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#1605435 - 01/25/11 04:00 PM My War on Homework
keyboardklutz Offline
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I'm getting this printed out to display at school:
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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1605498 - 01/25/11 05:47 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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I've seen that poster before, and it most certainly wasn't about practicing!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
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#1605501 - 01/25/11 06:00 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5458
Loc: Orange County, CA
I think schools should teach time management skills before they pile on the homework. Kids are really busy nowadays, and most of them don't know how to juggle their schedules very well. Heck, their parents don't know how to juggle schedules, either.

I've been seeing what my students are doing for homework. It's really not that much different than what I experienced 20 years ago. In fact, I'd say they're doing slightly less work, with time-savers like the Internet. They're just challenged with more distractions like computer games and texting...
_________________________
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#1605505 - 01/25/11 06:03 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Here's another:
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1605513 - 01/25/11 06:21 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
findingnemo2010 Offline
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Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
I'm getting this printed out to display at school:


I am sure the school will be abashed/flabbergasted yet in agreement.
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#1605534 - 01/25/11 06:59 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Registered: 01/11/10
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Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
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......
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1605564 - 01/25/11 07:51 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Elissa Milne]
bitWrangler Offline
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Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1788
Loc: Central TX
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......


Careful now, you are effectively saying well executed practice is better than poorly executed homework. Point is both are important and useful if done properly just as both can be abused and used to waste time and result in little advancement. AAMOF, it wouldn't surprise me at all, given the amount of kvetching that occurs on this forum about poor (piano) student habits, that the percentage of "useful" practice is roughly equiv to the amount of "useful" homework in the general population smile

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#1605599 - 01/25/11 08:54 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keystring Online   content
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Properly designed and planned homework and practice assignment, following proper teaching, preceded by proper planning without compromise to outside agendas. Only then can you talk about proper homework habits, and proper practicing habits. Otherwise a student is most successful by ignoring what he's been told to do, and finding something that works. (which is a somewhat hit and miss affair)

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#1605628 - 01/25/11 09:57 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Elissa Milne]
findingnemo2010 Offline
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Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
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......


Homework is only of little value because most kids don't do it.
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#1605633 - 01/25/11 10:02 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1195
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Here's another:


Assuming you live in The Land Of The Free (as long as you can afford it), are your customers going to be relaxed about their children being compared to Young Pioneers in front of a map of Russia? It's a long time since I visited the US, but remember being surprised by the phobia against Communism, rather than the reasoned opinion I was used to home in the UK :-)

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#1605638 - 01/25/11 10:13 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Exalted Wombat]
findingnemo2010 Offline
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Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Here's another:


Assuming you live in The Land Of The Free (as long as you can afford it), are your customers going to be relaxed about their children being compared to Young Pioneers in front of a map of Russia? It's a long time since I visited the US, but remember being surprised by the phobia against Communism, rather than the reasoned opinion I was used to home in the UK :-)


Offensive yet genius?
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#1605708 - 01/26/11 12:26 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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I could probably reshape the map to the US.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1605712 - 01/26/11 12:37 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Exalted Wombat]
malkin Offline
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Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2513
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat

Assuming you live in The Land Of The Free (as long as you can afford it), are your customers going to be relaxed about their children being compared to Young Pioneers in front of a map of Russia? It's a long time since I visited the US, but remember being surprised by the phobia against Communism, rather than the reasoned opinion I was used to home in the UK :-)


I doubt that the majority of US citizens could identify either a map of Russia or one of the Soviet Unior and even fewer could articulate the difference between the two.


Edited by malkin (01/26/11 12:40 AM)
Edit Reason: Fix my messed up HTML
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#1605717 - 01/26/11 12:52 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
keyboardklutz, it's all HILARIOUS!

Regarding homework there is a range of research supporting a finding of homework being useless.

The first element is the quality of the homework being assigned. Mostly homework is assigned for the sake of assigning homework, not for genuine educational outcomes. So that's a big fail.

The second element is the uniform learning experience represented by most homework assignments, usually not utilising creative thinking or lateral thinking. This singular kind of learning experience, irrespective of discipline, creates a limited learning framework for the student.

Then there is the aspect of parents ending up completely assignments (or even doing them in toto) to remove the pressure from the children.

Related to this is evidence that teenagers need more sleep, and extensive homework assignments can only be completed at the cost of much needed sleep which will aid emotional balance as well as physical health.

And so forth. The evidence is clear that hours of homework done do not have a causal correlation with achievement in the classroom, or in real life subsequent to the school years.

Don't underestimate the impact the school curriculum (rarely skill-based, instead mostly focussed on various kinds of enculturation) has in these studies: if the lessons being taught in schools were skill-based then home 'practice' would see a direct and positive result.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1605718 - 01/26/11 12:54 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: malkin]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat

Assuming you live in The Land Of The Free (as long as you can afford it), are your customers going to be relaxed about their children being compared to Young Pioneers in front of a map of Russia? It's a long time since I visited the US, but remember being surprised by the phobia against Communism, rather than the reasoned opinion I was used to home in the UK :-)


I doubt that the majority of US citizens could identify either a map of Russia or one of the Soviet Unior and even fewer could articulate the difference between the two.


I have heard about the geographical disinterest of many US citizens, but still, this is a very funny thought.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1605720 - 01/26/11 12:57 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: malkin]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: malkin

I doubt that the majority of US citizens could identify either a map of Russia or one of the Soviet Unior and even fewer could articulate the difference between the two.
Too true! Yes, you're right there Elissa - a pupil told me last week that research found homework next to useless.

I've changed the second one so it's not quite so white:

What cha think?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1605736 - 01/26/11 01:37 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Registered: 03/11/08
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Send the kids to Amy Chua's school. They will learn how to practice in a short time.

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#1605789 - 01/26/11 06:08 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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The interesting thing is the posters just may work. The little darlings will know nothing of the provenance and they should do the job on their little subconsciousness's! If I could just think up a new name for Uncle Joe...
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
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#1605804 - 01/26/11 06:57 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1195
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
The interesting thing is the posters just may work. The little darlings will know nothing of the provenance and they should do the job on their little subconsciousness's! If I could just think up a new name for Uncle Joe...


"Sam" is a nice name :-)

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#1605811 - 01/26/11 07:13 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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What about Uncle Dave? It's a shame - shave the moustache off and you'd have Gordon Brown!
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#1605821 - 01/26/11 07:52 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
LaRate Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 250
Loc: Germany
I was a young pioneer in East Germany (GDR). It was about the lamest thing you could be... well apart from the fact that everybody in my class (except for one kid with religious parents) was a young pioneer.

We used to wear that scarf thingy as a mask to play pretend cowboy bandits - for doing this one earned detention with a stern teacher that was the school's head of the pioneers.

Those were the days...
I'm glad they're gone.

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#1605831 - 01/26/11 08:30 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Hey, I love the cowboy thing! Aren't kids refreshing - the best laid schemes of mice and men!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1605833 - 01/26/11 08:36 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Elissa Milne]
keystring Online   content
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Loc: Canada
Especially in higher grades, we cannot master a subject simply by having somebody tell us about it in the classroom. You master algebra by doing algebra. You understand music theory by working with it, not by being told about it. You need a time where someone is explaining, showing, correcting, answering - that's classes or lessons. And time for the doing - that's work in the classroom and homework at home. This assumes intelligently designed work which is done intelligently.

If that research concludes homework is useless, then it hasn't been thought through. What is given, how, how much, and why, are factors, as well as how it is done. There is a lot of nonsense in "the System" as well as in society's mindset which interferes. Both practicing and homework are powerful things that should be prepared carefully, yet it is often almost ignored. All the focus is on teaching, as though the learning activity came from that.

Learning is impeded everywhere. Because of the educational system, teaching is toward tests, which are used to measure schools, a lot of it set up by administrators who are far removed from any learning mind. Hours of homework are assigned to keep kids off the street and give the illusion of education. Music doesn't escape this. Teachers must teach toward exams, competitions, impressing parents and peers in recitals, rather than teaching what is needed for musicianship. When we are part of the system, we must compromise our teaching - the danger comes when we are no longer aware of it and think that getting kids to pass tests or have x hours of homework *is* the purpose of education. It isn't.

In another thread, about sight reading, part of Akira's quote from research involves the same thing. In this quote, we see some music teachers whose students do exams also compromising what they teach for the sake of the exam. They were quoted as giving tricks to give the impression of sight reading ability, rather than teaching the skill as such. True teaching cannot be measured and put on handy graphs, and the results are not as obvious or linear.

Since we are all caught in a "system", and that system is necessary because we need some source of mass education, we can at least recognize it for it is, and try to teach and learn despite that system. What I'm trying to say is that homework is part of something bigger. I don't think that music lessons are always exempt from it.


Edited by keystring (01/26/11 08:39 AM)
Edit Reason: silly spelling and grammar stuff

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#1605837 - 01/26/11 08:48 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Simple issue it's not.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1605842 - 01/26/11 09:02 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Elissa Milne]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
keyboardklutz, it's all HILARIOUS!

Regarding homework there is a range of research supporting a finding of homework being useless.

The first element is the quality of the homework being assigned. Mostly homework is assigned for the sake of assigning homework, not for genuine educational outcomes. So that's a big fail.

The second element is the uniform learning experience represented by most homework assignments, usually not utilising creative thinking or lateral thinking. This singular kind of learning experience, irrespective of discipline, creates a limited learning framework for the student.

Then there is the aspect of parents ending up completely assignments (or even doing them in toto) to remove the pressure from the children.

Related to this is evidence that teenagers need more sleep, and extensive homework assignments can only be completed at the cost of much needed sleep which will aid emotional balance as well as physical health.

And so forth. The evidence is clear that hours of homework done do not have a causal correlation with achievement in the classroom, or in real life subsequent to the school years.

Don't underestimate the impact the school curriculum (rarely skill-based, instead mostly focussed on various kinds of enculturation) has in these studies: if the lessons being taught in schools were skill-based then home 'practice' would see a direct and positive result.


Just catching up on this thread...I really like this post Elissa! And it confirms what I always suspected.
_________________________
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MTNA member
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1605849 - 01/26/11 09:12 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Elissa Milne]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
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......


Please don't take this the wrong way. I'm interested in this issue and I'm thinking out loud ...

"Busy work" homework and much of instrument practice seems at first blush to me to be about much the same thing .... drilling a habit deep into the medulla so that an idea or a technique (in the case of the music) becomes habitual. You can reproduce it without much conscious effort.

I am no fan of busywork in the schools and I have battle scars to prove it. For me, the 'busywork' of piano practice is much more valuable than the kind of busywork often encountered in the schools, but that's more about my judgment of the content.
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#1605850 - 01/26/11 09:12 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
ROMagister Offline
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Registered: 04/26/08
Posts: 518
Loc: Bucuresti, Romania
1) I also was a Pionier in the Socialist Republic of Romania. The scarf was similar to the Soviet one, red but with Romanian flag colors (blue-yellow-red) on the border. It was quasi-universal and pretty harmless, more a sort of being generally a good guy/gal at school. One could get expelled for serious things, like organized theft in petty gangs. Right after 1989, the fall of Communism, some played pirate-scarf with the scarf; after some 10 years, some did wear it at alumni reunions as a sign of nostalgia (for our childhood/adolescence, not anything communist).
Compare with a less serious and pervasive Scouting (don't know how seriously that is taken now in the US, or the West generally, by kids, parents, general teachers and specific Scouting instructors).

2) The title of this thread... at first I thought how can music teachers eliminate imposing *their* homework to that kids already have from regular school ;-)
Seriously, have music teachers thought how to organize teaching with the best effectiveness possible around little or no home-practice ?

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#1605851 - 01/26/11 09:15 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
LaRate Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 250
Loc: Germany
As a kid, I never did any homework after school. I just couldn't bring myself to focus in the afternoon, even less in the evening.

It was much easier for me, to get up an hour early in the morning to do my homework before school (our school started at 7). Then again, we didn't use to get "hours of homework". Most of it could be done quite quickly, some of it could be skipped altogether. This was something, an american exchange student noticed as particular about school in Germany - there was very little redundance in homework assignments.

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#1605853 - 01/26/11 09:17 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: RonaldSteinway]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Send the kids to Amy Chua's school. They will learn how to practice in a short time.

Read the book. Ms Chua is nothing but a common variety stage mom using cultural differences as a cover.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1605866 - 01/26/11 09:44 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: John v.d.Brook]
malkin Offline
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Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2513
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
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.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#1605916 - 01/26/11 11:13 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
alexb Offline
Full Member

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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Registered: 04/12/05
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
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.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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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
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
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!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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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: 1195
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
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1195
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: 1195
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
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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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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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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]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
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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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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 Online   content
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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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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 Online   content
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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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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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Music teacher?
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#1607127 - 01/27/11 11:15 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
FormerFF Offline
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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
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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 Online   content
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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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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 Online   content
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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
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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.


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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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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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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#1607569 - 01/28/11 02:49 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keystring]
TimR Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring

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.


I would like to see some data to support that.

In fact, I'd like to see ANY kind of decent data on ANY homeschooling issue. (outside of that host of articles by Dr. Brian Ray!)

But I risk digressing. Sorry. Back to topic.

Did you ever do physics problems? Or the similar kind of problem that is taught in engineering statics and dynamics courses? The concepts aren't that difficult. You'd think you could learn the concept, solve one problem as proof, and drive on to the next topic. But it doesn't work that way. Though I don't understand why, I can tell you from experience that after you grind through a sufficient number of problems something else is learned, and you can pass the exam. And if you don't do your homework, you had very little chance of passing the exam, at least in my classes.
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#1607577 - 01/28/11 02:54 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: pianoloverus]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
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.
In this country teachers are required to. It's called differentiation (sadly only done when the inspectors are around).
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#1607593 - 01/28/11 03:21 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
kck Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
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.
In this country teachers are required to. It's called differentiation (sadly only done when the inspectors are around).


Wow - I don't agree with KBK every day of the week, but here I definitely do. smile Sadly, school systems in the US are in generally unable to think outside the NCLB box. There are cases of particular schools doing a good job, but that's certainly not the rule.

I think the base of homeschoolers in the US has changed drastically over the past 10 years. Our family doesn't fit any stereotype out there about homeschooing families. But we're in good company in our urban area.
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#1607649 - 01/28/11 04:53 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: TimR]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: keystring

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.


I would like to see some data to support that.

I threw away my homeschooling material a long time ago, Tim. My kids are young adults, and they both chose to go into the school system when they were high school age. Over here homeschoolers network. For example, you can get a science program, museum or factory tour - whatever is open for field trips and programs for schools - if you can get the numbers together. So we meet each other and there are also newsletters so that we can stay informed. I'm rather sure that this was mentioned in newsletters. But more than that, a disproportionate number of homeschooling parents were teachers. I did this for ten years.
Quote:

Did you ever do physics problems? Or the similar kind of problem that is taught in engineering statics and dynamics courses? The concepts aren't that difficult. You'd think you could learn the concept, solve one problem as proof, and drive on to the next topic. But it doesn't work that way. Though I don't understand why, I can tell you from experience that after you grind through a sufficient number of problems something else is learned, and you can pass the exam. And if you don't do your homework, you had very little chance of passing the exam, at least in my classes.

That is what I was thinking of.

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#1607666 - 01/28/11 05:26 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
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.
In this country teachers are required to. It's called differentiation (sadly only done when the inspectors are around).
Required to do what? If you mean have every student in the same class proceed at a different pace suitable for them , I'd question how that is even remotely possible.

If differentiation is only done when inspectors are around, I'd guess that means it's mostly not done.

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#1607683 - 01/28/11 05:42 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Here's ILPs for instance:
Quote:
Government see an effective Individual Learning Plan (ILP) being at the heart of assessment, learning, support and achievement. It helps the learner to become an active, motivated partner in learning and a key strand of the 14-19 entitlement, contributing to the raising of the participation age.
Learning providers may wish to combine the review and planning process at a single meeting. As with the review process, planning will only be effective for the learner if they feel ownership of the goals and have decided their own actions. Some schools and colleges may find it useful to use the ILP to engage parents and carers in the review of their child’s progress.
Do
It is desirable that the Plan/Do/Review cycle operates at subject level as well as whole institution level, and that subject reviews feed into the holistic Individual Learning Plan. It provides learner’s with a powerful tool for making comparisons across subjects by synthesising and analysing their skills development and performance across all aspects of their learning.
We used to call it a report card!

Here's another nifty quote:
Quote:
Although there may be common learning goals and methods of delivery for all learners on a particular course, it is unlikely that all learners have exactly the same learning styles, abilities, support needs, access to assessment in the workplace (if applicable), previous qualifications or experience. Too many vocationally-based courses have identical individual learning plans where only the names of learners are different. Some will struggle to achieve them while others will find them too easy and lose interest by not being sufficiently challenged.
There's thousands of pages of this stuff - all government sanctioned.

and:
Quote:
This is based upon screening, initial and diagnostic Assessment, and follows agreement with the learner on goals and targets. A completed ILP should include:

Results of assessments;

The learner’s long-term goals;

The goals of the program to be followed, cross-referenced to the national standards or core curriculum;

Any other goals that the learner wishes to achieve, both social and personal;

Targets and dates for meeting them;

A programme of dated progress reviews;

Space to record achievement of targets and any developments in the ILP;
I think I'd better stop now.
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#1608540 - 01/30/11 12:03 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
Pete the bean Offline
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I put up the first damn the homework poster in my studio today. The first student that came and asked, "What's damn mommy?." I took the poster down. The mother thought that it was a good idea. frown

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#1610022 - 02/01/11 02:20 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
Mermanof83 Offline
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High school senior in the US here. My simple address to everything people in this thread are talking about is: it depends on the student.

I'll use math as an example here because it is such a homework heavy subject. I took Algebra 2 freshman year and didn't do half the homework that was assigned. I scored 97% on the final exam and finished the class with a C because of so many zeros on assignments. I took AP Calculus last year, didn't do a quarter of the homework assignments, then just studied efficiently in April and passed the AP exam with a 5, and the class with a B first semester, and an A second semester (less homework second semester).

I won't speak for others and their situations, but I'd just like to say that every student really needs different work loads and different teaching methods. In my eyes, the only possible way to at least partly address that is to assign homework, but make it optional.

I noticed a lot more 'busy-work' in middle school (like coloring assignments) than in high school, but a lot of high school work seems unnecessary to me, so I suppose you could term it busy-work as well. It is definitely a much more subjective label in high school, and not at all universal, because we almost never get useless assignments akin to coloring. They are generally for practice, whether needed or not.

Sadly, because of the necessity to cover material slowly in school in order to keep everyone on track, we won't be able to match home school's short hours.

As for assessing learning, testing isn't really that difficult an issue. I know most of the tests I've been taking in AP Stats this year cover the material pretty fairly and thoroughly. This isn't always the case (read: my sadistic Physics teacher marked us wrong when we screwed up on horribly written questions), but usually covers things. A certain amount of material needs to be covered by the end of the year, so break it up and mandate that everyone learns the material by certian checkpoints (tests). I don't really see the issue. I know some people don't test well, but excluding timed tests, if you know the material you should be able to pass a test.

Anyone want to ask a question of someone currently going through the US public school system?

Edit: Mechanics
Edit 2: Disclaimer - My opinion on testing is less developed and more subjective than my opinion on homework.


Edited by Mermanof83 (02/01/11 02:24 AM)
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#1610033 - 02/01/11 03:03 AM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Hey, you sound really together. +1! How typical of the education system that you get penalized for understanding your subject! Do you notice teachers are dumb?
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#1610456 - 02/01/11 04:29 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
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I was one of those students who could test wonderfully in some classes and have lackluster grades because I tended to forget to do my homework. There were some classes where I would do every assignment and still fail miserably on the tests and turning in my homework was the only reason I passed. Some students need the practice, but if you understand already there's no point in doing a page of work every night just to show that you did it. In the US it seems we do a lot in the schools to help the students who need more time and a slower pace but not much for those that are ready to move on quicker than others. I was actually scolded by a teacher when I was in JR High for reading ahead in the Literature book after I finished reading the current assignment. Pretty absurd, huh?
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#1610471 - 02/01/11 04:41 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: Little_Blue_Engine]
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: Little_Blue_Engine
Pretty absurd, huh?
I have some ruder words for it.
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#1610789 - 02/01/11 11:19 PM Re: My War on Homework [Re: keyboardklutz]
malkin Offline
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Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2513
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Absurd sounds right to me:
utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false
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