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Let's talk pedagogy - Page 4

post #61 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by uccomama
I don't agree, I don't think the average teacher has a clue about what has and is going on. They are just pawns in the game. If you want verifiable facts and impecable references, I suggest you read Charlotte Iserbyt's book "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America". Warning: she is a very conservative Christian, so if you are neither of those things, you need to get past that. I also recommend the book, "The Leipzig Connection" by Paolo Lionni.
Maybe I should be more clear - I am incredibly skeptical about all conspiracy theories, but any sort of educational conspiracy theories in particular. People aren't generally wise enough to keep their mouths shut if involved in a sinister plan, and the government at both national and state levels is so incredibly bureaucratically confused and inert that it's hard to imagine them being able to do any conspiring when not being obviously indolent or handing out pork projects. I don't think the educational bureaucracy is malicious in any sense - just stuck in an industrial revolution rut, blinded by classism and racism, and beholden to various interest groups (including status-obsessed parents, business, test score keepers, their immediate boss, politicians). More worksheets for everyone!

And no, this book looks like it is not for me. The reviews on amazon.com talk about how she exposes the socialist underbelly of public schools and how the schools intentionally lead to serfdom in a one-world government. Yeah, if it were actually a socialist school I'd be happy to send her, but I'm not seeing too much of that in my urban district. The axe being ground is pretty unrecognizable to me, at least on the surface.
post #62 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
I dunno about all the conspiracy theories. It places far too much sinister, highly calculated culpability with your average teacher. I've attended M. ED classes and it would have been far beyond the reach of the people in those classes to be a part of something like this. However, they were very nice people who (mostly) seemed to like children and thought they were going to make the world a better place through changing the life of one child ... watching a little too much of the "Dangerous Minds" movie trope.

As much as I agree with many of Gatto's underlying philosophies, I have not found veracity and referenced articles to be one of his strong suits in his books. He is big with the hyperbole, not so big with the verifiable facts.
I don't agree, I don't think the average teacher has a clue about what has and is going on. They are just pawns in the game. If you want verifiable facts and impecable references, I suggest you read Charlotte Iserbyt's book "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America". Warning: she is a very conservative Christian, so if you are neither of those things, you need to get past that. I also recommend the book, "The Leipzig Connection" by Paolo Lionni.
post #63 of 103
Ah, fsm, you need a course in compartmentalization. Imagine a pyramid, the teachers are along the bottom, those that pull the strings are on the top. (And by those on the top I mean the invisible elite, not government). The information everyone on the pyramid recieves is limited to the layer they are in. The ones on the bottom are just told what they need to "know" and have no clue as to the true agenda. They don't need to keep their mouths shut, they know nothing. Then you have the true believers, those are the type that are convinced that what they are doing is for the "good" of society, whatever the methods, very dangerous, because they are the zealots, the waterboys for those on the top. They are the people that get things implemented.

I warned you about Iserbyt, but you can't fault her sources, she was in the Dept of Education and became a whistleblower when she realized what was going on. She got fired and snuck out a truck load of documents and papers, which is why her sources are top notch, they are straight from the horse's mouth! She reprints much of these documents in her book, it is there in black and white; you can't make this stuff up.

Personally, I am not into socialism; I can't see much difference between that and the corporate facism we have now. The less the government, whatever their agenda, is involved in my children's education the better IMO.
post #64 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by uccomama
Ah, fsm, you need a course in compartmentalization. Imagine a pyramid, the teachers are along the bottom, those that pull the strings are on the top. (And by those on the top I mean the invisible elite, not government).
But see, I read this and my mind hears "freemasons!" or "illuminati!" or "Tyra Banks is the evil underlord!" And then I have some John Birch-induced convulsions and I can't really read further.

I'm just teasing you. But while I love Gatto's headstrong philosophies and think phonics is the way to go (or at least an integrated program that includes phonics), I just don't believe in conspiracy theories. I think everything that is wrong with society and institutionalized schooling (as a part of our society) is unfortunately quite evident and plain-spoken; it's just that everyone's too busy shopping to care.
post #65 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
I think everything that is wrong with society and institutionalized schooling (as a part of our society) is unfortunately quite evident and plain-spoken;
That's because you're "awake"; it is evident to you whether you believe it is a conspiracy or not. Sadly, most don't have a clue and schooling has a great deal to do with it.

I am sticking to traditional phonics here.
post #66 of 103
Hey, I'm all in agreement with any philosophy that posits that I am "awake" (which here, we can agree means "genius").
post #67 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp
This is an excerpt from the Christmas newsletter from a Montessori school. I think it provides a explanation on why fantasy is limited in the Montessori classroom:
It also reaffirms why Montessori was not for my family. My children have thoroughly enjoyed believing in fairies and dragons and gnomes. Around the age of 9 or 10, those beliefs began to fade on their own. They still enjoy the stories but the stories don't live for them like they used to. For me, it seems very sad to deny children the belief in fairies and such.

Both of my children learned to read at a Waldorf school. The older is in 4th grade and reads voraciously both fiction and non-fiction. The reading came slowly and at a measured pace. All of sudden at the start of 3rd grade, it took off like lightning and hasn't slowed down since. Our Waldorf school seems to use a mix of phonics, whole language and whole word starting with learning the letters as someone else described above.
post #68 of 103
Thread Starter 
Quote:
For me, it seems very sad to deny children the belief in fairies and such.
But you are essentially deceiving your child. Lying to him. Not that all lying is necessarily wrong, but that is what it is.

DH and I always have this debate about Santa Claus because I don't want to tell my DD that Santa exists and will bring her presents. I would rather she knew that they came from us. He thinks that we would be "robbing her of her childhood" if we don't let her believe in Santa. I have to say, I have never met a child who felt "robbed" of her childhood because her parents told her that Santa was a myth. If anything, these children seem to feel privileged to know that adults respected them enough to tell them the truth!
post #69 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp
But you are essentially deceiving your child. Lying to him. Not that all lying is necessarily wrong, but that is what it is.

DH and I always have this debate about Santa Claus because I don't want to tell my DD that Santa exists and will bring her presents. I would rather she knew that they came from us. He thinks that we would be "robbing her of her childhood" if we don't let her believe in Santa. I have to say, I have never met a child who felt "robbed" of her childhood because her parents told her that Santa was a myth. If anything, these children seem to feel privileged to know that adults respected them enough to tell them the truth!
I think it depends on your perceptions of your own childhood and also on the personality of your child. I loved everything magical as a child. I loved Santa, fairies and the Easter Bunny. I would have really regretted not having this as a part of my childhood. To me, to have missed out of on this would have made things cold and sterile. My own children greatly enjoy the magical. My older one has figured things out without asking but my younger one still loves to build houses for fairies and to leave carrots out for St. Nicholas' donkey. When the time comes that they ask me point blank and are not put off by the 'what do you think?' answer, then I will answer them truthfully (as I know the truth to be).

I have two asides to this. One, I know of adults who believe in fairies and who am I to deny their belief anymore than their denying my faith. Secondly, a friend of mine who has a child of 10 was asked point blank about Santa and she told him. Now he is mad at her for telling him. He is on the cusp of childhood and adolescence. It is hard to determine at that time if they are ready to let go the childlike or if they still need it for security. In this case, he wasn't ready. He isn't mad at her because she 'lied' to him. He is mad because she told him when he really didn't want to know.
post #70 of 103
I'm happy this thread has not died!


My standard response to the whole Santa, Easter Bunny, tooth fairy question has always been: that all I know is once you stop believing he stops coming with presents.

Most kids WANT to believe and are only asking so you can confirm that the trouble making kid on the playground is just trying to upset them. It’s a tough one. By the time kids are in school they are exposed to so many religions that don’t even have a Santa etc. so they get that it could be their special thing and not all kids are privy to Santa’s generosity. On the other hand, those kids who know the truth are usually very mean spirited about it and call those who do believe in it babies (or worse). :

I love the magic of childhood and don’t know why we would want to rush our children into the harsh reality of the adult world before they are developmentally ready. Until children are 8 (or thereabouts) they have no ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy. Their fantasy IS reality and vice versa. By that, I mean that until that age of reasoning (as it is called) children assume that their reality is everyone’s reality. So unless someone points a difference out to them enough times that they feel their reality is threatened, they just go with the flow.
post #71 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp
But you are essentially deceiving your child. Lying to him. Not that all lying is necessarily wrong, but that is what it is.
One of my WE children believed in gnomes, fairies, and the like (probably still does ), and my other one never has. (He's predominantly a "non-believer" by nature, period, though he did believe in Santa. I say "predominantly", because he actually has adopted what you might call "beliefs" from time to time, but they're definitely all his own - nobody else on the planet shares them )

But I think it's a mistake to presume that children believe in things because they're "lied to" by anyone, including parents or teachers. They usually *conclude* these creatures they hear about in story or song or play are real, at least they do until someone else takes it upon themselves to inform the child otherwise. If I understand Montessori's philosophy correctly, I think even she perceived that in young children, fantasy and reality are one and the same. Separating concepts into categories, the "real" from the "imaginary", is a more adult preoccupation, relatively speaking. Or mature, I guess, rather than adult. I agree with Steiner that in middle childhood children do appear to naturally develop this new consciousness that the world is more complicated than it first seemed, that magic is usually not, that people pretend to believe in things when they really don't, etc.

Quote:
DH and I always have this debate about Santa Claus because I don't want to tell my DD that Santa exists and will bring her presents. I would rather she knew that they came from us. He thinks that we would be "robbing her of her childhood" if we don't let her believe in Santa. I have to say, I have never met a child who felt "robbed" of her childhood because her parents told her that Santa was a myth. If anything, these children seem to feel privileged to know that adults respected them enough to tell them the truth![/
Really? I'm very surprised.

In my experience, most children want to believe, very much so. In fact, it's often a little bit depressing for them to have belief taken from them. I've just noticed this, not that my impressions are a real statistically valid assessment of all children or anything.

When I was young, I completely believed in Santa (didn't even realize it was disputed!). One of my teachers presumed all the children already knew, and inadvertently "spilled the beans". I was crushed, and promised I wasn't going to put my own children through the same heartbreak. So I never told any of my children there was a Santa. But they all believed in him all by themselves. So much for my plan to spare my children that heartbreak over the truth about Santa!

Anyway, so much for my best laid plans and all that. I went to Plan B. I realized that my telling my children whether something was real or not real was usually very unwelcome to them. Two of my children were quite firm with anybody telling them, and they'd argue with anyone who tried.

So I found the best approach with my own children was also the 100% honest one. When they ask, "Are fairies real?", I'd say something like "I've never seen them, and I know a lot of fairies we see are not real. Some people think there used to be real fairies, and some think they still live among us, but that we just can't see them anymore." I just know that with my own children, believer and non-believer, this is the sort of truth they really wanted from me.

Linda
post #72 of 103
there is something in childhood that lies between what's "real" and "not real" and relies on a suspension of disbelief. i hated the whole gnomes business in wladorf until one day when my son asked, "who made that little sound?" and I sarcastically responded, "a little gnome". his eyes lit up and he went on to have a whole conversation with this little gnome. it was obvious that he knew there was no gnome and yet the gnome was also real in that moment, if that makes any sense. i think that is the magic of childhood and think us adults could do better with a little more magic in our lives. i don't see it as lying and if/when he were to ask me outright whether gnomes/santa/whatever are real i wouldn't say yes or no, i'd ask him what he thinks. there is so much unknown in the universe, why close off their minds so early on to what can exist? i think it was the magic and creativity instilled by my parents that got me happily through an otherwise rough childhood.

eta: just remembered this. when i was about 8 yrs old i came downstairs very concerned and asked my parents, "do you think god will mind if i don't believe in him?" LOL
that just about sums up the ambivalence between believing and not believing.
post #73 of 103
We've always told our daughter that Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy are NOT real to us (her parents) but some people (kids and their families) like to pretend that they are real. As with religious issues - for some people, God(s) is/are right there, watching every move they make, but for us it's something different. It was up to her how much she wanted to play with the idea - we told her we could pretend Santa if she wanted. Actually, the whole idea of Santa freaks her out (big white dude with a beard coming into her house through the chimney? I don't think so), it wasn't appealing to her. She liked the idea of Rudolph though, so she dresses up like Rudolph every Christmas, puts carrots outside for Rudolph, etc. It's funny and cute. But she knows it's not real. I felt very tricked when I found out about Santa, and didn't appreciate it - we didn't want to do the same to our daughter.

To be honest, we don't even give presents - we just put a few little things in her stocking; and our tradition is to go to Grandma and Grandpa's to have delicious food and treats and play with cousins. That's what she looks forward to on Christmas morning - not the presents. We actually put all the presents up in the closet to rotate out among her other toys and she has hardly noticed. And I think that is so totally awesome. We downplayed gifts from the very beginning (i.e. we don't say "well maybe you can get that on Christmas, maybe Santa will bring it) because of the highly, highly annoying nagging and materialistic behavior we've seen other children (and their families) display about Christmas.

We are all about winter warmth though - we bake gingerbread men, decorate the house with lights, cut snowflakes, make sweet potato pie. She looks forward to the crafting aspect of the holiday season.

Maybe it will change as she gets older. She loves to pretend various things, which is cool - and she likes to imagine fairies or unicorns or evil vampire robots; but she knows it's all imaginary. We haven't ever had issues with discernment.

Like I said before though, she is really frustrated when friends get confused about reality vs. fantasy - the other day she asked me if it was true that a crystal grows dark, that means it dies (a friend told her this, after watching a certain film...). Ha!
post #74 of 103
Just FWIW, I heard a great definition of a myth/fantasy like St. Nick/Santa, spoken by a child (actually I read it in a book)

--"something that is real on the inside, but not on the outside"

I think this speaks to how as they grow children can often experience multiple "knowings" about something. They begin to suspect that something is not "real" (santa, fairies, easter bunny etc) but still delight in the belief anyway. For a couple of years (around 7,8 in my house) they begin to question and entertain disbelief and eventually (around 10,11) cognitively process that the entity cannot be real.

For my children this has led to great discussions about what is real, (i.e. The Velveteen Rabbit included), what is mystery (in the spiritual realm), etc. I think for us, if we had stuck to just purely what is scientifically real, a lot of the magic of childhood would have been missing.
post #75 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren
Just FWIW, I heard a great definition of a myth/fantasy like St. Nick/Santa, spoken by a child (actually I read it in a book)

--"something that is real on the inside, but not on the outside"
Isn't that the perfect description?

And thinking of it that way, it strikes me as terribly important children have the fantasy images in early childhood--it's an element of "play" about a very real quality or entity or concept, whatever word fits best. At the very least, "fantasy" beings or creatures are representational objects of a very real "thing"~~and young children cannot hold these real "things" in mind as pure abstract thought.

Fantasy comes as naturally to children as play--if we can stay "young at heart", we never lose the gift completely. I'm not quite sure I understand why in some ways it's come to be viewed with suspicion, or maybe as a backwards regression of sorts.


Linda
post #76 of 103
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl
Fantasy comes as naturally to children as play--if we can stay "young at heart", we never lose the gift completely. I'm not quite sure I understand why in some ways it's come to be viewed with suspicion, or maybe as a backwards regression of sorts.
Linda
But noone is forbidding children to engage in fantasy all on their own. What is objected to is adult's imposition of fantasy. Even Waldorf schools object to this to some extent and acknowledge that imposing our own fantastic images can actually curtail a child's imagination. I know Waldorf parents who have forbidden smurfs, all Disney images (even the ones like Cinderella which are classic fairy tales) and even non-commercial colourful fairy tale books, all on the grounds that these items actually do no service at all to the development of the child's imagination. In the case of the fairy tale book, it was the story of Pinnochio and their objection was that Pinnochio was not "real". These parents even objected exposing their child to the simply drawing of a happy face ( ) on the grounds that real human faces do not look like this and that when the child goes to draw a face, he will more likely draw the silly happy face than his own version of a face as a result of seeing the happy face.
post #77 of 103
You are correct in many ways there CMLP. Waldorf does encourge no pictures of fairy tales etc so that children can use their imagination. Once you have seen The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, your vision of Lucy will always be the one in the movie rather than the one you would have produced in your own head had you read the book. Waldorf dolls have simple faces by plan so that children can imagine the face and the expressions.

My limited experience with Montessori presented to me an atmosphere that allowed no imaginative play. All was reality based, child work. It was very sterile and cold. I also did not like the amount of media in evidence in the schools. I have come to understand that the 2 schools we visited are different than schools others have experienced. I have no doubt my fact based child would have excelled there. I chose Waldorf so that my child would be stretched and be more balanced in the end.
post #78 of 103
Thread Starter 
Quote:
IMO, the Montessori method utilizes "whole word" as well as the "whole language" approach and is a synthesis of all styles. I say we use whole word because we always strive to have a rich environment for spoken language activities, and we do teach phonics with the sound games and sandpaper letters, and moveable alphabet (which some children use to write "whole words") Then, we work with "whole words" with the phonetic object boxes (child matches object to label), reading cards, commands and puzzle words (sight words).
Lilliana, yes of course Montessori uses all of these but from what I gather, reading in Montessori begins with synthetic phonics (i.e., first, learning to write the letters (with sandpapers letters, for ex.), second, learning to spell (movable alphabet) and third, learning to read (this just comes naturally afterward).

It is only after this process that children begin using the flashcards and the object identification with the cards. The basis of Montessori reading is therefore synthetic phonics.

Obviously, not all words will be read purely phonetically, as this is impossible in the English language, but the "cornerstone" of the building blocks for reading in the Montessori method is phonics. Once the child has done the movable alphabet and discovers reading, reading skills develop further based on all methods (including even the much-hated "see/say" approach).
post #79 of 103
Thread Starter 
Quote:
We've always told our daughter that Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy are NOT real to us (her parents) but some people (kids and their families) like to pretend that they are real. As with religious issues - for some people, God(s) is/are right there, watching every move they make, but for us it's something different. It was up to her how much she wanted to play with the idea - we told her we could pretend Santa if she wanted. Actually, the whole idea of Santa freaks her out (big white dude with a beard coming into her house through the chimney? I don't think so), it wasn't appealing to her. She liked the idea of Rudolph though, so she dresses up like Rudolph every Christmas, puts carrots outside for Rudolph, etc. It's funny and cute. But she knows it's not real. I felt very tricked when I found out about Santa, and didn't appreciate it - we didn't want to do the same to our daughter.
I think that this is a great approach.

What really appalls me in particular about the whole Santa thing is that it seems to bring out the worst traits in children. Santa, the icon of generosity, turns darling children into monsters of greed who, on Christmas morning, engage in an orgy of present-opening. Of course, these children thank noone for all that they receive. Why should they, since Santa is the one who gave them the presents and he is not there to be thanked?

I am not sure why Santa is any better than the Christkind or St. Nick in the this respect. The latter two also leave children presents so the commercialism is still there. St. Nick, as far as I know, is just another name for Santa Claus (except that he also happens to give Dutch and German children chocolate in their shoes on December 6).
post #80 of 103
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
My limited experience with Montessori presented to me an atmosphere that allowed no imaginative play. All was reality based, child work.
I wonder if it was more the "work" aspect than the "reality" aspect that limited imaginitive play. As I have said previously, the imagination works by far the best when it has as many real things as possible to work with. If you want to go to the moon, you can use your imagination and creativity more if you know more about space. What is it about the "reality" of Montessori classrooms that limits imaginations? Again, I am thinking that it is more the "work" component of Montessori that limits the imagination because the child is always working at something and usually in a certain way.
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