Kirby Urner posted Sep 27, 2013 8:54 PM (http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9283717) - GSC's responses interspersed: > On Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 5:29 AM, GS Chandy > <email@example.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. > Indeed you have. But I believe (though I have not done any modeling on them) that most - ALL! - of your postings, here as well as at your blogs, etc, reflect a position that ENCOURAGEMENT is crucil, that students would learn to PUSH themselves when ENCOURAGEMENT is done effectively (by teachers; by the system as a whole: in fact, I believe this is confirmed right here in this very post of yours). > > 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. > Neat. > > 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). > I've found that the Holy See is nowadays somewhat more liberal than it used to be, in particular after the current incumbent, Pope Francis, became 'il Papa'. All to the good. > > 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, > I have material ready about how teens like > Grossology (the name of a traveling science > museum exhibit with them in mind). > Yes, I recall myself that when I was a teen, I quite enjoyed quite gross humour - and I employed it freely and quite frequently. In fact, the first short story I ever sold was one about little boy who won a 'pissing contest' in which he and his friends sought to create a 'world record' in high pissing. It was not inordinately gross by the best standards of grossness these days, but it was sufficiently gross for my mother to have been shocked. (That kind of humour does not much appeal to me these days - though I'm not shocked by it). > > 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. > Indeed. > > 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. > Yes. > > 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. > It has long been my feeling that students learn quite as much from their interactions with peers as they do from interactions with their teachers. Rather, it is mainly through their peer-group interactions that the teacher's lessons take hold in the students' minds. > > 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. > Of course - and how very few teachers understand this truth! > > 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. > These are in fact issues that the MOOCs will need to resolve before they can be considered to be truly useful. > > 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 > and your brain. The teacher is looking at your work > 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? > Well, the point I've consistently made is that, properly ENCOURAGED, students will generally learn to PUSH themselves over the many difficulties and barriers they will confront in their learning. That business of 'ENCOURAGING' demands a pretty sizable change in mindset on the parts of those doing the 'teaching'. In fact, there is no more 'teaching' (by itself) at all - it is all a part of the 'learning+teaching' dyad: properly understanding (and mastering) the application of this dyad to real situations and real students confronted is quite a sizable undertaking. > > You > pay me to teach you and I turn it around quickly > when you send me homework. The pace you set > is your own. > > You may get really busy and slow down in your > math homework. Is that any of my business? > In large universities, professors sometimes sail > aloof, as their TAs do the grading. They read > 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. > Well, the situation you've described looks to me like laziness on the part of the 'educators'.
GSC > > 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