Web lists-archives.com

Re: King Donald

On 2017-02-06 08:22, Disaster Master wrote:
On 2/5/2017, 3:21:39 PM, Wolf K. <wolfmac@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On 2017-02-05 15:01, Sailfish wrote:
My bloviated meandering follows what Disaster Master graced us with on
2/5/2017 10:48 AM:
On 2/4/2017, 4:17:46 AM, Ron Hunter <rphunter@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
In my limited experience, larger classrooms generate poorer results.
Ideal class size is 12 to 15.  I have had as many as 48!  Unmanageable!
I think such a blanket statement belies erroneous thinking.
Ooops, DM is saying the opposite of what he means.

No clue what you mean by that.

"belies" means "falsifies", ie, erroneous --> correct.

Different people learn differently, and 'modern' educational systems
simply cannot take this into account.
The reason this fact of life is not taken into account is that dealing
with students in terms of their differences is damn expensive. That's
why private schools that offer such individualised learning cost more.

And again, you are trying to compare the existing systems to what I'm
talking about - developing entirely new systems.

If you knew the history of teaching/learning, plus the research on it, you'd know that entirely new-to-you systems and methods in fact exist, and have been tried.

Garsh, maybe it would result in something even your obviously keen
intellect hasn't thought of yet.

I don't rely on my own keen intellect. I have this tendency to "waste time" reading about things whose relevance my keen intellect can't really seeat the moment.

I used to tell my students: "There is nos such thing as a useless fact. Sooner or later, it will serve to link two other facts." Of course, "later" may come after you're dead.

BTW, Dear Disaster Master, Finland (like all Scandinavian countries)
solves a major difference by assessing all children starting at around
age 3-4, and admitting them to school when they are ready for it. They
have staggered intake to make that possible.

Sounds like an interesting idea worth pursuing, and one that I think
would be naturally discovered if it wasn't already there to be emulated.

It was in fact "naturally discovered". Kindergarten teachers were and are in fact taught to "take account" of the huge range of "learning readiness". Why? Because it's expensive to do it the right way. The right way has been advocated in the USA at least since the 196os, when even Reader's Digest published articles arguing for both smaller primary school classes and delayed admission for the late developers. Unfortunately, parents didn't like that. "Delayed admission" meant their kid didn't have a keen intellect to brag about.

In the typical US 1st grade
you have as much as one year chronological age differences, and often
double that in developmental differences. IOW, a 15% to 30% difference
in readiness to learn. But of course you wouldn't waste your time
finding that out. You already know all you need to know.

Where, dear Wolf, have I ever said I know everything about the subject
matter? All I've been saying is that we need to free up the system and
allow it to develop new systems based on trial and error, with the
understanding that while many experiments will be failures, fantastic
new systems will be developed, as long as the systems have the power to
quickly self-correct.

There speaks the engineer. Children are now widgets. A school is not an assembly line. The effects of changes in primary school won't show up until secondary school, and some not until later,by which time it's too late to "self-correct". Not to mention the effects of the environment, which always outweigh those of the school.

Also, while I haven't said it (as I thought it went without saying), we
wouldn't be starting from a blank slate. As you have pointed out, there
are already vastly better systems out there that we could use as
starting points.

The main points I'm making are, the entire concept that these systems
need to be imposed from on high at gun point needs to be abolished, shot
in the head, dead and buried forever.

Well, if you leave it up to the locals, you will get patchwork of awful, OK and excellent. That's because locals value things like low taxes more than education, and many of them don't want to spend money on education the competition.

Three anecdotes to illustrate that point (you can find statistics on Alfie Kohn's website to support part of that complex point):

a) Back in the 1970s, we subscribed to a concert series in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. This series was combined with the series in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. The Michigan concerts were held in their high school, a lovely early 1900s building with an elegant auditorium with gorgeous acoustics. One time, I chatted with a teacher there. I'd asked about piles of textbooks stacked up in the area outside the Principal's office. These books were handed out every day _as needed_ in different classes, and gathered up again, because the school didn't have enough money to lend a book to each student. Why? Because the locals refused to vote increases in the school tax. A few years later, it got even worse: Schools in many parts of Michigan were closed in February and March, because the boards ran out of money.

b) I gave a talk to a Rotary Club many years ago, about why teachers deserve professional autonomy and salaries. (Both, but especially autonomy, were and are much higher in Ontario than in any State whose education system I have knowledge of.) Afterwards, one of the visiting members (a lawyer) suggested to me that we were educating too many people: He was quite clearly worried that some of those "too many" would compete with his children for places at University.

c) My daughter moved to Brownsville, Texas, a couple of decades ago. (She's a nurse). One of the things she noticed early on was that Brownsville citizens voted to raise school tax when asked. To judge from my grandchildren's schooling there, the Brownsville system works very well. For the record: for one half of a school year, she enrolled one son in a charter school, believing it would do a better job. One half-year only, please note.

Have a good day,

Wolf K.
It's called "opinion" because it's not knowledge.
general mailing list