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#1605916 - 01/26/11 11:13 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
alexb Offline
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Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 265
Loc: USA
Growing up behind the Iron Curtain, I find this in poor taste to be honest. I've seen enough of these propaganda posters as a kid - don't need them again. But poor taste is common, as I saw a recent article where people were auctioning communist paintings for the rich to put on their walls..

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#1605936 - 01/26/11 11:31 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Alexb,

Why poor taste?

I will admit that I chuckled at the first one. Taking an archetype like this and using it in a very different context is a pretty standard way of injecting humor. It's also a way of puncturing the pious seriousness of this form of propaganda art. When I was growing up over here (not behind the Iron Curtain) I used to laugh at this kind of poster even without the cute rewriting. The utter inability of Stalinist art to recognize its own pomposity was a joke in and of itself.
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#1605940 - 01/26/11 11:39 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
LaRate Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 250
Loc: Germany
People are just way too easily offended these days. ;-)
Talking about being offended: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybi64lRvzDk

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#1605941 - 01/26/11 11:41 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: malkin]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Send the kids to Amy Chua's school. They will learn how to practice in a short time.


I imagine that her kids get their homework done too.

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Read the book. Ms Chua is nothing but a common variety stage mom using cultural differences as a cover.


Please, I'd rather read forums or mail order catalogs! Mama Chua is tedious.

Aren't they all, but the product, well, that's another issue!
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#1605987 - 01/26/11 12:35 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: alexb]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: alexb
Growing up behind the Iron Curtain, I find this in poor taste to be honest. I've seen enough of these propaganda posters as a kid - don't need them again. But poor taste is common, as I saw a recent article where people were auctioning communist paintings for the rich to put on their walls..


Why poor taste? Seriously, please explain?

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#1605991 - 01/26/11 12:37 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: LaRate]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: LaRate
People are just way too easily offended these days. ;-)


If I do something you find offensive, be as offended as you like and then walk away. If I do you harm, that's another matter.

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#1605994 - 01/26/11 12:40 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Elissa Milne]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
I have heard about the geographical disinterest of many US citizens, but still, this is a very funny thought.

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/world_according_to_americans.png

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#1606048 - 01/26/11 01:57 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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All propaganda is poor taste. Let's not forget the US has its own - fish never notice the water they swim in (until maybe you catch 'em). There's something to be said for the not-so-subtle eastern block variety.
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#1606063 - 01/26/11 02:21 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Piano*Dad]
alexb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 265
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Alexb,

Why poor taste?

I will admit that I chuckled at the first one. Taking an archetype like this and using it in a very different context is a pretty standard way of injecting humor. It's also a way of puncturing the pious seriousness of this form of propaganda art. When I was growing up over here (not behind the Iron Curtain) I used to laugh at this kind of poster even without the cute rewriting. The utter inability of Stalinist art to recognize its own pomposity was a joke in and of itself.


If I have to explain it, then the point is lost I think. But I'll try: Because it's propaganda that has nothing humorous in it. Am I offended? Not at all. It's not personal, but I find it poor taste. Just as I said people buying Communist art pieces and putting hanging them on their walls. Same with Che T-Shirts, etc. To a large degree it shows a lack of understanding. But that's mankind I suppose. Not a big deal at all, just an observation I made. I bet nobody is going to put a Nazi poster up (besides wacko extremists). Why's that? Think about it. To me they are the same in many ways. Anyway, we had enough controversy with Lang Lang this week - I just made an observation. Not offended - no biggie!

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#1606131 - 01/26/11 04:22 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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I think German posters from the 30's and 40's would be fun too. I think one would have to stay away from swasticas, that's all. Demonising the whole period, when hopefully there was quite a bit of innocence around, takes it too far. Still, maybe I'm wrong.
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#1606296 - 01/26/11 08:09 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Elissa Milne]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19472
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne


Regarding homework there is a range of research supporting a finding of homework being useless.
One can virtually always find some "research" to suuport one's opinions. As a teacher of 33 years I completely disagree with this statement and the other more specific points in your post beneath it.

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#1606301 - 01/26/11 08:11 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Elissa Milne]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
There's substantial evidence that homework is of little value, particularly because most homework is busy-work rather than creative. Practice, on the other hand......
There are certainly many more types of homework than the two you mention. It's not a case of one or the other.


Edited by pianoloverus (01/26/11 08:12 PM)

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#1606304 - 01/26/11 08:18 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
Overexposed Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
My child is in 8th grade and never gets much homework. Maybe it will change once he is in high school.

But with the district's goal of "closing the gap" I wonder if they decreased homework knowing that some kids will excel by doing homework, while others fall farther behind.

I'm always suspicious about "closing the gap" goals. Since the only ways to do this is to bring up performance of low achievers and/or bring down performance of top achievers. But this is another topic.

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#1606783 - 01/27/11 02:43 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: pianoloverus]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne


Regarding homework there is a range of research supporting a finding of homework being useless.
One can virtually always find some "research" to suuport one's opinions. As a teacher of 33 years I completely disagree with this statement and the other more specific points in your post beneath it.
I'm bemused by the implication that my opinion was that homework is useless right from the start, and that I then found research to support it.

It's entirely possible to note research findings that do not coincide with one's opinions. It's also entirely possible to assess research and change one's opinion based on the evidence presented.

Research linking smoking to lung cancer coincides with my opinion, but I can assure you that my opinions were formed by the emergence of the research and not vice versa.
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#1606812 - 01/27/11 03:28 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keystring Offline
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Loc: Canada
When it comes to research by academics or people sending out surveys, I prefer to talk in depth to people in the field who understand their profession and with a long enough period of experience. It also helps if you have practiced that profession within a variety of scenarios. I am not at all impressed by what was quoted before.

Just take the one statement that "homework" (which was not defined) is useless. Take algebra or physics at the high school level. Can anyone reasonably propose that a student attend algebra classes, does NOT work on equations (homework) yet manages to absorb it? Or what is the alternative - do enough questions in the class? How long will the classes be? Does a teacher still have time to teach? Can it be done with enough quietness? The statement that homework is useless is nonsensical. It does not seem well thought through at all.

It's just too general for my liking.

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#1606827 - 01/27/11 03:52 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keystring]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: keystring
I prefer to talk in depth to people in the field who understand their profession and with a long enough period of experience. It also helps if you have practiced that profession within a variety of scenarios.
I not only went to school I've taught in one for a few decades! As I've said there's nothing simple about this issue.
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#1606835 - 01/27/11 04:01 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11737
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: keystring
I prefer to talk in depth to people in the field who understand their profession and with a long enough period of experience. It also helps if you have practiced that profession within a variety of scenarios.
I not only went to school I've taught in one for a few decades! As I've said there's nothing simple about this issue.

I agree with you. My response was in regards to the studies that were cited with their simple and generalized conclusions, as though all teaching everywhere in all subjects was done the same everywhere by everyone, and as though all subjects required the same treatment. Homework for the sake of homework and because it is "good for you" is asinine. But the generalities made by those studies seem simplistic when - as you say - there's nothing simple about this issue.

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#1606944 - 01/27/11 06:07 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Elissa Milne]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19472
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
I'm bemused by the implication that my opinion was that homework is useless right from the start, and that I then found research to support it.
What I really meant was that on a subject as complex/hot button as the value of homework, I'm sure there are research articles supporting both sides. But I'd guess by the tone of your posts that you agree with the research you mentioned.

Based on my 33 years of teaching I strongly think that homework is very important, and that the huge majority of teachers at the schools I've worked at don't assign "busy work" (which I'd define as work requiring no thinking).


Edited by pianoloverus (01/27/11 06:09 PM)

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#1606972 - 01/27/11 06:41 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Music teacher?
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
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#1607127 - 01/27/11 11:15 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Overexposed]
FormerFF Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 476
Loc: Roswell, GA, USA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
My child is in 8th grade and never gets much homework. Maybe it will change once he is in high school.

But with the district's goal of "closing the gap" I wonder if they decreased homework knowing that some kids will excel by doing homework, while others fall farther behind.

I'm always suspicious about "closing the gap" goals. Since the only ways to do this is to bring up performance of low achievers and/or bring down performance of top achievers. But this is another topic.


Wow, my third grader has had more than an hour's worth each night this week. It's not always that much, part of it is that the standardized tests are coming up.

It can be a chore to get a nine year old back to the table to do her homework when she wants to run around.
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#1607275 - 01/28/11 08:34 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keystring]
kck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 268
Originally Posted By: keystring

Just take the one statement that "homework" (which was not defined) is useless. Take algebra or physics at the high school level. Can anyone reasonably propose that a student attend algebra classes, does NOT work on equations (homework) yet manages to absorb it? Or what is the alternative - do enough questions in the class? How long will the classes be? Does a teacher still have time to teach? Can it be done with enough quietness? The statement that homework is useless is nonsensical. It does not seem well thought through at all.

It's just too general for my liking.


Just as an aside, my 4th grader is homeschooled. He is literally doing high school algebra right now. He spends 30-45 minutes on it 4-5 days a week. And he's on track to finish the course/text by summer break. I pulled my kid after 1st grade from school because he was ahead academically (and he was miserable). But honestly, I'm stunned at what little time it takes us to get through material. He schools 2-3 hours a day typically. And as a side benefit, he has an hour to practice piano! grin And then he has plenty of hours to be a kid, do other extracurricular activities, and read.

So, I'm quite opposed to sending home more than 10 minutes of work for kids in elementary to do after they've been at it and sitting in a desk for 6 hours. There were some real time management issues at our previous school. And yes, I do think it's possible to do targeted work on a subject like algebra and not need to work on it for extra hours every week. I think high school is a time to bridge to the work load of college. I'm not sure the current model is the best one for that.
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#1607296 - 01/28/11 09:11 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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In algebra you either understand it or you don't. My experience is many don't, which means they spend loads of time rote learning formulas and procedures. It's rather hard on those with an immediate grasp. With those that don't it's a life problem - unless they're allowed to retrace quite a bit they'll never really be secure at Piaget's formal operations stage. There's an obvious parallel in music - students who understand what they're doing vs those who just do what they're told.
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#1607393 - 01/28/11 11:02 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Algebra codifies basic concepts. If those concepts were taught properly in earlier grades, rather than going for rote memorization and workbook-filling without understanding, then algebra isn't a big deal. It isn't a matter of some kids not naturally getting it, or not having the ability. It is a matter of teaching what is missing in a way that it can be grasped. You get student after student who "has had a problem" with something, and regular teachers accepting that he "has" that problem - get at what isn't understood or what is missing - and voila, he no longer "has" that problem. Of course there are kids who are just slow learners, but often that isn't the case.

Quote:
There's an obvious parallel in music - students who understand what they're doing vs those who just do what they're told.

Agreed! And that is what teaching should aim for.

Our educational system in most parts of the world is messed up. You have people wanting to get elected creating illusions for the electorate which prevents teachers from teaching effectively. Tests stop being a tool that is part of the teaching process, and they become the actual goal. Teaching becomes a matter of passing the tests, when tests themselves are severely limited. Attendance and school hours are a matter of keeping the kids off the street. Pressure for homework as homework's sake in order to keep that same electorate happy that we are "educating" kids also prevents real learning from taking place.

It is no coincidence that a disproportionate number of homeschooling parents are teachers, who sometimes put their own careers on hold in order to give their children a proper base. We are taught how to plan and design homework and other learning activities, and also how to teach. But can teachers effectively do it? The first thing I was told by the veterans when I began teaching was "Play lip service to the directives, and do what works in reality." That was a few decades ago.

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#1607404 - 01/28/11 11:11 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keystring]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring
Algebra codifies basic concepts. If those concepts were taught properly in earlier grades, rather than going for rote memorization and workbook-filling without understanding, then algebra isn't a big deal. It isn't a matter of some kids not naturally getting it, or not having the ability. It is a matter of teaching what is missing in a way that it can be grasped.
I did kinda say that - some kids need to retrace their steps to where the material was (probably) poorly delivered in the first place. And yes, when the evil eye of politics got cast in education's direction it was the kiss of death to childrens' potential.
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#1607423 - 01/28/11 11:32 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
In algebra you either understand it or you don't. My experience is many don't, which means they spend loads of time rote learning formulas and procedures.
Having taught Algebra for 33 years and in over 50 classes, I'm not really sure what you mean here. There are all kinds of intermediate levels of understanding in every subject including any kind of math. The teacher's job is to try and get the most number of students understanding the material at the highest level they can. Although students often phrase things as "I didn't know the formulas", the actual formulas used are maybe 1% of what's involved and are sometimes even given to students during a test because they're not part of understanding the material.


Edited by pianoloverus (01/28/11 11:34 AM)

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#1607447 - 01/28/11 12:07 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11737
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: keystring
Algebra codifies basic concepts. If those concepts were taught properly in earlier grades, rather than going for rote memorization and workbook-filling without understanding, then algebra isn't a big deal. It isn't a matter of some kids not naturally getting it, or not having the ability. It is a matter of teaching what is missing in a way that it can be grasped.
I did kinda say that - some kids need to retrace their steps to where the material was (probably) poorly delivered in the first place. And yes, when the evil eye of politics got cast in education's direction it was the kiss of death to childrens' potential.


Yes, I guess we are saying the same thing.

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#1607453 - 01/28/11 12:17 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keystring]
kck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 268
Originally Posted By: keystring
Algebra codifies basic concepts. If those concepts were taught properly in earlier grades, rather than going for rote memorization and workbook-filling without understanding, then algebra isn't a big deal.


I would absolutely agree with this (and the rest of your post for that matter). I have a math degree and have taught/tutored math as well. If math were addressed at more conceptual level earlier, it would serve kids better later. Part of the problem I have with the system right now for my kids is some kids have mastery after doing 10 practice problems, some kids need 20, some kids need 100. I do not think it serves kids well to make them to rote work instead of letting kids move at more their own pace. Anyway, completely off topic, but this led to us homeschooling our kids. Both my husband and I were engineers and have higher degrees (and are not homeschooling for religious reasons).
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#1607459 - 01/28/11 12:21 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: pianoloverus]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Having taught Algebra for 33 years and in over 50 classes, I'm not really sure what you mean here. There are all kinds of intermediate levels of understanding in every subject including any kind of math.
Though I'm having great respect here for your knowledge and experience etc. I can't help asking what do you know of Piaget and abstract thinking? As far as I'm aware that particular boat is easily missed (not by nice middle-class Swiss children though).
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#1607460 - 01/28/11 12:24 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: kck]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Originally Posted By: kck
Part of the problem I have with the system right now for my kids is some kids have mastery after doing 10 practice problems, some kids need 20, some kids need 100.
Exactly! I had to explain this to one of the smartest kids in the school the other week. I said to him don't get taken advantage of - ask for different work if you've got what everyone's doing under your belt.
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#1607562 - 01/28/11 02:37 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: kck]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19472
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: kck
Part of the problem I have with the system right now for my kids is some kids have mastery after doing 10 practice problems, some kids need 20, some kids need 100. I do not think it serves kids well to make them to rote work instead of letting kids move at more their own pace.
I think there is a difference between rote work and doing more than enough problems required to master a topic. The only way to have an instuction personalized for every student so each gets just the right amount of practice is to have the entire course taught via computer. In a practical classroom setting a teacher should be teaching and assigning homework for somewhere near the middle ability level of the class.

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