kitchen table math, the sequel: inside the black box

Thursday, October 15, 2009

inside the black box

from RedKudu:

Parents who don't know the right questions to ask, or even that there ARE questions to ask are at the mercy of what the schools tell them. Parents are spooked by direct instruction because of what they are told about it by teachers who don't know any better - it's rote repetition, it's drill 'n kill. No wonder, with those labels, it doesn't come across well.

I think I told these stories once before, but they're so recent they're worth retelling.

1. Our new math facilitator at the school divulged to me (reading and English teacher) that her 1st grader's teacher told her they "just don't teach phonics, because it's so wrong." Luckily, she's savvy enough to have been teaching her daughter phonics on the sly.

2. Another math teacher told me his two elementary aged sons, in the same grade with different teachers, are learning different things in reading. One is bringing home sight word lists every night, the other brings home nothing. I told him I disagreed with sight words before phonics because it taught kids to see words as images, rather than units of meaning. You should have seen how wide his eyes got - "I never thought of it that way." He gets it, because the same thing is happening with our high school math students.

This has got to stop.

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