The Red Wheelbarrow
so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens.
Been thinking a lot about how to fix education in ways no one is willing to talk about.
Are our teachers “smart” enough? In Finland (one of the best educational systems in the world; by the way read Smartest Kids in the World)… there are 10 major teaching universities.. they are as hard to get in as US Ivy Leagues, Law School, Med School, etc.
So.. should we give IQ tests to teachers? What would the problems with that be? I know I don’t want someone sporting a <100 teaching my kid, do you?
Bussing… NYC spends 7k per kid on school bussing… We are promised a free education.. but are we promised a ride there? Eliminating buses would mean more teachers… more $ for tech…
Weekly Standardized testing… I know.. I know.. some people don’t like the idea of any standardized test.. what about going the other way.. what about kids taking tests every week and parents have access to individual student progress? Students measure against themselves..there’s an idea.. why measure students against other students.. all situations are different.
First of all, FULL disclosure. I don’t write cursive. I tried and tried.. but it just never stuck. I guess between my chicken scratch and my decent typing speed I’m doin’ ok… but I’m left wondering what I may have missed out on.
The Common Core does not include cursive. Many schools are completely doing away with it, too. But at what cost? Is it the right decision?
There is a multitude of research on the phenomenon of higher brain activity when writing cursive compared to print. It’s called functional specialization in the cognitive science world. Bottom line..when you write cursive your brain lights up a bit more than when you type or print.
The next thing is the individual style and ownership writing cursive allows. I remember everyone in my classes growing up had their own style of writing.. Big bubbly letters and little small squishy letters.. everyone took pride in their handwriting… Recent research reports that special education students particularly are able to, at times, find cursive as a source of heightened self-esteem. One has to wonder if there is a connection between dyslexia and cursive… maybe it’s helpful.. I don’t know..just a thought.
Finally, the SAT reported not long ago that essays written in cursive received higher scores. The theory: students writing in cursive were able to elaborate more on their ideas, apparently due to the fact that cursive is much more efficient than print.
So as we all drink the common core Koolaid.. maybe we should be a bit judicious… and think seriously about whether cursive should really be something we say “so long” to.
For now, parents may need to backfill their children’s education and get the workbooks and implement their own cursive program at home. Can’t hurt.
Those darned kids today. They don’t know how lucky they have it… Seriously, I rarely work with a student who has long division mastered. It dumbfounds me because it’s such a necessary skill. In my humble opinion, that is.
I remember Ms. Harrell scratching out random long division problems on the board… … Portable 402… located out by the recess yard. Everyday at 11am we’d labor and labor over gargantuan long division problems…yeah, we whined. tears fell… we complained….she didn’t capitulate.
…and she even started putting those decimals in them…
As much as I hated it… I eventually grew to love the process. The step by step approach. The estimated to see if large numbers can or will go into other larger numbers.. and if so, how many times. I can remember some long division problems (with decimals) taking 5-10 minutes. But they forced me to focus. They forced me to learn my rote math skills. It wasn’t in line with constructivism. It wasn’t based off of Bloom’s taxonomy or Garner’s multiple intelligences… it wasn’t 21st Century learning.. it wasn’t progressive… .
IT WAS LONG DIVISION BABY! LIVE IT! LOVE IT! HATE IT! RESPECT IT!