Things you just don't get

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by tiecollector, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. Nereis

    Nereis Senior member

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    I am suddenly feeling an immense sense of gratitude to my grade 1 teacher, Mrs. Manning, who managed to drill 'their/they're/there' into my thick skull.
     
  2. L'Incandescent

    L'Incandescent Senior member

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    I never checked into that, but I've always wondered. It seemed too much like l'esprit de l'escalier. At any rate, it's a good line.

    @pio: to say "mute point" is the heighth of idiocy. :devil:
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  3. Liam O

    Liam O Senior member

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    Its spell "ideosy".
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  4. L'Incandescent

    L'Incandescent Senior member

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    That sounds like a downmarket version of The Odyssey! Someone should write that.
     
  5. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    Most schools have been teaching to the lowest common denominator for a while now. They're forced by laws and stupid policies to try and ensure that the dumbest kids are brought to the same level as the rest of the class, missing the fact that the rest of the students are learning nothing.

    It's a massive problem with our education system right now, but if you attempt to do anything about it, you have mass outrage and parents whining that the schools are determining their wonderfully gifted child's fate by putting them on the trade school track.

    Our high schools could serve society much better if they were honest. If the kid isn't going to become college material, teach them a trade. Right now, there's a massive strain on community colleges because the shop classes and whatnot that used to be the domain of high schools aren't being taught anymore. And on the other side of that, make sure the high achievers are challenged. I'm fortunate to have had good schools, and was on a high achiever track through most of them, but once I hit college I was quite certainly exposed to the failures of our educational system. A lot of the people I knew were bright people, but the basic knowledge just wasn't there. They could learn it, it really was just never taught.

    Well, that and books. I've gotten a lot of complements on my writing*, but the question "how did you learn to write so well?" always flusters me. It suggests that I made a distinct effort to learn the skill. I didn't. I just read a lot of good books with a wide array of writing styles; old classics with florid, lengthy prose, with not only poetry, but description, as well straightforward nonfiction packed densely with ideas and history, and fast paced stories meant for nothing but an amusing read. It matters. The immersion in words improves your writing like nothing else. I guess the only answer to that question is, "I read", but that comes off wrong in conversation.


    *Knowing my luck, I made some really boneheaded grammatical or spelling error somewhere in this post.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  6. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    I'm also very disappointed by the current trend away from specialized gifted and talented education. I understand there are budget constraints etc etc, but we ought to recognize that intelligence matters, and our best and brightest benefit tremendously from a specialized environment. They can't just make it up once they get to college. The smart people are the ones who really push things forward, we're not going to stay on top as a nation if we just try to drag all the average people up to a minimum standard but hold the best people down at the same time. We must enable the exceptional people to shine as well or we'll only be able to go so far.

    There's an education writer for the Washington Post who is vehemently against G&T programs. He thinks they're fundamentally unfair. Makes me angry every time I read it, because I know a lot of my own accomplishments would have been massively stifled without access to those selective classes. I'm sure the same is true for many others.

    When I hit college, I found out that I never learned trigonometry and I really needed to. Unfortunately I learned this while taking a calculus course. I took every math class my high school offered and did well, but they simply skipped that whole realm. Whoops. Not much a high school kid can do about that, and my parents didn't have the background to know what I was missing.

    My Indian neighbor is making his daughter take coordinate geometry classes over the summer because he doesn't like the school's approach.

    People like to assume there's some trick to it. "Being smart and reading a shit-ton of books" is not very satisfying.
     
  7. L'Incandescent

    L'Incandescent Senior member

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    Your point about reading lengthy and dense prose corresponds very well with my experience teaching. There is one book I regularly teach that is easier than the other texts in the class from a conceptual point of view, but the students nonetheless always report that it was the hardest book. It didn't take me long to figure out the reason: it's written in Victorian English, with long sentences. The students simply cannot follow. Students often even find the sentences I speak in my lectures--which are mostly ad lib--too long. And they really have a hard time with densely written texts, where each sentence is packed with information and there's not a lot of fluff or filler. It's fascinating, I was looking over some textbooks that the publishers' reps were trying to get me to adopt and I noticed there was hardly a page where the text wasn't broken up by pictures or blocks of unrelated, superfluous information. Students hardly read a quarter of a page before they get a break.

    Also, I just want to make sure that I don't give the wrong impression. I grumble about the serious deficiencies that so many of my students have, but I recognize that the problem is systematic. I am honest with them about their weakness, but I don't treat them like they're idiots who don't belong in my classroom. I am an educator, and my job is to help them get better; that's what I am paid to do, not to bitch about them and write them off as hopeless cases. Often I can only get them from terrible to a little less terrible, but that's at least something.
     
  8. deadly7

    deadly7 Senior member

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    Fuck, people in the sciences should learn to behave like that. I cannot count how many times a science professor has belittled me [or a classmate] in undergraduate coursework because of mistakes that they do not allow their graduate students to make. Because that makes sense and is an earnest comparison.
     
  9. LawrenceMD

    LawrenceMD Senior member

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    I don't get "organic cotton" bed sheets.

    "organic cotton" = scratchy and off white.

    I've been fucking fooled twice into buying stupid organic cotton sheets. I naively assumed that dropping more money this 2nd time would be better.
     
  10. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    There are a lot of poor teachers in the sciences. It's a product of the system, teaching is a distant second priority during grad school and then schools hire professors based on their research ability...and make them teach classes anyway. The professors generally don't like it, aren't good at it, and it shows. There are exceptions of course.

    Some schools are picking up teaching-only faculty, some with science education focuses instead of research backgrounds. It's probably a good idea. You don't need to be good at research to teach undergrads.

    I didn't know shit about teaching when I started and didn't use a thing I used in grad school.
     
  11. indesertum

    indesertum Senior member

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    supima is where it's at
     
  12. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    I'm watching some show on HGTV. I don't get why people would pay money to convert their basement into a rental apartment. WTF would you want a stranger living in your house? The whole reason you buy a house is to have detached living.
     
  13. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    A lot of these people seem to do it so they can get a "nicer" house (read: more expensive) by relying on the income from the rental. It seems like really perverse logic, spend more money on space you can't use, and become dependent on the income from someone else living else to be able to afford the rest of the place, and have to put up with them and be a landlord on top of everything.
     
  14. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

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    Exactly! It just makes me scratch my head.
     
  15. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Senior member

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    I'm with you but necessity will out sometimes...
     

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