Post by captainhooker on Mar 30, 2009 14:27:45 GMT -5
Sounds like he's on the right track to me -
longer school hours, better tracking of student performance and teacher accountability, and a higher focus on pedagogy that works - not standardized testing and other silly nonsense that has nothing to do with learning or the real world.
Personally, I think the idea of longer school hours is bullshit. They should try shorter school hours but with a more engaging curriculum. The best was to get kids to learn isn't to extend the period they're sitting and reading out of a textbook from six hours to seven or eight, it's to get them excited bout class and wanting to learn. I learned the most in science class when we were doing experiments or watching Bill Nye The Science Guy than I ever did reading from a textbook.
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"If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the clergy" ~ Marquis De Lafayette
I agree with Damen. My problem with school was always that A) I had to get up too damn early, and B) material was presented largely by rote, with little interactive discussion. I had a few teachers who were exceptions to B, but not in the sciences, which have always been one of my favorite subjects to study independently.
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"People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant. "-Helen Keller
The best was to get kids to learn isn't to extend the period they're sitting and reading out of a textbook from six hours to seven or eight, it's to get them excited bout class and wanting to learn.
I agree, but an engaging curriculum is not exactly easy to accomplish. What I found fascinating in school made most of my classmates sleepy. Sure, it's not just about subjects but also the way the class is taught (I always hated history yet had two teachers that made the class something I actually looked forward to) but for that you need motivated and competent teachers, and those are more the exception than the norm.
All the above based on my personal experiences in the private and public education systems in another country. Feel free to disregard.
My problem with school was always that A) I had to get up too damn early [...]
Damn right! Don't start the schools at 8:30 am... start the damn things at like noon or somethin. That's when people are usually awake enough to actually give a shit about something, and by that time, half the normal school day's already gone!
As Lewis Black said:
There is NOTHING that you can learn out of one bloodshot eye!
Personally, I think the idea of longer school hours is bullshit. They should try shorter school hours but with a more engaging curriculum.
He did say that they were going to work on a more engaging curriculum. Pedagogy is a tough science though - it takes time and money to change a curriculum, and the unions won't let schools require that tenured teachers get ongoing instruction for themselves. They end up lazy, complacent, and ineffective.
As a professor, I'd be the FIRST to stand behind merit pay - nothing makes us look worse (and does more disservice to a student) than a teacher with tenure who's taught the same syllabus for a decade or more.
It's a self-feeding problem. Most state and public schools don't have much money budgeted for professional development (workshops, summer continuing ed courses, attending conferences, etc), which is the ideal contributor to an educators professional evolution. If we want to go back for further grad school hours or another degree, we have to foot our own bill and schedule it on our own time.
Base merit pay not on student performance, but rather on the teacher's participation in continuing professional development, and then give the schools enough money to reward teachers who take advantages of professional development opportunities, and you kill two birds with one stone.
I think one of the more important things too is to get people away from the over riding need to get their kids into the best college ever. I feel this leads parents to force their kids into doing too much. They pressure them to do sports, clubs, etc. all in the name of "that'll look good on your college app.". Of course, I also think that we should focus first on making sure that kids have the skills necessary to function in the real world and realize that not all of the kids are going to be Ivy league stuff. I'm not saying that they should be thrown out on their asses with just the minimum education possible. Instead, I think we need to recognize that some students aren't going to be regular college material and steer them towards a community or technical college.