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August 9, 2011 by Lauren Hill Leave a Comment Topic: The student practices his comprehension skills by reading a short story about Sara and her mom and then answering the questions.

Note: In Reading Comprehension worksheets, the Think About It portion is meant to be answered aloud in order to spark discussion about the story.

The Salamander Room – Life Cycle of a Salamander, Vocabulary, and more!Cats and Dogs Venn Diagram WorksheetDab It! I recall not giving a shit in my Advanced English Comp class in college, as I was paying nearly $400 per credit hour for remedial, high school level assignments covering comma use and parallelism. And yet, our elected "representatives" are all about "creating jobs" these days (while slashing education funding). Yup, this is why you get so many kids who are able to fake their way into college with straight A's, never having studied, only to get fucked over in college.

Meanwhile, I went to a public suburban school growing up, and the problem you posted above seems pretty easy to me, even though I don't consider myself to be good in math. My point is that most children of normal intelligence will grasp basic math and reach acceptable reading comprehension levels if they are required to sit down, listen to the teacher, do actual homework, do the work in class and actually somewhat understand the material to be promoted to the next grade level.

Bizarrely, I paused for a second on the example because of a puzzle about linguistic convention. Kids are terrible at math (and other subjects) because the teaching model is fundamentally outdated.

Personally, as someone who grew up 'good at math', I had no problem and didn't mind parsing information out of a word problem to express it in an equation and solve, but I always hated word problems because we were expected to write out the whole thing in words which I found irritating. On a word-problem worksheet, I had to write out "when Jenny gives me her apples, I now have seven apples". I recall when taking formal logic in university (which to me was simply learning the proper symbols to use to represent obvious concepts), the people who did't *get* it at the beginning still didn't *get* it at the end - even if many of them learned how to write in the formulas to get the correct answer.

I am an engineer and think math is awesome but a word problem like the one above will destroy most 7th graders. Now, when teaching educated professionals how to digest a research study, this is what thy want.

Or perhaps an interpretation that requires there to be .25 of a person is not likely to be the correct one? Agreed that these questions are designed to make the teacher's job easier, but like Anon said in comment #5, no form of teaching will make up for deficiencies at home, while an excellent home environment can make up for some very bad teaching. As the Atlanta scandal shows, there are no metrics that aren't suspect, and no universal curriculum that works for every kid. Standardize a process among teachers who themselves lack the deepest, intuitive sense of the material.

Worse than that: Standardize a process among teachers who think they have a deep, intuitive sense of the material, but really don't. And what happens when the conveyor belt moves backwards at exactly the same speed the plane moves forwards? Speaking as somebody who used to tutor basically upper-middle-class kids ranging from grade 8 through to first year calculus, this seems to explain most of the kids I tutored.

As a side note, the method you used is basically what I used to use to tutor kids through (always the most trouble, btw) word problems. I consider making the elementary school a lunch pad for collage as the greatest mistake of western education.

If there are 20% more girls than boys in the class, how many commenters are compelled to whip out their brains (dicks) to prove whose is bigger?

I think what Alone is trying to teach us (re: the number of boys and girls) is the critical difference in evaluating absolute and relative differences. You seem to be overlooking to fact that the purpose of compulsory education is not to teach but to socialize and sort. The fact that people came up with 3 different answers shows how terrible Americans are at math.

I was about to post the same thing as anonymous above me: school as we know it was not designed to teach mastery of the material. I'm Lauren, Wife and Mama to 4 kiddos ages 10 to 5, which we homeschool with a whole-heart approach. It's not that they were smart, it's just that they knew how to take the tests they were given.

The problem isn't that the 90% on the worksheet doesn't reflect real understanding, but that the vast majority of the students can't get past 30%. I think Alone is referring to "good" students who coast through school without any real learning, but the problem you described is no small concern.

Instead of wasting everyone's time in class reciting dry material from textbooks, students should instead READ material or watch videos at home and PRACTICE homework in the traditional classroom setting.

In real life, if a teacher asked me how may apples I had when Jenny gave me hers, I'd answer 7 (or the appropriate number). As a teacher (of many things not including standard school), I have seen many people memorize the process without understanding the concept. I cannot figure out how to tell ppl that you need to start with common sense - not the blind heuristic reassurance that an RCT means the study conclusion is correct.

But the fact that people were able to come up with three possible different answers (I'm not counting the incorrect math of autistic) does speak to a wording problem.

Well, first of all, there's high unemployment, so lower the barriers to entry to the profession.

High school systems of equations, and most kids had that "don't even know where to start" thing you describe.

Lot more marketing and sales types and real estate salespeople than engineers or programmers or (*snort*) doctors. I'm so glad you found your way here to Mama's, where you'll find lots of learning ideas for children and for moms, too. I'll not present myself as any kind of expert on either math or reading, but the general population doesn't exactly make it hard to be ahead of the curve. Most of my students miss weeks of school for reasons unknown, start kinder year unable to name colors, seasons and family member, let alone numbers, and when they do show up, they are completely unprepared.

What can be done with children who completely refuse to apply themselves and whose parents don't care? I wonder if the dropout rate, or the test scores you describe might actually be higher if the issues he describes here were addressed.

People in first aid classes who lose their entire ability to process if there's a slight hitch or irregularity, for example. In my kids' experience, this encourages algorithm-based mathematics (rather than understanding-based), and reading comprehension skills tailored toward three paragraph passages, rather than deciphering themes of significant works. When deconstructing word problems, look for key words such as "than", "less", "more", "out of". You're dead-on about "deeper understanding", and you can only have a deep understanding of thing X if you have at least a minimal understanding of the more complicated things X0,X1,X2..

The majority of our energy goes to maintaining order because the kids aren't used to following directions at home.

I'd say that the majority of our students should be held back at the end of each year, but politics won't allow it.

Some of the students never even showed up, but they all received credit for the class I was teaching.

Note: In Reading Comprehension worksheets, the Think About It portion is meant to be answered aloud in order to spark discussion about the story.

The Salamander Room – Life Cycle of a Salamander, Vocabulary, and more!Cats and Dogs Venn Diagram WorksheetDab It! I recall not giving a shit in my Advanced English Comp class in college, as I was paying nearly $400 per credit hour for remedial, high school level assignments covering comma use and parallelism. And yet, our elected "representatives" are all about "creating jobs" these days (while slashing education funding). Yup, this is why you get so many kids who are able to fake their way into college with straight A's, never having studied, only to get fucked over in college.

Meanwhile, I went to a public suburban school growing up, and the problem you posted above seems pretty easy to me, even though I don't consider myself to be good in math. My point is that most children of normal intelligence will grasp basic math and reach acceptable reading comprehension levels if they are required to sit down, listen to the teacher, do actual homework, do the work in class and actually somewhat understand the material to be promoted to the next grade level.

Bizarrely, I paused for a second on the example because of a puzzle about linguistic convention. Kids are terrible at math (and other subjects) because the teaching model is fundamentally outdated.

Personally, as someone who grew up 'good at math', I had no problem and didn't mind parsing information out of a word problem to express it in an equation and solve, but I always hated word problems because we were expected to write out the whole thing in words which I found irritating. On a word-problem worksheet, I had to write out "when Jenny gives me her apples, I now have seven apples". I recall when taking formal logic in university (which to me was simply learning the proper symbols to use to represent obvious concepts), the people who did't *get* it at the beginning still didn't *get* it at the end - even if many of them learned how to write in the formulas to get the correct answer.

I am an engineer and think math is awesome but a word problem like the one above will destroy most 7th graders. Now, when teaching educated professionals how to digest a research study, this is what thy want.

Or perhaps an interpretation that requires there to be .25 of a person is not likely to be the correct one? Agreed that these questions are designed to make the teacher's job easier, but like Anon said in comment #5, no form of teaching will make up for deficiencies at home, while an excellent home environment can make up for some very bad teaching. As the Atlanta scandal shows, there are no metrics that aren't suspect, and no universal curriculum that works for every kid. Standardize a process among teachers who themselves lack the deepest, intuitive sense of the material.

Worse than that: Standardize a process among teachers who think they have a deep, intuitive sense of the material, but really don't. And what happens when the conveyor belt moves backwards at exactly the same speed the plane moves forwards? Speaking as somebody who used to tutor basically upper-middle-class kids ranging from grade 8 through to first year calculus, this seems to explain most of the kids I tutored.

As a side note, the method you used is basically what I used to use to tutor kids through (always the most trouble, btw) word problems. I consider making the elementary school a lunch pad for collage as the greatest mistake of western education.

If there are 20% more girls than boys in the class, how many commenters are compelled to whip out their brains (dicks) to prove whose is bigger?

I think what Alone is trying to teach us (re: the number of boys and girls) is the critical difference in evaluating absolute and relative differences. You seem to be overlooking to fact that the purpose of compulsory education is not to teach but to socialize and sort. The fact that people came up with 3 different answers shows how terrible Americans are at math.

I was about to post the same thing as anonymous above me: school as we know it was not designed to teach mastery of the material. I'm Lauren, Wife and Mama to 4 kiddos ages 10 to 5, which we homeschool with a whole-heart approach. It's not that they were smart, it's just that they knew how to take the tests they were given.

The problem isn't that the 90% on the worksheet doesn't reflect real understanding, but that the vast majority of the students can't get past 30%. I think Alone is referring to "good" students who coast through school without any real learning, but the problem you described is no small concern.

Instead of wasting everyone's time in class reciting dry material from textbooks, students should instead READ material or watch videos at home and PRACTICE homework in the traditional classroom setting.

In real life, if a teacher asked me how may apples I had when Jenny gave me hers, I'd answer 7 (or the appropriate number). As a teacher (of many things not including standard school), I have seen many people memorize the process without understanding the concept. I cannot figure out how to tell ppl that you need to start with common sense - not the blind heuristic reassurance that an RCT means the study conclusion is correct.

But the fact that people were able to come up with three possible different answers (I'm not counting the incorrect math of autistic) does speak to a wording problem.

Well, first of all, there's high unemployment, so lower the barriers to entry to the profession.

High school systems of equations, and most kids had that "don't even know where to start" thing you describe.

Lot more marketing and sales types and real estate salespeople than engineers or programmers or (*snort*) doctors. I'm so glad you found your way here to Mama's, where you'll find lots of learning ideas for children and for moms, too. I'll not present myself as any kind of expert on either math or reading, but the general population doesn't exactly make it hard to be ahead of the curve. Most of my students miss weeks of school for reasons unknown, start kinder year unable to name colors, seasons and family member, let alone numbers, and when they do show up, they are completely unprepared.

What can be done with children who completely refuse to apply themselves and whose parents don't care? I wonder if the dropout rate, or the test scores you describe might actually be higher if the issues he describes here were addressed.

People in first aid classes who lose their entire ability to process if there's a slight hitch or irregularity, for example. In my kids' experience, this encourages algorithm-based mathematics (rather than understanding-based), and reading comprehension skills tailored toward three paragraph passages, rather than deciphering themes of significant works. When deconstructing word problems, look for key words such as "than", "less", "more", "out of". You're dead-on about "deeper understanding", and you can only have a deep understanding of thing X if you have at least a minimal understanding of the more complicated things X0,X1,X2..

The majority of our energy goes to maintaining order because the kids aren't used to following directions at home.

I'd say that the majority of our students should be held back at the end of each year, but politics won't allow it.

Some of the students never even showed up, but they all received credit for the class I was teaching.

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