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Old 06-04-2019, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Northern Appalachia
5,175 posts, read 6,365,875 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
In another of our threads, a number of posters kept posting about "busy work".

When I was teaching earth science, I had no time for "busy work". I had trouble fitting in all the important aspects of the content. And I know this was also true for many social studies/history teachers.

Or is "busy work" what some people refer to work that isn't very exciting? All knowledge is not exciting.

And the value of repetition in learning.

Thoughts?

I've had the opportunity to observe a lot of teachers. What I notice in schools today is many teachers rely on worksheets on a daily basis. These are done in class not as homework. There are no reading assignments in most classes. I'm not saying that worksheets are busy work and I think repetition is good. But I have observed some teachers who never appear to teach and simply assign worksheets.
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Old 06-04-2019, 04:21 PM
 
6,859 posts, read 3,727,681 times
Reputation: 18098
Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
In another of our threads, a number of posters kept posting about "busy work".

When I was teaching earth science, I had no time for "busy work". I had trouble fitting in all the important aspects of the content. And I know this was also true for many social studies/history teachers.

Or is "busy work" what some people refer to work that isn't very exciting? All knowledge is not exciting.

And the value of repetition in learning.

Thoughts?
To the specific question, busy work has little to no learning value in it yet consumes an inordinate amount of time for no valid purpose.

a. Worksheets, by the gross, that are used to fill class time instead of instruction. And more worksheets to be done at home. A few may enable learning, but after a while it is a crutch to give the kids something to do, not a teaching tool.

b. Endless repetition of the same thing beyond that needed for learning. Repetition is valuable to learning. Endless repetition of a point that was already well understood is just busy work. A lot of math homework falls in this category. Got it. Don't need to do the same problem another hundred times. Let's move on to something new that builds on it.

c. Using worksheets and repetition to keep the advanced students busy while going over, for the nth time, the same material as yesterday. And the day before. And they day before that. And

d. Multiple drafts of the same paper.

e. Related to that. Footnote and bibliography cards. 3x5 for footnotes and 4x6 for bibliography. With one note per card and the same source information on each card. Why can't I use a sheet of paper with the source information on it once and just add individual notes for each use of that source? NO. Why? Because. Wear your hand out writing the same information over and over.
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Old 06-04-2019, 04:46 PM
 
8,314 posts, read 9,087,173 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Got it. That definitely is excessive. Thanks for clarifying. I can't imagine what her parochial school filled up the day with, if not study hall, unless it was religion class, or something.
4 years of religion was required. I will say the school/teachers did a great job because "religion class" was also something of a human geography over time, hard history and music history class intermingled with Catholicism. As something of a history nut I found a number of DD's required readings exceptionally interesting.

I want to make it clear that my daughter recommends her school to girls and parents who ask with the reservation that kids who seem to be tracking towards the group's academic bottom - say the bottom 25% should think long and hard and probably pass. It's just too intense and time demanding.

Further, my DD did well at UA and then found her university engineering studies (EE + CSE) to be of course conceptually far more demanding than high school but from a time management perspective college was a breeze for her.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:04 PM
 
3,593 posts, read 1,388,880 times
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agree with StealthRabbit...
something for the advanced to do since the slow will not
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:02 PM
 
Location: midwest
1,435 posts, read 1,031,955 times
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Is English Literature "Busy Work"? 4 years of Eng Lit was mandatory when I was in high school but what was the point? With hindsight I would trade a year of Eng Lit for one of double-entry accounting in a heart beat.

No matter what job you get or what profession you enter you have to spend your life deciding how to spend your money. Since the 1950s television has been brainwashing us to be stupid consumers.

How many people declare bankruptcy because of credit cards?
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:22 AM
 
5,191 posts, read 4,895,327 times
Reputation: 3314
A favorite homework assignment of my elementary school teachers was writing each of our vocabulary words 3 times. Always seemed like a waste of time, since if you could write them once, you could definitely write them 3 times, but it just took 3 times as long. One time, when a few people misbehaved, the entire class had to write it 4 times. I complained, saying that I was not misbehaving, so I should not have been punished. So I had to write them 5 times! Another popular assignment was sorting the vocabulary words into alphabetical order. Not sure what the point of that was, given that we hopefully knew the alphabet long before then, but at least it meant only writing them once.


In second grade, we were constantly assigned word searches as homework. They took forever, and I have absolutely no idea what educational value they had.


I think that teachers assign busy work because they think it "builds character" or "prepares us for the real world".
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:29 AM
 
5,191 posts, read 4,895,327 times
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The ultimate example of busy work was in my 11th grade AP US History class. We had an assignment where we had to divide events into eras. But the events were already written in order, and the years were given, and the eras were given. But we had to retype every one of the events! That took forever, and served no purpose. It was basically retyping a very long list of events.


Since I very strongly suspected that this teacher was not even looking at our homework, I did a test: on one of our assignments, we had to choose who we thought were the 5 greatest presidents of all time. This teacher hated Richard Nixon. So, as a test, I chose Richard Nixon as one of the 5 greatest presidents! He didn't comment on it, which meant that he very obviously did not even read it. So I completely blew off the rest of our homework assignments after that.
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Old 06-05-2019, 11:09 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,836 posts, read 70,665,916 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitsguy2001 View Post
Since I very strongly suspected that this teacher was not even looking at our homework, I did a test: on one of our assignments, we had to choose who we thought were the 5 greatest presidents of all time. This teacher hated Richard Nixon. So, as a test, I chose Richard Nixon as one of the 5 greatest presidents! He didn't comment on it, which meant that he very obviously did not even read it. So I completely blew off the rest of our homework assignments after that.
One reason that I was turned off from a career in teaching, was that I observed a number of career teachers, who had become lazy in that way. They were just going through the motions, making the least effort they could to get by. I guess it may get routine and old after 10 or 20 years, but other teachers manage to keep it fresh. The students are being cheated by the type of teacher you had. Hopefully, though, you at least learned a bit of US history.
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Old 06-05-2019, 05:20 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,016 posts, read 102,649,686 times
Reputation: 33082
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
To the specific question, busy work has little to no learning value in it yet consumes an inordinate amount of time for no valid purpose.

a. Worksheets, by the gross, that are used to fill class time instead of instruction. And more worksheets to be done at home. A few may enable learning, but after a while it is a crutch to give the kids something to do, not a teaching tool.

b. Endless repetition of the same thing beyond that needed for learning. Repetition is valuable to learning. Endless repetition of a point that was already well understood is just busy work. A lot of math homework falls in this category. Got it. Don't need to do the same problem another hundred times. Let's move on to something new that builds on it.

c. Using worksheets and repetition to keep the advanced students busy while going over, for the nth time, the same material as yesterday. And the day before. And they day before that. And

d. Multiple drafts of the same paper.

e. Related to that. Footnote and bibliography cards. 3x5 for footnotes and 4x6 for bibliography. With one note per card and the same source information on each card. Why can't I use a sheet of paper with the source information on it once and just add individual notes for each use of that source? NO. Why? Because. Wear your hand out writing the same information over and over.
How do you identify that? I mean you did that a,b,c,d,e, but really. a. I don't remember my kids having anything you'd call "worksheet".

b. Who decides how much repetition is *too* much?

c. Not this again!

d. ??

e. Maybe it's a learning tool. We didn't have much of that, and I don't think my kids did, either.
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Old 06-05-2019, 05:44 PM
 
571 posts, read 131,699 times
Reputation: 1206
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina Witt View Post
How do you identify that? I mean you did that a,b,c,d,e, but really. a. I don't remember my kids having anything you'd call "worksheet".

b. Who decides how much repetition is *too* much?

c. Not this again!

d. ??

e. Maybe it's a learning tool. We didn't have much of that, and I don't think my kids did, either.
Today you would drown in worksheets in almost all classes.
When did your kids graduate HS ?
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