Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Friday, July 18, 2014

7QTs: Education Edition

It is only July, but I've been doing some planning for the coming academic year. And there are lots of education-related articles that have been sitting in my bookmarks.  At the moment, my mood is very much one of seeing the uniqueness of each individual.  That is reflected in these links.

Education Otherwise

~  ONE  ~

I don’t want to enter into that self-loathing “the rest of the world does life better than we do” sort of thing.  However, since educational policy people are always seeking to extend the school day and the school year so we can keep up with other countries, we’d do well to take note of those instances in which other countries are letting their kids be kids.  In Finland?  They don’t sit kids at desks the entire day, making them do busy work.  Book learning is interspersed with physical activity.  I’m thinking that’s good for all kids, but especially those more energetic ones.

~  TWO  ~

This explains why those Finnish children are happy.

~  THREE  ~

Kids aren’t the only ones who need breaks.  All 15 points are worth a look for those of us who love our children, but can be overwhelmed with too much.  Most important for me?  I think it’s Number 10: Control the clutter.  I’m a visual person.  If there’s too much visual stimulation for me, I get very cranky.  Unfortunately, I don’t always recognize this until I’ve become frazzled.

~  FOUR  ~

Another one of those articles that shows the consequences of trying to build on a weak foundation.  It makes me think of taking foreign language in high school.  French was great fun until the complex verb tenses entered the picture.  Unlike our French teacher, who was a different generation, we never learned what any English verb tenses were beyond past, present, future.  No wonder it was like talking to a brick wall, trying to teach subjunctif, or passé composé, actif, passif.  Mais, non!

~  FIVE  ~

This is not the only article with a title like this.  Teachers are revolting all over.  Honestly, I would think abolishing the Common Core is one of those things that people from all across the political spectrum can rally around.  It’s Big Business, it’s Big Government; both attempting policy that is ‘above their pay grade.’

AND . . .

~  SIX  ~

This is a teacher who thinks Common Core Math is good.  It appears the blog may have been started merely as a defense of Common Core.  That there are only two entries might be saying something.  In all fairness to the teacher, the first of the entries gives a defense that seems straight forward.  But something in the second link does not ring true:

The Common Core State Standards do not mandate HOW this teacher must teach in her classroom.  They do not require that her students use specific strategies to solve problems (until the expectation of the standard algorithms which come in the intermediate grades).  They do, however, expect that she develops innovative thinkers and problem solvers who don't have to rely on a given procedure to find the solution to a problem.
That’s just the problem. Common Core is mandating HOW a teacher must teach.  Teachers and parents are objecting to the textbooks coming from ‘on high’ that they are required to use.  These are textbooks that will be linked to standardized tests and college entrance examinations.  Heck, I wouldn’t have a problem with some generic set of “common core standards” that everyone should meet, as long as the methods are left up to the individuals closest to the students.  That would be the classroom teacher, the parent, the local school district.  To prove I’m non-partisan about this, I’ll share my complaints about education efforts in previous Administrations:  in the days of “No Child Left Behind,” I knew teachers who retired because they were fed up with all the mandates that were stifling their ability to be creative in the classroom.

~  SEVEN  ~

Fascinating article about the importance of interaction between parents and babies for the baby's own cognitive development, especially as it pertains to the style of baby buggies.  I hope I don’t sound smug when I say that I have always preferred carrying baby in a backpack or sling, rather than lugging around a stroller?  I don’t mean to sound that way.  I didn’t choose those methods of transport as a way to enhance learning; I did it because it meant having less stuff with us when we are out and about.  With a backpack, baby’s head is right next to mine; with a sling, baby is right in front of my mouth. 

Happy Friday to all the readers of 7 Quick Takes!


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