Archives for category: education

This (Quotes and thoughts from this post on functional illiteracy):

“im emailing u because i need a grade from you on my progress report tomorrow or else i cant play sat if you could do that i would gladly appreciate it….also while i was looking at my grades on blackboard i saw a E for the folk and religious music quiz…i was wondering did i miss that day or did i just not get any points on the quiz”

Is an example of this:

“According to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 4th graders in the United States tested behind Hong Kong, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Kazakstan, the Russian Federation, England, Latvia, the Netherlands, and Lithuania in mathematics achievement, and behind Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Russian Federation, Latvia, and England in science achievement. “

While literacy is not science achievement, it is a worrying correlation that America spend the same amount of money and time on students and their achievements are sliding.

Which is why the next bit seems key, and I think phenomenon in Britain also:

“the disturbing trend among 21st-century students where learning is seen as a passive endeavour — they show up, sit there, what else do they need to do? Not to mention their inability to function in face-to-face situations, their lack of respect for authority, and their dependence on technology to the point of obsession (facebook, texting — to the point where whole papers are written in textspeak — no commas, no apostrophes, no capitalizations).”

Maybe I’m old, and cranky beyond my age, but I want to be a good ancestor, and I want to be part of a system where education, and its uses are important.

Also, does it strike anybody else as perhaps related that the student in the quote says he can’t play on ‘sat’, which I presume is Saturday, and not an SAT test he can ‘play’, which means he’s at college in America for sport. Might explain the bad literacy, which is also sad.


Below is an extract from a piece about teaching kids through asking questions, in this case binary arithmetic.

39) Okay, let’s go back to our two-fingered aliens arithmetic. We

0          zero

1          one.

What would we do to write “two” if we did the same thing we do over
here [tens] to write the next number after you run out of numerals?


40) What should we call it?


41) Right! Because the first number we need it for is ___?


42) So what do we put in the two’s column? How many two’s are there
in two?


43) And how many one’s extra?


44) So then two looks like this: [pointing to “10”], right?


45) No, only to you guys, because you were taught it wrong [grin]
— to the aliens it is two. They learn it that way in pre-school just as
you learn to call one, zero [pointing to “10”] “ten”. But it’s not really
ten, right? It’s two — if you only had two fingers. How long does it take
a little kid in pre-school to learn to read numbers, especially numbers
with more than one numeral or column?


46) Is there anything obvious about calling “one, zero” “ten” or
do you have to be taught to call it “ten” instead of “one, zero”?


47) Ok, I’m teaching you different. What is “1, 0” here?


The rest is here