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robertogreco : homework   60

The Burden of ‘Parent Homework’ - The New York Times
"This is not about a parent helping with homework. It is work given from teacher to parent, passing directly over a child’s head."
homework  education  schools  parenting  2019  karenbarrow  schooling 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
Does Homework Work? - The Atlantic
"America’s devotion to the practice stems in part from the fact that it’s what today’s parents and teachers grew up with themselves."



"The typical prescription offered by those overwhelmed with homework is to assign less of it—to subtract. But perhaps a more useful approach, for many classrooms, would be to create homework only when teachers and students believe it’s actually needed to further the learning that takes place in class—to start with nothing, and add as necessary."
homework  parenting  alfiekohn  education  2019  joepinsker  schools  schooliness 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
BEFORE YOU GO TO SCHOOL, WATCH THIS || WHAT IS SCHOOL FOR? - YouTube
"EVERY STUDENT NEEDS TO SEE THIS!

Check out the Innovation Playlist
http://www.innovationplaylist.org

Directed by Valentina Vee
Produced by Lixe Hernandez
Shot by Andrey Misyutin
Motion Design by Hodja Berlev (Neonbyte)
Music by Raul Vega (Instrumental track here: https://phantomape.bandcamp.com/track...)

Don't forget to like, comment & SUBSCRIBE: https://goo.gl/3bBv52

For more inspirational videos, watch:
I Just Sued The School System https://youtu.be/dqTTojTija8
Everybody Dies But Not Everybody Lives https://goo.gl/xyiH9C
Prince Ea Reacts to Teens React To The School System https://youtu.be/nslDUZQPTZA

Recommended Reading:

1) What School Could Be, Ted Dintersmith
2) The Element, by Sir Ken Robinson
3) How Children Learn, John Holt
4) The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner

Works Cited

Galloway Mollie., Jerusha Conner & Denise Pope. “Nonacademic Effects of Homework in Privileged, High-Performing High Schools,” The Journal of Experimental Education (2013) 81:4, 490-510, DOI: 10.1080/00220973.2012.745469

Medina, John. Brain Rules. Seattle: Pear Press, 2014. Print.

Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan. "Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 August 2017. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170818115831.htm

Moffitt Terrie., and Louise Arseneault. “A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
(2011) PSOR 5 May. 2018."
education  schools  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  learning  2018  princeea  howwelearn  schooliness  sleep  homework  johnmedina  terriemoffitt  louisearseneault  molliegalloway  jerushaconner  denisepope  time  timemanagement  tonywagner  teddintersmith  kenrobinson  johnholt  valentinavee  video  self-care  suicide  well-being  self-control  bullying  stress  anxiety  depression  whatmatters  cooking  success  life  living  purpose  socialemotional  ikea  music  youtube  children  passion  socialemotionallearning  health  rejection  ingvarkamprad 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Michael Ian Black on Twitter: "Getting a lot of grief from teachers for my earlier take on k-12 education. I meant no offense to teachers, who I think, by and large, do their best. My criticisms have to do with the whole dang public education apparatus, w
"Getting a lot of grief from teachers for my earlier take on k-12 education. I meant no offense to teachers, who I think, by and large, do their best. My criticisms have to do with the whole dang public education apparatus, which feels hopelessly outmoded and moribund.

I advocate an new model of education which focuses on two things: creativity and critical thinking. That's it. All else would be in service of those two skills. Why? Because the history of public education has been about readying workers to work in predictable industries.

Those predictable industries no long exist or are undergoing radical transformation. What cuts across all industries in this new economy are creativity and critical thinking. If you have those two skills, you can do anything.

Those skills also happen to be the most fun things to work on. "Draw something." "What do you think about you drew?" We're not grading you, we're asking your opinion. What works about this? What doesn't work? Exactly how tasks are approached in the workplace.

Also, why are we gearing everything to the tests? The tests are snapshots, rarely illuminating, and often overweighted. As testing has increased, childhood depression and anxiety has risen with it. For what? An extra hundredth on your GPA?

To what end? Why are moving these kids through the production line? My kids are in high school and I promise they aren't excited about anything they're doing. They can tolerate it. They like lunch. But they're mostly just moving through the day.

Wouldn't it better if they were excited to attend school because school was where they did all the cool shit they want to do? Play video games and read cool books and study music and, yeah, maybe write a paper about that cool video game, and maybe learn a little coding.

You want to play guitar? Great. Here's a guitar. Here's how music relates to math. Here's how math relates to science. How's the song coming? Take an hour for lunch. You want to leave early today? Leave early. Treat kids the way you want to be treated, excite them...

Connect them with experts in the fields they're studying. Develop mentorships, make sure they take a hike every day. Make school the place you wish you could have hung out when you were their age. Teachers can be guides, a support system, one-on-one counselors. it can work."

[previous thread: https://twitter.com/michaelianblack/status/955470909669892098

"Been thinking a lot about k-12 education since last night. (I mean, before that too, but I hadn't written about it on Twitter.) My conclusion: it's total shit.

I'm going to make some points that are probably obvious to most people but they're worth saying. First, the average education destroys children's natural inquisitiveness. "This rock is cool!" "Great. Memorize everything about its composition. then I'm going to test you on it."

Second, the grading system is meaningless. A good grade denotes mastery of a subject about as much as having shiny teeth means you eat a healthy diet.

Third, kids are bored because school is boring because the way things are taught is boring. It's not the teacher's fault. It's a system that values compliance over creativity. It teaches kids how to regurgitate instead of how to think.

Why isn't school fun? Why doesn't it look more like kindergarten all the way through high school? Why isn't it student-driven instead of administration-driven? After they know how to read and perform basic math why can't they pursue subjects about which they show interest?

If a kid likes to read, why can't she spend her time with other kids who love literature? If she likes science, why not spent her time doing science? Why funnel everybody through the same stupid curriculum that has no real-world application?

The goal of k-12 education should to nurture kids towards an excitement of lifetime learning instead of towards getting into a college they can't afford. Anybody who wants to learn something can learn it. But they need to want to learn. School kills desire to learn.

Would any adult choose to go back to k-12 schooling? No fucking way. For most people, it's an endless drudge. Why not preserve childhood as a time of exploration and joy? Who is well-served by this system?

We know k-12 education doesn't work well. Kids hate it. Parents hate it. Teachers hate it. Employers hate it. Everybody hates it. So why do we keep it? Why are we inflicting so much misery on ourselves?"]

[And a thread prior to that: https://twitter.com/michaelianblack/status/955263135254016006

"One of my life's great stress-reducing realizations is that I don't care about my kids' grades.

Not only do I not care about their grades, I honestly think I'd be fine with it if they decide to drop out before graduating. The way we educate kids is 100% garbage. (Maybe 75% garbage.)

Here's the only thing school needs to teach kids: reading, how to construct a coherent thought, and basic math. After that, kids should be free to pursue whatever interests them, supplemented with broad exposure to the humanities.

There should be more: art, music, game playing, movie watching, physical activity. Schooling through high school should bear more than a passing resemblance to kindergarten. The way we do things is stultifying and soul-crushing.

Everything I value as an adult was treated as extracurricular and slightly distasteful by the school administration. The arts had no "practical value," but somehow trigonometry did. It made no sense.

When I decided to become an actor, I was told (and believed) I would never make a dime. I took that trade-off to do what I wanted in exchange for little to no pay. But a funny thing happened. The gig economy of the actor became the gig economy of the entire country.

So I found myself much more comfortable in uncertainty as traditional occupational structures began falling by the wayside. I felt like I had the flexibility and creativity to tackle unfamiliar jobs with minimal training because I believed in my own adaptability.

The kids I see these days can do anything on a computer. They are good collaborators and their egos seem more in check than mine. They'll do fine in the coming years, but I'd like to see their kids the beneficiaries of this new kind of schooling, a student-directed schooling.

That draws from the expertise of the faculty to augment studies, but also to be able to access the world's great minds on your narrow question. Slow, non-grade work that moves towards a defining and meaningful goal/solution. Applied education. Seems like a better way to handled"]
michaelianblack  schools  education  grades  grading  homework  schooling  learning  children  parenting  teaching  unschooling  deschooling  2018  self-directed  self-directedlearning  howwelearn  freedom  autonomy  creativity  misery  sfsh  criticalthinking  middleschool  highschool  teachers  howweteach  schooliness  oppression  publicschools  childhood 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Competition Is Ruining Childhood. The Kids Should Fight Back. - The New York Times
"Like the crack of a starting pistol, November begins the official college application season. But for students, this race started long ago.

Many of today’s kids have lived their entire lives, from sunup until midnight, in a fierce tournament with their peers. (I was one of them. A decade after graduation, I still can’t think of a period when I’ve worked harder than in high school.) From kindergarten to 12th grade, schools brag about how “competitive” they are. That means it’s not enough for students to do their best. Whether in the classroom, on the athletic field or at home on the computer, they must always be better. Youth has become a debilitating endurance test.

The thing is, we don’t even really know what we are racing for, much less how to tone down the competition. And most people don’t seem to be benefiting from this frantic contest, either as students or as adult workers. Americans are improving themselves, but the rewards keep flowing uphill to the 1 percent.

Everyone tells students that the harder they work to develop their job skills — their “human capital” — the better off they will be. It’s not true. In fact, the result is the opposite: more and better educated workers, earning less.

An analysis in September of Census Bureau data by the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank, found that between 2000 and 2016 — years when many millennials first entered the job market — there was “little to no gain” in median annual earnings. This isn’t some limited fallout from the 2008 financial crisis; it’s a different type of phenomenon and part of a longer trend of wage stagnation that reaches back to the 1970s.

Educational achievement, on the other hand, follows a different trend. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over the same period (2000 to 2016), the percentage of young people with a high school diploma or its equivalent passed 90 percent for the first time. In the same period, the portion of graduates seeking and obtaining both two- and four-year degrees increased consistently, and the percentage of people ages 25 to 29 with postgraduate degrees jumped to 9 percent from 5.

And this cohort of young Americans hasn’t only put in the classroom work — to say nothing of extracurricular activities and internships. This cohort of young Americans has also taken on incomprehensible amounts of debt in order to do it.

Despite what we’ve heard, money isn’t a reward America hands out for hard work. Not only is more education not leading to higher wages, there isn’t even a positive correlation between the two. If anything, the flood of human capital puts employers in a position to offer workers a shrinking slice of the pie and get more in return. Kids are getting conned. I got conned, too.

If enough students manage to master cutting-edge job skills, it will be great for the “economy,” but as workers they will find themselves rewarded with lower wages. The dynamic may seem counterintuitive but not totally unexpected. In the ’70s, the economist Gary Becker theorized that employers would shift the costs of developing human capital onto workers, from paid on-the-job training to unpaid schooling. He figured that, though they need skilled labor, corporations would be disinclined to pay for training since other companies could then lure away “their” human capital.

As training left the factory and the office for the classroom, it also meant that work could be shifted to children, who are mostly not eligible for wage labor but can, it turns out, do a whole lot of school. If firms want workers who can speak Mandarin or code Python, why should they pay trainees to learn when they can scare kids into training themselves? Within this system, all an individual kid can do is try to put a sufficient number of their peers between themselves and poverty.

There are some winners, but the real champions are the corporate owners: They get their pick from all the qualified applicants, and the oversupply of human capital keeps labor costs down. Competition between workers means lower wages for them and higher profits for their bosses: The more teenagers who learn to code, the cheaper one is.

The struggle for success has heavy financial and psychological costs for the participants. Constant competition has affected how young Americans see themselves in relation to the world. That’s why the United States has measured huge increases in youth anxiety and depression, as well as a sharp decline in social trust. If kids are told to find comfort in the idea that they are sacrificing their mental health now for security in adulthood, they are being tricked once more.

At the end of their journey into adulthood they aren’t reimbursed for their efforts. And in this winner-take-all economy, most of them just lose. They can’t increase the size of Harvard’s freshman class just by working harder; all they can do is drive one another to anxiety, depression, paranoia and exhaustion. That, and save money for their future bosses.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The kids don’t have to keep getting conned.

This system may work for a small number of bosses and shareholders, but it’s not in the interest of education in a broad, exploratory sense — and it’s clearly not in the interests of young people themselves. But even though older adults are ostensibly worried about the kids, policymakers will never scale back academic competition, and most educators and parents are understandably loath to tell children, “Don’t work so hard.”

If change is going to come, it should come from students, in the classroom.

As individuals, students have no choice but to compete. But together, there’s no telling what kind of power they could exercise. They face an age-old collective action problem, but they are smart. Schools can’t run without students, and the economy can’t run without schools; their work matters, and they can withdraw it.

Unions aren’t just good for wage workers. Students can use collective bargaining, too. The idea of organizing student labor when even auto factory workers are having trouble holding onto their unions may sound outlandish, but young people have been at the forefront of conflicts over police brutality, immigrant rights and sexual violence. In terms of politics, they are as tightly clustered as just about any demographic in America. They are an important social force in this country, one we need right now.

It’s in students’ shared interest to seek later start times for the school day to combat the epidemic of insufficient sleep among high schoolers. It’s in their shared interest to improve their mental health by reducing competition. They could start by demanding an end to class rank or a cap on the number of Advanced Placement courses each student can take per year. It’s in their shared interest to make life easier and lower the stakes of childhood in general. Only young people, united, can improve their working conditions and end the academic arms race."
mlcolmharris  2017  children  competition  schools  schooling  homework  education  unions  organization  childhood  admissions  humancapital  achievement  economics  garybecker  sfsh  work  labor  wagelabor  corporatism  depression  paranoia  exhaustion  exploration  violence  us  policy  capitalism 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Why I Don’t Have Classroom Rules | Edutopia
"So I gradually abolished formal management protocols. Away went the rules about bathroom policies, eating in the classroom, and what defines appropriate behavior in a traditional classroom. Instead, I theorized about the broad, underlying principles that would define the field within which we could have a productive learning community.

To be honest, I was terrified. I was worried that if I started to dismantle my power, the class would devolve into chaos.

But I also knew my students: They were thoughtful and reflective, kind and observant, willing to take intellectual risks when they felt supported and safe.

So we started with first principles—it’s wise to start with a simple framework—identifying core premises from which we could build a classroom community. These depend on the teacher’s values, the school culture, and the needs of the students. In my case, I derived them from ideas of agency and social equity, and let the students extrapolate from there.

Next, we proceeded to norm that behavior. I simply took the time to comment on how particular contributions, habits, and behaviors were either in concert with or contrary to the core principles, with the idea that students would begin to mirror that level of depth and awareness. I made sure to offer opportunities, usually at the end of class, to reflect not just on what learning took place, but on what community standards were missing, newly established, or reaffirmed. For example, without a school-wide policy about bathroom usage during class, and after I expressed my own disinterest in regulating bodily functions, we started a conversation about how to solve the problem, deriving community standards from it. Students recognized that that if they weren’t in the room, they couldn’t be engaged or prepared, and staying in the bathroom wasn’t really respectful if other students needed to go as well. One student suggested that it was impossible to take intellectual risks if you were in the bathroom all the time.

The same approach applies to homework, often considered a non-negotiable in high school classrooms. In my class, it’s a chance to demonstrate student agency and experiment with what we’ve learned in class. If a student fails to do it, the absence is its own punishment—I don’t need to double down with teacher-driven shame. If a student tells me they haven’t done their homework, my response is, “That’s fine, you’re all right, but why not?” From there, I can respond in a more personalized way and unearth how to best help.

Metacognition and Student Responsibility

The big insight here is that using this model, every class starts to operate at two levels simultaneously. In the foreground, class proceeds as usual, with the teacher and students engaging in productive work. In the background, there is a kind of running metacognitive discussion that is always evaluating behavior based on these underlying principles. Sometimes, this underlying dynamic breaks through to the surface, and we dedicate valuable class time to equally worthwhile conversations about, for example, the difference between a compliant student and a respectful one, or about how teacher-student relationships ought to be reciprocal.

I have four of our foundational classroom principles posted on the walls:

1. Be respectful to yourself because it sets the context for being able to participate in a community; to others because it is hard to be a student and everyone’s struggles merit your respect; and to the teacher because although it is a position of authority, the teacher should also be vulnerable and learning.

2. Be engaged, because merely being present in the classroom does not necessarily qualify as participation, and a truly pluralistic community requires all voices.

3. Be prepared, because informed conversation requires prepared members, and preparation transcends just the work that is assigned—and is closer to deep thought, sincere skepticism, and a general willingness to interrogate assumptions.

4. Be courageous, because learning requires acknowledging that there are things we don’t know, skills we lack, and ways in which we might still be foolish—which is a scary prospect for everyone in the class, teacher included.

Of course, these are only my principles. A case can be made for any number of others, provided they focus on the conditions for learning, rather than on controlling the minutiae of student behavior.

The reason I find this strategy better than rules is because it teaches students to become active participants in the formation of a community. Rules alone tend to condition the students to become dogmatic followers, while broader imperatives guide them to be critical and reflective participants.

A concession, though: This approach is expensive in terms of time. It requires space and resources and lots of student-teacher conversations. When a student violates the underlying principles or acts in a way that is either self-destructive or hurtful to others, time must be taken to unpack the behavior in a way that respects the community and its principles and doesn’t alienate the individual. That’s a very sophisticated conversation for a high school student to have.

And an admission, too: When I first opted for this method, I didn’t really think it would work. I imagined it as an interesting experiment. But it did work. Not just with my high-performing debate kids or my AP English classes, but with all of them. My students who were burned out and checked out. Those who coasted by with Cs. Freshmen and seniors. Even my English language development students, many of whom have been in the country for less than six months, bought in to the method and grew. They all wanted to feel that their contributions mattered to the community. And if this alternative approach can at least prepare them for a more open, more pluralistic society, then I will take the time and energy it requires from me. That would be a worthy return on investment."
davidtow  2017  teaching  rules  sfsh  howweteach  homework 
october 2017 by robertogreco
[Readings] | The Working Classroom, by Malcolm Harris | Harper's Magazine
"The main thing is that twenty-first-century American kids are required to work more than their predecessors. This generation is raised on problem-solving to the exclusion of play. Authorities from the Brookings Institution to Time magazine have called for an end to summer vacation and the imposition of year-round compulsory schooling. But the possible downsides of this trade-off are almost never discussed.

Parents, teachers, policymakers, and employers are all so worried that children won’t “meet the demands of a changing world” that they don’t bother asking what kids are expected to do to meet those demands, and what problems they’re being equipped to solve. The anxious frenzy that surrounds the future has come to function as an excuse for the choices adults make for kids."



"This sort of intensive training isn’t just for the children of intellectuals; the theory behind the rhetoric advocating universal college attendance is that any and all kids should aspire to this level of work. College admissions have become the focus not only of secondary schooling but of contemporary American childhood writ large. The sad truth, however, is that college admissions are designed to funnel young adults onto different tracks, not to validate hard work. A jump in the number of Harvard-caliber students doesn’t have a corresponding effect on the size of the school’s freshman class. Instead, it allows the university to become even more selective and to raise prices, to stock up on geniuses and rich kids. This is the central problem with an education system designed to create the most human capital possible: an increase in ability within a competitive system doesn’t advantage all individuals.

In a world where every choice is an investment, growing up becomes a complex exercise in risk management. The more capital new employees already have when they enter the labor market, the less risky it is for their employers. Over time, firms have an incentive, as the economist Gary Becker put it, to “shift training costs to trainees.” If an employer pays to train workers, what’s to stop another company from luring them away once they’re skilled? The second firm could offer a signing bonus that costs less than the training and still benefit. Paying to train a worker is risky, and risk costs money. As American capitalism advanced, the training burden fell to the state, and then to families and kids themselves.

Childhood risk is less and less about death, illness, or grievous bodily harm and more and more about future prospects. But if it is every parent’s task to raise at least one successful American by America’s own standards, then the system is rigged so that most of them will fail. The ranks of the American elite are not infinitely expandable; in fact, they’re shrinking. Given that reality, parents are told that their children’s choices, actions, and accomplishments have lasting consequences. The Harley Avenue letter is merely one of the more dramatic examples of this fearmongering. With parental love as a guide, risk management has become risk elimination.

By looking at children as investments, it’s possible to see where the product of children’s labor is stored: in their human capital. It’s a kid’s job to stay eligible for the labor market (and not in jail, insane, or dead). Any work beyond that adds to their résumé. If more human capital automatically led to a higher standard of living, this model could be the foundation for an American meritocracy. But millennials’ extra work hasn’t earned them the promised higher standard of living. By every metric, this generation is the most educated in American history, yet its members are worse off economically than their parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. Every authority from moms to presidents told millennials to accumulate as much human capital as they could; they did, but the market hasn’t held up its end of the bargain. What gives?

As it turns out, just because you can produce an unprecedented amount of value doesn’t necessarily mean you can feed yourself under twenty-first-century American capitalism. Kids spend their childhoods investing the only thing they have: their effort, their attention, their days and nights, their labor time. (And, sometimes, a large chunk of whatever money their parents may have.) If the purpose of all this labor, all the lost play, all the hours doing unpleasant tasks, isn’t to ensure a good life for the kids doing the work, if it isn’t in the “interests of all children,” then what is it for?

When you ask most adults what any kid in particular should do with the next part of her life, the advice will generally include pursuing higher education. As the only sanctioned path, college admissions becomes a well-structured, high-stakes simulation of a worker’s entry into the labor market. Applicants inventory their achievements, being careful not to underestimate them, and present them in the most attractive package possible.

Then, using the data carefully and anxiously prepared by millions of kids about the human capital they’ve accumulated over the previous eighteen years, higher education institutions make decisions: collectively evaluating, accepting, and cutting hopeful children in tranches like collateralized debt obligations that are then sorted among the institutions according to their own rankings (for which they compete aggressively, of course). It is not the first time children are weighed, but it is the most comprehensive and often the most directly consequential. College admissions offices are rating agencies. Once the kid-bond is rated, it has four or so years until it’s expected to produce a return."
malcolmharris  education  colleges  universities  admissions  2017  children  childhood  meritocracy  capitalism  neoliberalism  economics  labor  work  competition  inequality  highered  highereducation  sfsh  homework  purpose  training  unschooling  deschooling  risk  value  fear  fearmongering  parenting  riskmanagement 
october 2017 by robertogreco
'Scores in reading, math fail to budge' in Minnesota: Maybe it's time to try the obvious - StarTribune.com
"As a parent, teacher and citizen, I’m concerned about persistent achievement gaps in Minnesota schools, as described once again in Tuesday’s newspaper (“Scores in reading, math fail to budge,” Aug. 8).

While we are looking for new solutions, I propose that we let go of some old obsessions that we now can say clearly have not worked.

For this parent of three kids, the big one is homework, especially the mindless yet stubborn insistence on “10 minutes per grade, per night.” That piece of silliness never was backed up by solid research, and all it has done is drive a wedge between school and home as school personnel, with good intentions at heart, preach endlessly to parents about the importance of creating a space just for homework and offering “a guide by their side.” But that, we can now see, is so much hogwash. As a parent, I would love to stop worrying about it, until my children reach the upper grades. Last year, in 10th grade, my oldest child took command of his own home study. I consider that a sign that home study has begun to do him some good.

A second questionable mantra is that a child has to be organized before he or she can learn. Given that babies are born already learning, it seems obvious that no amount of organization is needed in order to learn. We must stop holding children back from other pursuits until they can tie their shoes, or clean out their desks, or remember to bring papers home and back again (which will be less of an issue once we’ve dispensed with homework). I’m all for quiet study environments, but not all day, every day. Talent goes to waste while we wait for 30 children to stand in a neat line, sit in their squares on a carpet or produce fresh notebooks all year long because we wanted them in five designated colors back in September. Learning is messy, and we only harm ourselves by insisting that it appear neat and orderly.

And while we all know that children learn best at certain hours of the day and that they should sleep and eat according to millennia-old circadian rhythms, most of our schools continue to demand that teenagers “get up and learn” at hours of the day when they should be fast asleep. It may well be that business hours could also use some adult adjustments, but at this point we should be offering young children their intense exposure to learning environments early in the day and elementary kids a little later, and then letting teenagers rest — with proper nourishment and supervision — until midmorning.

All of these wrongheaded obsessions contribute to our achievement gaps by race, class or other divisions, because all of them require added resources at home. A family that can pay for tutors and other supporting adults can meet these obsessions and get their kids through the hoops at school; a family that struggles with multiple jobs at inadequate pay has a much harder time doing so.

The first two obsessions would be easy to drop, and we should do so sooner rather than later. The third one would require significant public investment, but maybe if we all stopped buying so many school supplies, and backpacks to haul them around in, we could afford some added paraprofessional staff members and bus drivers to meet our children’s needs for sleep, nourishment and healthy recreation."
2017  anneholzman  sfsh  schools  education  learning  parenting  children  homework  sleep  organization  howwelearn  race  class  inequality  balance  testing  standardizedtesting  achievementgap 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Watching my son experience school | Bryan Alexander
"He despises homework. Homework is a source of agony, even in this final year of high school. There is very little thrill in completion or in successfully overcoming an obstacle. He struggles mightily to complete assignments at school or elsewhere (public library, on the bus) so that the work doesn’t follow him home. He wants to preserve home time for himself. The flipped classroom isn’t a crazy experiment for him, but simply a good thing.

He’s skeptical about the possibility of going to a Vermont college or university. Not because of being too close or too far from us, his parents, but mostly because his experience of Vermont cell phone and internet connectivity is so awful that he dreads four more years of bad online experience. (Readers can get a sense of the state of affairs from these posts) . This is a big issue for him.

He doesn’t idolize his favorite teachers, at least not to us. A good teacher or class experience is something he’ll rarely mention. Some teachers describe Owain giving a great presentation or impressing his classmates, and that will be the first time we’ve heard of it. Instead, he describes bad experiences in epic detail, and remembers them for years. He’s a tough audience.

He has become deeply opposed to literature classes. On his own he reads constantly, and always has, but feels that academic lit is mostly about dwelling on depressing, frustrating, and upsetting readings.

When he struggles with homework he turns to us, his parents, for help. He always has. Recently it’s been bittersweet to see him advance past our respective academic abilities, especially in math or science or Python that we don’t recall.

Sometimes he struggles with technology issues, as when working on a digital video, trying to use some courseware, or fighting through Windows laptop issues. We do our best… and there we see the digital divide yawning wide. Ceredwyn and I can do a decent amount of tech support, because of our respective life experiences and professional work. We also own some technology (laptops, tablets, XBox…) so Owain has grown up with access to tools and toys. We’re not necessarily typical parents. How do young people fare when their parents lack these skills? When do they give up? Moreover, how do they do when the home lacks hardware and/or bandwidth? (These are rhetorical questions.) We have had to drive across the county to get him sufficient speeds for some assignments.

Owain expects teachers to communicate digitally, and is scathing when he feels they fail on that score. He’s not pleased when teachers and staff use email, Google Docs, etc.; he just assumes they will. If they don’t, or use the tech in an insufficient way, he mutters or rants about “technophobes” and “old people” and “Vermont.”

He communicates with classmates more online than in person, I think. Google Chat seems to be the preferred venue, although I don’t pry. He can’t text from home (see my earlier notes about Vermont), but happily texts when his phone gets signal.

Google Docs is his leading writing medium for class work, far more than desktop word processing. He’s fully accustomed to sharing docs with readers and working with their feedback therein.

The open web is his research space. I can’t think of a time when he’s used a commercial database, although he does like Amazon Kindle ebooks. He’s aware of the politics, and isn’t entirely confident in his search abilities.

Grades matter to him a great deal. He stresses deeply about exams, projects, and tests. He fears the results might not be accurate, especially if they overstate his actual abilities.

Libraries are sources of connectivity, computing, and also media (books, DVDs). They are familiar spaces for him. He prefers the public library to the school one.

Outside of class resources are important in Owain’s schooling. In high school he has spent significant time in “learning lab”, an after-class paracurricular center staffed by experts in the sciences and humanities.

He always listens to music or plays videos when working. He has a staggeringly vast YouTube playlist that he relies on, plus a bevy of favored video creators. He’ll play media on a tablet when working on a laptop.

I think he separates learning from school. He rarely describes learning in school. Instead, he views school as work, a set of tasks set by authorities usually without sufficient context. He fights to raise his passions (space, history, technology) in classes. He learns informally from books, YouTube, websites, and some games. That’s a different category than “school”.

I’m not sure how these behaviors and attitudes will change when he goes away to college.

If he does homework in his dorm room, will that space be less of a home for him? Or will he seek out other spaces for assignments? I can imagine him taking advantage of peer tutors and teaching and learning centers.

Will a professor rock his world and become a mentor? Will he rethink the university as a place of learning, rather than onerous work?

He might start using his phone for voice calls. He usually avoids speaking on phones, mobile or landline, but that could change if he lives in a campus with solid cell coverage and/or misses us.

After Owain leaves Ripton Ceredwyn and I are planning on moving. If we successfully land in a high-speed location, perhaps we’ll start using video or message services to stay in touch with our son. Maybe we’ll turn to texting each other.

As an educator and research I’ve tried not to rely heavily on my children as study subjects. I don’t want to speak of them too much, despite my urgent desire to do so every hour, because I’d prefer to stick to evidence where I’m not so biased. But I wanted to share this sketch now, partly as a memory aid for our family’s future, and also as a tiny view into education in 2017."
byanalexander  education  schools  learning  literature  2017  highschool  technology  digitaldivide  rural  vermont  unschooling  deschooling  libraries  howwelearn  youth  teens  homework 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Abolishing Homework Pledge - Google Sheets
"I saw Race To Nowhere, and then I did some research. If you read someone like John Hattie, you realize that there are a handful of different interventions that teachers can use before homework that are more effective. I've committed to using those interventions that have larger effect sizes than homework during the time we have in class. Here's a link to a chart: http://www.teacherstoolbox.co.uk/T_effect_sizes.html . I encourage students to pursue the projects that they are interested in during all that time they have not doing homework for my classes."
homework  racetonowhere  teaching  howweteach  johnhattie  via:lukeneff 
november 2016 by robertogreco
How Reading Logs Can Ruin Kids' Pleasure for Books - The Atlantic
"Children who read regularly for pleasure, who are avid and self-directed readers, are the holy grail for parents and educators. Reading for pleasure has considerable current and future benefits: Recreational readers tend to have higher academic achievement and greater economic success, and even display more civic-mindedness.

But recreational reading is on the decline. According to a National Endowment for the Arts report based on longitudinal data from a series of large, national surveys, the rate at which teens voluntarily read for pleasure has declined by 50 percent over the last 20 years. Reading now competes for children’s time with many other alluring activities, including television, social media, and video games. Most leisure time is now spent in front of a screen.

To ensure that kids are spending at least some time every day reading, classrooms across the country have instituted student reading logs, which typically require kids to read for a certain amount of time—about 20 minutes—each night at home and then record the book title and number of pages read. In some cases, parents must also sign this log before their child turns it in to the teacher.

The goal of these logs is to promote the habit of recreational reading, or at least to create the appearance of it. The basic idea seems to be this: If kids who read regularly gain significant benefits, then it should be mandated that all students read regularly so they, too, can enjoy those benefits.

For example, in a post on her blog for parents, one fifth-grade teacher explains:
Our first reading unit this year is all about developing independence as readers. We have already been busy learning and reviewing things that powerful readers do. We know that reading, like any other skill, is developed through practice. Today we learned that powerful readers keep and analyze reading logs. We will be logging our reading at school and home each day. I am asking students to keep track of the amount of time they spend reading at home each week. They are required to read 100 minutes per week.
Unfortunately, this well-intentioned strategy may have serious pitfalls.

As a psychologist (and a parent), I have long opposed reading logs because of abundant research on the negative effects of external controls (such as rewards, deadlines, and assigned goals) on intrinsic motivation. In other words, when motivation to do an activity comes from outside, via rewards or mandates, it tends to undermine people’s interest in doing that activity for its own sake. This decline in motivation ultimately affects enjoyment, creativity, and even performance.

This research would suggest that reading logs have a similar effect on children’s reading habits, especially their desire to read for fun, making reading less of a pleasure and more of a chore. Imagine telling your child that she must draw pictures for at least 20 minutes daily—and also record how much time she spent drawing and how many different colors she used.

Until recently, however, there were no formal studies testing whether or not reading logs were actually promoting reading. A study published a few years ago, to surprisingly limited attention, in the Journal of Research in Education found that, indeed, reading logs can have a detrimental effect on students’ interest in and attitudes toward reading.

In the study, more than 100 second- and third-graders in 14 classrooms were divided randomly into two groups by class: The first was given a mandatory reading log, the second, a voluntary log. The students in the mandatory group were assigned to read each night a minimum of 20 minutes, to record their reading in the log, and to get a parent signature. The students in the voluntary group were encouraged to read, but teachers emphasized that the reading log was completely optional.

Students were tested to measure their interest in and attitudes toward reading both before and after the study. The results? Students assigned the mandatory log showed diminished interest in recreational reading and also more negative attitudes toward reading after the study concluded. In contrast, the voluntary group showed an increase in both interest and positive attitudes. Although this study wasn’t exhaustive, it suggests that reading logs may undermine their intended goals.

“When reading is portrayed as something one has to be forced to do,” the authors write, “students may draw the conclusion that it is not the kind of activity they want to engage in when given free time.”

This unintended effect of reading logs can catch parents off guard. Alesia Coward, a mother of a student in a highly ranked public elementary school, wishes she had objected to the reading logs required by her daughter's teacher: “Reading logs ruined my reader. [My daughter] used to love reading but when it became something she had to do, she stopped doing it for fun and only read as much as the teacher required.”

Similarly, the attorney and blogger Sarah Blaine writes: “[My daughter] started kindergarten as a lover of books. My biggest concern … was how to pry her away from books. But within weeks, the reading log began to change all of that: ‘Mom, am I done with my fifteen minutes yet?’ ‘Mom, why do I have to write this?’ ‘Mom, I don’t know what to say.’ And worst of all: ‘Do I HAVE TO read?’”

Compelling children to read may improve their reading skills, which is undeniably important, but mandated reading does not bring the same benefits as when children themselves choose to read. Worse, it may even diminish their interest in reading at all."
reading  readingforpleasure  pleasure  sfsh  readinglogs  2016  ericareischer  psychology  homework 
august 2016 by robertogreco
15min in the morning: Homework is Bullshit — Technology Musings
"One of the pain points of parenthood is knowing that every choice I have for sending my daughter into school is likely going to grind out much of her enthusiasm for learning, bit by bit, through shitloads of homework.

The phrase you often see is that schools have an “academic focus.” Avoid those like the plague.

All of it is total fucking bullshit.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” — Pablo Picasso

My gut feeling is this started sometime in the late 1990s, as the quest for higher academics was misconstrued by parents and schools into “giving the kids lots of homework will equal mastery in every subject.”

I still remember the news stories from the early 2000s, about gradeschool kids taking home backpacks so filled with books for completing homework that they were developing back troubles. By the mid-2000s my first friends with kids entered schools and talked about two to three hours of nightly homework at the “academic” schools. My own child hit kindergarten around 2010 and I hoped the thirst for mindless drudgery had dissipated but sadly, it did not.

Looking back (and acknowledging it’s through deep shades of nostalgia), I loved my childhood including school. I grew up in Southern California, so weather wasn’t a variable in my life and I could work all day at school and play all evening at home. I didn’t have nightly homework until high school, and it was fucking grand. I rode my bike for hours every night, visited local parks, played in the woods, played Atari 2600 at home, ran on cross country teams, and generally had a good time palling around my neighborhood with friends for hour after mindless hour. In my younger days, I spent as much time behind a desk at home as I was in the community pool, and I think I turned out alright.

College is mostly about the work you do outside the classroom lectures, so homework is required and expected, but we’ve lost sight of high school serving as college prep, which is a good time to teach study skills and introduce homework to students. But asking 8 year olds to spend two hours every night doing repetitive math worksheets? What the fuck is the point of that?

Kids today only have time for one or two sporadic hobbies. I know more than one twelve year old that can’t play guitar because of homework loads. Sports require huge blocks of time that are hard to work into after school schedules, despite our pushes to get kids moving and be less sedentary.

We’ve spent the last 15 years pushing kids through punishing homework regimens which would mean those young kids of the early 2000s are entering college now. Did we raise an entire generation of math super students crushing standards at levels never seen before? Or did we pulverize most kids’ curiosity and love for learning along the way? A high homework load seems like we’re preparing kids for boring, repetitive behavior, like those found in many factory jobs. Will there be any factory jobs ten years from now?

Kids need downtime. Play is important. Kids can love learning, pursue any hobby they like, and fill idle time with their imagination. These are the things I fear we lose every time we ask children to spend hours every night on what basically amounts to busywork."
homework  sfsh  schools  matthaughey  2016  parenting  children  hobbies  academics  education  learning  busywork  play  downtime  howwelearn  howwelern  curiosity  loveoflearning  deschooling  unschooling 
july 2016 by robertogreco
This is why Finland has the best schools
"The Harvard education professor Howard Gardner once advised Americans, "Learn from Finland, which has the most effective schools and which does just about the opposite of what we are doing in the United States."

Following his recommendation, I enrolled my seven-year-old son in a primary school in Joensuu. Finland, which is about as far east as you can go in the European Union before you hit the guard towers of the Russian border.

OK, I wasn't just blindly following Gardner - I had a position as a lecturer at the University of Eastern Finland for a semester. But the point is that, for five months, my wife, my son and I experienced a stunningly stress-free, and stunningly good, school system. Finland has a history of producing the highest global test scores in the Western world, as well as a trophy case full of other recent No. 1 global rankings, including most literate nation.

In Finland, children don't receive formal academic training until the age of seven. Until then, many are in day care and learn through play, songs, games and conversation. Most children walk or bike to school, even the youngest. School hours are short and homework is generally light.

Unlike in the United States, where many schools are slashing recess, schoolchildren in Finland have a mandatory 15-minute outdoor free-play break every hour of every day. Fresh air, nature and regular physical activity breaks are considered engines of learning. According to one Finnish maxim, "There is no bad weather. Only inadequate clothing."

One evening, I asked my son what he did for gym that day. "They sent us into the woods with a map and compass and we had to find our way out," he said.

Finland doesn't waste time or money on low-quality mass standardised testing. Instead, children are assessed every day, through direct observation, check-ins and quizzes by the highest-quality "personalised learning device" ever created - flesh-and-blood teachers.

In class, children are allowed to have fun, giggle and daydream from time to time. Finns put into practice the cultural mantras I heard over and over: "Let children be children," "The work of a child is to play," and "Children learn best through play."

The emotional climate of the typical classroom is warm, safe, respectful and highly supportive. There are no scripted lessons and no quasi-martial requirements to walk in straight lines or sit up straight. As one Chinese student-teacher studying in Finland marvelled to me, "In Chinese schools, you feel like you're in the military. Here, you feel like you're part of a really nice family." She is trying to figure out how she can stay in Finland permanently.

In Finland teachers are the most trusted and admired professionals next to doctors, in part because they are required to have a master's degree in education with specialisation in research and classroom practice.

"Our mission as adults is to protect our children from politicians," one Finnish childhood education professor told me. "We also have an ethical and moral responsibility to tell businesspeople to stay out of our building." In fact, any Finnish citizen is free to visit any school whenever they like, but her message was clear: Educators are the ultimate authorities on education, not bureaucrats, and not technology vendors.

Finland delivers on a national public scale highly qualified, highly respected and highly professionalised teachers who conduct personalised one-on-one instruction; manageable class sizes; a rich, developmentally correct curriculum; regular physical activity; little or no low-quality standardised tests and the toxic stress and wasted time and energy that accompanies them; daily assessments by teachers; and a classroom atmosphere of safety, collaboration, warmth and respect for children as cherished individuals.

One day last November, when the first snow came to my part of Finland, I heard a commotion outside my university faculty office window, which is close to the teacher training school's outdoor play area. I walked over to investigate.

The field was filled with children savouring the first taste of winter amid the pine trees.

"Do you hear that?" asked the recess monitor, a special education teacher wearing a yellow safety smock.

"That," she said proudly, "is the voice of happiness.""
finland  education  schools  williamdoyle  health  children  teaching  learning  homework  play  outdoors  via:anne 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Students and the Pressure to Perform — To the Point — KCRW
"Silicon Valley's Palo Alto school district is in crisis. The suicide rate for teenagers there is four to five times the national average. This tragic statistic has made the city a symbol of the pressure kids live under in affluent communities to get into elite colleges, to excel at everything, to succeed at all costs. This week, as high school seniors and their families gather around computers racing to finish their college applications, we ask whether the obsession with getting into the best colleges is hurting kids more than helping them, and what schools, parents and students can do lessen the stress."
education  stress  class  barbarabogarev  suniyaluthar  julielythcott-haims  gwyethsmighjr  carolynwalworth  paloalto  siliconvalley  colleges  universities  admissions  homework  schools  parenting  anxiety  success  suicide 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Tyler Reinhard on the Lessons Between the Lessons (with tweets) · rogre · Storify
[Update 7 Feb 2017: Additional related thoughts from Tyler Reinhard and reference to this collection here: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:54a9852bd341 ]

"one of the greatest teachers i ever had told my mom i was struggling to stay engaged so she was going to triple my workload … it worked

she probably saved my life … she’s a cashier at a department store now

in 11th grade, i was such a problem for my teacher that the principal moved me to independent study in her third grade class

she probably saved my life too

the reason schools are so terrible in this country is because we don’t treat the women who run them with any respect

i think the reason i hated school so much was because i had to watch all these powerful women helping me slowly be broken by the state

i was really lucky to have a lot of really great teachers – almost exclusively women, but they were all visibly and chronically depressed

their constant advocacy *despite* their depression was perhaps the greatest lesson … and what ultimately motivated me to drop out of school

the best english teacher i ever had gave me a C minus and inspired me to become a writer

the best social studies teacher i ever had told me i would end up in prison for my beliefs, and inspired me to become a publisher

the best math teacher i ever had gave me extra homework on september 11 2001 in case we were being invaded

the best art teacher i ever had kicked me out of class for laughing at someones painting

the best science teacher i ever had taught me how to track animals and people through the woods

my mom raised me herself, we were in poverty the whole time, and enrolled me the first publicly funded Montessori school in the country

and when i told her i wanted to drop out, she supported me …

where do all these strong constantly generous women come from

how do they endure this world?

perhaps most importantly – what can we ever do to say thank you

all of the strong women in my life who have taught me how to be a good person have also inspired me to continue living through depression

never forget that helping people see beauty and knowledge in the chaos of the world could save their life

and never forget about the people who have taken the time to show that to you

we end up holding up education as the “way out of poverty” for marginalized people of color, but we miss what is important about school

they say “go to school” as if to say “you’re going to need some skills you won’t learn at home"

but for me, a black kid in a mostly white working class rural town, school was the place where i learned how hopeless the world really was

and was taught by the women of that town how to cope with it, and push on.

all the “job skills” i developed came from my outright opposition to that hopeless world

the wisdom to identify my interest in how other people handled powerlessness and depression as a site of lifelong learning came from school.

i wrote about why i think holding school up as a means of emancipation for people of color is a bad idea: http://maskmag.com/1IPzzQp

i want to encourage the parts of early education that matter: preparing children for a grueling life of darkness by teaching them empathy

not just by instruction, but by immersion …. i empathized with my teachers, and the monumental (largely hopeless) task they took on

the fact that teachers have to sneak massive life lessons between the lines of boring teach-the-test bullshit is a powerful metaphor

because if school prepares us for work, it means that work *doesn’t matter*, but what happens at work *does*.

from that curriculum, we can see economics, politics, social issues, and technology from a totally different position

not as productive machines, but as cages.

where relationships *have to form*

how we treat the people in our lives matters more than what we do with our lives, and it doesn’t matter if you do your homework

ok i’m done. thanks for listening."
tylerreinhard  education  society  marginalization  2015  empathy  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  depression  teachers  work  labor  engagement  women  gender  advocacy  poverty  resilience  hope  beauty  knowledge  hopelessness  opposition  jobskills  wisdom  emancipation  life  living  lifelessons  whatmatters  economics  politics  socialissyes  technology  cages  relationships  kindness  homework 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Popular lecturer at Berkeley will lose job despite strong record of promoting student success | Inside Higher Ed
"Students at the University of California at Berkeley like Alexander Coward. A lot.

“He is not just one of the best math teachers, but one of the best teachers that Berkeley has ever had the fortune of having,” proclaims the Protest to Keep Coward at Cal Facebook page.

Coward, a full-time lecturer four years away from a more permanent "continuing status" (but very much off the tenure track), revealed recently in a public blog post on his website that the Berkeley mathematics department would not renew his contract to teach multiple sections of introductory calculus courses. Students immediately flocked to his support on social media. Some used the hashtag #IStandWithCoward, and nearly 3,000 signed up to attend the protest on Oct. 20 -- the day the university will formally review the nonrenewal decision.

Coward, who earned a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Oxford, used his blog post to detail years of combative interactions with faculty and administration in his department. He linked to pages of email chains and hundreds of student evaluations that collectively seem to paint the picture of a lecturer who is very good at his job, but not so good at doing it within the confines of departmental norms or expectations. Specifically, Coward opted to forgo standard measures of student progress such as graded homework and quizzes in favor of what he sees as a more natural approach.

"We all know hard work is important, but there's a question about how to motivate students to work hard," he said in an interview. Tangible rewards like better grades for better work are one option, Coward said, but piles of research -- some of which he references in an open letter he sent the department chair in December 2014 -- point to a more effective system: intrinsic motivation. Encouraging the "motivation that's bubbling up inside ourselves because we're curious and like to learn and like to improve is much more powerful than saying, 'I'm going to do this because it's 0.7777 of my GPA.'"

In his classes, Coward says, he works to foster a feeling of autonomy, competency and personal affinity rather than rely on humdrum grades to spark motivation in students. In his class sessions, he asks repeatedly if everyone understands concepts. He repeats explanations several times, which he says is important for teaching math. And students say he always has time for them.

Actual course grades are based on final exams, which he does give, so his students do receive formal, traditional assessment at the end of the course.

That strategy spurred sweeping approval in the student evaluations he posted, many of which point to his enthusiasm, accessibility and outgoing demeanor in class. "He genuinely cares about his students," one student wrote. "And his love for learning and teaching really shines through his work."

Coward noted, and documentation he posted including an internal “Report on A. Coward” appears to confirm, that his students performed at or above average in subsequent mathematics courses -- a key piece of evidence that his teaching works. But even though students love him and go on to succeed in other courses, the department still found his approach to be problematic.

Arthur Argus, former chair of the math department, wrote a 2013 email, Coward says, “I do think it [sic] that it is very important that you not deviate too far from the department norms.” The sentiment came up again in emails and memos in the following years.

“This raises the question,” Coward writes in his blog, “What does it mean to adhere to department norms if one has the highest student evaluation scores in the department, students performing statistically significantly better in subsequent courses and faculty observations universally reporting ‘extraordinary skills at lecturing, presentation and engaging students’?”

“In a nutshell: stop making us look bad. If you don't, we'll fire you,” says Coward.

“We cannot address individual personnel matters, as they are confidential,” university spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said in a statement emailed to Inside Higher Ed. “However, many lecturers have appointments that may be for a single term or up to two years. They often fill in for regular faculty who are on leave, provide additional teaching to cover surges in enrollment and teach large undergraduate classes. Lecturers do not receive a commitment to ongoing employment until after they have taught for six years and have undergone a rigorous academic review of their teaching.”

Emails Coward received and subsequently posted include similar statements, but taken with the evaluations and other data Coward put online, they portray a man beloved by students.

A letter from a teaching evaluation coordinator about Coward’s student evaluations says, “Both of Dr. Coward's Math 1A scores were markedly higher than those of any of the regular faculty who taught Math 1A during the six-year period ending in spring 2013.” He averaged 6.4 and 6.5 on a seven-point scale, and both sections attracted nearly four times as many students as another section of the same course taught by another faculty member. In fact, the letter goes on to say, “Dr. Coward's scores are higher than any of the scores earned by regular faculty for at least the last 18 years."

More than 500 actual student evaluations follow the letter. Most of them are entirely positive.

“Professor Coward is by far the best professor I have ever had at Cal so far,” writes one student. “He has an extremely positive attitude when it comes to math, which makes the course really enjoyable.” Asked about his or her instructor’s weaknesses, that student wrote, “no weaknesses; his teaching is perfection.”

Some students do mention the same critiques the department raised, though -- that they wished he assigned more homework or kept a clearer schedule and record of progress.

Coward also alleges that administrators suppressed his glowing reviews and watered down statistical evidence that his students go on to perform better in other classes. In an open letter he sent to the department, Coward also revealed he had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital for suicidal depression, saying, "The entire faculty in the mathematics department should introspect on this fact. Bullying is something that affects adults as well as children, and where it occurs it should be addressed very seriously."

He added, “I absolutely love teaching the students at Berkeley, but I cannot in good conscience follow the instructions you have given me. I am unwilling to go to work and feel ashamed of what I am doing any more.”"
2015  teaching  learning  howweteach  alexandercoward  autonomy  assessment  rules  norms  ucberkeley  bullying  academia  highered  highereducation  pedagogy  homework  testing  motivation  math  mathematics  competency 
october 2015 by robertogreco
The Back-to-School-Night Speech We'd Like to Hear* | Psychology Today
"Our top priority here -- and I mean a real, honest-to-goodness commitment, not just a slogan on the website or in a mission statement -- is to learn about and support each student's interests. What questions do they have about the world? How can we help them build on and find answers to those questions? When we meet as a staff, it's usually to think together about how best to do that, how to create a school that's not just academic but intellectual.

We don't want to write a detailed curriculum or devise a bunch of rules in advance and then spend the year demanding that kids conform to them. Our main concern is that what students are learning, and how they're helped to learn it, make sense for the particular kids in a given room. That's why our teachers spend a lot more time asking than telling -- and even more time listening to what the kids wonder about. The plan for learning is created with your kids, not just for them.

Take Ms. _______ and Mr. ________, who are both standing in the back of the room, over there near the fire alarm. (Say hello!) They teach the same grade and the same subjects, but do they have the same curriculum -- the same topics in the same order with the same reading list and assignments? Well, of course not! They teach different kids! And I happen to know that much of what each of them is teaching this year is different from what they were teaching last year. For the same reason.

A good way to tell how successful we are is how excited the students are about figuring stuff out and playing with ideas. Nurturing their desire to learn is more important to us than cramming them full of definitions and dates and details that they're likely to forget anyway. Plus, in my experience, when that excitement is there, academic excellence tends to follow – assuming they've been given the support and resources they need.

So if your children ever seem reluctant to come to school, if you get a sense that they see what they're doing here as a chore, please let us know! Hating school isn't a fact of life; it's a problem to be solved. We're not going to talk about "how to motivate them" or just expect them to "improve their attitude"; it's our responsibility to improve what happens in school. And if it turns out that the curiosity of our students is being smothered by practices that we've come to take for granted, well, we're not going to say, "Too bad. That's life." We're going to rethink those practices.

You want a couple of examples? Well, I think I can safely say -- and feel free, teachers, to contradict me here -- that all of us on the staff used to assume that things like grades, tests, homework, and textbooks were just part of the educational package. So we focused on the details of how we did them -- what seem to us now like piddly little questions. We would solemnly ask: Should grades be posted online -- and what's the best way to do that? Or: Exactly how many minutes of homework should be assigned? Should students be permitted to retake tests? Should textbooks be available digitally? (Boy, that's "innovation" for you, huh? The same collection of predigested facts from a giant publishing conglomerate but, hey, now it's on an iPad!)

Anyway, we gradually realized that because we were so busy asking how to implement x, y, and z, we had let ourselves off the hook by failing to ask whether x, y, or z should be done at all. For instance, a lot of studies have shown that when you give kids grades, they tend to lose interest in what they're learning – and also become less thoughtful in the way they learn it. So if we can offer kids (and also you parents) much more meaningful feedback about how they're doing in school – through written observations and, better yet, in-person conversations -- then why would we risk smothering their excitement about learning by slapping a letter or number on them? We were doing real damage by training kids to think that the point of going to school is to get A's. The solution wasn't to implement “standards-based grading,” or to change “A” to “greatly exceeds expectations,” or ramp up the use of rubrics (which basically take all that's wrong with grades and intensify it). No. The solution was to get rid of grading entirely and replace it with something better. So that's just what we've done. And the results have been nothing short of amazing.

The same thing is true with other old-fashioned practices. Homework creates frustration, anxiety, boredom, exhaustion -- and it's no fun for the kids either! (Ba-dum-bum). So we really paid attention when we discovered teachers -- some in our school, some in other schools -- who had completely stopped assigning homework and found real improvement in the way kids felt about school, about learning, about themselves, and about their teachers -- all without detracting from the quality of their learning. True, kids end up doing less drill and practice when they're free to do what they enjoy after school, but our teachers have gone way beyond the old drill-and-practice approach anyway!

We've seen similar benefits after educating ourselves about how to evaluate kids' understanding of ideas without using tests. And about how textbooks can be left on the shelves, to be consulted occasionally like reference sources, rather than dictating course content. What?? A school without tests or textbooks?? Yes. It's not only possible; it opens new possibilities for learning -- to the point that we wondered why we hadn't ditched these relics years ago.

Well, let's be honest. Some of us wondered that. Others of us are still a little, um, uneasy about completely getting rid of these traditional practices. Some of us understandably need help teaching with primary sources instead of textbooks. Or getting better at knowing how well students are doing (or how we're doing) without giving kids tests and quizzes. Or doing what needs to be done during class instead of saddling kids with more schoolwork after the school day is over.

So we're still struggling with some of this. But we're pretty sure at least we're asking the right questions now. And I'm happy to report that this shift is taking place in all the schools in our district -- elementary, middle, and high schools, since everything I'm talking about tonight is relevant to all grade levels. In fact, at the risk of making your head explode, I could mention that the same is true of a bunch of other features of Old Style education that we're also starting to look at skeptically now: segregating kids by age, or teaching different subjects separately, or even making kids raise their hands so that the teacher alone decides who gets to talk when. If there are solid reasons to keep doing these things, fine. If not, well, "that's the way things have always been done" is a pretty lame justification for not making a change, isn't it?"



"We talk a lot about the importance of creating a caring community of learners. Actually, I guess lots of schools use phrases like that, but one way we prove we really mean it is by making sure we don't do anything that disrupts a feeling of community -- like setting kids against each other in a contest for awards or recognition. The day we start publicly singling out one child as better than everyone else is the day we've given up on the ideal of community. This doesn't mean we don't care about excellence. Just the opposite! Real excellence comes from helping students to see one another as potential collaborators. Sorting them into winners and losers leads each kid to see everyone else as a rival. That undermines achievement (as well as caring and trust) for winners and losers alike. So instead of awards assemblies, you can expect to be invited to student-designed celebrations of what all of us have accomplished together. These ceremonies can be amazingly moving, by the way. If you're used to those rituals where a few kids are called up to the stage to be applauded for having triumphed over their peers, well, you're in for a real treat.

Because we take kids -- all kids -- so seriously here at _________, and because we treat them, and their ideas, with respect, we tend to have remarkably few discipline problems. Few, not none. When there is a problem, we don't talk about it in terms of a kid's "behavior" that needs to be changed; we ask what's going on beneath the behavior. Sometimes what's going on is that something about the school isn't working for that child. That's not a signal to fix the child, to lean on him until he does what he's told. You're sending us your children, not your pets, so we don't use rewards and consequences. We don't bribe or threaten them to make them behave. Hey, we don't like to be treated that way, so why would we treat our students that way? We don't use point systems, or dangle prizes in front of them, or use other strategies of control. Those gimmicks don't really work in the long run, and they're an awfully disrespectful way to treat people of any age. Besides, we find that when the learning is engaging, when our requests are reasonable, when we view students as people to be consulted rather than as bundles of behaviors to be reinforced, most of the time they live up to our expectations. Or even go beyond them.

As the year unfolds, we'll send you occasional letters and e-mails -- and update our website -- about how all this is playing out, about how your child is doing and, more important, what your child is doing. Some teachers host their own blogs or send out periodic newsletters. But don't be worried if sometimes they write things like, "We had a conflict in class that made some kids unhappy so we called a class meeting to work it out" or "Hey, I tried a new way to introduce an unfamiliar concept today, and it bombed so I'm not likely to do that again." If we sent you updates that were always upbeat, implying that every kid loved - and succeeded at - every activity, we'd quickly lose all credibility and you'd discount everything you heard from us. So we'll be tactful but honest in sharing … [more]
alfiekohn  emergentcurriculum  education  unschooling  deschooling  learning  children  schools  priorities  tcsnmy  agency  choice  homework  grades  grading  howwelearn  howweteach  teaching  curriculum  reggioemilia  anxiety  boredom  exhaustion  play  democracy  textbooks  caring  progressive  discipline  behavior  competition  awards 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Blame Society, Not the Screen Time - NYTimes.com
"Even though multiple generations have now grown up glued to the flickering light of the TV, we still can’t let go of the belief that the next generation of technology is going to doom our kids. We blame technology, rather than work, to understand why children engage with screens in the first place.

I’ve spent over a decade observing young people’s practices with technology and interviewing families about the dynamics that unfold. When I began my research, I expected to find hordes of teenagers who were escaping “real life” through the Internet. That was certainly my experience. As a geeky, queer youth growing up in suburban America in the early 1990s, the Internet was the only place where I didn’t feel judged. I wanted to go virtual, for my body to not matter, to live in a digital-only world.

To my surprise — and, as I grew older, relief — that differed from what most youth want. Early on in my research, I met a girl in Michigan who told me that she’d much rather get together with her friends in person, but she had so many homework demands and her parents were often concerned about her physical safety. This is why she loved the Internet: She could hang out with her friends there. I've heard this reasoning echoed by youth around the country.

This is the Catch-22 that we’ve trapped today’s youth in. We’ve locked them indoors because we see the physical world as more dangerous than ever before, even though by almost every measure, we live in the safest society to date. We put unprecedented demands on our kids, maxing them out with structured activities, homework and heavy expectations. And then we’re surprised when they’re frazzled and strung out.

For many teenagers, technology is a relief valve. (And that goes for the strung-out, overworked parents and adults playing Candy Crush, too.) It’s not the inherently addictive substance that fretting parents like to imagine. It simply provides an outlet.

The presence of technology alone is not the issue. We see much higher levels of concern about technology “addiction” in countries where there’s even greater pressure to succeed and fewer social opportunities (e.g., China, South Korea, etc.).

If Americans truly want to reduce the amount young people use technology, we should free up more of their time.

For one thing, we could radically reduce the amount of homework and tests American youth take. Finland and the Netherlands consistently outperform the U.S. in school, and they emphasize student happiness, assigning almost no homework. (To be sure, they also respect their teachers and pay them what they’re worth.) When I lecture in these countries, parents don't seem nearly as anxious about technology addiction as Americans.

We should also let children roam. It seems like every few weeks I read a new story about a parent who was visited by child services for letting their school-aged children out of their sight. Indeed, studies in the U.S. and the U.K. consistently show that children have lost the right to roam.

This is why many of our youth turn to technology. They aren’t addicted to the computer; they’re addicted to interaction, and being around their friends. Children, and especially teenagers, don’t want to only socialize with parents and siblings; they want to play with their peers. That’s how they make sense of the world. And we’ve robbed them of that opportunity because we’re afraid of boogeymen.

We’re raising our children in captivity and they turn to technology to socialize, learn and decompress. Why are we blaming the screens?"
2015  danahboyd  teens  youth  freedom  internet  time  screens  screentime  online  social  socialmedia  freetime  homework  socializing  learning  technology  testing  safety  parenting  schools  education  society  us  finland  netherlands  anxiety  uk 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Why Are Palo Alto’s Kids Killing Themselves? — Amazing humankind — Medium
"Saal, the psychiatrist, believes that many students at his daughter’s school are showing signs of acute stress disorder, a non-pathological response to trauma that is more immediate and more transient than PTSD. Even a single incident of stress, Saal says, can induce “a collection of overpowering recall.” While most people are capable of coping at that level, a cascade of trauma like that experienced by Palo Alto’s teens can produce more radical responses."



"Most people, in fact, were anxious to share, in great detail, what they’ve endured since the first Gunn student took his life back in May 2009.

This was particularly true of the teens, who volunteered acute insights about their town, their school, and the contradictions of a culture that demands personal excellence but withholds emotional support. They railed against their superintendent’s denials of responsibility; against the so-called Palo Alto mask that blocks reality in the name of perfection; against school officials’ lip service to bold change. “They just check boxes, put counselors in place so that it will look good, not thinking about how to do it in a way that really helps kids,” says Lauren Saal. Other students are eager to defend the school and knock what they perceive as victim-blaming. They decry attempts to fit all the suicides, as senior Anna Barbier says, “neatly under one umbrella.” “Fake” is the word used by two seniors to describe Gunn’s culture, which they fault for breeding intense competition while claiming to foster unity. But other students are frank about their own complicity in the noxious, cutthroat environment. “My dad always describes how when he was growing up, it was students against the system,” Anna says. “This is students against students.”"



"While they’re relentlessly pushed to chase higher grades and greater commendations, students say, they are simultaneously pressured to maintain an air of confidence and composure. Gaby Candes, a Gunn sophomore whose parents are both Stanford professors, refers to the condition as “Stanford duck syndrome”: “Everybody puts on a front of being super-relaxed and perfect, but under the surface they’re kicking furiously,” she says. “When all you see is calm ducks, you think that you are the only one who’s not perfect.” The attitude even bleeds into class activities that are intended to ameliorate stress. “We’re always doing exercises where they say, ‘We all have problems, and other people have problems just like you,’” says junior Hayley Krolik. “But nobody really believes it. This isn’t really an environment where people talk about being less than perfect.”

With everyone paddling desperately (but stealthily) in pursuit of distinction, pulling out in front becomes nearly impossible. “Everyone wants to be the one to stand out, because it’s really hard to stand out here,” says Hayley. Consequently, anything that gets you noticed — being gay, being Jewish, even being inordinately sad — garners social capital at Gunn. Depression is effectively “glorified,” a senior says, because it attracts attention."



"This push-pull is a bite-size encapsulation of the skirmishes currently consuming all of Palo Alto. There aren’t enough fingers in Silicon Valley to point at all the people, norms, and institutions that may or may not be responsible. “The parents blame the schools. The schools blame the parents. And when they are together, they blame the universities,” says Marin psychologist Madeline Levine, author of a bestselling book about the afflictions of affluent youth, The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids. Communities like Palo Alto, she says, may tout their Hallmark-ready battle cry of “We’re all in this together,” but all too often, there is little coming together on anything. “Where are the parents?” Levine rants. “How do they tolerate four hours of homework? Since when are kids making multiple trips to the ER? It starts to be a mass delusion. That’s what this feels like to me. What’s that book where all the girls become hysterical — The Crucible? That is what this feels like to me.”"



"The problem is that Palo Alto, in my experience, is a community with something of a tin ear, many denizens seemingly hearing only what confirms their preexisting worldview. Some of that tone deafness is understandable, given the complexity of the issues besetting the town. But some of it may be due to a general muzzling of suicide-related speech. The backstories of many of the 2009–10 suicides have long been shrouded in secrecy, leaving kids and parents speculating and rumormongering. The Stanford Psychiatry Department embarked on a “psychological autopsy” of the cluster, but no report was ever publicly released. In any case, Blanchard is dismissive of the study’s value: “There are many more [teens] who are not doing well,” she says. “Researching only kids who have passed away — its usefulness is so limited.”

Often it seems as if that de facto gag order from 2009 is still in effect. Even the kids speak in euphemisms, as if they’ve signed some town pact: During a “Listening to Youth Voices” panel in March, they referred to the suicides as “the recent events.” Some experts object to this use of abstruse terminology, which they believe reflects a damaging community-wide repression. “This is exactly the time to call it suicide and nothing else,” says Levine. “It couldn’t be clearer that there’s a crisis around kids being able to manage their feelings.”"



"For a moment, the Gunn turned Palo Alto problem became an Asian problem. But chestnut-haired Paly junior Carolyn Walworth, her school’s student rep on the district board, quickly forestalled any temptation to render the suicides an ethnic issue. On Palo Alto Weekly’s website, she posted a chilling diatribe titled “The Sorrows of Young Palo Altons” [http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2015/03/25/guest-opinion-the-sorrows-of-young-palo-altans ] in which she lamented the entire student body’s response to the crisis. “We are lifeless bodies in a system that breeds competition, hatred, and discourages genuine learning,” she wrote. “We lack sincere passion. We are sick….”

The self-criticism in the treatise was, in Levine’s view, a healthy step forward. She says that she fears for this generation of kids, “who don’t come out and say ‘Screw you.’ Where’s the rebellion? These kids have no sense that they could change something.” But more and more, students are stepping up to challenge the status quo. Carolyn and Martha have both done so. And, quite eloquently, so has Gunn senior Jessica Luo, who, in a letter to her ninth-grade self written for a youth forum, admonishes the younger Jessica: “The ‘culture’ and the ‘system’ are not some monster looming above Gunn and issuing commands. The ‘system’ is made up of your actions and the actions of people around you.”

“Something’s only going to change,” concurs Gunn junior Hayley Krolik, “if 75 percent of us start saying to people around us, ‘Oh, you got the A, but did you enjoy the project?’ And frowning on people who just do things because it will get them someplace.”

Jessica sees the magnitude of the problem facing her peers — and advocates for a wholesale revision of the student-school compact. “We aim our arrows at false targets,” she writes. “We shoot at AP classes while the real enemy lurks in an unspoken assumption: that people who take the harder classes are better. That’s because it’s easier to think of culture as a tumor that can be attacked, to throw policy changes like block schedules and homework restrictions at the tumor in hopes of shrinking it. But the tumor just comes back — because the disease is somewhere else.”

Jessica implores her younger self to stop, to think, and — as Kathleen Blanchard advises in the wake of her own son’s suicide — to listen deeply. “Notice the air you breathe,” she writes. “Notice the people you’re helping or harming. Know your enemy — know that it does not live in the problems that look clear-cut. It lives in the shady assumptions beneath.”"
culture  education  paloalto  highschool  suicide  pressure  depression  stress  2015  teaching  homework  learning  carolynwalworth  competition  rebellion  howwelearn  siliconvalley  society  madelyngould  laurensaal  madelinelevine  suicideclusters  marthacabot  dianakapp  gunnhoghschool 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: Individualized Parental Homework
"Following up my previous post [http://www.tuttlesvc.org/2014/11/a-7-year-old-intentionally-obtuse-math.html ], it should be possible, using the miracle of technology, to simply give parents the kind of math homework they desire for their early elementary students (with the default being "none"). Want 100 math facts every night? OK! Want a fun math puzzle of the week to discuss over dinner? We got ya' covered!

Just keep the parents happy. It has no effect on achievement anyhow. It is academic theatre."
tomhoffman  2014  homework  education  parenting  parents  teaching  howweteach  math  mathematics  schools  communication 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Why Girls Get Better Grades Than Boys Do - The Atlantic
[My tweet: https://twitter.com/rogre/status/512741051941924864 "“Why Girls Get Better Grades Than Boys Do” http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/09/why-girls-get-better-grades-than-boys-do/380318/ … Missing: Conscientiousness or deference? Innate or conditioned?"]

"This self-discipline edge for girls carries into middle-school and beyond. In a 2006 landmark study, Martin Seligman and Angela Lee Duckworth found that middle-school girls edge out boys in overall self-discipline. This contributes greatly to their better grades across all subjects. They found that girls are more adept at “reading test instructions before proceeding to the questions,” “paying attention to a teacher rather than daydreaming,” “choosing homework over TV,” and “persisting on long-term assignments despite boredom and frustration.” These top cognitive scientists from the University of Pennsylvania also found that girls are apt to start their homework earlier in the day than boys and spend almost double the amount of time completing it. Girls’ grade point averages across all subjects were higher than those of boys, even in basic and advanced math—which, again, are seen as traditional strongholds of boys.

What Drs. Seligman and Duckworth label “self-discipline,” other researchers name “conscientiousness.” Or, a predisposition to plan ahead, set goals, and persist in the face of frustrations and setbacks. Conscientiousness is uniformly considered by social scientists to be an inborn personality trait that is not evenly distributed across all humans. In fact, a host of cross-cultural studies show that females tend to be more conscientious than males. One such study by Lindsay Reddington out of Columbia University even found that female college students are far more likely than males to jot down detailed notes in class, transcribe what professors say more accurately, and remember lecture content better. Arguably, boys’ less developed conscientiousness leaves them at a disadvantage in school settings where grades heavily weight good organizational skills alongside demonstrations of acquired knowledge.

These days, the whole school experience seems to play right into most girls’ strengths—and most boys’ weaknesses. Gone are the days when you could blow off a series of homework assignments throughout the semester but pull through with a respectable grade by cramming for and acing that all-important mid-term exam. Getting good grades today is far more about keeping up with and producing quality homework—not to mention handing it in on time.

Gwen Kenney-Benson, a psychology professor at Allegheny College, a liberal arts institution in Pennsylvania, says that girls succeed over boys in school because they tend to be more mastery-oriented in their schoolwork habits. They are more apt to plan ahead, set academic goals, and put effort into achieving those goals. They also are more likely than boys to feel intrinsically satisfied with the whole enterprise of organizing their work, and more invested in impressing themselves and their teachers with their efforts.

On the whole, boys approach schoolwork differently. They are more performance-oriented. Studying for and taking tests taps into their competitive instincts. For many boys, tests are quests that get their hearts pounding. Doing well on them is a public demonstration of excellence and an occasion for a high-five. In contrast, Kenney-Benson and some fellow academics provide evidence that the stress many girls experience in test situations can artificially lower their performance, giving a false reading of their true abilities. These researchers arrive at the following overarching conclusion: “The testing situation may underestimate girls’ abilities, but the classroom may underestimate boys’ abilities.”

It is easy to for boys to feel alienated in an environment where homework and organization skills account for so much of their grades. But the educational tide may be turning in small ways that give boys more of a fighting chance. An example of this is what occurred several years ago at Ellis Middle School, in Austin, Minnesota. Teachers realized that a sizable chunk of kids who aced tests trundled along each year getting C’s, D’s, and F’s. At the same time, about 10 percent of the students who consistently obtained A’s and B’s did poorly on important tests. Grading policies were revamped and school officials smartly decided to furnish kids with two separate grades each semester. One grade was given for good work habits and citizenship, which they called a “life skills grade.” A “knowledge grade” was given based on average scores across important tests. Tests could be retaken at any point in the semester, provided a student was up to date on homework.

Staff at Ellis Middle School also stopped factoring homework into a kid’s grade. Homework was framed as practice for tests. Incomplete or tardy assignments were noted but didn’t lower a kid’s knowledge grade. The whole enterprise of severely downgrading kids for such transgressions as occasionally being late to class, blurting out answers, doodling instead of taking notes, having a messy backpack, poking the kid in front, or forgetting to have parents sign a permission slip for a class trip, was revamped.

This last point was of particular interest to me. On countless occasions, I have attended school meetings for boy clients of mine who are in an ADHD red-zone. I have learned to request a grade print-out in advance. Not uncommonly, there is a checkered history of radically different grades: A, A, A, B, B, F, F, A. When F grades and a resultant zero points are given for late or missing assignments, a student’s C grade does not reflect his academic performance. Since boys tend to be less conscientious than girls—more apt to space out and leave a completed assignment at home, more likely to fail to turn the page and complete the questions on the back—a distinct fairness issue comes into play when a boy’s occasional lapse results in a low grade. Sadly though, it appears that the overwhelming trend among teachers is to assign zero points for late work. In one survey by Conni Campbell, associate dean of the School of Education at Point Loma Nazarene University, 84 percent of teachers did just that.

Disaffected boys may also benefit from a boot camp on test-taking, time-management, and study habits. These core skills are not always picked up by osmosis in the classroom, or from diligent parents at home. Of course, addressing the learning gap between boys and girls will require parents, teachers and school administrators to talk more openly about the ways each gender approaches classroom learning—and that difference itself remains a tender topic."
gender  schools  boys  girls  education  homework  compliance  conscienciousness  angeladuckworth  2014  martinseligman  deference  authority  self-discipline  adhd  grades  grading  gwenkenney-benson  conditioning  goalsetting  persistence  lindsayreddington  connicampbell  disaffection  testtaking  timemanagement  studyhabits  learninggap  attention  distraction  academics  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  teaching  gendernorms  society  enricognaulati  assessment  standardization 
september 2014 by robertogreco
The day video games ate my school child « Mind Hacks
[Putting this part up here for empasis:]

"Interestingly, teachers may not be in the best position to see this distinction very well because they tend, like the rest of us, to measure ability by performance in the tasks they set and not in comparison to neuropsychological test performance."



"So, we have half the kids with spanking brand new console, and, as part of the trial, the amount of time kids spent gaming and doing their school work was measured throughout, as was reporting of any behavioural problems. At the end of the study their academic progress was measured and their cognitive abilities were tested again.

The results were clear: kids who got video game consoles were worse off academically compared to their non-console-owning peers – their progress in reading and writing had suffered.

But this wasn’t due to an impact on their concentration, memory, problem-solving or behaviour – their neuropsychological and social performance was completely unaffected.

By looking at how much time the kids spent on the consoles, they found that reduced academic performance was due to the fact that kids in the console-owning families started spending less time doing their homework.

In other words, if your kids play a lot of computer games instead of doing homework they may well appear worse off, and from the teachers’ point-of-view, might seem a little slowed-down compared to their peers, but this is not due to cognitive changes.

Interestingly, teachers may not be in the best position to see this distinction very well because they tend, like the rest of us, to measure ability by performance in the tasks they set and not in comparison to neuropsychological test performance.

The solution is not to panic about technology as this same conclusion probably applies to anything that displaces homework (too many piano lessons will have the same effect) but good parental management of out-of-school time is clearly important."
videogames  education  children  homework  2014  kathrynmills  robertweis  brittanycerankosky 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Education in the Age of Globalization » Blog Archive » China Enters “Testing-free” Zone: The New Ten Commandments of Education Reform
"No standardized tests, no written homework, no tracking. These are some of the new actions China is taking to lessen student academic burden. The Chinese Ministry of Education released Ten Regulations to Lessen Academic Burden for Primary School Students this week for public commentary. The Ten Regulations are introduced as one more significant measure to reform China’s education, in addition to further reduction of academic content, lowering the academic rigor of textbooks, expanding criteria for education quality, and improving teacher capacity.

The regulations included in the published draft are:

1. Transparent admissions. Admission to a school cannot take into account any achievement certificates or examination results. Schools must admit all students based on their residency without considering any other factors.

2. Balanced Grouping. Schools must place students into classes and assign teachers randomly. Schools are strictly forbidden to use any excuse to establish “fast-track” and “slow-track” classes.

3. “Zero-starting point” Teaching. All teaching should assume all first graders students begin at zero proficiency. Schools should not artificially impose higher academic expectations and expedite the pace of teaching.

4. No Homework. No written homework is allowed in primary schools. Schools can however assign appropriate experiential homework by working with parents and community resources to arrange field trips, library visits, and craft activities.

5. Reducing Testing. No standardized testing is allowed for grades 1 through 3; For 4th grade and up, standardized testing is only allowed once per semester for Chinese language, math, and foreign language. Other types of tests cannot be given more than twice per semester.

6. Categorical Evaluation. Schools can only assess students using the categories of “Exceptional, Excellent, Adequate, and Inadequate,” replacing the traditional 100-point system.

7. Minimizing Supplemental Materials. Schools can use at most one type of materials to supplement the textbook, with parental consent. Schools and teachers are forbidden to recommend, suggest, or promote any supplemental materials to students.

8. Strictly Forbidding Extra Class. Schools and teachers cannot organize or offer extra instruction after regular schools hours, during winter and summer breaks and other holidays. Public schools and their teachers cannot organize or participate in extra instructional activities.

9. Minimum of One Hour of Physical Exercise. Schools are to guarantee the offering of physical education classes in accordance with the national curriculum, physical activities and eye exercise during recess.

10. Strengthening Enforcement. Education authorities at all levels of government shall conduct regular inspection and monitoring of actions to lessen student academic burden and publish findings. Individuals responsible for academic burden reduction are held accountable by the government."
yongzhao  2013  china  policy  education  edreform  admissions  tracking  evaluations  assessment  standards  standardizedtexting  homework  testing  teaching  learning  schools  schooling 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Talentism: My Son Won't Do His Homework
"My entire family was completely enthralled by what he had done. It was not only artistically creative and engaging, it actually helped clear up the very nature of the project. Justly proud, we anxiously looked forward to hearing how his teacher responded.

My son returned home from school downcast, shuffling his feet. I asked him what was wrong. “My teacher didn’t like the project, because I put it on the wrong size paper.”"



"But school doesn’t care, because school does not have the objective of helping my son produce the maximum amount of value in the future that he will probably encounter. School cares about ensuring that he knows how to take tests, follow directions and can do math that he will never have to care about for the rest of his life. School cares that he can either prove that he is worthy of being in the top 5% that will go on to be homogenized and brainwashed in a top-notch school so that they are almost completely without originality of thought or perspective or that he gets the hell out of the way for those kids that meet that description. School cares that he can be measured and managed, so that he will be a good little cog in a habitual big wheel.

As a parent I am caught between two worlds. I am 100% certain that school is doing great damage to his future prospects, but I also know that the game is rigged to be in favor of kids who get the right grades. Because recruiters can’t seem to get off the “experience and education” kick that does so much damage to our society and our children, I know that my children’s future job prospects are being controlled by people who have never once taken a critical look at what really goes into producing value for a business or market. They just know that their client (the hiring manager) told them they wanted somebody from Stanford with a certain GPA. And if they can get that butt in that seat they can then go deal with the next client."

[Conclusion is deeply flawed and defeatist.]
homework  absurdity  2007  parenting  school  schooling  education 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Healthy Homework Guidelines: A New Vision for Homework - YouTube
"Together we can transform homework and encourage schools nationwide to reexamine and reimagine homework practices to better support student engagement, health and learning with healthy homework guidelines."
deschooling  unschooling  schooliness  schooling  schools  learning  teaching  families  education  alfiekohn  2012  homework  tcsnmy  racetonowhere 
june 2012 by robertogreco
The Finland Phenomenon – a film about schools « Cooperative Catalyst [Great detail in the post, some valuable comments too]
"key takeaways…

1. Finland does not have high stakes tests

2. …worked to develop national consensus about public schools

3. Having made a commitment to public schools…few private schools.

4. …RE accountability, Finns point out they…don't have tests nor an inspectorate…find trusting people leads to them being accountable…

5. …don't have incredibly thick collections of national standards…have small collections of broadly defined standards, & allow local implementation.

6. Qualifying to become teacher is difficult

7. Teachers are well trained, supported, & given time to reflect…including during school day.

8. Finns start school later in life than we do

9. …little homework.

10. …meaningful technical education in Finnish Schools

[Also]…All students in primary & secondary schools get free meals…grow up learning Swedish & English as well as Finnish…health care in the schools…teaching force is 100% unionized. Administrators function in support of teachers, not in opposition."
education  schools  teaching  film  finland  2011  politics  policy  us  learning  standardizedtesting  testing  accountability  control  publicschools  standards  nationalstandards  trust  unions  professionalism  professionaldevelopment  reflection  poverty  healthcare  homework  training  support  technicalschools  vocational 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Life is Not Standardized
"Life is Not Standardized:

One of the most powerful sentiments expressed by these students was that “life is not standardized nor should education” and it links many of the common threads from the presentations about the experience that students desire and feel are needed in education:

Engaged; Learner-Centered and Participatory; Passion-Based; Personalized; Customized; Intrinsically Motivated; Exploratory and Inquiry-Based; Real World, Interdisciplinary Project-Based Learning; Community and Change Focused; Collaborative and Cooperative Learning; Creative and Critical Thinking…

…students wanting to find ways to de-emphasize grading and shift our focus to intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation…

…[students] cut right through the idea [of flipping the classroom] and saw it as nothing more than the same ol’ homework assignment dressed up in new media…"
homework  ryanbretag  education  lcproject  tcsnmy  teaching  pedagogy  learning  unschooling  deschooling  standardizedtesting  standardization  learner-centered  student-centered  studentdirected  self-directedlearning  intrinsicmotivation  progressive  schools  customization  passion-based  exploration  collaboration  cooperative  engagement  participatory  criticalthinking  creativity  realworld  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Flipping the Classroom Next Steps?
"The current iteration of flipping the classroom I most often hear, read, & see has students all viewing the same content assigned by the teacher: shifting teacher content delivery in the classroom to teacher content delivery at home. Whether this is a recorded/created lecture/lesson done by the teacher(s) or selected content from an online source…students are directed to a singular source of content where they are to watch & learn from that piece…<br />
While better than a classroom lecture, there lies the limitation in learner choice and that is potentially the next step…what about choice in the depth and breadth of content and the medium delivery?<br />
Perhaps it is time to move away from the single stream of content selected and managed by the instructor with no choice. In this way, the delivery of content can become porous as Tapscott references. This would allow students to learn from, interact with, and leverage multiple perspectives from various “experts”."
flippedclassroom  lectures  control  deschooling  unschooling  choice  studentdirected  self-directedlearning  learning  education  pedagogy  teaching  homework  flippingtheclassroom  ryanbretag  wolvesinsheepsclothing  tcsnmy  moreofthesame 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Brightworks: An Extraordinary School
"Brightworks is a school that reimagines the idea of school. In September 2011, we will offer a one-of-a-kind K-12 curriculum: students explore an idea from multiple perspectives with the help of real-world experts, tools, and experiences, collaborate on projects driven by their curiosity, and share their findings with the world. Brightworks does away with tests, grades and homework, instead supporting each student as they create a rich and detailed portfolio of their work. Brightworks offers a sliding-scale tuition option to all applicants.

At Brightworks, we believe that a school should serve as a learning commons and a community workshop, an intellectual and creative heart of the neighborhood it resides in. Brightworks will also offer after-school, evening and weekend workshops for children and adults."
education  sanfrancisco  curriculum  pedagogy  learning  teaching  experiential  science  schools  schooldesign  lcproject  testing  grading  homework  sharing  collaboration  tcsnmy  community  agitpropproject  the2837university  children  unschooling  deschooling  bryanwelch  alternative  progressive  make  making  doing  thinkering  tinkering  openstudio  gevertulley  brightworks 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Myths Related to Learning in Schools
"This chapter focuses on the intellectual stultification of learners, the first of three fundamental problems that limit the quality of thinking and efficacy of the educational experience. Students in increasingly lower grades and educators at increasingly earlier points in their careers lose their joy for their work. They become jaded by the limitations on their imaginations, frustrated by the questions they are not allowed to pursue, and depressed by the more experienced peers around them who seem uninterested in their ideas. Somewhere along the way, we—educators, parents, and students alike—decided that schooling was supposed to feel this way, that the drudgery of school was necessary in order for learning to happen. We are all culpable for perpetuating this reality."
unschooling  deschooling  schooliness  learning  schools  education  via:hrheingold  drudgery  pedagogy  teaching  lcproject  tcsnmy  criticalthinking  curiosity  engagement  boredom  coping  wastedtime  attention  homework  superficiality  myths  grades  grading  motivation  speed  slowlearning  slowness  slowpedagogy  slow  intelligence  pace  risk  riskaversion  treadmill  treadmilleducation  racetonowhere  sageonthestage  hierarchy  freedom  autonomy  burnout  creativity  curriculum 
december 2010 by robertogreco
for the love of learning: A newsletter I send home to parents
"Because I do teach in a rather unconventional manner, I need to keep parents informed with what we are doing. This is important because most of the things parents might look for to gauge their children's learning in school are the very things I don't do.

They won't see grades, worksheets, homework, tests or even quizzes. Because these things are noticeably absent, it is my responsibility to be proactive and inform parents of what we are doing in class, and to suggest other more authentic indicators of their children's learning.

Here the newsletter I sent home in early November. It illustrates to parents some of what we've been doing and where we are going."
classroomnewsletters  homework  parenteducation  teaching  pedagogy  joebower  education  learning  schools  tcsnmy  topost  toshare 
november 2010 by robertogreco
The Fisch Flip, or why upside down thinking can drive innovation « Re-educate Seattle
"Karl Fisch…upended typical way we think about teaching: videotaped his lectures, uploaded them to YouTube, & assigned them as homework. Then had students do what used to be homework—practice problems—in class where he walks around & gives students one-on-one help.

…Pink explains how Seth Godin proposed a Fisch Flip for book publishing industry: publishers launch new book by releasing cheap paperback, & then introduce pricey hardcover once it catches on.

Or what if movie studio released film on DVD, let word of mouth spread, then invite early adopters to watch it on big screen as communal experience?

…another: one software company has decided to throw huge party for employees on first day on job, rather than waiting for a going-away party on their last day.

This is just a start. The most forward thinking people in business are refusing to accept the rules of the previous generation. They’re challenging every assumption, & sometimes completely flipping the script."
karlfisch  danielpink  stevemiranda  sethgodin  fischflip  andysmallman  pscs  happiness  education  learning  homework  publishing  books  dvd  film  movies  business  gamechanging  pugetsoundcommunityschool 
september 2010 by robertogreco
The Way We Live Now - Home-Schooling for the Techno-Literate - NYTimes.com ["Here is the kind of literacy that we tried to impart:…"]
"Every new tech will bite back. The more powerful its gifts, the more powerfully it can be abused. Look for its costs. • Technologies improve so fast you should postpone getting anything you need until last second. Get comfortable w/ fact that anything you buy is already obsolete. • Before you can master device, program or invention, it will be superseded; you will always be beginner. Get good at it. • Be suspicious of any tech that requires walls. If you can fix, modify or hack it, that is a good sign. • The proper response to a stupid tech is to make a better one, just as proper response to stupid idea is not to outlaw it but to replace it w/ better idea. • Every tech is biased by its embedded defaults: what does it assume? • Nobody has any idea of what a new invention will really be good for…crucial question: what happens when everyone has one? • The older the tech, the more likely it will continue to be useful. • Find minimum amount of tech that will maximize your options."
teaching  parenting  literacy  learning  education  technology  kevinkelly  glvo  tcsnmy  obsolescence  homeschool  schools  criticalthinking  utility  unschooling  lcproject  abuse  costs  hackability  modification  fixability  invention  homework  stress  self-directedlearning  autodidacts  learningtolearn 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Rethinking Homework Surveys
"It’s not uncommon for schools to distribute surveys to parents in an effort to learn more about families’ experiences with homework. While it might be even more helpful to ask the students themselves, it’s always commendable when someone wants to check out how a policy is affecting those on the receiving end. Unfortunately, what’s most striking about these surveys is the way they’re usually biased in favor of the status quo – both by the wording of the items and the topics that don’t appear at all."
homework  tcsnmy  learning  alfiekohn  education  schools  parenting  policy  statusquo  deschooling  unschooling  freetime  busywork  surveys  administration  teaching  time 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Be less productive… | Blogush
"I “change” more after long periods of unproductive time than I do when I am productive. When I am unproductive my mind wanders, I explore, dream, wonder. When I am productive I am accomplishing predetermined goals…leads to stronger beliefs, or simply changes in beliefs I already had...After all of the talk of changing education, & after all of the actions based on the talk, at its core the education system will still remain the same because we will have based the changes & reforms on the existing core ideas...Next time you are in a conversation about “changing” education offer up ideas that don’t exist and prepare for the looks…how about if we removed grades completely…how about if there were no assessments…how about if there was no homework…how about if there were no classrooms, no discipline plans, no administrators, no books, no scheduled school hours, no set classes, no curriculum, no required skills to master. How about…if there were no schools."
change  reform  gamechanging  unschooling  deschooling  learning  stasis  lcproject  tcsnmy  schools  schooling  tunnelvision  productivity  thinking  wondering  homework  grades  grading  curriculum 
april 2010 by robertogreco
What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart? - WSJ.com
"High-school students here rarely get more than a half-hour of homework a night. They have no school uniforms, no honor societies, no valedictorians, no tardy bells and no classes for the gifted. There is little standardized testing, few parents agonize over college and kids don't start school until age 7. Yet by one international measure, Finnish teenagers are among the smartest in the world. They earned some of the top scores by 15-year-old students who were tested in 57 countries. American teens finished among the world's C students even as U.S. educators piled on more homework, standards and rules. Finnish youth, like their U.S. counterparts, also waste hours online. They dye their hair, love sarcasm and listen to rap and heavy metal. But by ninth grade they're way ahead in math, science and reading -- on track to keeping Finns among the world's most productive workers."
finland  education  children  learning  pisa  testing  teaching  bestpractices  productivity  society  culture  assessment  schools  tcsnmy  homework  competition  standardizedtesting 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Parents on homework « Joanne Jacobs
Its surveys and comments like these that guarantee that the homework debate won't get us anywhere soon... lots of anecdotal evidence, lots of correlation/causation fallacy, lots of cynicism...
homework  parenting  schools  education  learning  teaching  unschooling  deschooling 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Challenge Success: Championing a Broader Vision of Success for Youth
"We believe that real success results from attention to the basic developmental needs of children and a valuing of different types of skills and abilities. In particular, we endorse a vision of success that emphasizes character, health, independence, connection, creativity, enthusiasm, and achievement.
robertevans  parenting  schools  schooling  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  stress  homework  excellence  success  vision  youth  education  wendymogel  stanford  well-being 
december 2009 by robertogreco
How parents can help teens succeed « Joanne Jacobs
"To help teens succeed in school, parents’ role starts at home, concludes a new book, Families, Schools and the Adolescent. "For example, while helping with homework makes a difference for elementary students, it has little impact for middle and high schoolers, concludes Nancy Hill, a Harvard researcher.
education  schools  parenting  achievement  teens  tcsnmy  middleschool  highschool  homework  learning 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Progressive Education [don't miss the "sidebar"]
"It’s not all or nothing, to be sure. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a school — even one with scripted instruction, uniforms, and rows of desks bolted to the floor — that has completely escaped the influence of progressive ideas. Nor have I seen a school that’s progressive in every detail. Still, schools can be characterized according to how closely they reflect a commitment to values such as these: Attending to the whole child, Community, Collaboration, Social justice, Intrinsic motivation, Deep understanding, Active learning, Taking kids seriously...A school that is culturally progressive is not necessarily educationally progressive. ... What It Isn’t ... Why It Makes Sense ... Why It’s Rare ... A Dozen Questions for Progressive Schools"
progressive  education  learning  alfiekohn  nais  tcsnmy  philosophy  progressivism  politics  standards  teaching  schools  children  students  homework  schooling  lcproject 
june 2009 by robertogreco
The Way We Live Now - Kindergarten Cram - NYTimes.com
"Jean Piaget famously referred to “the American question,” which arose when he lectured in this country: how, his audiences wanted to know, could a child’s development be sped up? The better question may be: Why are we so hellbent on doing so? Maybe the current economic retrenchment will trigger a new perspective on early education, something similar to the movement toward local, sustainable, organic food. Call it Slow Schools." There it is. I'm not the only one using the 'slow schools' phrase.
sloweducation  slow  slowschools  learning  kindergarten  children  schooling  us  society  excess  speed  academics  tcsnmy  homeschool  unschooling  deschooling  competition  wisdom  lcproject  homework 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Expectations of Student Behavior - Practical Theory
"One of the things that never seems to amaze me is when I talk to teachers and hear them talk about holding students to standards of behavior and work that they would never hold themselves. Ask yourself, in your school, does the teachers with the most draconian lateness policy often show up late to meetings? Does the teacher who makes a big deal about food in the classroom often leave trash all over the faculty room? Do the teachers who have the strictest policies often resist any administrative policies? And how many of us have made it through an hour-long PD session without passing a note or sending an email or daydreaming? And yet, so many schools expect kids to do so five, six, seven times a day. (And how many people -- aside from teachers -- go home from work and then work another three hours at home? And yet, we expect kids to do that every day...)"
teaching  students  policy  behavior  hypocrisy  education  schools  homework  leadership  chrislehmann  tcsnmy 
november 2008 by robertogreco
ed4wb » Blog Archive » Five Educational Myths
"1. Boosting self-esteem improves academic performance and diminishes troublesome behavior 2. Learning Styles Don’t Exist 3. Students will not learn unless they are given grades 4. Homework promotes higher achievement and promotes responsibility 5. Getting through the curriculum is what’s important. Slowing down and getting deep into a topic might have to wait. Higher order thinking skills have to come after low-level skills have been taught."
teaching  education  self-esteem  homework  myths  learningstyles  curriculum  grading  assessment  tcsnmy  deschooling  unschooling  homeschool  slow 
october 2008 by robertogreco
How the Hulk Led Me to Hamlet | Beyond School
"If goal as language arts teacher is to make good book-reporters...keep assigning book reports; but if I want to make them lifelong readers who read like adults—we read books and discuss them with others—I’ll allow authentic book chats in class."
books  reading  children  students  teaching  clayburell  comics  freedom  childhood  engagement  homework  unschooling  schooling  deschooling  bookreports 
july 2008 by robertogreco
dy/dan » Blog Archive » You See The Problem, Right?
"Yeah, it’s like that. Teachers oughtta ask and re-ask, what is the goal of my class, and are my grades an accurate reflection of that goal? Me? Perfect attendance, classwork completion, homework completion, these aren’t my goals."
teaching  learning  schools  policy  homework  attendance  assessment  education  schooling  danmeyer 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Paleo-Future: Auto-Tutor (1964)
"AUTOMATED SCHOOLMARM The Autotutor, a U.S. Industries teaching machine, is tried out by visitors to the Hall of Education. It can even teach workers to use other automated machines."
education  schools  learning  teaching  homework  future  retrofuture  humor  technology  children  history  via:migurski 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Paleo-Future: Learning in 1999 A.D. (1967)
"Today, we have more from the 1967 film 1999 A.D. This clip shows the way children of the future will learn. The personal computer, audio lectures and computerized testing are demonstrated."
homework  future  retrofuture  humor  technology  schools  children  learning  education  history  teaching 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Paleo-Future: The Answer Machine (1964)
"The paleo-future view of education was exceptionally accurate compared to a lot of other predictions. The homework machine envisioned in 1981 was big, but not altogether wrong."
homework  future  retrofuture  humor  technology  schools  children  learning  teaching  internet  web  online  history  education 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Paleo-Future: Homework in the Future (1981)
"Forget jetpacks, Martian colonies and floating cities. We may have found the most astonishing claim made by anyone of the paleo-future. According to the 1981 book School, Work and Play (World of Tomorrow), in the future, homework will be fun!"
homework  future  retrofuture  humor  technology  schools  children  learning  history  education  teaching 
april 2008 by robertogreco
TheStar.com | Education | Homework a homewrecker: Report
"First national study on workload concludes it's burning out families and is of little value to elementary schoolkids"
education  homework  schools  schooling  families  parenting  wastedtime  unschooling  homeschool  learning  research  policy 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Welcome to MyRocketbook.com! | ROCKETBOOK Online Study Guides: Watch. Read. Succeed.
"Rocketbooks are video study guides that provide summaries and detailed analyses of literary works. Our WikiNotes section offers a new user experience allowing fresh viewpoints and expressions from today's students, educators, and literature enthusiasts t
homework  learning  literature  english  teaching  education  mp3  video  ebooks  books  analysis  schools  homeschool 
november 2007 by robertogreco
The Truth About Homework
"Needless Assignments Persist Because of Widespread Misconceptions About Learning"
alfiekohn  via:cburell  homework  parenting  pedagogy  education  learning  myths  schools  philosophy  teaching  statistics  children  anxiety  culture  psychology  truth  homeschool  unschooling 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Shvoong Homework
"# Organize all your school work in one place # Share homework & class summaries with friends # Meet people all around the world, and share knowledge with them"
collaboration  homework  learning  web2.0  teaching  wikis  schools  students  portfolios 
september 2007 by robertogreco
BBC - BackPage
"Sharing video tips about how to help kids with homework."
bbc  children  education  homework  learning  video  tips  howto 
july 2007 by robertogreco
Zotero - The Next-Generation Research Tool
"Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work — in the web browser itself."
academia  annotation  extension  firefox  bibliography  bookmarks  books  citation  classification  information  homework  knowledge  tools  socialsoftware  research  reference  libraries  learning  education  literacy  utilities  online  notetaking  management  opensource  organizations  aggregator  documentation  web  journals  teaching  study 
october 2006 by robertogreco
TIME.com Print Page: TIME Magazine -- The Myth About Homework
"Think hours of slogging are helping your child make the grade? Think again"
education  myth  parenting  homework  psychology  productivity  schools 
september 2006 by robertogreco

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