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Old 02-11-2007, 12:26 PM
 
146 posts, read 530,345 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprtsluvr8 View Post
What if the family was evicted the prior evening? Is that a good excuse for the student not having homework that was due?
It's not the kids' fault and it's up to anyone who has an interest to help them succeed. Kids are kids.
Kids should be held responsible for their academic success. No excuses- do the work-stop blaming someone else for your failure or situation.

Good teachers engage kids as active participants in their own learning, create a culture of accountability rather than victimhood and don't accept "poor me" excuses. Failure is not an option.

Allowing kids from "the projects" or other at-risk kids to embrace the culture of victimhood does them a disservice. Kids are kids shouldn't permit them to rationlaize and justify their failure to do homework.
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Old 02-11-2007, 12:40 PM
 
146 posts, read 530,345 times
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Exclamation Rationalization of Irresponsibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprtsluvr8 View Post
It all boils down to...the 'bad' schools are in mostly black areas, and the kids are just as smart and capable as anywhere else but a majority of them don't have the kind of parental and adult support they need.
1) They are not as smart:
More students in poor black areas are identified as Special Needs; more kids are born with fetal alcohol snydrome and addicted to drugs of one kind of another in these areas than in affluent white and affluent black areas.

2) They are not as capable:
More teeenagers use illegal, psychotropic drugs in poor black areas than in rich black areas. More have criminal histories and more are illiterate. Many pick up a gun more often than a book.

The reforms needed are cultural.

Quote:
This is a major indicator that we need radical reforms in our education system. It isn't meeting the needs of the population.
Meeting the needs of the population suggests a passivity and embraces government as parent. America was founded on individual responsibility--as in-- get it done without Fema's help. Stop waiting for someone to help you.

Bill Cosby had it right--stop blaming the system, start taking responsibility. Think back to when public education really started having problems....
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Old 02-11-2007, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
699 posts, read 2,303,916 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by english_teacher View Post
Kids should be held responsible for their academic success. No excuses- do the work-stop blaming someone else for your failure or situation.

Good teachers engage kids as active participants in their own learning, create a culture of accountability rather than victimhood and don't accept "poor me" excuses. Failure is not an option.

Allowing kids from "the projects" or other at-risk kids to embrace the culture of victimhood does them a disservice. Kids are kids shouldn't permit them to rationlaize and justify their failure to do homework.
These are CHILDREN that are forced to deal with adult problems simply because they were born into these situations. There is no way a good, experienced teacher would not feel compassion for a child in such a volatile situation. You wouldn't be creating a culture of accountability by being rigid in your expectations, but you would be perpetuating a culture of failure and despair.

It seems like a 'teachable moment' to me. By offering some understanding to the child while still holding him accountable for the assignment, the teacher could movitvate that child in ways we can't even imagine. Sometimes teachers will (or should) have broader sets of parameters, both academic and discipline, for certain students to help them achieve when they might fail under the norms set for the entire class or school. It's called flexibility...teaching is a very unhappy profession without it.
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Old 02-11-2007, 03:45 PM
j33
 
4,625 posts, read 12,642,682 times
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I have two friends who, as children, had their front window shot out by gang-bangers one evening while they were in their front room. I think that at that moment they had more immediate concerns than their homework. Maslow's hierarchy of needs anyone?
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Old 02-11-2007, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
699 posts, read 2,303,916 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j33 View Post
I have two friends who, as children, had their front window shot out by gang-bangers one evening while they were in their front room. I think that at that moment they had more immediate concerns than their homework. Maslow's hierarchy of needs anyone?
Excellent example! THAT is the kind of compassion a teacher of english needs.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:27 PM
 
157 posts, read 578,390 times
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thanks again for a great thread - you have kinda moved into an area where I need some help and would be grateful for some thoughts.

Given that reform in the public education system is necessary and that personal responsibility is also of great value, where does the teacher/administrator/education system "draw the line" As an example, as a teacher, I loved the teachable moments and I think that my compassion and flexibility made me better than most with "at risk kids" in our district. However, I wasn't always so successful with my department head or administrators who liked what I was doing but still wanted me to be on chapter 6 today, which often became a challenge if I was "flexible" with too many kids (definately no criticism of my superiors, they were great).

Now that I think about it, maybe a better way to ask is ... is it the role of the educational system to provide socialization skills (often through teachable moments) or just to teach the subject matter?

I have heard some say that educational reform may mean less flexibility, i.e. standardized testing, focus on the "three r's", testing out of classes if kids can pass the pre-test, etc. On the other hand, some feel that the teachable moments are of the most importance in a child's life - especially kids who "had their windows shot out last night". What do you'all think? How does educational reform address the needs of so many kids on so many different levels? Should there be other institutions responsible for teaching socialization skills, or should the school system keep and maybe expand on that job in the future?

I hope I have gotten my questions out in a way that makes sense (although I fear that I haven't - having trouble putting into words tonight). Anyway, I would be grateful for all thoughts as this is one thing that is keeping me from going back to teaching.

Thank you dgoboy
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:26 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
28,227 posts, read 43,505,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprtsluvr8 View Post
Excellent example! THAT is the kind of compassion a teacher of english needs.
Yes, exactly... as another English teacher (now youth librarian), I'm personally ashamed at some of what "englishteacher" says here. Most of my work has been with at-risk youth, and there NEEDS to be some compassion and understanding toward them. They experience things in elementary school that most of us never deal with, and this creates many disadvantages. No matter what your political beliefs are, and PC-ness aside, this is just a simple & sad fact.

Here's another example for you... my students last year wrote "I Have a Dream" essays in honor of MLK, and one NINE year-old girl wrote the following: "I have a dream that one day we won't have gangs, drugs or murders, and that I'll become a princess." I had to fight back the tears while reading this. She also told me about her cousin who was killed by a gang, and about another relative who went to jail for drugs. A nine-year old has absolutely no control over where & how they live, and we can't just pretend her hardships don't exist. It does put them at a disadvantage, which is why people (like myself) specialize in educating and mentoring them... if I can keep ONE kid on the right path, it's worth any amount of extra effort.
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:33 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
28,227 posts, read 43,505,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j33 View Post
I have two friends who, as children, had their front window shot out by gang-bangers one evening while they were in their front room. I think that at that moment they had more immediate concerns than their homework.
Amen. And what about the kids whose parents have little or no education, and therefore can't help their children with homework? My last job was at a free tutoring center in a bad neighborhood, and that was the situation with most of them. Plus, about 75% of our students had immigrant parents, who couldn't even understand their schoolwork... so we had to step in and help, for which the parents were VERY appreciative. Their public-school teachers just couldn't give enough individual attention to each kid, so programs like those are really useful. And nobody can claim these families didn't care, considering we always had a waiting list of at least 20 children.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:20 AM
 
133 posts, read 565,003 times
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Default if you wantto be able to choose...

then all schools must be equal in funding and quality.
Otherwise...how in the world would that work and how
could it actually be fair? If you opened schools up for choice in our current educational state (which is rather poor) corruption would be rampant. Right now you have to be willing to buy the house in the right school district. No, it is not fair...but you do have a bit of a choice in where you live. Can you imagine the nightmare it would be if they said.."okay, now you can just choose our school." We'd all be choosing the same ones! Tell me how in the H#$@ that would work?
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:58 AM
 
4,284 posts, read 7,897,965 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbsing View Post
then all schools must be equal in funding and quality.
Otherwise...how in the world would that work and how
could it actually be fair? If you opened schools up for choice in our current educational state (which is rather poor) corruption would be rampant. Right now you have to be willing to buy the house in the right school district. No, it is not fair...but you do have a bit of a choice in where you live. Can you imagine the nightmare it would be if they said.."okay, now you can just choose our school." We'd all be choosing the same ones! Tell me how in the H#$@ that would work?
Look at school districts with magnet programs.

In Houston ISD, the cream of the crop gets into some schools or some programs within larger comprehensive schools. The more troubled kids end up at other schools. Of course, some magnet schools admit by lottery instead of by application.

I feel like magnet programs are better ideas than school vouchers.
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