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What could elementary school teachers do to better prepare students?

symbolipoint

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Readin', 'ritin', 'rithmetic. Would be a decent place to start.

What was academic life like, back-in-the-day3 ? What are the dividing factors between pre-school, primary, secondary and... tertiary ?
Given the ubiquity of camera-phones and xpads, homework could include a graded "cleaning one's room", "doing the dishes", "taking out the garbage", et cetera.
Dividers among preschool, primary, secondary, and tertiary - probably these have been about the same, depending on where, but just my guessing. Preschool, anything at or "below" kindergarten. First Grade through sixth grade is primary school, starting about age 5 going through about age 11 or 12. Secondary school is high school, ages 13 through 18, about grades 9 to 12. Education after secondary, is tertiary school which would be any of vocational school or college or university.
 
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A child is born with a blank slate? Did the child learn nothing from 9 month in the womb?
The idea the child is born with no knowledge (maybe just an operating system like DOS) is untenable, as is most of Aristotle's deductions.

So many rants about what schoolteachers could do better. I bought a book this summer on 7-8 grade bridge activities and concentrated on science. I found what the students should be learning was not far off the mark.
I think it was silly in an earlier post that middle school students should learn college subjects. When "pray tell" should they learn middle schools science? In college?

If school teachers are encouraging an interest in science, this is valuable. Many schoolteachers are doing things right.

Some suggestions that I learned from:

6th grade: My teacher (over the course of months) told us to take world maps. Draw in the Seas and name them. Color them blue. Draw the rivers, Color them. On separate maps, draw political boundaries, draw oceans, Capitols etc. This project took months. After that summer, I found I could answer many, many questions on the TV show Jeopardy (for Adults).

I find when students do go to college and take physics, they do not have any idea of simple facts.

How long does it take the Moon to orbit the Earth?
How far is the Moon from the Earth.

This material is important in college classes in Astronomy because the professor can demonstrate that Math and physics can build upon what the student knows to derive quantities the student does not know.

How far is it around the Earth.
How far is the Earth from the Sun.
(I hope they know how long it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun)
What causes the seasons?
What continent does Portugal lie in?


What is the population of the United States? Over the last few years I have heard estimates as low as 5 million and as high as a billion from college graduates.

It is silly for students to have to Google basic facts.

I hope no one needs to google who the first president of the US was (but at this stage I would not be surprised)

Eighth Grade: It was not assigned but I enjoyed Isaac Asimov's, An Intellgient Man's guide to Life Science, and ditto for An Intelligent Man's guide to Physical Science.

I found as time went on, I was more and more competitive with adults on the quiz shows. This certainly means something as far as developing intellectually.

I am not advocating learning just isolated basic facts, but I think that encouraging some background in this are needs developing.
 
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Over the last few years I have heard estimates as low as 5 million and as high as a billion from college graduates.
I'm not at all surprised.
It is silly for students to have to Google basic facts.
Amen to that
I am not advocating learning just isolated basic facts, but I think that encouraging some background in this are needs developing.
In "The Schools We Need, and Why We Don't Have Them," by E. D. Hirsch, Jr., he makes pretty much this point. Students need certain skills and facts as the basis for further learning. An apt analogy is that when you build a house, it needs to sit on a strong foundation. I've been an educator for about 60% of my working life, and have noticed that many in the "education" racket don't have a clue about what's important. Education seems to me to be the only area in which educators get to try out their pet theories on live bodies, with very little accountability for foisting terrible ideas on millions of young minds. The article in Atlantic earlier in this thread seems to be a good example of this.
 

symbolipoint

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Interesting way to characterize the business:
have noticed that many in the "education" racket don't have a clue about what's important. Education seems to me to be the only area in which educators get to try out their pet theories on live bodies, with very little accountability for foisting
I have seen some of it as good and some of it as bad but I will avoid giving details. Sometimes, a teacher really needs to fill-in what is missing, and lead the students through.

Several decades ago, there was in some schools, remedial course-work for poorly performing students of Mathematics (for before high school meaning "in junior high"), but then in case a student decided to take the college-preparatory route in Mathematics in high school, strong chance he would turn all-right. These days, I do not know.
 
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I would implement what Professor Hattie found in his research documented in Visible Learning. Even though his data showed small class sizes make virtually no difference, there is one exception that studies have shown does make a big difference because students cant slack off and are forced to think - you cant go to the back of the class and basically fall to sleep, and that is to use a Harkness Table. Also teachers tend to use a more discussion oriented method so students learn to think for themselves, of great value at all levels of education, but particularly at college.

Thanks
Bill
 

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