Showing posts with label education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label education. Show all posts

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Should schools teach reality?

From Scientific American, February, 2022, p. 10 

This regressive agenda threatens children’s education by propagating a falsified view of reality in which American history and culture are outcomes of white virtue. It is part of a larger program of avoiding any truths that make some people uncomfortable, which sometimes allows in active disinformation, such as creationism. Children are especially susceptible to misinformation, as Melinda Wenner Moyer writes in “Schooled in Lies.”

It is crucial for young people to learn about equity and social justice so they can thrive in our increasingly global, multilingual and multicultural society. When students become aware of the structural origins of inequality, they better understand the foundations of American society. They are also better equipped to comprehend, interpret and integrate into their worldviews the science they learn in their classrooms and experience in their lives.

Editor's note:

Gaslighting goes on not only on a dyadic level but at a group and societal level as well. Gaslighting would have people who question the disinformation and misinformation they are being taught, that they are the ones who are crazy for questioning the "alternative facts." How does one stand up to this kind of bullying? How are the attempts to silence and marginalize to be managed?

The first step is simply to name the disinformation for what it is. Give it a label.

The second step is to tell the truth.

The third step is to avoid getting defensive and simply let the truth stand there as a beacon of hope, goodness, and beauty.

The fourth step is to repeat the sequence described above.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Project based learners are life long learners.

Project based learning seems to be superior on many indicators to traditional schooling. Learning the process and skills of PBL make a person a life long learner with enhanced satisfaction and fulfillment. Unfortunately, many people leave traditional schooling with no motivation or skills for life long learning. How about you?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Incorporating the arts in science lessons improves learning

From Science Daily on 03/05/19

Incorporating the arts -- rapping, dancing, drawing -- into science lessons can help low-achieving students retain more knowledge and possibly help students of all ability levels be more creative in their learning, finds a new study by Johns Hopkins University.
The findings were published on Feb. 7 in Trends in Neuroscience and Education and support broader arts integration in the classroom.
"Our study provides more evidence that the arts are absolutely needed in schools. I hope the findings can assuage concerns that arts-based lessons won't be as effective in teaching essential skills," says Mariale Hardiman, vice dean of academic affairs for the School of Education at the Johns Hopkins University and the study's first author.
For more click here.
Editor's note:
There is other interesting research that has shown that singing a lyric can make the content more memorable than just reading and/or stating it. Singing, dancing, and dramatic vocalizations can be a mneumonic device to aid in memory and comprehension.

Monday, March 11, 2019

20% of students with ADHD receive no school support services

From Science Daily on 03/05/19
At least one in five students with ADHD receive no school services despite experiencing significant academic and social impairment, a gap particularly evident for adolescents and youth from non-English-speaking and/or lower-income families, researchers found in the largest study of children and teens with ADHD ever conducted.
The new findings are based on data on 2,495 youth with ADHD aged 4 to 17 years from across the United States, collected through the National Survey of the Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD and Tourette Syndrome (NS-DATA). The survey, the largest to date of parents of youth with ADHD, documents the extent to which students receive school services, the types of services they receive and the factors that may predict what kinds of services they receive.
"We found that although the majority of students were currently receiving one or more school services, only a minority received support to manage their behavior, and at least one out of five students did not receive any school support despite experiencing significant educational impairment," said lead author George DuPaul, professor of school psychology and associate dean for research in the College of Education at Lehigh University. "The gap between impairment and service receipt was particularly evident for adolescents with ADHD and for youth with ADHD from non-English speaking and/or low-income families."
For more click here.

Editor's note:
The ability and willingness of schools to provide support services to students with ADHD varies from school district to school district and depends on the willingness to allocate resources to provide these services. I have been asked by a parent this week to write a letter to the school on the student's behalf to obtain some additional services. This is a common occurance.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Extrinsic rewards can squelch creativity and high quality performance

From Larry Ferlazzo's Web Sites Of The Day blog on 03/04/19
"One early and well known experiment found that children who were promised a reward were less interested in creating art than those who did not get that promise (it’s cited in just about every motivation study you can find).
In this Freakonomics episode from last October, though, Teresa Amabile talks about a variation on this experiment that she organized.  In it, students were told their artistic creations were going to be judged, and those children’s creations turned out to be much less creative than those from the control group.
She goes on to say:
I think that the biggest mistake we make in our schools, and I’m talking about everything from kindergarten now up through college, is to focus kids too much on how the work is going to be evaluated. Part of that is the extreme focus on testing in the United States right now and the past several years….
There’s too much focus on “what is the right answer, what are people going to think of what I’m about to say?” and too little focus on “what am I learning, what cool stuff do I know now that I didn’t know last week or a year ago, what cool things can I do now that I couldn’t do before?” And I think that if we could if we could switch that focus, we would do a lot to open up kids’ creativity.
In other words,  teacher judgment itself, especially, I assume, if it’s handled poorly, has the potential of being as damaging to student creativity as any other kind of more explicit reward."

For more click here.

Editor's note:
I noticed this phenomenon when teaching at a college level as an adjunct professor. When I asked students at our first class in the course they were taking what they wanted from the course, the immediate response was "An A." When I asked further, "Assume by virtue of the fact that you registered for this course you automatically get an A, now what would you like to learn and get out of it." Often students had difficulty answering this question.

Students have been well trained to adapt and accept the teacher's curriculum. Curiosity, creativity, motivation based on intrinsic rewards only created barriers to success in the course which is defined by the professor's grades. The effort, then, is to give the teacher what the teacher wants.

This phenomenon of being graded and grades dependent on compliance actually undermines human learning.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Children: An oppressed group.

From "Children's Freedom: A Human Rights Perspective" by Peter Gray, 02/28/19

"In fact, children today are far more deprived of liberty than they were when I was a child more than 60 years ago, or when my parents were children 90 years ago.  And children are suffering because of that deprivation.  As I’ve documented elsewhere, children today are suffering at record levels from anxietydepression, and even suicide (Gray, 2011; 2013).   The estimated rates of Major Depressive Disorder and anxiety disorders among young people, based on analyses of standardized clinical assessment questionnaires given in unchanged form over the decades, are now roughly eight times what they were in the 1950s; and the suicide rate for school-aged children is six times what it was then.  Serious mental disorder in children has gone up in direct proportion to the decline in children’s freedom; and there is good reason to believe that the latter is a cause of the former (Gray, 2011; 2013)."

For more click here.

Monday, February 18, 2019

The diffrence between schooling and education


"The country where free public education was born struggles with the concept of what education is, what is should accomplish, and how it should approach the child." p. 239
The Whole Parenting Guide by Alan Reder, Phil Catalfo, and Stephanie Renfrow Hamilton
"As a society, we have erred in assuming that education should be something done to our kids by some external agent called 'school' and that it should conclude when a person finishes formal schooling and begins a career. The shallowness of this concept has motivated many parents to make learning their own family value, to encouare their kids in their education, and even join them in that great adventure.". 239 Ibid
One of my favorite bumperstickers says, "Don't let public schooling interfer with your education."
No child left behind is another travesty visited on the citizens of this nation by a government intent on keeping the citizens under control. The emphasis on drilling kids in math and reading focuses on lower level skills but skips the elements of critical thinking necessary for citizens of a free and democratic society.
"Teaching children to think critically is not a parental responsibility much talked about in America today, for reasons we'll soon make clear. It's also a responsibility about which many parents would rather not be reminded. Show your kids how to think and there's no telling what they'll start questioning - their religion, family rules, the need to graduate." p. 240 Ibid.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

What's the deal with textbooks?

Editor's note:
Here at Markham's Behavioral Health we are interested in education, how people learn, the function of education in society, how it constributes to human development etc.

In 1986, my ex wife, Angela, and I started homeschooling four of our nine children. One of the big things I learned was the great variability in textbooks, how they are chosen by school districts, how teachers use them in their classrooms etc. I learned that some textbooks are very helpful in learning about a subject and some are garbage, yes, I wrote "garbage."

After the first year of homeschooling, I no longer used the text books used by the school district because of their inadequacies. Choosing curriculum materials back in 1986 is a completely different activity with the expansion of the ecology of curriculum materials now available with the internet.

If you are a parent, or a student yourself, the first very illuminating activity is to compare curriculum materials you can choose to study any given subject. The power to choose curriculum materials seems to me to be a major professional responsibility of teachers which, for the most part, is denied them by school boards, state ed departments, etc.

If students are to take responsibility for their own learning, the first step is choosing their curriculum materials wisely.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Are school lock down drills a good idea

On January 30, 2019, MBH reported some of the data about school lockdowns.

Here's an interesting video from PBS about this phenomenon:

Friday, February 1, 2019

My Son’s Tutor Slipped Me Entrance-Exam Questions. Should I Report Him?

From the New York Times on 01/22/19

"With some ambivalence, I took him to a well-regarded (and expensive) tutor to help him prepare for the Specialized High School Admission Test. After his session, the tutor asked if my son was also taking the entrance test for a different coveted public high school in the city. When I said yes, he gave me a handwritten paper, explaining that it was a copy of most of the test questions, which he got from “spies” he sent to take the exam. He asked me not to tell others about it. I was shocked and horrified and left with the test. I did not look at it or allow my son to, as I would consider it cheating. Upon arriving home, I put it in an envelope to send to the school’s admissions office, because I believe that it should know its test is available in this way.
Can I send the test anonymously without naming the tutor? Or should I sign the letter and provide his name, if asked? Name Withheld
You can read the Times' answer by clicking here.
I would add my own questions and concerns which are related to teaching our children and other people we interact with integrity. It seems that cheating and lying have been increasingly endemic in our society with the current Presidential administration. The corruption is rampant, explicit, and norm changing. As Tracy Chapman sings in her great song "All that you have is your soul", "My mama done told me; she say she learn the hard way; don't give your soul away; all that you have is your soul."
What this tutor has done beyond encouraging his student to cheat is to corrupt the system and attempt to ingratiate himself with the parent who is paying his fees. This has far reaching consequences far beyond the immediate participants. The tutor's behavior in providing test answers illictly is toxic for our society, not just for the individuals involved. 
The larger question about this behavior is what kind of society do we want to create? How can that society embody integrity and mutual respect?
With 86% of college students admitting that they have cheated in school, many questons arise about the integrity of our educational system.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

New York, Virginia become first to require mental health education in schools

From CNN on 07/02/18:
On Sunday, New York and Virginia became the first two states to enact laws requiring mental health education in schools.
New York's law updates the health curriculum in elementary, middle and high schools to include material on mental health. Virginia's law mandates that mental health education be incorporated into physical education and health curricula for ninth- and 10th-graders.
For more click here.
To see the New York State laws enacted click here.
Editor's note:
It's hard to believe that it took until 2018, for New York and Virigina to become the first two states in the United States to require mental health education as part of the health education curriculum. 
Every time there's a mass shooting in the U.S, the politicans, funded by the NRA, state that these mass shootings are a mental health issue not a gun issue. However, these same politicians have not taken steps to see to it that the issue is addressed except in New York and Virginia.