What If We Gave Toddlers An 'F' In Walking?

from the rethinking-education dept

theodp writes "To improve math and science education, Physics prof Dr. Yung Tae Kim thinks professors and teachers should take a page from skateboarding. 'The persistence and the dedication needed in skateboarding that's what we need to be teaching,' explains Kim. 'No one says to a toddler, 'You have ten weeks to walk, and if you can't, you get an F and you're not allowed to try to walk anymore.' It's absurd, right? But the same thing is true with math and science education. If you want to learn trig or calculus, it's set at such a pace in schools that it guarantees that only the absolutely best students will learn it.' Kim says it's possible to 'polish the turd' of high school and college education, and lays out his plan for doing so in Building A New Culture Of Teaching And Learning (YouTube: parts 1-2-3), a video drawn from a farewell talk he gave to his Northwestern students. There's more on The Way of Dr. Tae at DrTae.org and PhysicsOfSkateboarding.com."


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  1.  
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    Pete Austin, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 1:11am

    Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    Re: 'No one says to a toddler, 'You have ten weeks to walk, and if you can't, you get an F and you're not allowed to try to walk anymore.' It's absurd, right?

    Yes, it's absurd. Babies take a lot longer than ten weeks to learn to walk. "By nine or ten months your baby will most probably have begun to pull himself up to a standing position using whatever support is to hand and may have begun cruising around the room moving along from support to support ... By eighteen months most babies are walking well"
    http://www.thinkbaby.co.uk/baby-development/learning-to-walk/1181.html

    Not a good start for someone who claims to know about learning.

     

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    Anubhav Chattoraj, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 1:24am

    Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    Yeah, let's pick at straws! Hell, why not? MAYBE the guy hasn't studied child development, which means everything he says HAS to be crud, right?

    Or maybe he has, and he's trying to make a point here.

    "If you want to learn trig or calculus, it's set at such a pace in schools that it guarantees that only the absolutely best students will learn it."

    Maybe the "absolutely best children" (whatever that means) can learn walking in 10 weeks?

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 1:26am

    Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    Not a good start for someone who claims to know about learning.


    I think you're reading it way too literally. Replace "weeks" with "months" and the point he's making stands. I think you're overly nit picking.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 1:32am

    Moron in a hurry

    How else would society find a supply of the "moron in a hurry" who appear to be easily confused

     

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    Pete Austin, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 1:32am

    Good Article about how *not* to design games

    The referenced article describes how he got a dev company to rewrite its game logic soon before launch. Clearly he had never heard of Duke Nukem. "but there were words exchanged. If you're a designer and you build things a certain way, you don't like someone coming in late in the development stage and changing things around." Personally I'd have sacked him immediately, not followed his advice and then, sadly but predictably, had to sack half the dev team afterwards.

     

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    Christopher (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 1:41am

    A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    The fact is that different people learn at different speeds, and some people just ARE NOT going to be able to understand things like trigonometry and calculus.

    Hell, why are we even teaching those things to people who are not going into scientific fields in the first place, or trying to force children to learn those things?

    It's stupidity. We should be focusing on finding out what each individual child is good at after the basics of math (A,D,S,M,F), reading (at least to a 10th grade level, which ANY child can get to before going to school if they are encouraged to read), writing, etc. and then focus on encouraging them to move into things that they are good at.

    For me, that would have been computer science, non-religious philosophy, and music. For others, it might be advanced math, advanced science, and advanced English or whatever you wish to name.

    Trying to pigeonhole everyone just makes for a bunch of people who are mediocre in EVERYTHING, who don't exceed in anything.

     

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    Brendan Graham, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 1:48am

    Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    You have completely missed the point that was trying to be made. In schools, the years are broken up to terms with each term being approximately 10 to 13 weeks (at least in Australia it is). It is this that is being referred to. The fact is that there is a lot of pressure on all student in schools and universities to succeed but to do it within a few weeks. Yes, we know that babies take months to learn to walk and this is why it was said that we don't give toddlers 10 weeks to learn to walk but rather we let them learn in their own time.

    Some people are able to learn difficult subjects/topics very quickly whilst others take more time to understand the same material. This is what is trying to be highlighted and not a fact about how long it takes babies to learn to walk.

     

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    misterdoug (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 1:54am

    Interesting point of view, refreshingly different from the No Curriculum Vendor Left Behind approach.

     

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    Michael Long (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 2:13am

    Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    Of course, the Japanese manage to do it. The Chinese manage to do it. Students who go to school in India manage to do it. Calculus. Physics. Latin, for Christ's sake.

    So just why are AMERICAN students too stupid (or lazy) to learn any subject even remotely advanced?

    No one expects them to be experts in the field. On the other hand, EVERYONE should be able to read and write, handle math, know how to communicate, and have a basic knowledge of history, civics, science, the arts, and so on.

    Let children learn only what they want, and you'll end up with a generation of video game junkies and ex-high school football player wannabes that will fight tooth and nail for the next opening at Wal-Mart. They're CHILDREN. They have no clue what they're going to need later on in life.

    We need doctors and engineers and scientists and teachers. Lot's of them. We do not need stupid, ignorant couch-potatoes unable and unqualified to hold a job or make even the simplest of decisions. "How do I feel about global what???"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 2:18am

    Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    He says ten weeks because that is how long a science/math course generally runs?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 2:40am

    I think science is about fun, you learn formulas that will give you some sort of result, math was developed to solve some real life problems so why not use that as a teaching method?

    Teach triangles using rockets and how they can be tracked and have their altitude measured, teach calculus to what it was intended to discover the volume of things, get a good story going and a goal to reach that needs those skills and you will have winner I believe.

    Now if you want to see everyone sleeping just starting putting formulas on the board and say you need to understand them because it is important but don't say why it is important.

    Use dinosaurs to teach physics, how fast a dinosaur run, how powerful his jaw could come down, what do you need to do perfume, extract oil from plants(girls will love this one), how chemical mix together, how much pressure a skateboard can support etc.

     

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    DMNTD, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 2:45am

    Re: Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    Besides BASICS (I say up to grade 6th) Micheal Long you again miss the point...I mean yikes. Also, your a good example on the non flexibility that has the USA country in such a teaching shamble. Extremist at heart...yikes.

     

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 3:23am

    Re: Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    There are so many things wrong with your post that I don't even know where to start.

    Of course, the Japanese manage to do it. The Chinese manage to do it. Students who go to school in India manage to do it. Calculus. Physics. Latin, for Christ's sake.

    I won't even tackle the fact that Christianity isn't the main religion in any of those countries (in case you were looking for commonalities), but I'm not sure what you are trying to say here. That those countries are superior to the US in terms of scholastic achievement? That they are culturally superior? That the kids are smarter and work harder? Im just wondering why you didn't pick other countries as an example. Could it be some stereotype? Did you ever think that most of the Asian languages interpret numbers in sets of ones and tens that make math an easier concept at a younger age.

    Let children learn only what they want, and you'll end up with a generation of video game junkies and ex-high school football player wannabes that will fight tooth and nail for the next opening at Wal-Mart. They're CHILDREN. They have no clue what they're going to need later on in life.

    Now while I do agree that children do need some structure, the point of the article was not that children should be able to only learn what they want, it was about the timeframe and how they should be learning. Adults as well as children learn faster and try harder when they are interested in something whether it's fun or not. Children may not know what they need later in life, but that doesn't mean they should be forced to do something they are poor at when they could excel at something they are interested in that has just as much value.

    Maybe if society didn't place such a high value on professions like LAW and POLITICS, we would see a cultural shift.

    Oh and for Christ's sake, there are groups that want to teach the Bible version of creation in SCIENCE classes. How's that for a step forward? Don't look to physics or calculus for answers that are already in your Bible.

    I don't know the answers to improving education, but Im not ready to claim any group of people is too stupid or too lazy based on their nationality. On a positive note I do agree that everyone should learn to read and write and learn math to the level of algebra, because with those tools you can go in just about any direction you like.

     

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    DS, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 3:34am

    Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    And that's why babies suck.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 4:04am

    Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    But he doesn't say babies, he says toddlers. I don't know the scientific definition of a toddler, but I think of someone who is toddling. They are just learning to stand and cruise.

    From there, if you gave new toddlers 10 weeks, many would fail. Many are good crawlers and don't want to give it up. Some are naturally afraid of falling, and don't want to risk it. Some kids are walking at 9 months.

    His example is, most babies can't learn to walk in ten weeks, just like most kids can't learn trig in 10 weeks.

    Your retort is, that baby had 9 months to learn to walk, just like that kid has had 15 years to learn trig. Not very smart of him.

     

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    Schmoo, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 4:26am

    Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    "Not a good start for someone who claims to know about learning."

    Are you available to help me settle the matter of confusion in some trademark cases?

     

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    Paul Hobbs (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 4:50am

    I gave my son a bit extra - 12 weeks. When he was 12 months old I explained to him in very clear terms that he had precisely 12 weeks to learn how to walk. I further explained that he was only going to get one shot at this so he better be prepared to put in some hard yards.

    Regrettably, he didn't make it. Very disappointing. Now he is 5 and he is permanently grounded - we have him strapped to a little chair. Every now and then we have a little parade in front of him just to remind him of what he *could* have been doing if he had applied himself a bit harder. When he gets older, I might get him a wheel chair.

    Sheesh! The kids now-a-days.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 5:02am

    Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    How many kids know what they want to be when they grow up? Do you have kids? How many times did they change their minds threw their lives? I'm one of the few who picked a goal and stuck with it threw school, and I still didn't end up doing what I wanted (turns out I suck at it). I'm 27 and am now looking into other things I could be doing (I have a good job, I just hate it). My broad education is the reason I have that choice. If I didn't take all those seemingly random classes, I'd never be able to even think about anything else.

    Dr. Yung Tae Kim isn't saying anything drastic, he's suggesting we tweak our teaching to make it more efficient and better for more people. Why should only one or two people out of a class get "it" and the rest just get shoveled along?

     

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    abc gum, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    Good one !

     

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    abc gum, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 5:17am

    Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    "Hell, why are we even teaching those things to people who are not going into scientific fields"

    Yeah - why would anyone want to know about things which are not needed for their menial retail position? It is simply not needed and why should you have to pay for it?

    It is this sort of thinking which drives the "dumbing down" in education that is more prevalent everyday.

     

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    abc gum, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 5:18am

    Re:

    Also:

    No Child Left A Dime

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 5:52am

    Re: Re: Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    That's it, it's the religion that only a small fragment of our society really holds onto.

    You know our society was actually more religious back when we were world leaders in education. As atheism and a decline in social mores has occurred, we've seen our academics fall off as well.

    I can detect that you probably hate Christianity or some specific Christian (who is probably a jerk). But the reality is that a decline in education isn't Christianity's fault.

    You can find people using Christianity as a justification to pursue knowledge. You can look throughout history and see places where Christianity has pushed knowledge forward. You can also find places where Christians have worked against the advancement of human knowledge.

    Right now, in the US, we do have a large number of anti-science Christians. They feel that many are blaming them for things that aren't their fault, and that this bias leads them to attack Christianity on false grounds.

    The way to deal with this is to focus on the science and not on the religion.

    Jesus stated that those who seek shall find. If you search out knowledge to the fullest, no Christian can object to that.

    However, if you read that Chinese kids do better in school than American kids, and your first thought is to blame Christianity, then maybe the Christians have some basis in saying that you are biased.

     

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    shmengie (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re: Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    "Also, your a good example..."

    While I agree with you, your point about education would be better taken if you had properly used "you're" instead of "your."

    Back to those basics, eh...?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    I think the point he is making is that the math class in 10 weeks long.
    Yes, even non-experts agree that it takes months not weeks to learn to walk. There are developmental stages that need to be completed before the next stage can be accomplished (successfully). This is true in math and locomotion(walking).
    This is why it may be ill-advised to prematurely prop children in sitting position.
    I am excited to hear of this person's work. Anything that can help educators and therefore children is worth pursuing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 6:27am

    Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    Quiet you. I got an A in Algebra II because I tutored the Pre-Calc and Trig during lunch students instead of doing homework. Since I could do their work, I got a free pass to do pretty much what I wanted starting my sophomore year in high school other than mid-terms and final exams. It is an essential part of education for many people, especially slackers like me.

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    This.

    At no point he says "from the moment he's born".

    He says "he has 10 weeks to learn", doesn't specify a course starting date.

     

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    Cutter892, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re: Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    Wow really, your going to blame religion for the failing of U.S. public schools? I can point everyone in the right direction as to why public schools in the US are a joke. It's the educators who set up the class work. Right before WWII teachers and the school boards started changing the way kids where taught to read. Instead of the correct and very successful way of teach how to read via phonics the started to teach memorization. Since then kids where not even taught basic fundamental reading. If they can't even read how are they suppose to do anything more advanced? There was a big movement by a lot of people with power and money at that time that pushed for the change because they wanted a stupid populace to do the mindless grunt work and not have them complain.

     

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    Michial Thompson, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 6:54am

    Coddle the weak

    Why should society bend to support the weak? Who cares if your brat can't keep up with the brightest, we all need someone to wash our toilets and mow our lawns.

    Society owes nothing to the weak and lazy, and they should be rewarded as mother nature intended. If they can't walk when the lion comes to feed they are left behind and fed upon. If they can't learn then they are left behind to clean the toilets.

    The human race is weaker and less fit because we coddle the weak, and we go out of our way to protect them. Maybe if we let them starve, and die off instead of giving them disability rewards or welfare rewards for being weak and lazy then we would have less weak or lazy people.

    But instead we coddle them by forcing businesses to waste money on ramps, give them tax payer's money to sit at home and watch TV instead of getting a job like the rest of us. We have fund raisers to send billions to them when mother nature shakes the earth etc...

    I'm sorry, there are no examples that can convince me that coddling the weak is a good thing.

     

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    Jason, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    No, Mike, don't even give an inch on that. Dr. Tae's analogy was spot on. It's a rare kid who learns to walk in 10 weeks, but it does happen (I've got one who did it in less than that--the other five took several months, the oldest two taking longer than average), so he draws the connection to say it's a rare student who can learn calculus in 10 weeks, why don't we change how we teach?

     

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    Dishevel, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    You are correct. Though the point he is making is still crap. learn or don't we need to stop slowing down the educational system for the stupid.

     

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    Steven (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    Why do we have to make everybody go at the same pace in every subject?

    Why not let those who learn math fast, do math fast, and let those who learn math slow, learn math slow.

     

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    Steven (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 8:01am

    Skateboarding

    Am I the only one who read the skateboard analogy and thought...

    So when they get something wrong, do we throw them down a flight of stairs or crack their nuts on a hand rail?

     

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    Punmaster (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 8:11am

    Re: Coddle the weak

    Stephen Hawking?

     

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    bdhoro (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 8:12am

    So many problems

    Sure that is a problem, the pace may be too fast for some, but slowing it down means less content to learn, and really our high school math is not nearly advanced enough to compete globally.

    Our real problem is bad teachers, and not being able to fire them. Studies have shown that good teachers can teach 2 years worth of material in 1 year, while bad teachers usually teach half a years material in 1 year. Thats a year and a half loss in education each year you get a bad teacher.

    Our hiring standards are also way too high. The truth is you don't need to be very smart to be a good teacher - you shouldn't need a masters. Good teachers are people persons, they teach well because they make a connection with their students. I don't care how smart you are or how much education you have, if you can't connect with your students you ought not be a teacher.

    The best way to ensure good teachers is to increase the pool from which we hire, and increase the rate at which we get rid of new teachers who are bad. Malcolm Gladwell has a great article on this idea comparing it to scouting quarterbacks for the NFL. The fact is you don't know how a quarterback (or a teacher) will do in their profession until you put them in.

    http://gladwell.com/2008/2008_12_15_a_teacher.html

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 8:32am

    I agree that there are some serious problems with our educational system. Unfortunately, as that video highlights, many of those problems have to do with cost. It's cheaper to have one teacher teach 400 students in opposed to teaching 100 students because labor costs money. and hiring more teachers means that you will hire more bad teachers unless you did more to turn those teachers into good teachers. Not to mention, when a teacher has 400+ students s/he doesn't have the energy or time to engage with every student, especially outside of class. They're already spending most of their time teaching at school (not to mention they have to attend meetings and the ones who do research must spend time conducting research, etc...). Teachers also often have families to be with as well.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 9:04am

    Re: Coddle the weakminded

    Hmmm interesting points, but I am afraid your an idiot. I know having this disability is troubling and causes you to say truly stupid things like you have in your post but take heart. We live in a society accepting of idiots like you.

     

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    Strofcon, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 9:25am

    Junk analogy, really...

    A toddler learning to walk is still grappling with the laws of physics and their effect on her actions / movements, the nuances of her muscle control, and the coordination required to put it all together in a meaningful way. In other words, a toddler is grappling with reality at large, and is still in an extremely fast-paced developmental phase.

    A college student failing trig has had years to figure out whether or not he wanted to bother applying himself and excelling at things he may not be naturally talented with. Once you've moved beyond the basic developmental stages of your life, you make the decision to either be a damned find student, or suck in academia and refuse to put in the massive effort needed to succeed where you naturally struggle.

    Everyone has their special fields where they're a rock star, and they also have fields where they're hobbled by a lack of natural talent. That doesn't mean you can't knuckle down and make it work.

    The toddler reference was a pretty lame attempt to incite sympathy toward a child and project that on a lazy 20-something student who whines that calculus is just too hard to figure out quickly and easily.

    The best students of a particular field will excel at it easily. This is a good thing. Students who are NOT the best in a particular field won't excel at it easily. This is not a bad thing. The idea is to have only the best in a field pursue said field. Again, though... not being one of the best in a field is no excuse to demand an inordinate amount of time to gain basic competency.

     

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    BigKeithO (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    Awesome.

     

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    Strofcon, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 9:29am

    Re: Junk analogy, really...

    Pardon a couple of typos. As you can see, I'm not the best typist / proofreader. Maybe my school should have taken a couple extra semesters to teach me to be more patient before submitting anything I write...

     

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    angal2 (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 9:32am

    Re: So many problems

    I'm always amazed when people put all the blame on teachers for the failure of our educational system.

    Yes, there are some bad teachers out there. However, it is the school and state administrations that perpetuate their presence.

    I currently live in Arizona, home to the worst educational system in the nation. I moved out here to teach. Due to various reasons, I ended up subbing around the Valley rather than being in one classroom my first year. And that was enough for me. They may put on a brave face in front of their students, but the teachers are bitter and cynical. Why? Because the school and state administrations have failed them, not just the students with their ridiculous pressure to teach to standardized tests that there's hardly time left to teach actual subject matter. The schools run roughshod over teachers, giving them enormous class sizes but witholding the disciplinary authority to be able to manage them. If we're going to fix schools, the changes need to start at the top.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 9:47am

    Re: Junk analogy, really... Or failure to comprehend

    Did you even examine the argument before you? It looks like you glazed over everything and have decided it is all the students fault.

    By the end of your post you somehow equate the entire argument with just allowing an "inordinate" amount of time to learn a subject. Did you you hear the *whoosh* after you posted? It was the discussion flying way over your head!

     

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    Jose_X, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    Absolutely.

    A major reason some are faster is because they have past experiences (which need not even be in the same subject but allow them to make the mental connections faster). It's thus not reasonable to expect the person with less experience to go as fast in order to learn as well.

    A second major issue is that learning that is fastest is self-paced. Only you can figure out what is holding you back from picking up a concept or skill (though the teachers can try to help you discover it).

    A third reason is that motivation is a major factor in having you learn something well and fast. And actually pushing someone too fast for what is their ideal pace can be a significant demotivator, especially if you then tack on an "F", especially if this becomes a pattern.

    A teacher can help by trying to give you a reason to learn and by providing an environment that you can leverage.

     

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  43.  
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    Jose_X, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 11:11am

    Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    >> The fact is that different people learn at different speeds, and some people just ARE NOT going to be able to understand things like trigonometry and calculus.

    Here is a good math teacher http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaime_Escalante that helped a bunch of slow "losers" learn calculus and achieve some of the top AP test scores in the nation during their high school senior year. The movie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand_and_Deliver

    What you need is "ganas" (desire).

    >> Hell, why are we even teaching those things to people who are not going into scientific fields in the first place, or trying to force children to learn those things?

    I don't believe we should, but it would be nice if people over their lives were able to gain appreciation of various things. Basic familiarity might be useful.

    Even those that were good at that material once forget if they don't use the material, but they may have learned some concepts that are applicable in disguise in many areas.

     

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  44.  
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    Jose_X, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 11:18am

    Re: Coddle the weak

    >> I'm sorry, there are no examples that can convince me that coddling the weak is a good thing.

    It's a good thing your mother thought differently.

     

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  45.  
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    Jose_X, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Re: So many problems

    >> Our real problem is bad teachers, and not being able to fire them. Studies have shown that good teachers can teach 2 years worth of material in 1 year, while bad teachers usually teach half a years material in 1 year.

    Hopefully soon enough we will have great go-at-your-own-pace well taught online tutorials and interesting materials. This would help all teachers.

    >> Sure that is a problem, the pace may be too fast for some, but slowing it down means less content to learn, and really our high school math is not nearly advanced enough to compete globally.

    I was always ahead of the teacher's pace when I enjoyed a subject (eg, mathematics) and hardly paid any attention in those classes. In some instances the teachers could have reverted to teaching Russian or simple addition for a while during each class and I wouldn't have noticed.

    We have access to books. Many books are well-written. The goal of a teacher is to motivate and be there as a resource. The learning can only happen in the students head and many books already have many words of wisdom.

    When I didn't like a subject, OTOH, I usually ended up cramming at the last minute and did not excel to the same degree as with courses I liked more.

    I should also mention that my early family upbringing was such that I learned to value education. Not everyone is so fortunate (although different people grab different values, each of which has positives and negatives).

    >> The fact is you don't know how a quarterback (or a teacher) will do in their profession until you put them in.

    Well, we aren't paying teachers a million dollars and we aren't going to quickly get enough of them to be passionate and focused to teach all of our many millions of kids.

    First society has to decide to value teachers. Then this has to seep in over years to build up a workforce that is skilled and motivated.

    Remember as well that we are a huge "melting pot" with many different cultures and respects for freedoms.

     

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  46.  
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    Jose_X, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 11:39am

    Re:

    >> Not to mention, when a teacher has 400+ students s/he doesn't have the energy or time to engage with every student, especially outside of class.

    Students working with students would help. Are we looking at those incentives? Should we pay a little bit of money to the "senior partner" (not to have them do junior's homework but to help junior succeed when tested)? Should we offer other incentives? Are we even trying? I don't think we are because I went through that system, like to help others, yet hardly found myself in that position. It would have been nice if their were interesting projects for both partners and suitable incentives for each to participate. [And it need not be a 1-1 pairing]

     

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  47.  
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    Jose_X, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: Junk analogy, really...

    Maybe you should have spotted that weakness a long time ago and decided to tough it out and solve the problem.

     

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  48.  
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    Jose_X, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 11:50am

    Re: Junk analogy, really...

    >> The toddler reference was a pretty lame attempt to incite sympathy toward a child and project that on a lazy 20-something student who whines that calculus is just too hard to figure out quickly and easily.

    I don't find anything wrong with that reference; however, after reading your first paragraph, I realized that learning to walk generally is something you have to learn, whereas that is not true for many other things.

    In any case, babies learn largely by themselves. They gain from the goal of being able to keep up with others in games and have greater access generally.

    The key is to find a (good) reason to learn something. If you can't, maybe you should not be wasting time learning it?

    Perhaps we can do better than by giving out failure grades and instead focus more on carrots. On the other hands, a failure grade might represent something different for different kids because of their upbringing.

    Another comment on this page suggested that administrators often hold back teachers from doing more because of the constraints they place on them.

     

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  49.  
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    Chargone (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    it would also help if English orthography didn't suck in every variation and if this stuff was Taught Properly.

    seriously, so many people learn a lot better if you explain the logic behind stuff. even spelling. at least when i went to school spelling was just taught by rote lists... of course people are going to get these things wrong when it's never clearly explained when which should be used.

    (note: i don't live in the USA)

    example: that classic 'f for th' thing resulted in some of the kids in my primary school class saying 'fink' instead of 'think' a lot. repeated corrections didn't make it stick until one teacher got sick of it and actually went and looked up the dictionary and told the class what 'fink' meant. the fact that they were Different Words with Different Meanings stuck, and i don't think i heard that mispronunciation again in the entire time i was at that school.

    'course, the meaning of 'fink' might have had something to do with that one.

     

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  50.  
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    Chargone (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    to be fair, teaching the reading of English phonetically requires some 63 or so replacement rules and adaption to accents and all sorts of fun stuff due the stupidity of the orthography + vowels, and there's no way to actually get the spelling right based on the sound for the same reason.

    also, 'at that time'? it's still ongoing in a lot of places.
    (not really disagreeing with your point here though)

     

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  51.  
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    Chargone (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    actually, a lot of places Used to split students at high-school level into a more academic set and a more practical set. the former would tend to go on to university, the latter into apprenticeships. most have had their education quality Drop since they stopped doing this.

    education was still fairly broad within those divisions though, and with institutions such as the way polytechs now work in New Zealand there someone who went through the more practical branch could then work through the other stuff as well (it's not uncommon for people to go through polytech here and Then go to university for the same thing... end up with the same qualification at the end, just takes longer and they get the earlier stuff taught in a different style which suits more hands on people better)

    and this isn't even a 'dumbing down', because under the current system anyone who doesn't fit the absolute average misses out (unless they're just all around brilliant. but if you're really good at one thing and bad at another, you're not going to get the education you should in the first and will fail horribly at the latter)

    humm... i'm not explaining this very well, but splitting things up along at least general lines in terms of learning style should improve education quality.

    of course, so does having teachers who aren't terrible, curriculum that make sense, and not loading the teachers with administrative duties to the point where they don't have time to plan lessons (and most basically don't get holidays, whatever their contracts may say, because that's the time they DO have to sort lesson plans... )

     

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  52.  
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    Chargone (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    Re:

    on the maths one:
    My dad likes to tell the story of how he asked one of his maths teachers fairly early on at highschool what the point was in the subject and was told 'you just have to learn it'... and then just stopped bothering. never learnt another thing in maths at school.

    later on he went to polytech to get some qualifications or something and one of the classes he had to take to get it was basically highschool maths to make up for this *laughs*

    ... i actually learnt a chunk of maths i'd missed out on due to health reasons out of his old textbook from that, come to think of it.

     

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  53.  
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    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    Pete, you are absurd.

    We've given you a lifetime to master reading comprehension and analytical thinking and you just proved that you can do neither.

    So, you get an F, and you're not allowed to try any more.

    Don't go away mad, just go away.

    CBMHB

     

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  54.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, it's absurd. Learning to walk takes longer than ten weeks

    This is why I homeschool.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 10:35pm

    Re: Coddle the weak

    My God! You're right. Maybe we'd all have been better off if we'd just shot FDR Old-Yeller-style after he got polio?

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 11:17pm

    csn

     

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  57.  
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    love my baby, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 11:20pm

    well can anyone tell me if babies who take longer to walk are smater than those who learn much quicker and yes my baby is 13 months and havent even crawled yet

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 4:06pm

    Re: Re: A good point and one that I have been pointing out

    change their minds threw their lives? I'm one of the few who picked a goal and stuck with it threw school,

    OK, so spell-check passed "threw", but ANY broad education for an english speaking person would use "thru" -grin- "through"

     

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  59.  
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    Drew, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re: So many problems

    You just described California schools.

     

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