Monday, December 14, 2015

It Takes a Small City

Out in Out in Left Field, Katharine Beals has a post about Math teaching at Exeter.  Aside from the question of traditional vs. reform math, I was impressed by the advice students give to each other in a student guide:
The very first place to turn for help should be your teacher. Since teachers at Exeter have many fewer students than teachers at other schools, they are never less than eager to help you succeed in any way they can. There is actually one designated time slot a week for students to meet with teachers, which is meetings period on Saturday. You can always call or ask a teacher for help. If there is no time during the day, it is always possible to check out of the dorm after your check-in time, to meet with your teacher at their apartment, or house. It is easiest to do this on the nights that your teacher is on duty in his/her dorm. Getting help from your teacher is the first and most reliable source to turn to, for extra help. - See more at: http://oilf.blogspot.com/#sthash.8CatdVdo.dpuf
The very first place to turn for help should be your teacher.  Since teachers at Exeter have many fewer students than teachers at other schools, they are never less than eager to help you in any way they can. ... You can always call or ask a teacher for help.  If there is no time during the day, it is always possible to check out of the dorm after your check-in time, to meet with your teacher at their apartment, or house. 
Keep in mind that Exeter is a highly exclusive school.  They only take bright, motivated, hard-working kids.  Yet they've designed a situation where these bright kids are expected and encouraged to constantly ask their teachers for help.  We encountered a similar phenomenon at Friends Omphalos; when Older Daughter was struggling there, we were often told that she should ask her teachers for help (not useful advice for someone with anxiety and depression.)

What is going on here?  We put adolescents in a maze that they can't possibly navigate themselves, then we hire people to guide them through.  In my neighborhood, it has now become routine to hire a special advisor to guide your child through the college application process.  This is after years of routine tutoring (and it's amazing how parents who are already paying an arm and a leg for private-school tuition are content to mortgage their kidneys for tutors.) 

Shouldn't school, high school especially, be a place where kids are encouraged to stand on their own two feet?  Shouldn't successful learning be an experience of "I can do this all by myself"?

All over the web you find college professors complaining that college students are too coddled; they expect constant support from their teachers (one example here.)  This is usually followed by the ceremonial bashing of helicopter parents.  What about helicopter high schools? 

And another point -- how about some professional boundaries?  Apparently teachers at Exeter don't have any; they're available to meet with a student one-on-one in the teacher's apartment at night.  Good idea!  What could possibly go wrong?

The very first place to turn for help should be your teacher. Since teachers at Exeter have many fewer students than teachers at other schools, they are never less than eager to help you succeed in any way they can. There is actually one designated time slot a week for students to meet with teachers, which is meetings period on Saturday. You can always call or ask a teacher for help. If there is no time during the day, it is always possible to check out of the dorm after your check-in time, to meet with your teacher at their apartment, or house. It is easiest to do this on the nights that your teacher is on duty in his/her dorm. Getting help from your teacher is the first and most reliable source to turn to, for extra help. - See more at: http://oilf.blogspot.com/#sthash.8CatdVdo.dpuf
The very first place to turn for help should be your teacher. Since teachers at Exeter have many fewer students than teachers at other schools, they are never less than eager to help you succeed in any way they can. There is actually one designated time slot a week for students to meet with teachers, which is meetings period on Saturday. You can always call or ask a teacher for help. If there is no time during the day, it is always possible to check out of the dorm after your check-in time, to meet with your teacher at their apartment, or house. It is easiest to do this on the nights that your teacher is on duty in his/her dorm. Getting help from your teacher is the first and most reliable source to turn to, for extra help. - See more at: http://oilf.blogspot.com/#sthash.8CatdVdo.dpuf
The very first place to turn for help should be your teacher. Since teachers at Exeter have many fewer students than teachers at other schools, they are never less than eager to help you succeed in any way they can. There is actually one designated time slot a week for students to meet with teachers, which is meetings period on Saturday. You can always call or ask a teacher for help. If there is no time during the day, it is always possible to check out of the dorm after your check-in time, to meet with your teacher at their apartment, or house. It is easiest to do this on the nights that your teacher is on duty in his/her dorm. Getting help from your teacher is the first and most reliable source to turn to, for extra help. - See more at: http://oilf.blogspot.com/#sthash.8CatdVdo.dpuf
The very first place to turn for help should be your teacher. Since teachers at Exeter have many fewer students than teachers at other schools, they are never less than eager to help you succeed in any way they can. There is actually one designated time slot a week for students to meet with teachers, which is meetings period on Saturday. You can always call or ask a teacher for help. If there is no time during the day, it is always possible to check out of the dorm after your check-in time, to meet with your teacher at their apartment, or house. It is easiest to do this on the nights that your teacher is on duty in his/her dorm. Getting help from your teacher is the first and most reliable source to turn to, for extra help. - See more at: http://oilf.blogspot.com/#sthash.8CatdVdo.dpuf

5 comments:

  1. The availability of and encouragement for teacher help amounts to direct instruction--which raises the question of whether that should have been done in the first place. No, better to sustain an illusion that the kids are doing it all by themselves. Sounds like a self-sustaining juku.

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  2. If you were holding a contest to find the least efficient way to teach the next generation, this method would be a strong contender. Honestly, they've got all that time in the classroom, then they go back to the dorm and they still need the teacher's help? It's nuts.

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    1. The edworld has long shown that it has no awareness of, let alone appreciation for, the concept of efficiency. Even if method P is as effective as method T (which I highly doubt), if it take 2x (at least) the amount of time, then it should be used sparingly - and for some groups (those behind grade level, for ex), never.

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