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Topic: Re: To K-12 teachers here: Another enjoyable post from Dan Meyer
Replies: 6   Last Post: Aug 30, 2013 1:01 PM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: To K-12 teachers here: Another enjoyable post from Dan Meyer
Posted: Aug 28, 2013 8:53 AM
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Robert Hansen posted Aug 28, 2013 4:54 PM, - GSC's remarks interspersed:
> On Aug 28, 2013, at 12:57 AM, GS Chandy
> <> wrote:

> > I believe that this may be the problem what Dan
> > Meyer is trying to 'fix'. He may not yet have
> > 'resolved' that problem. Is he on the right track?
> > I do not know: RH claims he is not.

> More precisely, I claim that Dan is avoiding algebra
> altogether and not for pedagogical reasons, but for
> personal reasons.

I cannot judge Dy/Dan's "personal reasons for avoiding algebra" (if he is indeed doing that).
>I liken what Dan is doing to a
> teacher that teaches creative writing but instead of
> teaching creative writing by teaching his students
> how to write, he creates plays in which they act out
> the parts. He does this because he has found that he
> does not enjoy teaching his students how to write and
> instead has more fun creating plays and having them
> act out the parts.

1. Is it at all possible to *teach* a student (any student) - *creative writing*?

2. If the teacher has created sufficiently imaginative and *creative* plays (which stimulate, perhaps excite, the students to *write creatively*), then I'd believe he has done something valuable.

3. I'd not speculate on the teacher's reasons for adopting the strategy he does/did. So long as the students felt challenged, then I guess both teacher and students have gained something useful.

4. I believe your 'analogy' or 'metaphor' has failed.
> > But neither has Salman Khan resolved that problem!
> > The problem Salman Khan has resolved is something
> > g else entirely!

> No, Khan has certainly not solved that problem. I
> only suggest that Khan is supplying a component of
> math education that many students want and obviously
> lack in their normal classroom. Khan doesn't just
> provide "worked through examples" but provides worked
> through examples as if his students worked through
> them. His pace and his narrative makes what he does
> valuable.

Well, IMHO, the real problem (/deficiency) in math education is the one that Salman Khan has not yet resolved - and it is high time the educational system bestirred itself to do that.

Nonetheless: I believe (from a VERY cursory inspection of the Khan Academy's website) that Mr Khan is performing a valuable function that does aid students. In the final analysis, I believe those students who believe they have benefited from Salman Khan's work should be the ones to decide how useful or not useful it is.

I AM glad that you have at last decided to give Mr Khan his correct appellation.

As noted at an earlier post, Khans are fierce warriors and quick to take insult when they feel slighted. I understand that, during the 'First Anglo-Punjab War' (1842 or thereabouts), they once slaughtered some 15,999 British [and Indian!] troops (or so), leaving only one Briton alive to reach Jalalabad. That impelled Rudyard Kipling to come out with literally VOLUMES of jingoistic poems praising British valor. Of course, he conveniently ignored the fact that most of the 15,999 slaughtered (about 90%, it is said) were Indian soldiers serving with the British.

Of course, this was not exceptional behavior on the part of the British. I remember there was a marvelous take-off on Churchill's famous speech made in the House of Commons after Dunkirk, which went something like this:

"...We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender - we shall fight to the last Indian soldier!"

(Original at
>If there is no linkage between pedagogy and
> worked through examples then we really should stop
> using the word "pedagogy" because we don't know what
> it means.

I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you mean.
> As a counter example, I had a professor in Fourier
> Optics that would spend the whole 90 minutes filling
> up two large chalkboards with complex derivations.
> For those 90 minutes he worked feverishly, like an
> automaton, and I am certain he knew how to do the
> math. What he didn't know is how to do the math in
> front of his students. Other than that, he was a
> decent and enthusiastic teacher.
> Bob Hansen

As I've often stated, the 'teaching' does not exist by itself. We really do need to start thinking in terms of the 'dyad' "teaching+learning". The revolution that Donald Sauter is seeking would, I claim, develop very rapidly from that 'minor' change in attitude on the part of the 'educational system'. Your Fourier optics professor seemed to have simply ignored the 'learning part' of the dyad. You are very kind indeed to certify him as a "decent and enthusiastic teacher".


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