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View Diary: Education: Why data-driven instruction does not work (98 comments)

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  •  I Fall Into The Neil Postman Thought Process (1+ / 0-)
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    Leslie in KY

    in his book The End of Education. One chapter is a fable. He tells the story of a city failing. No money. The students are tasked with saving their city. They are asked to clean up said city. Run a newspaper. Start a TV station. Form a theater group. They learn by doing.

    Don't get me wrong. You need to be able to read. Add. But outside of that I'd rather folks get skills they can use.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 09:16:16 AM PDT

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    •  Learning by doing... (0+ / 0-)
      The students are tasked with saving their city. They are asked to clean up said city. Run a newspaper. Start a TV station. Form a theater group. They learn by doing.
      I dunno. Would you want to live in a city where all the people running it had no idea what they were doing and were "learning by doing"?
      You need to be able to read. Add. But outside of that I'd rather folks get skills they can use.
      Such as? You have a 12 year old. It's 1990. What skills is he going to need to be taught that will allow him to get a good job in the year 2000?
      •  this is an age-old argument (2+ / 0-)
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        dancerat, gelfling545

        between the learning-by-doing and the "you have to have adults determine and organize what kids need to learn and then help them learn it" .

        but over and over, the learning-by-doing approaches have been proven to work.   The other way can work too, but don't diss the learning-by-doing approach.  I just read about a charter public school in Kansas that was failing and losing students and they turned the school into a farm.  Now they have a waiting list and the kids are scoring at the top on the state tests.  

        You see, the thing is that you do NOT have to control children's learning.  You can set that garden out there,plant some seeds, and let miracles happen.  You give kids a rich environment and caring knowledgeable adults and something to do that gives meaning to their lives to do, and they will thrive.   Your mistake is that thinking learning by doing means learning without any knowledgeable people or resources around.  It isn't.  

        And I personally know this works because I unschooled my two children.  They are now adults and you bet they are skilled, more so than many of their peers.  They know how to learn, how to teach themselves, how to find meaningful activity, and, by golly my son learned to build  and fly multirotor drones with video cameras for his business, how to select and install security cameras, repair TV's, how to run an IT business etc.  all without ANY formal schooling and he certainly didn't learn to do any of those things from my husband or myself, we have to ask him for help all the time (thank god he is still around to help us with our tech needs.).   Yes, he had a few mentors when he was 14-15 but he actually surpassed them in knowledge and skill by the time the first business he worked for closed when he was 19.  And since then he just works for himself.  And yes, keeps on learning.  Learning is not locked up in institutions, particularly not anymore.  

        And the thing is, the learning-by-doing approach generally results in a much HAPPIER experience for kids/adults.  And happy people learn better and learn more.  That's a researched "fact."  And the "control the curriculum and learning process" approach more often results in bored and unhappy learners.  Just ask a random sample of 20  kids.   So for me, learning-by-doing wins hands down.  Yeah, you can survive the other, and you can go on to live a fine life.  I have.  But I sure wish I'd had the joy my kids got to have when they "played hooky" for 12 grades!.

        •  And how (1+ / 0-)
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          UntimelyRippd

          Do you 'know' you can extrapolate that experience across a population?

          You don't. And that's an issue if I'm going to choose to invest into something, or anybody is going to choose to invest into something, because that stuff doesn't come free.

          Also, random sampling kids? Really now. Because that sounds suspiciously like the sort of teacher assessment that is being pushed. If a teacher is graded by how happy their kids are, that's not always going to be a good measurement of what the teacher is actually doing. I'd even go so far as to say that's a dangerous mindset toward education.

          http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/ Jesus Loves You.

          by DAISHI on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 03:29:37 PM PDT

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          •  Proof? Dude, "Let miracles happen" (0+ / 0-)

            I'm just gonna hang on here and wait for the miracle of a kid with a 90 IQ learning how to read spontaneously.

            How romantic.

            Tick tock.

            Still waiting ...

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 07:58:27 PM PDT

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          •  Actually there is research to (2+ / 0-)
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            Sunspots, bluebrain

            demonstrate that students learn more and hate it less through embedding concepts in "real world" tasks properly constructed that in the "fake world of school" (so-called by Eric P. Jensen) type learning. Google "Brain-based Learning".

            Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

            by gelfling545 on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 07:32:32 AM PDT

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        •  Just this is what the powers that be refuse to (2+ / 0-)
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          Sunspots, bluebrain

          acknowledge.

          You see, the thing is that you do NOT have to control children's learning.  You can set that garden out there,plant some seeds, and let miracles happen.  You give kids a rich environment and caring knowledgeable adults and something to do that gives meaning to their lives to do, and they will thrive.   Your mistake is that thinking learning by doing means learning without any knowledgeable people or resources around.  It isn't.  
          I would add that I am sick to death of the "all children can learn" mantra. Well sure they can but construing it to mean that they will all do it at the same rate at the same in the same way with the same degree of competency is madness yet it is just what those promoting these tests as the be all & end all of learning would have us believe.

          Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

          by gelfling545 on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 07:25:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  another error in your reasoning in (0+ / 0-)

        your reply.

        Webranding said he'd rather folks get skills they can use.  He is absolutely right.  They need skills they can use right now.  Not in 10 years.  Because learning what they need to know right now builds all kinds of important emotional intelligence skills.  It teaches children things that are really important such as self-knowledge, how to complete projects, how to negotiate with others, and on and on.

        My kids spent a lot of time doing pony/horse activities.  Neither one of them do that now.  But you know what, they learned all kinds of invaluable things during their years of involvement with horses.  They learned they could overcome fear, (those 3 foot fences to jump look pretty scary when you aren't sure you can trust your horse not to run out),  they learned leadership, they learned to take written quizzes at horse competitions, (the only place they ever took "tests").  I could go on and on.  It doesn't matter that they don't need to know the life cycle of equine parasites now.

        And my daughter was never scientifically inclined in her unschooling and spent most of her time writing novels and doing artsy things like violin, chorus, theater, and dance,  but now as an adult she has taught herself quite a lot of science outside of her college education (which was in theater and orientation/mobility for the blind), and she has incorporated her new science interest into two of her original plays, one of which was about tardigrades.   You do not have to control learning for the most wonderful and useful learning to happen--learning that is chosen and controlled by the learner.

        My favorite quote is from Helen Hegner, editor of Home Education Magazine.  This has stuck with me; she said something to the effect:  I really am not concerned with what my children know.  I am concerned with who my children are.

        If we raise children who have emotional intelligence and access to resources, they will learn what they need to know to function in the culture/world they find themselves in.  

        •  That was my point... (0+ / 0-)

          The precise point is that you can't teach them "skills" they "learn by doing" because the workplace "skills" you will need after school aren't known. There are important concepts and ideas like,yes, scientific knowledge, reading, writing, knowledge of literature, math, etc. It turns out that these things can actually be tested and measured. And it's necessary to keep track of this because so many times people will just float by without learning anything, which is why we get students with such abysmal writing and math skills in college.

          Now, I grant you, yes, there are certain people who are just never going to learn that much in school, and there is a certain value to giving them "something to do" so they don't find the experience totally unpleasant and get some time to mature and aren't permanently scarred by the time they graduate, but that's just another form of "giving up", honestly. For many of us, school is something much more than babysitting while we grow up and learn to "play well with others."

          Also, incidentally, my family has farmers in it. It's actually hard work that needs to be taught and mentored. Otherwise, it's just a gardening hobby.

        •  Classic DKos reader bias (1+ / 0-)
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          UntimelyRippd

          And my daughter was never scientifically inclined in her unschooling and spent most of her time writing novels and doing artsy things like violin, chorus, theater, and dance,

          Lots of parents aren't unschooling their kids, never will, and have no interest in doing so. What they do want is competent teachers who will ensure their kids are prepared and that they have a good education with a wide breadth of academic knowledge and that there will be a teaching staff that can handle this task. Post-secondary educators want a highly literate, math-capable, self-disciplined class of students capable of handling the work and training they will receive after high school. That is heavily unrelated to the concerns of so many DKos members who post on education treads who are mostly people who never liked school to begin with or are teacher chafing under their loss of autonomy. So maybe it is not a surprise that these policies and metrics, imperfect as they are, get put into place.

          •  The only response I ever feel like making to one (1+ / 0-)
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            dancerat

            of those sorts of claims -- especially the unschooling ones -- is, "Good for you."

            As for me, I taught my son to read when he was three, and I've never regretted it. I've also never suggested that it was a data point that could be extrapolated into a prescription for national education.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 07:50:26 PM PDT

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    •  Nothing warms my heart like good ol' Yankee (0+ / 0-)

      anti-intellectualism, which is what you are expressing, even though you probably don't think so.

      Wait, did I say, "my heart"? No ... I think I got the anatomy wrong there ...

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 07:54:55 PM PDT

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