Author Topic: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn  (Read 3984 times)

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Offline Rapunzel

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We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« on: December 29, 2013, 08:25:53 PM »

Offline mountaineer

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 06:56:37 PM »
There are quite a few broad generalizations in this piece.
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The professoriate plays along because teachers know they have a good racket going. They would rather be refining their research or their backhand than attending to tedious undergraduates.
Maybe the author describes himself, but there certainly are many professors - especially at smaller schools - who truly care about their students and don't consider teaching tedium.

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All parties are strongly incentivized to maintain low standards. It is well known that friendly, entertaining professors make for a pleasant classroom, good reviews and minimal complaints. Contrarily, faculty have no incentives to punish plagiarism and cheating, to flunk students or to write negative letters of reference, to assiduously mark up illiterate prose in lieu of merely adding a grade and a few comments, or to enforce standards generally. Indeed, these acts are rarely rewarded but frequently punished, even litigated. Mass failure, always a temptation, is not an option. Under this regimen, it is a testament to the faculty that any standards remain at all.
If that describes SCSU, then the governing boards should step in. Yes, there are professors at every school who would rather be liked than challenge their students. But that  certainly doesn't describe all of the faculty at the small state university where Mr. M works. Students who don't do the work, who cheat, who don't make the grade certainly do fail at his school. They screw up, they don't graduate. Granted, their helicopter parents usually swoop in at that point to whine that their little baby should be handed a diploma anyway, but it doesn't work that way.

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Employers are justifiably fed up with college graduates lacking basic knowledge, to say nothing of good work habits and intellectual discipline.
I will agree that students are graduating with poor writing skills from colleges far and wide, but work habits and intellectual discipline are things they should have developed K-12. Look at the parents - not the college.
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Offline Rapunzel

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2013, 07:15:24 PM »

I will agree that students are graduating with poor writing skills from colleges far and wide, but work habits and intellectual discipline are things they should have developed K-12. Look at the parents - not the college.

This is what my friend was saying the other evening.  These kids are graduating from grade to grade without being able to perform the work required of the graduating grade.  We are doing these kids and our society a great disservice by just pushing them forward rather than hold them back to learn the material - and yes, the parents are as much to blame as anyone.

Offline Rapunzel

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2013, 07:22:33 PM »
Wilkow is doing the entire hour with Carol Burris - an educator who originally wrote a book in favor of Common Core and is now against CC... she said one thing they did was back into the curriculum starting at the senior year and saying this is where we want students to be and then backed down to Kindergarten from there. As she points out - kids don't grow backward - they grow forward - and this method is pushing the youngest kids to do things they are not developmentally capable of doing.  It is also test, test, test.... and everything has been rushed and is turning out to be unusable and a ton of money has been and is being wasted.

Offline EC

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2013, 09:14:32 PM »
In theory, education is an easy fix.

Firstly - decouple college teaching from research. Most researchers are terrible teachers. Mountaineer can back me on this - if someone is researching, be it a single year from the 1300's or a metabolic pathway, they are a little on the distracted side when it comes to imparting information. So - create a second level. Teaching professors and research professors. Let the students compete to work with the research professors. Most people love to learn, no matter what their age, but they love to learn new things, not crap that is already in the book.

Which brings me to my second point. You are not going to have engaged college students if you don't respect all three legs of lower education.

Facts: Facts are the core to an education. Yet pumping fact in to a kid, for it to be vomited back up onto an exam paper is not sufficient. Spend more time on the relationship between the facts. Insist on the kids learning to both read and write fluently and grammatically. That is some voodoo magic right there. Insist on basic numeracy.

Critical Thought: Hey, it's in the book it must be true. People here are awake and aware of just how wrong that is, but were you ever actually taught how to think? Not the group think of approved stances we complain about, but actual working from first principles to a conclusion. I'm betting the answer is no for a good 99% of readers and posters here - and in the main, they are people who do that. They had to teach themselves.

Creativity: People are creative. Kids are incredibly creative, since the entire world is magic to them. Use it.
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Offline Rapunzel

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2013, 09:27:12 PM »
Creativity: People are creative. Kids are incredibly creative, since the entire world is magic to them. Use it.

Common Core is one size fits all..   no room for taking the individual into consideration.

Offline EC

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2013, 09:46:22 PM »
Common Core is one size fits all..   no room for taking the individual into consideration.

When it really takes hold, like our National Curriculum (very similar) - forget about no room. You will get penalized and downchecked on your assessments for even trying as a teacher.
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Offline massadvj

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2013, 10:04:37 PM »
As a college professor I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that while I agree with the article, I do know where my bread is buttered.  The students WANT the credentials and they don't want to have to work for them.  The path of least resistance is to lower standards and keep the gravy train rolling.

Virtually every power center in the university -- including the athletic teams, the administration and the students -- push for lower standards and easier grading.  If the faculty gives in (and many do) then there is no one left who cares a twig about academics, except maybe the alumni (at least those not interested in football) and the companies that employ our graduates. 

This is why grade inflation has been trending the way it has, and student performance going the other way.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 10:11:12 PM by massadvj »
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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2013, 10:17:02 PM »
Creativity: People are creative. Kids are incredibly creative, since the entire world is magic to them. Use it.

Common Core is one size fits all..   no room for taking the individual into consideration.

I respectfully disagree.  The common core standards don't dictate how the goals are reached, just the goals that should be reached.  In some of the schools that are adapting to common core they expect the teachers to blend the better parts of the various prepackaged curricula into their own individual curriculum so that the teacher is still teaching to the students, not at the students.

Offline Luis Gonzalez

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2013, 10:21:38 PM »
As a college professor I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that while I agree with the article, I do know where my bread is buttered.  The students WANT the credentials and they don't want to have to work for them.  The path of least resistance is to lower standards and keep the gravy train rolling.

Virtually every power center in the university -- including the athletic teams, the administration and the students -- push for lower standards and easier grading.  If the faculty gives in (and many do) then there is no one left who cares a twig about academics, except maybe the alumni (at least those not interested in football) and the companies that employ our graduates. 

This is why grade inflation has been trending the way it has, and student performance going the other way.

Are you a fan of SciFi?

Offline massadvj

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2013, 07:39:21 AM »
Are you a fan of SciFi?

I like Star Trek Next Gen, and some other things in the genre.  I enjoyed the book "Ender's Game."  Why do you ask?
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Offline Luis Gonzalez

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2013, 08:58:38 AM »

Online aligncare

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2013, 09:06:13 AM »
Yes, there are professors at every school who would rather be liked than challenge their students.

Grabbed by the title, had to come in.

After getting a BA in communications I floundered for a job in that field. Decided to change career path so went to community college for premed classes before transferring. Foothill community college, Los Altos, CA. Wow! Was impressed by the excellent instructors there. Math, chemistry, biology, zoology, geology, anthropology, all top-notch. Made my first year of med school seem simple.

Imagine. Transferred from a "community" college and kept up with Stanford grads! This from someone who went into the sciences all foam, and no beer. I thank my lucky stars for those instructors. Without whose help I probably would have washed out of med school in the first six months.
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Offline massadvj

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2013, 09:12:59 AM »
Luis, it doesn't sound all that fictitious to me.
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Offline massadvj

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2013, 09:14:52 AM »
Grabbed by the title, had to come in.

After getting a BA in communications I floundered for a job in that field. Decided to change career path so went to community college for premed classes before transferring. Foothill community college, Los Altos, CA. Wow! Was impressed by the excellent instructors there. Math, chemistry, biology, zoology, geology, anthropology, all top-notch. Made my first year of med school seem simple.

Imagine. Transferred from a "community" college and kept up with Stanford grads! This from someone who went into the sciences all foam, and no beer. I thank my lucky stars for those instructors. Without whose help I probably would have washed out of med school in the first six months.

I agree with you.  I came up through the community college system myself.  Some of the best instructors I've had were community college teachers.
"She only coughs when she lies."

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2013, 09:22:47 AM »
In theory, education is an easy fix.

Firstly - decouple college teaching from research. Most researchers are terrible teachers. Mountaineer can back me on this - if someone is researching, be it a single year from the 1300's or a metabolic pathway, they are a little on the distracted side when it comes to imparting information. So - create a second level. Teaching professors and research professors. Let the students compete to work with the research professors. Most people love to learn, no matter what their age, but they love to learn new things, not crap that is already in the book.

Which brings me to my second point. You are not going to have engaged college students if you don't respect all three legs of lower education.

Facts: Facts are the core to an education. Yet pumping fact in to a kid, for it to be vomited back up onto an exam paper is not sufficient. Spend more time on the relationship between the facts. Insist on the kids learning to both read and write fluently and grammatically. That is some voodoo magic right there. Insist on basic numeracy.

Critical Thought: Hey, it's in the book it must be true. People here are awake and aware of just how wrong that is, but were you ever actually taught how to think? Not the group think of approved stances we complain about, but actual working from first principles to a conclusion. I'm betting the answer is no for a good 99% of readers and posters here - and in the main, they are people who do that. They had to teach themselves.

Creativity: People are creative. Kids are incredibly creative, since the entire world is magic to them. Use it.

All of the things your comment puts value on are the very things they want no part of and all the things you would get rid of are the very things they value!

Online Bigun

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2013, 09:25:16 AM »
As a college professor I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that while I agree with the article, I do know where my bread is buttered.  The students WANT the credentials and they don't want to have to work for them.  The path of least resistance is to lower standards and keep the gravy train rolling.

Virtually every power center in the university -- including the athletic teams, the administration and the students -- push for lower standards and easier grading.  If the faculty gives in (and many do) then there is no one left who cares a twig about academics, except maybe the alumni (at least those not interested in football) and the companies that employ our graduates. 

This is why grade inflation has been trending the way it has, and student performance going the other way.

Right on Doc! Having spent 22.5 years at one of those august institutions of "higher" learning I can personally attest to every word you said!

Online aligncare

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2013, 09:31:32 AM »
Right on Doc! Having spent 22.5 years at one of those august institutions of "higher" learning I can personally attest to every word you said!

Where you at any point graduated? Or did you retire a professional student?

 :silly:
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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2013, 10:08:33 AM »

Online Bigun

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2013, 10:14:53 AM »
Where you at any point graduated? Or did you retire a professional student?

 :silly:

Yes but that happened long before I ever went there! I spent the first half of my working life in the private sector and thus had lots of PHUNN later dealing with those who know a lot but, for the most part,  have no idea how to apply any of it!
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 10:16:16 AM by Bigun »

Offline Luis Gonzalez

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2013, 10:58:06 AM »
How come in the chart for the 1950s all of the national averages are in the 80s but the total average is in the 90s?  The chart doesn't make sense to me.

The lines you're looking at are population growth, not IQ.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 10:59:20 AM by Luis Gonzalez »

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2013, 12:04:39 PM »
The lines you're looking at are population growth, not IQ.

Oh, ok.  But why does it say average IQ on the left side?  I'm confused.

Offline Luis Gonzalez

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2013, 12:55:22 PM »
Oh, ok.  But why does it say average IQ on the left side?  I'm confused.

The blue line indicates IQ, the rest of the lines indicate population growth, so India (yellow line) goes from a population of just under 500 million in the 1940's to just under 2 trillion by 2100.

So the lines other blue, correspond to the population data on the right, but the IQ corresponds to the data on the left.

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2013, 01:00:47 PM »
The blue line indicates IQ, the rest of the lines indicate population growth, so India (yellow line) goes from a population of just under 500 million in the 1940's to just under 2 trillion by 2100.

So the lines other blue, correspond to the population data on the right, but the IQ corresponds to the data on the left.


Ahh, now I see.  But maybe the changes are because the countries growing the fastest are also the countries that have terrible poverty where kids get almost nothing to eat.  If not eating makes kids dumb maybe the solution isn't fewer kids but giving them all enough food.

Offline mountaineer

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Re: We Pretend to Teach, They Pretend to Learn
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2013, 01:19:56 PM »
. Foothill community college, Los Altos, CA. Wow! Was impressed by the excellent instructors there. Math, chemistry, biology, zoology, geology, anthropology, all top-notch. Made my first year of med school seem simple.

Imagine. Transferred from a "community" college and kept up with Stanford grads! This from someone who went into the sciences all foam, and no beer. I thank my lucky stars for those instructors. Without whose help I probably would have washed out of med school in the first six months.
One of my college roommates went on to earn a Ph.D. and is now a history professor at a community college in TX. She just has been named to create and head up an Honors College at that institution. She's an outstanding teacher who cares deeply about her students and inspires them to want to learn. Any student at a "name" university would be lucky to have her.
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