Author Topic: Suggestions needed--Mutant books  (Read 6933 times)

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« Reply #45 on: May 01, 2003, 11:50:49 PM »
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I don't think that the label of over analyzing teachers is untrue. I think it has a lot more to do with how teachers are taught to teach and what they expect form their students.


I do. I think it's an unfair over-generalization of all teachers based on one (admittedly really terrible) experience you've had. I agree she was out of line, but that doesn't mean they're all that way. Not all my teachers were great either, but they weren't that bad. I've seen public school from both side, my mom is a public school teacher. I don't think they're taught that way, but even in FCPS where they're paid comparatively very well, they're underpaid for a critical and stressful job. Some don't perform as well in the long run. I can assure you that teachers aren't trained to be dogmatic. Some people are just that way. But most of them are very interested in learning how to teach people in a way that will make them productive and interested learners.

House of Mustard

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Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2003, 10:41:21 AM »
I don't want to change the subject, and I'm happy to move to a different thread if necessary, but I just wanted to make a point about how teachers are taught to teach.  I'm graduating today (Hallefrickinlujah!) with a polisci degree and a history minor.  Realizing that I have few prospects for work I looked into becoming a history teacher.

The requirement to get a History Teaching Certificate would be almost two years of teaching classes, but only 5 history courses (less than it took for me to get a minor in the subject!)  I don't see how we can expect to have good teachers in high school if we only require them to have one semesters worth of experience on their subject of "expertise."

A friend who went through the program said that the professors stressed that "it was more important to be the student's friends than to be an expert in your field."

And we wonder why our education system is crap...
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The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« Reply #47 on: May 02, 2003, 10:53:28 AM »
Actually, I don't know about "friend" but I think your teaching SKILLS are more important than your knowledge of the field when teaching children. I've written all the factual information for 2 nonfiction books now. And neither one of which do I have any formal training in. You can do the research as you go because you don't need to go that deep. It's more important in public school that you teach them how to learn than teach them facts (most of which they'll get wrong or the veracity of which will be debated by the time those kids get to college anyway).

House of Mustard

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Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« Reply #48 on: May 02, 2003, 11:03:24 AM »
But that implies that you're not supposed to actually learn anything in high school - that's it merely a training ground to prepare for a college education.  But what about the 50% of high school graduates that never go to college?  Shouldn't we be attempting to educate them, rather than treating every student as though they're headed straight to college?

Here's a real world example:  As a senior I took IB Math Studies, an uppery-upper level math class.  (Fell also took this thing and he can back me up on this).  No one in the school was qualified to teach it.  In class the teacher would put a problem up on the board and then read through the textbook for the rest of the class session to try to figure it out.

For junior high and the first couple of years of high school I can accept the argument that you're there to learn how to learn.  But for the last couple of years it would certainly be nice to learn a little bit - if you're going to college then it's a good start, and if you're not then it would be nice to leave school with at least a little factual knowledge.
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Fellfrosch

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Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« Reply #49 on: May 02, 2003, 11:32:04 AM »
First of all, I don't think we'er thinking of the same math class. IB Math Studies was just a retread of the simple things we learned in earlier classes--why do think I took it?

My personal opinion about high school is the same as Saint's: you're supposed to learn how to learn, rather than gain any specific information. Sure, pick up some stuff--I know that there was a teapot dome scandal, and the Monroe Doctrine, and stuff like that--but I don't consider that to be very important, especially for someone who's not going on to higher education.

My wife, who is a high school teacher, has this to say: "If you don't know how to teach, you'll spend 98% of your time dealing with behavioral problems and never get the chance to teach your subject. Get someone who really knows how to teach, give them a quality textbook, and they can teach almost any subject better than most professionals."
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Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« Reply #50 on: May 02, 2003, 12:58:03 PM »
My grandfather was an amazing math teacher. Rated one of the best of his time back in the day. He studied History in college. If you have a college education and are reasonably literate, you can learn the "facts" that you need to communicate faster than the kids you're teaching (with some exceptions, nothing's absolute). So really the knowledge you need is knowing how to teach.

And I never even MEANT to imply that you weren't supposed to learn anything in high school. I just meant to say that learning how to learn was more important than those facts.

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Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« Reply #51 on: May 02, 2003, 02:42:46 PM »
I don't mind implying that you're not supposed to learn anything in High School. I didn't.
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House of Mustard

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Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« Reply #52 on: May 02, 2003, 06:18:49 PM »
I agree wholeheartedly that a teacher that doesn't know history can teach a kid what the Bill of Rights is, or what year the Berlin wall fell.  I don't agree, however, that a teacher can be really effective at teaching the social implications of those things simply by reading a textbook before the kids do.

Here's two examples:

In the Everything Else forum, we're talking about racism and segregation.  I think most people agree that one of the best ways to combat that is through education.  While an teacher that is not trained in history could flip through the book and find the sections on Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr, and be able to recite the facts, a teacher trained in history would have the knowledge and background to explain the race issue in detail.

That's not the best example, but maybe this next one will illustrate my point better:

I was in a world history class when 9/11 happened.  The professor immediately bagged the lesson plans and gave us a month long series on middle eastern history and an explanation of Islam.  It was extremely enlightening in a time where everyone was searching for answers.

Going back to the first example, imagine that there is a US history class at a school where big racial conflicts are coming up.  A student raises his hand and asks "Why is there this conflict?  Where did it all come from?"  More importantly, another student asks "What does the law say?  What can we do about it?"  What would it tell the students when the teacher responds "Well, let me turn to the textbook and read to you what it says."

When 9/11 happened, were the history teachers, with their five classes worth of knowledge, able to say "This is why it's happened."  Were they able to calm the fears of students by shedding light on an unknown enemy?  Or, instead, did they say "Well, I saw on 60 minutes last night that..." and then go back to the regularly scheduled lesson plans.

History is not about memorizing facts and figures.  It is about linking the past to the present in an attempt to explain why the world is the way that it is.  Teenagers are naturally angry and rebellious - wouldn't a better understanding of the world, locally and internationally, be beneficial?

I'm not saying that teachers shouldn't have to know how to teach.  I'm simply saying that teachers really ought to know what they're talking about also.

And Fell, I didn't learn much in high school either, although thinking back, I learned a lot from teachers that knew what they were talking about.  You can't tell me that you didn't learn from Eckberg or Fowler.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2003, 06:20:40 PM by House_of_Mustard »
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The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« Reply #53 on: May 02, 2003, 06:56:42 PM »
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You can't tell me that you didn't learn from Eckberg or Fowler.


I can! Because I don't know who you're talking about! *giggle*

Anyway, yes, I can see what you're saying, ideally yes, we'd want both. I haven't ever disagreed. I merely prioritized. And until you can make public school teaching salaries high enough to pay off grad school bills, we'll have to recognize that this is a priority we'll have to choose between.

And yes, if the person truly *is* interested in history, he'll be qualified to comment on the current events as necessary. Because he'll have read up. Not just the news, but history books. We have too much insistance on degrees and we ignore other relevant factors. Now, before you get froggy, I'm not saying degrees are worthless. Far from it. But independent study and education will teach you a lot, esp. when you get a bad teacher. ESP. if you learned how to learn.

House of Mustard

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Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« Reply #54 on: May 03, 2003, 06:39:41 PM »
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if the person truly *is* interested in history


You're right, and, sadly, I never had good high school teachers for history (or anything to do with social science).  Yes, ideally teachers ought to do a little independent study.  Ideally, history teachers should not also be basketball coaches and drivers ed teachers.

I just wish that a little more background in the subject would be required - not necessarily a full major, but more than a semesters worth.

Getting onto another subject - here's something I've wondered about for a long time in regards to the poor state of our education system.  Why don't schools get corporate sponsors?  What if we let Nike subsidize textbooks - they pay half the cost and the schools slap a big "swoosh" sticker on the front.  
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« Reply #55 on: May 16, 2003, 02:50:10 AM »
I'm ignoring what this thread has become. I only did "find" on the pages to see if my book titles were mentioned.

1. Slan by A. E. van Vogt. A classic of science fiction. Saying used to be "Fans are Slans." About a next step in humanity's evolution. My favorite book. A great bildungsroman.

2. Children of the Atom by... dunno. About hyperintelligent kids in a special school...sorta like Xavier's school, eh? Don't really remember much in the way of special powers or whatnot but they were born to parents exposed to radiation or something like that. Also written in the 60s or before.

3. The Girl with Silver Eyes. Dunno who by. This is a more modern book, probably from the 80s. Seems to copy #2 in a lot of ways. ;) Kids whose parents took a fertility drug...born with silver eyes and special abilities.

4. Odd John by Olaf Stapledon. Classic. Another "next evolutionary step" thing. With smart kids...John is born knowing how to talk. Hate the end of the book but the rest is good.

5. ok I only checked to see if the first 2 were mentioned and keep thinking of these as I write. Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress. And its sequels. About genetic manipulation. Some of these books won Nebula/Hugo whatnot. Starts off promising but I didn't enjoy the later books so much, or the end. It's annoying when main characters die.

[EDIT: Now that's I've read the thread--I wholeheartedly agree with Jeff. But you probably knew that.]
« Last Edit: May 16, 2003, 03:06:46 AM by OoklaTheMok »
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Fellfrosch

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Re: Suggestions needed--Mutant books
« Reply #56 on: May 16, 2003, 01:10:25 PM »
I read Girl with the Silver Eyes in 5th grade. I remember liking it, but I don't remember finishing it. I guess I've had that bad habit longer than I thought.
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