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LM_NET  September 2016

LM_NET September 2016

Subject:

Re: TAR:ELEM: teaching note-taking (paraphrasing) to 2nd and 3rd graders

From:

Barbara Braxton <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Barbara Braxton <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 06:46:36 +1000

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Dear Dan
Apart from teaching kids of this age about being honest I really fear for what these sorts of expectations are doing to the self-esteem and self-belief of these students.

Most of my 43 years in teaching has been with this age group and so I'm familiar with their level of development and their capabilities and abilities.  Most of them are still only in the early stages of being independent readers - as in being able to interpret and understand what they are reading - so to expect them to then rephrase it and rewrite it is asking a bit too much, particularly of those for whom the language they are working with is not their mother tongue.  They are still working at a very literal level - watch what they do if you tell them to "pull their socks up" - and so what they read is what they believe.  Reading other versions only serves to confuse.  And, apart from that, facts are not copyrighted anyway.

This continuing emphasis on academic rigour and pushing abstract concepts on to younger students who are not developmentally ready - and, after all these years, I'm a great believer in Piaget's stages of development - might make some bureaucrat's CV and some education system's look good but what is it doing to the kids who can't meet such unrealistic standards?  What messages are they giving themselves?  What self-talk is going on in their heads about their ability to learn and succeed when adults impose such demands on them?  Are they labelling themselves 'dumb' before they've even had a chance to learn?  What is their perception of school as a safe haven and a place to be?  Are they planning to drop out as soon as they can already?

I know you didn't write the curriculum but when do we, as teachers who know our students better than administrators looking for some sort of false glory, stand up and be the heroes for our kids and say enough is enough?  Not a "back-to-basics" movement but back to a child-centred approach that acknowledges the WHOLE child not just some ivory-tower definition of success?

In my opinion, the success of an education system lies in the mental health and happiness register of our students - young or more experienced - and I'd venture that both Australia, the UK and the US have huge and very similar issues in that regard.

So while this doesn't answer your question, I hope it raises some discussion about just what it is we are expecting our little ones to be able to do and start asking ourselves and others if the expectations are realistic, and if not, then start speaking on their behalf.  It's not all about the grades and a "good job".

Barbara

Barbara Braxton
Teacher Librarian
M.Ed.(TL), M.App.Sci.(TL), M.I.S. (Children's Services) 
Dromkeen Librarian's Award 2003
COOMA NSW 2630
AUSTRALIA
[log in to unmask]
Together, we learn from each other
500 Hats http://500hats.edublogs.org 
The Bottom Shelf http://thebottomshelf.edublogs.org/

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