Current/Recent Reading List

15 August 2006

Crawl to walk, walk to run.

Ran across this piece (via Instructivist), in which the writer (once he gets around to it) deplores the use of "drilling" in the classroom.

All right, all right, before we proceed let's all get our minds out of the gutter. Things haven't gotten to that point yet.

In any case, I'm not going to slam this school director too hard- frankly, it's usually always healthy to think of new alternatives in most areas of democratic life. Let him dream his little dreams, even if I think them misguided. (I will say that as a school director one would think he could write a more focused essay in which all the paragraphs had at least something to do with each other).

But the constant drumbeat by certain educational brahmin against the awfulness of "skills being learned by drill", and how said practice crushes the joy of learning is simplistic and childish. (1)Very little in life is mastered without practice and drilling to start with, and (2) only very bad teachers would be so short-sighted as to leave off once the drilling is over and not apply the newly-learned skills to higher-level activities. On the other hand, only very bad teachers would not make sure fundamental skills were in place before giving students autonomy to teach themselves things. How would you like the writer of the following to be in charge of educating most kids in our country?

Students choose these activities and I'm convinced that if students had more choice in what they learned and classes were more project- and problem-based, more experiential and hands-on, students would develop the essential skills for the 21st century. In other words, the three Rs would be replaced by the three Cs - creative problem solving, collaboration and communication - integrating the basic skills in deeper, more relevant learning experiences.

Yeah. Want to know what most of my kids would like to "choose" to apply the three C's to? Didn't think so.

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