Monday, April 17, 2017

what works can also hurt.

Educational theorist Yong  Zhao, at the University of Kansas, noted the usually unstated matter of consequences. You do one thing, and there are serial effects. For instance, some reading programs may make students read better and hate reading. Was that the consequence we were most hoping for? In this article Zhao notes: What works can hurt: Side effects in Education.

It appears to me that the problem that educational policy makers have is that they are too busy looking at the big picture and not at the individual child, or children and their specific circumstances and needs.

A classic tale is of the philosophers walking along in the starlight, contemplating the mysteries of the universe. The tale was brought to an unhappy ending when they fell headlong into a drainage ditch. We do not know whether or not they drowned, but we do know that American education is drowning under the influence of standardized testing. Even the individual classroom teacher may  be so focused on spreadsheets, work sheets and test scores that they may miss the needs of the individual child.

Zhao notes, that if you were to buy a medicine, the requirements of law are that you be provided information concerning the possible side effects and unintended consequences, but that when it comes to our children and their educations, no such badly needed warning is supplied. We are to simply take the word of those who are selling us something, and that something may have disastrous effects.

I can keep telling you about the Clear Spring School and the need for children to do real things. Do you mind? It will get easier for me and for all our children if you direct more folks to this blog. Together, we can put our children's hands to work, and wrest back their learning from the tyrants who, focused solely on standards have never witnessed the creative potential inherent in each and every one of our kids.

In my home wood shop, I am working on products to fill an order for Appalachian Spring Galleries in Washington, DC. The Babe-Bot glue dispenser is my new best tool. Unlike the tiny squeeze glue bottles I've used for many years, the Babe-Bot is less likely to clog, and holds far more glue. You can see that it applies an evenly controlled line of glue, thus helping to avoid the mess that comes with too much glue. Unlike accordion style dispensers, it takes very little pressure to unsure a steady flow of glue, and the lid will not pop off when you least expect it. It is also easier to fill.

Make, fix, create, and increase an understanding that we all learn best likewise.

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