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Old 05-04-2011, 08:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
When I was in elementary school, each classroom had about 80 students. Nobody complained of too large a class size though. Of course, teachers enforced discipline with the cane, so... that was that. I guess you couldn't do that here and now.
I guess not. Sounds like Singapore, although I don't think their classes are this big now. If caning were permitted in FCPS, we'd probably need to worry about deforestation.

 
Old 05-04-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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In the state I am from each little town has its own separate school system. So when you live in a certain town the school you go to will never change - here boundries change all the time.

I was suprised to see here in VA schools are divided by county - so to me the school system and each individual school is VERY large.
 
Old 05-04-2011, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
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I saw a similar project done at my school - it was about Jamestown, though - the students made posters trying to get settlers to Jamestown. They advertised mild weather, friendly Indians, etc. This was in 4th grade, though, and my child is in 3rd.

My child has had two good assignments this year - one was in science to create a simple machine the other was to write a biography about one of her parents since they were learning about biographies. But mostly I see worksheets and rote memorization of facts.

And yes, this past month I've seen a lot of SOL preparation. And I am a standardized test supporter! - I used to work on standardized tests for a living and believe they are important. On the other hand, I think other than teaching how the test is set up, basic strategies (wrong answers don't count against you so take a guess if you don't know kind of thing), and maybe giving a sample test or two, I feel that the material should be taught throughout the year in an engaging manner so that they know the material when test time comes, rather than just try to cram in what will be on the test.

I'm not trying to rag on FCPS; I know this is a problem everywhere - class size too big, too much teaching to the test, etc. But, in some ways I feel like people around here are "drinking the Kool-Aid" thinking our schools are somehow superior to most schools in the rest of the country.

Last complaint - I think FCPS is entirely too big. There are always redistricting, moving of AAP centers, too many split feeders, too much gerrymandering of boundaries, and too much bureaucracy.

Sorry, this has been on my mind lately. Rant over!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
For example, we study author's purpose in language arts. In social studies we learn about ancient Rome. I had my elem. students create an advertisement for an event in ancient Rome. It could be anything from a play to a gladiator fight (that allowed some of them to get a bit gorey). The object was to get people to come to their event, so the author's purpose was persuasive. They really got into the assignment using Roman numerals, Roman names, Roman fonts, etc.

Some classes are larger, some smaller. The benefit of a smaller class is that you can spend more time prepping and spending time with smaller groups or individuals. It's tough to do that with 31 in a class.
 
Old 05-04-2011, 09:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by car54 View Post
Mmmm, if the students already smart...and the schools don't matter...couldn't we just skip the whole thing and save a heap of money?
Have you heard of home schooling?
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
80:1?
Were you all doing the same work, at the same time, at the same pace? A "one size fits all" approach?
Yes, absolutely. And yet the vast majority of students did rather well -- superlative by American standards.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I guess not. Sounds like Singapore, although I don't think their classes are this big now. If caning were permitted in FCPS, we'd probably need to worry about deforestation.
Corporal punishment was widespread in school systems of many countries, including England, even though many Americans associate it with Asian cultures today. Its disappearance is a relatively recent phenomenon.

And funny thing about corporal punishments: you find that, the more you do it, the less you need it. The logic of corporal punishment (rather like the logic of war -- Edward Luttwak anyone? ) is not linear.
Quote:
Originally Posted by michgc View Post
But mostly I see worksheets and rote memorization of facts.

And yes, this past month I've seen a lot of SOL preparation. And I am a standardized test supporter! - I used to work on standardized tests for a living and believe they are important.
I don't understand why there is such resistance to testing in this country. Testing is quite accepted and treated as a given elsewhere. There have been recent studies that show that testing significantly increases knowledge retention, i.e. materials on which students were tested were better retained in memory than materials that were merely taught and practiced, but not tested. I call that the naked blade training theory of martial arts. Something about consequences sharpens the mind and increases the focus.

Similarly, I see so much mantra about "teaching how to think" instead of "rote memorization" in this country. Studies, too, have shown that young students need to acquire a large body of facts before they can learn to relate one to another effectively. In other words, "rote" memorization acutally helps to build abstract thinking. Children aren't like computers -- you can't impart some sort of an algorithm ("how to think") first and then feed data. That's not how a growing brain works.

It really surprised me how much of what is quite casually accepted in education in other countries is so reviled by many in this country.
 
Old 05-04-2011, 09:14 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,106 posts, read 12,657,381 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michgc View Post
I saw a similar project done at my school - it was about Jamestown, though - the students made posters trying to get settlers to Jamestown. They advertised mild weather, friendly Indians, etc. This was in 4th grade, though, and my child is in 3rd.

And yes, this past month I've seen a lot of SOL preparation. And I am a standardized test supporter! - I used to work on standardized tests for a living and believe they are important. On the other hand, I think other than teaching how the test is set up, basic strategies (wrong answers don't count against you so take a guess if you don't know kind of thing), and maybe giving a sample test or two, I feel that the material should be taught throughout the year in an engaging manner so that they know the material when test time comes, rather than just try to cram in what will be on the test.
I have 3rd graders.
I know they cram at some schools. I like to think that we don't. I know of a third grade team at one school that basically finishes their curriculum by mid April so that they can spend a month reviewing. I don't get that practice. I'd rather follow the pacing guides and make sure they have solid understanding of the standards without having to do a massive chunk of review. I also know that many people will teach topics in a very isolated way. For example, one might teach civics, geography, economics, and ancient cultures as seperate units without tying them together. I cringe when I hear teachers say, "I'm done with the economics unit", when really they need to be going back and referring to and tying into that knowledge throughout the school year.
 
Old 05-04-2011, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
Yes, absolutely. And yet the vast majority of students did rather well -- superlative by American standards.
That would definitely make it easier on the teacher. Were you all at the same ability level? If not, with all of the students doing the same work, how would you ensure that all of the students were being challenged? It seems that some would be bored, some challenged, and some who wouldn't be able to keep up if they were all given the same assignments.
 
Old 05-04-2011, 09:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
That would definitely make it easier on the teacher. Were you all at the same ability level? If not, with all of the students doing the same work, how would you ensure that all of the students were being challenged? It seems that some would be bored, some challenged, and some who wouldn't be able to keep up if they were all given the same assignments.
One word: parents.

They respected the teachers highly, but did not see them as solely (or even mostly) responsible for the education of their young. They were viewed as "a" resource, a force-multiplier, if you will, but not the causal agents of the success of their children.

At the same time, teachers did not have the reputation of being washouts from other professions or militant unionists, perhaps because the competition for the few teaching jobs was very high and most teachers were of high caliber, the equivalents of Ivy League graduates in this country. Yet, their pay was very meagre.

Teachers would often work with the very few lagging students on their own dime and time, including even buying extra materials for them. At the same time, they would often give more advanced books to particularly promising and brilliant students.

It was very common for families to have teachers over for meals or to give small gifts (ostentatious gifts were refused or frowned upon).

Of course, it wasn't all perfect -- there were teachers who abused their authority and too harshly beat their students, for example. But they were usually quickly fired with a bad reputation hanging over them that they could not get another teaching job easily.
 
Old 05-04-2011, 09:44 PM
 
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A school bus in India:
Attached Thumbnails
Are Fairfax County Schools really some of the best in the nation?-india.jpg  
 
Old 05-04-2011, 09:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khuntrevor View Post
A school bus in India:
'Twasn't India, friend. My sign "IndiaLimaDelta" simply means ILD in NATO phonetic alphabet.

And as for Indian education... while much of the country is still very underdeveloped, you would be shocked by Bangalore and the human products of that city. Rather many of them live in Loudoun County and make your clouds go.
 
Old 05-04-2011, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,106 posts, read 12,657,381 times
Reputation: 3760
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
At the same time, teachers did not have the reputation of being washouts from other professions or militant unionists, perhaps because the competition for the few teaching jobs was very high and most teachers were of high caliber, the equivalents of Ivy League graduates in this country. Yet, their pay was very meagre.
Considering the pay, what then attracted the high caliber graduates to the profession? Was there something offered to offset the low pay?
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