RIP School Survival Forums
August 2001 - June 2017

The School Survival Forums are permanently retired. If you need help with quitting school, unsupportive parents or anything else, there is a list of resources on the Help Page.

If you want to write about your experiences in school, you can write on our blog.

To everyone who joined these forums at some point, and got discouraged by the negativity and left after a while (or even got literally scared off): I'm sorry.

I wasn't good enough at encouraging people to be kinder, and removing people who refuse to be kind. Encouraging people is hard, and removing people creates conflict, and I hate conflict... so that's why I wasn't better at it.

I was a very, very sensitive teen. The atmosphere of this forum as it is now, if it had existed in 1996, would probably have upset me far more than it would have helped.

I can handle quite a lot of negativity and even abuse now, but that isn't the point. I want to help people. I want to help the people who need it the most, and I want to help people like the 1996 version of me.

I'm still figuring out the best way to do that, but as it is now, these forums are doing more harm than good, and I can't keep running them.

Thank you to the few people who have tried to understand my point of view so far. I really, really appreciate you guys. You are beautiful people.

Everyone else: If after everything I've said so far, you still don't understand my motivations, I think it's unlikely that you will. We're just too different. Maybe someday in the future it might make sense, but until then, there's no point in arguing about it. I don't have the time or the energy for arguing anymore. I will focus my time and energy on people who support me, and those who need help.

-SoulRiser

The forums are mostly read-only and are in a maintenance/testing phase, before being permanently archived. Please use this time to get the contact details of people you'd like to keep in touch with. My contact details are here.

Please do not make a mirror copy of the forums in their current state - things will still change, and some people have requested to be able to edit or delete some of their personal info.


Post Reply 
 
Thread Rating:
  • 1 Vote(s) - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher
Author Message
xcriteria Offline
Fanatic

Posts: 3,090
Joined: Oct 2005
Thanks: 814
Given 930 thank(s) in 612 post(s)
Post: #1
Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

http://t.co/zlJnQyHHSu

Read this! And if you would, show your parents, teachers, and others and see what they say.

Peter Gray & allies launching the Alliance for Self-directed Education

ASDE Newsletters: #1 Announcement | #2 History of ASDE | #6 Education Liberation


School Survival & Catalyst Learning Network featured on AlternativestoSchool's blog
“Mom, Dad, can I stop going to school?”

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High

Hidden stuff:
(This post was last modified: 03-17-2015 09:45 AM by xcriteria.)
03-17-2015 09:44 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
Cianna200 Offline
Pariah

Posts: 948
Joined: Oct 2013
Thanks: 2
Given 366 thank(s) in 210 post(s)
Post: #2
RE: Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

Nice letter, unfortunately most people would probably not take it into consideration, seeing that school is still thought of as a good place to be.
03-17-2015 11:26 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
Aureate Offline
Renegade

Posts: 60
Joined: Jan 2015
Thanks: 77
Given 86 thank(s) in 36 post(s)
Post: #3
Apology not Accepted.

She would only have the authority to issue such an apology if she were partially responsible for its subject. She is, as we shall see shortly.

Quote:I'm sorry that you have to ask my permission to leave the classroom to pee...

Then stop requiring it. Even a robber's most heartfelt confession echoes emptily when delivered to his latest victim at gunpoint.

Quote:We teachers have failed to persuade the people who have the political power to change our public education system, to do so.

You act as though you have been victimized. If you openly recognize that your instructions are inhumane and you are either unwilling or unable to overtly undermine them--as SS user TheCancer apparently manages to do--then the only moral solution is to quit your job. The many indignities of your classroom proceedings will not be mitigated because you posted an evening apology on your blog. Come morning, you will wipe away your tears to perpetuate the ideas you so passionately deride by night, and you will accept payment for doing so, a year's worth of which few of your students have ever seen physically amassed.

You sicken me, but in no way greater than your shrewd understanding of the condition of the public education system. It is one thing to cause suffering in ignorance and another entirely to compile an articulate list of the ways in which your inertia is harming your students, even while you live out your shameful routine.
(This post was last modified: 03-18-2015 02:49 PM by Aureate.)
03-17-2015 12:56 PM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
 Thanks given by: Superkamiguru
TheCancer Offline
Fanatic

Posts: 1,372
Joined: Dec 2009
Thanks: 20
Given 568 thank(s) in 340 post(s)
Post: #4
RE: Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

"You act as though you have been victimized. If you openly recognize that your instructions are inhumane and you are either unwilling or unable to overtly undermine them--as SS user TheCancer apparently manages to do"

In a very lucky and unlikely series of events I have been given tenure.

If you want to be a different fish, you've got to jump out of the school.


Captain Beefheart
03-17-2015 01:39 PM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
 Thanks given by: Aureate , Chanku
xcriteria Offline
Fanatic

Posts: 3,090
Joined: Oct 2005
Thanks: 814
Given 930 thank(s) in 612 post(s)
Post: #5
RE: Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

(03-17-2015 11:26 AM)Cianna200 Wrote:  Nice letter, unfortunately most people would probably not take it into consideration, seeing that school is still thought of as a good place to be.

It's hard to get many people to take anything into consideration; true. But I think the words of teachers who see there's a better way to do education can help in cases where people are open to at least a minimal amount of thinking.

(03-17-2015 12:56 PM)Aureate Wrote:  
Quote:We teachers have failed to persuade the people who have the political power to change our public education system, to do so.

You act as though you have been victimized. If you openly recognize that your instructions are inhumane and you are either unwilling or unable to overtly undermine them--as SS user TheCancer apparently manages to do--then the only moral solution is to quit your job. The many indignities of your classroom proceedings will not be mitigated because you posted an evening apology on your paid blog. Come morning, you will wipe away your tears to perpetuate the ideas you so passionately deride by night, and you will accept further payment for doing so, a year's worth of which few of your students have ever seen physically amassed.

You sicken me, but in no way greater than your shrewd understanding of the condition of the public education system. It is one thing to cause suffering in ignorance and another entirely to compile an articulate list of the ways in which your inertia is harming your students, even while you live out your shameful routine.

Strong words! I don't think the situations is that bad, though. I looked into this teacher a bit, and found this follow-up post, that makes it pretty clear to me she's doing what she can, barring quitting her job. Huffington Post doesn't generally pay its guest bloggers; though obviously teachers get a paycheck. Many who see the problems do grapple with whether to stay or leave, and some do leave (some to launch their own schools or work at different kinds of schools; some to other professions.)

Here's her followup: http://teachteens.org/2015/02/15/change-...he-inside/

"There is nothing that a teacher can do about the way a school day is divided, but there is a lot that a teacher can do when shaping each day in her classroom. I teach the humanities to teens in a school that has “inner-city” characteristics."

"I encourage students to ask me questions either directly, through email or anonymously through the very popular Question Box. Questions from students provide me with insights into their concerns and what I’m missing in my teaching. A colleague who teaches Math adopted and adapted this idea, but her box is called the Panic box – where students place “panic button” questions about course content."


So you can see a teacher who's trying, and listening, not just crying crocodile tears. But you can also see from that "panic box" concept of a colleague how the students are experiencing fear-based instruction in other classrooms there.

So, if you're saying it's moral to remain as a teacher as long as one runs their classroom in as non-factory a way as possible, I don't see how your attacks and level of disgust above really fit.

If you're saying it's immoral to be a teacher in that system, period, then let's discuss that. I wouldn't personally say it's immoral, but I'd advise teachers to at least take some steps beyond whatever they can do in their classroom... including sharing their experiences with the outside world, and at least looking into options like starting new schools or learning environments based on supporting learning, not forced instruction.

I think some teachers in traditional schools do arguably provide a net benefit to their students. However, the overall set of things that the school and other teachers impose can be a huge problem, hence the apology. Also, the post was obviously a conversation-starter, meant to spark discussion about the issues and drive change.

(03-17-2015 12:56 PM)Aureate Wrote:  She would only have the authority to issue such an apology if she were partially responsible for its subject. She is, as we shall see shortly.

Quote:I'm sorry that you have to ask my permission to leave the classroom to pee...

Then stop requiring it. Even a robber's most heartfelt confession echoes emptily when delivered to his latest victim at gunpoint.

I get the sense that she wouldn't impose that restriction herself. It's possible her school requires teachers to issue hall passes for students to leave the classroom. I suppose she could tell students "forge your own passes at will," in that case, but as with many other things that could cause problems for the teacher.

Anyway, maybe we could ask her. Smile

Peter Gray & allies launching the Alliance for Self-directed Education

ASDE Newsletters: #1 Announcement | #2 History of ASDE | #6 Education Liberation


School Survival & Catalyst Learning Network featured on AlternativestoSchool's blog
“Mom, Dad, can I stop going to school?”

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High

Hidden stuff:
03-18-2015 12:48 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
 Thanks given by: Aureate
brainiac3397 Offline
Machiavellian Amoeba

Posts: 9,823
Joined: Feb 2013
Thanks: 20
Given 1983 thank(s) in 1428 post(s)
Post: #6
Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

Maybe she should release some nasty details about the administration and school. Bad practices, bad teachers, bad admins etc.

Personality DNA Report
(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

Hidden stuff:
[Image: watch-out-we-got-a-badass-over-here-meme-240x180.png]
Brainiac3397's Mental Health Status Log Wrote:[Image: l0Iy5HKskJO5XD3Wg.gif]
03-18-2015 04:31 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
 Thanks given by: Sociopath
Aureate Offline
Renegade

Posts: 60
Joined: Jan 2015
Thanks: 77
Given 86 thank(s) in 36 post(s)
Post: #7
RE: Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

Thank you, xcriteria, for the thorough response.

Quote:Huffington Post doesn't generally pay its guest bloggers

Edited accordingly. My research on the topic was a bit hasty.

Quote:So, if you're saying it's moral to remain as a teacher as long as one runs their classroom in as non-factory a way as possible, I don't see how your attacks and level of disgust above really fit. If you're saying it's immoral to be a teacher in that system, period, then let's discuss that.

In recent years, I have backed off the second claim, though I think it is defensible. In my more generous current view, I would not regard as immoral someone who admits that compulsory schooling is less than ideal and conducts himself like so:

Quote:I [TheCancer] am as lenient as possible with letting students out of the room for any reason whatsoever and ignore rules (at my own peril, about how long they're gone nor do I question them with where they go) I also give every student and A or a B even if he or she decides to do no work at all and ignores everything I want to do. I have students who read novels, listen to music, chat with their friends, sleep, do other class work, or do my work and listen to my lectures and join discussions. I let students sit anywhere they want and move the desks anywhere they want. Usually a group of about 5 students sit near my desk and we talk about the lessons and then usually start joking around about whatever.


TheCancer has built a classroom environment that is nearly equal to an average home environment, and justifies himself further by explaining that his desire to teach stems at least partly from the recognition that he allows greater freedom than whatever teacher would otherwise be standing in his place.

But he is no hero; his actions merely toe the line. He is justified, but so are mechanics, athletes, scientists, waiters, entrepreneurs, and authors. What I mean to say is that he has resolved an ethical dilemma that only plagued him in the first place because of the inherently questionable nature of his profession. A stagehand working on a major play does not have to fret over his role in maintaining captive and unpaid thespians, because in the drama business, everyone who works is compensated. The stagehand, if he is not contributing to something beneficial, is at least neutral. On the contrary, we must remain painfully cognizant that if every teacher walked off the job tomorrow, the net effect would be positive.

So am I holding teachers to too high a standard? I am only judging them as I would kidnappers; extenuating circumstances exist, but they are not easily declared, and always involve, as I said in my original post, overtly undermining the goals of the occupation. That Lizanne Foster is better than a large number of teachers is quite irrelevant; she but fulfills a single precondition for acceptability.

So the question becomes whether she has done enough good to outweigh the initial damage her reputation ought to suffer for signing up, and whether her mindset is respectable enough to further reduce our "disgust". Let's look deeper at her apology and follow-up.

Quote:I'm sorry that you are age-batched, forced to move through the school system with people your own age as though chronological age had anything to do with intellect, maturity, skills or ability.

This is by far the most promising section of Foster's writing--she seems to suggest that students should be able to shorten their stay with proof of merit--but I have my concerns.

Firstly, ambiguous standards. This is worthy of a thread of its own; it represents the source of much of my reluctance to adopt ultramodern curriculum within a compulsory framework. Consider the following reformist education methods mentioned by Foster: "Problem-Based Learning," "Experiential Learning," "Combinatorial creativity," etc.

"Divergent thinking," a phrase I deeply dislike, finds its kin among Foster's pursuits; I do not doubt that she would be infatuated with the concept. By no means is this or any of her methods boring or useless. But they are vague. I think Foster wanted to keep schooling compulsory (is this not the message of her follow-up?), while embracing such modern techniques as the aforementioned and maybe allowing some students to leave early. Ignoring my irritation at being made to attend for even a brief period, I am obligated to ask how the lucky leavers are expected to prove their knowledge. What can I say when a teacher looks me in the eye and says, "You have not yet mastered divergent thinking", or "You still show an inadequacy with respect to experiential tasks"? The concepts are too hazy to permit contradiction.

The problem is epitomized in this discussion at 14:10, where the speaker argues that Reaching out, Responding, Researching, Reflecting, and Reiterating should replace Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. If I want to prove to someone I can read, write, or multiply, it is only too easy (although admittedly, schools can't be bothered to care). However, I don't even know where to begin in trying to demonstrate that I can properly "Reach out" or "Respond". I believe that the only judge of one's societal literacy--at least as it relates to nebulous and wide-ranging skills--is oneself.

You participate in these kinds of discussions regularly, and I'm sure you have encountered many ideas of Foster's strain. How do proponents usually recommend we evaluate these "21st-century skills" to decide who is ready to depart from their study?

My other issue with Foster's vision of ending age-based schooling and making classrooms more democratic is really a reiteration of my original post: she does not bring any of this change into her routine, instead opting to facilitate the deliverance of "factory-model" schooling to innocent Humanities students. Is this problem really resolved with the implementation of a "Question Box"? Putting aside my skepticism that her students care enough to make regular submissions, I must remind you that the subject of the coursework is irrelevant to a substantial portion of the children in the class, so how well they learn it is ultimately meaningless.

Also, if she were selecting a measure to typify her transition to more humane instruction, and she decided her hardest hitter was the Question Box, I shed a tear for the children bound by law to her classes.

I leave you with this image:

You turn on the television. A grimacing reporter for a major news channel reveals that a woman has been arrested for imprisoning middle-aged adults and threatening them with severe retribution if they did not return for a substantial segment each weekday. While imprisoned, they were taught Humanities through the lens of problem-based challenges. Some were allowed to leave when they were deemed capable by their captor, and are now emerging to tell their stories of bizarre wasted years. Faced with a likely sentence of life imprisonment, the convicted woman is shown at the site of her arrest, pleading frantically with police to understand her motives. From a helicopter camera, you see her waving a question box, and insisting that nobody had ever taught Humanities with such innovative style. As she is handcuffed, and the question box confiscated for exhibition in court, she alters her plea. She is now heard at a distance claiming that she was merely carrying out the orders of her superiors, that she was entangled in a cult-like crime ring against her will. She claims that she always found the ring's process absurd and deplorable but had little choice. The news reporter indicates the unstable nature of this assertion, and promises to keep you updated as he receives the breaking story.

There is no difference between adults and children, except that when children endure said torment, it seldom makes the news. You questioned whether my disgust was appropriate. Tell me, what emotion would you feel as the channel cut to commercials?
(This post was last modified: 03-18-2015 07:56 PM by Aureate.)
03-18-2015 07:44 PM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
xcriteria Offline
Fanatic

Posts: 3,090
Joined: Oct 2005
Thanks: 814
Given 930 thank(s) in 612 post(s)
Post: #8
Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

You raise very good points there, and I'll address your specific questions. However, a few general points for now:

(1) At least in the US, Canada, and various other countries, it's ultimately up to the parents whether and where to enroll their kids in school. Some families have a lot of constraints that make alternatives difficult. Many people don't know about their options, or what's wrong with school. But overall, it's not so much the law, or the teachers, who are imprisoning students in their classrooms.

(2) A lot of students attend school for reasons beyond being forced. It'd help a lot to quantify how many want to be in school, want school to change, and/or don't even want to be in traditional school, and why. I've talked with a number of parents who would let their kids out of school in a second -- and even who have tried persuading their kids to stop going to school -- but they want to keep going. You might argue that they're brainwashed, but they're certainly not being *forced* to be there.

(3) For those of us who hate school and don't want to be there, I agree, it's horrible! Especially so, when there are alternatives that work so much better for so many people. I think a lot of people who feel like this don't speak up very loudly or as articulately as they could, especially to teachers. So it's entirely possible that many teachers who are trying to do their best, (a) don't see the vision of forced imprisonment to misery, and (b) don't realize what they could be doing instead.

So, as horrifying, even disgusting, as forcing those who hate school to attend beyond their will is, and as much as I'd like to change things -- the question is, what's the path to changing things?

For one, I think the answer is to do a better job of helping parents and teachers (as well as others) see the problem with school, including from the perspectives of those who truly feel imprisoned (which isn't everyone.)

And, closely related to that, is presenting them with options and specific plans for what they can do instead. Doing so is a challenge similar to the challenge a teacher has in teaching a subject to students who may not really be interested. So do you try to persist in pushing possibly unwanted learning on parents and others? Or just let them live in peace?

In some ways, it's a dilemma on all sides, that comes down to parent-kid relationships in many ways, even as education as a whole desperately needs transformation that is often coming only inch by inch.

Thoughts on that?

Peter Gray & allies launching the Alliance for Self-directed Education

ASDE Newsletters: #1 Announcement | #2 History of ASDE | #6 Education Liberation


School Survival & Catalyst Learning Network featured on AlternativestoSchool's blog
“Mom, Dad, can I stop going to school?”

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High

Hidden stuff:
(This post was last modified: 03-19-2015 07:07 AM by xcriteria.)
03-19-2015 06:43 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
xcriteria Offline
Fanatic

Posts: 3,090
Joined: Oct 2005
Thanks: 814
Given 930 thank(s) in 612 post(s)
Post: #9
RE: Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

As for the limits of innovations within the factory model (whether forced-compliance or voluntary):

(03-18-2015 07:44 PM)Aureate Wrote:  Firstly, ambiguous standards. This is worthy of a thread of its own; it represents the source of much of my reluctance to adopt ultramodern curriculum within a compulsory framework. Consider the following reformist education methods mentioned by Foster: "Problem-Based Learning," "Experiential Learning," "Combinatorial creativity," etc.

"Divergent thinking," a phrase I deeply dislike, finds its kin among Foster's pursuits; I do not doubt that she would be infatuated with the concept. By no means is this or any of her methods boring or useless. But they are vague.

I think all of those terms and similar approaches can be clarified to not be vague or ambiguous. It might be useful to bring in a teacher or two to explain these things, or find some examples. I'm not sure what "combinatorial creativity" means without imagining or Googling it, so I understand what you mean by it seeming vague.

(03-18-2015 07:44 PM)Aureate Wrote:  I think Foster wanted to keep schooling compulsory (is this not the message of her follow-up?), while embracing such modern techniques as the aforementioned and maybe allowing some students to leave early. Ignoring my irritation at being made to attend for even a brief period, I am obligated to ask how the lucky leavers are expected to prove their knowledge. What can I say when a teacher looks me in the eye and says, "You have not yet mastered divergent thinking", or "You still show an inadequacy with respect to experiential tasks"? The concepts are too hazy to permit contradiction.

Well, like I wrote above, it's up to parents (or hitting a certain age) to leave school, not necessarily mastering certain things. What you learn or can prove you know to get a credential is another question. But, it's certainly not a single teacher (or even a set of teachers) with decision-making power to let students leave school.

California has a slight exception; you can take a test called the CHSPE as a junior or senior, while still enrolled, and if you get a high enough score, you're free to leave with a credential (with parents' OK.) But parents have the option of letting their kids out of school at any time, thanks to homeschooling laws, as well as flexible laws for private schools in CA.

Given that so many parents refuse to chose alternatives (or don't know about them, or aren't near any, or don't have Internet access for the option Lisa and I are working on), there's a reason to change schools and laws as well. But all of this change takes time and efforts to help people see a different way.

Just because someone has a given view at one time (even support of compulsory schooling), doesn't mean they're incapable of change. Looking at the why behind their views... and what they may not know or realize, can go further toward changing things than attacking their position... something to think about.

(03-18-2015 07:44 PM)Aureate Wrote:  The problem is epitomized in this discussion at 14:10, where the speaker argues that Reaching out, Responding, Researching, Reflecting, and Reiterating should replace Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. If I want to prove to someone I can read, write, or multiply, it is only too easy (although admittedly, schools can't be bothered to care). However, I don't even know where to begin in trying to demonstrate that I can properly "Reach out" or "Respond". I believe that the only judge of one's societal literacy--at least as it relates to nebulous and wide-ranging skills--is oneself.

The individual learner can do a lot to self-assess, for sure. That's one more of those skills that school beats out of people, rather than encouraging. People are trained to look to someone else for a score, rather than looking at how they themselves can learn to evaluate their own learning.

Hidden stuff:

Actually, the Teachers Throwing Out Grades movement headed by Mark Barnes is related on a few counts. For one, they promote using conversations about learning instead of grades, where students learn to evaluate their own learning instead of using numbers or letters. (You might be critical of at least some of them, though, because they're still mostly talking in terms of how classroom teachers can change how they assess.)

But at least realizing how completely absurd grades are is a step forward... if more teachers embrace pieces of a different kind of education, it makes discussing and promoting a bigger change easier.

However useful self-evaluation and metacognition are for learning about one's own learning, getting feedback from others can still be a viable way to learn beyond what one can see one's self. (That's a whole conversation in itself.)

(03-18-2015 07:44 PM)Aureate Wrote:  You participate in these kinds of discussions regularly, and I'm sure you have encountered many ideas of Foster's strain. How do proponents usually recommend we evaluate these "21st-century skills" to decide who is ready to depart from their study?

That's an interesting question on several levels. For one, the question of "who is ready to depart from their study" is usually answered by those who produce graduation requirements and equivalency tests, which traditionally don't focus on measuring 21st-century skills. They focus on the core traditional school subjects.

So, this is kind of new territory. Wes Beach, who operates a high school consisting solely of himself, and grants diplomas on that basis, decides who to issue diplomas to based on a pretty simple formula. (This is part of the world of alt-education, that few people know about, but it's a path into college, nonetheless, and some parents find this to be a legitimate alternative to traditional school completion.)



Watch on YouTube

This is a huge conversation, that bridges the practical question of when specific parents and young people make choices about what to do at various points, and the questions states and countries discuss when drafting legislation and decide how to spend tax money on mass education.

Many people realize that "21st-century skills" are incredibly important to life in the 21st century, but they're hard to measure using standardized tests. So it's a question still being discussed.

For example, this list of Maine guiding principles for education sounds reasonably to me. But the actual state graduation requirements for public schools are all about mastering a big set of one-size-fits-all content standards, not being a self-directed learner.

In practice, though, for many parents, what makes their kid ready to leave school is "a path into college" or "getting a job." And as many in alternative education know, you don't needs school for that, period.

A Survey of Grown Unschoolers I: Overview of Findings

Survey of Grown Unschoolers II: Going on to College

Survey of Grown Unschoolers III: Pursuing Careers

And here's one article that sums it all up:

How do Unschoolers Turn Out?

I think a lot of people don't realize how learning can work without force-compliance or quasi-factory-model approaches, but it clearly can. So in terms of changing things, one step forward is to help people see that.

(03-18-2015 07:44 PM)Aureate Wrote:  My other issue with Foster's vision of ending age-based schooling and making classrooms more democratic is really a reiteration of my original post: she does not bring any of this change into her routine, instead opting to facilitate the deliverance of "factory-model" schooling to innocent Humanities students. Is this problem really resolved with the implementation of a "Question Box"? Putting aside my skepticism that her students care enough to make regular submissions, I must remind you that the subject of the coursework is irrelevant to a substantial portion of the children in the class, so how well they learn it is ultimately meaningless.

That's a question to discuss with students. I'm interested in working with YouTuber Dave Brown (boyinaband) on delving into that conversation. So far, he's focused on the question of how to "update the syllabus" of traditional schooling to cover what matters in life, but he's also started diving into alternative approaches to education, including unschooling. So, it'll be interesting how that goes, given that he has an audience that makes a discussion among more people possible than on School Survival itself.

(And likewise, there are some other upcoming live events with those deeply immersed in education, that could be good places to raise these discussions, even with the students who may be truly suffering (or wasting their time) in classrooms they don't want to be in... or who could be using their time pretty well there and learning meaningful things... or any combination.

(03-18-2015 07:44 PM)Aureate Wrote:  Also, if she were selecting a measure to typify her transition to more humane instruction, and she decided her hardest hitter was the Question Box, I shed a tear for the children bound by law to her classes.

Bound by parents and tradition, more than law. But I do agree, the overall picture remains ugly. I just think it's worth asking what can be done about it... and I think those who are taking the time and making the effort to talk about what they're doing and the problems they're seeing (as well as even partial solutions) is one of the big things we'll need to change this convoluted situation of 21st-century education.

Peter Gray & allies launching the Alliance for Self-directed Education

ASDE Newsletters: #1 Announcement | #2 History of ASDE | #6 Education Liberation


School Survival & Catalyst Learning Network featured on AlternativestoSchool's blog
“Mom, Dad, can I stop going to school?”

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High

Hidden stuff:
03-19-2015 08:05 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
 Thanks given by: Aureate
Rule_BreakerXVIII Offline
Revolutionary

Posts: 484
Joined: Sep 2013
Thanks: 734
Given 271 thank(s) in 168 post(s)
Post: #10
Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

Part of me is angry, and demands, "What is a puny apology gonna do? She isn't willing to change things or doesn't have the power to change things for her students; why is she apologizing? It's a pretty useless apology."

Quote:A new semester begins next week and I find myself feeling compelled to apologize to you. Despite our best efforts, we teachers have failed to persuade the people who have the political power to change our public education system, to do so. We can't seem to convince our premier that an investment in your education is an investment that we will all benefit from, an investment that would not cost us polluted water and toxic air.

With their stellar record so far in changing education in a positive way, I'm sure they are just going to make things worse even if they do have additional funding. See this thread-http://forums.school-survival.net/showth...?tid=34425

I don't even..this letter made part of me angry. A simple apology won't help; it is NOT gonna make the scars go away.

The other part of me points out that at least she got what the problem is. That's more than anything I can say for most teachers. Now for the main question: Can she foster in her students the ability to think and question while the system tears down her efforts? Can she get herself to see them as people, as more than cogs in a high-input/low-output machine? As human beings rather than what they are labelled as?

Quote: You participate in these kinds of discussions regularly, and I'm sure you have encountered many ideas of Foster's strain. How do proponents usually recommend we evaluate these "21st-century skills" to decide who is ready to depart from their study?

The skills mentioned by this term- creative thinking, for one- are nothing new. It relates to ageism again; adults simply don't believe that teens can think properly. Even I, a recent adult in the eyes of the law, am guilty of this. I don't really think much of the abilities of my peers.

Don't play chess with pigeons-they'll just knock over the pieces, shit on the board and strut about like they won anyway.
-the Internet


Quote:May the days and months of flowing bitterness be rewarded...
To forget!?

Unforgivable!!
03-22-2015 03:48 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
 Thanks given by: Aureate
TheCancer Offline
Fanatic

Posts: 1,372
Joined: Dec 2009
Thanks: 20
Given 568 thank(s) in 340 post(s)
Post: #11
RE: Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

"TheCancer has built a classroom environment that is nearly equal to an average home environment, and justifies himself further by explaining that his desire to teach stems at least partly from the recognition that he allows greater freedom than whatever teacher would otherwise be standing in his place.

But he is no hero;"


I hear you. I feel pretty much trapped by my financial realities but I do agree with you philosophically. I can't heat my apartment with philosophy though. And there's some kind of blood on almost every worker's hands. I know I'm making excuses but it's a cold hard world out there. I say if society is going to be constructed in such a way that I need money to survive they should at least provide me with the money.

If you want to be a different fish, you've got to jump out of the school.


Captain Beefheart
03-22-2015 04:04 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
 Thanks given by: Superkamiguru
Aureate Offline
Renegade

Posts: 60
Joined: Jan 2015
Thanks: 77
Given 86 thank(s) in 36 post(s)
Post: #12
RE: Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

Quote:
Quote:You participate in these kinds of discussions regularly, and I'm sure you have encountered many ideas of Foster's strain. How do proponents usually recommend we evaluate these "21st-century skills" to decide who is ready to depart from their study?
The skills mentioned by this term- creative thinking, for one- are nothing new. It relates to ageism again; adults simply don't believe that teens can think properly.

Very well said. That lends some more clarity to what I was getting at. These new methods sound streamlined and modern, but they cannot subsist without the presupposition that my friends and I are presently unable to reason at the elementary level. They suggest that the skills which seem rightly second nature to teachers--and which developed mysteriously in them without focused instruction--are lacking in all of my age peers. I would like to see teachers offer to show their colleagues "how to learn" or "how to think about problems", and marvel at the speed with which friendships can die.
(This post was last modified: 03-22-2015 05:32 AM by Aureate.)
03-22-2015 05:25 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
xcriteria Offline
Fanatic

Posts: 3,090
Joined: Oct 2005
Thanks: 814
Given 930 thank(s) in 612 post(s)
Post: #13
RE: Dear Students: An Apology From A Teacher

(03-22-2015 05:25 AM)Aureate Wrote:  
Quote:The skills mentioned by this term- creative thinking, for one- are nothing new. It relates to ageism again; adults simply don't believe that teens can think properly.

Very well said. That lends some more clarity to what I was getting at. These new methods sound streamlined and modern, but they cannot subsist without the presupposition that my friends and I are presently unable to reason at the elementary level. They suggest that the skills which seem rightly second nature to teachers--and which developed mysteriously in them without focused instruction--are lacking in all of my age peers. I would like to see teachers offer to show their colleagues "how to learn" or "how to think about problems", and marvel at the speed with which friendships can die.

I think it's about more than ageism. There is such a thing as learning how to learn, developing creative thinking skills, developing metacognition, and so on. Many adults, including teachers, don't have these skills very well-developed. At the same time, regardless of age, people have a capacity for learning and thinking. It's just that in all of us, it can be developed, and there's a place for that.

If friendships die over people wanting to help their colleagues develop skills they never developed (and/or that were crushed out of them), that's sad. Then again, it's understandable that people may bristle at being told "you're ignorant, so let me teach you how not to be!" if they aren't interested in learning something new.

One of the challenges in changing education is to help people see beyond what they already know... which is really what education and teaching are supposed to be about. In order to change things, the whole question of who is a teacher vs. a learner needs to be disrupted. We can all be both.

This hangout comes to mind, featuring educators who are eager to learn and change things, and who are talking about "co-learning environments," where learners themselves are co-create their learning environments. This isn't just a matter of buzzwords -- there are different ways to do education, and also challenges in bringing that about. (Yet also, successes.)



Watch on YouTube

I've watched this several times and linked to parts of it many more times. David Preston (who's currently a high school teacher, but with an unusual background) explains in no uncertain terms how much damage school-as-usual does to people.

This is important to realize... but the question then is, what people can do instead. It's on us, and people who aren't happy with factory-model education in general, to help people realize other ways to do things... since who else is going to do it?

Peter Gray & allies launching the Alliance for Self-directed Education

ASDE Newsletters: #1 Announcement | #2 History of ASDE | #6 Education Liberation


School Survival & Catalyst Learning Network featured on AlternativestoSchool's blog
“Mom, Dad, can I stop going to school?”

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High

Hidden stuff:
03-23-2015 02:50 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread: Author Replies: Views: Last Post
Question Have students successfully petitionioned to fire a teacher/faculty member? DeadorAlive 13 3,958 02-07-2017 04:04 AM
Last Post: Marlena403
  Teacher "relations" with students payback123 46 7,809 02-06-2017 05:16 AM
Last Post: TheCancer
  Teacher Disciplined for Tweeting She Wanted to Stab Students MrAnonymous 15 3,331 09-20-2014 09:33 AM
Last Post: KFC Nyan Cat
  Teacher told students my grades Marauder 23 7,315 04-02-2013 06:38 PM
Last Post: brainiac3397
  Gifted Teacher Rude to My Ghetto Gangsta students TheCancer 5 4,784 01-18-2013 12:50 PM
Last Post: thewake
  Teacher sets self on fire infront of students. Absnt 13 6,646 10-17-2011 04:51 PM
Last Post: Efs
  My dear English teacher Sick Silent 7 2,103 01-16-2009 12:19 PM
Last Post: Thought Criminal

Forum Jump:


User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Contact Us | School Survival | Return to Top | Return to Content | Mobile Version | RSS Syndication