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Studying "by the rules" or lying to the teacher?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I will just say up front that I think lying is not the solution, but I don't know what is.

 

Dd attends a language immersion school (one-way) and has English language arts for 1 hour each day.  She's in 3rd grade.  The English teacher gives 10 - 15 words a week for spelling.  Dd aces these tests and gets the bonus every time.  She has no problems with spelling.  Each week, they get their spelling packet with some exercises, one of which is a "practice" for the spelling.

 

The teacher, all year, has stressed this particular method of studying for the test.  Something like reading the word, spelling it out loud, covering it, then writing it.  Dd doesn't do this.  She just copies the words down because that part of the spelling packet can't be left blank.  But she just pretty much doesn't need to drill the words.  She does fine the way she does her studying.

 

The teacher is really stressing studying these words "by the rules" and says she will ask each student if they did the studying the "right" way or not.  Of course, I don't want to tell dd to lie to her teacher, but the method dd is using is *obviously* working for her even if it isn't the teacher's way.  I've told dd that I'd talk to the teacher, but she is fiercely independent and wants to handle it on her own.

 

Would you email the teacher (against dd's wishes) or just leave it alone and let dd lie to the teacher if she wants?  This teacher is notoriously a "hard-nose", so I don't think dd would confront her, but just say that she studied the "right" way.  I've told dd to ignore the teacher's directive about studying and do it whatever way she feels most comfortable with, so I don't know what more to do.  The teacher sounds like a control freak, but she *is* a good teacher.  I'm just having this ethical dilemma about whether or not to tell dd to just lie and forget about it or be honest and deal with her teacher.

post #2 of 21

I think your dd should just let it slide if what she is doing is working. Why get into a battle of wills with a hardnose teacher? I would not email the teacher.

 

 

The teacher should know that all exercises will not be needed for all the kids,and some will actually need MORE help.

 

Personally I think it is lame of the teacher to directly ask each student if they have done each and every step.She should provide what she feels will be useful ways to master the words,and allow the parents/students to use what they want to successfully reach the end goal.

 

What is the teachers goal afterall? Is it to have the students follow  EVERY step she deems necessary even though it may not be helpful to the student?Why should it matter if a student skips a step or two? Is she less of a teacher because of that? Does she feel less in control? Why does that matter to her so much when the end result is the same?

 

Surely if your dd needed to do the practice part in question she would do it.Wasting time doing it imo lessens the pleasure of learning.

 

Reminds me of making kids do 100 similar math problems over and over when it is obvious after 10 that they *got it*.

 

post #3 of 21

I'd leave it alone. The teacher is being a weeny, and it's good for your DD to learn that sometimes you can just ignore someone who is being a weeny.

 

If you talk to the teacher, it will just make a whole bunch of drama. The teacher could insist that you force DD to study a certain way, and then you either have a power struggle with DD, or YOU end up lying to the teacher. It's all very silly and very avoidable.

post #4 of 21

Hmmm...well, we get a bunch of spelling HW but ds (3rd grade) can spell all of the words correctly after going through the list one time orally.  I pretty much don't make him to any of the spelling HW at all, so long as he aces the list on the 1st run-through.  If he misses a few words, I may ask him to write them each once or twice until he gets them right.

 

In your shoes, I would tell my dc to tell the teacher that she had found a method that worked and she intended on sticking to it.  No lying, just sticking up for herself.  Then, if the teach wanted to be a UAV, I would step in, even if my dc asked me not to.

 

Just my 2c!

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post

In your shoes, I would tell my dc to tell the teacher that she had found a method that worked and she intended on sticking to it.  No lying, just sticking up for herself.  Then, if the teach wanted to be a UAV, I would step in, even if my dc asked me not to.

 



I agree. She can handle it unless it gets out of hand. (Just make sure she's respectful!)

 

I hate when teachers do this. Not all children learn the same way and trying to make them do so is silly. Some kids may learn like your DD (and be lying about it!), some may do the teacher's method, and some may need something else...If she were failing the tests I'd feel differently, but her method is obviously the best for her.

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post

 

In your shoes, I would tell my dc to tell the teacher that she had found a method that worked and she intended on sticking to it.  No lying, just sticking up for herself.  Then, if the teach wanted to be a UAV, I would step in, even if my dc asked me not to.

 

 


 

Yes, I think this is a good approach at this point. And if your dd starts to struggle with her spelling work, she can try the teacher's method. If you do end up speaking with the teacher, maybe let her know that your dd is willing to try the teacher's method if she has any difficulty with spelling. 

 

 

 

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I'd leave it alone. The teacher is being a weeny, and it's good for your DD to learn that sometimes you can just ignore someone who is being a weeny.

 

thumb.gif Love this advice! We have this issue with DD1, too-- with the particular way her teacher wants them to study spelling words. DD1 already knows all the words- we haven't had a single word assigned this year, yet, that DD1 didn't already know. And yet DD1, who is a big rule-follower, insists on going through the whole process the teacher taught them. Which irritates the hooey out of me, ya know? I've chosen to stay out of it. But if she didn't WANT to go through the process, I would tell her to answer whatever she wanted, to get the teacher off her back. I don't think it's unethical for kids to learn that sometimes people are snoopy and controlling, and that we don't have to answer snoopy questions.

I might suggest she say, "I know the words," and if the teacher pushed, to say, "My mama says that knowing the words is what's important, and I know them." But I wouldn't have a problem with her simply taking the path of least resistance, and saying, "yup."

For a lot of bright kids, and a lot of kids who struggle, the process of formal schooling is a long process of learning to bend the rules and make accommodations to different teachers' silly hangups. It's unfortunate, that they have to learn about that so young, but it is after all part of life. I work as a tutor, and often I'll teach my students something, and they'll come back and tell me their teacher said I'm wrong, and that their teacher wants them to do something XYZ way that I KNOW is wrong. Like with points of English grammar, for instance. What I do is show the kids hard evidence for what I know is correct-- in a book or other reference material-- then suggest that it's not worth engaging in conflicts with teachers. I say, if the teacher wants you to do backflips and sing the ABCs, then go ahead and give the teacher what she wants. Then go away knowing that this is actually what's correct.
post #8 of 21

I think this is a lesson for you and your daughter on how to deal with unreasonable people and their silly demands. Just think, in 20 years she might look back on this situation and apply it when dealing with a MIL!

post #9 of 21

If the teacher want to shoot herself in the foot by making a big deal about your dd not studying the "right" way, that's her look out. Just tell your dd to tell the truth, and to make a HUGE deal about how she aced the test if the teacher gets on her case about not doing it "right".

 

 

Since you say this is a good teacher, I expect that she'll tell your dd to carry on with whatever studying works for her and to keep the teacher's method in mind if she ever does have any trouble with a spelling word.

post #10 of 21

Does she need to explain how she's studying?  If not, I'd leave it alone.  If she does, have her tell the truth.  If the teacher continues to make a big deal of it, then you can get involved.

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Not much time right now, but just wanted to say thanks for the replies!

post #12 of 21
I'm a teacher and this made me think of a few points.

First, students all learn in different ways. There is certainly evidence that visualizing and writing words helps the brain actually lay down pathways of learning as it were, so at least she's not a crank, but when I do vocabulary at the high school level, I do a different style each time for the first unit and then let the kids pick. So like we do sentences and drawing pictures and acting out charades and using in stories... Then I don't ever ask to see their practice-- they know different methods and I only care about the test.

But I'm also thinking if a kid already knows the words then maybe they need acceleration. Maybe not your case op if she really is studying by writing, but for many gifted kids they have it so easy and the later (high school, college, grad school) they don't have the skills or work ethic to make it when they finally are challenged. So I would tend to worry about kids not being challenged and getting bored. But if it's just a different way of actually learning something new, then just keep doing what works!
post #13 of 21

Your daughter's method is working for her in that she aces the spelling tests. However, perhaps the teacher really believes in her particular "drilling" method not as the *only* way to get the answers right, but more generally, as a way of learning new material, a study technique for spelling (because even if not now, eventually your daughter will run across some words she doesn't know how to spell, be it in grad school or when studying a foreign language etc).

 

Could you just ask the teacher why she is such a fan of that particular study method? I am thinking that maybe it is like in math, when the student doesn't "show her work", but comes up with the right answer anyway. Sometimes, there is some value in learning a particular approach to a problem, to be used later when learning isn't so automatic.

 

And I second the post about the main concern being that your daughter is evidently not being challenged enough in this domain. That can't be fun or interesting for a child. How about picking 10 additional words a week that *are* above your daughter's level and having her learn them by using the famed read/cover/ write method. That way she both aces her tests and follows the teacher's instructions.

 

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies again.  Dd and I talked about it again this weekend, and she wants to handle it her own way.  I'm all for that.  I told her that if the teacher presses her about doing the homework/studying the "right way", to just ask the teacher to talk privately and to tell her what she told me.  Dd is  quite eloquent for her age, so I don't think she'll have a problem expressing herself.  If the teacher insists, then I'll tell dd that I will talk to her at P/T conferences that are coming up, but won't say anything otherwise.

 

As for being gifted, etc.  I don't like labels and it's one of the reasons I don't hang out in the forum here.  I was labeled that early-on and I did not have really great experiences from having that pressure on me.  It's kind of a moot point, anyway, because they don't have a GATE program at dd's school.  The school dd attends is already academically rigorous (it's an IB school from primary years on up) and she has differentiation for math and language in her target language and also is already in a small group of 4 or 5 kids in her grade for accelerated English language arts.  They are pretty much doing everything they can.  We don't think that school is the only avenue for education, so she gets plenty of challenges here at home.  She seems happy and loves the school. 

 

My issue is with the lying to not have a conflict with the teacher.  I don't want to tell her to lie because it goes against my ethical beliefs.  There are only 3 months left to the year, then she moves on.  I think at this point, I'll leave it up to her and let her know that I support her however she handles it.

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

My issue is with the lying to not have a conflict with the teacher.  I don't want to tell her to lie because it goes against my ethical beliefs.


 

Are you telling her to lie, or did she come up with that on her own? I think there is a HUGE difference between telling a child to lie and allowing them space to make their own choices and be honest *with you* about what they decide.

 

On one hand, I agree that it is better to tell the truth. However, I think it is even more important to foster a relationship with your DD where she knows she can tell you ANYTHING and you won't freak out. The spelling words are a very minor thing that don't matter, but the principle is very important. Even when she makes choices you don't agree with 100%, don't you want her to be able to tell you?  To me, that is what is at stake here.

post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post




 

Are you telling her to lie, or did she come up with that on her own? I think there is a HUGE difference between telling a child to lie and allowing them space to make their own choices and be honest *with you* about what they decide.

 

On one hand, I agree that it is better to tell the truth. However, I think it is even more important to foster a relationship with your DD where she knows she can tell you ANYTHING and you won't freak out. The spelling words are a very minor thing that don't matter, but the principle is very important. Even when she makes choices you don't agree with 100%, don't you want her to be able to tell you?  To me, that is what is at stake here.


Well, of course I'm not telling her lie.  That was kind of my point.  We just discussed it and the conversation just organically moved into discussing being honest vs. avoiding conflict.  We talked about whether or not "white lies" are O.K. and about your word being your bond.  I'm letting her make up her own mind about this, but she does know my opinion.  It was a really good discussion. I'd just rather that the teacher didn't put her in this situation and wanted to say something to the teacher.  However, dd wants to handle it on her own.  She will talk to the teacher today, so we'll see how it comes out.

 

This has nothing to do with her being able to talk to me.  I don't even know where that came from. confused.gif  It's a question of my talking to the teacher or not.  Dd doesn't want me to, so I will respect her decision and let her handle it.  She knows I support whatever she ends up doing.

post #17 of 21

It sounds like your dd has found "the right way" for her to learn her spelling words. So, I don't see anything wrong with her answering yes to the teacher's question. That being said, I'm glad your daughter wants to talk to the teacher. She sounds like a very reasonable and mature young lady. I bet the teacher will appreciate that.

post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

This has nothing to do with her being able to talk to me.  I don't even know where that came from. confused.gif  It's a question of my talking to the teacher or not.  Dd doesn't want me to, so I will respect her decision and let her handle it.  She knows I support whatever she ends up doing.


 

your DD has figured out that with some people, it's just a lot easier to tell them what they want to hear rather than telling them the truth. I believe that how you handle that information could impact if eventually you end up in the category of "people it is easier to tell them what they want to hear."

 

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post




 

your DD has figured out that with some people, it's just a lot easier to tell them what they want to hear rather than telling them the truth. I believe that how you handle that information could impact if eventually you end up in the category of "people it is easier to tell them what they want to hear."

 

 

I see what you're saying.  But the idea of telling her to lie just didn't sit well with me.  That's why I was asking this question and why I didn't tell her to lie to the teacher.  It didn't feel right to me and I didn't bring it up with dd.  She didn't even consider lying to be a solution.  Obviously she doesn't believe that it's easier to tell them what they want to hear because she didn't even think to take that easy way out. 
 

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post I don't think dd would confront her, but just say that she studied the "right" way.  ...  I'm just having this ethical dilemma about whether or not to tell dd to just lie and forget about it or be honest and deal with her teacher.


 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
She didn't even consider lying to be a solution.  Obviously she doesn't believe that it's easier to tell them what they want to hear because she didn't even think to take that easy way out. 

 


I'm confused, but it doesn't really matter. It sounds like you guys have worked it out.

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