I have come to realize...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pashtun, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Nov 19, 2014

    I am sure many of you have already fully realized this, but for me this is the realization I have come to clearly this year.

    My district, PD, books..etc seem to focus so much energy and money on intervention programs for struggling students, differentiated instruction..etc I have realized that this is really not the major problem I see at my school, it is simply students don't know what it means to focus and work on something. They simply do not have much of a desire to learn something like writing..etc
     
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  3. Go Blue!

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    Would you call this an apathy problem?

    While I agree that apathy is a major problem in general; I believe that for many of MY students, they also struggle academically (mostly because of a lack of mastery of foundational skills before they get to HS). Yes, there are some kids who appear to be struggling academically but are really just apathetic, uninterested and unengaged. Still, I think some kids appear/pretend to be apathetic because they are frustrated by their academic struggles.
     
  4. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    It could be a lack of foundational skills for sure, but that is due to lack of a work effort, not some kind of learning disability. The students I see, who are going to fit what you describe in middle/high school, don't do what is expected in 4th grade.

    I just see so many students who don't know what it means to do "work". So few have real learning disabilities, so many have a very low work ethic or low "scholarly" behavours..imo.
     
  5. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    So, do you suggest that teachers in lower grade levels should focus more on teaching their students to become more scholarly?

    Do you think if those skills were imprinted on children at an earlier age, we would see less children diagnosed with learning difficulties?

    Or, do we need to stress those skills on students in the age group you teach and higher?
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Teaching drastically changed from when I was a kid. In the push to have kids be more creative and conceptual, kids started producing more even though it was past their basic skill abilities. Kids in early grades before they even know how to write all of their letters are writing stories. They skipped the writing one word at a time, printing practice, writing simple sentences, etc. They may have done a tiny bit of it in addition to producing "stories" that they would later "edit", but the reality is they spent their time on higher level work than lower level skill practice that takes attention to detail and some drudgery or hard work to produce accuracy. Ideas won over basic skills and those kids that struggled with ideas did nothing. They got by and passed to the next grade.

    There is something to be said about building the foundation, taking the time to memorize things, working on exactness, etc. Those exercises build more solid work habits for most. There will always be strugglers, but in our push to have kids read faster, write more, etc we lost dedicated effort on very defined tasks. It is much more fun to get an idea out there no matter how messy, sloppy, and riddled with errors it is rather than trying to get it close to right the first time and doing some "practice makes perfect" on things that are very objective.
     
  7. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I think that right now, in the school/district I teach in the biggest obstacle to our students is them not knowing how to work diligently.

    I do not think we would see less students diagnosed with learning disablitlities, I only have 2, but I easily have at least 13 that still don't know what it means to work.

    I think it should be stresses from the start of school. I really believe most of my students can acheive the 4th grade standards, many will not...simply becasue they do not know how to work, not becasue the work is too challenging...imo.
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

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    I think the biggest cause of apathy is giving students excuses and justification for their laziness. The community, parents and the school. And giving excuses to those same people.
     
  9. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    No truer words have EVER been spoken, EVER.

    :thanks:
     
  10. GTB4GT

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    When I see what goes on, it makes me thankful to be in my "autumn years" to use the polite euphemism. I shudder to think about the future.

    OTOH, I also take to heart every generation prior to mine has said the exact same thing. Maybe there is hope for these little people.:woot:
     
  11. 2ndTimeAround

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    Or maybe there is a steady decline in society.
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

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    Adding...I am optimistic about our future. Most of the students I see are awesome and I will happily hand over the reins when they come of age.

    It is the minority that give me pause. Because the minority is growing. I don't think it will be long before that minority becomes the majority and then our society will be doomed.
     
  13. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    :agreed:

    This is one of the reasons I think I'm having such a tough year. I am standing by and watching my students attempt to produce work that is just too far above their skill level. They get it done (sometimes), but, with rare exception, it's pure crap. They just don't put the effort in to get it done right. But, can I really blame them when they haven't been taught the foundational skills to mastery, simply because someone higher up than me thought it was more important for them to complete a four paragraph non-fiction book, complete with text features, as opposed to teaching them how to write a proper sentence and paragraph with proper grammar, conventions, and spelling?

    I'm losing faith in the public education system, and it kinda breaks my heart.
     
  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I definitely see this in my classroom and grade-level. I don't know how I'm supposed to get them all to complete quality work, when I need to hover over 15 out of 18 in order make sure they do more than the bare minimum.
     
  15. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This is not the problema I see. It is not the lack of foundation skills, it is the pure lack of work ethic.

    The students I see do not understand how to approach work.
     
  16. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I see both, unfortunately. And, I see both to a significant degree. That's what makes every day such a challenge. If I had to name one as the bigger issue, however, I'd agree that it's the lack of effort.
     
  17. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yeah, if kids are asked to do overly challenging work, yet give it their all, well it is easy for me to go back and build on anything missing.

    What I see missing is the idea of persevering, asking questions, sharing thinking, wanting to figure things out, wanting to understand how things work and why...what I see, is students willing to let a few do the work and copy it or willing to wait out the teacher and wait to be told how. Just very little pride in learning or their work.
     
  18. 2ndTimeAround

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    I agree too.

    If it is simply a lack of foundation, then students who are given multiple supports should be able to move towards getting that foundation.

    Let's take Punnett Squares for instance. Completing a Punnett square takes almost zero prior knowledge. I can teach a student all he needs to know to set one up in a matter of minutes. By the time kids get to high school they're pretty aware that it takes a man and a woman to make a baby. The rest is simple to explain. They can count to four so they can tell me probabilities even if they don't know what probabilities are.

    Yet, every single year, I have students that refuse to even draw a freaking square. Won't draw the four sides, won't place a cross in the middle. Because they've never been made to pick up a pencil in the nine years prior, I guess. @@ The "can't." They "don't understand." Bull. It is four lines. Drawthedangsquare. I'll walk you through the rest.

    I've written step by step instructions. Had them read them to me so I could see that they could read. Walked them through a couple of examples. Once left alone, pencil goes down.

    thankfully I have a decent administration that would consider refusal to work insubordination. They could be bounced out of my room. But they still wouldn't do the work @@
     
  19. GTB4GT

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    No doubt that there is a lot wrong with public education. But these issues being discussed here speak to a much larger (and maybe, sadly, an even more unfixable) problem imo. Young people these days aren't getting and learning what they they need to be successful in their homes from their mom and dad.
     
  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This is what I am seeing in 4th grade. Turn your back and it is like they have never been to school a day in their life.
     
  21. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Right. I totally agree with that. So much. In reality, there is a lot more than just the above-mentioned issues that are leading to my feelings of losing faith in public education. I feel like, just about every day, one straw is added to the camel's back, and it's finally starting to break. :(
     
  22. FourSquare

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    Absolutely 100% true. I saw it in 3rd grade just as bad as 7th grade.

    And I'm not even old. It hasn't been all that long since MY school years. We definitely had some unmotivated kids, but not the whole class. These kids I teach are a MESS. Disorganized...no stamina for anything...whiny about the slightest hint of expectations. It's infuriating.

    Part of the problem is home, for sure. I have texted the dad of one of my students 3 nights in a row now requesting that his son pleaassseee turn in a simple comprehension worksheet. He keeps confirming that I will see it in the morning. I do not have it. Still. It's a 4th grade worksheet with like 5 questions. :eek: Son says he doesn't "feel like" doing it. :unsure:
     
  23. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I agree with this. In the 40+ years that I have been in a classroom, I have seen a steady decline in all those things you have mentioned.
     
  24. GTB4GT

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    Pashtun, it sounds to me like you are the "root cause" of your own problems. Your lesson plans must not be "fun" or "engaging" or appealing to the various types of learners. Otherwise they would be coming to you and asking for more work.


    sorry, I couldn't resist that one. Every thread needs a "blame the teacher" component to it and I rushed in to fill the vacuum.:D
     
  25. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    On a serious note, I do accept that this is part of the problem. I have noticed that the district I work in is all about RTI and helping the struggling learners, yet nothing really around this issue....I really need to do something different in this regard for sure.
     
  26. vateacher757

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    I so agree with you and this seems to put them in the IEP category when clearly there is nothing hindering their ability to learn but themselves.

    I find many "gen ed" students would like and could use the additional help that the "diagnosed" sped students recieve and money is poored into which many of those sped students don't really take advantage of.

    I really think the entire sped system needs to be revamped too many kids are getting to high school without the basics and they can not survive in a general ed setting but that is where they are being placed. Are they really getting an education which is what they are in school for?
     
  27. vateacher757

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    This is what I feel and fear. Dumbed down the education so "everyone" "passes" but we are getting an uneducated society in the process....laziness, apathetic, excuses etc etc
     
  28. TeacherNY

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    When I was a kid I had the idea in my head that school is important, I had to listen to teachers, do ALL my work, do ALL my homework, BEHAVE appropriately, etc. I did not occur to me to not do work or defy adults. My parents weren't even strict. Somewhere along the line I just knew what I had to do and did it. I wish I knew how I knew this at a young age. I also had very few classmates who refused to do work early in elementary school. There was always that ONE kid that goofed off but it really wasn't bad. I wish I knew the secret all my teachers had. Or is it kids are just totally different today and WHAT is making them different than we were?
     
  29. 2ndTimeAround

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    It is the parents. Being a parent means something different now than it did before. We have helicopter parents and we have parents that think it is the government's job to raise their kids. Parents used to let their kids roam during the day and they didn't have to know what the children were up to all the time. Now with paranoia (some of it justified, I understand) parents micromanage everything with their kids and can't get out of that mode when the kids are at school. Parents used to understand that teachers were authorities in the classroom. Now we have parents that pull their kids out and homeschool them because no other adult isn't allowed to discipline their child. I have children whose parents flat out say the only reason their kids are in school is so they can stay out of their hair and get free lunch.
     
  30. TeacherNY

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    I guess it must be. Kind of sad and pathetic.
     
  31. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Pashtun, I wonder if sometimes it is because teachers have different goals than parents and students in some ways. For example, one of my largest goals is student growth in each subject area. The parents main goal is good grades. The students? The top ones want good grades and the others sing, "Kids Just Want to Have Fun/" (Yes, I know it isn't really the title of the song.)

    The problem is learning and grades aren't 100% in correlation. Parents often love if the work is easy and their child gets A's. Students love if the work is easy and they get A's. Then we as teachers are trying to challenge them and ask them to work hard. Do you see the possible conflict here? What are your thoughts?
     
  32. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    My philosphy with my classes, that I have posted in my room and we talk about all year is, talking, thinking about, and wanting a grade will never get you the grade, do the scholarly behavours on the wall and grades take care of themselves.

    I tell them, you want good grades, do those things on the wall wanting an A won't do it, doing these things will.

    I think that maybe (I would appreciate input on this) the next step for me is to grade with this philosphy in mind. That their scholarly behavours needs to be reflected FAR more heavily in their grades than before.

    Thoughts?
     
  33. 2ndTimeAround

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    So true, readingrules, so true.

    I have to attend a parent conference tomorrow with three other teachers. The parent contacted the guidance department to set it up. She wants to know how to get her son's grades up. Not how to improve his learning. Not how to help him retain information or understand content. This isn't me reading into the situation, this is what she said. She wasn't concerned about how much more time the child needed to spend studying, she wants to know about extra credit, dropping test scores, etc. so her child, who has A's and B's in all of his classes, can get straight A's.
     
  34. vateacher757

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    Did she actually say things like extra credit, dropping test scores etc etc?

    If not I would not read anything into her asking "what to do to get the grades up" because those other things you mentioned such as time spent studying etc would be suggestions I would make.
     
  35. DrivingPigeon

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    I agree with this.

    In my district there is a huge technology push. They want all schools (even elementary) to be paperless eventually. So so sad, and not developmentally appropriate!
     
  36. teacherguy111

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    The overall atmosphere at my school is pretty good. We use the mastery system where all students have to get a 90% to master or go on to the next class. Because of this students pretty much have to be engaged otherwise they will have to retake the class….Now there are of course some students that totally check out and are not engaged. But overall the atmosphere is one that students want to be successful.
     
  37. a2z

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    But those are very general. A child can spend a lot of time studying in a manner that doesn't produce much retention. Learning how to learn is important. Those that got it tend to do well. Those that don't tend to struggle.

    The most common way of studying (reviewing notes) is actually one of the worst ways to study. As soon as you see something you recognize hearing, your mind decides it knows it. It confuses recognition and recall. Now, with tests that are designed for recognition (multiple-choice), kids can usually get away with it. Recall is what kid really need to prove they know it and can use it when needed.

    Pay attention is also a vague comment. Kids disengage when they don't know how to think and make connections during lessons.

    I agree with you that when parents want to know how to improve the grade, they do mean what skills are lacking and how can they be fixed. Often they mean how can the school fix it because the parent would have fixed it already if they could and they are that concerned. However, many of these skills teachers see as something that home should be providing because at some point either they or they assume a previous teacher has presented the skill.
     
  38. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Love this idea.
     
  39. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I would stay far away from grading them on behaviors in a content area grade. If they aren't studying, paying attention, finishing their work, etc, the grade already reflects poor quality work. Put all of the comments on the report card you want that talk about how terrible their scholarly behaviors are. Grades should reflect what they have mastered. I would say and can recall because that is probably the biggest missing skill in education today.
     
  40. 2ndTimeAround

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    Yes. This is what I said, and you quoted:

    She wants to know how to get her son's grades up. Not how to improve his learning. Not how to help him retain information or understand content. This isn't me reading into the situation, this is what she said. She wasn't concerned about how much more time the child needed to spend studying, she wants to know about extra credit, dropping test scores, etc. so her child, who has A's and B's in all of his classes, can get straight A's.
     
  41. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Well, can't hurt to ask since so many teachers do give extra credit opportunities, drop low tests or quizzes for kids that have good homework completion, etc. If they do so, why can't you? - is the attitude of some parents. If you don't ask, then the answer is definitely no. If you are a professional, asking won't tarnish how you treat the child and the parent in the future.
     

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