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Old 03-07-2019, 06:15 PM
 
176 posts, read 22,123 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Good teachers don't abandon the bright kids,
The good teachers

How often do you think this really happens?

I don't want to bash teachers, because it's a very hard job. But managing the majority average students, then getting something ready for the quick finishers, while not letting some fall behind. It just doesn't always happen

I was always the quick finisher.

The teacher would explain the material. I'd understand it. We'd do a few practice problems. I'd understand them. Then we'd get a bunch more problems to do - I was bored out of my mind. Why am I doing this thing I understand over and over. Then I'd get more to do at home. It was terrible. I hardly ever did all my homework, I hardly ever did all my work in class. I never got more challenging work.

So, I found ways to amuse myself at my desk.
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Old 03-07-2019, 06:43 PM
 
4,771 posts, read 1,954,802 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
The reward is in the fact that it's work that's actually challenging and interesting; it's work your brain can actually chew on and learn from, rather than breeze through feeling unsatisfied. It's more engaging, and provides more of a sense of accomplishment, at the end.

Or you could challenge them in the first place. Otherwise, it means that they essentially get 2x the work. It's a bureaucrat's solution, the triumph of means over ends. As in, "If you're finished, I'll give you something else to do." Outside of some nebulous fulfillment a very few might derive from crossing lots and lots of things off a To-Do list, there becomes no real incentive to learning more quickly. It means the bright and advanced student has to essentially shoulder twice the load. That'll fix their little red wagons for daring to be bright.

The better way to go is to say, "Student 1 has already mastered Concept A. Rather than continuing to pound Concept A into his skull along with the other 16 kids in the class and ladling on additional busywork to keep him entertained, let's move him on to Concept B. And if he finishes all the way to Concept Z four months earlier than the rest of the kids, he can either move directly on to Concept AA or skip the class until the end of the year. If the kid is sufficiently diligent and completely masters all the concepts, then we might give him the opportunity to take a class down at the local university. See how far he can take this." We live in the Information Age after all. There's not a single institution that isn't being rethought. Yet schools are still run like an 18th Century textile mill. The only thing that's different is that we have computers rather than hornbooks and inkwells.

In fact I'll give you a model that exists right under the noses of the school board: The school band program. From a traditional pedagogical standpoint, band makes no sense. You have kids of all grade levels and ability in a single room. Not only that, you have those kids doing completely different things. You have some kids playing brass, others playing woodwinds, and others playing strings or percussion. The student/teacher ratio is anywhere between forty and eighty. Yet a scant six years after first making moosecalls through a saxophone or trumpet or whatever in sixth grade, the kids become rather good musicians. Music programs are the one academic field where Americans shine. The reason for that is simple. Band has a reward system in place. Band has peers helping peers. Band is collaborative. Band allows kids to concentrate in the areas they like the most, whether it is classical, jazz, or whatever else. A good band program gives every kid an outlet.

I mean, History and Social Studies were my thing. I was in AP Classes and sailed through them with a high A average and still didn't crack a book. Made a perfect score on my ACT in that area, back when they tested for it. But I still had to go through the same nonsensical grind as the kids who didn't know the difference between World War I and World War II. To me that was the perfect example of teaching without first bothering to find out if the kid already knew the material. 30 years later, my history-loving daughter went through the exact same set of gyrations. She's currently finishing up her Masters, presenting papers at several conferences, and taking a year off before applying to some very interested Ph.D. programs. But if you had spoken to her history teachers in high school, you would have thought she was a B student at best.

This becomes incredibly evident in the obligatory parent/teacher conference. This is where the teachers trot out the grade book and cluck their tongue over the underachieving student. In the case of my boys, it always went like this: "Your son knows the material. He does really well on the tests. The problem is that he doesn't turn in his homework." That's it in a nutshell: The methodology is more important than the results themselves. It's not about what the student knows. It's making sure boxes are checked in apple pie order.

I remember once volunteering at an inner city high school. A teacher who taught a class related to my occupation had been really gung-ho about matters and wanted an outside professional to review their work and give them some pointers along the way. It was an innovative class and my schedule was clear that morning, so I readily agreed.

I arrive at the school and the kids begin to present to me. I had a blast with them. They incredibly smart and enthusiastic and motivated. I cracked jokes with them and, over the course of my two hours with them, knew these kids had a bright future ahead of them.

Then it was time for the representative of the State Board of Education to arrive. It was as if the Angel of Death entered the room. She was there to decide if this program would be effective elsewhere. She didn't say hello to the kids. She didn't listen to their presentations. She didn't ask my opinion as someone who was in the business pages of my city a lot.

Nope. Want to know what she insisted on doing? We had to go through a binder filled with lesson plans. Not for content. But to make sure everything was filled out correctly. How the hell was I supposed to know that? The teacher looked at me. I could practically read her mind as she thought, "Please don't make trouble. I've gone out on a limb for this." I went along with it.

But you know what? The teacher called me a month later to thank me, and told me that program would not be allowed the following year. Despite the kids. Despite the fact that they did some pretty stellar work. That petty bureaucrat came into the room and snuffed out something fresh and original because it dared to color outside the lines.

That's what I'm railing at. The rigid orthodoxy that is destroying curiosity and innovation in our schools. And piling more work atop the busywork a bright kid is already doing certainly isn't the answer.

Last edited by MinivanDriver; 03-07-2019 at 07:10 PM..
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:11 PM
 
6,342 posts, read 3,396,330 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
Or you could challenge them in the first place. Otherwise, it means that they essentially get 2x the work. It's a bureaucrat's solution, the triumph of means over ends. As in, "If you're finished, I'll give you something else to do." Outside of some nebulous fulfillment a very few might derive from crossing lots and lots of things off a To-Do list, there becomes no real incentive to learning more quickly. It means the bright and advanced student has to essentially shoulder twice the load. That'll fix their little red wagons for daring to be bright.
...
i.
I think there's a lot of truth here. School systems seem designed to drive out curiosity and intelligence of students.
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Old Today, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Alexander Archipelago
3,157 posts, read 1,707,536 times
Reputation: 3180
Not true for me. HS should have been more fun than it was though. One would be quite unfortunate to have their life go continuously downhill from their teens and early twenties.
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