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#1 of 9 Old 10-05-2012, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We just had a meeting with DD's teacher (2nd grade). This was brought on for a few reasons, one being that DD said she felt she wasn't having enough time to complete assignments and that she wasn't learning. She likes her teacher and her school, btw, but she still is asking us to homeschool.

 

Anyway, DD has been coming home with "homework" that consists mostly of in-class work that is incomplete. Much of which, we have to "teach" her at home. Then we help her with the assignment as needed. When we asked the teacher about this, she told us that the majority of the students are sent home with incomplete work and that she is trying to help them be independent learners.

 

I'm getting the feeling that there isn't much "teaching" in class but just handing out of assignments, then if the kids don't understand, they need to approach the teacher on their own and ask for help. There are 22 students with one teacher, and this is a private school.

 

The meeting went well, we like DD's teacher and received the information that we needed. Now we are just trying to figure out what to do with it. :) Just because her teacher is a nice person doesn't mean we agree with the philosophy of education. I'm sort of in shock here that this is supposed to be OK.

 

Is what is going on in DD's classroom really how most teachers grow independent learners?

 

Is the idea of teaching the concept of independent learning so valuable that it sacrifices learning at all?


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#2 of 9 Old 10-05-2012, 02:59 PM
 
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My schoolkids attend a school that is "independent learning focused." We have a small rural K-12 school, and the teachers simply can't teach every course at every grade level, so the students are expected to work independently at least 2/3 of the time. What happens is that the teacher presents some ideas, directs students to appropriate resources, sets some sort of project / goal / assignment, and then allows each student to work at her own pace and in her own fashion towards that goal while moving on to teach another group at another grade level. But here's the thing: that independent work happens primarily at school. Sometimes it takes place in the regular classroom, at desks, or around tables with clusters of students working similarly. Sometimes the work happens in the library, or in the computer lab. And sometimes it takes place in something called the "Facilitated Learning Centre," where the kids can work on e-courses based off a networked learning system. They always have the support of a teacher or teacher's aid. 

 

Independent learning is a great goal. But why can't it happen at school? Just because 22 kids are in the same room doesn't mean they have to be involved in group learning activities all the time. Independent work can be done at school.

 

Now, your dd is much younger than my kids are. Perhaps the teacher expects a lot of the independent work to get done at school, and your dd is getting much less than expected done. I wonder if perhaps much of the time she has at school is not being used effectively because she gets stuck, and either can't identify how she's stuck, or doesn't have the social skills or confidence she needs to ask for help to get unstuck. Perhaps you could talk it over with your dd. Is she more comfortable getting help from you at home than admitting to the teacher that she doesn't understand something? What if the teacher checked in with her after 5-10 minutes and see if she is progressing through the in-class work, and prompted your dd to seek clarification or help as needed? Would that help?

 

Alternatively, perhaps your dd finds the classroom environment distracting. Noise, social distractions, visual busy-ness around her, some kids have real difficulty staying on task in such situations. She may benefit from some strategies to reduce those distractions: white-noise headphones, corrugated cardboard desk-surrounds to block out visual distractions, using a desk that faces the wall, or one that is at the front of the classroom rather than in the midst of other students.

 

Good luck sorting this out! It does sound like a situation that's not currently working well for your dd.

 

Miranda


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#3 of 9 Old 10-05-2012, 05:17 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by sraplayas View Post


I'm getting the feeling that there isn't much "teaching" in class but just handing out of assignments, then if the kids don't understand, they need to approach the teacher on their own and ask for help. There are 22 students with one teacher, and this is a private school.

 

 

This is not how either the pubic or private schools that my kids have attended have functioned. The private school they go to now prides itself on "independent learning" but it's balanced with lots of hands of learning, lots of projects, lots of group work. The public school focused more on direct instruction, with only little bits of independent learning for more advanced students. (all students were given individual work to reenforce what they learned through direct group instruction, but only advanced students were expected to actually learn on their own).

 

Is this how the whole school is, or just this teacher?


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#4 of 9 Old 10-05-2012, 05:22 PM
 
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Interesting. When I search the term and look at some of what's written about it, sending kids home with lots of worksheets is not mentioned as a way to increase independent learning.

 

http://ilearn.20m.com/research/zuinde.htm
 


 
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#5 of 9 Old 10-05-2012, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you for the replies! to answer a few of the q's--nak:)

 

dd says there is not much instruction given (mostly the next assignment written on the board) and that when she has asked for help, the teacher is busy helping other students. granted, there are so many books and subjects to cover that the teacher must be under alot of pressure to keep things moving. the teacher did say that most of the students go home with incomplete work --which turns into homework.

 

this trend started in first grade and now she's in second. in third they have a different teacher for each subject.

 

right now the teacher is expected to cover five subjects which each have at minimun 2 text/workbooks and a notebook. then she has English class (we live internationally), computers, dance, p.e., music and values class during the week.

 

this school is really the best in our area, as far as i know. overall there have been some real positives that sort of got us through last year--a tough one! we've yalked about the option of homeschooling off and on for over a year; but at this point we are trying to really work through this issu---as hs is such a big decision/commitment on my part. we want dd to see that we face challenges and don't make rash decisions.


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#6 of 9 Old 10-05-2012, 11:20 PM
 
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Moominmamma -- what ages are your schooled kids?
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#7 of 9 Old 10-06-2012, 08:11 AM
 
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Homework in our district is mostly skill practice during elementary school years. Sometimes incomplete work comes home and a couple times I have had to help dd with a concept she didn't fully understand but the teachers have always taught the assignment and given ample time for the majority of students to finish their work. The only exception is spelling and vocabulary word practice (once a week for spelling and every other week for vocabulary words), monthly projects that tend to be book centered and easy to complete, and reports that require some reading and research at home that happens rarely and isn't an issue. I wouldn't keep my dd in a school where they weren't going to be taught and that required me to do most of the teaching despite her being there for six and a half hours a day. We have too much going on after work and school for me to accept a situation like that much less pay for it in a private school.
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#8 of 9 Old 10-06-2012, 10:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Moominmamma -- what ages are your schooled kids?

 

They're currently 13 and 15. My 9-year-old is primarily homeschooled, though she does attend the school occasionally. 

 

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#9 of 9 Old 10-06-2012, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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one other little bit to add that i just discovered to add to my post--apparently there are several kids with sig. learning disabilities in the class and this is also a challenge for the teacher to attend to each child as is the ideal. she recognizes this but with 1/22 ratio this is difficult. there is a table close to the teacher's where at least one child sits who needs alot of direction on assignments.

 

in addition to this, dd sits at a table (they have tables at dd's school vs. desks) where two boys sit who finish their work quickly and then joke around. the school isn't really open to headphones and dividers, etc. (which are great ideas, btw!) so teachers end up moving students around in a sort of musical chairs every couple of weeks.


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