accepted.

Number 2
same grades, no AP classes, lower SAT scores but still within the range, Student Government, Drama, a couple clubs, Band/Choir, African American male. Accepted.

The first kid blamed me for his not being accepted since I didn't warn him about his lack of activities. He eventually was accepted at the local HBCU but, unfortunately is crashing already. Too many of his friends go to the very small campus and he's getting distracted just like in high school.

The second kid loves where he's at, in the marching band and trying out for a play.
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Old 09-26-2011, 04:05 PM
 
4,044 posts, read 5,947,709 times
Reputation: 3819
Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
Athletics weren't my thing, personally. But if they had been, they'd have assuredly represented opportunity for learning and growth, particularly in the area of self-discipline.
Whoever said that sports don't teach self-discipline?
Of course they do: in the area of sports!

But I am afraid this has little to do with discipline in the classroom - which was the OT. If that was the case, America's classrooms would be the most disciplined and easy to teach in the world as no country is as obsessed with athleticism as part of the institution of education as the US is.

All of the boys in my son's K classroom already have a full agenda of baseball games and other non-academic organized activities every week; and that is nowhere close to a truly disciplined classroom. When my kid has his hour of down time reading, those kids are already on the go to their baseball games. Needless to say he is way ahead in terms of reading level and comprehension; not because he is genetically smarter than everyone else but because he consistently does something much more academics-friendly than his classmates do, who just get homework fast "out of the way" so they can be on the go. It is as simple as that.
He does have one extra-curriculum activity, but that takes very little time comparatively speaking. We will add a second soon (in music) as he clearly shows talent in this area; but under no circumstances would I ever allow extra-curriculars to take too much time from academics. I would also never estimate a child to be academically top notch simply because he had "good enough" grades, was a captain of his team, volunteered and played cello.
As a school, I would look at grades, at standardized test scores, at general knowledge and I would also have an interview to see what comes out of their mouth and eyes.

Moreover, self-discipline in sports does not equate high academic performance.

You can give me examples of top grades combined with captain-ship all you wish, it still doesn't prove much - other than there are some kids who can somehow maintain very high grades DESPITE spending a lot of time on non-academic matters (those are very rare); and grades HARDLY equate being truly learned.

It also proves that in the US, colleges require these other frills in addition to academic-type intelligence. Nothing else.

I would be willing to bet a lot that any smart child who got into any of those prestigious American institutions on sports and frills will be outsmarted by his equivalent who gets into a similarly prestigious institution overseas only strictly on academics. It is largely an American phenomenon to evaluate a college application using many other areas having little to do with academics. This is partially because colleges overseas are rather universities with very clear specialization areas whereas American colleges are closer to what other countries do at the high school level. They teach some sort of general culture - something high-schools do elsewhere. Let alone the monetary interests associated with sports and volunteering.

I have been part of institutions of higher education both overseas and in the US - and I have clearly seen that the non-American model of higher ed links education with intelligence and intellectualism, as it has been traditionally done; not with other areas of life which certainly have their place but have little to do with academics.
The American model, including Harvard & co, is largely influenced by the business model.

Ultimately, I personally have no interest in whether my doctor was a former captain of a team, whether he volunteered so that he can make his CV look fatter on admission day, whether he can play cello or whether he is now a good golf player.
I want my doctor to be a top notch professional, not a good golf player. Ultimately, professions are not about being well-rounded, at least not that kind of "rounded"-ness that involves playing sports for fun.

Just a different perspective - as I am aware that by maintaining the above I am shaking many sacred premises that Americans automatically take for granted.
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Old 09-26-2011, 04:09 PM
 
4,044 posts, read 5,947,709 times
Reputation: 3819
Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
A tale of two of my students last year, both of whom I wrote recommendations for and who applied to the same MD state university:

Number 1
decent but not spectacular grades, no AP courses, SAT scores within the desired range at the school, no school or other activities like a job or volunteering, African American male. Not accepted.

Number 2
same grades, no AP classes, lower SAT scores but still within the range, Student Government, Drama, a couple clubs, Band/Choir, African American male. Accepted.

The first kid blamed me for his not being accepted since I didn't warn him about his lack of activities. He eventually was accepted at the local HBCU but, unfortunately is crashing already. Too many of his friends go to the very small campus and he's getting distracted just like in high school.

The second kid loves where he's at, in the marching band and trying out for a play.
See...this is what amazes me. It seems to me that colleges in the US are rather places for fun and entertainment than actual higher learning. Marching band, in a play, volunteering...OK, I got it. He got accepted.

But does anyone see anything wrong with having so much focus on such frills when college, heck k-12, really IS ABOUT academics and not EVERYTHING ELSE?
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Old 09-26-2011, 04:18 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
32,126 posts, read 39,212,961 times
Reputation: 40589
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
See...this is what amazes me. It seems to me that colleges in the US are rather places for fun and entertainment than actual higher learning. Marching band, in a play, volunteering...OK, I got it. He got accepted.

But does anyone see anything wrong with having so much focus on such frills when college, heck k-12, really IS ABOUT academics and not EVERYTHING ELSE?

Do you know why the smartest Japanese students come to the US for college and grad school? Precisely for the reasons you are upset with. To teach them to think outside the box, which isn't done in Japan. Same with the Chinese and the Saudis and name most other countries that send their best and brightest here.

One of the requirements when applying for a Rhodes Scholarship is participation in "manly" activities (sports). They might have re-worded that since women now receive them.

This argument, academics v. activities, has played out every generation for at least the last 100 years. If anything, colleges now place as much, if not more, emphasis on activities as they do academics. Which is an outgrowth of the move over the last 20 years in high schools to more group work and less individual achievement. Which came about because business was telling the education bureaucracy (not teachers, none of this **** comes from teachers) that we were turning out graduates who could not work as members of a team with a common goal. That, and group work allows the lower performing studenst to get higher grades because their inadequate work will be fixed by the higher achievers in the group.
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Old 09-26-2011, 04:37 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 52,393,704 times
Reputation: 10476
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
Whoever said that sports don't teach self-discipline?
Of course they do: in the area of sports!

But I am afraid this has little to do with discipline in the classroom - which was the OT. If that was the case, America's classrooms would be the most disciplined and easy to teach in the world as no country is as obsessed with athleticism as part of the institution of education as the US is.

All of the boys in my son's K classroom already have a full agenda of baseball games and other non-academic organized activities every week; and that is nowhere close to a truly disciplined classroom. When my kid has his hour of down time reading, those kids are already on the go to their baseball games. Needless to say he is way ahead in terms of reading level and comprehension; not because he is genetically smarter than everyone else but because he consistently does something much more academics-friendly than his classmates do, who just get homework fast "out of the way" so they can be on the go. It is as simple as that.
He does have one extra-curriculum activity, but that takes very little time comparatively speaking. We will add a second soon (in music) as he clearly shows talent in this area; but under no circumstances would I ever allow extra-curriculars to take too much time from academics. I would also never estimate a child to be academically top notch simply because he had "good enough" grades, was a captain of his team, volunteered and played cello.
As a school, I would look at grades, at standardized test scores, at general knowledge and I would also have an interview to see what comes out of their mouth and eyes.

Moreover, self-discipline in sports does not equate high academic performance.

You can give me examples of top grades combined with captain-ship all you wish, it still doesn't prove much - other than there are some kids who can somehow maintain very high grades DESPITE spending a lot of time on non-academic matters (those are very rare); and grades HARDLY equate being truly learned.

It also proves that in the US, colleges require these other frills in addition to academic-type intelligence. Nothing else.

I would be willing to bet a lot that any smart child who got into any of those prestigious American institutions on sports and frills will be outsmarted by his equivalent who gets into a similarly prestigious institution overseas only strictly on academics. It is largely an American phenomenon to evaluate a college application using many other areas having little to do with academics. This is partially because colleges overseas are rather universities with very clear specialization areas whereas American colleges are closer to what other countries do at the high school level. They teach some sort of general culture - something high-schools do elsewhere. Let alone the monetary interests associated with sports and volunteering.

I have been part of institutions of higher education both overseas and in the US - and I have clearly seen that the non-American model of higher ed links education with intelligence and intellectualism, as it has been traditionally done; not with other areas of life which certainly have their place but have little to do with academics.
The American model, including Harvard & co, is largely influenced by the business model.

Ultimately, I personally have no interest in whether my doctor was a former captain of a team, whether he volunteered so that he can make his CV look fatter on admission day, whether he can play cello or whether he is now a good golf player.
I want my doctor to be a top notch professional, not a good golf player. Ultimately, professions are not about being well-rounded, at least not that kind of "rounded"-ness that involves playing sports for fun.

Just a different perspective - as I am aware that by maintaining the above I am shaking many sacred premises that Americans automatically take for granted.
This is the part you don't get...it is NOT rare. We have 185 kids in our high school marching band, the AVERAGE GPA in the marching band is a 3.6 and these kids are in the AP/CIS/Honors courses in our school. These are the kids that are getting accepted to the top universities in the country, not for sport but for ACADEMICS.

As for the discipline issue, around here anyway, it is NOT an issue. Kids are well behaved for the most part. Sure, there is the rare kid here and there that will get into trouble but that happens EVERYWHERE. I would also like to know what your definition of no discipline is in the classroom. Do you REALLY think that it is good for kids to sit like robots in the classroom in their desks, reciting memorized passages to the teacher (which is what happens in a lot of other countries). Like others have said, there is a reason people from these countries with this 'wonderful' discipline come to the US for college/grad school.

I agree that there are some kids that are overscheduled but honestly, your child gets home from school at what 3:00, goes to bed around say 8:00, and all you let him do is READ?? Does he ever get to play?

We have twins that are juniors in high school-I already mentioned their activities but they also have 4 AP classes, 2 honors classes and band--it isn't like they are taking an easy course schedule. They manage to fit everything in with time to spare quite easily because they have learned great time management skills through the various activities they have been in. I am guessing you have never heard the staying that busy people get things done.
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