Sunday, January 10, 2021

Something to Pass Along to Students

Ace of Spades has a great post on the mechanics of learning.

That's something often not explicitly taught today. There are techniques to use that help students remember information that they will need in the near future - and, that's the sort of thing that is NOT taught in modern schools. Those teachers who DO teach it, have more successful students.

Just that pre-skimming method would go a long way towards improving science course performance.


Divemedic said...

I am currently a high school science teacher. This would work (and is taught) if children wanted to learn. They don't. My biggest problem is attendance.

Let me explain: Because of COVID, we are teaching in 109 minute minute blocks, 3 classes per day, with each class meeting every other day. That means that we have so far had 43 class meetings for each class so far this year. Of the 137 students in my 6 classes, only 5 of them have perfect attendance. I have 15 students who have missed more than 35 days. 65 of my students have missed 10 or more days. 100 of my students have missed more than 5 days.

This is not unusual. For years, I have sat and watched as more than 75% of my students are chronically absent. Chronically absent means that a student is not in school more than ten percent of the time. More than a third of my students miss more than half of class time. One in ten of my students miss three quarters or more of school hours. Out of 180 school days, the median number of absent days is 23. If an adult were to miss that much work, they wouldn't have a job for very long, yet half of my students are gone for the equivalent of a month each school year.

In 2011, I retired from my job as a firemedic after 22 years. I began teaching high school in 2014. I teach (or have taught) Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science, Environmental Science, and a host of other classes. Before I became a teacher, I used to think that the problem was with the teachers themselves. I don't think that anymore.

Linda Fox said...

That echoes my experiences in large-city public schools - Cleveland, Charlotte. I was fortunate enough to end my career at Chester Senior High School, in Chester, SC. There, although the 9th/10th grades had some kids who were just marking time, by the time kids got to Chemistry and Physics - whether the Honors or the College Prep (really, regular level) - they were able to demonstrate some personal discipline.
I had many delightful students. I've seen many of them in public, since then, and they were always appreciative of my efforts.
One of the things that is so maddening about chaotic high schools is that they are so eager to 'get the attendance numbers up', that they put up with behavior that disrupts the education of other - usually minority - students.
Also, due to the way that schools are funded, they carry 'on the books' students who really are no longer students. They have dropped out, and only periodically return - either they are forced, by a probation officer, or they come back to seek out some of their friends/connections.
But, when they do show up, it's often chaos.
Those few schools that worked in those systems, had admins that feared not to suspend/expel. Not the case with most.