J. Clarke wrote:
|| J. Clarke wrote:
||| The schools had those parents for 12 years and the thing that
||| amazes me is that those parents are willing to let that system
||| get its hands on _their_
|| Well, actually the parents don't have (or don't think they have) a
| Skipping country is always an option.
Well, I'm trying to figure out how we might improve our system.
Running away from problems hardly ever constitutes a solution. As much
as our educational system needs improvement, it's worth noting that
there are places in the world where universal education hasn't been a
priority. I left home after ninth grade because, at that time, there
was no tenth grade anywhere in the country where I was living.
||| First, shoot the "educators" and the education professors and the
||| education theorists and burn all the education texts and start
||| over with a clean slate--it would be difficult for them to do
||| worse than what we have now.
|| Even in Texas I don't think you can do that. It's important to
|| remember that no matter where you're going, you can only start from
|| where you are. I suspect (but don't actually know) that Texas'
|| educators could do a lot worse than is being done now. I'll also
|| guess that there are ways to make *huge*
|| spending very much.
| Of course there are, but does the theory on which educators are
| operating allow it?
I'm not familiar with "the theory". I am sure that at least some
states frameworks _do_
allow a certain amount of flexibility in how
educational objectives are met.
|| How many Texas school districts are tapping into local (volunteer)
|| resources to add substance to their programs? For example, the HISD
|| sits in what must be an ocean of "rocket scientists" and engineers
|| posessed of awesome math and computer skills - people who know for
|| a fact that with the right intellectual tools, not even the sky is
|| a limit. It's probably worth asking: "How many times in how many
|| years has the HISD tapped that wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm
|| so that it's students might catch fire?"
| Do any of those engineers and scientists have teaching certificates
| in math or "computer literacy"? If not then they aren't
| "qualified". My high school chemistry and physics teacher was
| associated with the Manhattan Project. One year she was not
| allowed to teach physics or chemistry because according to some
| piece of education-theoretical bureaucratic nonsense she wasn't
| "qualified", while Johnny Mac "the only physics I ever took was
| Ex-Lax" the football coach was according to the rules "qualfiied"
| and so he taught physics and chemistry.
In at least some states it's acceptable for non-certified persons to
contribute to the instructional program provided a regular teacher is
present. At least one state does not require the presence of the
regular teacher; and at least one state allows (or used to allow
non-certified persons to substitute on a limited-term (temporary)
basis for regular teachers.
This isn't new stuff. AFAIK, most schools tap their local police and
fire departments for help in presenting safety information - partly
because these people know what they're talking about; and partly for
the "wow" factor for the kids.
||| And this won't happen until the teachers actually _know_
||| first hand experience what value that knowledge has in their
||| world beyond school. And that can't happen as long as most
||| teachers go from school to teachers' college to teaching school
||| without ever once having to find out how to apply that knowledge
|| I don't want to hear someone say that this isn't a solvable
| The trouble is getting there from here without going somewhere else
The route _may_
turn out to be indirect; and that's ok provided that
it doesn't lead the young folks into danger. I said early-on that I
didn't know of any quick fixes.
|| All you're talking about here is getting teachers a little
|| exposure to the world outside their classrooms!
| First you have to convince the educational theorists that the
| teacher actually has to have such experience, until then they'll
| fight you tooth and claw.
Not necessarily true (unless you're going for a quick fix by making
sweeping changes). First we need to convince teachers and school
boards that such experience would be of significant benefit to
students and teachers; and we need to find some way to reward teachers
for expending the time and energy required. Cash would be good; but a
"golden apple" and enhanced professional/community standing might go a
|| Perhaps it'd be worth developing
|| an internship program and mandating three months of participation
|| in field-related work prior to granting a masters degree in
| How many teachers have a master's degree?
I've known a bunch; but have no idea of the actual number.
||| Oh, the kids know why they're taking the courses. Because each
||| one takes them one step closer to escaping from durance vile.
|| Regrettably each step along _this_
path leads down, rather than up.
| Unfortunately. Personally I maintained a good enough average to be
| accepted to Annapolis and Georgia Tech, but if someone had burned
| the school to the ground I'd have been the first to thank him.
|| Kids need to know that they're not wasting their time in school.
| To convince them of that first you have to be sure that they
wasting their time.
They aren't wasting their time - perhaps that's difficult to grasp if
you haven't lived in a country with a 10% literacy rate - the problems
lie in delivering the best return on their time and energy and helping
them to perceive the value of both their investment and the lifetime
return on that investment.
It's a real challenge. Kids see things in the short term and have
difficulty seeing beyond the immediate. One remedy (the only one I've
found) is to "grow" their knowledge at a pace such that they find
excitement in their own progress. My experience has been that once
kids discover that learning can be exciting, it's difficult to hold
'em back and the teaching challenge is to keep 'em from running into
|| kids, they need to experience some excitement in learning, they
|| need to feel the thrill of discovery - and, above all, they need to
|| recognize that they are capable of accomplishing worthwhile things.
is the path /up/!
| Oh, they recognize that they are capable of accomplishing worthwhile
| things. The trouble is that instead of accomplishing worthwhile
| things they're stuck in school.
And so the problem becomes one of _encouraging_
them to do worthwhile
school and to exert adult leadership in guiding them in
constructive directions while they're students. It's important to
always remember that kids are our intellectual equals - and that the
only "advantages" we have are the body of factual knowledge we've
acquired since we were in school and whatever wisdom (experience of
consequence) we managed to accumulate.
|||| only thing I did differently was to make sure they understood
we studied each topic and how mastering the course material
|||| might affect their lives. That tiny bit extra was all they
||| And that's the difference between you and a typical schoolteacher.
||| You actually _know_
how to apply that math to real-world problems.
|| So? Let's ask The Big Question: "What can be done to help
|| teachers-to-be gain that experience/perspective?"
| And the answer, alas, begins with shooting all the education
I think you're too focused on these (remote) theorists and need to
refocus on how we can better meet the educational needs of the kids in
front of us here and now.
| Of course there's also the "them as can do, them as can't teach"
| issue--any teacher who can get a job that gains that experience and
| perspective is unlikely to give it up to teach school.
I won't argue with you on that. Instead, let me say a couple of words
about my high school chemistry teacher: Doc Johnson was a scrawny
shiny-headed old guy who loved chemistry and after a long career as a
research chemist for either Dow or DuPont (I can't remember which) he
retired to share his love with young people. About the time he arrived
I decided that I'd rather take chemistry than biology, so ended up in
one of his first classes. I struggled all the way through the course
and was probably a PIA to have in class - but Doc prevailed and,
somehow, I managed a passing grade. There were three points worth
noting on the last day of class:  Doc Johnson never gave any sign
of disappointment in how I performed;  I wasn't terribly proud of
the grade I'd earned; and  neither Doc Johnson nor I had difficulty
recognizing that my knowledge of basic chemistry had grown
considerably since the previous September. I was glad the course was
over and put the memory of it behind me the following year as I
started in on physics...
...until time for college boards. I needed to take a science exam and
was only partway through my year of physics. I opted to take the
chemistry test only because I'd already finished the course; but I
hope to tell you that I had some serious misgivings. I didn't feel a
bit better after taking the exam and wondered how much damage I might
have done to my chances for getting into college.
Results arrived an eternity (probably only a couple of months) later.
I ran into Doc Johnson in the hallway (not realizing that the results
had also been made available to him) and got a big smile: "Nice job,
Morris. Your 798 was about what I'd expected. Keep up the good work,"
and he walked away down the hall.
There's a point to all this: Doc Johnson did, indeed, have a doctorate
in chemistry; and, no, he had no teaching credentials - but the fact
is that it is possible to both do _and_
teach - and to do both well.
DeSoto, Iowa USA