Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Holding kids back

Robb relays a story about Khan private schools.  In it, teachers who review Khan Academy's curriculum had this critique.

"Khan’s programmer, Ben Kamens, has heard from teachers who’ve seen Khan Academy presentations and loved the idea but wondered whether they could modify it “to stop students from becoming this advanced.”

Get that?!  So there's a teaching method that works beautifully and what do the public school teachers wonder?  How do we change it so that we can impede student progress and learning?  Sadly this is not unusual.  I learned plenty outside of school doing my own reading on my own time.  My parents encouraged this.  I openly questioned things I learned in the classroom and found alternate viewpoints myself.  It seems more and more true as I've gotten older that the school system is NOT designed to teach citizens how to think for themselves, but for conformity and indoctrination.

In first grade the teacher and school administrators wanted to hold me back a year.  No, not because I had any learning problems, but because I was smaller than all of the other kids because of my CP.  They were worried I might get hurt.  They wanted to impede my learning for no reason other than my physical size.  After a few weeks of being held back, a teacher complaining about my being bored out of my mind, and my parents getting on the administrators they put me in the correct grade.  Thank god they did.


Laura said...

yeah, this is definitely a problem across the board. i was a regular in lunchtime detention in elementary school because i was reading too far ahead of everyone else.

...yeah. go ahead and *try* to figure that one out.

Mike W. said...

Oh I had that issue too. I remember having to read along/aloud in class and the teacher complaining to my parents because I never knew where we were in the book. She thought I was slow or scatterbrained.

In fact, I was bored silly at the class pace and was reading ahead, so of course when called upon I was totally lost.

Detention for reading ahead?! Damn, I'd have been a regular too then.

Laura said...

i had that problem, too, and one of my 4th grade teachers actually sent me in for ADD testing.

the psychologist who tested me sent both my parents and my teacher the report, so i've seen the comments she wrote at the end (paraphrased): "Laura shows well above-average reading skill. Laura lacks any learning disability - she is merely bored in class."

i'm still amused that even now, over 20 years later, that teacher has not been allowed to teach within the Catholic education system of Maryland.