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Author Topic: Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?  (Read 25516 times)

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #50 on: 10/11/2007 00:24:09 »
Motivation is extinguished by people saying: "you can't do that" If we try adopting the same principles as teaching a puppy by rewarding rather than scolding or belittling. And when we do reward, make sure the rewards fit the results, we might just find a larger proportion of children willing to be educated.

Although self-motivation is in most children, it could be perceived that when a child does not want to get out of bed in the morning and is forced to go to school that the parents are providing the motivation. But if we examine the reasons why the child does not want to go to school in the first place we might find the root cause of educations failures. Making the lessons stimulating and interesting rather than mundane and boring might go a long way to achieving better attendance at least. And this is at the heart of this whole thread. Militarising schools is no longer possible due to the limited freedom now in place. The television no longer manipulates the masses any more than religion does thanks to the Internet. Having the world’s largest library in ones living room has probably done more for budding scientists than anything the education system has achieved. The Internet will eventually replace the whole education system by finding its unique way into the homes of the families as an instrument of direction and incentive. Indeed many entrepreneurs who have earned unprecedented wealth have done it using the Internet. The Internet can bring all of the best educators into the homes of anyone anywhere in the World. In Africa for example, there are many people advancing faster thanks to the Internet. Including the Nigerian Letter Scammers, unfortunately.

In its present format we are not yet ready to hand over education to the Internet, but in a few more years we will have found many ways to provide many choices and directions for science to evolve. There will be some pretty amazing educational sites developed that provide two way education, And even hologram Teachers honed to perfection in the art of encouraging and expanding expression and development, possibly sponsored by the companies who seek to employ the rising generation of free thinkers.

A good friend of mine works in a local Prison, he has observed that over two thirds of prisoners are illiterate!

Andrew K Fletcher     
 

lyner

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« Reply #51 on: 10/11/2007 17:00:30 »
What is the one, major thing that drives the internet?
What is the only reason for it to exist in its present form?
 

lyner

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« Reply #52 on: 10/11/2007 17:22:37 »
Do you think, honestly, that the vested interests involved in the internet give a monkey's about our children except in as far as they can spend money?
The internet is a snare and delusion as far as our children's education is concerned.
There is no regulation and no accountability.
It is full of non-information and non-Science. How are children expected to find their way, reliably, to a good education on that particular path?
You may not be too confident about our education system but, at least, its raison d'etre is to provide something and not to take something away.
 

Offline johnbrandy

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« Reply #53 on: 12/11/2007 02:08:40 »
Why would we not expect a variation in human intelligence? It seems clear that there is a lot of variation in every other aspect of human life; physical height, body structure, athletic ability, musical ability, mathematical ability, and much more. Of course, genetics, family influences, societal pressures, diet, access to educational opportunities, are influencing factors. Yet I suspect that even if the "field were level", we would still find variation in human intelligence. Moreover, it seems clear that there are many components to human intelligence. The author, Howard Gardner, in his book, "Frames of Mind", The Theory of Multiple Intelligence, makes the case that there are potentially a multiplicity of intelligences; musical, mathematical, bodily mastery, spacial reasoning, and more. Evelyn Underhill, the author of the book "Mysticism", makes note of individuals, lacking any formal training, that harbor an innate understanding of spiritual matters. It seems to me that as a result of evolutionary demands, that a wider manifestation of "intelligences" is necessary in order to support human existence, and the need/hope for our continuance and survival.     
« Last Edit: 25/11/2007 23:29:54 by johnbrandy »
 

lyner

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« Reply #54 on: 12/11/2007 11:04:06 »
Quote
Why would we not expect a variation in human intelligence?
Precisely.
But the reason that people are hung up about this is that the rewards of being 'cleverer' in some respects  than others can be large. This introduces unfairness,  jealousy and value judgments about individuals which may not be justified.  I wonder whether there is a satisfactory solution to this situation.
 

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« Reply #55 on: 12/11/2007 11:13:46 »
Andrew, your thoughts on this:
School rewards systems;
Anastasia (aged 9) has recently moved schools (last 8 months). in her old school she was the top in her year and regularly got small prizes and certificates. In her new school she is third, and gets upset that she is not getting the prizes and certificates.

She rationalises this to herself by saying, "well i suppose it's not fair if i keep getting them, so the new school must just be sharing the prizes out so one person does not win all the time"

I'm all for introducing a bit of competition with some sort of reward, do you as a teacher think this is a good system for young kids?
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #56 on: 12/11/2007 17:39:23 »
Paul, I am not a teacher, Never said I was so wondering how you came to this conclusion?

Rewarding children is the way forward, definately. Remember a school handing out impressive prizes for pupils that have done well and some pretty impressive runner up prizes also. Can you imagine how a child would feel when rewarded for efforts and results. More importantly how other children would be inspired to give it their all and providing the rewards are presented fairly this system cannot fail to stimulate higher grades in schools that use it. However, we are still rewarding the children for sticking to the protocol rather than rewarding them for thinking about problems that remain unsolved or at best poorly understood.

Andrew
 

paul.fr

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« Reply #57 on: 12/11/2007 17:43:56 »
Paul, I am not a teacher, Never said I was so wondering how you came to this conclusion?



I was actually addressing the question to Andrew, also known as sophie, captain, skipper....Sorry, ermmm Andrew. Too many Andrew's.

However, your and anyoneelse's input is appreciated.
 

lyner

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« Reply #58 on: 13/11/2007 19:19:26 »
I'm all in favour of prizes at School.
They tend to be of two kinds, prizes for being 'best' at things and prizes for 'improvement' .
Self - referenced assessment and improvement is for everyone and a good School  makes just as big a thing of it as  norm - referenced  assessment.
The unfortunate thing is, in Comprehensive education, the brightest students find it so easy to do better than the rest that they sit back, once they have had their prizes, and coast. The system, having already  rewarded them for being 'best', holds back on rewarding further personal advancement because, that way, they would be getting two sets of prizes.  So why should they bother?

And the converse?    There is just not enough 'fear' at work in Schools. It isn't acknowledged as a valid tool to be used for encouragement of children. Unfortunately, the kids don't understand that the rules have changed in this way and that they're supposed to be motivated without any kind of fear. The fact is that  a large proportion of them just wont be. Kids come in at 11 years of age and have no idea of how to 'behave'.
At the same time, most adults freely admit that the only reason that they go along with a lot of Society's rules because the are afraid of  some dire consequence.
Why not treat kids a bit more like adults? They are constantly asking us to!
 

Offline johnbrandy

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« Reply #59 on: 16/11/2007 06:26:53 »
Prizes implies winners and losers. Even adults suffer from such circumstances. I believe children should be taught to appreciate that knowledge and learning are the real prize. Teaching can be designed to bring out the best in every student, without intimidating the less bright students, or limiting the gifted student. Difficult, yes, impossible, I don't think so. What about the quality of teachers? I have encountered, a precious few teachers, that love to teach and really care about every student. They constantly remind you how important an educations is, and provide real world examples of success and failure. They encourage their students to study, and provide study aids. Moreover, intellectual and moral courage can be taught and learned, and overcomes irrational fear. Using fear as a teaching method leads to aggressive behavior. Kid are not adults. Challenge kids, and let them have fun, and enjoy the experience. Give them the bases for growing into intelligent and mature adults.     
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #60 on: 16/11/2007 07:31:57 »
First prize, a day trip to The British Science Museum for the whole class
First Prize, a day trip to the London National Inventions Fair for the whole class.
Achieved because the more advanced students are helping others to understand the lessons and becoming teachers themselves. Prize awards for students that have progressed the most, irrespective of initial abilities.

Prizes from what I remember don't have to be materialistic nonsense.

They can include camping events and even visiting other countries, funding these events can be part lottery funded, part government funded and part parent funded, then everyone is rewarding.
 

Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #61 on: 16/11/2007 08:48:20 »
I am popping in way down here in this thread.. Rewards can have their place but also can be misplaced if you do not give the proper reward.I have always used reward as a last resort. Mostly I value encouragement, and knowledge is their rewards.... Here is an example mind you this is 5 year olds and under about 2yrs 9 months to 5. I always loved doing projects and learning things by doing them or working with something experimenting with things even at this age..I would encourage my children through a special project that they loved or a magic show that made them think.. I would do things weekly and if it was a huge hit I would save it to do again but as a reward for their learning eventually the rewards evolve and become much more complicated. Their favorite has always been the gravity experiment . I would give lessons through out the year where we would study say space, or sea life,  or learning disabilities,.... weather, water, wind, ice, fog, rain, evaporation tons of things.. But I would pick a project that I would set up to have for a goal for the whole class it was not so much individual but the class working as a unit to accomplish goals.. It may have been sitting through a whole book on planets and solar systems and explanations and questions in between.. but if they participated they would get to add a item to a list of things with which we would drop out of the second floor window at the end of the unit! The unit was obviously the solar system, space.. we made planets listened to stories about planets studied detailed things brought things from home pertaining to the planets etc.. atmosphere etc. They loved the gravity project and would do it everyday if they could .. and they often did . they became quite good judges about weight and how gravity works.. you would be surprised what was on those lists, and what they would remove from the list the last week before the project because by the time we did it they knew that we could not drop a baby person dog cat rat glass etc. out the window.. because they had learned about what happens with gravity.. we tried to fly of the step at school but we found we did not have wings... but we also found playing with scarves in the wind that maybe they would float more and be ok when they hit the ground so we worked on things we added to our list.. they earned chances to add to the list through participation but also through coperation.. being a good friend not being disruptive when others wanted to learn.. etc.. Make sure the reward matches the efforts put forward... I was not about to reward them with a movie I wanted them to take reward in what they had learned even though they never really thought of it like that it was a special day and they loved it. My kids from 6 years ago still come visit me and ask about the gravity project.. some like spider unit others the weather.. but we always did a fun project for learning reward.. but it always fit the course of study and involved them participating and learning how to do it!.. Volcanos were great for reward as we did a whole unit on them.. LOL...

Anyway..There are times when other rewards work also but you need to remember kids are all different and you will run in to children who will not try anything without a reward that is not appropriate those children need different reasons to learn or moreover different ways to learn...

Rewards can be good but you must know your children and be careful that your reward system does not exclude other less involved children because some rewards single children out and these days competition at young ages are discouraged not encouraged until they are older and understand the concepts behind competition and that is difficult for the very young and can cause some real problems with some children making them feel inadequet and  giving them lo self esteem.. so you need to be careful how you reward if you decide to do so and make it appropriate.
 

Offline kdlynn

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Re: Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?
« Reply #62 on: 16/11/2007 11:46:17 »
i think some individual awards are ok. when i was in elementary school (ages 5-11 for me, but my birthday fell at an odd time so usually until people were twelve i think) our school had a little program where every month someone from every grade was chosen to be the "name of our school salute" but they set it up so that everyone had a chance. sometimes it would be the smartest kid, sometimes the most organized, most athletic... and you worked hard at what you WERE good at so you
 

Offline kdlynn

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Re: Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?
« Reply #63 on: 16/11/2007 11:49:48 »
oops. could win. they gave you a certificate and had an assembly and most of the time everyone's parents came.. you got your picture taken and put on the bulletin board. it was fun, and everyone wanted to win, and since we weren't all competing to do one thing, but what we were good at, nobody really felt excluded. so i don't think it's a terrible idea.
 

Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #64 on: 16/11/2007 12:06:38 »
It's not terrible but you must be careful!..we had awards like that also!
 

lyner

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« Reply #65 on: 17/11/2007 00:46:24 »
But life outside School is a competition in virtually every respect. Kids are quite aware of this - they follow sport.
Prizes make people and kids try harder - which is good for them and everyone.
Without rewards - and that means some get them and some don't - people don't bother.
Make them feel special - payment by results is how adults do it.
That's life. That's human nature.
This doesn't mean, of course, that we can't be nice to people who don't get prizes.
 

Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #66 on: 17/11/2007 01:13:37 »
Oh I agree with that also.. Its just that these days what they are teaching the young teacher is to stay away from reward... But I am not a young teacher I do reward but am careful not to exclude or illiminate other children in doing so.. I think it helps children set goals and nobody on earth does anything without expecting some kind of award or satisfaction from it. weather it is the pure joy you get by giving a gift or the appreciation for the gift or the happiness you know it provides... It doesn't make a person selfish to want to feel good about something they have done or accomplished it is great!

Everybody gets something from everything they do... they do things because it benefits them in some way or another...
 

lyner

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« Reply #67 on: 18/11/2007 16:50:29 »
But we don't get cheques for our contributions here- or do you?
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #68 on: 21/11/2007 18:24:14 »
The very first time you put your hand up in class to answer a question, certain you are correct only to find the teacher shouting you are wrong even to the point of ridiculing you in front of the class sends the wrong signal to a child who with only encouragement from their parents has learned to walk, learned to speak and understands most of the common words used by everyone around them. And if they are in a family that speaks two languages they are most likely bilingual by the time they have their first lesson, and if their parents are musically orientated they have probably learned to play a tune or two without anything other than encouragement and rewards. Now for the first time, thanks to a hostile environment the child encounters negative feedback and it’s not long before more negative feedback comes their way from the teachers and students, further denting their confidence causing brain lockup and withdrawal. From now on learning is far from a pleasant experience as the pressure is piled on. Punishment for failure to comply with the new aggressive negative teaching soon has the child dreading each and every day.

Turn on some music and let the kids look out of the window instead of staring at the teacher and blackboard and see how much more information these kids can absorb and understand, use positive teaching rewarding for getting things correct and supporting those that are having trouble understanding the lessons and we might find we will improve the class results and introduce well balanced students into the workplace rather than generating students who frankly couldn’t give a toss about whether they achieve anything or not. 

Genius however bypasses the negativity by good fortune or even a little favouritism or because their parents provide the correct learning environment.

Every single student has a phenomenal learning capacity; it takes some careful guidance and balanced positive tuition to enable them to feel confident and comfortable enough to strive forward. Providing a comfortable safe learning experience eliminates the need for truancy.
However the home environment for many students is far from safe and comfortable and can be part of the problem with disruptive students, but even this can be turned to an advantage by generating a much better study environment in the school, allowing students from less fortunate backgrounds to excel in class.

Andrew
 
« Last Edit: 21/11/2007 18:36:28 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

lyner

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« Reply #69 on: 22/11/2007 10:59:43 »
It really upsets me to read of the bad experiences so many of the above posts recount. I wonder if the proportion is really representative, though. People rarely feel strongly enough to publish an 'it was ok, really' opinion, so the sample may be a bit skewed.
A common thread here is the need for inspirational and exceptional teachers - a 'motherhood' statement..
A good idea but where are they all going to come from? It's all very well making such demands but, until you pay teachers a vast amount of money, you won't get enough of the 'right' callibre of person.  They may not exist in enough quantity, even. This is the real world.
Many teachers  go into the job because the holidays and timetable allow them to look after their own kids, conveniently, so it is not surprising that they are not necessarily inspired.
 Meanwhile, the teaching courses ALL promote the sort of sensitive approach that we all crave. Lesson observations by peers, which, I admit, are not carried out enough in most Schools, also are supposed to deal with this.  That is about the  best that can be done. Needless to say, a class of 18, rather than 30+, would give every teacher considerably more time and surplus energy to perform more positively. Have you any idea what it's like just to keep 30 kids quiet enough to tell them about the next thing on the agenda (even if it is  going to be exciting)? This is an every day of the week, every lesson of the day, problem.
If you want to make kids more positive about stuff then turn your attention to the media and the advertisers. Their input dominates and they have infinitely more money to spend on what they dish out than the education system has. Unfortunately, the harm they are doing is insidious and certainly not spotted by the kids it is affecting.
I wonder how many of the contributers to this thread (or their descendants) will write about how they were let down by the Rap lyrics they heard or the adverts for junk food they saw.
 

Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #70 on: 23/11/2007 16:09:47 »
But we don't get cheques for our contributions here- or do you?

Of course not! But I do get something from being here. I feel good here, I get pleasure from learning and sharing ideas and exchanging experiences and meeting new people! It is my reward! Rewards certainly do not need be monetary! Especially better with children if they are not! I mean sure sometimes it is fun a a nice treat to reward them with something really special..as long as you are careful about it~!
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #71 on: 24/06/2008 20:46:19 »
I was delighted to be listening to the radio this morning while in bed.  A school in Totnes, Devon has realised that it is far better to teach children how to think independently than to fill their heads full of facts!
School scraps subjects for themes 
 
Supporters say tests can inhibit children's learning
A Devon secondary school has scrapped traditional lessons in a new way of teaching its entry-level students.

King Edward VI Community College, in Totnes, has abandoned the national curriculum for its year 7s, in favour of what it calls a "foundation year".

Separate subject lessons, with the exception of modern languages and PE, have been replaced with themes.

A question like "What makes a good citizen?" is taught across all the subject areas to improve learning.

The idea of the pilot scheme is that children become good learners, and think independently, rather than being stuffed with facts.

The school, which in 2003 was the first in Devon to scrap school uniforms, is believed to be the first in the county to adopt the new approach to teaching.

  The idea behind it that is to discourage children from just thinking in boxes

Jane Richardson, assistant principal

Assistant Principal Jane Richardson said: "Students are still learning English and maths, and history and geography and ICT, and all other subjects they would learn in year 7. It's just that we don't call them by their individual names.

"The idea behind it that is to discourage children from just thinking in boxes."

She expects that as a result they will be better learners "without being told how to think".

The lessons last two hours instead of one.

One of the youngsters said: "I think it's good because we get two-hour sessions to work on it.

"We have more time to get involved with it."

Subject 'straitjackets'

Another said: "Sometimes you don't know what particular lessons you are doing.

"Sometimes it would be quite nice to have teachers for each subject, so you know what subject you are doing."

Terry Wrigley, an academic from the University of Edinburgh who has written widely on the subject of education, said: "I find it a great relief that schools are beg to break out of the straitjacket that has held them for nearly 20 years.

"People talk about standards and tests as if they were synonymous.

"Yet we have a lot of evidence that testing can reduce learning.

"As soon as teachers start teaching to the test, anything more complex goes out of the window."

Devon County Council said that several other secondary schools were watching the Totnes pilot with interest and may be about to follow its lead.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/7470751.stm

 
« Last Edit: 24/06/2008 20:52:38 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

blakestyger

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« Reply #72 on: 24/06/2008 21:24:01 »
How does a scientist quantify this wisdom?

This sounds like 'the ability in the abstract' that Joseph Conrad refers to at the beginning of Lord Jim. You've worked with some amazing people.
 

Offline johnbrandy

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« Reply #73 on: 25/06/2008 03:43:50 »
Re: Andrew K Fletcher, I believe the educational methods you have described fit well within this discussion. The demonstrable fact that there is a variation in human intelligence, and intelligence has a multiplicity of elements, leads to the question, "why does traditional teaching fail to recognize this fact, and assume that their methods are specifically designed to address this fact". Obviously, their methods do not. Stimulating children to think individually takes advantage of their "distinct" abilities and learning styles. Eliminating or minimizing, otherwise distinct subjects, can potentially engender creative and original thinking. In my view, these alternative methods are more in accord with the way the mind actually learns, and makes logical connections; allowing, or permitting the student to reference the information in the context of his/her particular mode of thinking and mind-set. I find this method accords with my approach to learning, and that of original thinkers. Teaching methods of this kind, which do not focus on the "box", do not, at the same time, eliminate the box. It views the box from a much wider angle, allowing for individuals to discover their own way to approach its significance and meaning. As to the issue of testing, I am far from sure if that practice is sound. I agree, just, "teaching to the test", is a narrow and uninspiring way to teach, and, "anything more complex goes out the window". But how do we access the value of said methods without some testing?
« Last Edit: 25/06/2008 23:19:42 by johnbrandy »
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #74 on: 26/06/2008 18:46:46 »
Thanks for your input and remarks John.

Totnes is a place you have to see to believe. It’s a place one can believe has either slipped into the past or slipped forward into the future depending on your viewpoint. It is not surprising to find that the first move in allowing pupils to think for themselves with regards to the learning process stems form this quaint, warm and charming town. The town itself appears to attract many individual thinkers and this can be seen in the clothes they wear as one drives through.

RE: testing. Perhaps some day there will be no need to test but to feed hungry students with fascinating subjects at their own pace and their written work will reflect how well they have grasped each subject rather than placing them under the pressure of a stopwatch and a silent frowning onlooker instead of a friendly interactive tutor.
Does anyone realise that some people abhor being placed under pressure while others perform well from memory rather than from thinking about the subject at hand?

I think King Edward VI Community College has set a president that will be followed by many other schools in the not too distant future. And I applaud them for recognising the shortfalls in the current curriculum processes.

I would go so far as to say a Test awakens a fight or flight fear in some pupils and penalises them for seizing up when normally they would function well.
 

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« Reply #74 on: 26/06/2008 18:46:46 »

 

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