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Those who can't teach.

  1. Sep 25, 2007 #1
    Here is the vocabulary list that my 7th grader son brought home for study. The words come from the book 'The Cat Ate My Gymsuit' by Paul Danziger.

    interpretation - to make clear or understandable or reveal the the meaning of.
    contagious - to spread by direct or indirect contact
    grammar - the study of the structure and forms of words in a language
    clod - a dull or awkward person
    dynamics - characterized by or full of energy and vigor
    cretins - a person having a condition present at birth, or developing in infancy, characterized by stunted physical and mental growth
    syllabus - a brief summary or outline of something, as a course of study

    I find 7 errors and one probable. How many do you get?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2007 #2
    A lot of comma splices :)
     
  4. Sep 25, 2007 #3

    Evo

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    Yeesh. These are supposed to be definitions given by the teacher? Back in my day, we looked up the definitions ourselves.

    I'd accept syllabus. Grammar isn't exact, but close enough. The others...

    Clod is ok.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2007
  5. Sep 25, 2007 #4
    jesus. is this for real?? here are two words the author of this book should look up:

    VERB:
    NOUN:

    (and I get the irony of me never starting a new sentence in the upper-case. but, like, what-evah)
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2007
  6. Sep 25, 2007 #5

    Kurdt

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    I agree with Evo. The kids should be taught how to use a dictionary rather than given definitions from the teacher. Especially considering the teacher appears to be giving very specific definitions, that a lot of people do not agree with.

    Teaching them to use a dictionary would give them a much more useful skill and not waste their time.
     
  7. Sep 25, 2007 #6

    Moonbear

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    On a quick perusal, I see a noun and an adjective each defined as a verb, another noun defined as an adjective, and a plural defined in the singular. And that was just a first pass. I'm also not sure that some of those are correct even if they were adjusted for the appropriate part of speech. For example, "grammar" isn't the "study of" anything, is it? Isn't it just the structure of sentences?

    I agree with Evo, especially if the teacher is that bad, they should be looking up the definitions themselves!
    (Edit: LOL! I see that Kurdt posted almost the exact same thing just above me. :biggrin:)
     
  8. Sep 25, 2007 #7
    yea, it should be up to the kids to look it up for themselves, and the teacher should make sure his students succeeds interpretationing the words that are given to him... poor textbooks could result in poor English contagious from student to student; you don't want your child to grow up to be a cretins! — to prevent this, make sure your child is dynamics in his studying, and all will be fine.
     
  9. Sep 25, 2007 #8

    Moonbear

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    :rofl: I think jimmy should copy that and attach it to his kid's homework assignment with a note that it's time for a parent-teacher conference to discuss the vocabulary lists they are being given. :biggrin:
     
  10. Sep 25, 2007 #9

    Evo

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    :rofl: <sputter> :rofl:
     
  11. Sep 25, 2007 #10
    someone had to do it :biggrin:
     
  12. Sep 25, 2007 #11

    Moonbear

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    If you want to know how much of a goody-two-shoes I was as a kid, that's the sort of assignment that would have prompted me to grab the dictionary, write out all the correct definitions, and then march to the principal's office to rat out the teacher! (But I didn't have the nerve to do it myself; 3 of my friends would go with me.) Honestly, I think it worked better than having someone's parents complaining. The one time we did that was because a substitute teacher was teaching us how to read a periodic table incorrectly, and he was never seen again. :biggrin: I never had a regular teacher that bad, so don't know how that would have worked out.
     
  13. Sep 25, 2007 #12

    G01

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    On the topic of bad teachers, two friends of mine had a psychology professor who refused to admit that the units of "nanometers" existed. The correct SI units were, of course, millimicrons. Believe it or not, his contract was not renewed for the next year.

    Also, a friend in a Chem 101 class had this grad student who told the class that "0 degrees Celsius was absolute zero," and that "paint was a solution as long as you kept mixing it." Yeah, that's right, a chemistry graduate student.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2007
  14. Sep 26, 2007 #13
    There were a lot of suggestions based on the idea that the teacher shouldn't even be providing definitions. I consider this an opinion that could be argued either way (except perhaps for this particular teacher.) I note that the definition for cretin(s) was correct but I that was the 'probable' that I was talking about. It is an archaic sense of the word, the more modern meaning is simply 'stupid person' used sarcastically. I expect that in the book it is used in this sense, but I don't have the book and can't say. My point is that even if the kids do look things up themselves, there is no guarantee that they will get it right. The errors, most of which have been noted are:

    interpretation - to make clear or understandable or reveal the the meaning of.
    noun - verb (and two the's in a row)

    contagious - to spread by direct or indirect contact
    adjective - verb

    grammar - the study of the structure and forms of words in a language
    study of the structure of sentences (etymology is the study of the structure of words)

    dynamics - characterized by or full of energy and vigor
    plural for singular, or if you wish spelling, or noun - adjective

    cretins - a person having a condition present at birth, or developing in infancy, characterized by stunted physical and mental growth
    plural - singular

    I have marked the sheet in red and sent it back to the teacher. I hope the teacher will not retaliate against my son. It won't be as easy to do because my son is under the watchful eye of a child study team and they have known him since he was just under three years old.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2007
  15. Sep 26, 2007 #14

    vanesch

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    Which would go against every ideology of teaching nowadays !
     
  16. Sep 26, 2007 #15

    J77

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    :rofl:

    They'll love you. Even the use of a red pen... :tongue:

    Do you have the term "helicopter parent" in the US?
     
  17. Sep 26, 2007 #16
    I never heard the term before, but I googled it. It reminds me of the story of the man and his son walking a donkey. I'm sorry if my parenting style does not meet your needs.
     
  18. Sep 26, 2007 #17

    J77

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    Sorry -- it's just that my partner's a teacher (of English, in fact) -- and I now how much she'd love to receive a corrected sheet from a parent :tongue:

    btw. I'd be more concerned that a negative word like "cretin" was on a vocab sheet :confused:
     
  19. Sep 26, 2007 #18
    J77- I suppose if your child brought home a vocabulary list like that, your partner would just sit idly by and do nothing? I know if I found out that my son was learning things that were wrong, I would have something to say about it.
     
  20. Sep 26, 2007 #19

    Kurdt

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    If only your partner knew. :tongue2: :wink:
     
  21. Sep 26, 2007 #20
    I appreciate when people correct my mistakes, especially when they do it in private, but if not, then publicly works too. There is more at stake than ego. and this was in private. However, 7 mistakes in 7 vocabulary words points to a deeper issue. I am hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

    It's supposed to be a list of words from the book, so there wasn't much choice. Perhaps this works better as a criticism of the choice of book. However the negativity of the original meaning of the word is blunted by common usage. Now it just means a silly or foolish person. I don't know how it's used in the book, but chances are it is the current, not the archaic meaning.
     
  22. Sep 26, 2007 #21

    Kurdt

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    Strange times when its considered radical that a child should learn how to use a dictionary.
     
  23. Sep 26, 2007 #22

    Moonbear

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    I'm loving that nice touch too. If there were a single error, fine, I'd chalk it up to a typo or some such, but when every definition had errors...and major ones mixing up parts of speech...I support this action fully (I still would have attached an added note requesting a parent-teacher conference, because something that bad does require discussion).

    We have the term, but it doesn't apply in this case. When the teacher is that bad, and that wrong, it is a parent's obligation to speak up for their child. Helicopter parents are the ones who do their kids' homework for them, show up to school constantly to make sure everything is "just so" and worse, the ones who appear at colleges with their adult children to resolve every problem for them when their kid should be learning to solve their own problems. For a 7th-grader, this isn't a playground conflict that they should be learning to resolve on their own, but a problem with a teacher that should involve the parents.

    Reading your further posts, I see you're sensitive on your wife's behalf, but as long as she's a good teacher, you shouldn't be. I think everyone here is educated enough to know there are both good and bad teachers. Sure, good teachers often don't get enough thanks for their efforts or feedback from prinicipals saying that it's recognized they are doing their job well, but it's the bad teachers we worry about. For someone teaching 7th grade English, something like writing out correct definitions, knowing how to use a dictionary herself to check the definitions, and properly identifying parts of speech should be second nature. If she's going to give out the definitions, she ought to check them herself.

    Now, for a few more technical points related to the rest of the discussion:
    Pros vs cons of kids looking up their own definitions- no, it doesn't ensure they will get the right definition, but that's part of the exercise. We had to look up the definitions and turn them in for grading, and then we got the correct definitions. Getting feedback on whether we had chosen the correct definition out of the several in the dictionary was as much a part of the lesson as just cracking open a dictionary.

    Use of the word "cretin" - I don't know what context the book used. The medical disorder characterized by a congenital thyroid hormone deficiency is termed "cretinism." In modern society, one would NOT refer to those afflicted by this ailment as "cretins" unless they were incredibly rude. To use it as a term for the sufferers of the disorder is indeed an archaic usage, although this is the origin of its use as a derogatory term for someone.
     
  24. Sep 26, 2007 #23
    The problem with a conference is that it won't produce anything that the marked up paper won't. If the teacher tightens up, and I expect that's what will happen, then end of story for me. If not and a second paper like this one appears, I agree more forceful action must be taken. I wonder what the parents of the other children in the class are doing about this?

    I am by no means a helicopter parent. If you compare my own upbringing, I ran free most of the day, to that of my children, you will find that I rein them in pretty good. However, compared to other parents today, I am about average. As time goes on I give them more and more line. On the other hand, my children feel that I am the mother of all helicopters (so to speak). That's how I felt about my parents on those occasions when we met.
     
  25. Sep 26, 2007 #24

    J77

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    :biggrin: Classic.

    Arguing about grammar and...

    :biggrin:
     
  26. Sep 26, 2007 #25

    Chi Meson

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    Are these the definitiona given by the teacher (are they photocopied?) or are they the definitionas "from the teacher" but "as written " by the student? Perhaps the teacher did give better definitions, but something got lost in translation? Just checking a possibility.
     
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