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View Diary: Polling Science (185 comments)

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  •  See my comment below about "No Child Left (9+ / 0-)

    Behind." It's only gonna get worse unless we dump NCLB immediately.

    "Sweet are the uses of adversity. Find tongues in the trees, books in the brooks, and good in everything." As You Like It, Shakespeare

    by earicicle on Sat Aug 01, 2009 at 01:11:31 PM PDT

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    •  Yes, yes, yes. (12+ / 0-)

      Standardized testing does not work. NCLB was a terrible program that was never implemented correctly. It stresses the teachers and the students, and takes learning out of education.

      "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

      by missLotus on Sat Aug 01, 2009 at 01:14:43 PM PDT

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      •  standarized testing does work - (5+ / 0-)

        but like most things, crappy implementation yields a crappy product.

      •  And by "stresses" you mean "causes anxiety," not (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        missLotus, kitebro, Neon Vincent

        "places the emphasis on," of course. Because the one thing NCLB does NOT do is emphasize (meaning help) teachers or students.

        "Sweet are the uses of adversity. Find tongues in the trees, books in the brooks, and good in everything." As You Like It, Shakespeare

        by earicicle on Sat Aug 01, 2009 at 01:39:38 PM PDT

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      •  NCLB was a great program for new (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kitebro, Neon Vincent

        republican owned testing companies.  Plus each state could drop national testing standards and make up their own.

      •  NCLB has good side, but teaching science is hard (5+ / 0-)

        NCLB forces schools to work on improving achievement across economic, social and racial groups, but I really don't think NTLB has that much to do with the stupid or ignorant. I think that some religious institutions, a good part of what is left of the Republican party, and anti-educational elements in society including TV and entertainment in general are responsible for he undermining of good science teaching in schools.

        I'm a teacher, and too much of what we do in schools is "cover the curriculum" and too little is about actually educating, or teaching kids to think for themselves using the five senses, their minds and good common sense. Good science teaching also has to deal with a lot of parents and students who get upset that certain science concepts are being taught such as evolution, continental drift, reproduction, birth control, etc. In my field, Spanish, we have to be careful about talking about the use of wine in Spanish meals lest we be accused of putting ideas in kids' minds (as if drinking wasn't in many high school kids' minds already).

        In any class, if you bring up evolution, the "empowered" religious or republican kids will speak right up and spread the stupid around trying to undermine the teachers, the science and the common sense of a few students. Oh, and don't point out that there's scientific proof that doesn't quite prove things like evolution or continental drift, but which is a good guess based on facts.

        I have to work on the concept of evolution, and the distraction of a few numbskulls, when I teach about ancient Iberia's neanderthal inhabitants and how the ice age, and then Homo erectus led to the end of them allowing Homo heidelbergensis to move in afterwards.

        To do it, I use examples like this one to teach the concept of a theory that is supported by facts by showing my students a set of numbers, or facts, that might look like this: 1, 7, 13, _, 25, __, 37. I them ask them to figure out what the missing numbers, or facts, are. Way too many of my students have a hard time! When they've figured out the pattern, I ask them how they figured it out. They tell me and then I ask them, "So, is your answer your theory, or is it a fact?" It's a fact, they say. "How do you know?," I ask, and they tell me how they subtracted, etc.

        Then I illustrate on the board, using images of skulls from here. I hand out the images of skulls cut out and with no labels and have them put them in order from most ancient to least. Most are close and it shows them that just because you don't have all the skulls to make the path of evolution perfect, that doesn't mean that evolution doen't exist or that it's some crackpots crazy idea because over time a pattern emerges just like the pattern they discovered with the set of numbers we did earlier. My main aim is to show my students that any person with an open mind can understand science concepts that are considered "controversial" by some.

        I of course also tell them that if they choose to believe what their holy book tells them in spite of the evidence available that that is their choice, but that they should not reject ideas out of hand just because someone told them to. Religion to be true must include and element of doubt or else you've been brainwashed. So I ask them to learn about evolution, continental drift and all they can about science and then make up their own mind knowing that believing in science is just another way to understand "God" or nature.

        •  An excellent point, Jigman. (0+ / 0-)

          It occurs to me that if--as NCLB seems to force schools to do--teachers must "teach to the test", the science becomes what so many people think of it as:  a collection of facts and figures, and not what it really is, a process and methodology for discovering facts about the world.

          Standardized testing, I would guess, makes teaching science much more like the former than the latter.

          And we all lose.

          "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." Lazarus Long

          by rfall on Sat Aug 01, 2009 at 04:23:39 PM PDT

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