AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profession

Fear the Boot Ask Me Anything - We seem to have a lot of subject matter experts here at FtB, let's spread that knowledge around!
User avatar
DrMikey
Considering a +1 Tattoo
Posts: 9639
Joined: Thu Dec 25, 2008 4:15 pm
Location: Redkey, IN
Contact:

Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby DrMikey » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:09 am

I have a friend whose child is in kindergarten and, thanks to Khan Academy, can do simple multiplication and understands area and perimeter, and how to calculate them (among other things.)

I have mixed feelings about this. While it's awesome that this kindergarten aged child can perform these tasks, and truly understands math behind them, there are potential social issues involved, as well as potential classroom issues. For instance, the child can end up bored by the simplified math questions that his peers are being prepared to face, and behaviorally act out. While he may be advanced in mathematics, he may still need the standard age-appropriate reading skills taught (or other subject matters... reading was chosen at random--not necessarily representative this particular child.)
If the child does happen to advance well beyond his grade level, will he be prepared emotionally and socially for age-appropriate behaviors for classes that he is involved in? Will he miss out on important social developmental milestones? Will this cause emotional or social problems or issues to arise at a later date? These are all potential hazards of this situation, but are really present because of grade level/age based advancement nature of our school systems. In a Montessori setting, it's not necessarily as much of an issue.

I think Khan Academy is a great tool. In instances where the entire school district is using it, I think it better serves the school in general. Still, that requires that all students have access to hardware and the software allowing them to use the programs. That's a wholly separate issue, though. And of course not every system has the resources to ensure that.
What doesn't kill me, doesn't get XP or my treasure.

User avatar
Mikel
ZCE's Grandmother's Quantum Cat
Posts: 5715
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:56 am

Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Mikel » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:12 am

I've heard of Khan Academy but don't know a whole lot about it.

That said, our students access to PCs at home is fairly spotty and I'm not sure how well we'd actually get a majority of the kids to watch it. (School wide, when homework goes home instead of being done in the classroom, about 50% or more don't turn it in. This is a habit that's been formed in previous schools.)

This is basically the idea of a Flipped Classroom, which has some cool aspects to it but, like many educational fads, we don't seem to have a good way to show people how to implement it. Often, when incorporating something new, you've got a huge learning curve (both teacher and student) and the difficulty of bringing the technique into the classroom in an effective way is rarely shared among the entire school---you're usually thrown into the deep end, told that if you move your arms you'll be okay, and you try to swim.

In teaching, we're all inventing the wheel. I'm in my room working on my wheel. Other people are in their room. You hear a bit about their wheel from time to time, you may see a glimpse of it, but most schools aren't set up well to allow teachers to really work together on creating it.

The Khan Academy sounds like a cool idea, but actually trying to implement it without the expertise needed to do so well could cause a lot of problems.
Confessions of an Improv GM. Player/GM Advice, APs, and the 8 Minute Story Challenge.

User avatar
D3M410
Myopic Sycophant
Posts: 2835
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:54 pm
Location: Riding the Patuxent River.

Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby D3M410 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:53 am

DrMikey wrote:I have a friend whose child is in kindergarten and, thanks to Khan Academy, can do simple multiplication and understands area and perimeter, and how to calculate them (among other things.)

I have mixed feelings about this. While it's awesome that this kindergarten aged child can perform these tasks, and truly understands math behind them, there are potential social issues involved, as well as potential classroom issues. For instance, the child can end up bored by the simplified math questions that his peers are being prepared to face, and behaviorally act out. While he may be advanced in mathematics, he may still need the standard age-appropriate reading skills taught (or other subject matters... reading was chosen at random--not necessarily representative this particular child.)
If the child does happen to advance well beyond his grade level, will he be prepared emotionally and socially for age-appropriate behaviors for classes that he is involved in? Will he miss out on important social developmental milestones? Will this cause emotional or social problems or issues to arise at a later date? These are all potential hazards of this situation, but are really present because of grade level/age based advancement nature of our school systems. In a Montessori setting, it's not necessarily as much of an issue.

I think Khan Academy is a great tool. In instances where the entire school district is using it, I think it better serves the school in general. Still, that requires that all students have access to hardware and the software allowing them to use the programs. That's a wholly separate issue, though. And of course not every system has the resources to ensure that.


This describes me to a T. I'll let you know how it worked out for me, but obviously everyone's different. I was generally 2-3 grades ahead in skill based classes (math and reading/writing) and on level for knowledge based classes (history, language arts, music etc.). My parents had some concern about pushing me ahead for social reasons so they didn't. Around 3rd or fourth grade, I stopped doing homework because it was a waste of my time. I read and wrote a lot and enjoyed going to school, but also endured many lectures on the importance of completing homework that were unconvincing. By the time I was in sixth grade I had discerned that not doing homework beside mandatory reading and enough to refresh me on math was plenty to keep people off my back. Socially I was in that middle tier of kids who was neither popular nor bullied, unfortunately I did some bullying.

In high school, I was able to choose my own classes and was taken out of the advanced track and put on the extra advanced track after some standardized testing and I turned in some good projects. Unfortunately, I was kind of an outcast in the extra advanced track because I was between the true geniuses and the skilled cheaters. (I don't know if anyone else had this at school, but it was really annoying that the top 1% (about 10 people) of my class was composed exclusively of cheaters [not that the cheaters were dumb, either just that they got their edge over the rest by cheating]). Anyway, I made friends in the arts and in extra-curricular activities.

My take on the situation is to let the kid set their pace. If there even a grade ahead and parents are still pushing them, I would seriously question that parent's decision making skills, but I've seen it a plenty. On the other hand I have this terrifying thing where I have never hit my limit for grokking subjects, so maybe with a bit of a push I could be saving the world. I don't know.
Been out of the world for a spell... like to walk it a while.

User avatar
Ikoma
Actually Slew the Baron
Posts: 12369
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:29 pm
Location: Pleasant Grove, UT
Contact:

Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Ikoma » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:38 am

The other hint that I can give on the kid that is way ahead in -one- area was given to me by my 7th grade math teacher. I've always been great at math. He made me a deal. As long as I got 100% on my math tests, I didn't have to turn in homework or even pay attention in class (I couldn't be disruptive - I would just and read). It gave me [A] the motivation to actually work to know the material since I didn't want to risk having to do homework and [B] kept me out of the teacher's hair. He talked to my 8th grade teacher and she agreed to keep the deal alive. Got me through to AP High School Calculus where I finally started to have to do the homework to learn the stuff.

My mom says she likes to coop the smartest kid in a particular subject as her assistant for that period. Have them help others while she can focus on the kids furthest behind. According to her, it teaches them more about the subject than she could, plus it helps other kids get more individual attention and not ignored.
ImageImageImageImageImageImage

User avatar
Magmoo
Couponing Champion
Posts: 5541
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:33 am
Location: Michigan

Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Magmoo » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:50 am

While I understand the whole "I already know this" or "this is too easy why bother with home work" attitude, heck I was one of those kids, most people miss that there is another important lesson/skill that's being imparted with homework. Whatever career a person has there will be days when it's a slog to get your work done particularly when you start out and haven't reached a level of success where you can choose what you are doing. Homework is a great example of how it's generally to just get it done than to flake about it and avoid it and turn it into a bigger issue than it needs to be. It's something that has taken me entirely too long to come to grips with.
"Bureaucracy is far more effective when everyone's dead, you know." TEMPORAL CORRECTOR ZERO - Romantically Apocalyptic

User avatar
Mikel
ZCE's Grandmother's Quantum Cat
Posts: 5715
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:56 am

Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Mikel » Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:11 pm

There are a number of studies that show that homework is maybe not terribly useful in most classes. (It's been awhile since I've read them.)

One of the things with using a good student as help for kids with struggles is one of the reasons things like tracking are either frowned on or illegal. While having Honor's classes can be fine, throwing kids into Dummy, Normal, and Awesome classes tends to keep them moving further apart.

We basically did this for the ACT Study Halls, where we used the study halls on block days to have the students get ACT help when they were Juniors. They placed the students by how well they scored on the practice ACT and it was a nightmare.

You had wonderfully behaved groups of kids who didn't really need much help and then you had the hell class, where you had some students who wanted help to do better and a bunch of discipline problems that didn't care.

It just brought down everyone. It let the good kids get lazy and the kids who were worse off to continue to drown.
Confessions of an Improv GM. Player/GM Advice, APs, and the 8 Minute Story Challenge.

User avatar
Jinx
Teller of gaming stories
Posts: 557
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:39 am
Location: Uk

Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Jinx » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:05 am

Late to the party, appologies.

Teaching is communication from first principals.

You identify the specifics of what you want to impart. You establish the level of competence you want your audience to have and you work towards that in a way your audience will gain the most proficiency in the shortest time.

Three key elements there, you teach a specific set of ideas which you identify beforehand. You teach to your audience, in a way that you know they will derive the most benefit from. Finally you need an understanding of when your audience will become proficient and where the gaps in their knowledge may be.

With that fairly simple layout you've got room for a million different teaching strategies, a million different learning strategies, even more specific special needs and to achieve the best results you need to do it all from "first principals" and discover an adequate way to test proficiency.

It's 60% the science of learning and 60% the art of teaching. You need to be charismatic, wise, intelligent, driven and humble.

Oh, and every single student will have individual issues you will need to address individually. Sometimes you will need to address issues about their personal or family life and act as surrogate role models. (Easier when you've got stripes, you get more respect. Harder for civies because kids don't listen, I know, I still don't listen.)
Image
Jester Without Portfolio.


Jinx Zero - XB:Live

User avatar
DrMikey
Considering a +1 Tattoo
Posts: 9639
Joined: Thu Dec 25, 2008 4:15 pm
Location: Redkey, IN
Contact:

Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby DrMikey » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:44 pm

Jinx wrote: You need to be charismatic, wise, intelligent, driven and humble.


And people wonder why I stopped teaching...
What doesn't kill me, doesn't get XP or my treasure.

User avatar
Bai Shen
Skies of Glass Historian
Posts: 6640
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:09 am

Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Bai Shen » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:21 am

DrMikey wrote:
Jinx wrote: You need to be charismatic, wise, intelligent, driven and humble.


And people wonder why I stopped teaching...


You're right. Just being humble doesn't cut it. :D
Vote Mumblebear/CHAINSAW

User avatar
Jimalcoatl
I am the story stick
Posts: 1010
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Cheongju, South Korea
Contact:

Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Jimalcoatl » Sat Apr 26, 2014 8:15 pm

I'm not sure if this is butting in on Mikey and Mikel's thread, but I'm just about to finish my BEd (I have just my third and final internship to finish then I get my degree and certification). So if you have any questions about what's being taught to new teachers currently and what kind of training we are going through, I can probably cover that. It's from a Canadian perspective, but I'm sure a lot of it transfers over to the U.S.
Just because you are unique does not mean that you are useful.


Return to “FtB AMA”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest