kitchen table math, the sequel: NCTE presents: Phonics Phacts

Saturday, June 27, 2009

NCTE presents: Phonics Phacts

As risk-takers and decision-makers themselves, students make many choices about their own learning, within parameters established by the teacher.

Some Key Principles of a Whole Language Perspective on Learning and Teaching, courtesy of the NCTE

The writer is talking about elementary school children 'making a choice' about what materials will help them learn to read, write, do arithmetic, and learn science and history.

That's a risk, alright.

"Phonics Phacts"


Anonymous said...

Excerpt: "Children are invited to write from personal experiences." My children's school has the children write only about personal experiences....for 4 straight years. The only time my ds has enjoyed writing is OUTSIDE of school, when he writes fantasy. My dd's writing in K and 1 was almost exclusively about who she was having a playdate with. Heaven forbid students write a story entitled "The Day I Was a Pencil." They might have to try to think outside of their personal experiences.

VickyS said...

Writing about personal experiences, personal connections and personal opinions is a plague upon nearly all of elementary and middle school writing programs these days. It's connected with the social justice push because it lets all students be authentic and find their voice and validates their experience and so on.

My kids got really sick of this and kept rehashing the same stuff over and over. Probably because the same assignment was assigned over and over (saddest moment, favorite time with grandparent, favorite holiday etc.).

Used to be you had one lame assignment the first week back to school writing about your summer vacation to get warmed up then you got down to business.

The only bright spot I remember from this writing disaster in elementary school was when my first-grader came home at the end of the year with a little book he wrote entitled "When I Was Young."

That did make me chuckle, at least.

ChemProf said...

Even in college, our English 1 course is all expository writing and personal experience. It is really hard to break them out of it -- I can't tell you how many conclusion paragraphs in lab reports I've read that say "I really liked this lab because..." or "This wasn't very interesting to me because..." Even writing lab objectives, they want to give a "personal" or educational objective, like "To learn about x" rather than "To measure..." or "To observe..." They just expect that we are always interested in their personal observations, since that's been the case for the last 13 years.

Anonymous said...

It's the Naval-Gazing Curriculum. Because kids are only interested in themselves.

I'll never forget the look on my son's face when I read him the Greek myths in the second grade. It was like he had discovered a new planet. Where things are actually interesting.

Through grade school "journaling" he got a lot of practice with, "I played ball. It was fun." Pretty much everything was "fun." Over and over again.

One of the results of this stuff is a kid who really can't analyze anything because he's so busy trying make "global" or personal connections. Your personal feelings, no matter how little you know, are paramount.

My son couldn't summarize any piece of writing last year without going off on some tangent that involved his opinion. I couldn't get him to understand that I wanted him to tell me what the author actually wrote, and then he could tell me his opinion. He was actually puzzled by the request.

They are seriously off track by middle school.

Parents be warned.