or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Parenting the Gifted Child › When her teachers aren't smart enough to see that their problems are flawed
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

When her teachers aren't smart enough to see that their problems are flawed - Page 4

post #61 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by expecting-joy View Post
JollyGG: Ugh, how frustrating. Do you get the impression that your ds's teacher is intimidated by your ds? I suppose since our dc will likely be in a world that sees things much more narrowly, we will need to train them to develop a second language of sorts to speak with those in it. Her being respected is just the most important thing to me and it's even more frustrating given the sacrifices we've had to make to send her to this school. Sigh. (Still, it is lightyears better than alternatives.)
After the issues we had last year with a teacher who really didn't differentiate we moved my DS to a full time gifted program so his teacher is not intimidated by him at all. She's just a bit too scattered for my taste. She's done other things like teaching facts without further explanation leading the kids to reach what I consider erroneous conclusions (i.e. water vapor is a greenhouse gas in a lesson about carbon emissions without explaining that water vapor is not a pollutant), inviting me to volunteer to present about what a scientist does without any real guidance on what she wanted them to get out the presentation, taking months to get back to me about offers for things (such as my offer to let her class use my glo-germ kit).
I honestly just don't think she is as well versed in science as I would like her to be and it leads to questions on worksheets and tests that aren't very precise. I believe it is because she doesn't understand the subject matter completely herself.
I view one flaw in our education system as the fact that teachers are taught to teach but they aren't taught the subject matter they are expected to teach, especially at the elementary school level.
post #62 of 107
By the way - DS age 6 3/4 initially answered 5 and then changed it to 3. Basically his initial response what they they are ducks, like water, and would likely all be wet. But then thought about what the person asking the question was looking for and changed it to 3. He did ask for clarification about the context of the question. I asked if his answer would be different were the question on a math test. He said the answer is clearly 3 on a math test. On anything other than a math test the answer is 5.
post #63 of 107
Thread Starter 
spedteacher30: My original response to you was not deleted. It's still there. Page 1. Thank you for clarifying. I can see where you might have reacted to the title of the thread. Don't worry, I would never speak to the teacher or an administrator with the title of the thread. The rest of your interpretation is interesting. I'm not always sure where personality, learning style, intelligence, etc. diverge. they see to all be theoretical constructs.


JollyGG: I can see where the science thing would drive you crazy as a scientist. I am also a huge proponent of subject teachers from day 1, at least from kindergarten, but ideally from early pre-school. I loved a school I taught at in germany becasue they had just that: math teachers in kindergarten. Science teachers in kindergarten. Imagine. A scattered teacher would make me a bit nutty, too. Having gone through a teacher education program, I can assure you there isn't actually that much instruction in teaching, unfortunately - not nearly enough. A teacher really has to seek out really good workshops, read all the best and latest research, have colleagues to discuss it with, and regularly observe and critique each other. Unfortunately, most of that is on the teacher's dime.
post #64 of 107
Thread Starter 
It's here, spedteacher30. It just lost it's bolding.
post #65 of 107
I asked my two five-year-olds. They both answered "three, because three are in the water," but I totally agree that the question was poorly phrased.
post #66 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post
While it is important that people always remember that the obvious might not be the answer, if any of us countered our boss with the type of bantering you are describing, we wouldn't last long.
In my job, thinking like that is prized and rewarded and my boss talks to me seeking creative and alternative answers, new ways of seeing things, and interesting interpretations of existing norms on a daily basis. I'm not in an exotic field, either - I'm an attorney.

They spend 3 years trying to "teach" you to see multiple perspectives, every angle and every possible answer (and question), and how to resolve ambiguity in a multitude of different ways, in law school. Kind of irritating so many children have it drilled out of them in traditional schooling. It comes naturally to me but it seems awfully silly one goes to law school primarily to learn to "think like a lawyer" when many people start with a lot of those innate abilities and have them suppressed and discouraged by a "there is only one right answer" system. I agree that sometimes there really is only one right answer, and there's nothing wrong with that when it is actually the case (and to a reasonable degree, not an extreme degree where you question everything constantly). But by the same token, it is not reasonable to reject alternative answers to ambiguous questions just because the answer book says there is one correct answer.

I was always getting "in trouble" in school for completing an assignment within the boundaries specifically and clearly laid out, yet still in a creative and unexpected way. Since it wasn't what the teacher "meant" - even though my response in no way violated the instructions or guidelines - I had a lot of work that was alternately praised and rejected (some teachers were happy to get something different; others freaked out a bit at anything unexpected).

Once I was asked to present and defend, with a minimum of X words, one of four positions that could have been taken by the U.S. government/then-U.S. president with respect to the "Hawaii" problem (before Hawaii was a state). I did it as an interview between a hard-hitting reporter and the President, with the President setting forth the Administration's position (the position I was assigned) and the justification therefor. It was returned to me as "incomplete" and I was told to re-do the assignment as straight-up essay, which of course I did not do. I thought it was ridiculous and I had a high A in the class anyway, so I didn't bother.

On the other end of the spectrum, in a different social studies class we were told to write X words describing the best qualities of some famous explorer, with some kids getting assigned different explorers. I did mine in the form of a little fictional set-up and a toastmaster congratulating and listing the achievements of the explorer at a celebratory return state dinner. That one got read to the class (which was just as bad as being told to re-do the thing, since e/o could tell I had written it).

I think recognizing the ambiguities and uncertainties in a question like that should be acknowledged and if not rewarded, at least explored, especially at that age. And I would expect that if the child were older, and the question was on a test, that a child explaining how 0-5 ducks could be wet should be given full credit, because there's no reason to think (except for having deduced the teacher's most likely desired response - a skill I was/am good at but don't find particularly valuable) that 3 ducks are wet.

I feel certain that the best teachers I had would have handled it that way, with the worst insisting 3 is the only possible correct answer.
post #67 of 107
this is a really interesting thread. I always had big problems with ambiguous questions like that in school.
My boyfriend was totally stumped by the question ("all together" confused him), but he wanted me to add that the answer isn't "none" because, while duck feathers are waterproof, their feet are not. So, at least 3 ducks have wet feet
post #68 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by oiseau View Post
this is a really interesting thread. I always had big problems with ambiguous questions like that in school.
My boyfriend was totally stumped by the question ("all together" confused him), but he wanted me to add that the answer isn't "none" because, while duck feathers are waterproof, their feet are not. So, at least 3 ducks have wet feet
But what percentage of the total duck are just the feet and added together how many "total ducks" do you get?

The answer would still be <1.
post #69 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
But what percentage of the total duck are just the feet and added together how many "total ducks" do you get?

The answer would still be <1.
lol
post #70 of 107
Thread Starter 
Romana: what a beautiful post. I couldn't say it better.

oiseau: my dd did say the other two had wet FEET. LOL

MusicianDad:
post #71 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by oiseau View Post
this is a really interesting thread. I always had big problems with ambiguous questions like that in school.
My boyfriend was totally stumped by the question ("all together" confused him), but he wanted me to add that the answer isn't "none" because, while duck feathers are waterproof, their feet are not. So, at least 3 ducks have wet feet
If we want to get into isolated body parts like feet, then all the ducks the ducks clearly will be wet one place or another. Even if it's been hours since the ducks on the beach last went into the water, their tongues and eyes will still be wet.

I don't want to count damp feet.
post #72 of 107
wait though, waterproof things can still be wet! The plastic book things that my toddler has in the tub is waterproof but it still gets wet! sure the water beads off their feathers and the duck's skin doesn't get wet but the duck itself still gets wet (especially because every duck I've seen does that ducky rear up in the air to feed on the stuff on the bottom!) and the water drops pool all over the duck. So the waterproof duck is still wet.

The question stinks. There are lots of words that make it just plain confusing to work out what the teacher is looking for as evidenced by the many answers given. Personally I think these are interesting questions because I like to see what my students are thinking about but I'm an English teacher so word problems were always my favourite. But from the perspective of an English teacher, I think that the words 'together' and 'apart' were really, really poor choices. If you don't want multiple answers you need to be more specific in the question.

Unfortunately teachers don't have nearly enough time to prepare for classes (here where I teach teachers are given 40 mins in a day to prepare for their classes. So if you consider that school runs from 9am until 3pm with kids getting 90 mins of uninstructional time (60 min lunch and 30 mins of recess) a teacher has 10 mins of paid work time for every hour of lessons that they are delivering. It's not a wonder that teachers produce poorly worded questions occasionally (and some people just don't use language well to start with!)

Sometimes the job just wears you down and you just don't have it in you to respond appropriately. Sometimes it was more important to go and celebrate your friend's birthday than to re-read the lesson that you planned in the 40 min prep time that you had. (actually i don't see my teacher friends except during holidays or summer time because they all put in unbelievable hours of their 'at home' time to be good teachers.
post #73 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jes'sBeth View Post
wait though, waterproof things can still be wet! The plastic book things that my toddler has in the tub is waterproof but it still gets wet! sure the water beads off their feathers and the duck's skin doesn't get wet but the duck itself still gets wet (especially because every duck I've seen does that ducky rear up in the air to feed on the stuff on the bottom!) and the water drops pool all over the duck. So the waterproof duck is still wet.

The question stinks. There are lots of words that make it just plain confusing to work out what the teacher is looking for as evidenced by the many answers given. Personally I think these are interesting questions because I like to see what my students are thinking about but I'm an English teacher so word problems were always my favourite. But from the perspective of an English teacher, I think that the words 'together' and 'apart' were really, really poor choices. If you don't want multiple answers you need to be more specific in the question.

Unfortunately teachers don't have nearly enough time to prepare for classes (here where I teach teachers are given 40 mins in a day to prepare for their classes. So if you consider that school runs from 9am until 3pm with kids getting 90 mins of uninstructional time (60 min lunch and 30 mins of recess) a teacher has 10 mins of paid work time for every hour of lessons that they are delivering. It's not a wonder that teachers produce poorly worded questions occasionally (and some people just don't use language well to start with!)

Sometimes the job just wears you down and you just don't have it in you to respond appropriately. Sometimes it was more important to go and celebrate your friend's birthday than to re-read the lesson that you planned in the 40 min prep time that you had. (actually i don't see my teacher friends except during holidays or summer time because they all put in unbelievable hours of their 'at home' time to be good teachers.
A wise teacher knows that they will occasionally word a question oddly/poorly on a test, and not view stumping the students as a goal in itself. S/he will look at getting a bunch of conflicting, complex answers as a sign there was something off in the question and not celebrate it for finally stumping the wiz student. S/he will be interested in the thought process of the student and not just gleefully put a big red "X" on it.

I'm sure the very very best teachers sometime write bad questions, but they accept that they will. I once had a teacher that decided that any questions that confused students would not be used on any future test, when I got a question wrong she always asked me if I just didn't know the answer or if I had interpreted the question in a different way (I tended to 100% on her quizzes.)
post #74 of 107
Thread Starter 
Jes'sBeth: I myself am not clear on what scientifically defines "wet." Maybe someone with more expertise can chime in. I like word problems. Always have. My dd likes word problems. I don't want to see her shot down.

I 100% agree that teachers do not get enough paid prep time. To do excellent teaching you really need MORE prep time than teaching time. I wasn't upset that the question was poor, but rather how my dd's thinking was treated and that even after she was stumbling over their plagued question they didn't see how confusing the question was.

eepster: Yeah. Everything you said.


Once again, I'm really thankful for this forum and everyone's thoughtful and interesting responses. I appreciate the support and insight you're able to share. It has been very hard to let go of my dd enough to let her go to school and not know exactly what craziness she's being exposed to. I do want her to enjoy thinking and not have that part of her quashed.
post #75 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by expecting-joy View Post
Once again, I'm really thankful for this forum and everyone's thoughtful and interesting responses. I appreciate the support and insight you're able to share. It has been very hard to let go of my dd enough to let her go to school and not know exactly what craziness she's being exposed to. I do want her to enjoy thinking and not have that part of her quashed.
It's been questioned from time to time on this forum about when is the best time, if there is a time, to explain giftedness to your child. When a child starts wondering why they aren't understanding why they see things or interpret things in a different way, or in many different ways, it can be more confusing than the questions in class! IMO, it's important that the child be supported in divergent, out of the box thinking and also understanding what might seem very clear or very murky to them may not be the case with other peers or adults.
post #76 of 107
Leaving out all speculation--my duck story, what the ducks did before the question, all science--it's a simple math word problem and the answer is 3. And since 4-5-6 yos are all over the board with their reading/comprehension skills, it's both a reading and listening comprehension skill. Can the students pick out the relevant information, state (in pictures), and solve the equation?
post #77 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
It's been questioned from time to time on this forum about when is the best time, if there is a time, to explain giftedness to your child. When a child starts wondering why they aren't understanding why they see things or interpret things in a different way, or in many different ways, it can be more confusing than the questions in class! IMO, it's important that the child be supported in divergent, out of the box thinking and also understanding what might seem very clear or very murky to them may not be the case with other peers or adults.
LauraLoo: So, would you discussthis with your 5 yo at this point? Are you saying it should be discussed with her teachers at this point as well? She has not been formally tested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sewchris2642 View Post
Leaving out all speculation--my duck story, what the ducks did before the question, all science--it's a simple math word problem and the answer is 3. And since 4-5-6 yos are all over the board with their reading/comprehension skills, it's both a reading and listening comprehension skill. Can the students pick out the relevant information, state (in pictures), and solve the equation?
sewchris2642: Wow. It took me a minute to work through your first sentence. In my dd's class, for example, the children work in centers, so only one or two or possibly three students will be working on these types of math problems at one time. Dd reads the questions herself. Some children will need help reading their questions, so either a teacher or a classmate who can read will help them. The children will not all have the same question, as they go through the work at their own pace. So, are you again saying the math problem is obvious?
post #78 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by sewchris2642 View Post
Leaving out all speculation--my duck story, what the ducks did before the question, all science--it's a simple math word problem and the answer is 3. And since 4-5-6 yos are all over the board with their reading/comprehension skills, it's both a reading and listening comprehension skill. Can the students pick out the relevant information, state (in pictures), and solve the equation?
I'll grant you that the math portion of the exercise is simple, but the wording is very ambiguous. My son frequently has math problems which have to do with picking out the relevant information and solving the problem. "Jason wants to buy a caboose for his toy train set. The caboose costs $15.97. Engines cost $12.49. Jason's sister gets $4 a week for an allowance. Jason's allowance is $1 a week more than his sister's. How long will it take Jason to save up enough money to buy a caboose?"

Yes, it's a reading comprehension question as well as a math problem. That said, it's very clear that the price of engines is irrelevant. The problem in the first question was ambiguously worded. As I said in my first post, I would expect a lot of kindergarten children to have difficulty sorting through the relevant information.
post #79 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by expecting-joy View Post
LauraLoo: So, would you discussthis with your 5 yo at this point? Are you saying it should be discussed with her teachers at this point as well? She has not been formally tested.
I'm in a rush, but wanted to respond. I definitely would discuss with my 5 year old (and I did with my now 8 year old when he was in K.) I used a shades of gray type of discussion. Something along the lines of, "some people see things as black and white, and some people see shades of gray. Not all questions are the same to all people and you (my ds) see many, many shades of gray. Sometimes it can be confusing to you and confusing to them, so that's why asking questions is a good thing so that you can make sure that you know which color they are looking at and why you might see gray when everyone else sees black."

And truly, he does see many shades of gray and doesn't take much for granted. He would have been the kid in the K class saying, "but ducks don't get wet, they have oil on their feathers, but I guess their feet could be wet and are they really all together? Is this a trick question?"

The teachers knew that ds had a tendency to over analyze, and often he would support his answer. When he gave an off the wall answer on the surface the teachers tended not to immediately discredit him, but allow him to give his reasoning. But he had to learn that he needed to support it and he needed to understand that his reasoning wasn't always faulty - that sometimes a more complex answer wasn't what the teachers were looking for even though he might be completely right. It was/is a process.


(Did I mention that we are now homeschooling? lol!)
post #80 of 107
My 3 year old (who couldn't have done the math i don't think) just answered "ducks are waterproof mama"...

I was a lateral thinker at school and this sort of thing was a nightmare for me. My teachers either loved or hated me and often first one, then as term wore on and they realised i really wasn't getting it, the other. Threads like this really make me worry about DD's future school life!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting the Gifted Child
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Parenting the Gifted Child › When her teachers aren't smart enough to see that their problems are flawed