|Jun20-12, 01:45 AM||#154|
Science and the general public
The engaging/charismatic property is one small thing.
The other things are what teachers have to put up. Teachers are mostly babysitting kids. They also have to put with all the new legal problems which in turn make it harder to do their job.
The other thing is the nature of education: the system is basically setup so that students get in an environment where the stuff is very easy, and that students think of their own worth relative to the marks they get (remember most of the childs lives from kindergarten to year 12 is school).
This means that you scare off the people who get a bad mark or exam who would otherwise go into science but don't. The reason is that they've been getting high marks all the time and suddenly when they finally do something challenging, they crumble under the pressure and the bad marks, so they leave for easier subjects or subjects that will give them a high mark/GPA/whatever.
These are the people you want to target: you don't want to waste your time on people who clearly don't care and would rather do something else. Those people have every right not to give a stuff and they should be focusing their energies on other things that they would excel and be productive in.
In order to get to the ones that choose other things but really want to do the math and science courses, you need to change the education system to one that encourages failure, mistakes, and growth in that fashion and one that emphasizes that failure is a natural part of life. Our education systems is the complete opposite of this (at least in the west, asia is different).
The whole system psychologically sets up a lot of students for complete mental breakdowns, especially if they are used to being the top achievers and especially if they cruise along in high school. It gives students the false impression that life is easy and has no challenging aspects, where things should always come easy and the answers are always in a textbook, and then people wonder why students end up having complete mental breakdowns and everything that comes with this so called 'education'.
|Jun20-12, 03:54 AM||#155|
There is a large inertia to having such change. The documentary 'Waiting for Superman' has been mentioned at least once already in this thread and I think that it hits the nail on the head. Once the incentives are in place for teachers to perform better, I think there will naturally be a shift towards more skilled teachers in their respective subjects. However, being a fairly non-competitive field currently (due to a variety of factors) that type of change is hard to get going. In order to maintain the betterment of our schools - there needs to be some other fundamental changes with how teachers are selected, certified, compensated, and retained.
If we start increasing salaries now - what happens with the underperforming teachers currently? There needs to be some long-term planning involved and I think step 1 is to add competition at various level with in schools. Teachers need to be able to compete for their salary, hiring/firing practices need to be performance based not tenure-based and schools need to be able to compete against each other. Hopefully this naturally draws up some encouragement for rationally motivated, skilled teachers to enter the field (and do well). Second, we need to start opening up requirements for teachers to teach with only an approved 4-year degree in their subject (and maybe a state certification that goes over school-type procedures and some basic classroom protocol, etc - similar to other state-ran professional certifications - get it out of universities!). The second step is worthless without the natural increase of salaries that would result from the first step (I think we can agree that there's two barriers to SMEs actually teaching: certification and salary, any successful solution would reduce both barriers). Longentivity of success that results from the first step is dependent on the second (else then the normal schools would just start teaching how to be competitive, defeating the purpose and we're back where we started).
The barriers to the ideas above are two fold: 1) entrenchment of teacher unions ("once students start paying dues, then I'll represent their interests") and 2) lack of a generally accepted way to evaluate teachers. I think the actual negative impact of 2 gets overblown because of 1, but I do think that it will take more innovation in evaluation to get a majority of teachers on board with performance bonuses. A consistent (fair) teacher evaluation system may already be out there, but it has probably been swept under the rug under a guise of wanting sameness/conformity for all union members. If a system is deemed unfair, skewed, and easy to game - noone will buy into it anyhow. Again, it's inertia and resistance to change (and insecurity by some).
|Jun20-12, 05:16 PM||#156|
I'm an undergraduate physics major going into my junior years of college and still clearly remember my high school science education enough to draw parallels between the two. I often felt that high school was more of a competition to get into college than an actual learning experience. As someone who was considered an "average student" (about a 90-93 gpa, no honors course) in my school I was never encouraged to take physics since it was always viewed as something that only the honors students or mathematically gifted students take. I ended up taking a bunch of electives my senior year and stopped taking math after algebra II. I ended up switching into my physics degree after taking a gen ed astronomy course and being fascinated by the ideas.
I find math and physics teachers in college to be much more useful and resourceful and wish that high school teachers could teach the same way. In high school you are usually put in a classroom, lectured, and told to go home and do your homework. If you can't do your algebra homework for example, you are often viewed as lazy or mathematically incompetent. When I took Algebra I in high school, for example, I couldn't grasp most of the concepts and ended up with a C+ in the class. I took Calc I in college, and got an A minus, because it was explained at a more conceptual level and I was able to go to office hours and talk to my professor, email him at any time, or go to our math help room if I had trouble.
Most people don't even decide to switch to physics though, and just decide that they aren't math people. I feel our math/science education system in high school only allows people of a certain learning style to get ahead, and they label these kids as smarter. I know that there are some exceptions. I have a lot of college professor I don't like and had some high school teachers that I did like but I feel the college system allows more people to actually learn. There were math teachers who had confidence in my mathematically ability in high school who encouraged me (I did well in geometry) but i had so many teachers tell me I was stupid or average, that I actually believed it for much of high school. For example, because I recieved a C+ in algebra I, I was put into applied chemistry, where my teacher told us "This is the class that isn't going to college."
I know there are some students that are just plain lazy, but there are many students who would do better at math and science if they were given a chance. I talk to a lot of people inside and outside of college who are interested in science or physics but think they aren't smart enough to handle it.
I know that it is difficult being a teacher and controlling the class. My mother, who has a degree in history education but never become a teacher, tells me that the principal walks around and makes sure that you have the class under control. They don't care what you're teaching as long as it's not too noisy in there. This situation is difficult and I don't completely blame teachers if they can't reach all of their students. However, I feel a more active learning environment during the after hours of school , where students can talk to, email, and work out problems with their teacher, would benefit a lot of people. Instead of just learning how to ******** the system and get good grades when they are having trouble, they would actually learn the material.
|Jun21-12, 09:04 PM||#157|
I tried to convey the message of this thread, and tried to extricate some knowledge out of her, but she was obviously distraught, and quite drunk, and nonsense and...
My bartender just told me, "You just needed to ask her a nice simple question about Astroph...hardy weinberg inequality....debrouglie got a phd because einstein read his paper, and said, do it.
|Similar Threads for: Science and the general public|
|Ethics of withholding science data from the public||General Discussion||20|
|Shows Like House, CSI, Numb3rs, The Mentalist etc. And Public Perception Of Science||General Discussion||38|
|A Public Debate on Science, Pseudoscience, and Spiritualism||General Discussion||0|
|Science-as-public relations||Current Events||0|