My Best Teaching Is One-on-One


Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.


But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.


It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

social freedoms and the semantics of machines

A boy I know and his parents have arguments over how much time he spends playing video games. The funny thing (one odd thing) is that the parents claim to support social freedoms.

The son, for his part, is in a high-pressure high school over his head. Not so much over his head, but the school is a science/math focus school and his interests are in the people sciences, history, maybe biology, definitely sociology, etc. The games are not just his way of letting off steam. They help him loosen his conscious grip on his understanding enough to let the principles soak in.

He gets the principles, just not fast enough to keep up with the pace of his homework, or the tests. He's always a step or two behind.

So his grades are in the sink.

But when he understands, he understands, as opposed to the average above-average student who mechanically copies the rotework and never really grasps what is going on.

Playing video games at three or four in the morning is a little extreme. Japanese high schools, the ones everyone fights to get into, are not conducive to education.

If the parents recognize that people in generally must be free, why can't they let their own child choose how he attempts to implement his goals?

Actually, more than one family I know is in this vicious cycle.

No time to write this out in small steps:

If there is a reason for people to be different from each other, they have to be free.

If people have to be free, children have to be free to find their own way, even to extremes like playing video games at three and four in the morning.

If they don't have freedom, how do they find the meaning in the things they do?

If they don't find meaning in what they do, what makes them any different from the machines we build?

(This argument appears to contain some logical leaps and some incomplete implications, but tightening up the logic runs into axioms that some people like to quibble excessively over. And I'm out of time.)

Of course, the warning voice of the parents is one of the context elements that helps children find meaning, but parents really need to be conscious of what meanings they help their children find.

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Courtesy is courteous.