What I learned in school

some observations from a public school classroom

Posts tagged education

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Say three "outrageous" left-wing things a day

Look across the North Sea and you find Scandanavian countries doing well, economically, socially, artistically and in many other ways. They are riding out the economic storm much better than we. They also have excellent free-health care, maternity and paternity benefits, free university education, free schooling, and so on. Every child gets the same spent on its education in Sweden - you can’t buy your kid a leg-up through private schooling. Finland has a fully comprehensive school system (no selection before age 16) which produces some of the best-educated children in the world. These countries have high rates of social mobility as a result (very much higher, ironically, than the “land of opportunity” USA, which should perhaps now be relabelled “land of least opportunity”).

But [and there’s always a “but” — ed. ] Scandinavian taxes are very high. 

Good read on how the frame has shifted away from society as a shared experience and toward a tiered society, with rampant inequality. 

Filed under schools education funding taxes values scandinavia welfare whatilearnedinschool

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We Can Fix the K-12 Educational System

We can solve the K-12 education problem, but we need to throw away ideas that quick fixes and “market reforms” will do the trick.  We need to get down to basics and become willing to learn from countries that are successful.  This blog will describe a different approach, one based on fundamentals.  Some basic tenets I believe are important, include:

1.  No more jumping from one edufad to another
2. We need to define exactly what we want kids to know
3.  We must insure that teachers have deep subject knowledge of what they teach.
4.  Teachers must be respected and given substantial autonomy
5.  Education approaches must be guided by empirical testing and research
6. Ed schools need to be reformed and improved.
7.  Pre-school education is a critical component of future learning.
8.  All kids are NOT going to college, and that is NOT a problem. K-12 education should be flexible to allow varied directions.
9.   Good education costs money

Worth reading through point by point. After all, he sees the end product of public school education — college freshmen. 

Filed under education fads reform schools society money culture values whatilearnedinschool

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A Potential Source of K-12 Science and Math Teachers

So I suggested the following to the College of Education.  Let us establish a program whereby STEM majors would take education courses and do student teaching in their senior year (or distribute this over the last two years if possible).  STEM departments might have to make some adjustments (perhaps reducing our requirements a bit), but this is completely doable.  Students would receive both their STEM degree and teaching credentials after four years.  Let me be a bit controversial here…if the UW and other Ed Schools are ok with Teach for America, where students are given FIVE WEEKS of ed training before thrown into a classroom, surely they could work something out if they have an undergrad STEM major for a whole year.

One of those ideas that makes you wonder why it isn’t being done already. In fact, I would do away with Colleges of Education (as credentialing checkpoints for teachers: let them be academic/research focused) and offer an intensive teacher training program to seniors and recent grads to get them into the classroom. 

Filed under education teachers credentials STEM whatilearnedinschool

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HOWTO fight cheating by promoting authentic learning

Cheating will only go down when students are told that they are in education to accomplish the satisfaction of mastery, and when they trust their teachers to be fair and honest.

It needs to be borne in mind that the cheating being referenced is not just the students but also teachers and administrators who cook results to ensure their own survival. 

A challenge for me is to get that idea across, that the purpose is to attain mastery. Young children don’t always see the artistry or accomplishment that goes into what they experience. Things just happen.

They read a story with no idea how many drafts went into it, how much revision. They look at a picture with no idea how many false starts or erasures there were along the way. It’s not just “authentic learning” we need to teach, it’s about mistakes and the iterative process of improvement, of exercising our brains and hands until they work together. 

Filed under society education values schools mastery cheating whatilearnedinschool