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Archive for the ‘teaching/learning’ Category

One of my students in the elementary math methods class who’s in the SPED program has been working with a deaf child who is also believed to be autistic.  I made this to help teach the child to count:

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The idea would be to teach the child the signs for “count”, the numerals, and for “how many?”  I’m thinking here of simulating the experience of hearing children to the extent possible, but it would be more sort of all-at-once with the number signs and the numerals both on the board.  To indicate that putting objects on the board, one per hole, and showing the signs for each as you put it in (“count”), and then asking “how many?” (with the sign, of course) and then answering the question with the sign of the last full hole, would be modeling the counting “word” (sign) sequence, one to one correspondence, and cardinality all at the same time.  

I have no idea how well it would/will work.  For this child, a lot would depend on whether or not s/he will focus on the task at all–being autistic, that’s an open question.  But I shall fantasize that some child, at some point in time, will be helped to learn to count and understand numbers as quantities, with the help of this board.

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[‘nother one from the “old drafts” archive. It was inspired by a post on Bridging Differences, but it’s on a topic I feel strongly about, so here it is even though no longer relevant to anything being discussed there.]

For years (centuries, actually) education has done a pendulum swing from one end of a spectrum to the other. On the one hand, thinking, process, ideas, concepts, creativity. On the other, basic skills, content, memorization, automaticity, discipline. Below, I shall refer to these as “reform” and “traditional” respectively. (The pendulum seems to be stuck to the latter side these days, but that’s a post for another day.) What we need is to think “both/and” instead of “exclusive or”. (The problem with that is time–but I’ll leave that alone for the sake of getting this finished and posted.) I’ll speak with math as my background subject, with the developments of the past century or so in mind. (more…)

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Digging through old drafts, found this. Decided to post it–since the powers that be seem determined to play out the “data-driven” mantra to the bitter end (and it will be bitter), it’s certainly still timely. Maybe even more timely than ever, what with the mantra turning to “it’s all on the teachers” and “we must tie teacher retention, pay, and promotion to their students’ test scores–THAT’LL fix ’em!” (more…)

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(Continued from the previous post.)

The nature of teacher education and of the teaching profession

In his column, Gladwell goes on to make some policy recommendations based on the contention that we can’t predict who will be a good teacher and who won’t (“good” defined by student gains as measured by standardized tests): (more…)

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A recent post over at Kevin’s Walk, one of my regular stops, was about teachers and teacher effectiveness. He cites the following paragraph from this article in The New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell: (more…)

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Recently the California State Board of Education, egged on by the Governator and business bigwigs, decided to require that, starting in three years, all CA 8th graders shall take Algebra I, regardless of their state of prior mathematical knowledge, understanding, or ability. The move was in response to a NCLB-related demand from the US Dept. of Ed to align CA’s 8th testing practices with their curriculum standards. More info can be found here. In this post, I discuss rationales given in favor of the policy, arguments made against it, and my own reasons why I think it is both morally wrong and likely to prove to be a big fat mistake extremely misguided. (more…)

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Just to keep the blog pegging along. Heh. (more…)

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