Flutterby™! : Jeri Ellsworth on education

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Jeri Ellsworth on education

2010-08-26 15:40:18.391226+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

@jeriellsworth tweeted:

Back in school a counselor said to the student body "If you don't study hard just put your grubbies on and go out to the shop right now."


I'm glad I spent time learning how to build things in the shop and have books with all the knowledge I missed by not studying.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Interactive Drama Books Education ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-26 23:19:51.891226+00 by: spc476

An old girlfriend of mine was homeschooling her kids, and I too saw the silliness of math text books. To make it worse, I “misinterpreted” one of the word problems, which in itself is a problem.

Back in college, I had an instructor that expected you to write verbatim what he had in mind for the answer. Didn't count if you used a slightly different word—if it didn't match his exact wording in his mind, it was wrong.

I learned in the third grade (or was it fourth?) that not all teachers like to be corrected …

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-26 18:10:54.959226+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Yesterday, a co-worker brought her kids in to work, they worked on some home-schooling stuff in the corner and I was asked to look at his math problem he was working on:

Mom cuts a cake into 6 pieces. Sally eats a third of the cake. Then her brother eats half. How much is left?

Expected answer: 1 piece.

Possible factors and answers in my head include:

Were all the pieces the same size? Did Sally's brother eat half of the cake remaining after Sally ate a third of the cake ("Then" was in the original), if so, possibly two pieces or 1/3. Do you want the answer in pieces of cake, or fraction/decimal of the original volume? Does one of the children have an invisible friend?

And I use the line: "Larry Wall says it is a poor mind that can only solve a problem one way"...

I won't be asked to help with any more schoolwork problems, :)

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-26 16:16:56.587226+00 by: Dan Lyke

Charlene's taking yet another class at the local community college, and she asked me for help on a question. I said "It's one of these two answers, I think it's 'A', but it could be 'B' if you focus on that temporal conjunction rather than the rest of these spatial words." So we re-watched the online lecture, found the passage where he used the question as his example for 'B', and answered that.

But it's not a "use the thinking skills we're giving you to get the correct answer" question, it's a "regurgitate from the lecture" question.

And that crap is exactly why I quit school. As I keep reminding Charlene every time she asks for help on homework...

#Comment Re: made: 2010-08-26 16:07:04.143226+00 by: ebradway

I just started a part time job teaching SAT and GRE test prep. The guy who started the company used to be a psychology researcher in psychometrics. The entire first class of the 6-class course is psychology. Mostly trying to get people to stop self-identifying with a number assigned by an arbitrary test that's mostly designed to weed out idiots. That is, the questions on the SAT and GRE, like most IQ tests, are specifically designed to prevent people with low cognitive ability from getting high scores. The questions do this by gaming the test taker. Unfortunately, the inverse is not at all true - they do not prevent people with high cognitive ability from getting low scores. It a really smart person takes one of these tests and happens to have a personality that the questions easily game, they will get a low score. So, once the the break is made from self-identifying with the score and the test is accepted as arbitrary, the course starts teaching how to game the test.

The academic system is based on very similar footings as the medical system. There are some solid foundations but much of the structure is riddled with holes. The last thing you want to do in either system is to blindly accept what your doctor is telling you. (BTW, doctor in Latin means "teacher")