kitchen table math, the sequel: If students could talk

Friday, December 20, 2013

If students could talk

Oh, wait (warning: many f-words).

One thing that annoys me no end re:constructivism & contructivists is the universal constructivist assumption that constructivism in all its myriad forms and formations is more fun for students.

We instructivists have only drill-and-kill on offer; constructivists have real-world authentic 21st-century global hands-on group problem solving!


Kids love that stuff.

Problem is, no one ever asks the kids if they agree.
They don't understand. When they make math fun, it's MORE BORING.
- Christopher, age 10 (scroll down to "Kids say the darndest things")

Eureka, part 2
Eureka, part 3
Eureka, part 4
Eureka, part 5

Flipping the Classroom: Hot, Hot, Hot
MOOCs grow the gap
The New York Times is surprised
In the world of MOOCs, 2+2 is never 4
World's funniest joke: humor depends on surprise
Dick Van Dyke on comedy
Philip Keller on the flipped classroom
If students could talk
Who wants flipped classrooms? (Salman Khan on liberating teachers)
True story
Are math & science lectures boring in a way humanities & social science lectures are not?


Anonymous said...

You are mixing your memes. "Flipped classroom" and "constructivism" are not particularly correlated, except for both being fashionable trends.

It is well known (even among proponents of flipped classrooms), that a lot of kids hate them—after all the students have a lot harder time copying problem sets when their teachers are watching them.

Flipped classrooms done well can work quite well, and done badly can be disastrous—just like direct instruction or any other pedagogical technique.

Catherine Johnson said...

You are mixing your memes. "Flipped classroom" and "constructivism" are not particularly correlated, except for both being fashionable trends.

Both are constructivist innovations.

It doesn't make sense -- a flipped classroom is a videotaped lecture, which in theory constructivists should dislike.

But in fact, constructivists recognize that at some point knowledge has to be transmitted to students.

I interpret the rage for flipped classrooms as, at least in part, a 'solution' to the constructivist dilemma, which is that it's not possible to eradicate lecture/chalk and talk/telling.

The flipped classroom banishes the 'dirty work' to the home or dorm, keeping it out of sight, and allowing the classroom to be devoted entirely to group problem solving and discussion.

If you read the various articles I've linked to, you'll see people noting that the real argument over flipped classrooms comes down to an argument between progressive educators & everyone else.

Catherine Johnson said...

Our curriculum director, who is a committed constructivist, is very keen on flipped classrooms -- and in fact has apparently started flipping the classrooms here, without discussing the decision with the board.

Catherine Johnson said...

Flipped classrooms done well can work quite well,

evidence please

Catherine Johnson said...

Given the fact that Sebastian Thrun is throwing in the towel on MOOCs for college students, and given the fact that he is throwing in the towel because of very poor results, I would need to see very strong evidence that any flipped classroom can ever be as effective as live classroom instruction.

Nothing about flipped classrooms comports with the literature on reinforcement learning or with my own experience as a classroom instructor, and I feel strongly that kids should not be used as experimental subjects in a hot! hot! hot! new education fad.

Auntie Ann said...

Our boy just took the ISEE (and did very nicely!) The essay question was who is your favorite teacher you've ever had. He picked one from this year and backed it up by saying that she didn't make them do stupid projects and group work. Luckily, his school seems to have backed off on these this year. This time 2 years ago, his sister had to make a model of an Egyptian temple--she made hers out of gingerbread. Amount learned: 0.

Allan Folz said...

The quote from our graphic's guy's son was "I hate it when people try to make learning fun. I'd rather just learn."

My opinion is that kids are like everyone else these days where time is their critical resource. If it's a choice between 10 minutes of pure, math drill and 10 minutes of Fruit Ninja, or 20 minutes of "Times Tables" Ninja, they'll pick the former.

There's an old saying for it -- work hard, play hard.