Mar. 17th, 2008

jackofallgeeks: (Default)
No commentary on This,
just passing along a curiosity. A baby girl born in India has two faces,
and is being worshipped as a reincarnated god.
jackofallgeeks: (Default)
As a contrast to my last post related to schools and discipline, This incredibly
short article mentions a 15-year old girl who stopped a bus after the driver
hit her head dsurring a turn and was "rewarded" with detention. The
headline's a little misleading though: the girl wasn't supposed to be on the
bus, and had asked for a ride because she was "feeling sick." (Presumably
it was a bus for kindergarten-aged kids, who would be leaving the school
earlier.) Now, stopping the bus with no injuries (other than, obviously,
the driver) is a very good thing. But if she wasn't really sick and/or
hadn't been excused for being sick, then yeah, she was cutting class and
"shouldn't" have been there. So, the detention isn't unreasonable
(though it could be argued that, under the circumstances she could maybe be
forgiven her indiscression) and that's the distinction I'd like to draw
here.

Re:

Mar. 17th, 2008 02:14 pm
jackofallgeeks: (Default)
When it rains it pours: more school-related news. There's a school in
England (I think, can't confirm that from my limited knowledge) that's run
a test
that appears to show that 20 minutes on a "brain training" game for
the Nintendo DS improves students' behavior, cooperation skills, and
learning ability. Kids aged five and six were given the game to play for
twenty minutes at the beginning of each school day for ten weeks. Teachers
noticed a marked improvement in the areas noted.

Now, I'm an avid gamer, born and bred on Nintendo, so I'm both a little
biased toward the merits of video games and sensitive to the flack they
get. Teachers, it seems, tend to have a particularly negative opinion of
video games, and i'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps they would argue that
they see the results of such things more regularly that leyfolk, but I
certainly don't hear nearly as much railing against TV and movies as
I do against video games. I've even found that, in some, simply mentioning
kids and video games is enough to illicit a snear.

It's notable, of course, that the game in question here isn't Mario Brothers
or World of Warcraft: it's a game specifically made to engage the mind and
stretch intellectual muscles. That is, it's a special case. But it still
makes me smile to be able to point to this and say, "see? Games CAN help."
jackofallgeeks: (Default)
And because I'm on a roll, Here
is an article on Techdirt commenting on a teacher's union in the UK
considering getting rid of homework -- entirely for younger children and in
majority up through highschool. As Techdirt notes, there have been a number
of studies that show homework doesn't make a significant difference in
students' performance, and I'm personally biased as I feel I gained precious
little from any homework I had in my 18-year stint as a student. Like the
article notes, though, the ineffectiveness of homework isn't what's cited as
the motivation for this move in the UK: instead, the teachers claim that
homework adds stress and makes kids feel bad, which contributes to
restlessness and disruptiveness in class.

Now, in reality I'm technically on the same side as this teacher's union in
that we'd both like to see homework go away, I just think they're justifying
it in the wrong way. If the argument is that homework causes stress, then
the point can be made that real life involves stress on a day-to-day basis,
and kids should be learning to cope with that -- in fact, maybe a NEW class
should be constructed to address stress education. Instead, the point
should be made that homework is ineffective and both teachers and students
have better things to do with their time.
jackofallgeeks: (Default)
I can't listen to This
here at work, but it fits today's theme (I swear I'm not just picking
school-related stories, this is just what seems most pertinent today). The
blurb says that an Atlanta "alternative charter school" has security
procedures that border on abuse, and the headline says the school is
compared to a prison. I've long held that schools (public schools in
particular, but all schools) resemble prisons in construction, managment,
and execution, so I'm interested in hearing what's said.

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John Noble

August 2012

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