Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lamenting the state of education.

I accept that the world has changed since I was in high school. But really, it amazes me the stuff kids know nothing about.
Letter writing is a thing of the past. I gave an assignment this week that included writing four letters. Over half the class didn't realize that a salutation and signature were a standard part of all letters. They've never written a letter! Another assignment required them to do some research in the library. I said I wanted them to use books. Real paper books. No internet, no google, no computer. Find information in the books. This was next to impossible. The librarian and I both were busy the entire period, showing teenagers how to use encyclopedias, the Dewey decimal system, and how to use several books on the same general topic to research something.
Today I gave notes in class. I figured it would be easy. I write on the board, and read it as I write, they just need to copy it down. Oh, the whining! "It's too much!" "I can't write that fast!" "Why can't you just photocopy them for us?" "Why do we need to know this stuff?"
A student asked me today, "Mrs. F., what's "arithmetic"?
Maybe it's just me, but I think it's time to review the basics. The kids not only are failing the three R's, they can't even identify the three R's!

12 comments:

TC said...

That is really sad.

for what it's worth said...

Sad but true!
I also have a beef right now with our Daughter's past grade curriculum. They studied the US...uh, um...sorry, but we live in Canada. So now, she can tell us about the civil war but she can not tell you who the PM of Canada is/was or what party is in power. Really ticks me off.

Beth said...

Oh God - do not get me started on this one!! This was a bone of contention with me the whole time my daughter was in school.
I DO NOT believe in elementary age school kids having calculators in class!! How are they going to learn basic arithmitic that way??
When I was training staff at the bakery, the biggest problem we had was girls who simply couldn't count back change - it was an old fashioned place and our tills didn't automatically tell them what change to give!! The trainees were appalled that the cash registar didn't tell them what to do and I was frustrated with how hard it was to teach them to do it themselves!! Also found, that when taking orders, they didn't know how to spell or use puncuation marks !! These were girls already working themselves through university!! They had gotten themselves into college without knowing the most basic math & grammar!! God help us all!!

debby said...

that is very bad.. btw? I used to hate Dewey.. just sayin..

BeckaJo said...

I started teaching college freshman this year. I had to explain that internetspeak is not appropriate for a class assignment. The majority got upset over the idea of having to cite their sources. Not a one has ever written an analytic essay...I dunno if that makes you feel better or worse!

Prego said...

It's been a while since you were in the gig, huh? We stopped using the mimeograph and inkwells, too.

I've got to go. Laura and Nellie Ingalls are about to throw down some sh*t in the school yard.

Prego said...

and yes, I agree... our kids are as dumb and as lazy as s-h-i-t.

Prego said...

and yes, I agree... our kids are as dumb and as lazy as s-h-i-t.

Amy said...

I just had a conversation along these lines with my former-teacher-mother-in-law! This is my first semester teaching (GTA position, so I'm more of a faking-it teacher). On the first day we took notes, I had my Power Point presentation all ready to go, felt pretty high tech and worthy of admiration, and the irst question was, "Do you have your notes online?" No. I don't believe in that. We've gotten through most of 4 chapters and there are a few kids who haven't taken one word of notes yet. They don't even bring a notebook to class!! Who taught them that?? And how do the Powers That Be think that they'll be able to survive in the work force upon graduation?? I can just see it..."I'm sorry, but I don't know how to work a pen. Do you have some sort of keyboard I could use?"

Amy said...

At the GTA orientation meeting before school started, they gave us a handout about the students we would be teaching, "Millenium Students." We were told that they would respond best to group work, online assignments, everything explained clearly on the syllabus... At one point in the lecture last week, a girl asked, "Will this be on the test?"
Me: Yes.
Her: *How* will it be on the test?
Me: In print.
Her: No, like multiple choice, word bank, matching...

I never would have thought to ask that. What's wrong with them??

Okay. Sorry. Thank you for providing your blog (unwittingly perhaps) for me to get this off my chest. Heaven forbid my students Google me, find my blog, and read what I really think. :P

JustLinda said...

Sing it, sister!!

Carmi said...

Technology giveth and technology taketh away. I fear that some basic skills of communication are being lost in the process.

As always, you outline your thesis with such grace. You've definitely got me thinking tonight!