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#2011201 - 01/08/13 01:49 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: TimR]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11586
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: TimR

When I was in grad school I had an internship in an elementary school.

In what capacity, and what context? Were you in teacher training, or studying management issues, for example?
Quote:

Some of the teachers had very effective classroom management, others had great trouble controlling children. The latter blamed the children, of course, but when these passed to the next grade somehow their behavior magically improved.

For both effective and ineffective teachers, the approach was intuitive. Few had an understanding of what reinforcers maintained what behaviors. To an observer some of it was obvious, and even turned out to be teachable. The best teachers were the most eager to implement suggestions, while the worst insisted the problem was in the kids, not themselves.

I am not familiar with the American system. My teacher training was in Canada. The idea that the teachers you observed did not know about behaviour mod techniques surprises me, because over here that was taught in educational psychology.

My second question was whether effectiveness in the program you were in was measured in terms of management alone, or whether learning was included in the equation?

I also had internships in my teacher training. I studied with 4 different teachers. Later I taught in the system, and still later I worked one-on-one with students, especially in helping with problems. I have some training in learning disabilities, and studied alternative teaching methods after my formal training, which includes visiting schools and talking to teachers.

One of the things I found was that a not insignificant number of student had been well trained in the expected behaviors, and that training was getting in the way of their ability to learn. Yes, you can "train" a child in the way you train a dog, and the child can perform tricks for you. He can regurgitate his times tables without understanding what it means. He can read your face for cues, and give you the expected answer. He can extinguish his natural curiosity and thinking powers, and have difficulty with things that are well within his ability to understand, and that he might even find interesting otherwise.

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#2011235 - 01/08/13 02:58 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: keystring]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3168
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
In what capacity, and what context? Were you in teacher training, or studying management issues, for example?
[quote]Some of the teachers had very effective classroom management, others had great trouble controlling children.


I think I explained poorly, and I certainly did not intend to attack teachers in general, merely point out some aspects of behavior mod approaches.

I was a graduate student in Clinical Psychology (later became a mechanical engineer instead, long story) and worked with the school psychologist (free labor from grad students). I'm also the child of school teachers so may have had more exposure than some, and when my own kids were in public school I was involved with theater and music departments, who always need extra help.

We got referrals from teachers when they had kids with "special needs." And most of these were fairly legitimate cases, but there were a few teachers who consistently referred large numbers of hard to handle children, who hadn't been hard to handle the year before, and didn't continue to be hard to handle the year after. Of course we had to evaluate every child, but these kids rarely ended up fitting our criteria. When we watched classroom interactions we could observe the classic mistakes anyone with a good grounding in behavioral principles shouldn't be making. And we could also see teachers who never made those mistakes, but didn't have an understanding of what they were doing.

I also observed a Distar classroom. That was very intriguing, and I wish I could have spent more time with it. It was a very forceful high paced directed learning environment only used for children with learning difficulties. I always wondered what would happen if you used it with the kids who learned more easily. I don't know if it still exists, I'm mostly out of that field.
_________________________
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#2011250 - 01/08/13 03:26 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11586
Loc: Canada
I'd like to differentiate between learning and behaviour that adults might find desireable that may not necessarily promote learning. I wrote about it in my previous post.

Meanwhile, when children with "special needs" came in, were the clinical psychologists help with their learning needs, or in some other capacity?

You may have gathered that I am very interested in intrinsic motivation, and preventing and avoiding extinguishing this quality that we are all born with. Therefore training people into behaviours may not necessarily be desireable, depending on how it relates to this.

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#2011257 - 01/08/13 03:40 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: keystring]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: keystring
. . . I am very interested in intrinsic motivation, and preventing and avoiding extinguishing this quality that we are all born with. Therefore training people into behaviours may not necessarily be desireable, depending on how it relates to this.

LoPresti's Motto #2: Remain intractable.

It is a quality I have attempted to foster for years - interestingly, with VERY LITTLE REWARD!
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2011289 - 01/08/13 04:23 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: keystring]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3168
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
I'd like to differentiate between learning and behaviour that adults might find desireable that may not necessarily promote learning. I wrote about it in my previous post.



I didn't miss that, I'm still thinking about it. I'm not sure it's a valid distinction with younger children; but the point that the desired behaviors have to be actually desirable (not just stay out of my hair and leave me alone) is a good one.
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#2011297 - 01/08/13 04:30 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: LoPresti]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3168
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Originally Posted By: keystring
. . . I am very interested in intrinsic motivation, and preventing and avoiding extinguishing this quality that we are all born with. Therefore training people into behaviours may not necessarily be desireable, depending on how it relates to this.

LoPresti's Motto #2: Remain intractable.

It is a quality I have attempted to foster for years - interestingly, with VERY LITTLE REWARD!


Intractable! Indefatigable! Reminds me of "unrestrainable."

Long ago, in a lifetime that seems far away, in the back wards of a state mental institution, I was called to another ward to subdue a violent patient. When I got there, I saw the problem: he was not only huge, but he'd cut off one of his arms. I was scratching my head trying to figure how to put restraints on him, wondering maybe if I could get a straightjacket out of the museum. They hadn't been used for decades, we used the modern leather cuff and belt systems, but his half arm wasn't going to stay in a cuff. Then he looked at me, shouted "I am NOT unrestrainable!" and came quietly. Problem solved.

Not sure why, Ed, but you reminded me of that incident.
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#2011311 - 01/08/13 04:38 PM What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: TimR]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Hey, Tim,

What a priceless story! I was hoping for a couple of snickers or giggles out of Motto #2, but now I am holding MY sides!

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#2011597 - 01/09/13 08:13 AM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: TimR]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3168
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: LoPresti

LoPresti's Motto #2: Remain intractable.

It is a quality I have attempted to foster for years - interestingly, with VERY LITTLE REWARD!


Intractable! Indefatigable! Reminds me of "unrestrainable."



PS, my apologies for including keystring's post in my quote. That was unintentional.

The issue of intrinsic or internal motivation is an important one but unrelated to Ed or my comments.

I'd edit it out but after a few minutes that option disappears.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2011720 - 01/09/13 02:03 PM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11586
Loc: Canada
Thank you, TimR. smile smile

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#2012160 - 01/10/13 09:21 AM Re: What is your merit system? Are we materialistic? [Re: TimR]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2426
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: TimR
...I also observed a Distar classroom. That was very intriguing, and I wish I could have spent more time with it. It was a very forceful high paced directed learning environment only used for children with learning difficulties. I always wondered what would happen if you used it with the kids who learned more easily. I don't know if it still exists, I'm mostly out of that field...


I'm not closely involved with it, but it seems that Distar waxes and wanes in popularity.

From my rather limited experience with it, it looks like some kids thrive with it and others don't. Same with teachers, some love it-some can't stand it.

At the school where I work with kids with autism, when they are ready to begin academics, our approach is often to 'throw everything and see what sticks' so we'll try a Distar style (site word) reading, and we'll try some phonics and we'll try some whole language activities...and if it doesn't work, we'll try something else.
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A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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