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Old December 9th, 2012, 05:37 AM   #11

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The ratio isn't likely to improve in the near term. Sorry to say. However, I would simply interject the idea that, while Internet skills are great, good focused reading comprehension comes from books. However that skill can be taught, the better for the student. I am also really passionate that writing skills should be practiced in all courses. History being a fantastic forum as it provides subject matter readily available at the library.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 03:27 PM   #12

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Given my particular student body –high school (9-12) students considered high risk—I have found that teaching is over-rated. Instead we are all learning.

I have created grids of assignments that incorporate the revised Bloom’s taxonomy and Gardner’s multiple intelligences. Since I have students of all levels of achievement as well as different grades, studying different subjects, I found that giving each student, or sometimes teams of 2 or 3, individual research projects works best.

They are with me for 90 min blocks and can work with pre-selected books, and computers to create whatever they think conveys their learning best. I do have small classes though, given my particular circumstances, the largest class ever was 12, usually I have around 5-8. Students range from gifted to MR, but all have behavioral issues to deal with as well. All I do once they are set up with their assigned project is move from individual to individual and see how things are. At the end of the week, we then present and talk about what we just did.

For my students project based learning is highly successful.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 03:35 PM   #13

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I think that both methods should be used. Both have different pros and cons, and both can greatly help a student.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 03:46 PM   #14

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silkroad View Post
Given my particular student body –high school (9-12) students considered high risk—I have found that teaching is over-rated. Instead we are all learning.

I have created grids of assignments that incorporate the revised Bloom’s taxonomy and Gardner’s multiple intelligences. Since I have students of all levels of achievement as well as different grades, studying different subjects, I found that giving each student, or sometimes teams of 2 or 3, individual research projects works best.

They are with me for 90 min blocks and can work with pre-selected books, and computers to create whatever they think conveys their learning best. I do have small classes though, given my particular circumstances, the largest class ever was 12, usually I have around 5-8. Students range from gifted to MR, but all have behavioral issues to deal with as well. All I do once they are set up with their assigned project is move from individual to individual and see how things are. At the end of the week, we then present and talk about what we just did.

For my students project based learning is highly successful.
I also believe this method is highly successful. It is more rigorous (its usually high on the new revised Bloom's) and, in my opinion, produces more critical thinkers than the traditional regurgitation of information. I applaud your efforts to produce a highly rigorous classroom setting.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 06:34 PM   #15
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As my instructor likes to say, what we're lacking is sitzfleisch. I feel that open-book/open-laptop will only exacerbate an already accelerating and regrettable incidence among students (myself included) to forego the type of critical, even introspective, thinking in exchange for 'easy-outs.'
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Old December 12th, 2012, 02:39 PM   #16

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I also believe this method is highly successful. It is more rigorous (its usually high on the new revised Bloom's) and, in my opinion, produces more critical thinkers than the traditional regurgitation of information. I applaud your efforts to produce a highly rigorous classroom setting.


Thanks. The best part is that the kids are self-motivated and are actually eager to get their work done so they can move on and do another project. We can also experiment with technology, albeit in a strictly controlled setting. That is the big drawback, but given our setting we do what we can with what we have.

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As my instructor likes to say, what we're lacking is sitzfleisch. I feel that open-book/open-laptop will only exacerbate an already accelerating and regrettable incidence among students (myself included) to forego the type of critical, even introspective, thinking in exchange for 'easy-outs.'


Sure, the sitzfleisch may be lacking, but we have to roll with that, because the good old days are not coming back. The choice is between helping them to learn and insisting that they do things the way we did.

I noticed that when I used to give open book tests, the kids actually had to put in the effort to find the answers and think about what they were going to use for their essay questions rather than rely on short term memory so they could regurgitate info they barely comprehended but were able to parrot.
Researching answers is harder than memorizing. Also, why would they need to memorize anecdotal bits of data when in real life we do use computers and research what we need to know rather than clutter our minds with things that do not interest us or things that are utterly useless?

I found that those who have an interest in a field will pursue it with enthusiasm when let off the leash and given the opportunity to do some independent work. The quality of their work is higher and their interest in the subject can infect others to do likewise projects for themselves rather than for a grade.

There are of course a few who need more structure—at least in my setting. (I only have kids with IEPs). They usually team up with a partner of get more one-on-one with me.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 03:15 PM   #17
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Sure, the sitzfleisch may be lacking, but we have to roll with that, because the good old days are not coming back. The choice is between helping them to learn and insisting that they do things the way we did.

I noticed that when I used to give open book tests, the kids actually had to put in the effort to find the answers and think about what they were going to use for their essay questions rather than rely on short term memory so they could regurgitate info they barely comprehended but were able to parrot.


I say this with all the love and respect in the world, but what is the difference between regurgitating a bit of research a student picked off a blog and regurgitating a bit of research they remember off a blog? If we're conceding that memorization is parroting, and that is a bad thing, I don't see why switching the means makes any difference if we're ending up with the same 'parrot.'

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Researching answers is harder than memorizing. Also, why would they need to memorize anecdotal bits of data when in real life we do use computers and research what we need to know rather than clutter our minds with things that do not interest us or things that are utterly useless?


I agree with you, but that brings up an interesting question: why should we clutter so many students minds with any education at all? If they're memorizing temporal, ancedotal and ultimately useless bits of formulae they don't understand why is pulling it off the internet any different? If we're going to go down the route of not 'burdening' students with the ''utterly useless'' I think we should throw the vast majority in a technical school.


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I found that those who have an interest in a field will pursue it with enthusiasm when let off the leash and given the opportunity to do some independent work. The quality of their work is higher and their interest in the subject can infect others to do likewise projects for themselves rather than for a grade.

Of course the quality of the result is higher, but I fail to see how it can be considered their's or even 'work.'
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Old December 13th, 2012, 02:15 PM   #18

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I say this with all the love and respect in the world, but what is the difference between regurgitating a bit of research a student picked off a blog and regurgitating a bit of research they remember off a blog? If we're conceding that memorization is parroting, and that is a bad thing, I don't see why switching the means makes any difference if we're ending up with the same 'parrot.'


It’s in the process, that’s where the difference is. If I ask students to work through a textbook and do the appropriate assessments, they know that all they have to do is memorize enough to pass a test.


If they have to do their own research in order to answer a few essay questions, or produce a report including visuals and analysis they have to learn how to research, evaluate sources of information and draw conclusions. Once they present their findings, it’s open for discussion and Q&A. That’s a whole different skill set.


Quote:
I agree with you, but that brings up an interesting question: why should we clutter so many students minds with any education at all? If they're memorizing temporal, ancedotal and ultimately useless bits of formulae they don't understand why is pulling it off the internet any different? If we're going to go down the route of not 'burdening' students with the ''utterly useless'' I think we should throw the vast majority in a technical school.

Let’s look at the clutter. Let’s start with math. I assume that you agree that math is a useful tool to have in case you want to figure out how much money you have after making a purchase, or whatever. Once you know basic math you could stop. But the reality is that basic anything is not good enough anymore and anyone who wants to eventually work for a living needs a bit more than the times-table and the ability to figure out how to cut a pie into 8 equal pieces. So students drudge on. Then there is the hidden curriculum. Here math is important because it teaches how to think in a logical sequence, how to think in abstract terms. Those are skills that are useful to have beyond school.

Language skills are important for communication, written, oral, visual makes no difference. If I cannot express myself appropriately I will have problems later on when I need to be self-sufficient.

How about social studies? Well, here are the most problems since many assume that history is unimportant and irrelevant. But why do we insist on children learning about the past, government, economics, geography? It bores them—not all, else we would not be here, but I have heard the complaints often enough to know that many don’t see any value in such subjects. Again, past the obvious, there is the hidden curriculum. We teach these subjects to instill a sense of continuity and a core national identity.

I can go on, but I think that is not necessary.
Quote:
Of course the quality of the result is higher, but I fail to see how it can be considered their's or even 'work.'

Why can it not be considered theirs? They defined the issue, found supporting or non-supporting evidence, argued their point, defended their position, provided supporting material, and defended it. How Is that not work? Watching them and working with them has proven to me that it is significantly more work than memorizing a text for a test.

And the old adage still holds true too: knowledge is power. No learning goes to waste.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 04:30 PM   #19

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How about social studies? Well, here are the most problems since many assume that history is unimportant and irrelevant. But why do we insist on children learning about the past, government, economics, geography? It bores them—not all, else we would not be here, but I have heard the complaints often enough to know that many don’t see any value in such subjects. Again, past the obvious, there is the hidden curriculum. We teach these subjects to instill a sense of continuity and a core national identity.
Yes, there are a lot of people and teachers who believe Social Studies is irrelevant due to our current educational system (the focus being on reading, writing, math, and science). However, teaching Social Studies is a lot more than simple memorization. In fact, I can provide evidence within my own classroom that demonstrates history being taught based on a methdological approach rather than the regurgitation of information. If anyone would like to see what we do, simply ask me

I will say that I do disagree with your last sentence. I tend to equate what we teach to the Humanities. Kids need to understand where we come from and how we've managed to overcome adversity. In a sense, we tend to provide students with a taste for the "human spirit". It is within this context that kids understand important social terms such as interdependence, community, family, and cultural competency. In my view, its more about the failures and successes of humans as they've evolved over time rather than teaching to a specific national identity (though I will agree that this does happen).
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Old December 13th, 2012, 05:11 PM   #20

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I say this with all the love and respect in the world, but what is the difference between regurgitating a bit of research a student picked off a blog and regurgitating a bit of research they remember off a blog? If we're conceding that memorization is parroting, and that is a bad thing, I don't see why switching the means makes any difference if we're ending up with the same 'parrot.'

But we're not ending up with the same "parrot". We're ending up with something totally different. Think of it this way:

Let's say I tell my class that we're learning about Alexander the Great this week. I stand in front of the class and tell kids about Alexander and his major accomplishments. Then I test them at the end of the week about everything they've heard about Alexander. This is certainly parroting because I've asked them to simply write down or listen to me about the history of Alexander.


Now let's take a different approach to the topic. Instead of me telling them about Alexander, I ask them to answer the following question: Does Alexander of Macedon deserve the title of "great"? What I've done now is turned topic into something more meaningful, relevant, and rigorous. The begin to investigate and discover the reasons why Alexander is consider great. Further, they have to really think about the term "great" and its meaning in connection with Alexander. The topic now becomes a very sophisticated analysis on the legacies/achievements of Alexander versus his many character flaws. More importantly, they are a variety of skills that they need to master...research, critical thinking, and problem solving. This, in my opinion, is the ultimate goal of an educator; having them master those essential skills.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that memorization is the old way of doing things...even in history. The movement is more toward project based learning which tends to create more critical thinkers and problem solvers. Whether an assessment has an open-book or open-laptop is a good thing because it does tend to build research skills, problem solving skills, and critically thinking skills on how to locate important information. When you start getting into the more rigorous activities, those skills become an important part of a child's success.
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