Re: Finding a pace for all students


From: Stephanie Wong <wongtong@connect.ab.ca>
Subject: Re: Finding a pace for all students
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 1997 22:38:23 -0700 (MST)


Hi Louise,
You have some very good points too!  I'm glad that this list is becoming
useful.  We'll see what it's like after the holidays.

Your replies to the the others (I think you meant Sai and Eve) did not go
through the list.  If you normally just choose the reply button, the message
will go to the list.  Look in the To: field.

Your son's teacher tried to "dumb him down"?  Now that seems odd.  Teachers
are supposed to promote a child's learning.  They thought you were pushing
him too hard?  Just because you're smart doesn't mean you're forced to be
better.  I push myself.  I'll even do my homework at 2am if it's due for the
next day.  I give myself high standards.

If students learn quickly, they should be allowed to go ahead if they know
what they're doing.  Perhaps a library period for them to research on
whatever they like.

I don't mean that the student should have the "unschooling" approach by
learning the curriculum all by himself, but to read or experiment on his own
free time without doing extra assignments.

Your son does his homework right away?  Not many students do that, including
me.  That's why I like short assignments.

One point about formal schooling that is better is because you get to work
with other people.  However, the amount of group work should go with the
student.  Group work should be graded properly, but how?  You have no idea
about how much work each student put into the project.

Yes, lowering the class size would solve many of this problems.  Having the
same teacher would be good too.  For example, last year, my math teacher
made us do so much work for a simple equation (show what the numbers mean,
show every step, etc.).  That, in turn, gave me a few hours on math homework
a day.  This year, I just have to show a little work (also, fewer questions
are given because they're repeating; no need to do it over and over again)
and as a result, have about 15 min. of homework, all the while learning as
much.  You see, the varying techniques of different teachers can confuse one.

Happy Holidays!
Merry Christmas!

Stephanie

:) Did you know that the letter Z is pronounced "zed" in Canada instead of
"zee" in the US?



At 12:53  24/12/97 +0100, you wrote:
>Hi again, Stephanie.  What great input you have again!  (And thanks to
>others, too, for some great ideas!  I can see this is the "chat" group
>for me right now!)
>	You hit the nail on the head, Stephanie, for the very reason we opted
>to homeschool.  (I explained this to 2 others on this list, and don't
>know if that went to them personally, or if the group read it, so I
>won't elaborate.  Can you let me know if that is the case?)
>	My son learns very quickly, and it was very painful to try to "move
>with the class."  His mind quickly jumped to "higher level thinking" in
>every subject--to the point that he actually forgot the original
>assignment.  Instead of the teacher accepting that and using it to his
>advantage (too many children in the classroom, etc), her attempts to
>"dumb him down" -- or at best to make him conform to the rest of the
>class--only resulted in a label of "ADD" when he asked for clarification
>on the assignments.  --  Even tho she knew his solutions were much more
>than what was expected from the assignments.  He tried so hard to do
>"only what the other students did."  He was extremely frustrated.  This
>was 1st grade.  
>	Before he even got to 1st grade, his "reputation had preceeded him" and
>we were told that he would be "tested soon, and given appropriate
>instruction." When real problems began to get out of hand, we offered
>solutions to deaf ears that didn't want to "give up their control" and
>we tolerated outbursts of "please don't push your child so much..." 
>What we wanted was that he be allowed to learn--not be pushed or held
>back.  We changed schools mid-year, went to 2nd grade, began
>homeschooling 3rd grade.  This is a much better option! 
>	In my studies at the U regarding this subject of "honors" students,
>there seems to be no easy answer--or any answer at all, for that
>matter.  Whether to divide into "regular/honors" or not, etc.  I think
>an ideal solution (but how practical?) would be to keep the class
>intact, and still allow individual learning--ALLOWING STUDENTS TO "GO
>AHEAD" without any restrictions.  I think students themselves learn to
>pace themselves, they have "learning spurts" that should be allowed to
>develop unhindered, and also they have times when they need to go a
>little slower--which for some might be at the "average" or a little
>above.      
>	What we learned in homeschool, is just what you mentioned, Stephanie,
>about learning and doing at his own pace, and then allowing him to
>search, discover things on his own.  I'm not totally in favor of the
>"unschooling" approach, but some aspects of this do make some sense. 
>(Allowing the child to "teach himself")  My son is getting an education
>FAR better than he could in schools, OR with private teachers.  He has a
>thirst for knowledge--not only in science--that would be highly
>damaged--if not quashed--if he were to continue as he was! (Incedently
>that did happen to my oldest son.) 
>	You're right,too, about "not all honors students want to do extra
>work."  As soon as "it is an assignment"--he gets turned off!  Let alone
>to discover it himself, he goes way beyond any of my expectations!  I
>have actually learned more from him, than he has from me!  It is truly a
>very fun way to teach--AND to raise a child!
>	My daughter went through the high school honors "catch 22" you
>mentioned--taking the risk of getting a lower grade in an honors
>course.  In one particular course, there grew a great dissention among
>students and parents when the teacher had the class do an extremely
>challenging project, graded it critically, and all of our A-students
>(who were looking at college scholarships) received B and even some
>C's!  Not good!!
>	Regarding assignment size:  I think there should be a mix of small and
>large.  My son prefers to have me stack up all his assignments each day
>and then let him alone to finish them--which he does very quickly.  I
>insist that he have breakfast at some point during the morning, which he
>grudgingly does.  He does not want to take a break until all is done. 
>You can see the impractibility of this, not to mention his self-imposed
>stress load. He and I discuss this, and have devised ways to solve
>it.  		
>	One day a week is "independent day" where he chooses what he will do
>academically that day.  He has a ball, is completely relaxed, I do my
>music and stay out of his hair, and he is so excited by what he learned
>that day, that he is bubbling over to tell me!  (Often interrupts ME
>during my music to fill me in....occasionally inviting me to join
>him...this is truly learning!!)
>	Even tho we are home schooling, I do feel some group work is
>important.  We have a science club, book report club, and many other
>small group special interest "classes" for that reason.  
>	To try to be a little more realistic, we do some larger projects.  He
>grumbles at first, and then immediately plans out its completion--time
>wise.  He then really sinks his teeth into the project, and again--the
>outcome is far more than I anticipated.  I generally have to tone him
>down a bit, or we wouldn't get to anything else for weeks!
>	I guess the point in all this is that knowing about each student's
>learning styles is an absolute essential to teach effectively.  I do
>realize the limitations that classroom teachers have, and I sympathize
>with them completely! (I tried it...) I hear the frustrations just in
>this group about the restrictions of having to conform to testing, etc. 
>I don't have the answer: that is why I opted for a private music studio
>in my own teaching.  Teaching one/one or small groups allows more
>opportunity to really getting to know the student and his/her learning
>style.  So does having the same student year after year.  I really see
>the benefit of that!
>
>