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View Diary: A Response to TeacherKen and Dailykos Community (357 comments)

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  •  They are doing the work (none)
    but not necessarily with pencil and paper.  One of the saddest "improvments" is the teaching of the first grade curriculum in kindergarten.  There are a bazillion good reasons why young children should plant gardens, play in the mud, catch tadpoles, cut and paste, visit the police station and the newspaper, etc. etc.  All of it develops "schema" which allows kids to actually comprehend what they read, and mentally code concepts, such as math reasoning skills that they later learn to symbolize on paper.
    •  I'm a teacher (none)
      ... and that's not what I'm seeing. And I'm not alone.

      And I understand the importance of schema learning and play and etc. But somewhere along the line, we also have to teach the importance of simply sitting and thinking and problem solving.

      Stuff like working math problems without the help of computers or mom or dad or video games or cartoon characters or big purple dinosaurs.

      Or doing word problems.

      Or working on learning foreign languages.

      Or ... whatever.

      Seriously.

      I've even had psychiatrists who specialize in children tell me that we've spent so little time helping children cultivate the ability to entertain themselves, not to mention, problem solve, that we now have oodles of late teen --- yung adults who fully expect to be entertained. IOW, life is about what the outside world can give them. NOT what they can do for themselves and the world.

      I see it in my classes --- I'd guess around a third of my students have never before me been required to simply sit and problem solve.

      That's not good.

      •  I'm not disagreeing with you (none)
        The Sesame Street Generation has a lot of trouble to taking the time.  I certainly agree that too many students have the expectation that they should be entertained, even at the college level.

        Way too many students think that if they play with maniplatives in their math methods class, that's great and they give the prof high evaluations...until they get into student teaching.  Then they wonder why the professor never told them anything about actually teaching real children and answering the questions real children have.

        I just meant that paper and pencil in kindergarten has become a popular, and phony, educational improvement.  To see very young children absorbed in taking the time to sit and solve a problem, I suggest observing a high-quality Montessori classroom.  They don't seem to have any trouble tranferring that concentration to paper and pencil tasks later.

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