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Any teachers out there? Does anyone understand how their minds work? - dorsetgirl
September 27th, 2010
09:27 am
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Any teachers out there? Does anyone understand how their minds work?
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What is it with teachers and Posters?

So often my kids come home with “Do a Poster” for their homework. They just don’t get it, and nor do I. Posters take my kids about three hours to do, with an awful lot of agonising and frustration, and I completely fail to see the point. Why treat kids as if they’re five years old? Why not give them a chance to use - or increase – their knowledge instead? Why penalise them for not being any good at Art?

I could understand it if teachers were asking them to do wall charts. Doing a wall chart - packed with useful information, hopefully laid out in a nice clear format - would challenge students to come up with a lot of information, to select the most important parts, and present it all attractively in an easy-to-digest format.

But no. Teachers like posters. WHY???????



And "colouring in"? What’s that about?

I understand that Reception kids (aged 5) are made to do “colouring in” as practice for their fine motor skills, ready for learning to write. But why do secondary school students still have to do it?

My youngest has just started secondary school, and for his Geography homework over the weekend he had to answer various questions about where things were on a map; label various rivers and towns on a map; colour in the map.

The first two, fine. It gave him practice at using an Atlas, and the index therein; it made him think about placing the information correctly on the map, and fitting it all in neatly; perhaps he's even learnt something about his home area. But the colouring in?

I could understand it if the teacher had specified something like “mark the hill ranges and colour them in a different shade” or something. Or "draw in XXX reservoir and colour it blue."

But no. Teachers just want “colouring in”. WHY???????

My son’s view? “Just for a week, I thought I was at secondary school. Now I feel like I’m back in the Infants.”

I’ve come to the conclusion that most teachers – with the blessed exception of Science and Maths teachers – are Arty types who actually think that drawing and colouring-in are fun. *shudders*





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From:m31andy
Date:September 27th, 2010 10:48 am (UTC)
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Reminds me of the WTFery of getting professional accounting finalists to "produce a presentation" as an answer to a question in a written exam. That is a three-hour hand-written exam: no computers, no using powerpoint just paper. You have to hand draw your slides. In other words - you take longer to get your point across (all that drawing) and are obliged to leave out all the fine detail (not good for presentations) unless you write copious notes. Which is not a good presentation either.

Made me feel like I was back in Infant School as well.
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From:dorsetgirl
Date:September 27th, 2010 11:27 am (UTC)
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WTF indeed. And there was me thinking that exams are to find out how much the candidate knows. In 99% of subjects this does NOT equate to "how well can the candidate draw"!

That's another perfect example of style over content, or form over function. To paraphrase an interesting blog I just found, if you put form before function, you sacrifice your [student]'s best interest for your own preferences.

Afaik I don't have any teachers on my meagre friendslist, but I really do think they tend to be arty/social types rather than scientific, except of course for certain subjects - after all, they've signed up for a job that is all about day-in day-out people contact. This must make it difficult for them to understand normal people (well, my definition of normal, anyway *g*). I shall never forget the look on one Primary School teacher's face when I told her that I and all my kids would infinitely rather do a page of Maths than have to draw a picture. Gobsmacked doesn't begin to describe it.
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From:basaltgrrl
Date:September 27th, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)
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I don't remember having to make posters when I was a fairly young student... maybe it's the "hot new thing" for creative teachers to assign. You make incredibly good points about the stupidity of it, though.
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From:dorsetgirl
Date:September 27th, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
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I suppose in teaching as in anything else, there are fashions to save people the bother of thinking for themselves - I hadn't thought of it that way before. (I didn't have to do posters at school either.)

Honestly, I feel more at a loss to understand my children's teachers than I ever did my own - even as a child I knew that my teachers were human even when I didn't like them. But this lot? Aliens, definitely. Some of the younger women come over like the teaching equivalent of Stepford Wives.
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From:basaltgrrl
Date:September 27th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
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In the U.S. the prime example of that is the "no child left behind" program which requires students to meet certain requirements at several stages. Thus teachers are forced to teach for the tests rather than use their creativity and initiative to encourage real learning.

I'm sure there are genuinely good teachers out there... but I suppose as in any field there are less skilled, less intelligent, less motivated individuals that outnumber the great ones.

Doesn't say much for the training of teachers, either!
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From:dorsetgirl
Date:September 27th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC)
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Thus teachers are forced to teach for the tests

It's often said that's the case here, too. My thirteen-year-old said today, "It would be nice sometimes if they'd stop making us work and actually teach us something."
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From:halotolerant
Date:September 27th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC)
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I have no idea about the posters thing (spent much of my secondary education similarly annoyed) but I do know that a guy I knew at Uni read Geography and his 'subject hoodie' had 'keeping crayola in business' as it's tagline - so maybe they've all been trained as students to consider colouring a moral imperative? *g*
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From:dorsetgirl
Date:September 27th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
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Ah - they've all got shares in WHSmith. That would do it.

his 'subject hoodie' had 'keeping crayola in business' as it's tagline

Was that his own private joke, or the way all Geography students jokingly talk about the subject, do you know?
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From:halotolerant
Date:September 27th, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
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It was the hoodie they printed up with the list of all the students graduating that year - it was a shared conclusion! *g*
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From:dorsetgirl
Date:September 27th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
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Interesting!
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From:jayb111
Date:September 27th, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC)
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It's not just schoolchildren who have to do this. I have friends who've had to design posters about their M.A. or Ph.D. research, in widely differing subjects. I don't get the point either - and I am a teacher, although of adults, not school age children.
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From:dorsetgirl
Date:September 27th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
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I'm seriously going to have to ask someone about this. The idea of reducing a Ph.D. to a picture is just incredible - totally unreal!

I can only think that these teachers are very visual thinkers, and perhaps less comfortable with words. I certainly take information in visually, but by that I mean I remember things that I read rather than hear. I don't get much from pictures, and my oldest son is endlessly amused by me going "that icon is what? - how does that random circle/swirl/whatever mean that?" If it doesn't have words, I don't understand or remember it.
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