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Lowering the bar when it comes to school

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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Homework is a tool that is used by good teachers well and bad teachers poorly.

    My mom teaches English. Know how you get better at writing? You write. Every friggin week, at least one moderate to major written assignment. It takes a while, but fuck you.

    No, fuck you.
    Teachers get ~25-35 minutes a day, ~140 days a year to teach ungrateful pricks how to do things that might prove useful. The idea that they're the assholes for wanting you to work on something an extra half hour a day is maddening.

    Man, either you went to a funky-ass school or your teachers sucked at time management. First, our school year was 180 days, not 140...even subtracting ten or fifteen off the top for stupid standardized testing, and maybe another six for exams, and...yeah, you're just fucking wrong. My wife is a teacher, she's contracted for at least 180 days in-class too.

    And 25-35 minutes a day? We had semi-block scheduling. We'd be in six classes, but they rotated and shit so we only had five each day. Our school day ran from...I think it was like 7:30a to 2p. Cut a half-hour for lunch, so that's like six hours a day of school time. Cut another 25 minutes for passing time, make it an even five and a half. 5.5*5 is 27.5 hours of actual ass-in-seat classroom time. Divided by six classes is 4.58 hours a week, or roughly 55 minutes assuming we had the class daily.

    Did I go to some crazy outlier high school? Or rather, two of them? (I went to two schools in two different states, though the first only briefly, and both had roughly the same schedule as far as average class length)

    But we didn't have the classes daily, again using a rotating schedule an semi-block scheduling...so you were losing even less time to the usual beginning and end of period jitters. Plus, because you didn't have class at the same time each day, there were no "my class is first thing in the morning, the kids aren't ready to learn" excuses either. It was only first thing in the morning once a week.

    So yeah, 35 minutes a day assuming they're straight-up wasting the other 20 minutes a day. And if you're talking about direct instruction time only, then what are they doing for the other 20 minutes that a full half hour every night is still required outside of class, at least as far as graded work goes. At that point you certainly can't be trying to run the "no time leftover for quizzes or graded classwork" con that others were trying to pull, can you?

    Then, adding back in the passing time (because you can't get much homework done during it, and adding back in lunch (because between lunch lines and eating, that time wasn't always too useful either), and you're back up to 32.5 hours spent on school grounds daily. Maybe a bit more, I think we actually went to 2:10 not 2:00 even...but hey, that's a decent ballpark. You're saying that an extra half an hour per day, per class is reasonable, right? So that's six times half an hour, or three hours per night. Times five nights, takes you up to 47.5 hours a week. Or 45 if you really want to cut lunches out. Yeah, those workers back in the day were bitches for wanting a forty hour workweek. Fucking pansies. If our kids can pull 45, why can't they?

    Oh, and that's still ignoring people like myself, who were also putting in time at a paid job because my family (which consisted of two people) was like at the bottom quintile of the bottom quintile economically. But seriously, fuck me...65 hours a week is perfectly reasonable for a teenager, m i rite? If a kid wants to enjoy some of their youth, they should have just found a middle-class vagina to fall out of, or gotten a GED.

    What's that you say? I should have tried working something out with the teacher? You'd not be the first to suggest it. But their attitude was largely already summed up by you..."it takes a while, but fuck you." You don't like it? Get a GED. Ignore the fact that I had a firm grasp on the material, highest grades in the class on exams, and top couple percentiles on every standardized test.
    This isn't to say a good teacher won't be open to other options for varying learning styles. But I think a lot of people in this thread haven't met a high school teacher outside of class.

    I've met quite a few, actually. My wife's a teacher, plus I've met a few elsewhere. And yes, some good teachers might be open to other options for varying learning styles...I even ran into at least a couple. But the bulk of them were absolutely not. They displayed, unsurprisingly, the exact same attitude you just did. Basically do the same shit everybody else was doing, or go fuck yourself.


    EDIT: Just went and, through the magic of the interwebs, verified the hours of operation of my old high school. Currently they're at 7:40 to 2:10, but I could swear we did 7:30 to 2:10. But I do remember them talking about shortening passing times to shorten the overall day, so maybe they did that. And according to their "report card" filed with the Arizona Department of Education, their number of instruction days is 180 with an average instruction time per day of 5 hours and 24 minutes. Amazing that I was that close off the top of my head, huh? And amazing that you were so wrong, wrong, utterly fucking wrong.

    mcdermott on
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    TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott, liberal arts colleges aren't the issue. My required math classes (I just took the minimums, since I was an English major) focused tremendously on the "why" over the "how," and we could take in notecards to the exams with all the formulas on them.

    durandal4532: I had an English professor who agreed with your mom that practicing writing is the way to get better at writing. Guess what he did for homework? After every class, he assigned a question about the book we were reading, and we had to answer it in no more than 60 words. This took about 5 minutes, 10 if you were being very careful (and you had to be with him). In class, he'd take them up, and the next class he'd tell you specifically what was good and bad.

    Having to make an argument in 60 words is useful practice, since so many kids come out of high school knowing mostly how to pad their papers to increase the page count without actually increasing content. Knowing within, at most, four days word-for-word where you went wrong in your argument is useful. Spending hours upon hours doing practice writing for a teacher who isn't going to have time to grade it in-depth is not useful and encourages bad writing.

    And really, 25-35 minutes per day? At my high school, they got 55, maybe 50 if you take out five minutes for administrative stuff. That same high school has since converted to block schedule, so they get a solid two hours. Is your mom teaching at the speed-dating version of high school?

    Trowizilla on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Having to make an argument in 60 words is useful practice, since so many kids come out of high school knowing mostly how to pad their papers to increase the page count without actually increasing content. Knowing within, at most, four days word-for-word where you went wrong in your argument is useful. Spending hours upon hours doing practice writing for a teacher who isn't going to have time to grade it in-depth is not useful and encourages bad writing.

    So true.

    And I agree that writing is important, and can only be learned by writing. I disagree that thirty minutes per night per class of graded homework, whether writing or any other type, is necessary or even beneficial. Since some studies seem to suggest not only diminishing returns after a given amount of homework, but actual negative impact.
    And really, 25-35 minutes per day? At my high school, they got 55, maybe 50 if you take out five minutes for administrative stuff. That same high school has since converted to block schedule, so they get a solid two hours. Is your mom teaching at the speed-dating version of high school?

    He's listening to his mom bitch. See, when she bitches regarding school everything she says should be taken at face value, and accepted as true and relevant. When some "ungrateful prick" student suggests that a policy might not be optimal, they're just bitching and probably exaggerating to boot.

    mcdermott on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Roaming the streets, waving his mod gun around.Moderator, ClubPA Mod Emeritus
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    It takes a while, but fuck you.

    No, fuck you.

    Knock it off or I'll fuck you both with the infraction button.

    ElJeffe on
    I submitted an entry to Lego Ideas, and if 10,000 people support me, it'll be turned into an actual Lego set!If you'd like to see and support my submission, follow this link.
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Having to make an argument in 60 words is useful practice, since so many kids come out of high school knowing mostly how to pad their papers to increase the page count without actually increasing content. Knowing within, at most, four days word-for-word where you went wrong in your argument is useful. Spending hours upon hours doing practice writing for a teacher who isn't going to have time to grade it in-depth is not useful and encourages bad writing.

    So true.

    And I agree that writing is important, and can only be learned by writing. I disagree that thirty minutes per night per class of graded homework, whether writing or any other type, is necessary or even beneficial. Since some studies seem to suggest not only diminishing returns after a given amount of homework, but actual negative impact.

    Just like there are some children that don't do well at tests, there are even others who don't do well with homework. That is to say elimination would be a horrible idea but reducing it drastically might not. Driving home the point with 3-4 questions a class that can be done in about 5-10 minutes is probably a good idea. Telling the student to write you a thesis on the history of asymptotes is probably not. I've been told to write a term paper in Math, and I laughed at the teacher. I was a shit, but that is just the very nature of busy work.
    And really, 25-35 minutes per day? At my high school, they got 55, maybe 50 if you take out five minutes for administrative stuff. That same high school has since converted to block schedule, so they get a solid two hours. Is your mom teaching at the speed-dating version of high school?

    He's listening to his mom bitch. See, when she bitches regarding school everything she says should be taken at face value, and accepted as true and relevant. When some "ungrateful prick" student suggests that a policy might not be optimal, they're just bitching and probably exaggerating to boot.

    Our classes were about an hour and 40 minutes. It was really a lot better for learning purposes, and the smart/good teachers gave you 20 minutes at the end of classes to do your homework, that way if you had any questions you could ask them.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    bowen wrote: »
    Just like there are some children that don't do well at tests, there are even others who don't do well with homework. That is to say elimination would be a horrible idea but reducing it drastically might not. Driving home the point with 3-4 questions a class that can be done in about 5-10 minutes is probably a good idea. Telling the student to write you a thesis on the history of asymptotes is probably not. I've been told to write a term paper in Math, and I laughed at the teacher. I was a shit, but that is just the very nature of busy work.

    But at some point the rubber meets the road and you have to come up with a grading scheme. If you reduce the amount of homework but leave it as a significant portion of the final grade, you run into the same problem that your final grades may not reflect material master or work ethic (due to both cheating and now due to the fact that it's just plain easier). So that doesn't work. But the alternative is to use exams as the primary component of grading...but oh shit, people have test anxiety or other issues. Or you can try to add a substantial in-class work component...but damn, limited instruction time.

    I mean, this is a complicated issue. And at the end of the day there are going to be trade-offs.

    To me, it seems important to try and ensure that whatever policy you institute offers the optimum benefit to all students, while at the same time measuring at least somewhat reliably mastery of the material. Work is good and all, but we are there to "learn shit," right? So students who couldn't name four presidents getting an 'A' in US history is probably a "bad thing," right? Yes, that's anecdotal, but yes that also actually happened at my school.

    Which is why I'd say the optimal solution is that graded homework is minimized (additional non-graded homework may still be assigned), both in amount assigned and portion of grade. Emphasize in-class work and exams, which is where theoretically the students show you that they know some shit. Find ways to accommodate students that don't test well, whether retakes, testing accommodations, extra credit assignments (preferably not of the busywork variety), some kind of sensible curving policy, whatever. That way every student is A) focused on learning the material, not checking the blocks, and B) every student who learns the material can, you know, get halfway decent grades to reflect that.

    Hey, what do you know, this very closely resembles nearly every class I've experienced in college.
    Knock it off or I'll fuck you both with the infraction button.

    You make it sound so dirty.

    mcdermott on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Which is why I'd say the optimal solution is that graded homework is minimized (additional non-graded homework may still be assigned), both in amount assigned and portion of grade. Emphasize in-class work and exams, which is where theoretically the students show you that they know some shit. Find ways to accommodate students that don't test well, whether retakes, testing accommodations, extra credit assignments (preferably not of the busywork variety), some kind of sensible curving policy, whatever. That way every student is A) focused on learning the material, not checking the blocks, and B) every student who learns the material can, you know, get halfway decent grades to reflect that.

    Focusing on learning other than busy work?

    That's going to turn our high school students into pussies!

    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: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Which is why I'd say the optimal solution is that graded homework is minimized (additional non-graded homework may still be assigned), both in amount assigned and portion of grade. Emphasize in-class work and exams, which is where theoretically the students show you that they know some shit. Find ways to accommodate students that don't test well, whether retakes, testing accommodations, extra credit assignments (preferably not of the busywork variety), some kind of sensible curving policy, whatever. That way every student is A) focused on learning the material, not checking the blocks, and B) every student who learns the material can, you know, get halfway decent grades to reflect that.

    Focusing on learning other than busy work?

    That's going to turn our high school students into pussies!

    I'll note that my "solution" does arguably cause the most work for teachers. I get that. And as the husband of a teacher, I'm in no way insensitive to their plight. Which is why I also support hiring more (lowering the student:teacher ratio) and paying them more to boot.

    Of course, given the option of forcing more work on teachers as they are paid now and with current class sizes or leaving things how they stand, I'm going with the former. Sorry teachers. Coming from a soldier, you may be familiar with the "you volunteered" line. And hell, you're only contracted for one year at a time, then you can quit!

    But really, seriously, we need to look long and hard at class sizes and teacher pay as well.

    mcdermott on
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    TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Which is why I'd say the optimal solution is that graded homework is minimized (additional non-graded homework may still be assigned), both in amount assigned and portion of grade. Emphasize in-class work and exams, which is where theoretically the students show you that they know some shit. Find ways to accommodate students that don't test well, whether retakes, testing accommodations, extra credit assignments (preferably not of the busywork variety), some kind of sensible curving policy, whatever. That way every student is A) focused on learning the material, not checking the blocks, and B) every student who learns the material can, you know, get halfway decent grades to reflect that.

    Focusing on learning other than busy work?

    That's going to turn our high school students into pussies!

    I'll note that my "solution" does arguably cause the most work for teachers. I get that. And as the husband of a teacher, I'm in no way insensitive to their plight. Which is why I also support hiring more (lowering the student:teacher ratio) and paying them more to boot.

    Of course, given the option of forcing more work on teachers as they are paid now and with current class sizes or leaving things how they stand, I'm going with the former. Sorry teachers. Coming from a soldier, you may be familiar with the "you volunteered" line. And hell, you're only contracted for one year at a time, then you can quit!

    But really, seriously, we need to look long and hard at class sizes and teacher pay as well.

    If I was a teacher (and I'm considering going into teaching, albeit hopefully at the college level eventually), I'd much rather teach kids that weren't utterly burned out from being expected to work 11 hours a day on school-related things, and who didn't have it pounded into their head that learning = drudgery. How are you supposed to be excited about reading when every book you read sets off a round of worksheets and book reports rather than discussing the ideas in class and maybe writing a reasonable-length paper about those ideas at the end? Or history when you're filling in worksheets with names and dates without understanding the story, the events and causes? What good is it knowing that Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787 if you don't know about the Constitutional Convention, the problems with the Articles of Confederation, and Enlightenment ideals?

    I suspect busywork is just as draining for good teachers as it is for students. Contrary to popular belief, I don't think teachers start out lazy, I think they get beaten down by the system as much as their charges do.

    Trowizilla on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    In The Myth of Homework and The Case Against Homework, the common attitude among teachers seems to be: if we assign less homework, people (usually parents, the public, or occasionally other teachers) get mad at us for making school too easy.

    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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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    In The Myth of Homework and The Case Against Homework, the common attitude among teachers seems to be: if we assign less homework, people (usually parents, the public, or occasionally other teachers) get mad at us for making school too easy.

    Who said learning needed to be hard? I really wish people would stop doing shit because they've been pressured to do it.

    If you can get your students to be fucking excited about your class then you've done a good job. There's always going to be 1-2 that whine and complain, but if everyone's going "Man I can't wait to go back to English today because I absolutely love reading this book." instead of "Man I didn't finish this book because of the memorization and writing I have to do about this book" then you've failed as a teacher in my eyes.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    In The Myth of Homework and The Case Against Homework, the common attitude among teachers seems to be: if we assign less homework, people (usually parents, the public, or occasionally other teachers) get mad at us for making school too easy.

    Personally I suspect it's more of a self-fulfilling cycle. Adults, who would of course be former students, see no reason that current students shouldn't have to deal with the same bullshit they dealt with. I mean, they managed it, so why not? So the current students have to do the same stupid shit, grow up to be adults, and expect that the next generation of students have to do the same stupid shit they put up with.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    I've gotten that vibe from at least a couple posters right here in this thread.
    Who said learning needed to be hard? I really wish people would stop doing shit because they've been pressured to do it.

    Also, this. Again, we need to decide whether the point of school is learning or work, or both. And whether the 30+ hours a week spent in school should satisfy most of the work requirement under "both." Yes, I realize I'm a broken damned record.


    And since one of the main arguments as to why homework needs to be a major portion of the grade is to help out students who don't test well, I fail to see how doing away with it would necessarily make school "too easy." It would only make school "too easy" for students that know the material well (either naturally, or by being disciplined enough to learn it without being required to do homework) and can demonstrate as much on an exam. Which, admittedly, would exclude at least some otherwise smart kids who just have test anxiety and the like. But I'd hardly think this would make school "too easy" for a majority of students. Quite the opposite...without liberal curving, I think a higher number of students would wind up failing the fuck out.

    Yes, that's largely opinion...I have no "evidence" to back this up. Well, aside from the tremendous drop rates in some of my freshman classes where grades where pretty much 100% exam-based, and which presumably were filled with students who did fairly well in high school. And from the fact that it was far from uncommon for students at my high school to have test averages a full letter grade or more lower than their overall average (grades were posted publicly, with names removed, if you're wondering how I'd know this).

    mcdermott on
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    Clayton BigsbyClayton Bigsby Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Personally, I rather liked my algebra/pre-calc HS teacher's system of homework.

    He'd just go up and down the rows just to check if we actually attempted to do the problems (which there were only about 20-30 of) and give us credit based on that. Then he'd go over a couple of the tricky problems to see if we actually understood the concepts. Then we'd move on with our lives.

    It gave the opportunity for all the people that needed to do 20 math problems to understand the concepts, and all the people that didn't want to do a whole bunch of busywork like mcdermott could easily bullshit a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper and get full credit, at the risk of getting anally raped come test time.

    It's the perfect system.

    Clayton Bigsby on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Personally, I rather liked my algebra/pre-calc HS teacher's system of homework.

    He'd just go up and down the rows just to check if we actually attempted to do the problems (which there were only about 20-30 of) and give us credit based on that. Then he'd go over a couple of the tricky problems to see if we actually understood the concepts. Then we'd move on with our lives.

    It gave the opportunity for all the people that needed to do 20 math problems to understand the concepts, and all the people that didn't want to do a whole bunch of busywork like mcdermott could easily bullshit a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper and get full credit, at the risk of getting anally raped come test time.

    It's the perfect system.

    Sounds great at first, until you think about it for a minute. At this point, why grade it at all? If we assume that kids are lazy (as many here have, and it's unreasonable), and will naturally avoid doing work regardless, what stops the kids that "need" the practice from doing the same shit you're asking me to do, which is to simply waste less time by "faking the funk."

    And that's besides there's the fact that (whether you realize it or not) you're basically suggesting that "willingness to kinda sorta write some shit down without making any actual effort to do the assignment" is a valid criteria for grading. I.......disagree.


    EDIT: Also, no offense to you because you are certainly not alone, but I think it goes to show just how rooted in tradition graded homework in high school is that this would actually be seriously suggested to begin with. Let alone implemented by, like, any teacher anywhere.

    mcdermott on
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    SkutSkutSkutSkut Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Reading this thread I guess our school was ok, they used a rotating block system which was 4 classes for one half of the semester and 4 different classes the other half. The teachers didn't like it but they had an hour and a half to teach classes so time management was their fault (they tended to blame us for it). The homework was shit though, pretty much just "fill in the blank" sheets, except my good english teacher. He'd ask something about the story we were reading and then make us explain why we thought so, why the characters did what they did etc etc.

    Besides that I fucking hated it though, the only kids they actually tried to get scholarships for was sports athletes, a fucked up dress code (pants all year round, even in the 100+ F summer) and skirts that were I think they said ankle length? something like that. Tshirts only, mandatory belts for everyone and of course all those sports athletes got special treatment.

    Oh and you couldn't be in the halls in the morning at all, they even made us stay outside during hailstorms, which fucking sucked. They were also all "blah blah high school= best years of your life" etc etc but I think all are like that. They shouldn't tell kids that it's just depressing. :lol:

    Had the best english teacher ever, he was pretty much a college professor (in fact he's going to be doing that instead of teaching school when he gets his appropriate degree.) and actually taught us stuff and managed his time well.

    SkutSkut on
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    durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Trowizilla wrote: »
    mcdermott, liberal arts colleges aren't the issue. My required math classes (I just took the minimums, since I was an English major) focused tremendously on the "why" over the "how," and we could take in notecards to the exams with all the formulas on them.

    durandal4532: I had an English professor who agreed with your mom that practicing writing is the way to get better at writing. Guess what he did for homework? After every class, he assigned a question about the book we were reading, and we had to answer it in no more than 60 words. This took about 5 minutes, 10 if you were being very careful (and you had to be with him). In class, he'd take them up, and the next class he'd tell you specifically what was good and bad.

    Having to make an argument in 60 words is useful practice, since so many kids come out of high school knowing mostly how to pad their papers to increase the page count without actually increasing content. Knowing within, at most, four days word-for-word where you went wrong in your argument is useful. Spending hours upon hours doing practice writing for a teacher who isn't going to have time to grade it in-depth is not useful and encourages bad writing.

    And really, 25-35 minutes per day? At my high school, they got 55, maybe 50 if you take out five minutes for administrative stuff. That same high school has since converted to block schedule, so they get a solid two hours. Is your mom teaching at the speed-dating version of high school?

    If you can walk into an 8th grade class and calm it down in less than 10 minutes I'll buy you a beer. If you keep them awake past 1:00, I'll buy you two. 45 minutes -5 to get everyone in -5 for talking -5 for going over stuff they did yesterday.

    And 140 days is an exaggeration I suppose. Take 180 -15 for test prep, -8 for in-service days. 160.

    And yes, there are other methods to teach writing. You know why your professor could do that method? Because my mother had drilled the basic goddamn principles into tiny annoying skulls. At some point, in order to be able to write a coherent research essay, opinion piece, response to an article, anything, you need to have done some long-form writing. You need to know what a thesis is.

    Most of the people in my uni cannot write, period. The English majors are okay. When I found out I was the only person who could write worth shit in my major I thought I might be a super genius. I briefly considered arching Superman. Then I asked people how many essays they'd written before college. most of them said "none". A few mentioned having 2 page essays every couple of months. You don't get better at writing these sorts of things by not doing them. You don't start with little 60 word exercises and then leap to your 15 page term paper.

    Essay-writing is not a skill that is easy to build 30 minutes at a time in a classroom. At some point you need to offload it. And no one is born with the knowledge, no one gets to beg off that they'll "just do it on the test". You have to work for it, and your teacher gets judged on how well you can do it when the year is over, whether you care or not. So petition the administration to change the curriculum and eliminate essay-writing as a necessary skill, but stop bitching about how horrible Ms. Wormwood is. Calvin was the asshole.

    durandal4532 on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    If you can walk into an 8th grade class and calm it down in less than 10 minutes I'll buy you a beer. If you keep them awake past 1:00, I'll buy you two. 45 minutes -5 to get everyone in -5 for talking -5 for going over stuff they did yesterday.

    If it's regularly taking you ten minutes to simply "settle down" the class in high school, you're a failure as a teacher. Besides which, you're starting at 45 minutes whereas high school classes (and we're mostly talking in the context of high school, not junior high, but JH isn't much different regardless) start at 55 minutes, not 45.
    And 140 days is an exaggeration I suppose. Take 180 -15 for test prep, -8 for in-service days. 160.

    180 days is not counting in-service days. At least not for my school. They were reporting 180 days of actual instruction time (implying the students were there), with 5 hours and 24 minutes average per day. Though I figure that must be counting testing.
    Essay-writing is not a skill that is easy to build 30 minutes at a time in a classroom. At some point you need to offload it. And no one is born with the knowledge, no one gets to beg off that they'll "just do it on the test". You have to work for it, and your teacher gets judged on how well you can do it when the year is over, whether you care or not. So petition the administration to change the curriculum and eliminate essay-writing as a necessary skill, but stop bitching about how horrible Ms. Wormwood is. Calvin was the asshole.

    Not every teacher is required to teach essay-writing. You do realize there are teachers that don't teach English, right? Or that don't teach junior high? Even assuming that a half-hour every day is necessary for this, I see no reason there needs to be another half-hour for math, and another half-hour for history. At least not of required, graded assignments. And I'd still suggest that two and a half hours of writing (just for English class), every week, nine months a year, for four years is pretty ridiculous anyway.

    mcdermott on
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    TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Trowizilla wrote: »
    mcdermott, liberal arts colleges aren't the issue. My required math classes (I just took the minimums, since I was an English major) focused tremendously on the "why" over the "how," and we could take in notecards to the exams with all the formulas on them.

    durandal4532: I had an English professor who agreed with your mom that practicing writing is the way to get better at writing. Guess what he did for homework? After every class, he assigned a question about the book we were reading, and we had to answer it in no more than 60 words. This took about 5 minutes, 10 if you were being very careful (and you had to be with him). In class, he'd take them up, and the next class he'd tell you specifically what was good and bad.

    Having to make an argument in 60 words is useful practice, since so many kids come out of high school knowing mostly how to pad their papers to increase the page count without actually increasing content. Knowing within, at most, four days word-for-word where you went wrong in your argument is useful. Spending hours upon hours doing practice writing for a teacher who isn't going to have time to grade it in-depth is not useful and encourages bad writing.

    And really, 25-35 minutes per day? At my high school, they got 55, maybe 50 if you take out five minutes for administrative stuff. That same high school has since converted to block schedule, so they get a solid two hours. Is your mom teaching at the speed-dating version of high school?

    If you can walk into an 8th grade class and calm it down in less than 10 minutes I'll buy you a beer. If you keep them awake past 1:00, I'll buy you two. 45 minutes -5 to get everyone in -5 for talking -5 for going over stuff they did yesterday.

    Yeah, I can, actually. It's not that hard. Besides, periods are generally 55 minutes, so let's say -5 for going over what they did yesterday. Schools have tardy policies for a reason, so getting everyone into class shouldn't take 5 minutes.
    And 140 days is an exaggeration I suppose. Take 180 -15 for test prep, -8 for in-service days. 160.

    And yes, there are other methods to teach writing. You know why your professor could do that method? Because my mother had drilled the basic goddamn principles into tiny annoying skulls. At some point, in order to be able to write a coherent research essay, opinion piece, response to an article, anything, you need to have done some long-form writing. You need to know what a thesis is.

    College professors generally have to spend long periods of time teaching students not to write like they did in high school, since high school writing is generally of the "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" variety. Lots of pointless writing teaches kids to pad their papers.

    Should students be able to write a research essay, opinion piece, response to an article, etc.. They do learn how to do these things by doing them. However, doing a long writing assignment every week doesn't make them better writers, especially if the teacher can't grade them because she has 5 classes of 25 kids each writing multiple papers per week. Unless your mother can stop time while she's reading those essays, she's not grading them at the in-depth level that her students need to improve.
    Most of the people in my uni cannot write, period. The English majors are okay. When I found out I was the only person who could write worth shit in my major I thought I might be a super genius. I briefly considered arching Superman. Then I asked people how many essays they'd written before college. most of them said "none". A few mentioned having 2 page essays every couple of months. You don't get better at writing these sorts of things by not doing them. You don't start with little 60 word exercises and then leap to your 15 page term paper.

    Strangely enough, most of the people in my university weren't good writers when they came in. After a few semesters of college-style writing teaching, most of them became quite good writers. (I was a writing tutor, so I saw a lot of freshmen.) Clearly whatever teaching they'd had in high school was not helping them very much, and the kind of teaching they had in college was helping them a great deal.

    The kind of skills you develop with 60 word exercises serve you very well in writing a 15 page term paper. Using a coherent argument and backing it up with evidence from the text(s) translates easily no matter how long your assignment. Padding your paper with $5 words and off-topic digression, not so much.
    Essay-writing is not a skill that is easy to build 30 minutes at a time in a classroom. At some point you need to offload it. And no one is born with the knowledge, no one gets to beg off that they'll "just do it on the test". You have to work for it, and your teacher gets judged on how well you can do it when the year is over, whether you care or not. So petition the administration to change the curriculum and eliminate essay-writing as a necessary skill, but stop bitching about how horrible Ms. Wormwood is. Calvin was the asshole.

    Whoa, who said anything about eliminating essay-writing? I'm all for essay-writing, just not the levels of pointless busywork that you're claiming your mother assigns. A long writing assignment every week is unreasonable, but, say, three long assignments plus several short assignments is much more sensible.

    Also, Mrs. Wormwood was a pretty terrible teacher by today's standards. Expecting a class of six-year-olds to spend all their time in their desks taking notes on a lecture is ridiculous.

    Trowizilla on
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    glithertglithert Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Re: Student to teacher ratio

    It's really fucking important. All the core classes this year have upwards of 30 kids each. Guess how much we get done on a daily basis.

    And slightly off-topic, The Crucible really is one of the worst things I've been forced to read in school. I'd actually like it more if it was just "OLOL puritans r dumb" repeated over and over and over.

    glithert on
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    ethicalseanethicalsean Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I haven’t read the entire thread, so forgive me if this has been brought up.


    This is probably being done because in Texas we are essentially trying to eliminate the special ed classroom. Due to ARDs and other accommodations in Special Ed, you have to spend enormous amounts of money per student and get bent over by retarded federal guidelines (you kicked johnny out for attacking a student shortly after screaming racial slurs at the classroom? Oh you better believe that’s a civil rights violation!) We already have these exact (or similar) policies in the special education classroom. Districts are scurrying to crunch the numbers and "solve the problem" in the face of budget shortfalls and insane guidelines.

    -The anti-homework policy was already in place for special education in my district.. we went so far as to ban issuing homework
    -Students are allowed to make up tests despite failing or guessing numerous times
    -A student can not make below a 55 (and if he fails, you damn well better find a way for him to pass or be able to justify why *you* did not prevent him from making that 7 for the six weeks).

    Guess where they're sending the special education children to avoid the retarded federal guidelines and save costs? On level! Welcome to Special Education, Regular Ed! Do not make eye contact with Johnny or he will cut you (and get away with it).

    ethicalsean on
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    SamSam Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I'd like to qualify my previous statement to except AP/honors courses. But regular-ed courses should not be seen as "weed-outs." This is high school, not a law degree. 20%+ failing is unacceptable.

    So you juke the stats.

    Sam on
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    electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    glithert wrote: »
    Re: Student to teacher ratio

    It's really fucking important. All the core classes this year have upwards of 30 kids each. Guess how much we get done on a daily basis.

    And slightly off-topic, The Crucible really is one of the worst things I've been forced to read in school. I'd actually like it more if it was just "OLOL puritans r dumb" repeated over and over and over.
    Man what? The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller in response to McCarthyism, which in turn became suddenly relevant and topical today.

    electricitylikesme on
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    glithertglithert Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    The opening monologues described exactly what was really causing the witch hunts and then you have to read it all again like you'd forgotten or something.

    glithert on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Trowizilla wrote: »
    Most of the people in my uni cannot write, period. The English majors are okay. When I found out I was the only person who could write worth shit in my major I thought I might be a super genius. I briefly considered arching Superman. Then I asked people how many essays they'd written before college. most of them said "none". A few mentioned having 2 page essays every couple of months. You don't get better at writing these sorts of things by not doing them. You don't start with little 60 word exercises and then leap to your 15 page term paper.

    Strangely enough, most of the people in my university weren't good writers when they came in. After a few semesters of college-style writing teaching, most of them became quite good writers. (I was a writing tutor, so I saw a lot of freshmen.) Clearly whatever teaching they'd had in high school was not helping them very much, and the kind of teaching they had in college was helping them a great deal.

    The kind of skills you develop with 60 word exercises serve you very well in writing a 15 page term paper. Using a coherent argument and backing it up with evidence from the text(s) translates easily no matter how long your assignment. Padding your paper with $5 words and off-topic digression, not so much.

    High school writing is very good at teaching you how to begin writing scholarly papers and padding your discussion. When you tell a person to write a 15 page paper, what do you think they're going to do? They're going to write 5 pages, pad for another 6, and then mess with the fonts and margins until it's 15+. I clearly remember having a teacher tell me to just restate facts I had already presented in another way if I was having trouble reaching 15.

    The focus should move away from X amount of pages/words/paragraphs and into "an in depth understanding of the topic discussed."

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    bowen wrote: »
    Trowizilla wrote: »
    Most of the people in my uni cannot write, period. The English majors are okay. When I found out I was the only person who could write worth shit in my major I thought I might be a super genius. I briefly considered arching Superman. Then I asked people how many essays they'd written before college. most of them said "none". A few mentioned having 2 page essays every couple of months. You don't get better at writing these sorts of things by not doing them. You don't start with little 60 word exercises and then leap to your 15 page term paper.

    Strangely enough, most of the people in my university weren't good writers when they came in. After a few semesters of college-style writing teaching, most of them became quite good writers. (I was a writing tutor, so I saw a lot of freshmen.) Clearly whatever teaching they'd had in high school was not helping them very much, and the kind of teaching they had in college was helping them a great deal.

    The kind of skills you develop with 60 word exercises serve you very well in writing a 15 page term paper. Using a coherent argument and backing it up with evidence from the text(s) translates easily no matter how long your assignment. Padding your paper with $5 words and off-topic digression, not so much.

    High school writing is very good at teaching you how to begin writing scholarly papers and padding your discussion. When you tell a person to write a 15 page paper, what do you think they're going to do? They're going to write 5 pages, pad for another 6, and then mess with the fonts and margins until it's 15+. I clearly remember having a teacher tell me to just restate facts I had already presented in another way if I was having trouble reaching 15.

    The focus should move away from X amount of pages/words/paragraphs and into "an in depth understanding of the topic discussed."

    Those page limits aren't an issue if you actually spend time reading research papers. No offense, but your teacher was just taking pity on you.

    CygnusZ on
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    Shazkar ShadowstormShazkar Shadowstorm Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Man, this is like some crazy weirdo reverse land
    I got through high school half assing on my work and not spending tons of time doing it

    College is like, lots of work that takes lots of time

    Shazkar Shadowstorm on
    poo
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    CygnusZ wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Trowizilla wrote: »
    Most of the people in my uni cannot write, period. The English majors are okay. When I found out I was the only person who could write worth shit in my major I thought I might be a super genius. I briefly considered arching Superman. Then I asked people how many essays they'd written before college. most of them said "none". A few mentioned having 2 page essays every couple of months. You don't get better at writing these sorts of things by not doing them. You don't start with little 60 word exercises and then leap to your 15 page term paper.

    Strangely enough, most of the people in my university weren't good writers when they came in. After a few semesters of college-style writing teaching, most of them became quite good writers. (I was a writing tutor, so I saw a lot of freshmen.) Clearly whatever teaching they'd had in high school was not helping them very much, and the kind of teaching they had in college was helping them a great deal.

    The kind of skills you develop with 60 word exercises serve you very well in writing a 15 page term paper. Using a coherent argument and backing it up with evidence from the text(s) translates easily no matter how long your assignment. Padding your paper with $5 words and off-topic digression, not so much.

    High school writing is very good at teaching you how to begin writing scholarly papers and padding your discussion. When you tell a person to write a 15 page paper, what do you think they're going to do? They're going to write 5 pages, pad for another 6, and then mess with the fonts and margins until it's 15+. I clearly remember having a teacher tell me to just restate facts I had already presented in another way if I was having trouble reaching 15.

    The focus should move away from X amount of pages/words/paragraphs and into "an in depth understanding of the topic discussed."

    Those page limits aren't an issue if you actually spend time reading research papers. No offense, but your teacher was just taking pity on you.

    I didn't mean me specifically, I had meant the class as a whole. But page guidelines are still retarded, and I can almost wager that the kids who pad have probably the same amount or less than those who don't and end up with 4 pages. But hey, I guess if you want everyone to double + .15 of a line space their papers, set a stupid page limit that accomplishes nothing.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • Options
    CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    bowen wrote: »
    CygnusZ wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Trowizilla wrote: »
    Most of the people in my uni cannot write, period. The English majors are okay. When I found out I was the only person who could write worth shit in my major I thought I might be a super genius. I briefly considered arching Superman. Then I asked people how many essays they'd written before college. most of them said "none". A few mentioned having 2 page essays every couple of months. You don't get better at writing these sorts of things by not doing them. You don't start with little 60 word exercises and then leap to your 15 page term paper.

    Strangely enough, most of the people in my university weren't good writers when they came in. After a few semesters of college-style writing teaching, most of them became quite good writers. (I was a writing tutor, so I saw a lot of freshmen.) Clearly whatever teaching they'd had in high school was not helping them very much, and the kind of teaching they had in college was helping them a great deal.

    The kind of skills you develop with 60 word exercises serve you very well in writing a 15 page term paper. Using a coherent argument and backing it up with evidence from the text(s) translates easily no matter how long your assignment. Padding your paper with $5 words and off-topic digression, not so much.

    High school writing is very good at teaching you how to begin writing scholarly papers and padding your discussion. When you tell a person to write a 15 page paper, what do you think they're going to do? They're going to write 5 pages, pad for another 6, and then mess with the fonts and margins until it's 15+. I clearly remember having a teacher tell me to just restate facts I had already presented in another way if I was having trouble reaching 15.

    The focus should move away from X amount of pages/words/paragraphs and into "an in depth understanding of the topic discussed."

    Those page limits aren't an issue if you actually spend time reading research papers. No offense, but your teacher was just taking pity on you.

    I didn't mean me specifically, I had meant the class as a whole. But page guidelines are still retarded, and I can almost wager that the kids who pad have probably the same amount or less than those who don't and end up with 4 pages. But hey, I guess if you want everyone to double + .15 of a line space their papers, set a stupid page limit that accomplishes nothing.

    Outside of 101 classes, most of my professors would set maximum page limits, not minimums.

    CygnusZ on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    CygnusZ wrote: »
    Outside of 101 classes, most of my professors would set maximum page limits, not minimums.

    This is very true. But that's mostly because you get people that pad a 3-5 page paper to make it 10-15.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • Options
    KING LITERATEKING LITERATE Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Yar wrote: »
    Since I was a white male, I got rejected from most colleges despite my really high GPAs, test scores, extra-curriculars, and community service. But I did get into a top 25 University, and it was a shocker.


    ....

    What color is the sky in your world?

    :|

    KING LITERATE on
    Diamond FC: 3867 1354 8291
    TWITTER TWATS
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    CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Yar wrote: »
    Since I was a white male, I got rejected from most colleges despite my really high GPAs, test scores, extra-curriculars, and community service. But I did get into a top 25 University, and it was a shocker.


    ....

    What color is the sky in your world?

    :|

    Blue, but the htrae is square.

    Couscous on
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    adamadam Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Sounds like a free daycare to me.

    adam on
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