Friday, February 20, 2015

Efficiencies of learning...

Public school systems throughout the world are intended to efficiently educate as many kids as possible on a given set of available resources. And so the idea is that as many as 30-36 students will be put in a classroom to sit while teachers deliver lessons. At the center of the process is the student's reading. The following is from Peter Gray, PhD.:
For children in standard schools, it is very important to learn to read on schedule, by the timetable dictated by the school. If you fall behind you will be unable to keep up with the rest of the curriculum and may be labeled as a "failure," or as someone who should repeat a grade, or as a person with some sort of mental handicap. In standard schools learning to read is the key to all of the rest of learning. First you "learn to read" and then you "read to learn." Without knowing how to read you can't learn much of the rest of the curriculum, because so much of it is presented through the written word. There is even evidence that failure to learn to read on schedule predicts subsequent naughtiness in standard schools.
So the teacher's job is as follows: maintain discipline in the classroom (first priority) and secondly, deliver lessons and thirdly, measure student learning to be certain that the state's learning objectives have been met. The tragic irony of this is its utter inefficiency and waste of both the child's natural learning inclinations, and the state's resources.

Otto Salomon had discussed the serious limitations of classroom instruction compared to individualized instruction in his book, The Theory of Educational Sloyd. And while it might seem to some that giving individual attention to each child would be inefficient, when compared to delivering information and lessons to a large group, that efficiency can only be achieved if all in the group are equally attentive, and at an equal level of understanding.

The difficulties of class teaching are compounded when some students have fallen behind in their reading and are unable to keep up with out of classroom reading assignments.

Yesterday at CSS we assembled our second 3-D printed hand. We also discussed the vision statement of Clear Spring School with an eye toward clarifying the school's role in the larger community. So far, it's this (subject to board review): ‘Clear Spring School serves as a model for progressive education in which each child's unique gifts are recognized, encouraged and brought to fruition.’

Make, fix and create...

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