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View Diary: A response to Tom Vilsack (148 comments)

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  •  You really hit on the contradiction here (none)
    As you noted earlier larger class size or more specifically higher numbers of dialy student contacts mean more papers to grade and less time to know your students and their individual needs well. Small school size allows for deeper relationships between students and the adults in the school community but comes at the cost of the school being comprehensive. I would argue that waht we know about learning would suggest that having students really know a number of adults, seeing those adults as fellow members of learning community, is a far more powerful experience in the long run than having access to six languages in high school. If students "learn to use their minds well" in secondary school there is lifetime ahead to explore a wide variety of intellectual pursuits.

    Ye that dare oppose not only tyranny but the tyrant stand forth! - Thomas Paine

    by Lcohen on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 08:30:20 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  "schooling" vs. "learning" (none)
      No "schooling" is ever comprehensive.  There's always something more to be discovered...that's the joy of "learning".  

      I went to a large high school (2000 students) which still wasn't large enough to offer a course that would satisfy my curiosity about Brasilian Portuguese.  So, years later when I was on my own and still curious, I studied the language for two years -- one year of non-credit continuing ed classes and one year of private study.  I had a ball doing it, and now have an additional skill that I use almost daily.  

      The endpoint of "schooling" ought to be teaching people to love the learning process, and take responsibility for continuing to learn on their own, throughout life.  

      •  absolutely (none)
        Learning how to learn should be the #1 priority.

        Anyone here familiar with Problem-Based Learning? It's based around a "what do you know" v. "what you'd like to find out" and then letting students research answers for themselves.

        Take a medical case, for example. You interview a woman in her 40s who's experiencing pain in her right leg. What would you need to learn in order to diagnose her? What other questions do you have for her?

        There is medical school that teaches their doctors in just this manner. Totally planned and managed problems constructed so that students indeed learn everything they'll "need to know." Each case is designed so that students will have to explore various issues, concepts, etc. throughout their education. Let's see...yep, it's Southern Illinois University. I participated in a workshop where we used this method to try and solve a particular medical case in one day. It was pretty eye-opening.

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