Friday, January 21, 2011

The ubiquitous white 3 x 5 notecard. Given to students to 'take notes' to use as a study help on a test.
In theory, a great idea. It teaches students to summarize, consolidate, and best of all, to STUDY. Just the process of sorting through to select the important info to include on the card, and the process of writing those notes is often enough to help students be more successful on the test.
Unfortunately, for many students, note taking is like black magic. How do you decide what IS important and what is NOT important? How to you find answers to questions when you really aren't sure about the question in the first place?
Education is failing so many students. I am failing so many students. 8th graders who can't read. 8th graders who don't understand the basics of what most 5th graders know. 8th graders who are so conditioned for failure they do not even try to experience success.
I feel helpless and hopeless. Today is the last day of semester one. Are these kids really anywhere ahead of where they were in September?


Dana S said...

I feel the same way almost every day. I feel I am failing my 8th graders and I don't know what to do differently. I am doing everything I can think of to teach old ideas in new ways. I am constantly searching the internet for good ideas. Is is me? Is it motivation? What should I do differently?

cossondra said...

Dana, I wish I had those answers. It is frustrating, and it seems to get worse every year. The vast majority of students seem to have this chip on their shoulder, almost afraid to learn, to try, to admit that they crave knowledge. Video games, facebook, texting... all take such a chunk of their time and brain power, it seems little is left for school.

I don't want to shirk MY responsibilites/my role in their failure, but at some point, THEY have to want up. THEY have to step up and choose to be students. Until then, I fear we are swimming upstream, and losing ground.