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User talk:Hactar

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Hello and welcome to the cesspit of teh internets! Aboriginal Noise What the hell is that thing? 18:28, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

Welcome Hactar. Subverting CP is always appreciated here (although poking and prodding is also good).  :-D weaseLOIdWeaselly.jpg~ 18:31, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
Hiya, Hactar, and welcome to the middling pizza! Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 18:57, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
Welcome to the Dollhouse! ħumanUser talk:Human 00:53, 18 November 2008 (EST)
Thank you all for the warm welcome! Hactar 02:21, 18 November 2008 (EST)


Interested. Explain. - Gentleman Publius (V)<,",>(V) 11:21, 19 January 2009 (EST)

My knowledge here is actually much more about the math side of things (I'm a masters student in Math Ed and appart from the training, I've been taking a bunch of classes in curriculum trends and development), but from what I've seen in the media and on various web pages, there's a similar conflict in how to teach English and how to teach math. My view is biased towards the newer methods of teaching, so keep that in mind when I present this.

On one side of these conflicts you have the traditionalists who believe that the standard model of instruction that they received is perfect and does not need to change. It doesn't matter that there are legions of people who have tremendous difficulty reading (and especially comprehending and that the majority of people I know are self-described "non-math" people. I don't know about the research on whole language vs. phonics, but I from what I've been told, phonics was simply the accepted method, without any research to support it. Whole language was introduced because of the problems inherent in solely teaching phonics, and research was done showing that there was some effectiveness. Ultimately, the phonics/whole language wars have died down a lot, with people realizing that the best method is a combination of the two.

There were actually two different sets of math wars in the US. The first was with New Math in the 70's which was a complete flop, as it needed at minimum, a much greater knowledge base for elementary school and middle school teachers. The second round happened recently with a wave of reform curricula that came out in the early 90's, after researchers figured out that we were utterly screwing up math education in the US (there was a report "A Nation at Risk" which went on about these problems and spurred a lot of this). Once again, the challenge was the the status quo which had no research supporting it, it was simply the way things were always done. The goal with the reform curricula was to make it so that math education reached a much larger segment of the population that it had previously, the problem was that in doing so it tended to neglect teaching the skills rigorously enough for students to confidently and ably go on in math (and physics) in college and beyond. There were huge fights about this, with math departments weighing down in favor of the traditional "drill and kill" approach while the reformers pushed "fuzzy math." Ultimately, in part because of difficulty in implementation and protests from those who were successful at the previous method or worried when math was not a difficult, uncompromising subject that students might not hate, a lot of the reforms were pushed back. There were significant problems with the pacing in the reforms, but those problems were of pacing, not of method. (I tend to think that the context and techniques attempted by the reforms were correct, but that the lack of focus on some basic algorithmic skills was a horrible mistake.)

Anyway, to pull the two together and explain CP's horror about whole language- both were attempts by professors of education to drastically change the means by which a core subject (reading or math) was taught. Even though there was no research on the efficacy of the old time method (and there still is barely any on the traditional method of teaching math), they felt that his attempt to change things was a bunch of liberal professors interfering with the education of their children. With math, they found strange bedfellows, as most mathematicians I know are somewhat to very liberal, but any differences were ignored for the math wars. The politics of this tend to take a back seat in the eyes of those who are concerned with culture in the schools, as the topics that can be easily politicized are history and English (what to read, as opposed to how to learn to read), but the battles were just as fierce. As things stand right now in math, the reformists and the traditionalists are slowly moving closer together and there is more and more research coming out that shows that the curriculum is secondary to the teacher. I think a synthesis of the two is perhaps 10-20 years away, as the research in this field is (surprisingly) only about 20 years old at the oldest. Despite how central education is, we haven't been looking at how well we do it in an empirical manner for that long. And we've been doing the right studies for much less than that (the original research tended to ignore teachers and look only at socioeconomic status when determining classroom equivalence).

Why CP is still harping about phonics is beyond me, I was under the impression that phonics had been shown to be slightly more effective, but that a great number of the ideas present in whole language had been found to be successful and incorporated into the classroom. I know that personally, phonics did nothing but screw me up, it took going to a summer program where I learned whole language to learn to read. I was then reading 3-5 grade levels above my peers for all of elementary and middle school, but I tend to be a capable and quick reader.

Andy's difficulty with anything that looks unusual in math (even it is widely accepted and over 300 years old, like say, complex numbers) is indicative of his view of both math and reading here. He strikes me as someone who would not believe students were learning math unless, at some fundamental level, they disliked it.

I hope this answers your question, sorry I took so long to get back to you. If wiki etiquette says that I should have replied on your page, please tell me, as it stands, I'm going to drop you a note so that you know I responded. (If that was unnecessary, please tell me also.) Hactar 19:47, 21 January 2009 (EST)

I have no idea if it's etiquette, but it was appreciated. In any case, that's quite a fascinating explanation (dare I say insightful!?) My meagre experience in pedagogy has shown me that any new system is doomed when implemented by educators who don't agree with it. - Gentleman Publius (V)<,",>(V) 20:53, 21 January 2009 (EST)
That's truer than you'd think- all of the well done current studies that I've read have shown that teacher style/education/quality matters much much more than curriculum material. Of course the material does matter. But if the teacher is good enough and knows enough, the material can be out of left field and people will still get it. Conversely, if they are really bad and don't know anything, no matter how good the curriculum is, kids won't learn anything. (And when they don't know anything and are working with a really bad curriculum, you end up with Conservapedia.) Hactar 00:47, 22 January 2009 (EST)
Whoa, hitting "backspace" returns one to the previous screen. Anyway, yes @ Hectar - good teachers teach no matter what, and crappy ones fail no matter what they are told to do. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:46, 22 January 2009 (EST)


Congratulations on joining the scum of the earth, Hactar! That's right—you are now a sysop!

Here is your bucket, mop, and instruction manual. Enjoy! Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 21:55, 28 January 2009 (EST)

blink blink:: Thanks! Now I can enact my fantasies of being the Toxic Avenger. (Not really, but can you think of any other hero who gets a mop?) Hactar 10:57, 29 January 2009 (EST)


Enable your email. Redchuck.gif Генгисmutating 16:49, 31 January 2009 (EST)

I've been looking at my profile and can't find the stupid checkbox to do it. Help (and a clue-by-four) would be appreciated. Hactar 23:17, 5 February 2009 (EST)