Friday Four

Friday, September 20, 2013

1. "You're not a hipster until you've taken a typewriter to a park." Now that you've had your chuckle, meet the man behind the "meme":

For all the hateful words that were lobbed at me, it barely ever bubbled over from the world of online forums and websites. I received zero angry emails, only a few mean tweets. My Facebook was never broken into and vandalized--my typewriter remains unsmashed, no one has ever threatened violence towards me in real life. Instead, there are these pockets of the web that are small and ignorable, filled with hate for a picture of me, for this idea of a hipster--for the audacity of bringing a typewriter to a park.
Apparently all but absent from the lengthy comment threads about this man's out-of-context picture were any genuine curiosity and any sense of irony about spending so much time and energy hating someone for a desire for attention. Too bad for the commenters: this guy had a pretty clever idea.

2. What would doing homework be like for an adult? One man, concerned about his daughter's work load decided to see for himself. To say that his title, "My Daughter's Homework Is Killing Me", "says it all" is tempting, but it would be to use a colloquialism rashly. I think the article raises some very important issues about education, directly and indirectly. I'll also take the opportunity to note here that not all schools are like the one described.

3. Speaking of daughters... This week, as we were finishing up the board-book version of Finding Nemo, my two-year-old daughter said, "I yove my daddy", to me for the first time. (Her L's come out as Y's most of the time.)

Heart melted? Check. Week made? Check.

4. From an account of the contribution of the Monopoly board game to the WWII war effort:
Under the paper surface of each doctored board was a map printed on durable silk showing "escape routes from the particular prison to which each game was sent," Waddington's chairman Victor Watson told the Associated Press in 1985. "Into the other side of the board was inserted a tiny compass and several fine-quality files." Real French, German, and Italian currency was hidden in the stacks of Monopoly money.
Nobody knows how many of the approximately 35,000 POW's who escaped prison camps were able to do so thanks to these special game sets.

-- CAV


Steve D said...

This statement sums up the entire essay.

‘It turns out that there is no correlation between homework and achievement.’

This is yet another example of how bad theory leads to bad practice and in this case child abuse. The author’s point about the cumulative workload is also a good one. Do the teachers not realize that the child has multiple classes, that their subject isn’t the center of the universe?

I am not sure if he makes this point but this sort of pressure is completely artificial so what are they trying to prepare the student for – the next stage in his/her education which prepares them for the next stage ad infinitum. This form of pressure does not usually manifest in most people’s careers. For example, I may stress out during the day but when I leave the building most of the time, I leave my work behind (except for the occasional checking emails, looking at my next day’s schedule etc.).

Actually homework may not correlate to achievement but the single most important factor in how well a school does (not sure if this extends to individual achievement) is when their classes start. It makes sense. More sleep; better grades.

The author’s child also went to a government school. It seems like this might be yet another advantage of independent schools. In his new school my son is allowed class time to get his homework done and if he gets it done then, he doesn’t have to bring it home. So essentially, he brings home almost no real homework, except clarinet practice, studying for exams (but he usually gets 100 whether he studies or not so I don’t really stress that), and the occasional Spanish worksheet. He no longer has additional reading. He also get’s late start Thursdays, about 10% fewer school days in the year compared to the government schools. Obviously, his school feels they can cover what they need to cover in a whole lot less hours than other schools do.

If you have 13 years, 9 months/year, 20 days/month, 7 hours/day to educate a child and you still need to send work home with them, you are not doing your job.

Gus Van Horn said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your last sentence.