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Lowering the bar when it comes to school

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    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    My HS required Alg II for honors, not that they told me I could graduate without it. It could have been just a couple years but the fuckers decided because I was physically capable of finishing II I should have to. Quadratic equations have still failed to show up in my life.

    Quid on
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    Captain UltraCaptain Ultra low resolution pictures of birds Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Just throwing this out there, but I knew teachers who had ways to bump up the grades of kids that understood the material but didn't bother with some/a lot of the homework. Its called the participation grade, and its what got me my A- GPA in HS. I mean, I did a lot of my homework. I'm not gonna say most, because there's a good chance that's a lie, but I always read the material, and I would read stuff that was a couple years above what we were learning for fun. So, in class, I was the one that would answer the questions that teachers posed, and in the literature classes, I was one of the maybe 4 that would volunteer my opinion.


    Hell, I had a teacher that explicitly said that he had the participation grade to finagle the grades to where he wanted them to be.

    Captain Ultra on
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    psycojesterpsycojester Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Well if nothing else this thread has show me how completely and utterly fucked up the U.S education system is and made me feel a lot better about the Australian system by comparison.

    Thanks dysfunctional super-power :)

    psycojester on
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    never dienever die Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'm not sure if I agree with Mcdermott or not. I understand his viewpoints at least.

    One problem I have with it is that he's quite the exception. Most of the people who don't do the the "busywork" weren't smart people with unfortunate pasts, but just really lazy. For every person who really did have the situation you had, most of the others just care what their grades were at all. Passing high school was not in their top priorities. That's what the busywork is an indicator of. You care enough about graduating or high school that you'll do the work. Is that necessarily right? I'm undecided about that.

    I think part of me not being able to agree with you comes from our different pasts. I didn't come from a poor family, but we definitely weren't four digit income. Plus, we've taken care of my mentally handicrap brother my whole life, and the federal aide for him is complete crap(One of the aide things apparently we got charged interest for, wtf?). So I've always had alot of extra distractions and stresses in my life. I've held a job, especially within the last two years, so I could have things I wanted, and sometimes need(such as exzema medication becuase the prescription size was bs). Yet I've managed to stay in full honors classes, keep a job, take care of my brother, and keep some social life.

    Maybe it has to do with how my school was run. I've never had a class where homework was 50% of the grade, mostly around a fifth or so, once or twice a forth, and maybe once a third. Tests counted for much more. The only time I've really run into busywork I've considered absurd was tenth grade World History, where we would have huge assignments and less than a week to get it done, because the teacher had fallen behind schedule. even then, I managed to crank out every single assignment for him, and in the end, found out that he decided it was too much work for most people(and for him to grade), and most of the people passed anyway with about a B. I think that was only time I was really upset, as I managed to do every assignment, and those who tried to do the work managed to get most of them done, but he basically completely dropped the homework. Most of the others, I know them, I know they didn't have a good reason to get the work done, they were just lazy. I will agree that the homework there might have been too much, but for the class it was assigned too, most of, if not all, of my classmates could have gotten it done.

    I would say a good example of how a class should be run is my pre-cal class. The teacher assigns the odds, which the answers can be looked up, to the class and allows us to confer with each other in class. After all of us have done the homework, she asks if we have any questions on the assignment. If so, she'll go over it. Then, she'll assign the evens and grade it. I think that's a pretty fair way to do it, as you aren't overwhelmed with problems and get to test to see if you learned the concepts. That, and the pre-cal book is so incomprehensible to anyone without a math degree two-thirds of the time it would be rediculous to do the class any other way.

    About valedictorian and such, I agree with you deserve it if you make good grades and do all of the coursework. Why? Because you've shown that while maybe not as smart as some of your classmates, you were definitely a harder worker than them and weren't lazy(those rare cases such as mcdermott aside).

    never die on
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    TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    never die, it's not the point that it's physically possible to complete all the assignments. I could've completed all my homework in high school, if I'd been willing to sacrifice sleep, personal reading, chores my parents assigned me, and my social life. My highschool required at least 30 minutes of homework per class per night, and I had seven classes (I skipped my lunch period because I wanted to take another class), so that's 3.5 hours per night. Now, sometimes teachers gave us a break, and sometimes the 30 minutes per night were in the form of a long paper due after two weeks, but expecting high school kids to work almost 60 hours per week on school is ridiculous.

    With your World History class, you seem to be bitter that you sacrificed in order to get unreasonable amounts of work done and your classmates didn't, even though the teacher himself eventually acknowledged that the workload was unreasonable. Why do you care? Because you wasted your time and they didn't?

    Besides, what purpose does all that busywork serve? Do you learn anything new by doing 50 math problems that you couldn't learn by doing 5? Writing down the definition 10 times rather than just once? It's silly.

    Trowizilla on
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    never dienever die Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I agree that it does become absurd after a point. That was what my WH class example was for. I'll admit I was kind of bitter, because he assigned all this work, I was one of the few who did it all, and it didn't even really matter gradewise. People who cheated and copied quizzes( his test and quizes were really similar, by studying the quiz you had most of the info you needed for the test, so they would copy off of someone's quiz and study that) had grades that were nearly identical to mine. All I really got was an aknowledge meant once, and some complaining that my writing became more difficult to read. Well no kidding, when I have to do that on top of all of my other work.

    Also, that busy work is supposed to help people learn concepts through repetition. Not everyone learns as fast as others. With some people, that repetition of writing the words over and over again or doing the same style of problems helps them remember how to solve problems. That doesn't mean to load them up with problems and if they don't understand it their screwed, you give them some problems, let them work it out, see what problems they have, and then give them more to let it sink in.

    I'm partially agreeing with you , and partially disagreeing.

    Edit: In terms of sacrificing time and such, I could use my brother as an example. It was most glaring his senior year. His average day consisted of school, basketball practice, chores, and homework. He would be up until near ten to midnight. If possible, he would squeeze in some cell phone conversations with friends. That was his week until Friday, which would be his major social time, along with the weekend, if there wasn't a game. He worked hard, and became Saludetorian(sp?) of his class because of it, got alot of scholarships, and goes to a good college. He also had the same challenges as me, sans job.

    I will say though that I don't believe he had to go through all that. He understood concepts pretty well, and alot of it was busy work at times.

    never die on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Trowizilla wrote: »
    With your World History class, you seem to be bitter that you sacrificed in order to get unreasonable amounts of work done and your classmates didn't, even though the teacher himself eventually acknowledged that the workload was unreasonable. Why do you care? Because you wasted your time and they didn't?

    I think it's a reasonable gripe. I don't think the work should be assigned for a grade to begin with, but once it is those who actually do it should be rewarded. Same for the "using participation to massage grades" thing. I'd like to see the grading policies changed, not ignored.

    mcdermott on
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    YarYar Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I agree with Wil Wright that civilization has completely failed to realize that playing and learning are biologically designed to be the same thing.

    We have convinced ourselves they are opposites. This is wrong. Think how much kids woudl leanr if school was taught entirely via video games. Good ones, taht were age-appropriate and fun.

    Yar on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Yar wrote: »
    I agree with Wil Wright that civilization has completely failed to realize that playing and learning are biologically designed to be the same thing.

    We have convinced ourselves they are opposites. This is wrong. Think how much kids woudl leanr if school was taught entirely via video games. Good ones, taht were age-appropriate and fun.

    Oregon Trail, bitches!

    mcdermott on
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    psycojesterpsycojester Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Civilization mother fucker. You might think they're a bit behind the game right now but just you wait until that goddamn Aztec shuttle lands on alpha-centauri and they rule the earth by default.

    psycojester on
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    SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Yar wrote: »
    I agree with Wil Wright that civilization has completely failed to realize that playing and learning are biologically designed to be the same thing.

    We have convinced ourselves they are opposites. This is wrong. Think how much kids woudl leanr if school was taught entirely via video games. Good ones, taht were age-appropriate and fun.

    I remember bringing that up in an education thread a few years ago.

    It was almost totally rejected by the forum and I was subjected to a wave of Doom jokes.

    Speaker on
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    Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Speaker wrote: »
    Yar wrote: »
    I agree with Wil Wright that civilization has completely failed to realize that playing and learning are biologically designed to be the same thing.

    We have convinced ourselves they are opposites. This is wrong. Think how much kids woudl leanr if school was taught entirely via video games. Good ones, taht were age-appropriate and fun.

    I remember bringing that up in an education thread a few years ago.

    It was almost totally rejected by the forum and I was subjected to a wave of Doom jokes.

    Not sure why; its pretty reasonable.

    Hell, its the reason I learned to read when I did- I was trying to play RPGs and that just does NOT work when you can't read any of the text. :P I also learned the coordinate system (X/Y etc) from Klick and Play long before we covered it in math class.

    Phoenix-D on
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    CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Speaker wrote: »
    Yar wrote: »
    I agree with Wil Wright that civilization has completely failed to realize that playing and learning are biologically designed to be the same thing.

    We have convinced ourselves they are opposites. This is wrong. Think how much kids woudl leanr if school was taught entirely via video games. Good ones, taht were age-appropriate and fun.

    I remember bringing that up in an education thread a few years ago.

    It was almost totally rejected by the forum and I was subjected to a wave of Doom jokes.

    They were right to do so. Look, I'm not sure if you've ever actually seen a real forum on game design, but the fact is that video games are popular because they present easy challenges that anybody can finish through reptitive tasks with a limited interface. Education on the other hand is supposed to encourage you to look at a derth of resources to complete tasks which can be difficult and infinite in their possibilities. Furthermore, education is more like real life than a video games. Just like in real life, even if you do what you're supposed to things might not go so well because people have different innate strengths and weaknesses.

    For the rest of your bitching about homework, maybe you should consider that life isn't just about doing the shit you want to when you want to. Being irresponsible and not doing required coursework, even if you feel it's worthless and boring, doesn't make you any less irresponsible. Iit certainly doesn't change the cold hard reality that you're not doing the work that is expected of you. If it's such a burden, why aren't you dealing with the problem directly by taking the time to meet with your teachers? For that matter, why not take the slighest bit of effort and try seeing the value and benefit of doing the homework?

    What I think it comes down to is that most people are irresponsible, and they will choose not to do anything even slightly unpleaseant if given the chance.

    CygnusZ on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    It certainly doesn't change the cold hard reality that you're not doing the work that is expected of you.

    I'd suggest that it's reasonable to ask the question "why is this expected of me?" Or, more to the point, "should this be expected of me?"

    This is a point I will most definitely be addressing with my kids' teachers when the time comes.
    CygnusZ wrote: »
    For that matter, why not take the slighest bit of effort and try seeing the value and benefit of doing the homework?

    Yeah, there wasn't any. But thanks.

    Unless you're one of those "work is its own reward" types. In which case I suggest you go take a job as a volunteer garbage man. Save me some tax dollars.

    EDIT: Hell, even that isn't analogous...removing trash from the streets provides a very real public benefit. Cranking out 50 algebra problems? Less so.
    What I think it comes down to is that most people are irresponsible, and they will choose not to do anything even slightly unpleaseant if given the chance.

    Yeah, because the metric fuckton of homework that has gone into my Electrical Engineering degree thus far was just a blast. And that time I had the option of getting out of a deployment to Iraq on medical grounds if I had wanted to? Yeah, I really went over because it'd just be that fun, and I was getting sick of school anyway and thought my degree might be easier if I took a year and a half off in the middle of it.


    EDIT: What I'm saying, basically, is that maybe you should consider for a moment that not everybody questioning the utility of homework in high school or the policies currently in place regarding it is some slacker sixteen-year-old, but that some of us are responsible adults who know very well the importance of hard work and have found ourselves taking up incredibly unpleasant tasks voluntarily.

    mcdermott on
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    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    CygnusZ wrote: »
    They were right to do so. Look, I'm not sure if you've ever actually seen a real forum on game design, but the fact is that video games are popular because they present easy challenges that anybody can finish through reptitive tasks with a limited interface.
    Fifty math equations done in pencil sounds like the exact same thing. Meanwhile I know the Mandlebrot set because it occurred to some people that your view is stupid. Every job I had that I was able to streamlined the tasks and remove unnecessary steps earned me praise. How about you demonstrate the actual use of doing pointless tasks when in the real world one's encouraged to do away with them?

    Quid on
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    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Pfft. Going to Iraq isn't hard. They show movies on the plane and you get to stop in Germany for a couple hours.

    Quid on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    Pfft. Going to Iraq isn't hard. They show movies on the plane and you get to stop in Germany for a couple hours.

    Actually, we got to stop in Ireland on the way back. That was kinda cool, because they really do have shades of green there that we don't have here. And that's just from what I saw out the airport window. Absolutely amazing.


    Also, it's fun to look at some of the studies regarding homework. For one, they've shown that there's very little benefit achieved after a certain amount (which my school exceeded)...roughly two hours per night. Second, nearly all of them measured gains in "achievement" from homework, but one measure of "achievement" seems to always be things like GPA and class rank.

    So gee, doing assignments that contribute to GPA leads to gains in...GPA? Shocking results, there. Considering that I scored a 1400 on the SATs after two years out of school and having done, like, no work ever as well as the fact that I've been able to hold my own in Electrical Engineering, I'd suggest that not all students need the practice on routine Algebra problems every night. 'Cause I got along just fine without it.

    Which is why, rather than doing away with homework, I'm merely suggesting that it be moved into more of a "practice" role, with less (if any) weight in the grading. And instead find other ways to encourage students who need the practice to do it, like requiring it as part of test retake policies or receiving help outside of class.


    But I'm really just one of those lazy fucks who fails to grasp the intrinsic value of writing down the quadratic equation fifty times a night with different numbers inside, so I'm probably not worth listening to m i rite?



    EDIT: Also, all of this is beside the point that making homework a smaller (or insignificant) portion of the grade and instead relegating it to a strictly "practice" role is probably, rather than a means of lowering the bar, a way of raising it. Considering that cheating on homework assignments was probably the only thing more rampant than cheating on quizzes/exams in my school. I'd say probably 50%-60% of homework handed in at my school was copied from a classmate's. Yes, I just admitted that I was too lazy to even copy other people's homework...but it wasn't so much "too lazy" as a combination of being generally honest and not seeing the fucking point.

    mcdermott on
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    glithertglithert Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    CygnusZ wrote: »
    For the rest of your bitching about homework, maybe you should consider that life isn't just about doing the shit you want to when you want to. Being irresponsible and not doing required coursework, even if you feel it's worthless and boring, doesn't make you any less irresponsible. Iit certainly doesn't change the cold hard reality that you're not doing the work that is expected of you. If it's such a burden, why aren't you dealing with the problem directly by taking the time to meet with your teachers? For that matter, why not take the slighest bit of effort and try seeing the value and benefit of doing the homework?

    What I think it comes down to is that most people are irresponsible, and they will choose not to do anything even slightly unpleaseant if given the chance.

    Bitch I am doing my homework right now.

    ...Speaking of which, do you guys think I could safely compare Birth of a Nation to Blazing Saddles?

    glithert on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Ironically I too am doing homework at the moment. And I have to say that the per-unit system for doing power problems is a beautiful thing.

    mcdermott on
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    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I would also like to throw my hat in the currently doing homework ring. I just finished my weekend journal and pity the teacher that has to make sense of my Chinese characters.

    Quid on
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    LerageLerage Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Well if nothing else this thread has show me how completely and utterly fucked up the U.S education system is and made me feel a lot better about the UK system by comparison.

    Thanks dysfunctional super-power :)


    Sounds like Americans have to spend pretty much all their youth in some form of education - I went to a pretty good school in the UK, and we never got that much homework. Maybe that's because I would have 5 lessons a day, and not all of them would even set any homework - and something like Maths would be "Finish the page of questions you were on", which would take maybe 10 minutes.

    But I suppose for GCSEs and A Levels there was more coursework, but none of it was "busywork" - it would always be a larger piece of work with a specific endgoal, so no way was it just a way to boost poorer students scores.

    To respond to the OP - I think the education system needs a major overhaul, it shouldn't be all about sitting and learning by rote, and as someone above me mentioned, learning is meant to be fun. But that goes into blah blah, teachers aren't paid enough to put effort in, and blah, curriculums (?) aren't relevant to real life in any way...which may not be relevant here.

    Lerage on
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    Smug DucklingSmug Duckling Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I did IB through the last two years of school (International Baccalaureate, kind of like AP), and it was HARD WORK - like 5 hours of homework a night kind of hard work.

    At the time I thought I was hardcore or something for actually doing it and getting good grades.

    Now that I'm in university I realize it was totally pointless and I wish I had socialized more during those years instead.

    (Oh, and by the way, I didn't even take school AT ALL until grade 11 and had no problems jumping in at that point, so basically I see most of (public) school as totally pointless, aside from being government-subsidized daycare.)

    University is cool though. You actually learn cool stuff.

    Smug Duckling on
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    Dr SnofeldDr Snofeld Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Lerage wrote: »
    Well if nothing else this thread has show me how completely and utterly fucked up the U.S education system is and made me feel a lot better about the UK system by comparison.

    Thanks dysfunctional super-power :)


    Sounds like Americans have to spend pretty much all their youth in some form of education - I went to a pretty good school in the UK, and we never got that much homework. Maybe that's because I would have 5 lessons a day, and not all of them would even set any homework - and something like Maths would be "Finish the page of questions you were on", which would take maybe 10 minutes.

    But I suppose for GCSEs and A Levels there was more coursework, but none of it was "busywork" - it would always be a larger piece of work with a specific endgoal, so no way was it just a way to boost poorer students scores.

    To respond to the OP - I think the education system needs a major overhaul, it shouldn't be all about sitting and learning by rote, and as someone above me mentioned, learning is meant to be fun. But that goes into blah blah, teachers aren't paid enough to put effort in, and blah, curriculums (?) aren't relevant to real life in any way...which may not be relevant here.

    Similar story for Scottish schools, at least the one I went to. Hell, our school even decided to not allow teachers to set homework for the next day beyond the "finish this page" sort, in case you had problems and needed to ask the teacher for help.

    Dr Snofeld on
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    never dienever die Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Yar wrote: »
    I agree with Wil Wright that civilization has completely failed to realize that playing and learning are biologically designed to be the same thing.

    We have convinced ourselves they are opposites. This is wrong. Think how much kids woudl leanr if school was taught entirely via video games. Good ones, taht were age-appropriate and fun.

    Oregon Trail, bitches!

    <3


    The more I think about it, I think we do agree on more than we disagree.

    I think one big difference on my opinion of busy work is that I rarely spend more than two hours on homework, the only times being the tenth grade WH class I mentioned earlier, and a dual credit eleventh grade U.S. History class. Yet for that class, I loved it, because I was actually learning something, instead of reguritating facts. You had to understand concepts and be able to decipher things from the book and then answer questions, which meant that instead of it filling in the blank, I had to think. I love classes like that, because they encourage critical thinking.

    never die on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    never die wrote: »
    I think one big difference on my opinion of busy work is that I rarely spend more than two hours on homework, the only times being the tenth grade WH class I mentioned earlier, and a dual credit eleventh grade U.S. History class. Yet for that class, I loved it, because I was actually learning something, instead of reguritating facts. You had to understand concepts and be able to decipher things from the book and then answer questions, which meant that instead of it filling in the blank, I had to think. I love classes like that, because they encourage critical thinking.

    You're lucky.

    My high school history classes were 100% about rote memorization. People did things in certain years, and we had to know who did what in which year... but they were completely isolated events, numbers and names on a timeline with no causal or conceptual significance.

    We simply didn't have time to have things explained to us. We needed to know a certain number of facts, and we were going to be tested on these facts, and in order to burn through all the facts we needed to know we didn't have any time to actually put these facts in a certain conceptual framework. My homework for these classes was to sit down with the textbook and Xeroxed worksheets. The worksheets had certain lines from the textbook with blanks to be filled in, like "The Battle of ______ in 1066 was the end of the Norman invasion of Britain," or "The Magna Carta was signed in ____." I was supposed to read through the textbook and fill in the worksheet. My tests at the end of the semester were basically long versions of that worksheet.

    Please understand the gravity of my next statement: I, a relatively bright and inquisitive high school student in "gifted" classes, did not understand why the Magna Carta was important until college. In high school, it was just this thing that was signed in 1215. There was zero context to it.

    Now, had there been less material to memorize overall, we might have been able to have more of a conceptual focus. I do have to wonder, though, if any serious attempts to transform the curriculum from rote memorization to conceptual understanding would have been met with hysterical protests that doing so would be lowering the bar.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Now, had there been less material to memorize overall, we might have been able to have more of a conceptual focus. I do have to wonder, though, if any serious attempts to transform the curriculum from rote memorization to conceptual understanding would have been met with hysterical protests that doing so would be lowering the bar.

    Of course it would have. How can you have kids not knowing when the Articles of Confederation were signed?!

    The problem, especially now (but even when I was there, back in the 90's), is that schools want quantitative ways to measure student knowledge and teacher performance. "Explain the significance of the Magna Carta" is a lot more of a pain to grade and quantify those grades than "When was the Magna Carta signed?"

    What's amusing is seeing these same kids, many who undoubtedly had A's in high school history, crash and burn when a college history professor hands them a blue book and asks them "What do you think..." or "How would you describe..."

    And with none of the aforementioned Xerox worksheets being collected and graded to buff up their score.

    I had precisely one high school history class that was not as you described...and it was an elective (Modern American History, covering WWI through the present, with focus on WWII and the Cold War).

    mcdermott on
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    TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    never die wrote: »
    I think one big difference on my opinion of busy work is that I rarely spend more than two hours on homework, the only times being the tenth grade WH class I mentioned earlier, and a dual credit eleventh grade U.S. History class. Yet for that class, I loved it, because I was actually learning something, instead of reguritating facts. You had to understand concepts and be able to decipher things from the book and then answer questions, which meant that instead of it filling in the blank, I had to think. I love classes like that, because they encourage critical thinking.

    You're lucky.

    My high school history classes were 100% about rote memorization. People did things in certain years, and we had to know who did what in which year... but they were completely isolated events, numbers and names on a timeline with no causal or conceptual significance.

    We simply didn't have time to have things explained to us. We needed to know a certain number of facts, and we were going to be tested on these facts, and in order to burn through all the facts we needed to know we didn't have any time to actually put these facts in a certain conceptual framework. My homework for these classes was to sit down with the textbook and Xeroxed worksheets. The worksheets had certain lines from the textbook with blanks to be filled in, like "The Battle of ______ in 1066 was the end of the Norman invasion of Britain," or "The Magna Carta was signed in ____." I was supposed to read through the textbook and fill in the worksheet. My tests at the end of the semester were basically long versions of that worksheet.

    Please understand the gravity of my next statement: I, a relatively bright and inquisitive high school student in "gifted" classes, did not understand why the Magna Carta was important until college. In high school, it was just this thing that was signed in 1215. There was zero context to it.

    Now, had there been less material to memorize overall, we might have been able to have more of a conceptual focus. I do have to wonder, though, if any serious attempts to transform the curriculum from rote memorization to conceptual understanding would have been met with hysterical protests that doing so would be lowering the bar.

    Oh god, flashbacks to my AP American History Class. Nothing but rote memorization and book reports on third-hand sources talking about material we'd never read. Try writing a book report on a scholastic article about, say, a letter Washington wrote when you've never read the letter and the article doesn't even quote it. Dreary, pointless stuff, and they had to be in pen and perfectly written. Only class I ever failed, largely through refusing to redo my book reports after my trying-very-hard-to-be-neat handwriting was rejected and I wasn't allowed to just type the damn things up.

    The next year, though, I took AP European History with a different teacher, aced the class, and got a 5 on the AP exam. The problem wasn't me not learning the material, it was me not wanting to ruin my life over pointless, arbitrary busywork.

    Trowizilla on
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    X3x3nonX3x3non Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    These ploicies will make American school children bigger pussies than they already are. There, sorry, I said it.

    I went to an American High School for 4 years and I loved it. Learning was a lot more enjoyable then it was in my native European country. But there sure were a lot of whiney little snot nosed brats. AP classes and such can be hard work, but the standard corriculum is piss easy. Comon guys, working isn't all fun and "wah wah wah but I want to go outside and play." I felt like I always had enough time for non-school work even wth relatively difficult classes. I just don't understand how you think American children will grow up to be competitive in todays globalized world if you don't challenge them and push them a little bit. Your younger years are to be enjoyed certainly and there is no point in overburden children with mundane homework, but there must be some dicipline in the system if they are to succeed.

    Having to sit down on your ass once in a while "grinding" through stuff that you don't like doing is good preperation for the rest of your life. The purpose is not the actual material that you learn, but instead learning how to learn and learning how to not bounce off the walls. I don't want my kids to have the attention span of a gold fish.

    Children need to be set some boundaries and need to feel the conseqences (which don't even need to be that harsh to get the point across, the threat alone will usually suffice) for their actions. A policy of turning in work late without penatly is incomprehendable to me.
    The insistence that students learn so many hard sciences and advanced mathematics is frustrating. I'm all for them being offered, but required has always seemed unnecessary. I would have gotten way more out of Russian than I ever have out of Algebra II. But God forbid I not learn how to do a quadratic equation.
    The purpose of any high school math beyond arithmetc is to teach abstract thinking. It is not about knowing how to solve a quadratic, but rather how to solve a problem that exists entirely in your head and does not necessarily make sense. It teaches you how to take knowledge from one problem and apply it to solving another.

    X3x3non on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    X3x3non wrote: »
    A policy of turning in work late without penatly is incomprehendable to me.

    These policies do not say high school students can turn in late work without penalty.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    X3x3non wrote: »
    Comon guys, working isn't all fun and "wah wah wah but I want to go outside and play." I felt like I always had enough time for non-school work even wth relatively difficult classes.

    Did you work a normal paid job as well? How many hours?
    Having to sit down on your ass once in a while "grinding" through stuff that you don't like doing is good preperation for the rest of your life.

    Thirty hours a week in class doesn't count? Or the extra 20-30 I put in making Whoppers?
    The purpose is not the actual material that you learn, but instead learning how to learn and learning how to not bounce off the walls. I don't want my kids to have the attention span of a gold fish.

    Doing busywork does not teach "how to learn." If you're not learning material, you're not really learning how to learn, either. As for not bouncing off walls, again I submit the 30 hours a week spent in class. And that's assuming you weren't working a "real" job like I was.
    Children need to be set some boundaries and need to feel the conseqences (which don't even need to be that harsh to get the point across, the threat alone will usually suffice) for their actions. A policy of turning in work late without penatly is incomprehendable to me.

    Already covered.

    mcdermott on
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    X3x3nonX3x3non Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    X3x3non wrote: »
    A policy of turning in work late without penatly is incomprehendable to me.

    These policies do not say high school students can turn in late work without penalty.


    Then what is all this about?
    - Teachers must accept late assignments and cannot penalize students for missing deadlines.

    X3x3non on
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    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    X3x3non wrote: »
    The purpose of any high school math beyond arithmetc is to teach abstract thinking. It is not about knowing how to solve a quadratic, but rather how to solve a problem that exists entirely in your head and does not necessarily make sense. It teaches you how to take knowledge from one problem and apply it to solving another.
    You don't need advanced math for that. Algebra and geometry are great because they teach various formulas that are actually used in real life. But don't try to act like trig is the only way to teach teenagers abstract thinking. Writing equations over and over also does not teach abstract thinking.

    And if your kids can't concentrate on their own by the time they're eighteen either you've fucked up as a parent or they have a serious problem.

    Quid on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    X3x3non wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    X3x3non wrote: »
    A policy of turning in work late without penatly is incomprehendable to me.

    These policies do not say high school students can turn in late work without penalty.


    Then what is all this about?
    - Teachers must accept late assignments and cannot penalize students for missing deadlines.

    The OP is wrong. I quoted the salient part of the policy on the first page and linked it as well so you can read it yourself, which it might behoove you to do.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    X3x3nonX3x3non Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott, I am not entirely sure what you are asking for (and pardon me I haven't plowed through more than the first page of this thread)

    It sounds like your childhood sucked, but shouldn't children have to turn in homework on time? Your situation is exceptional in that you worked 30 something hours as a student but the schooling system is not going to be geared to fit the extremes. It is very well possible that you learned to stop crying about having to put in extra effort from working a job, but most others won't have had that experience. I don't know what sort of courses you took, but the standard non honours, non AP classes were easy enough that you weren't left with much work to do outside of school.

    X3x3non on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    X3x3non wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    X3x3non wrote: »
    A policy of turning in work late without penatly is incomprehendable to me.

    These policies do not say high school students can turn in late work without penalty.


    Then what is all this about?
    - Teachers must accept late assignments and cannot penalize students for missing deadlines.

    The OP is wrong. I quoted the salient part of the policy on the first page and linked it as well so you can read it yourself, which it might behoove you to do.

    I'm pretty sure there's some irony to be had in somebody popping in to extol the virtues of homework in increasing attention span and being able to grind out things you're expected to do...

    ...without bothering to read the thread first.
    I don't know what sort of courses you took, but the standard non honours, non AP classes were easy enough that you weren't left with much work to do outside of school.

    This was not the case at my high school. Three hours a night of homework for non-honors course loads was not uncommon. Which is you're working a "real" job in addition adds up pretty quick, after adding in the thirty hours a week spent in class (not counting lunch).
    It sounds like your childhood sucked, but shouldn't children have to turn in homework on time?

    If they already know the material? No. They have the rest of their lives to learn how to tolerate "the grind," and as somebody who started washing dishes at like 14 I can tell you it doesn't take long to learn anyway.

    mcdermott on
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    X3x3nonX3x3non Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'm pretty sure there's some irony to be had in somebody popping in to extol the virtues of homework in increasing attention span and being able to grind out things you're expected to do...

    ...without bothering to read the thread first.

    In my first post i was replying to the OP unless otherwise quoted. Must I read the entire thread before being allowed to post? I would expect someone with your apparent time constraints to be sympathetic to that.

    Leisure =/= work

    X3x3non on
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    BedigunzBedigunz Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Now, had there been less material to memorize overall, we might have been able to have more of a conceptual focus. I do have to wonder, though, if any serious attempts to transform the curriculum from rote memorization to conceptual understanding would have been met with hysterical protests that doing so would be lowering the bar.

    Of course it would have. How can you have kids not knowing when the Articles of Confederation were signed?!

    The problem, especially now (but even when I was there, back in the 90's), is that schools want quantitative ways to measure student knowledge and teacher performance. "Explain the significance of the Magna Carta" is a lot more of a pain to grade and quantify those grades than "When was the Magna Carta signed?"

    What's amusing is seeing these same kids, many who undoubtedly had A's in high school history, crash and burn when a college history professor hands them a blue book and asks them "What do you think..." or "How would you describe..."
    And with none of the aforementioned Xerox worksheets being collected and graded to buff up their score.

    I had precisely one high school history class that was not as you described...and it was an elective (Modern American History, covering WWI through the present, with focus on WWII and the Cold War).

    Do you have a statistic on this or are you offering anecdotal evidence?

    Because if its the latter, my experience shows that those who worked hard in high school to memorize all those facts spent time in college reading through texts and paying attention in class, which helped them ace those blue book exams.*

    *I actually don't know people like this but you see my point, no?

    Bedigunz on
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    ZimmydoomZimmydoom Accept no substitutes Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    It's funny because I was entered my high-school as a sophomore (was bussed as a freshman while it was being built) and did fantastically well under a set of circumstances very much like what was outlined in Feral's response to the OP. Although grading standards themselves were actually a little tougher there was a lot more one-on-one time with students to make up for it ("homeroom" teachers were basically full-time academic advisors who met with their kids for 45 minutes at the end of every day). There were no Ds or Fs, anything worse than a flat C was an incomplete. Busy work was heavily discouraged, and almost all tests were essay-based. Multiple choice/fill in the blank were outright banned in the English and History departments, which were combined into one "humanities" class that was taught by two teachers at a time as a super-block.

    There was also a massive campaign to have the whole project torn down by parents of former middle-school "honor students" who refused to adjust to the new system. Basically all the rich kids, who had gotten used to doing the absolute minimum, memorizing the basics, and bullshitting their way through the system kept coming home with N/C on their progress reports. Ended up being a huge, awful mess, but eventually the new system won out. We're now generally considered to be one of the best public high-schools in the state, and every single student is required to apply to some sort of post-secondary education, with the district subsidizing application costs for poor students. Needless to say, our college attendance rate is fantastic.

    Zimmydoom on
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    Zimmydoom, Zimmydoom
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    Had sex with polar bears
    While sitting in a reclining chair
    Now there are Zim-Bear hybrids
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    Watch out, a Zim-Bear is about to have sex with yooooooou!
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    X3x3non wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure there's some irony to be had in somebody popping in to extol the virtues of homework in increasing attention span and being able to grind out things you're expected to do...

    ...without bothering to read the thread first.

    In my first post i was replying to the OP unless otherwise quoted. Must I read the entire thread before being allowed to post? I would expect someone with your apparent time constraints to be sympathetic to that.

    Leisure =/= work

    Yes, this is generally expected.

    And unlike filling out fifty algebra problems that I already know how to do, it serves a very clear purpose. See, it prevents you from saying something that has already been pointed out in-thread to be wrong...like you just did.
    Do you have a statistic on this or are you offering anecdotal evidence?

    Oh, totally anectdotal. Probably should have thrown a "some of" in front of "these same kids," because I didn't mean to imply all or even most. But yeah, they definitely existed.

    mcdermott on
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    X3x3nonX3x3non Registered User regular
    edited September 2008

    If they already know the material? No. They have the rest of their lives to learn how to tolerate "the grind," and as somebody who started washing dishes at like 14 I can tell you it doesn't take long to learn anyway.

    But the point is most everybody doesn't start washing dishes at 14 and by the time they get to 18 they are huge whining turds of douchebaggery. Like I said, the system must be tailored to best serve the most children possible. Also, how is anyone to know whether a child knows the material if they aren't doing their homework. It is my believe that unless you were taught so at home, most children will opt to NOT do the extra work unles they don't have to.

    We can shoot back and forth all day with this since neither of us have any hard evidence, but I call bullshit on your claim on 3-4 hours of busy work a day for standard core classes.

    X3x3non on
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