Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Nation of Wimps??

It seems like there is always some sort of discussion about how the decisions we are making today are either benefiting or harming the generations of the future. As teachers we must realize that our daily actions ARE influencing future generations. It seems like there are endless examples of conflicts and points of discussion:

Do we teach facts/numbers/terms or responsibility/respect/skills or can we teach both...
Do teachers or parents teach morals and ethics...
If the old way of doing things was good enough for us as students why are we always changing things...
Should we treat all students the same (honors/basic skills/AP/cosmetolegy school)...

I think it is important as a teacher and as a role model to our students that we always have an open mind when it comes to issues like these. It is imperative that we always investigate all sides of an issue. On that note, I found the following article about how parents go to extremes to protect and give shortcuts to their children. The article discusses how this influences later social, academic and general life skills. It's a fairly short read and there is a link at the bottom to a printer-friendly version if you enjoy killing trees.
Any thoughts???


Blogger lgaffney said...

I want to responds to that great first question, "Do we teach facts/ numbers/ terms or responsibility and can we teach both?"
Like many other days, I had a student today ask me if he could turn in his homework late because he forgot about it. I would love for him to do it late because I feel the assignments I create are valuable. I also want this student to experience success in my class. If I felt his excuse merited an extension, I would be happy to provide that for him. However, it is my personal feeling that by saying yes every time he "forgets", I am communicating a message to him that enables his irresponsible behavior.
If every teacher said yes to that question, it is probable that this student would leave high school believing that in college and in his future career pursuits, deadlines are irrelevant.
I think that giving him the tools to be successful later in his life is a skill much more important than that of differentiating between different types of satire.
I think we can certainly strike a balance between teaching life and teaching concepts, but occasionally, one has to win out over the other.

11:08 AM  
Blogger rayh said...

Perhaps Tony Winger will help you think about this quetion when discuss the pupose of assessment,grades and homewrk in our next induction meeting. What is our purpose as teachers: to teach only compliance and discipline and /or knowledge and skills? Please check out your assignment for next time. I enjoyed seeing your thinking about this.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Karl Fisch said...

Very interesting article (especially considering I'm an overprotective parent of a 5-year old). There was one claim you might investigate further, however, the one about grade inflation. You might read this article to see what research has to say about grade inflation.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Michael S. said...

I have actually begun to implement some of the ideas from Tony Winger. While I too suffer through the dilemma of late work vs. honoring student learning, I lean toward appreciation of learning. This semester, I am accepting late work without penalty for the content of the work. They receive the grade based upon the quality of work, not in meeting deadline. However, I keep a separate grade for work ethic, meeting deadlines and participation. When an assignment is given, it holds two grades - one for content and the other for work ethic.

It is true that it can become a paperwork nightmare, especially when Infinite Campus is taken into consideration. So I am beginning to post the work ethic grade every two weeks and combining the smaller grades into one larger posting. I'll continue to update the effects on student grades and achievement, but to date, students are submitting a larger percentage of quality work. (Maybe they are buying into the concept of relevance - "If he takes it late, it must be important?")

The simple beauty of this grading concept is the stress on student learning. The assignment grade reflects what was accomplished, but the semester grade can still account for meeting deadlines.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Sally G said...

My perspective on the issue of protective parenting is influenced to a large degree by my own experiences as a parent. My two adult sons, ages 23 and 25, both suffer the consequences of protective parenting. Fortunately, they have managed to rise above the mistakes made by their parents. Their teachers demanded accountability as the boys went progressed. I applaud the job those educators did with my boys. Could a different grading system have changed the ultimate outcome? I doubt it. Fundamentally we acknowledge that the influence we have on our students is minimal if the parental input doesn't complement it. Still, we must try, understanding that occuasionally we can make a big difference.

10:47 AM  

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