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March 21-22-23-24-25-26-27-28-29-30-31, 2022
The future of learning is not technology. The future of learning is better teaching, not fads, manipulatives, group work, or screens. Yet, "education technology seems to be a priority in many plans."
All classroom teachers, in my opinion, should be trained to teach complex ideas that make sense to children, beginning in 1st grade, which means that future K-8 teachers should be knowledgeable at or above grade level in mathematics, science, vocabulary study, literature, and history and be required to take at least a college-level precalculus course, half of which is trigonometry, and rigorous, college-level chemistry and physics courses. Also, classroom teachers should learn explicit teaching and writing behavioral objectives. Most of today's teachers would disagree with me and continue to think that they are not the problem, but they are, says the late Zig Engelmann.
Algebra-1 by 7th Grade
If I can teach average 1st graders to build x-y tables and graph (x,y) points from linear equations (y = mx + b), why can't teachers teach core arithmetic and pre-algebra skills to get most students ready for Algebra-1 by the 7th grade?
Teachers grossly underestimate the content very young students can learn given proper instruction. Call it low expectations. Ideology should never supersede academics.
Experts are not always experts.
"Experts say that teacher and student emotional and mental health needs must be addressed before academic gaps." I'm afraid I have to disagree. How is this approach going to close achievement gaps? Our kids lag behind kids in many other nations because of backward thinking like this. In short, American students are not taught content that is routinely taught in other countries. We also know that combining in-person with remote has been a disaster.
After spending part of a day at the 1st-grade class in Austin, Texas, an observer concluded, "Many students were struggling with things like being able to use scissors, work independently and resolve conflicts." Really? Anecdotal observations are not scientific evidence. Avoid seating them in groups if you want kids to pay better attention and don't want kids to talk.
In gifted programs, children should score well on above grade-level tests such as the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY): The School and College Ability Test (SCAT). However, the problem is in many schools is that the children in so-called Gifted/Talented programs cannot match the CTY's quantitative and verbal benchmarks, which are purposely set a couple of years above grade level to find talent.
I teach algebra to kids in the 4th grade at a city, Title-1 PreK-8 school. One class is 3rd and 4th grade combined GATE (Gifted/Talented) class. Yet, many of the students in the regular 4th-grade class are better at algebra than some kids in the GATE class. The school is almost all Hispanic, with about 20% blacks. I see one white girl in the regular 4th grade.
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