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Getting Lil Madison to School

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Re: Getting Lil Madison to School

Postby Art Vandelay » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:41 am

knapplc wrote:I think school for the masses will always remain a production line. Even though it’s not the best method of instruction, it’s the most feasible.

This is basically how I see the problem as well. Schools aren't designed to teach kids how to learn or think critically, they're designed to keep people younger than 18 out of the work force and create the next generation of workers and soldiers. Daniel Quinn has some great thoughts on this in his Ishmael series, specifically, if I remember correctly, in My Ishmael.

The problem is, there isn't a viable alternative for most people. A friend of mine and his wife are using the non-schooling, or unschooling method with their son, so far so good, but then the parents are two of the smartest people I've ever met.
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Re: Getting Lil Madison to School

Postby The Artful Dodger » Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:54 pm

I was just thinking about this: I used to hate school, but it was more in the elementary ages where I had a massive disdain for it (around 5-7 years old). I couldn't stand anything, from when my teacher in kindergarten would take my arm and show me the "right" way to write to 30 minutes of nap time (I hated nap time). I had gone to the school psychiatrist everyday like something was really wrong with me because I had some kind of conformity problem which they diagnosed as ADD. My mom was a teacher for a long time and I used to think back then how I wish I was home schooled. It had taken me a long while to adjust to the point of going and staying in school, a good 3 years.

From then on, I didn't harbor a disdain for school but I just downgraded my dislike. Like Mad and knapp, I didn't like that school was going at a slow pace and I hated favoritism. There was a gifted program back then that was supposedly more challenging and for the life of me, I couldn't understand why I was snubbed out of it. I was really frustrated that I had to be held back because everyone else had to catch up, knowing back then I still had talent that needed to be developed.

Then things started to turn around when I was in 8th grade. There was an awesome Technology Lab program that only a handful could qualify for. Basically, it was a hands-on program with robotics, desktop publishing, mechanical engineering, lasers, flight simulators, Internet, and even a module for programming (this was in the mid-90's). So, I spent most of my 7th grade just to up my grades, doing it easily, and looking forward to the challenge. I really loved the program because learning just wasn't textbook anymore, it was actually doing things that I loved or really learned to love. This really encouraged me to go to a special high school, called the California Academy of Math & Science, but my mom as liberal as she was in the way I paced myself, sent to me a Catholic school. She had no faith in public education anymore and sent me to a Catholic high school, especially when I got into a lot of trouble (I was in a lot of fights in middle school). This upset me.

High school felt like revisiting the same old grind to me yet again despite taking honors and AP courses. I liked high school as a whole, but from an academic standpoint, I was a bit disenchanted. For example, in hindsight, I wished all of my high school science classes had a heavier dose of high-level math much like the college courses do. I didn't study hard either but then I owed it to myself and my parents (especially my mom) that I actually gave it a good faith effort, in doing the homework and whatever was required. I couldn't let them down, but interestingly enough even though I graduated summa cum laude, I felt like an underachiever out of high school because I didn't do my complete best. Once more, I felt like I was an underachiever because I didn't meet the kinds of lofty expectations I had on my projects that were above and beyond school.

College was what I thought it'd be: a lot more open, more hands-on, not as restrictive. The problem I had with college is that I would've focused starting on my business within the 4 years, but again, I felt like I couldn't let down my parents, sucked it up eventually, and earned my dual degrees. Thing is, I sometimes felt like I wouldn't have failed so many times in launching my business had I not devoted more time to school. I regretted it once, but I don't regret it now that I'm here; it was what it was.

I think the problem with the education system - and it's one that's going to be hard to remove for all kinds of reasons - is exactly what knapp said, school is an assembly line. What I think our school system should be teaching our kids is things like financial education, entrepreneurship, and more mathematics at an earlier age. I just believe that the education system is set in place just to keep young people in line, to groom them as the next generation of robots, for lack of a better term. There are no alternatives and so, I think finding the creme de la creme of the rest is best, granted you have the deep pockets for it.
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Re: Getting Lil Madison to School

Postby bigh0rt » Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:02 pm

Just to alert you guys, a lot of the problems in which you have with the education system, either have changed or are in the process of changing, at least in many districts in New York State. I can't speak beyond that, as I am completely unaware, but the very issues you have are the studies that have gone on over the past two decades, and are being alleviated, one at a time. I find it quite interesting, as these are some of the hottest topics in the discussions I have in my graduate classes. We've discussed, at length, the pacing of school curriculum, seat-time as a necessity (or not), alternative methods of education (including at home and on-line variations for students as young as middle school), allowing all students who wish to to attempt any advanced class/program that is offered (in fact, law may soon mandate this for public schools, as you are entitled to every single service that every other child in the district is, in theory). How people learn (Artful Dodger sounds like a kinesthetic learner, while Madison seems more of a visual learner) and how we as teachers must cater all learning styles.

AD, recent studies (last decade) have shown that the best indicator for collegiate achievement is how students perform in Math & Science from Age 12 until high school completion, so there is a large wave of mathematics, including Business and Consumer Math (which I actually teach), as well as other Sciences such as Forensics, being offered to our high school students -- it's no longer the ball dry curriculum that all of us had when we were going through it all. It's far from perfect, but it certainly seems like we're headed in the right direction. The old theories on education always had students adopting to the 'way' of education, whereas now we are realizing that it is us, the educators and the system, that needs to adopt to the vast array of learners that we come across.

I know of teachers using blogs in their curriculum, having students read and create their own, podcasts for lectures, as well as having students broadcast their own, hundreds of Smart Board applications, individual computer tablets, etc. etc. It's a slow, clunky process, unfortunately, but I am certainly excited about the direction that education around me is headed.
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Re: Getting Lil Madison to School

Postby AussieDodger » Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:19 pm

I absolutely loathed high school because I got sent to like a 1940s english-style boys only school.
Uniforms, pull your socks up, prefects etc. If anything was going to turn you off education, it was this school.
Favouritism was rampant, I knew if there was an assessment that wasn't a national, outside-marked one I was stuffed as I wasn't exactly teacher-friendly :-b It's funny how there was a group of about 10 kids who all the teachers knew their fathers (these things happen in a smallish town of 40,000) and surprise surprise they all got top marks even though some were pretty thick.
We had a year (6th form) where it was ALL internally ranked/marked so I basically gave up and failed the lot (and probably set some truancy records while I was at it).

I got sent to this school because it allegedly had a great reputation, and there was a school across town that was supposedly the "scum" school that had girls, no uniforms etc, I can imagine I would have excelled in a place like that.
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Re: Getting Lil Madison to School

Postby The Artful Dodger » Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:14 am

bigh0rt wrote:AD, recent studies (last decade) have shown that the best indicator for collegiate achievement is how students perform in Math & Science from Age 12 until high school completion, so there is a large wave of mathematics, including Business and Consumer Math (which I actually teach), as well as other Sciences such as Forensics, being offered to our high school students -- it's no longer the ball dry curriculum that all of us had when we were going through it all. It's far from perfect, but it certainly seems like we're headed in the right direction. The old theories on education always had students adopting to the 'way' of education, whereas now we are realizing that it is us, the educators and the system, that needs to adopt to the vast array of learners that we come across.


That's surely encouraging. I think as a whole, education is gradually evolving from where it was say 10 to 15 years ago, especially as new technologies are being embraced and incorporated as teaching tools. I thought my middle school's Tech Lab program would be the trend for education even if at the time it was something at relatively low demand but could be on the verge of picking up steam. I can see the progress, just wondering if the progress is carrying forth on a bigger scale (i.e. regional, national).

As for me being a kinesthetic learner, I'd say that's pretty accurate, especially when it comes to math. From a pure standpoint of seeing the equations or proofs on the board, I don't quite understand the theory but when it's actually applied in a computer program, it's a lot easier for me to understand it.

AussieDodger wrote:I absolutely loathed high school because I got sent to like a 1940s english-style boys only school.
Uniforms, pull your socks up, prefects etc. If anything was going to turn you off education, it was this school.
Favouritism was rampant, I knew if there was an assessment that wasn't a national, outside-marked one I was stuffed as I wasn't exactly teacher-friendly :-b It's funny how there was a group of about 10 kids who all the teachers knew their fathers (these things happen in a smallish town of 40,000) and surprise surprise they all got top marks even though some were pretty thick.
We had a year (6th form) where it was ALL internally ranked/marked so I basically gave up and failed the lot (and probably set some truancy records while I was at it).


I'm thankful my folks didn't send to me an all-boys Catholic high school but I've known a few friends who have been to one and they like the experience. They hook up with the girls at the all-girls school across town at school functions.

My alma mater is somewhat like yours. Had to wear uniforms and everyone knew everyone (despite the fact there are 1200+ students in total). For example, there would be families that had sent their kids to this school for generations on, some of them even married into each other. Mind you, the town is twice as large as yours and because L.A. suburbs seemingly have no beginning and end from one another, it's remarkable that these families stay in the same place for generations. If it wasn't about high school sweethearts with the same old family names getting together, it would be some poor sap coming back to campus to teach 4-5 years removed from graduating. I'm thankful I didn't get the kiss of death because I know 3 from my graduating class that returned to teach as well as 3 others that were from the next graduating class teaching now. At least we didn't have the favoritism you speak of though.
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Re: Getting Lil Madison to School

Postby Madison » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:04 am

The Artful Dodger wrote:I felt like an underachiever out of high school because I didn't do my complete best.


Judging by the credentials you listed, no one other than you can say that though. So don't kick yourself too hard. :-D ;-)

And I'm the opposite. I still really don't care that I didn't care to do my absolute best back then. Just a tiny amount of effort would have resulted in me being valedictorian, which was yet something else I didn't care about. That title meant more to someone else, so I never worried about it. Figured if they couldn't outscore me with me not trying, they didn't deserve it anyway. Turned out 3 people were able to outscore me, so I finished 4th out of a class of 153 or so. And I know all of that probably sounds a bit cocky and/or arrogant, but I really don't mean it to sound that way. I was simply going to do what I did while everyone else did what they did, and I was fine with however everything shook out. The results made no difference to me and I still don't regret the effort (or lack of effort) I put into school.
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Re: Getting Lil Madison to School

Postby curious_george_43545 » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:52 am

Madison wrote:
The Artful Dodger wrote:I felt like an underachiever out of high school because I didn't do my complete best.


Judging by the credentials you listed, no one other than you can say that though. So don't kick yourself too hard. :-D ;-)

And I'm the opposite. I still really don't care that I didn't care to do my absolute best back then. Just a tiny amount of effort would have resulted in me being valedictorian, which was yet something else I didn't care about. That title meant more to someone else, so I never worried about it. Figured if they couldn't outscore me with me not trying, they didn't deserve it anyway. Turned out 3 people were able to outscore me, so I finished 4th out of a class of 153 or so. And I know all of that probably sounds a bit cocky and/or arrogant, but I really don't mean it to sound that way. I was simply going to do what I did while everyone else did what they did, and I was fine with however everything shook out. The results made no difference to me and I still don't regret the effort (or lack of effort) I put into school.


I agree with Madison, sounds a lot like myself. I got a 29 on the ACT, and I'm a slow test taker damned timed tests ;-7 , but I know of several people who scored in the like 20-24 range who had 4.0's and beat my GPA in high school.
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Re: Getting Lil Madison to School

Postby The Artful Dodger » Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:41 pm

Madison wrote:
The Artful Dodger wrote:I felt like an underachiever out of high school because I didn't do my complete best.


Judging by the credentials you listed, no one other than you can say that though. So don't kick yourself too hard. :-D ;-)


At the time, I did. I didn't really care for graduating valedictorian at the time, but in a personal sense, I didn't feel I did everything I could, no matter the success. I'm still a perfectionist now as I was back then, but it's not detrimental as it had seemed back then. The difference now from back then is I appreciate the journey more than the end result, which I failed to realize at that age. Doing what I love now is a big part of it.

Looking back on high school, I don't really mind what I accomplished (or didn't) back in high school or the fact I didn't give it a complete good faith effort, just because all that's done with and it hasn't affected where I am right now.

curious_george_43545 wrote:I got a 29 on the ACT, and I'm a slow test taker damned timed tests ;-7 , but I know of several people who scored in the like 20-24 range who had 4.0's and beat my GPA in high school.


Ha, I was the same way. In all of my AP courses, I aced the tests with nothing but 5's. I barely graduated summa cum laude, right at the 3.8 mark, but there were some of my fellow classmates with a 4.20-4.30 that had mostly 4's and a few 5's. I wasn't cocky or arrogant, but at the time, I really didn't think they were as smart as their GPA indicated.
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