Thursday, October 23, 2014

Teaching Children to Guide Themselves

This week we are featuring a quote from S.E.E.D.S. Co-Founder Natalie Zartarian.  Toward that end, this card sums up one of her goals and guiding principles.  S.E.E.D.S. strives to empower people to learn how they learn best and to be life-long learners. 

We live in a modern high speed technologically saturated world.  A common lament is the near total connectivity of modern life that people seem to lack face-to-face human interaction.  In less technologically advanced societies, families bond when sharing food.  Look around, and you see people sitting together in restaurants and coffee shops.  Each seems totally absorbed in text or email exchanges while connected to the world, yet isolated from those sitting at the same table next to them.

Retrieved from
As early childhood educators, we advocate direct human interaction as important for the development of the whole child.  S.E.E.D.S. lessons and activities are student-centered, project-based and involve group interaction.  How else will children learn to develop concepts and skills to interact with other people?

As Ghandi once said, “Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency.  Man is a social being.  Without interrelation with society he cannot realize his oneness with the universe or suppress his egotism.  His social interdependence enables him to test his faith and to prove himself on the touchstone of reality ”

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Common Core- Could it be more dysfunctional?

The Common Core is fast becoming the Common Bore as many students and parents are thrown into confusion and despair over the new style of basic mathematics.  “An Iowa woman jokingly calls it "Satan's handiwork.'' A California mom says she's broken down in tears. A Pennsylvania parent says it "makes my blood boil.''  “Simple arithmetic isn't so simple anymore, leading to plenty of angst at home.”  [These quotes appeared in “2+2=What? Parents Rail Against Common Core Math” from by Michael Rubinkam Thursday, Oct 9, 2014] 

When students get frustrated, they can readily give up and get bored having to sit through lessons they don’t understand.  They are not having fun.  This is not a very conducive learning environment.  As Walter Barbee said “If you’ve told a child a thousand times and he still does not understand, then it is not the child who is the slow learner.”  The Common Core does not give the child a real opportunity for success.  The Common Core is top down curriculum that is not student centered nor is it student friendly.  It takes simple math operations and makes them more complex.  The resulting confusion does not make students creative thinkers or problem solvers as was hoped.  The Common Core proponents and advocates lament the confusion is a result of poor program implementation and lack of adequate teacher training.  If this is so, you have to wonder why they launched the program if it wasn’t ready.  It makes you wonder if student success is really a consideration in this curriculum. So who is the slow learner now?