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Thread: Placeholder for a thesis I am planning to write

  1. #11
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KOI View Post
    The conclusion here being, @Horatio is correct. If you want to kill budding intellect, keep them in the same classes as the future drones--no offense intended to the drones. We've all been there. If I'd been put in a situation where the advanced coursework was all I had to do, I would have done it. Instead, advanced homework was made into a reward for doing trash busywork, and I had no interest in playing that game. So I did not. There were attempts to repeat this pattern every time I changed schools, but I'd learned I could refuse to participate before the end of the second grade, and did. I even fought my way out of honors--but into early college. When the advanced coursework was all I had to do, and primarily of my own choosing, I worked my ass off and loved it. I didn't begrudge the core requirements when 2/3rds of my workload was elective, especially since I had options in how to meet most of those core requirements.
    Well your experience was obviously poorly executed. Advanced classes were lauded as a 'treat'? the whole attitude behind that approach shapes how effective it will be. In my case, advancement was the goal for all students...not a treat for some. We had probably the top 5-6 students out of 32 in the class who were not expected to do the regular classwork in the subjects that they were advanced in...we were in advanced classes, mostly, learning concepts 2-3 levels higher than the rest, and when we'd get back to class, we'd tutor the other students...and I've found all through my life, that the things I know very well can be known even better if I learn to teach them to others.
    I never had homework, and never copied notes, and never studied for tests when I was in that school...it was engaging while I was there; it was rewarding to teach others, too...not much more I could ask for.

    ...actually, the other thing that kept me engaged, being that it was a Catholic private school that I was going to, was that we would regularly have philosophical discourses about things...as far as Catholic schools go, it was quite progressive there...not really dogmatic, more just reflective with a Catholic back drop. We regularly discussed the practical applications of what we were learning, and even had discourses on the psychological dynamics of our classrooms. It was all pretty 'meta', lol.
    I was surprised when I got to college Philosophy classes, and there were people in the class who had never encountered epistemological problems before, lol.

    Whenever I didn't have work to do, I always had an art project that I could work on, too.

    I think the problem with keeping smart kids in the same classes as drones only arises if you're of a mindset that preparing someone to be a drone is a sufficient outcome for the education system. It isn't.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  2. #12
    Senior Member Sinny's Avatar
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    My secondary school sorted us into units by ability.

    We we referred to as "Top Set", and the bottom classes were referred to as "Units".

    I couldn't imagine being in a set of mixed ability, it would be so tedious.. we wouldn't be moving at the same pace, at all.

    I don't get why dumb kids are always getting pulled out of class for special one to ones... Which they often just take advantage off to take the opportunity to bunk off work.

    I was separated from the majority of my friends in class over the course of 5 years, but that didn't bother me because a large portion of our school work was engaging...
    Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

    ~ Robert Jackson, Statesman (1892-1954)


  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinny View Post
    I don't get why dumb kids are always getting pulled out of class for special one to ones... Which they often just take advantage off to take the opportunity to bunk off work.
    Having been a teacher in England, I can tell you why:

    One of the main measures of a school in England being successful is "value added" by the teacher. You all have a number attached to you of where you supposedly came from, at an academic level, and therefore, how much "improvement" the teacher is supposed to have added. Generally though, I think they take the average of the whole lot. So the teachers will actually have conversations about these numbers and how best they can bump their numbers up. Sometimes dumping a bunch of the low performing kids into some extra class where they go over fractions can at least put their grade up to some basic level which can be a good value option to improve their statistics.

    In England, none of you really need to do better than your assigned 'minimum target grade'. I mean, if you have a stressed out teacher - and most are - then if the teacher gets most of their students to their minimum target grade, then that's fine. Your abilities have already been assessed. Your expected level of achievement is decided literally by an algorithm. (... it's somewhat depressing to be teaching kids who have a 'target grade' of a D ask me 'why should I bother with this? I'm just going to work as a cleaner my whole life', and they have for years had these low target grades put on them, so you can't really convince them otherwise)

    Oh, also, schools are given cash by the government specifically to help a certain class of student. "FSM" (Free School Meals - => poor kids), "SLN" (Special Learning Needs). A school has got to at least appear to be making an effort to be using that money effectively, and on the types of students it's intended for. Also, therefore, there is an expectation that those kids should be making at least the same progress as others (actually, statistically, those kids do tend to not keep up, on average, probably because a lot of them tend to come from dodgy backgrounds etc). So when a school gets their surprise visit from the inspectors, they have "ticked the boxes" and can say "yes we do these things we're supposed to be doing". Sometimes it's genuinely effective. And sometimes it's all for show.

    Also, obviously you have those statistics at GCSE where it's something like "# of students at A*-C or better". There's actually more incentive to push as many people up from a D to a C than there is to focus on the students who will already be getting a B or A. It's the ones on the borderline who more typically get extra help. And teachers will certain bias their results too. (actually I plotted my gradings a few times, and basically shows that anyone who should be borderline, was obviously pushed up to the next grade bracket)

    The educational system in England is absolutely fucked.

  4. #14
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    As a student, I never really understood why, say, 'getting 83% on a test' was acceptable. It seems like moving forward on constructing a building when only 83% of the foundation is complete. If you don't get to the bottom of that missing 17%, the problem just compounds each time you go up a level.

    Granted, there have been times when moving on to new material would prompt an 'Aha!' moment, where something previously covered would click...but it seemed like most of the time, whenever students were made to move on prior to mastery, it resulted in the need for crutches (eg. using memorized formulas, rather than understanding the concept of how certain numbers relate to one another).

    I actually had a philosophy prof. in college, who explained to us that he was being disciplined by the dean for failing to cover the full curriculum in some of the calculus classes that he taught. He argued that you couldn't actually teach the full curriculum in a semester, on the basis that he didn't believe he was teaching something unless he could demonstrate the proof for it...he refused to teach formulas, as it was really a sort of deference to authority, and not actual understanding which he'd be passing on by giving students those short cuts. I never actually took a math class with him, but I appreciated his ridiculousness as an example of a virtue that I find endearing, lol.



    Anyhow, back to the idea of having mixed levels learning together....does anyone else have thoughts on students teaching each other? I've mentioned it a few times as a really critical piece which makes the mixed levels prospect more viable...and I'm interested whether those smarty-pantses who had a negative experience learning with 'dummies' have any thoughts on this.
    Is there a counter-argument for the notion that to teach something is to learn it more thoroughly?
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  5. #15
    Senior Member jyng1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    does anyone else have thoughts on students teaching each other?
    Cooperative learning? They were hammering it when I was doing Post Grad.

    According to Johnson and Johnson's meta-analysis, students in cooperative learning settings compared to those in individualistic or competitive learning settings, achieve more, reason better, gain higher self-esteem, like classmates and the learning tasks more and have more perceived social support.

  6. #16
    Member Wolf's Avatar
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    I'm sorry if I won't be able to respond to each of you (yet) Haven't read every response fully. Just skimmed through some. Will reply later when I have more time (currently finishing the grades of my students).

    First of all, thanks for the replies. I realize the OP is not yet very well thought out with proper research and citation provided. As I mentioned, these are just a rough draft of my thoughts as I begin my thesis. I'm currently in the first semester of my Masters in Education major in Curriculum and Education. I'm currently teaching senior high school.

    A part of the OP sounds like a rant because it is. I wrote that part one night in my frustration at the inefficiency of the entire educational system. There must be a better, more efficient way of doing things instead of what we have right now. There's so much wastage of time and resources. Quality is going down while costs is going up. It's frustrating! As an INTP, I look at systems and my immediate instinct is to look how to make it better.

    My goal is to make my thesis workable enough that it will stand criticism and will be backed up by enough research data to prove that the changes I will be proposing is not only doable but is in fact necessary.

    I've already found some research which may support parts of my thesis from my initial review of related literature, but I need more.

  7. #17
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    Anyhow, back to the idea of having mixed levels learning together....does anyone else have thoughts on students teaching each other? I've mentioned it a few times as a really critical piece which makes the mixed levels prospect more viable...and I'm interested whether those smarty-pantses who had a negative experience learning with 'dummies' have any thoughts on this.
    Is there a counter-argument for the notion that to teach something is to learn it more thoroughly?
    I have heard of one situation in which each student in a class had a "buddy," and they were purposefully paired at mixed levels. When one kid got something wrong, the buddy was responsible for teaching them the correct way. It was supposed to work very well, for all of the reasons mentioned above.

    I have no direct experience with anything like that, at least in grade school.

    What frustrates me is that these arguments seem to go back and forth over the piddly details of what would be "ideal," when to me the first step is to take a look at what is actually out there that is working well. Cooperative learning is one model. Well-paid, well-respected teachers supervised by well-paid, well-respected principals, all of whom are expected to know how to do their own jobs, is another. Another would be culturally relevant instruction that respects kids' intelligence and forms a bridge between their home culture and paths toward mainstream success.

    Some of it certainly can be quantified and fed into algorithms. I like the idea of having a set of proven curricula to draw from. Give the teachers the best tools but let them choose how to use them. It also seems that it should be easy enough to devise some game theory algorithms regarding kids' performance and teacher/school compensation, then test the results in the real world.

    But none of this has to be devised from scratch. First look at what is actually working, in different situations. The information is already there.
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  8. #18
    New Member mark esparza's Avatar
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    Have you read (the dumbing down of america)?There is a reason education is being underminded.

  9. #19
    Member Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    As a student, I never really understood why, say, 'getting 83% on a test' was acceptable. It seems like moving forward on constructing a building when only 83% of the foundation is complete. If you don't get to the bottom of that missing 17%, the problem just compounds each time you go up a level.
    i've always thought this as well. why would we allow students to move up when it is obvious they don't have a firm grasp on the subject? in my country, a grade of 75% is enough to pass a subject. my take on the matter is that moving up should only be a pass or fail thing. if they can demonstrate the required competencies of the subject, they pass. if not, then they need to repeat it.
    I actually had a philosophy prof. in college, who explained to us that he was being disciplined by the dean for failing to cover the full curriculum in some of the calculus classes that he taught. He argued that you couldn't actually teach the full curriculum in a semester, on the basis that he didn't believe he was teaching something unless he could demonstrate the proof for it...he refused to teach formulas, as it was really a sort of deference to authority, and not actual understanding which he'd be passing on by giving students those short cuts. I never actually took a math class with him, but I appreciated his ridiculousness as an example of a virtue that I find endearing, lol.
    i've had the same problem in the school where i work. they decided not to renew my contract because i keep getting into disagreements with management about how to run my class. i refused to follow the curriculum set by the department of education. i refused to discipline the class using the classroom management techniques taught to me (because i believe in laissez-faire classroom management). and i refused to bow down to pressures of the parents to change the grades i give out.
    Loneliness isn't being alone with no one to talk to. Loneliness is being surrounded by so many people, none of whom sees the real you. Loneliness isn't an island. It's a sea of people moving through you and past you. It's a storm of empty days and empty moments, going through the motions and hoping that just for one day your emptiness is filled.

    Loneliness isn't a state of being alone, but a state of not being fully understood.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Sinny's Avatar
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    Your school sorta sounds like a Scientology manifesto.
    Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

    ~ Robert Jackson, Statesman (1892-1954)


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