PS 411

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nicole
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Re: PS 411

Post by nicole » 01 Jun 2017, 09:30

JasonL wrote:I think the critique of socialization in schools is somewhat overstated in these parts. I think it is hard for kids who lack social skills to swim in the deep waters of middle and high school. My middle school years were the worst of my childhood, but it is unclear to me that an ability to hide from it would have made me a better person. I see this somewhat like people who are bad at math saying they were scarred by highschool math classes. Could be. People making you feel stupid. Still and all, gotta go in there and see how to navigate what you can. I suspect nerdly type people who had the ability to avoid completely the unpleasantness of bad social settings are going to be worse people not better. Being able to navigate the environment is a thing that matters.
My critique, just to be clear, was of the lie that schools are for something other than socialization, namely, academic instruction. I believe that is a lie that hurts many of the people who participate. For example, I tend to think I would have been better off had people not told me school was for learning. Essentially, I was told, "School is for X," and I thought, "That's great, I love X." But there was all this Y and Z going on, which in my mind was nothing but "things getting in the way of X." That means that I basically viewed all other students, and generally other people, as "in the way." A contemptible distraction that, I was told, would eventually go away! Eventually those people will fall away and you will actually get to do the thing you like, which is important and matters in the world. These were lies. So I think it is at least plausible that I would have less negative feelings for other people if school had been presented in a more realistic way.

(Of course, I also kind of don't think that, because I think that I really do dislike spending time with/being exposed to other people more than average, and that an outlier along these lines, like I suspect I am, would hate the socialization no matter how it was presented. And I view socialization as an evil and a major reason why no one should have kids.)

And I don't think I was anything that could be described as lacking social skills, and really not nerdy at all either, at least not superficially. There was stuff I wanted to do, stuff I cared about, stuff that was interesting, and spending 6-7 hours with all these kids and teachers was *in my fucking way.* Spending tons of my valuable time on something I didn't like and didn't want to do. It felt like constantly being robbed. Every time someone asked a stupid question, it was like, I felt like they owed me something for making me listen to it and the answer, for wasting my life on their boringness.
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Re: PS 411

Post by Mo » 01 Jun 2017, 09:39

Shem wrote:
JasonL wrote:I'm a bit more optimistic about the impact of quality instruction at the margin in k-12. It's at least counter intuitive that students would learn no more with movie watching coach guy than inspirational super engaged top techniques lady. I'd be much happier if we all agreed that's what we should be trying to measure.

I'd be much much happier if the promise of k-12 included some kind of path for non college graduates into trades or whatnot.

I overall agree that you can't probably fix bad home bad neighborhood bad friends trifecta no matter how good the teacher is. I think the goal is something like, among the kids who are committed to overcoming those things, can we get them quality educations? That's first. Second order would be "can we get modestly engaged median students in bad environments some kind of skill path".
Could do like they do at some schools in Japan and sort classes based on academic performance. You'd also probably have to have teachers move rooms instead of students, and standardize course offerings a lot more than they are now, but it'd do better at getting the top 80% educated. Of course, you could never actually do it, because the parents of the bottom 20% would freak out, but it'd go a lot further toward your goal than what we have now.
Doesn't high school somewhat work like this, albeit with more coarse sorting. For basically all the core courses at my high school, there were at least two levels, honors and regular and sometimes three, honors, AP and regular. And aside from English, for the most part there were students of multiple grades in those classes. For example, honors Spanish 3 or AP physics had sophomores through seniors in them.
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Re: PS 411

Post by JasonL » 01 Jun 2017, 09:41

I would say that self motivated smart kids have different needs than what is supplied by most public schools. I would also say that most kids are pretty stupid about what they want and I would not forego mandatory exposure as an element of education overall. That is, you ideally get time to pursue some learning passion, but you do so in the context of having to be able to add and read and think critically and suffer general exposure to things that aren't your favorite things.

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Re: PS 411

Post by JasonL » 01 Jun 2017, 09:43

Mo wrote:
Shem wrote:
JasonL wrote:I'm a bit more optimistic about the impact of quality instruction at the margin in k-12. It's at least counter intuitive that students would learn no more with movie watching coach guy than inspirational super engaged top techniques lady. I'd be much happier if we all agreed that's what we should be trying to measure.

I'd be much much happier if the promise of k-12 included some kind of path for non college graduates into trades or whatnot.

I overall agree that you can't probably fix bad home bad neighborhood bad friends trifecta no matter how good the teacher is. I think the goal is something like, among the kids who are committed to overcoming those things, can we get them quality educations? That's first. Second order would be "can we get modestly engaged median students in bad environments some kind of skill path".
Could do like they do at some schools in Japan and sort classes based on academic performance. You'd also probably have to have teachers move rooms instead of students, and standardize course offerings a lot more than they are now, but it'd do better at getting the top 80% educated. Of course, you could never actually do it, because the parents of the bottom 20% would freak out, but it'd go a lot further toward your goal than what we have now.
Doesn't high school somewhat work like this, albeit with more coarse sorting. For basically all the core courses at my high school, there were at least two levels, honors and regular and sometimes three, honors, AP and regular. And aside from English, for the most part there were students of multiple grades in those classes. For example, honors Spanish 3 or AP physics had sophomores through seniors in them.
We don't take it as seriously as many other countries who do pathing. Curriculum is one thing, the whole experience of school is different by path in other places. Some people start doing exploratory learning or engineering projects and others start learning trades. We kind of do read this english text that's easy or that one that's hard but the model is essentially the same.

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Re: PS 411

Post by nicole » 01 Jun 2017, 09:47

Mo wrote:
Shem wrote:
JasonL wrote:I'm a bit more optimistic about the impact of quality instruction at the margin in k-12. It's at least counter intuitive that students would learn no more with movie watching coach guy than inspirational super engaged top techniques lady. I'd be much happier if we all agreed that's what we should be trying to measure.

I'd be much much happier if the promise of k-12 included some kind of path for non college graduates into trades or whatnot.

I overall agree that you can't probably fix bad home bad neighborhood bad friends trifecta no matter how good the teacher is. I think the goal is something like, among the kids who are committed to overcoming those things, can we get them quality educations? That's first. Second order would be "can we get modestly engaged median students in bad environments some kind of skill path".
Could do like they do at some schools in Japan and sort classes based on academic performance. You'd also probably have to have teachers move rooms instead of students, and standardize course offerings a lot more than they are now, but it'd do better at getting the top 80% educated. Of course, you could never actually do it, because the parents of the bottom 20% would freak out, but it'd go a lot further toward your goal than what we have now.
Doesn't high school somewhat work like this, albeit with more coarse sorting. For basically all the core courses at my high school, there were at least two levels, honors and regular and sometimes three, honors, AP and regular. And aside from English, for the most part there were students of multiple grades in those classes. For example, honors Spanish 3 or AP physics had sophomores through seniors in them.
It was the same type of breakdown at my high school but it was too coarse to be meaningful. All the AP classes still had 28 kids in them. But if you took the example of AP Calculus, well, there was an AB class with 24 kids, and a BC class with 4. If you could have had those 4 only for everything, that would have about done the trick. But not only was that not the case, even in the calculus class...well, those 4 kids were in a room with the other 24, and I'll let you guess who the teacher was spending time with.
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Re: PS 411

Post by nicole » 01 Jun 2017, 09:49

JasonL wrote:I would say that self motivated smart kids have different needs than what is supplied by most public schools. I would also say that most kids are pretty stupid about what they want and I would not forego mandatory exposure as an element of education overall. That is, you ideally get time to pursue some learning passion, but you do so in the context of having to be able to add and read and think critically and suffer general exposure to things that aren't your favorite things.
Right. When I was talking about this with Ll the other evening, I was saying it mostly seemed to me that if your needs were outside the median, they're not going to be met. Again, I think transparency would help.
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Re: PS 411

Post by Mo » 01 Jun 2017, 10:43

JasonL wrote:
Mo wrote:
Shem wrote:
JasonL wrote:I'm a bit more optimistic about the impact of quality instruction at the margin in k-12. It's at least counter intuitive that students would learn no more with movie watching coach guy than inspirational super engaged top techniques lady. I'd be much happier if we all agreed that's what we should be trying to measure.

I'd be much much happier if the promise of k-12 included some kind of path for non college graduates into trades or whatnot.

I overall agree that you can't probably fix bad home bad neighborhood bad friends trifecta no matter how good the teacher is. I think the goal is something like, among the kids who are committed to overcoming those things, can we get them quality educations? That's first. Second order would be "can we get modestly engaged median students in bad environments some kind of skill path".
Could do like they do at some schools in Japan and sort classes based on academic performance. You'd also probably have to have teachers move rooms instead of students, and standardize course offerings a lot more than they are now, but it'd do better at getting the top 80% educated. Of course, you could never actually do it, because the parents of the bottom 20% would freak out, but it'd go a lot further toward your goal than what we have now.
Doesn't high school somewhat work like this, albeit with more coarse sorting. For basically all the core courses at my high school, there were at least two levels, honors and regular and sometimes three, honors, AP and regular. And aside from English, for the most part there were students of multiple grades in those classes. For example, honors Spanish 3 or AP physics had sophomores through seniors in them.
We don't take it as seriously as many other countries who do pathing. Curriculum is one thing, the whole experience of school is different by path in other places. Some people start doing exploratory learning or engineering projects and others start learning trades. We kind of do read this english text that's easy or that one that's hard but the model is essentially the same.
My high school, back in the day, had a lot of trade focused courses. There was wood/metal/auto shop, drafting and other courses of that sort. It wasn't a "track" per se, but it offered the options.
nicole wrote:It was the same type of breakdown at my high school but it was too coarse to be meaningful. All the AP classes still had 28 kids in them. But if you took the example of AP Calculus, well, there was an AB class with 24 kids, and a BC class with 4. If you could have had those 4 only for everything, that would have about done the trick. But not only was that not the case, even in the calculus class...well, those 4 kids were in a room with the other 24, and I'll let you guess who the teacher was spending time with.
We did something similar at my school and for physics, the teacher had an additional AM, pre-school session for those that wanted more advanced AP Physics instruction. But point taken. I know that at my school, teachers received a bonus for AP passes and higher scores received higher payouts, so the incentive was to focus on the ones sure to pass to raise their scores.
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Re: PS 411

Post by Highway » 01 Jun 2017, 10:53

I actually had more high school shop time as a "Science and Tech" student at my pre-magnet school than most of my contemporaries, including the ones who would have typically benefitted from shop class. Woodworking, engine rebuilding, drafting, metalworking, welding, etc.
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Re: PS 411

Post by Hugh Akston » 01 Jun 2017, 11:09

There's nothing inherently putting socialization and learning at odds. Indeed, a supportive community interested in the same stuff can make learning easier and more enjoyable. Public schools fail at both aspects because they treats kids as numbers rather than persons. You would have to structure discovery learning (or whatever alternative models) so that everyone learns some foundational basics, and so they interact with people outside their bubble, but even without those considerations it would be a vast improvement on the status quo.
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Re: PS 411

Post by nicole » 01 Jun 2017, 11:10

Mo wrote:
nicole wrote:It was the same type of breakdown at my high school but it was too coarse to be meaningful. All the AP classes still had 28 kids in them. But if you took the example of AP Calculus, well, there was an AB class with 24 kids, and a BC class with 4. If you could have had those 4 only for everything, that would have about done the trick. But not only was that not the case, even in the calculus class...well, those 4 kids were in a room with the other 24, and I'll let you guess who the teacher was spending time with.
We did something similar at my school and for physics, the teacher had an additional AM, pre-school session for those that wanted more advanced AP Physics instruction. But point taken. I know that at my school, teachers received a bonus for AP passes and higher scores received higher payouts, so the incentive was to focus on the ones sure to pass to raise their scores.
That's interesting. I didn't even think to mention it, but almost no one took any of the AP exams at my school. Like, maybe 3-4 kids took any given exam, at most. I would almost say we were discouraged from taking the exams, because it was assumed that people would not pass and thus it was just a waste of time and money. There was lots of talk about how colleges don't really accept the results and stuff. (I earned 30 credits from McG from my AP exams.)

AP class offerings had just recently expanded at this point as well and followed the same model I saw in my gifted and talented classes in elementary and middle school -- the school wanted to get as many people into these classes as it could, watering them down. The size of my gifted class doubled late in elementary school, and again halfway through middle school. (These were weekly one-hour pullout classes, not like a whole program thing.)
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Re: PS 411

Post by nicole » 01 Jun 2017, 11:11

Hugh Akston wrote:There's nothing inherently putting socialization and learning at odds. Indeed, a supportive community interested in the same stuff can make learning easier and more enjoyable. Public schools fail at both aspects because they treats kids as numbers rather than persons. You would have to structure discovery learning (or whatever alternative models) so that everyone learns some foundational basics, and so they interact with people outside their bubble, but even without those considerations it would be a vast improvement on the status quo.
:thinky-face:
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Re: PS 411

Post by Hugh Akston » 01 Jun 2017, 11:18

nicole wrote:
Hugh Akston wrote:There's nothing inherently putting socialization and learning at odds. Indeed, a supportive community interested in the same stuff can make learning easier and more enjoyable. Public schools fail at both aspects because they treats kids as numbers rather than persons. You would have to structure discovery learning (or whatever alternative models) so that everyone learns some foundational basics, and so they interact with people outside their bubble, but even without those considerations it would be a vast improvement on the status quo.
:thinky-face:
The first aspect would be the primary goal, obvs. But I would worry about the second thing as well if I were guiding a curriculum. The world is full of different kinds of people, and if you just ensconce in your bubble you end up with covfefe.
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Re: PS 411

Post by nicole » 01 Jun 2017, 11:35

Hugh Akston wrote:
nicole wrote:
Hugh Akston wrote:There's nothing inherently putting socialization and learning at odds. Indeed, a supportive community interested in the same stuff can make learning easier and more enjoyable. Public schools fail at both aspects because they treats kids as numbers rather than persons. You would have to structure discovery learning (or whatever alternative models) so that everyone learns some foundational basics, and so they interact with people outside their bubble, but even without those considerations it would be a vast improvement on the status quo.
:thinky-face:
The first aspect would be the primary goal, obvs. But I would worry about the second thing as well if I were guiding a curriculum. The world is full of different kinds of people, and if you just ensconce in your bubble you end up with covfefe.
But...doesn't that suggest that socialization and academic learning are at odds?
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Re: PS 411

Post by nicole » 01 Jun 2017, 11:36

Just happened to get linked to this on Twitter. It's mind-blowing.
Recently I asked my AP English Language students to write an argumentative essay about individuality and conformity in U.S. schools. They're teenagers, so I expected some pushback about school, but I wasn't at all prepared for the number of compositions focused on oppressive school culture. One student, Anna, wrote, "Public schools are no more than glorified prisons with pretty decorations in place of barbed wire. The tension created by overbearing and outrageous regulations, curriculum and conformity pull on students until they have been stripped of all individuality and feel nothing but exhaustion."

Her scathing account of public school haunted me. I expected that Anna would find school freeing, even enlightening. And I wondered: How is it that a well-rounded, popular and academically strong student equates school with prison? Is this just hyperbole?

Looking for answers, I shared Anna's words with some colleagues, but I got no love there either.

"Are you sure she is speaking about students and not teachers?" one asked.

"Wow. This is exactly how I feel as a teacher," another told me.

Then this one: "I thought only teachers felt that heaviness."
Ah, yes, it's the people who are voluntarily there who feel they are imprisoned. Who would have thought the people who are literally forced to be there would feel that way?

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teache ... s_val.html
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Re: PS 411

Post by Hugh Akston » 01 Jun 2017, 11:46

nicole wrote:
Hugh Akston wrote:
nicole wrote:
Hugh Akston wrote:There's nothing inherently putting socialization and learning at odds. Indeed, a supportive community interested in the same stuff can make learning easier and more enjoyable. Public schools fail at both aspects because they treats kids as numbers rather than persons. You would have to structure discovery learning (or whatever alternative models) so that everyone learns some foundational basics, and so they interact with people outside their bubble, but even without those considerations it would be a vast improvement on the status quo.
:thinky-face:
The first aspect would be the primary goal, obvs. But I would worry about the second thing as well if I were guiding a curriculum. The world is full of different kinds of people, and if you just ensconce in your bubble you end up with covfefe.
But...doesn't that suggest that socialization and academic learning are at odds?
They can be at odds or they can be mutually reinforcing, depending on the situation. I get how burnouts making fart noises or jocks shoving you in your locker are distractions from learning, but surely being surrounded by people who are all passionate about a subject can push you to learn even more.

Unless you believe the whole world is inherently your enemy, in which case there's no convincing argument to be made.
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Re: PS 411

Post by nicole » 01 Jun 2017, 11:51

Hugh Akston wrote:
nicole wrote:
Hugh Akston wrote:
nicole wrote:
Hugh Akston wrote:There's nothing inherently putting socialization and learning at odds. Indeed, a supportive community interested in the same stuff can make learning easier and more enjoyable. Public schools fail at both aspects because they treats kids as numbers rather than persons. You would have to structure discovery learning (or whatever alternative models) so that everyone learns some foundational basics, and so they interact with people outside their bubble, but even without those considerations it would be a vast improvement on the status quo.
:thinky-face:
The first aspect would be the primary goal, obvs. But I would worry about the second thing as well if I were guiding a curriculum. The world is full of different kinds of people, and if you just ensconce in your bubble you end up with covfefe.
But...doesn't that suggest that socialization and academic learning are at odds?
They can be at odds or they can be mutually reinforcing, depending on the situation. I get how burnouts making fart noises or jocks shoving you in your locker are distractions from learning, but surely being surrounded by people who are all passionate about a subject can push you to learn even more.

Unless you believe the whole world is inherently your enemy, in which case there's no convincing argument to be made.
I do think that being surrounded by people who are all passionate about a subject can push you to learn even more. But those are not the people who are outside your bubble. Those are the people who are inside your bubble.

I only believe that like 99% of the world is my enemy.
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Re: PS 411

Post by Warren » 01 Jun 2017, 11:54

I'm not against socialization. I just think it can be done better than "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. From this point forward you will service the collective."
Perhaps in a multi-generational tribal atmosphere.
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Re: PS 411

Post by Sandy » 01 Jun 2017, 12:16

My anecdotal experience is that people who grew up in a supportive but not helicopter environment tend to be more resilient at dealing with the bullies, bros, and slimy salesmen of the adult world, whether or not that was in a really good public school or through home schooling.
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Re: PS 411

Post by JasonL » 01 Jun 2017, 13:07

I know we differ strongly on this, but kids are stupid and think everything is a prison because they aren't treated as adults because they aren't.

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Re: PS 411

Post by nicole » 01 Jun 2017, 13:11

JasonL wrote:I know we differ strongly on this, but kids are stupid and think everything is a prison because they aren't treated as adults because they aren't.
It's probably less because they aren't treated as adults and more because they are literally imprisoned.
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Re: PS 411

Post by JasonL » 01 Jun 2017, 13:14

Right. Being imprisoned is part of being a kid. There are tweaks we can make here and there, but the essence of not being treated as an adult is you don't get to do what you want.

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Re: PS 411

Post by Warren » 01 Jun 2017, 13:27

JasonL wrote:Right. Being imprisoned is part of being a kid. There are tweaks we can make here and there, but the essence of not being treated as an adult is you don't get to do what you want.
School was a prison. Summer was more of a penal colony. I could roam freely within limits.
As a boy, I don't believe any restrictions were put on my father. But being rural poor was it's own punishment. There was work to be done, and if it wasn't done, he didn't eat. School was a privilege much enjoyed.
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Re: PS 411

Post by nicole » 01 Jun 2017, 13:34

JasonL wrote:Right. Being imprisoned is part of being a kid. There are tweaks we can make here and there, but the essence of not being treated as an adult is you don't get to do what you want.
I just find it...odd that the brainwashing that "This makes sense and is reasonable" works on so many people. Like, why? Why would you stop feeling the way you did as a kid, and decide that what was done to you was reasonable and justifiable, unless it was as part of you doing it to someone else and continuing the circle of abuse?

It's like when my parents told me that eventually I would like having a brother but never presented any like, mechanism for that to happen. Why would that have happened? Why would I change my mind about these things just because I got older?
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Re: PS 411

Post by Hugh Akston » 01 Jun 2017, 13:42

Habituation is a helluva drug
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Re: PS 411

Post by Aresen » 01 Jun 2017, 13:44

Warren wrote:I'm not against socialization. I just think it can be done better than "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. From this point forward you will service the collective."
Perhaps in a multi-generational tribal atmosphere.
???
Small town/tribal culture is especially stultifying. The smaller the group, the smaller the range of 'acceptable' behaviors. Many of the most offensive texts in Leviticus and Deuteronomy were the prejudices of small tribes of sheep herders.
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