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1 Curt  Mon, Sep 24, 2012 3:13:45am

Since we began handing out Federal money based on testing results, "teaching to the test" has become all the rage. I actually learned this from a high school student doing part time work with me. He told me "if the class isn't on the FCATs, then they (the teachers) don't care if you even show up." He could skip his web deigning class, and shop, but English and Math...absolutely had to be there, and then it was specifically about passing the FCATs.

The papers here have been full of articles indicating this mind set. It's sad, but the world isn't as many "standardized tests" as it seems, and we all know that. Thinking is the critical skill, and, having spent a large number of years "teaching" critical thinking processes regarding life and death scenarios to people of various knowledge and skill levels, it's hard to get them to think and become mentally agile in the ever changing details of reality but much, much easier to teach "monkey see, monkey do" task accomplishment. While that does have it's place at times, the thinking carries the larger measure of success, which, I was able to observe in a number of cases, too.

"No Child Left Behind" was a bi-partisan effort. And that came from Congress, as usual, coming up with a way to reverse Robin Hood the taxpayers and get money to a voting constituency. While the concept has some noble attributes, the outcome is administrators and local politicians have found they could use it more effectively to get money by just making an assembly line to get the specific grades up to the acceptable level for the $$$s.

It also has become a cultural "methodology" with al the IT certification classes. Used to be MCSE carried some real clout in the early 90s...$50 out the classroom door with no experience, because you really learned something, then it became "must call someone else" as a result of the certification mills teaching how to pass the exam, so you could put it on a resume. I run into A+ certified people regularly who don't really know too much beyond pulling a few parts out a computer and replacing them, and installing Windows on a drive.

People: They figure out these things. Someone learned how to think, they just seem to be reluctant to teach the following generations...

2 SidewaysQuark  Mon, Sep 24, 2012 6:08:59am

How about "neither"?

Teaching math, reading, science, history, music etc. might be a better idea. Learning to "think" follows naturally from this base.

3 calochortus  Mon, Sep 24, 2012 8:35:28am

re: #2 SidewaysQuark

For some people it follows naturally, for others it doesn't just like any other subject. My daughter learned to read by herself at the age of 4. We read to her. She made the connection between the spoken words and the written words-and was able to generalize this knowledge to other places where words appeared. My son did not make the same connection without actual instruction.

Critical thinking is a skill that can be intuitive or not. If it is not intuitive it can be taught at home or failing that, at school.

4 Gretchen G.Tiger  Mon, Sep 24, 2012 6:32:02pm

A good friend of my teaches the severely dyslexic. This kids are not mentally deficient, they just learn differently and need one-on-one time with a very specialized teacher.

Kids that in other circumstances would float thru the system and end-up who knows where, because they have parents who care and can DRIVE them and PAY her get to go to college and have regular lives.

She does have some students thru a learning center who get "scholarships" but parents still have to get the children to the facility week in and week out for often 2-3 years.

How many kids are lost in the system and become a drain on society as an adult because we can't reach their brains for something the rest of us take forgranted?

Kids who can't read very quickly become demotivated, consider themselves uneducable and never again try to learn. The psychological barriers are often much harder to overcome than the original disability.

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