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Topic: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
Replies: 21   Last Post: Feb 25, 2017 11:15 AM

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 kirby urner Posts: 3,690 Registered: 11/29/05
Re: Why Have K-12 Educators Ignored Benezet's Breakthrough?
Posted: Sep 27, 2013 11:24 AM
 att1.html (9.7 K)

On Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 5:29 AM, GS Chandy <gs_chandy@yahoo.com> wrote:

<< SNIP >>

> >
> > [ I think Benezet's + Haim's solution would be a
> > fun experiment: no math up to 6th grade and
> > then no math higher than 6th grade level i.e.
> > get all the arithmetic you need in one year and
> > you're off the hook -- opt in if you want more
> > but it's your choice, not Nanny State's. ]
> >

> Possibly - but I would strongly advocate that students should be
> ENCOURAGED (not PUSHED) to learn (whatever; whenever they express interest
> in learning, as is done in Montessori schools).
>
> Children ARE curious - and the 'teaching processes' must learn how to
> capitalize on that curiosity.
>

I have avoided the push vs pull vs carrot vs stick discussion.

I like to distinguish content from age group to some
level. When I teach Python I can refer to "the
function mouth" and it sounds like I'm talking to
kids, but it's just typography: f( ) looks like a
mouth turned sideways and is where the function
"takes in" arguments. That's not an unfamiliar
concept in math teaching: functions take in and
put out.

But do I get to refer to 'class Dog' giving birth
through the birth process __init__? The usual
name for __init__ is "the constructor" but does one
construct a dog or grow and put out a new dog,
or give birth to a Dog. Of course dogs give birth.

The word "birth" is apropos. But to the extent my
metaphors become "carnal" in this way, the Holy See
may crack down, that is if I were a nun or bro in its
Holy employ (as I have been).

As it is, as an adult education courses guy, I am
at liberty to be as biological as I like. And in
Saturday Academy classes for teens, if challenged,
Grossology (the name of a traveling science
museum exhibit with them in mind).

My point in all this is that demographics matter
and that's the way to look at it. My style, manner,
accent, metaphors, just may not click with a given
subculture. Their expectations are too different.

At the Catholic school, I was considered a good
teacher, but also was a threat because I did not
typify a lot of qualities associated with teachers.
In our 'What Does It Mean to Be Human?' honors
class, team taught, I was sometimes eldered by
my peers that my content was disturbing to them
in ways they had some trouble articulating at
times. I was glad to get feedback, have been
getting it ever since.

But you know how it is: some teachers don't
fit in some classrooms. Students go through this
too. They walk in and it hits them: I don't belong.
However because his or her parents have come
thousands of miles at great risk to be here, largely
for the sake of him or her self, the pressure to
"do well in school" is very high so "fitting in"
becomes a full time job, whatever the seeming
odds.

But now, with the Youtube, you can go shopping
for teachers. Other ways you can do that too.
Tim and his father picked me as a personal
mentor through Saturday Academy. Tim's mom
went to Princeton, I went to Princeton, it all sounds
really clubby, but the basis of their choosing me
was web pages and curriculum writing, as well as
geographic proximity and my affiliation with The
Academy. They shopped on-line and I was their
pick.

Fast forward and we're starting to lose classroom
dynamics at the adult level. You remember the
classroom: students see and judge each other,
use the teachers judgments to help form their
opinions, including of the teacher. Everyone is
judging one another and in some classrooms there
is open chiding, teasing, challenging or whatever.
In a democracy, it's not always the teacher's job
to clamp down on cross-talk, not even backtalk,
because we're training equals, not subordinates.
Anyway, you know the scene, you have your own
childhood to remember at the very least.

But now imagine all that going away and it's you
in a solitary study room with your books permanently
there, no carrying them all over some building, and
you have a large monitor, a camera that can see
you when you turn it on, a microphone etc. This
is your "one room school house" and the others
in it are all on your screen.

In the world I frequent, it's an asynchronous teacher
who sees your work and gives you feedback,
while you surf the Internet looking at exhibits, you
individually and carrying on a correspondence, like
in the old "correspondence school" (that's what it
is you could say, just sped up and on screen), but
you're in a bus or train, or at home or a coffee shop,
working on a tablet.

That's how so many more adults are getting their
education and I would say it's trickling down, through
One Laptop per Child (just the whole idea) and
smartphones and whatever.

Classrooms are still a great format for some subjects,
especially where improv and performance is stressed
i.e. the whole point is to interact in real time with
other students and perhaps a leader / teacher / coach
or whatever. Organized sports are like this, as well
as organized religion. Scouting (sometimes -- a lot
of scouting activities are solo too). So I'm not saying
the "classroom format" is in any danger of going away.

What I am saying is that more and more people are
getting their "math" (in quotes because I blur that
with "computer stuff" and "technology / science")
over the wire from the security of their own study
holes (their cubby holes, cubbies). They do not
"go to school".

And so now, with all that new backdrop, even for
children, how does one "push"? You're not there
with them as the teacher. Are you supposed to
urge, threaten, cajole in your emails? Is it the
teacher's responsibility to "make sure you learn"?
Or is that your responsibility as the student? You
pay me to teach you and I turn it around quickly
when you send me homework. The pace you set

You may get really busy and slow down in your
math homework. Is that any of my business?
In large universities, professors sometimes sail
about it later in the reports, how many of their
students failed or passed, or do they ever find
out or care? Lots of open questions it seems.

In my case, the meter is ticking after you pay me
(actually you pay the school which pays me a
fixed salary and benefits) and you could slack
off too much and have the meter run out, and
still you haven't finished your math course.

It could be you've decided career advancement
depends on completing this course and you
may blame me, the teacher, for not reminding
you that you were supposed to perform.

I anticipate those complaints by sending out
reminder emails when they go silent for some
time. I nudge them. It's like your local gym, of
which you are a member, sending a text to your
cell every month saying: hey, we've missed you
(not something most gyms do, but they could).
"What's up, how're you doing?".

That's a far cry from the old classroom ain't it?
And they don't see each other. No teasing,
no chiding, just you and the teacher and the
material. For a lot of students, this seems a
huge improvement and they never look back.
They may use classroom-based courses to
advance in other areas, such as theater, but
from me, they're getting "math".

Kirby

Date Subject Author
9/24/13 Richard Hake
9/25/13 Wayne Bishop
9/25/13 Jonathan J. Crabtree
9/25/13 Louis Talman
9/26/13 Wayne Bishop
9/25/13 GS Chandy
9/26/13 kirby urner
9/27/13 GS Chandy
9/27/13 kirby urner
9/29/13 GS Chandy
9/29/13 kirby urner
9/30/13 GS Chandy
9/30/13 kirby urner
9/30/13 GS Chandy
10/1/13 kirby urner
10/1/13 GS Chandy
10/1/13 kirby urner
10/2/13 GS Chandy
10/3/13 kirby urner
10/4/13 GS Chandy
2/23/17 Paula Greenlaw
2/25/17 Bishop, Wayne