Educational reforms

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Educational reforms

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1Toolroomtrustee
syyskuu 7, 2009, 5:56 pm

I am a former teacher and now a parent. Am I wrong to consider this article depressing? It lists seven topics currently on the educator chopping block, a list that includes long division and radial clocks.

http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=1964682

2Mark_Bell
joulukuu 29, 2009, 10:46 am

Hi,

I am currently an elementary special education facilitator. I read the article and found it quite interesting. I think that the proposed "changes" in the general curriculum fall under one of two categories: moving the content higher up on Bloom's Taxonomy and/or broadening the student experience in an attempt to make it more relevant.

Long division, radial clocks and logarithms are really just building blocks and belong at the bottom of the Taxonomy - if all we do is teach them and then move on to other content at the base of the Taxonomy then we have indeed done a disservice to our students. However, if we take those skills higher up the Taxonomy we have an opportunity to teach real life problem solving skills.

For example, I started my career as a home ec teacher and my students wanted to make a scale model out of gingerbread of the Pyramids at Giza. They ran into a problem when they realized that the height of the Pyramid would not be equal to the height of the triangle made as the side of the pyramid. When I instructed them to use the Pythagorean Theorum to solve their problem I got confused looks - and these were students in AP calculus. My last math class was in 1984 as a HS sophmore - and it wasn't calculus.

Here is an example of using higher critical skills to solve a problem.

As for the other category - broadening the student's experience - many schools have full vocational programs. Unfortunately, students become tracked in either the vocational or college bound rut. I would like to see much more cross over where students are required to take classes from each side in heterogeneous groupings - though it's difficult to heterogeneously group an advanced physics class if some of the students lack the math required.

As for Allowing the students to choose any book they read seems to be the extreme reaction to allowing them no choice at all. Why not offer a variety of texts that share a set of common themes, some from the cannon some more contemporary? Offering choice does not mean completely throwing open the doors. When I taught language arts to 8th grade students I would often offer 4 or 5 different books or versions of the same book and students did a pretty good job of choosing according to their ability level.

Cursive? well, we might need to say good bye to that. Sorry.

Hope my little rant helps.

Mark