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Old 08-15-2013, 08:37 PM
 
173 posts, read 511,862 times
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Having gone through an early education in east Europe (1990s), I can speak of one certainty. The European system requires MORE memorization, standard recitation of facts, repetition, and copying of text from the blackboard. The critical thinking part comes much later in higher grades, where one participates in a class discussion, and is EXPECTED to. In my years, it was noted how often I participated, and how well I spoke and applied logic.

One major drawback in the US is the absence of healthy STRESS at school. I was serious about school for a number of reasons. One specific example follows. We were randomly called out to the front of the class, then upon being asked a few questions, we were to answer them in front of the whole class. Then we got a grade. It was often an F. The teachers did not offer hints. Either you knew the answers, or not. No dancing around the bush in those schools! We feared that moment so much, so we studied very diligently as not to be embarrassed in front of the whole class. We were also graded on the neatness of our notebooks, and were expected not to have any typos in them. First graders were to draw little mosaic designs of their liking on each page, separating each day's lecture from another. Starting in second grade, we each learned to use a fountain pen. What a mess it was, but we had to learn! Our overall behavior at school was graded with an "adjective". We all knew what everyone got. We all wanted to get the: "DISTINGUISHED". Little things -details, they mattered. They added up and taught us to be diligent, hard working, and repetitious until, ideally, perfection was achieved. Kids in the US, well, I don't blame them. I would be bored as well.

Teachers, please don't just analyze the curriculum and teach accordingly. There is more! Our little people, we must teach them as whole students! Teach them that it IS important how they sit at their desk, how often they raise their hand, how well they take care of their notebooks and folders. Make them copy everything from the blackboard into their little notebooks. Stop giving out worksheets! Copying makes them develop their writing, instill knowledge in their memory, it teaches patience and perserverance. It matters so much, especially in the very early years. Yes, we parents do that at home, but it makes all the difference if the teacher cares. Because then they will all care. And in later years, the diligence they learned will transfer towards other things. Please do not - JUST teach.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:04 PM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
14,120 posts, read 9,874,120 times
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Sounds great, but it might hurt someone's feelings, so it won't happen.
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:05 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
32,188 posts, read 39,456,532 times
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We were just told that memorization is out. No more dates, people, events and placing them where they belong.

WW II starting in 1939 (or 1941, depends on the class) is a no no. That WW II changed the world is all the kids need to know.
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Old 08-16-2013, 07:37 AM
 
1,259 posts, read 1,336,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
We were just told that memorization is out. No more dates, people, events and placing them where they belong.

WW II starting in 1939 (or 1941, depends on the class) is a no no. That WW II changed the world is all the kids need to know.
Please tell me you are making this up
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Old 08-16-2013, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Volunteer State
1,243 posts, read 895,675 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdarocks View Post
Please tell me you are making this up

Nope. Facts are no longer necessary. Reading a few paragraphs and answering comprehension questions concerning said paragraphs are where our standardized testing is going (PARCC). And while I agree that our students should be able to do the above mentioned assessments, I personally feel it should be only one part of a more comprehensive assessment that includes specific knowledge.

I can't teach nomenclature if the students can't memorize both the rules and the symbols of the elements. I can't teach stoichiometry if the students can't memorize the steps and recall how to write chemical formulas from the nomenclature chapter, etc.

I'm fully aware that a student being able to go through the motions of these problem types - balancing a chemical equation, filling in the numbers and solving for V in a Boyle's Law equation - doesn't show "mastery" of a topic. But it forms the basis for higher understanding, for the analysis and evaluation of more complex problems that come in later chapters.

And I can tell you from my own personal experience that I'm seeing a real decline in my students' abilities to recall anything - even my AP students - over the last 3 or so years. The students keep asking me: the rules for significant digits & their calculations. How do I write the formula for sulfuric acid again (and again and again)? How do I convert Celsius to Kelvin again? How do I re-arrange this formula to solve for Y? I could go on all day. I am being used as a "memory crutch" by students that can no longer do it for themselves. Just 2 days ago, I had to repeat one specific rule for naming acids for an AP Chemistry student 3 separate times in just 60 minutes. Not how to use it, but what the rule was. The 3rd time I told her that if she couldn't remember it, then refer to her notes, where it should be written. The 4th time she asked the very next day, I told here I wouldn't answer that question again.
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Old 08-16-2013, 08:49 AM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
14,120 posts, read 9,874,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdarocks View Post
Please tell me you are making this up
Sadly, probably not. The current thinking is that understanding cause and effect in history is more important knowing actual dates. Yeah, I know, this is going to be as bad as the creative spelling craze or when we ditched memorizing the multiplication table for just manipulatives. I've got an idea, how about we teach both?
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:03 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
32,188 posts, read 39,456,532 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdarocks View Post
Please tell me you are making this up

I can tell you that I'm making it up but I'd being lying.

Got our pre-test for World History yesterday.
One extended response question.
The kids will answer, I'll analyze where they are lacking and then teach those skills the rest of the year.
They will re-take the same question in May. My evaluation (after 30 years of teaching and multiple local, state and national recognitions) will be based on how much progress 10 randomly selected kids (out of 200) have shown since August in answering that one question. It's called Student Learning Objectives (SLO), which is tied into Foundation for Teaching (FfT) and one other acronym I don't remember. Wait, Common Core State Standards (CCSS) which are part of Race To The Top (RTTT or RT3).
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:10 AM
 
1,356 posts, read 1,575,788 times
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What you're saying about the being called up in front of the class works IF the students know that they're in an environment where they feel safe and won't be embarrassed for getting a wrong answer. Productive struggle is part of the learning process. Being embarrassed isn't and it's how you turn students off from learning.
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:33 AM
 
1,259 posts, read 1,336,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octa View Post
What you're saying about the being called up in front of the class works IF the students know that they're in an environment where they feel safe and won't be embarrassed for getting a wrong answer. Productive struggle is part of the learning process. Being embarrassed isn't and it's how you turn students off from learning.
There are different ways to do this that aren't quite so terrifying. At my kids high school, this type of participation is voluntary, but in some classes it is also tied to their grade. I had child who was fairly shy and who found speaking in front of the class a form of torture. He wanted the participation grade, so he started to speak and it completely changed school for him.
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,093 posts, read 70,214,451 times
Reputation: 27525
We hand out formula sheets and calculators in Math.
"Rote" is a 4 letter word if you haven't noticed.
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