Date: Mar 8, 2013 8:17 PM
Author: GS Chandy
Subject: Re: Why schools used to be better

Anna Roys posted  Mar 8, 2013 10:58 PM:
> Responding to GSC with clarification:

Thanks, Anna, for your clarifications.
> By "summative" I mean NCLB standards based
> assessments that are aggregated
> across categories, and compared by school, state and
> nation.
> I think these assessments are primarily for policy
> makers and do not help
> teachers that much in driving instruction day after
> day in the classroom.

I agree entirely. What is really important for the teacher is, I believe, to 'learn' to recognise what's going through the minds of his/her students as the class proceeds. THAT crucially important skill - used by a teacher possessing other needed 'knowledge skills relating to the subject being taught+learned' - is what really drives the students' learning(s) [I believe this quite strongly - and what you say confirms this belief].
> Instead they take away critical time that students
> need to think deeply and
> instead force us teachers to focus and spend extra
> time checking for and
> building skills. ( I do think skills are important,
> but they are only one
> piece of the puzzle. )

Absolutely! By and large, I believe the student will pick up all needed skills mainly on his/her own, given needed encouragement, guidance, and needed bits of knowledge at appropriate times as and when needed.

After all, that is precisely the way the student has already learned how to:
- -- recognise parents;
- -- ask for food;
- -- sit up;
- -- stand up;
- -- walk;
- -- talk -->
any of which skills is INFINITELY more complex than Fourier analysis (or any of the skills taught at MIT or Harvard!)
> I also believe these tests cannot adequately assess
> the whole child and
> students' innate ability to learn. Again I assert, a
> primary purpose of
> life is to learn and we are born knowing how to do
> it. It seems that
> whether students believe in themselves and their
> ability to succeed plays
> a huge role. Somewhere along the way many students
> often question whether
> they can do it. I tell my students they can do it and
> stretch them as far
> as possible with high expectations, then modify
> expectations for those who
> really need it.

Terrific! I do believe that, if all teachers learn to think as you do - instead of being 'overweening' (Lou Talman's neat phrase, in another context) - then the students will learn very well and very effectively indeed.

PS.: By the way, the OPMS approach can very significantly help, in a GREAT many ways. The software does require a little more development, I accept: that will hopefully get done quite soon. Meanwhile, the OPMS, used in conjunction with 'Mind Mapper' (commercial software) or 'FreeMind' (free software doing just about what 'Mind Mapper' does, can help a great deal indeed, in all complex problem-situations. In due course, OPMS itself will contain facilities more atuned to problem-solving than 'Mind Mapper' or 'FreeMind'.