Friday, 25 October 2013

Long time high school teachers of reddit, how have students changed over the years?

This answer appeared in the thread and I have reposted it here because I wonder what University teachers would say if asked the same question and whether students would agree or disagree upon investigation?

So I think I missed the boat here, but I interviewed my retired high school German teacher about the changes he experienced in education. His answers were great. Here it is:
Describe your expectations from students during your first years of teaching as compared to later years.
I always expected my students to do their best. Toward the end of my career the administration was requiring us to dumb things down and grade on a more lenient scale so every kids could be successful. For them it was always about the numbers.
Did your personal philosophy on teaching change throughout the course of your career?
No, I always felt my job was to make my students as knowledgeable about my subject as I could in order to help prepare them for life after high school.
What are the major changes you have seen in the education field?
It's been dumbed down. We don't encourage real excellence anymore. Instead it's more about uniformity, make it so everyone succeeds by lowering the standards. It's all about feel good, everyone passes, everyone gets the prize. All the attention is centered on the kids at the bottom, ignoring those at the top. The feeling is that the good kids will make it anyway.
Have the students changed? If so, how and why do you think that may be?
Yes, the world we live in has changed drastically since I started teaching, how could the kids not. We now have vast amounts of information at our fingertips, instantly. Many kids are much more informed about the world and what's going on. A negative aspect to that, though, was the distraction caused by cell phones. I also saw a shift in the approach to school, a more serious attempt to master their subjects and earn the best grades they could.
Have they remained the same in any aspect?
Absolutely, kids are still kids. They're still concerned with girlfriends and boyfriends, getting a license, getting a car, working, all the things kids have always been interested in.
What did you like and dislike most about teaching when you first began? During the last few years?
When I first started it was easier to relate to the kids and be accepted by them because I was closer to them in age. The difficult part was learning "the system", how the school really worked and who did what. It was also necessary to learn how to actually teach your subject matter; what pace to present the material at, how much to present at once, which concepts took more time and needed additional drilling, which order to present things in, etc. The last few years it was harder to relate to the kids because so much had changed that I had no experience of, also because of a built-in bias in our society where young people disdain older people as having nothing to offer them.
At what point did you enjoy teaching the most and why? The least?
I enjoyed teaching the most when I was in the classroom with my kids. I enjoyed it least when having to deal with an administration that was completely out of touch with reality. The vast amounts of useless paperwork they required that had nothing to do with the quality of classroom learning, just so they could point to a file cabinet and boast about what a wonderful school we had.
Do you feel the administration put forth their best efforts to provide a meaningful learning environment for both students and teachers? Please explain.
No, administration's first priority was always themselves, followed by the kids, then the teachers. They rarely asked for input and when on occassion they did, they ignored what they got. They would formulate the most ridiculous plans (without teacher input) that would inevitably fail, then blame the teachers for the failure. They were always generating paperwork to justify their existence.
If you could change anything the education field, what would it be?
Just about everything. Teachers would have a much greater say in the day-to-day running of the school. Administrators would be returned to a suppport position. I'd change to a more european system. Everyone would receive 9 years of general education, then you would specialize based on aptitude and test scores. College bound kids would receive 3 or 4 more years of more advanced work. The other students would move into technical schools and apprenticeships and start learning job skills. We waste too much time insisting on everyone having 12 years of general ed.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Charlatans and frauds

According to science, what is homeopathy?

Pseudo-medicine, a placebo, ineffective.

Homeopathy is very expensive water. (full marks on the mid-term, any other materially different answer gets zero).

Homework: go to

Report on what you find there.

What is the purpose of the organization?

Who is James Randi?

What is Avogadro's limit?

Leave your answers in the comments to this post.

Short Answers

01. What is the "hole in the wall" project?

It's a project where children in remote areas have access to a computer which allows them to teach themselves without a teacher.

Sugata Mitra

Meg Ray homework

:Homework for Monday, complete the exam questions with model answers. Add a tl;dr. The first one has been done for you.

Define the following terms as they are used by Psychologist Meg Ray.

Extended adolescence
Adolescence is commonly understood as beginning at birth and ending with the end of puberty. Extended adolescence is the detrimental prolongation of adolescent behaviours beyond puberty and the deferment of adult roles and adult responsibility. Some consequences named in the video include not being able to have the career you want, not being able to marry the person you want, not being able to have the children you want.


Extended adolescence is a continuation of pubescent behaviour post-puberty. Biological adulthood without social or mental adulthood.


Neologism describing a new generation of young adults trapped between adolescence and adulthood. They are mostly people who still live with their parents. They don't have jobs; or their jobs are part-time and often paid. Twixters tend to marry later and defer other important life decisions until later as well. synonym: kidults, peter-pan, young-at-heart, empty of wallet.

Polish equivalent: gniazdowniki (people who won't leave the nest)

Being intentional and making mindful choices.
Doing something on purpose. Thinking out your actions and acting on them.

To infantalize is to treat an adult person like a child or reduce their status to that of an infant or child.

Trivialized defining decade
Deprecating the value of your twenties.

Underestimating the most flexible time of our lives.

Benign neglect
Ignoring or dismissing as unimportant some issue immediately which manifests adverse consequences much later.

Blowing it
Failing to take advantage of an opportunity, when you are messing up, or screwing up, or doing something wrong

Robbed of urgency and ambition
Society's attitude towards twentysomethings encourages them to waste time, delay important life decisions, slack off. This is epitomized in the phrase "Your 30s are your new 20s"

The perception that twentysomethings have the option of  'do over,' ie. they can defer indefinitely important life decisions again and again.

Identity capital
An investment in who you want to be and what you want your life to look like. Identity capital is achieved by exploring work opportunities and engaging in meaningful relationship.

Investment in your adulthood and creating a social network to make a proper foundation for the future. It's about adding value to who you andwho you want to be.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

If Sugata Mitra's vision is fullfilled, how would this affect the ability for future employers to verify whether job applicants have aquired the necessary standard of education?

homework: write a short paragraph answer to this question and leave it in the comments to this post.

Remember to watch the next video in our prezi.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Short Answers


What does S.O.L.E. stand for and how does it work?

It stands for Self Organised Learning Environment. SOLE's purpose is to give people a chance to organize the process of learning for themselves by providing broadband internet access, collaboration, encouragement and praise. (2 marks)

Question 02
Compare and contrast the national Polish educational system to SOLE learning.