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#51 2019-05-04 17:37:11

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: The state of US Education

The little one room school house concept force the teacher to actually teach material to the individuls so that they all could learn at each persons age level and not so much as a grade level which does not account for lag or lead in being born 6 months ahead or 6 months behind the others that are in the class room.

In middle school the old one room unit was still in use in my town but as a music room as that allowed for the pther classes that were going on to be uneffected by how loud the instruments and chorus might be. The one music teacher did for the town did teach all grade levels and each subject area of music including lessons.

Back when my own kids were in school they were coming up with the little Red school house which was a back to basics of the 3 R's with many other assisting elements to reading and math as in title one, plus another which I do not remember and special education for those of my family that were in need of extra help due to learning disabilities.

The STEM concepts were just beginning to take effect with some of the instructions in the class room instruction content. The content per class instruction was from a guide that was produced from the state to assure that at the end of the year all information was given to the student.

What this does not do is take into account text books available for being able to foolow that plan let alone give the district time to make the correct purchase. The more detail and levels of what must be used causes the increase to the schools operating costs that are passed onto the towns property tax rates.

In the schools the classes are usually for an hour or so with having the student move to the next class room which breaks up the day and promotes learning for the full day. Starting around the 8 am hour and ending about 2:30 in the afternoon. Of course many have study halls to do homework in the course of the days schedule and sports athletics to get ready for after releasal.

Unless you are identified as disabled you will not start kindergarten until age 5. or first grade at age 6.

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#52 2019-05-04 19:11:00

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,656

Re: The state of US Education

For SpaceNut re #51 ...

Thank you for your addition to the concept of restoring the one-room-school concept as an alternative to the Industrial Age concept of mass education.

Your description of how the concept persisted into recent times in your state is encouraging, albeit limited to music education.

Your focus on books allows for discussion of the idea of eliminating books altogether, in preference for all digital instructional materials, and (more importantly) for all-digital deliver-feedback-evaluation-deliver instructional loops approaching the one-mentor-one-student model which would be the ideal for every student, if it can be achieved with modern hardware and software.

Development of this concept on Earth should ??? translate easily to Mars, the Moon and whereever else students will find themselves in years ahead, and certainly to many areas on Earth where "modern" education is NOT available to millions of students.

(th)

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#53 2019-05-05 00:14:09

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,862
Website

Re: The state of US Education

Terraformer wrote:

Humans max out learning at about three hours per day

Respectfully, I disagree. I wanted to learn. I was frustrated that I was deprived learning material. When I went to school, there was no internet, the elementary school library had elementary level material, and the town library was fairly useless. Transcona was a separate town at that time, population just over 2,000 and it was a railroad town. Elementary school was about memorize and regurgitate. I didn't learn that way, I wanted to know how things work and why. They tried to teach spelling by getting me to memorize word lists. That didn't work, I needed to learn rules. They couldn't understand why I had such difficulty with spelling in grades 3, 4 & 5. When I started to learn rules of phonics, rules of words from Latin and how to recognize a Latin word, rules for words from French, etc, then I started to learn.

In high school, classes went from 8:00am to 3:30pm. After school I studied computers with my friend. I studied digital electronics, circuit design, computer hardware design, and machine language. Yes, I learned to code in numeric op-codes. Before we learned some simplified fictional assembly language using base 10 math in computer science class, I had already learned to program real microprocessors using binary and hexadecimal.

You want a more advanced learning system for Mars. Ok. A single teacher can guide a large number of students. And learning by doing is extremely effective. Not just study a book, but have fun. In grade one, the French teacher had games in French. She made French class fun. Unfortunately she left for maternity leave in the summer between grades 1 & 2, and never returned. The French teacher for grades 2-6 would not allow any fun. Very strict! As a result, I knew less French by the end of grade 6 then I did at the end of grade 1. Yes, I unlearned. And when I tried to practice French at recess or otherwise outside of French class, the other students chastised me. She made everyone hate the subject! A teacher who can make learning fun makes all the difference.

In grade 8, my electric shops teacher started by teaching electron orbitals. Yes, the basis of chemistry. Metals with one or two electrons in the valence orbital tend to conduct. And we practices building electric circuits. So it was academic study and practical hands-on. I got an A+, but also had the basis of grade 11 chemistry.

School textbooks can be a PDF document on a laptop or tablet. This eliminates printing cost, and allows up-to-date textbooks every school year. In the 1990s, university had already started to provide video of a professor giving a lecture, so the professor didn't have to give the same lecture over and over. You can watch that video anywhere, not just a classroom. Take tests online. This allows students to study ahead much more easily.

A lot of study can be done this way. With teachers guiding students maybe 3-4 hours per day, but students studying more. Our elementary school had a library. Junior high had a better library, with tables where students could socialize and do more work. High school had a better library yet, with more books. But the internet wasn't invented until I graduated university. There was ARPANET, but that was for government labs only, university didn't have access, at least students didn't. Technically TCP/IP was adopted by US Department of Defence in March 1982, while I was in 2nd year, but it wasn't available to students or the public until later. Again, today you don't need a teacher in front of a class the entire time in school. A lot of time can be done with video, computer based training, and computer games.

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#54 2019-05-05 00:25:47

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,862
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Re: The state of US Education

I was very frustrated by university. High school taught 7 courses at a time; university taught 5. Yes, labs and assignments were MUCH larger and more complex, but I could have easily taken 6 courses. And there was only 3 months of class time per semester, with 2 semesters per year. Classes began the 2nd Wednesday of September, ended with the first weekend of December. Then 2½ weeks of exams, then 2 weeks of Christmas vacation. Winter semester started the first working day after New Years Day, with one week for spring break, then classes ended the 2nd weekend of April, then another 2½ weeks of exams. Why spread 5 exams across 2½ weeks? By the last exam, you will have forgotten a lot of the stuff you were expected to memorize. And all that vacation? That's ridiculous! I wanted to learn! I wanted to graduate so I could get a job. I seriously considered taking a master degree, but my parents wouldn't support me for that. Allowing students to proceed at their own pace would allow higher education.

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#55 2019-05-05 10:00:16

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,656

Re: The state of US Education

For RobertDyck re #53 and #54

Thank you for these additions to the topic.  From scanning through earlier parts of this long running topic, I recognize some of the points you made above, but you appear (to my eye) to have adapted them somewhat to the proposition that it might be time to consider dropping back from the industrial scale economics driven model we have in the US, and which I gather is common throughout the world.

I've taken a look at the Kahn Acadamy, and it seems to be well organized and effective, and I would guess it might be adapted by home schooling parents in particular to achieve their individual learning goals.  In my earlier post, I had overlooked home schooling, which is going on around the US, and (apparently) around the world.  There appears to be some interest in extending fiber Internet to rural parts of the state where I live, and I hope that happens, because it would surely open opportunities for students who (like you) thirst for knowledge and have the drive to pull it out of whatever structure exists.

Another Letter to the Editor in the local paper reminded me recently, that in the modern age, ability to work in teams is important to employers who want to grow their businesses.  A drawback of small population schools is lack of opportunity to work in teams, either as a leader or a follower, although I recognize that the millennia old practice of older students teaching and guiding younger ones is an option.  Still, that is not the same as working in a team of peers with leadership and followership passing back and forth spontaneously as individuals experience insights and share them, and as specific skill sets needed are spontaneously applied to specific tasks to be performed.

That said, the modern Internet age shows (as we forum members are demonstrating) that team work over digital communications lines is not only possible, but eminently practical.  I have experienced that myself, while working on a project in the US with associates pitching in from Taiwan or elsewhere.

(th)

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#56 2019-05-05 16:54:40

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,756
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Re: The state of US Education

You might try asking a real teacher about what is really required for students to learn.  It has little to do with money,  and absolutely NOTHING to do with standardized testing. 

Among other things,  besides being a defense weapons development engineer,  I actually was a real teacher,  in the public schools,  and in college all the way up to the graduate level.  Did some civilian engineering,  too.

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#57 2019-05-05 17:15:08

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,357

Re: The state of US Education

Nothing to do with money? On that basis, there's no reason why education in downtown Kinshasa shouldn't be great! smile Come on! Money is hugely important to good education: text books, temperature-controlled classrooms, and now lots of audio-visual and internet based activity.

I would agree it has nothing to do with standardised testing! lol Teaching is more about creativity.  If you get children to learn fact-lists they will learn very little. It is by making lots of interconnections between lot of different data sets that we learn and we also learn how to do stuff. Teaching is about using a lot of strategies and so is learning.  A teacher can't teach every eventuality that someone is going to presented with...so they have to teach strategies about how you go about.

Personally, I feel there is too much emphasis on mathematics and too little on logic. My feeling is that not many people can be good mathematicians but lots of people can be good logicians. I've never really understood why mathematics is taught to such a high level in schools for nearly all pupils when nearly the whole of that mathematical knowledge (apart from basic arithmetic, percentages, angles and a few other things) is forgotten on leaving school. The lessons of logic stay with you throughout life as they apply on a daily basis to nearly everything you do.

Extending out from logic to philosophy will also enrich many children's education. Might not be for everyone.

Also, I think teaching major Latin and Greek root words (not the grammatical languages) can hugely increase pupil confidence and engagement with education - it helps demystify knowledge. Latin and Greek are no more special as languages than Etruscan, English or Swahili. They just happen to be key to our scientific language for reasons of history.

GW Johnson wrote:

You might try asking a real teacher about what is really required for students to learn.  It has little to do with money,  and absolutely NOTHING to do with standardized testing. 

Among other things,  besides being a defense weapons development engineer,  I actually was a real teacher,  in the public schools,  and in college all the way up to the graduate level.  Did some civilian engineering,  too.

GW

Last edited by louis (2019-05-05 19:06:12)


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#58 2019-05-05 17:29:18

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: The state of US Education

What Gw is saying is that no matter the amount of money that it will do to have or aid in the education, it takes a teacher to actually bring the information down or up to a students learning ability so that they can retian and use it.

There are a variety of testing and each have draw backs as well as miles stones to what you may or may have not been able to learn and retain...The real trick is to have the student show that they have actually learned the information in a way that shows they know how to apply it.

Math and logic such as 1 and 1 will make three, as its dependant on the question as a male and a female make a baby....
or how about 1010 + 0101 = 1111 bolean algebra....

How about a 10 day blast at 8 hour days to process an entire college level text book as well as home work plus testing...done it been there...

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#59 2019-05-05 18:31:42

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,756
Website

Re: The state of US Education

EducationDoneRight

I taught math (!!!) 3 years in a public school with a verifiable 67% "in-poverty" rate.  There was no fancy money beyond keeping the roof from leaking or buying enough textbooks to go around,  regardless of how shoddy a condition they were in. 

It's not about whether the books are "good" or the classroom has "good" equipment.  I did it with 16th-19th century chalk on a chalk board,  and books that were quite literally falling apart.  7th grade math,  all the way up to college algebra and calculus dual credit courses. 

The students I taught aced the standardized tests,  quite literally because I taught their courses up to the course content standards,  without regard to what little was on the standardized tests.  What is in the course content standards is way to hell and gone far beyond what is on the standardized tests. 

Depends on which school or which college,  there was some to overwhelmingly-enormous pressure from administrators to "teach to the test",  meaning the standardized test,  because the idiotic politicians tied the money to standardized test scores.  I REFUSED to do that! 

That plus a whistleblower problem cost me my last college teaching job,  but my track record is quite clear:  all my students aced standardized tests because I taught the f***ing subjects,  not the standardized tests!

Money had almost nothing to do with this.  As long as there was enough to turn the f***ing lights on. 

I could have done the same thing in Africa,  or anywhere else.  I just happened to do it in Texas,  USA.  Both the federal and state agencies that "oversee" this are completely full of s**t!  No doubt about that that!

What I did was 19th century tradition modified by the very latest in "looking at facts".  You show them what has to be done,  you show them the very best known ways to do it,  then you give them time to go try these ways out for themselves.  Not hours later,  RIGHT NOW!  THAT is what works!  Almost NO school really does THAT!

Applies to math,  to physics,  and to engineering.  I have taught them all.  From 7th grade to graduate school.  Doesn't matter. 

My first "education" in "how to teach" came from teaching young engineers "on the job" in industry how not to kill people,  or be killed,  by explosives and lethal toxins.  I was ENTIRELY SUCCESSFUL.  As a result,  I know that 99% of what they "teach" in schools of education about how to "teach",  is utter bulls***t. 

I personally can testify to that. 

Nobody I taught ever got anybody else hurt or killed.  Be that in industry,  the public schools,  or college. 

So,  what kind of track record will you believe,  Louis?

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2019-05-13 11:24:34)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#60 2019-05-05 19:04:35

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: The state of US Education

The federal governements hand in the pie https://www.ed.gov
Then there is the state levels in the departments of education each having there own guide to what they want.
Whistle blowing comes at all levels and can be used as a weapon on hate and dislike that has nothing to do with education.

Home school or private education has there own set of rules and methods to make the testing and grading for records that really is just paper on the pupil and not really what they know or can even prove that they can use it.

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#61 2019-05-05 19:22:02

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,357

Re: The state of US Education

Well it sounds like you were an inspirational math(s) teacher GW and all power to you.

The problem is that education isn't delivered by inspirational teachers. Education, on average, is delivered by average teachers.

The average teacher is, well, average.

I well remember having a brilliant maths teacher at ages 11 and 12 who inspired me and the whole of the rest of the class with a love for maths or at least the idea of maths. Looking back I am not sure he really made me a better mathematician in any fundamental sense but he sure made me feel enthusiastic about maths.

Sadly he was followed by a real "duffer" of a teacher with not a teaching bone in his body and I completely lost interest.

Loked at globally, money isn't just about textbooks it's about enough money to keep the teacher in school and also discourage corruption.  In African countries there are many schools where the attendance problem is the teachers not the pupils (ie the teachers are happy to draw the salary but not necessarily turn up at the school)!  But that then goes back, in part at least, to insufficient inspection which also involves serious expenditure.

I remember as a child being taught in a v. cold classroom (basically a hut) in winter - there was no way the children could learn properly in that temperature...the teacher had to get us doing warm-up exercises before we were in any sort of receptive frame of mind.

GW Johnson wrote:

I taught math (!!!) 3 years in a public school with a verifiable 67% "in-poverty" rate.  There was no fancy money beyond keeping the roof from leaking or buying enough textbooks to go around,  regardless of how shoddy a condition they were in. 

It's not about whether the books are "good" or the classroom has "good" equipment.  I did it with 16th-19th century chalk on a chalk board,  and books that were quite literally falling apart.  7th grade math,  all the way up to college algebra and calculus dual credit courses. 

The students I taught aced the standardized tests,  quite literally because I taught their courses up to the course content standards,  without regard to what little was on the standardized tests.  What is in the course content standards is way to hell and gone far beyond what is on the standardized tests. 

Depends on which school or which college,  there was some to overwhelmingly-enormous pressure from administrators to "teach to the test",  meaning the standardized test,  because the idiotic politicians tied the money to standardized test scores.  I REFUSED to do that! 

That plus a whistleblower problem cost me my last college teaching job,  but my track record is quite clear:  all my students aced standardized tests because I taught the f***ing subjects,  not the standardized tests!

Money had almost nothing to do with this.  As long as there was enough to turn the f***ing lights on. 

I could have done the same thing in Africa,  or anywhere else.  I just happened to do it in Texas,  USA.  Both the federal and state agencies that "oversee" this are completely full of s**t!  No doubt about that that!

What I did was 19th century tradition modified by the very latest in "looking at facts".  You show them what has to be done,  you show them the very best known ways to do it,  then you give them time to go try these ways out for themselves.  Not hours later,  RIGHT NOW!  THAT is what works!  Almost NO school really does THAT!

Applies to math,  to physics,  and to engineering.  I have taught them all.  From 7th grade to graduate school.  Doesn't matter. 

My first "education" in "how to teach" came from teaching young engineers "on the job" in industry how not to kill people,  or be killed,  by explosives and lethal toxins.  I was ENTIRELY SUCCESSFUL.  As a result,  I know that 99% of what they "teach" in schools of education about how to "teach",  is utter bulls***t. 

I personally can testify to that. 

Nobody I taught ever got anybody else hurt or killed.  Be that in industry,  the public schools,  or college. 

So,  what kind of track record will you believe,  Louis?

GW


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#62 2019-05-05 19:48:55

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: The state of US Education

Louis the "doing warm-up exercises" running and more oxygenates the brain and makes it more receptive to learning. That goes for those that are slow learners which are towards the retarded iq level but are functional only at a much longer rate to getting the same education which are not the same period of time for the normal person. Math was there strong suit as its straight forward and can be taught not only on paper but with objects to allow for the basics to take root. Spell from word list and flip books with pictures were next to aid with learning to read and write.

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#63 2019-05-05 22:15:18

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,862
Website

Re: The state of US Education

GW Johnson wrote:

You might try asking a real teacher about what is really required for students to learn. ... I actually was a real teacher,  in the public schools,  and in college all the way up to the graduate level.

Impressive. That's a lot more than me. When I was a student in university, fellow students hired me as a tutor. And I taught evening classes at community college. And currently I'm substitute instructor at a charity, although only a few days per year.

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#64 2019-05-06 14:13:04

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,656

Re: The state of US Education

For GW Johnson .... thanks for your perspective and experience ...

For RobertDyck ... thanks for yours as well ...

Louis ... Your anecdote about the inspiring math teacher inspires ** me ** to inquire if you can imagine building an education system from scratch, to provide that level of leadership for every child at every stage of development, using the magnification capability of computers. 

Your point about the need for investment by elders in a community to develop youngsters into productive adults rings true to me.  It is mighty difficult to invest much in education when a family is barely surviving.  On the other hand, wealthy communities can afford to be generous towards the children of families who are at the lower end of the earnings strata, or in some cases, not there at all.

My impression (from conversation with employees of the local school system) is that a lot of people are trying to provide computer assistance to the learning process, but that the search is still on for systems that help to deliver productive citizens at costs which are affordable to the entire population.

However, since this ** is ** the NewMars forum, it is worth keeping the students in distant locations in mind, as an education system is designed.

(th)

Last edited by tahanson43206 (2019-05-06 17:48:14)

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#65 2019-05-06 17:36:07

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: The state of US Education

We need to be careful thou with the use of computers and the software use to teach a course as they may be to structure such that you are not learning the subject but rather how to use the computer to make it give the answer and not the person taking the class materials. I saw this with my daughters college math class that was done on computer as the questions would give example look simular example questions for problem solving.

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#66 2019-05-06 19:15:49

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,357

Re: The state of US Education

Re the maths teacher, no I don't think on Earth that it is possible to really reproduce that sort of high quality teaching across the curriculum anymore than all actors on the stage can achieve the highest performance of the "greats".  However, in terms of a Mars colony where you were actually producing new generations there, then I think as the colony would start v. small, you could at least ensure all teaching was of a very high standard - much, much higher than the average on Earth.

I saw a video yesterday where Zubrin was talking about creating an inventors colony on Mars which be a sort of economic powerhouse. With a first class education system in place, that seems quite possible.

I heard an interesting news item about how Nigeria is using satellite broadcasting to ensure all children have access to quality teaching albeit over a TV screen. With robot technology it should be possible to just have robots representing the inspirational teachers but I think something will still be missing.

tahanson43206 wrote:

Louis ... Your anecdote about the inspiring math teacher inspires ** me ** to inquire if you can imagine building an education system from scratch, to provide that level of leadership for every child at every stage of development, using the magnification capability of computers. 

Your point about the need for investment by elders in a community to develop youngsters into productive adults rings true to me.  It is mighty difficult to invest much in education when a family is barely surviving.  On the other hand, wealthy communities can afford to be generous towards the children of families who are at the lower end of the earnings strata, or in some cases, not there at all.

My impression (from conversation with employees of the local school system) is that a lot of people are trying to provide computer assistance to the learning process, but that the search is still on for systems that help to deliver productive citizens at costs which are affordable to the entire population.

However, since this ** is ** the NewMars forum, it is worth keeping the students in distant locations in mind, as an education system is designed.

(th)


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#67 2019-05-06 19:17:03

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,357

Re: The state of US Education

I think we'd done a lot of oxygenation running around outside! lol This was purely to stop our bodies freezing!!

SpaceNut wrote:

Louis the "doing warm-up exercises" running and more oxygenates the brain and makes it more receptive to learning. That goes for those that are slow learners which are towards the retarded iq level but are functional only at a much longer rate to getting the same education which are not the same period of time for the normal person. Math was there strong suit as its straight forward and can be taught not only on paper but with objects to allow for the basics to take root. Spell from word list and flip books with pictures were next to aid with learning to read and write.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#68 2019-05-07 08:14:39

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,756
Website

Re: The state of US Education

EducationDoneRight

Well,  as for the crude facilities available in 3rd world countries,  the means I used to teach could be as simple as drawing or writing in the sand with a stick.  I used chalk on chalkboard,  or markers on whiteboard,  and very little else.  When available,  I used computer software for practice work,  but I stuck with pencil-and-paper testing (that way I knew for sure what each student could do).   

This is not restricted to just math.  I taught physics courses the very same way,  and full-blown engineering courses. 

Labs really help.  Unless you have the scheduled time available,  the more successful students will utilize the lab to do their practice work.  That way they have the teacher at their elbow to help when they get stuck.  But there is simply no substitute for having the practice work right after the lecture portion:  "no-delay" is essential. Memory fades too fast. It is the physical act of doing the work that locks-in the knowledge.

For math lab,  all you absolutely need is pencil and paper.  If there is practice work software,  then computers help. For physics and engineering labs,  the same is true,  except that you need the scientific equipment to play with,  as well.  The idea is to run experiments and/or build things.  That's the essential "go-and-do" part.

The real problem with environmental conditions is less about comfort and more how it affects the equipment in the lab.  I taught an engineering composite materials course at Minnesota state during a record-setting cold winter.  It was difficult to stay above freezing in the lab.  The kids were dressed for it,  but projects cured up far slower in the cold,  if at all.  We didn't have enough oven space to cook everything. 

I did teach one automotive lab open to the student body at large.  One of the lab activities was running a surrogate for the Reid vapor pressure test.  That involved about 25 students confining gasoline in a test apparatus and cooking it over an electric heater.  I really had to watch them close.  Nobody ever got hurt.  But the risk was high,  mitigated only by the instructor's close attention.

I learned how to really teach,  long before I ever did it for a professional living.  I taught young engineers on-the-job in an explosives plant.  For many years.  Including some young engineers literally trained at the firing stands,  both ramjet and rocket. 

One of my courses at Baylor in Waco was in aircraft systems.  The department had a PT-6 and prop mounted on a truck as an experimental facility for testing alternative fuels.  Right after the lecture on gas turbines,  I took the class out to the hangar and had them "drive" the turboprop.  THAT is what made the turbine engine stuff "real" to them.  Many of those kids said my course was the very best they ever had in their entire degree plan.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2019-05-13 11:25:52)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#69 2019-05-07 11:45:38

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,656

Re: The state of US Education

For GW Johnson #68 ...

A few minutes after reading your inspiring post, long enough to have had time to reflect on your experiences and those of your students, I opened an article about inequality in South Africa, and learned that one of the demands (of one of the protesters) was to reduce class size from 70 to 30.

Good Grief!  And just a few posts back, I was thinking of 8 students per education guide, as an alternative to 30.

Louis recently pointed out that skill and capability in teaching varies greatly, but I think it also varies over time as the environment either rewards or reduces whatever talents a person may bring to the occupation.

We humans are getting a glimpse of what is possible, as Universities provide video of their professors. 

CSPAN has a program capturing live classroom lectures, generally on historical topics, which are broadcast on weekends.

These broadcasts provide viewers who haven't been in a classroom for a while a reminder of what it was like, and also a glimpse of the current student population, and often an opportunity to learn about a topic which might be altogether new, or might benefit from a refresh.

So the thought comes to mind ... could an entire curriculum be packaged in this way, for delivery to populations on Earth or elsewhere?

(th)

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#70 2019-05-07 18:05:02

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,357

Re: The state of US Education

I hear what you say, as they say...but there has never been an advanced industrial society built on teachers teaching students with sticks in the dust.  And that's a fact...

GW Johnson wrote:

Well,  as for the crude facilities available in 3rd world countries,  the means I used to teach could be as simple as drawing or writing in the sand with a stick.  I used chalk on chalkboard,  or markers on whiteboard,  and very little else.  When available,  I used computer software for practice work,  but I stuck with pencil-and-paper testing (that way I knew for sure what each student could do).   

This is not restricted to just math.  I taught physics courses the very same way,  and full-blown engineering courses. 

Labs really help.  Unless you have the scheduled time available,  the more successful students will utilize the lab to do their practice work.  That way they have the teacher at their elbow to help when they get stuck.  But there is simply no substitute for having the practice work right after the lecture portion:  "no-delay" is essential. Memory fades too fast. It is the physical act of doing the work that locks-in the knowledge.

For math lab,  all you absolutely need is pencil and paper.  If there is practice work software,  then computers help. For physics and engineering labs,  the same is true,  except that you need the scientific equipment to play with,  as well.  The idea is to run experiments and/or build things.  That's the essential "go-and-do" part.

The real problem with environmental conditions is less about comfort and more how it affects the equipment in the lab.  I taught an engineering composite materials course at Minnesota state during a record-setting cold winter.  It was difficult to stay above freezing in the lab.  The kids were dressed for it,  but projects cured up far slower in the cold,  if at all.  We didn't have enough oven space to cook everything. 

I did teach one automotive lab open to the student body at large.  One of the lab activities was running a surrogate for the Reid vapor pressure test.  That involved about 25 students confining gasoline in a test apparatus and cooking it over an electric heater.  I really had to watch them close.  Nobody ever got hurt.  But the risk was high,  mitigated only by the instructor's close attention.

I learned how to really teach,  long before I ever did it for a professional living.  I taught young engineers on-the-job in an explosives plant.  For many years.  Including some young engineers literally trained at the firing stands,  both ramjet and rocket. 

One of my courses at Baylor in Waco was in aircraft systems.  The department had a PT-6 and prop mounted on a truck as an experimental facility for testing alternative fuels.  Right after the lecture on gas turbines,  I took the class out to the hangar and had them "drive" the turboprop.  THAT is what made the turbine engine stuff "real" to them.  Many of those kids said my course was the very best they ever had in their entire degree plan.

GW


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#71 2019-05-07 19:10:17

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,417

Re: The state of US Education

So you would feel that the ancient temples, pyramids and more are failures of education?

tahanson43206:
The country one room school house was probably not more than 30 in the entire grades of education back in time. Current grade class rooms in most states are limited to that 30 students these days give or take maybe 5 from elementary all the way to graduation.

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#72 2019-05-08 11:21:05

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,756
Website

Re: The state of US Education

EducationDoneRight

I just told you how I taught,  and very successfully,  in some rather demanding scientific topics.  There is no effective difference between drawing with a stick in the sand,  drawing with chalk on chalkboard or slate,  and drawing with markers on a whiteboard.  They all do exactly the same thing. 

Sticks and sand work better with small classes,  because of restricted visibility.  The other two I have seen work with classes up to 300,  and just over 40 in my own experience.  This is exactly how students were taught,  at the time of the industrial revolution in Europe and in North America.

The notion that this method of presentation does not work with modern technology topics is egregious nonsense. That's not to say other enhancements don't help,  because they do.  But simple "show them what is to be done",  and showing them the "best known ways to do it" are still the very core,  and no fancy technology replaces that! 

You can't talk one-on-one with a video player or a computer.  You can talk one-on-one with the teacher in the room with you (either during or after class).  "Talking" about these topics requires diagrams and equations.  Those can be drawn with a stick in the sand,  even today.  Simple as that.

Some of the high school courses I taught were dual credit with a local college.  3 days a week for an hour a day we had a video link to the college classroom.  I had the class for an hour a day 5 days a week.  There was the opportunity to ask questions,  but it was limited.  The two days "off" from video instruction,  I had to bat "clean-up" to bring the class up to speed for the next video lecture. 

That was necessary for two reasons:  (1) the younger students were not ready to learn at the full college rate,  despite being the best in the school,  and (2) the one-on-one effect with questions was simply too limited in that format. Those lessons do apply to what Tahanson43206 asked me in post 69 above. 

Yes,  you can use video (or even 3-D holography) to present a canned class to remote students.  No,  you will NOT get the one-on-one question-based learning.  And that lack cripples the learning!  Somebody capable of teaching the subject MUST be there to do the one-on-one interaction,  to make the learning effective.  If you have that person in place,  what do you need the canned presentation for?

Don't be too enamored of sophisticated,  fancy,  seductive technology.  It is not required for effective learning (I just told you what is).  Over-reliance on computer technology is why Boeing is in trouble,  for killing two planeloads of people with it.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2019-05-13 11:28:13)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#73 2019-05-08 12:16:52

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,656

Re: The state of US Education

For GW Johnson (in particular) and for all who share an interest in this topic ...

Your post included far more than the little snippet I've quoted.  The closest I can come to learning from sand "drawings" is sand tables in basic training.

So the thought comes to mind ... could an entire curriculum be packaged in this way, for delivery to populations on Earth or elsewhere?

The above inquiry drew your attention ...

GW Johnson wrote:

I just told you how I taught,  and very successfully,  in some rather demanding scientific topics.  There is no effective difference between drawing with a stick in the sand,  drawing with chalk on chalkboard or slate,  and drawing with markers on a whiteboard.  They all do exactly the same thing. 
<snip>
That was necessary for two reasons:  (1) the younger students were not ready to learn at the full college rate,  despite being the best in the school,  and (2) the one-on-one effect with questions was simply too limited in that format. Those lessons do apply to what Tahanson43206 asked me in post 69 above. 

Yes,  you can use video (or even 3-D holography) to present a canned class to remote students.  No,  you will NOT get the one-on-one question-based learning.  And that lack cripples the learning!  Somebody capable of teaching the subject MUST be there to do the one-on-one interaction,  to make the learning effective.  If you have that person in place,  what do you need the canned presentation for?

Don't be too enamored of sophisticated,  fancy,  seductive technology.  It is not required for effective learning (I just told you what is).  Over-reliance on computer technology is why Boeing is in trouble,  for killing two planeloads of people with it.

GW

It seems to me that a teacher of the capability you have described from your own experience is rare.   Such a person's legacy in centuries past has been the written word with drawings.  In the present age, we are beneficiaries of video recordings, and animations which can serve to illustrate complex concepts.

The challenge we humans face is how to deliver the kind of classroom experience you've described, to billions of young people, in all subjects which are now part of the experience of first world populations.

The concept I have tried to offer is of a very small student population, on the order of eight people, working with the assistance of a "universal learning specialist", who is able to direct flows of questions and answers as needed by each individual.

The technical forums which have come into existence on the Internet in recent years are a welcome and in some cases, awe inspiring resource for persons faced with perplexing behavior of a piece of technology.  The ability to cast a question which Google can process to find matching answers is an essential skill in the modern age.

I would imagine the "universal learning specialist" would have a solid grasp of the essential elements of Science, Math, Engineering and Technology in general.

More importantly, this specialist would have an understanding of the psychology of human beings over a wide range, and a particular grounding in learning styles.

Should this concept come to pass, I would expect a hierarchy to emerge, with specialists available for consultation when a particular child shows interest in a topic that Google answers do not satisfy.

Answers to questions need not arrive instantaneously, and (I argue) the ability to deal with time delay caused by the speed of light would be a valuable attribute of a student in years ahead.  This does not discount or ignore the valid point you made about doing exercises (ie, using a new bit of knowledge) immediately after receiving instruction, but an essential skill for a student is to persist a desire for an answer past delays which may occur.

There exists a need for a great number of teachers of the caliber you've described on Earth today, and that need will NOT be met by the economic systems in place today.

When citizen0215 first posted a message to restart this topic, I invited the poster to think about how to design a curriculum for an education to be designed from, scratch.  So far that particular person has held back from the discussion, but the need exists for such a curriculum, and (I get the impression) there are lots of folks in the US and many other nations who have devoted their lives to trying to answer the need, to the extent of their abilities and resources.

(th)

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#74 2019-05-08 13:14:29

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 1,656

Re: The state of US Education

Curriculum design:

From many selections offered by Google:
https://educationcloset.com/2018/07/01/ … to-finish/

What we’ve learned along the way is that curriculum design has a structure to it that can be replicated and leveraged by anyone. So whether you are looking to revamp your curriculum or write one from scratch, you can use this process.  Here’s the basics of what we did – we’ll go into these in more detail below:

Determine your vision and intention for the curriculum.
Outline your overarching topics.
Review any current curriculum to determine what to keep and what to retire.
Organize your standards based on the topics and timeline.
Write the lessons to provide a comprehensive student learning experience.
Create or attach a variety of assessments to the lessons.
Determine what materials and resources you’ll need.
Pull it all together.

The opportunity for the NewMars forum is to design for a small population on Mars (or otherwise away from Earth) AND to deliver students who can blend seamlessly into any first world Earth culture, while at the same time having the capability and desire to sustain and to build the culture where they are.

(th)

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#75 2019-05-08 19:36:23

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,756
Website

Re: The state of US Education

EducationDoneRight

Tahanson43206:

I never really thought of myself as an extraordinary teacher,  just a good one.  I was able to bring to the classroom industrial experience actually using the things I was teaching.  Perhaps that is unusual. 

I'm not saying some sort of curriculum made up of canned classes won't work,  because it will.  But it would work a lot better with real one-on-one with the teachers. 

Having some sort of "universal learning specialist" there is a step toward that best scenario,  but I rather doubt one such person can fill the bill for many different teachers in those canned presentations.  To me,  that seems to be the practical reality here. 

I have experience and knowledge to teach math,  physics,  and engineering.  The other topics may interact with these constraints differently,  I dunno.  I just know about the math/science stuff,  which is very objective in its content.

The one-on-one interaction is really very important.  When I was teaching at Baylor,  I taught aircraft systems,  aerodynamics for pilots,  aviation safety,  and airport management.  My boss the dept chair taught math.  At need,  I would substitute (without prior warning) for him in calculus 1,  2,  or 3. 

I did this by a two-way feed of questions and answers with the students.  First to identify which course and what book.  Then where they were in the book. Then find out what about that topic was giving them trouble,  as a sort of class consensus.  Then I would work on that with them,  and fix the problems they were having.  They usually aced my boss's next test.

THAT is the sort of thing I have been trying to communicate.  You need a guy like that available in the classroom,  even if the lecture-demonstrations are canned.

Most of my colleagues,  especially the older and more experienced ones,  were capable of doing exactly what I did.  I saw nothing unusual about it.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2019-05-13 11:30:17)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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