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View Diary: This is all so wrong. (91 comments)

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  •  aarrrggghhh... another false opposition... (1+ / 0-)
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    Noam Chomsky didn't launch the whole language movement; constructivist educators and philosophers, e.g. John Dewey, did. And as Alfie Kohn has repeatedly pointed out, phonics is part of whole language learning. Whole language is dedicated to getting literature that kids WANT to read into their hands and helping them think about it at many different levels. High stakes standardized tests and the teaching that is subordinate to them is far more responsible for turning off kids to reading than probably anything else, though I'm not suggesting a single factor analysis. The use of extrinsic motivators, like punishments, rewards, competition, testing, etc., tend to undermine the intrinsic motivation towards whatever is being extrinsically controlled. fwiw. peace

    "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

    by poemworld on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 11:00:43 AM PDT

    •  aarrrggghhh... (2+ / 0-)
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      poemworld, ER Doc

      I teach college, and my real background is in lit crit, not education, so thanks for the clarification, I will never know enough to get the nuances straight.  But at the school level, what you run into (especially in poorer schools) is a perception of dichotomy or polarization or culture wars, with some people yelling, "Back to basics! Phonics for all!" and others shouting back, "Let them write what they feel! Let them read what they will!"  In the first group, you will find an undue emphasis on rote learning, often to the exclusion of either pleasure or breadth of info.  In the other, it's all-so-beautiful even the principal can't distinguish between definitely and defiantly. So it plays out as an opposition, even if neither Chomsky nor Dewey nor you nor I would define it that way. And this misconstruction does find parallels in the political polarities, and probably has something to do with the crummy outcomes of both types of low-funded schools.

      •  you're quite right... (2+ / 0-)
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        ER Doc, Jodster

        there exist confusions about these questions as well as politically motivated distortions. the hardcore phonics crowd really just want children to obey and the transmission model of learning suits this end just fine. other folks, clustered around our end of the spectrum, tend to think that practice and the learning of self-discipline (intellectual autonomy is probably closer to the mark) are turnoffs to kids and thus bend the stick to far back to just making learning fun. aristotle said, "the roots of education are bitter, but the fruits are sweet." there's something to that.

        i teach science to 6th-12th graders at a disciplinary campus. i'm teaching kids who are what i call "the roughies and toughies, the cussers and fussers." they're not bad kids really, quite intelligent in many respects, but totally turned off to teachers, school and learning. they have very good reasons for that, i understand their reasons, and i try and coax them back onto the path of becoming critical thinkers and doers and lifelong learners. but they have to make the effort. i see their position vis-a-vis the institution of school as parallel to that of many very well educated adults in our society and their relationship to politicals, i.e. turned off, cynical, disengaged, fatalistic, pessimistic, helpless, angry.

        i kinda disagree with your diary, but i'm gonna rec it anyhow, for the sake of discussion. also, my training is in mathematics and the sciences, but i'm a huge fan of Terry Eagleton's brand of litcrit. he's one of my intellectual fathers, along with Chomsky. i highly recommend his wonderful "Why Marx Was Right" which was just published. peace

        "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

        by poemworld on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 12:01:04 PM PDT

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