Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Longer School Year

Governor Granholm of Michigan backs longer school year

You can really tell when a politician is a lame duck. Pronouncing this type of change will not get you elected or reelected because of the Teachers Union. However, that is not why I'm posting.

I get tired of this subject as I do with most suggested educational changes. When are we going to address Efficiency and Effectiveness in schools? How much Non-Value Added time is wasted each day in our classrooms? Studies have shown that dozens of school days are lost each year when you add up the minutes of class disruption that a teacher has each day in their classrooms from unruly and poor behavior of students.

I know a Dean of Students that says and backs it up when he stated "Teachers will teach the optimum amount of time available and those students who want to Feature themselves will be sent to him and if they still can't change their ways then he will send them home so they can disrupt their parents".

Forget those groups/businesses who want to come in and teach teachers how to teach kids proper school behavior and etiquette. They say once that happens then all kids will learn. Will they? Perhaps we need to extend that training to the parents who can be just as rude as their children.

And, what about rude and lazy teachers? Easy - Get rid of them. It really is easy if you got the documentation and guts to do your job as an administrator. What if the administration does not do their jobs? Easy - Get rid of them.

Oh Yeah - it was over 95 degrees for the past two weeks while I have been in school. We have no air conditioning.

Governor Granholm - Who will pay for air conditioning units if the students are in school in the summer?

If your idea is to cut Holiday vacations shorter to get more days of learning I'm OK with that idea.

I just wish I knew by what method will this be done and who is responsible (Superintendent Flannagan?) for the outcome and by what means will we know if this will be successful.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A Student's Perception - Is it Reality?

Contrary to popular belief by most teachers, and educators, students "Perception" is truth. Maybe the student has never experienced (nor anyone else) a particular situation but they believe it to be true anyway (Faith/Religion). Is it not the same as believing there must be additional species of insect yet to be found/discovered? I perceive this to be true even though I or no one else has seen the species as of yet.

I perceive the Universe to be expanding based on the works of people much more smarter than me (And the Discovery & Science Channel). But how far will it expand? If it is true all stars are pulling away from our Sun at a speed relative to the distance it is from our Sun, does that not mean eventually they will all meet at a certain starting point? Do they collide because they will get into each other’s way? Or do there starting points for this to be true predetermine it?

I perceive this to be true because if I started to walk away from my house and go due West or East or North or South would I not eventually come back to my starting point? Taking it a step further if my neighbor did the same thing at the same time would we finish at the same time? Obviously this is no, but none the less he too would return to his starting point based on the size and speed of his steps compared to mine.

Mathematical equations probably prove my thoughts to be false (I would not know this since my math skills are limited), but are they? Can my perceptions be so simple? Why not? Does it take an Astrophysicist to explain that if I plant a seed and care for it and make sure it gets water, sunlight and good soil will it not grow?

Is it any less perceptive to command the seed to grow if I stand on my backyard deck and tell it to do so? Your perception would say that can not be true, but I say the perception is not in the command of my voice, but that nature in its simplicity (water, sunlight & soil) may allow this to happen. Does an educator command the student to learn and it happens, or does the environment by which the student learns along with the ability of the teacher to teach the subject in question provide the best chance for knowledge to be learned?

So if I look to the sky and direct the galaxies of stars to meet at their starting point it will happen? Perception tells me yes this will happen, not because of my command but by the simplicity of nature.

Does it really matter if my perception is correct or not? Not really, the outcome will be the same because of the simplicity of common sense. But whose common sense, yours or mine, does it matter? I say not.

My knowledge is limited by my understanding of data, facts, information and application, but my thoughts/ imagination can perceive anything to be true.

Now tell me that Student Perception is not Reality and I will tell you to start walking. In education you should use your students imagination, perception and creativity to create new learning's even if you believe that you know more than your student (How do you know). The same can be said in business where the student is the customer and the educator is the all knowing executives (ha) at a company.
Many educators are limited by common sense and the expansion of their perception and creativity is based upon few life experiences (mostly learned by research and not application). Students on the other hand have perceptions that go beyond the farthest galaxy and are only brought back to earth by the limited minds of those who continue to teach and educate like Lemmings walking off a cliff that says "That is the way it has always been done".