kitchen table math, the sequel: the project method

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

the project method

I have a new bad web habit, thanks to Susan S.

So I was sitting here glued to my monitor, gaping at Spoiled Pageant Queen when the Project Method popped up.

Watch to the middle.

You'll plotz.

I promise.


concernedCTparent said...


As for the project method, I finally got back to reading Left Back and I'm right at the point in educational history where the project method gets exported to Russia much to the delight of the progressivists. Meanwhile, the progressivists are left scratching their heads at how they can reconcile the individualistic child-centered project method school of thought with collectivist political/social ideology they champion. Russia finds that the project method is an abject failure despite meeting the country's political objectives quite well. They end up dumping it almost immediately (1931), because they want a workforce that can actually function effectively.

concernedCTparent said...

The comments super-imposed on the video are fantastic. They were actually vital to keeping the video from making me ill.

Catherine Johnson said...


(He's the one who originally gave me the Kilpatrick link.)

Catherine Johnson said...

oh my gosh!!!

I've got to find that section.

I am SO under-read in history.

I got through about a hundred pages of Ravitch's book and then quit.


Catherine Johnson said...

I normally don't like videos making fun of people but when I got to that section on the projects I burst out laughing. Didn't see it coming at all.

The comments were pretty hilarious, I have to say.

The one about "This is why the terrorists hate us" ----- yowza

I remember back when 9/11 had just happened, listening to President Bush give a speech in which he said that we "would show the terrorists our values."

It was a good speech, but the instant he mentioned showing terrorists our values I had a mini-panic attack.


No values!

No showing the terrorists our values!

They really, really, really don't like our values!

concernedCTparent said...

It's in chapter 6, On the Social Fronier. The sections of "Progressives in the Soviet Union" (p. 205) and "The Effect of the Soviet Purges" (p.235) are specifically what I was referring to.

I have to say, it was slow going at the start and I kept stopping, pondering, and wanting to take notes. I still keep wanting to take notes but I'm reading more quickly now because I don't want to stop. Strangely, it's all very deja vu.

concernedCTparent said...

Isn't it wonderful? The pageant queen's mom received a grade of 100% PLUS! Mom is so proud of herself. The pageant queen is proud of Mom too.

Anonymous said...

Are trophy-wives usually as high maintenance as Alicia? The looks and the lack of brains don't bother me, but the high maintenance does. Anyone?

-Mark Roulo

Instructivist said...

[I got through about a hundred pages of Ravitch's book and then quit.]

It's probably best not to start at the beginning. I recommend starting with Chapter 5 (Instead of the Academic Curriculum). It's about the shocking progressive war against knowledge. It's like a shot of strong coffee. It gets your attention. This chapter could be the subject of a book club.

Catherine Johnson said...

Mark - Don't ask me!

Catherine Johnson said...

instructivist - that's a great idea

It really is tough to get through the beginning of the book & we all need to read about the war on knowledge.

Catherine Johnson said...

This was the huge difference we saw between private & public school, making our rounds.

Private schools teach knowledge.

At one private school we asked, "Do you focus on process and skills?"

The admissions officer looked a little confused and said, "We do mark mechanics on papers."

Catherine Johnson said...

At another private school the student guide was telling us about their MLK assembly.

I said, "Do you have character education assemblies?"

She said, "Character education?"

She'd never even heard the words "character education."

These kids are all receiving a superb education and they're spending 0% of their day on character ed.

That's not a coincidence.

Anonymous said...

I actually caught the episode of Wife Swap that the video comes from. I don't normally watch that particular show, but when little Alicia came on, I had to see what was up.

The swap actually involved another mother who was like a feminist homeschooler or something, IIRC.

What was actually fascinating was when the new mother tried to get Alicia to write or do any math, she found that she could do neither. I think she is a junior or senior.

The homeschooling mom just decided to have her do a project, but forced her to do it herself, helping her when she was really stumped, which was constantly.

Why a parent would be okay with that is beyond me. But Alicia's father was completely against the new mother making Alicia do any school work.

The kid's going to need a huge trust fund.


Catherine Johnson said...

What was actually fascinating was when the new mother tried to get Alicia to write or do any math, she found that she could do neither. I think she is a junior or senior.

I have to see that episode.

I wondered about her school work - whether she could do any of it.

Redkudu said...

She couldn't. I caught that one too. She could barely read or write. But after she had done a little work, she ended up being pretty proud of herself. Then her mother came back and spoiled it all (as her Dad had done al along). It was bizarre.

Catherine Johnson said...

I must see that episode.