Thursday, September 26, 2013

Going to School Teaches You How to Go to School

Two interesting articles in the Atlantic:

My Daughter's Homework is Killing Me, in which a father attempts to do his 8th-grade daughter's homework for a week.


My Insane Homework Load Taught me How to Game the System, in which a high school student realizes that the objective of high school is not to become a good learner, but a good student. 

I liked this comment (from dantes342, on My Insane Homework Load):
I've got two high school juniors, each taking a couple of the de rigeur AP courses. The workload is insane, they're hitting the books from when they get home in the afternoon until 10-11 at night and always at least one full weekend day. It's just sadistic.
College GPA requirements are in the realm of fantasy, as is described in the piece.
It's not about a failure of students to buckle down and structure their time. It's about a broken system running on hysteria and disregard for actual learning, and it breeds gaming the system and cheating just to stay afloat.
I see a lot of this in the "good" school district of Upper Tax Bracket.  This is how our kids are overworked and undereducated.

1 comment:

  1. My mum says that whenever she watches American TV shows, the one thing that always gets her is that the kids always seem to have homework. Ironically enough, she comes from SE Asia and yet she still finds this interesting, though maybe it's because she's been living in a far more laid-back country for long enough. Over here, primary school kids at public schools tend to get one worksheet per week. High school kids in years 8-10 get more homework before relatively few homework assignments are given in years 11 and 12 because students are expected to study independently by then. We get a fair amount of tests, though- about 6-10 per subject each year, which doesn't sound like much, but teachers all seem to like giving tests at the same time, normally at the middle and end of each term, so they can pile up.

    I think that homework has its merits but not necessarily assigned homework where it's "do this or else!" I think that only you can know yourself and what you need work on, and while someone else might want to spread their time evenly, you might find that you need to work more on one subject and less on another. Having so much assigned homework that your time is managed for you can only take away your ability to learn to manage time by yourself and to learn your own individual strengths and weaknesses. It's partly because of this that, despite having only a small amount of assigned homework compared to American students, I don't think that my chances of doing well in the future are at all compromised.

    Unfortunately, having more homework or less homework doesn't seem to solve the problem of students memorising for tests and whatnot. School is going to have to radically change in order to make sure that everyone actually learns. It saddens me that some people graduate without really learning how to learn, but such miracles don't happen overnight.