Tag Archives | Education

Poor kids who do everything right don’t do better than rich kids who do everything wrong

Photo: Brookie (CC)

Photo: Brookie (CC)

Following on the heels of its story that sex is only for rich people, the Washington Post now claims that rich kids can do everything wrong and still beat conscientious poor kids:

America is the land of opportunity, just for some more than others.

That’s because, in large part, inequality starts in the crib. Rich parents can afford to spend more time and money on their kids, and that gap has only grown the past few decades. Indeed, economists Greg Duncan and Richard Murnane calculate that, between 1972 and 2006, high-income parents increased their spending on “enrichment activities” for their children by 151 percent in inflation-adjusted terms, compared to 57 percent for low-income parents.

But, of course, it’s not just a matter of dollars and cents. It’s also a matter of letters and words. Affluent parents talk to their kids three more hours a week on average than poor parents, which is critical during a child’s formative early years.

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Noam Chomsky on Education and Indoctrination

By Kris Arnold via Flickr (cc by 2.0)

By Kris Arnold via Flickr (cc by 2.0)

via AlterNet [Click through to read the entire interview]:

History teacher Dan Falcone and English teacher Saul Isaacson spoke with Noam Chomsky in his Cambridge office on September 16, 2014, about education and indoctrination, the 1960s, the Powell memorandum, democracy, the creation of ISIS, the media and the way “capitalism” actually works in the United States.

Dan Falcone: We’re in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Professor Noam Chomsky. I am Dan Falcone with Saul Isaacson, and this is actually the third time I’ve visited you. So I wanted to thank you for that. And since I am a teacher, I wanted to start off by continuing on the themes of democracy and education.

I have noticed students making very insightful and uplifting observations in the midst of chaos. For example, they noticed that support for Israel fell out of favor in certain mainstream circles, and that the recent police treatment of unarmed black teenagers in intensifying areas of violence is a crucial matter of concern.

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The Secret Reason School is Boring

You’re sitting on it says new documentary Boredom.

Untitled

You may want to sit down to read this.
Or maybe not.
According to the new documentary Boredom, school is boring. But not for the reason most people think.
School and college are often cited as chronically boring mainly because of the teaching style and the subject material. But it’s more likely because of the ingrained sedentary culture of constant sitting, according to the documentary.

“The subjects don’t make school boring,” said Boredom director Albert Nerenberg. “It’s the constant sitting. Constant sitting turns people’s brains into mush.”

According to a 2000 OECD survey of students in 35 countries, nearly half of 15-year-olds said they often felt bored at school on average. Ireland reported 67% of teenagers reporting frequent boredom, compared to 61% in the U.S.

From the onset, in almost every country in the world, students are trained to sit still in classrooms and this tradition of non-stop sitting continues well into college.… Read the rest

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Free Radical Media Podcast: Mathematics, Education and True Learning with chycho

via chycho

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the folks at Free Radical Media to see if I would be willing to be a guest in their fledgeling podcast network. I checked out some of their work and really liked what I found, so I nervously agreed – I’ve never been a guest on a podcast before.

We ended up discussing a myriad of topics focused on mathematics, education, and some of the problems associated with our centralized systems as well as some of the solutions available to us at the moment.

It was a very fun experience and I would like to thank Eric and Patrick for having me as a guest. Below you will find the podcast.

FRM – Mathematics, Education and True Learning with chycho

For those interested in further exploring some of the topics that we discussed, you will find additional information regarding these topics at:

 

 

 

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Discussions of Michael Brown’s Death Banned in Illinois School District

Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. via Wikimedia Commons

Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. via Wikimedia Commons

Why do people actually think stifling discourse about polarizing current events is the key to a good education?

via AlterNet:

When faced with tragedies like the shooting of Michael Brown and the community unrest that followed, there are many hard questions to be asked. Why did this happen again? Who should be held accountable? How do we prevent such injustices?

But among the hard questions, few are so pressing, or essential, as this: What do we tell the children?

For educators, that question weighs heavily, and in the Brown case all the more so because Brown’s death occurred just as the new academic year begins.But in Edwardsville, Illinois, the answer is chilling: What do we tell the children? We tell them nothing.

From the local CBS affiliate in St. Louis:

A new directive has been issued in Edwardsville schools: Don’t talk about Ferguson or Michael Brown in class.

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Let’s stop trying to teach students critical thinking

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Socrates, the father of critical thinking. lentina_x, CC BY-NC-SA

Many teachers say they strive to teach their students to be critical thinkers. They even pride themselves on it; after all, who wants children to just take in knowledge passively?

But there is a problem with this widespread belief. The truth is that you can’t teach people to be critical unless you are critical yourself. This involves more than asking young people to “look critically” at something, as if criticism was a mechanical task.

As a teacher, you have to have a critical spirit. This does not mean moaning endlessly about education policies you dislike or telling students what they should think. It means first and foremost that you are capable of engaging in deep conversation. This means debate and discussion based on considerable knowledge – something that is almost entirely absent in the educational world.… Read the rest

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Create your own book of Wikipedia articles

Photos of books made by PediaPress with Wikipedia content. By Jann Glasmacher for PediaPress via Wikimedia Commons.

Photos of books made by PediaPress with Wikipedia content. By Jann Glasmacher for PediaPress via Wikimedia Commons.

I can’t believe that I just found out about this service: you can create your own book of Wikipedia articles. After gathering the articles you want to include, you can compile them into a book, and then download it as a PDF, ODF, or even get it printed. I think I just checked a few people off of my  “What the Hell Do I Get Them?” Christmas list.

via the Wikipedia Help:Books page:

Tips for creating great books

Topic and title

There are almost no limits when creating books from Wikipedia content. A good book focuses on a certain topic and covers it as well as possible. A meaningful title helps other users to have the correct expectation regarding the content of a book.

Length

Books should have a reasonable number of articles. One article is not enough, but books that result in PDFs with more than 500 pages are probably too big, and may even cause problems on older computers.

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Do “brain training” games actually help kids?

Children playing video games inside a video game truck. By Gamesingear via Wikimedia Commons.

Children playing video games inside a video game truck. By Gamesingear via Wikimedia Commons.

According to Emma Blakely at The Conversation, the brain training games might not have any effect. Do you mean to tell me that these are empty promises to drive sales? How shocking.

via The Conversation:

There has been a big increase recently in the number of computerised “brain training” programs marketed at young children. These programs make impressive claims – that they can help children learn better, that they improve children’s focus and memory, and that they can help children succeed in school.

There’s no doubt that brain training is big business. But scientific evidence suggests that these claims are premature. These programs can help train children at specific tasks, but there is little evidence that this has an impact on their performance in maths, reading or other every-day activities.

Working memory training

Many of these brain training programmes target improvements in working memory.

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The Single-Minded Testing Atmosphere is Damaging America’s Education System

I was taught in a test-driven atmosphere and it was a rather negative experience. I went to a large public high school in Ohio where the OGT (Ohio Graduation Test) haunted my teachers and us students. The OGT is administered to 10th grade students in Ohio and you must have a passing score to graduate. Though, upon looking at the website, it seems that there will be some changes. Actually, the test may have changed since I took it. All in all, I remember very little of the OGT.

For the first two years of high school, I was fed the same information. The stakes are high for these kinds of tests – for students, but mostly for the teachers. They are forced to stay within the bounds of an established curriculum, reiterating material that may appear on the test. It was a wholly one-sided education.… Read the rest

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