Archive for March, 2009
This incident most probably is not among the most important events that occurred in the world of education, but it does carry symbolic value. A fifteen year old girl who is undergoing treatment for cancer asked a Japanese high school to allow her to sit for the January exams which are taken by junior high school students in order to enter prestigious high schools. The cancer treatment has made her susceptible to infections and she asked permission to take the exam in a separate room. Her request was denied because all students have to sit in the same room to take the exams.
Fortunately, a private high school allowed the teenager to sit for the exam and she passed. This young lady will now be allowed to enter a prestigious high school. This is a minor story about a minor incident– or is it?
By exploring the Naturalistic Education Theory (NET) as a strategy to engineer an appropriate sequence of topics, it can be demonstrated how to produce a pedagogically-sound curriculum and more efficient instruction. There has been a vast discrepancy between the demand for effective and efficient curriculum materials and the framework and guidelines to fulfill that need. Without a major change in our fundamental approach to pedagogy we will not be able to increase the low percent science literacy rate by an order of magnitude that is needed to serve a technology-based society. NET acknowledges the brain’s rules for meaningful and lasting learning and demands organizing the processes of pedagogy based on these rules. NET is a historical-based, natural sequencing theory that proposes that information should be arranged and taught in the same order in which it was originally discovered. This historically-based sequence sets up a learning spiral symbolizing the continuity of concepts and their systematic linking together, web style, for meaningful, multi-dimensional association; in other words, a four-dimensional, dynamically-expanded cognitive map creating a continuous association of concepts. It is a mental construction process fueled by natural curiosity and developmentally-based need-to-know. The structure and function relationships of the knowledge and skills we would like to develop in the mental construct of the student flow naturally as if the concepts were their own architects and their revelation engineered by their own processes of evolution.
The British National Union of Teachers (NUT) is calling for a cap on the number of hours that teachers will be interacting directly with students and that 20% of their time would be reserved for preparing to teach or grading student assignments. The annual Workload Teachers Diary Survey, published last summer, estimated the average teacher works at least 50 hours per week. NUT insists there is need to “set some kind of standard for teachers in England” as to their weekly work load.
In 2001, Scotland introduced a work cap for teachers. The McCone Agreement established a 35 hour week for teachers in Scotland and since then has reduced time spent with students to 22.5 hours a week. It is still unclear as to whether teachers voluntarily are spending more time with students. NUT most probably will ask for an extensive study into the effects of the McCone Agreement on Scottish education.
Several years ago, I took off a year from college teaching and taught in a small high school in the St. Louis area. My daily diary reflected an individual who was, most probably, working at least 60 hours a week, given the need to completely develop a World History class from scratch.
Covered here is a collection of concepts and how-tos that for the lack of a better method, are collected loosely under this heading:
Duplicating CDs & DVDs
If you have the money, pickup Roxio Toast for all of your optical media needs. Copying and authoring CDs and DVDs is made incredibly easy using their simple and intuitive interface. Unfortunately, UM Saint Louis doesn’t provide this app on its standard Macintosh lab workstation. In truth, however, it isn’t required. Most of your needs will be answered using OS X’s built-in application, Disk Utility. While certainly not as intuitive as Toast, Disk Utility makes disk duplication a relatively painless process once you know what you’re doing … which just so happens to be the purpose of this section.
NOTE: Disk Utility is useless for copy-protected DVDs that use Content Scramble System (CSS) encryption or a similar method of Digital Rights Management (DRM). Don’t even try and certainly do not expect support from University lab consultants.
Create CD/DVD Master Image
We need to begin by creating a disk image that we can use later to make as many copies as we’ll need:
- Insert your master CD or DVD
- Wait for the operating system to recognize the disk and perform its default action. Quit DVD Player if it is launched for DVD playback.
British Schools Secretary Ed Balls has proposed a plan which would introduce a new “scorecard” to rate the performance of schools. The exact details of the plan are expected to be announced in a White Paper that will be issued some time this spring. It is expected the plan will rate schools based on exam performance and student “well being.” At the annual conference of school heads in Great Britain not a single delegate voted in favor of a single grade to identify a school’s performance.
Delegates were interested in the New York City School process which rates schools from A-F and offers rewards or bonuses to teachers for schools which score an A or B. Among issues raised by those at the conference was concern that schools would be given a low rating if they had detention rate regardless of the rationale for having extensive detention of students. There was extensive discussion at the conference regarding criteria which would be used to rate a school.
British schools have recently introduced the concept of student “well being” as a factor in determining school success or failure. The issue of rating schools invariably comes down to criteria used in deciding success or failure.