Interesting NYT magazine article on education

Interesting NYT magazine article on education

Joined: December 15th, 2009, 8:50 pm

September 20th, 2011, 5:50 pm #1


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magaz ... f=magazine

What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?

It is interesting in light of the discussions below about praise etc.


The article is basically about a school that is looking to build character in their students, and discusses the importance of qualities such as social intelligence, determination, curiosity etc in a student finding success. (and something they called "grit"). There is this graduate student that developed a grit scale...

One interesting thing they found is that when they followed students out of a low income school they found that the likelihood of that student finishing a 4-year degree did not correlate with intelligence, suggesting other characteristics were at least as important if not more so.

I love the NYT magazine, it's the only reason I get the Sunday Times (which is so expensive!) I keep thinking about canceling it but I feel like I should support good newspapers...

Would love people's thoughts on it if they have read it...or even if they haven't!

jkl
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Joined: April 23rd, 2010, 9:38 pm

September 20th, 2011, 5:53 pm #2

I thought it was intriguing. I wanted to know more about how to actually encourage some of those characteristics though, from a parenting perspective.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

September 20th, 2011, 9:05 pm #3

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magaz ... f=magazine

What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?

It is interesting in light of the discussions below about praise etc.


The article is basically about a school that is looking to build character in their students, and discusses the importance of qualities such as social intelligence, determination, curiosity etc in a student finding success. (and something they called "grit"). There is this graduate student that developed a grit scale...

One interesting thing they found is that when they followed students out of a low income school they found that the likelihood of that student finishing a 4-year degree did not correlate with intelligence, suggesting other characteristics were at least as important if not more so.

I love the NYT magazine, it's the only reason I get the Sunday Times (which is so expensive!) I keep thinking about canceling it but I feel like I should support good newspapers...

Would love people's thoughts on it if they have read it...or even if they haven't!

jkl
The graduate course I'm taking on curriculum and theory has monthly chat sessions. One of the ideas we discussed is that school is based on middle-class values, and if you don't know how to play that game, you're unlikely to be successful in school. And how it shapes what we teach, how we teach, policies like No Child Left Behind or the flavor of the month.

So the guys in this article are trying to figure out how to teach the rules of the game to the KIPP students. I'm not sure why Riverdale cares about the rules of the game since those kids have more advantages than most of us will ever see.

Teaching KIPP kids to play the school game isn't the only option, although maybe it's one of the more attainable ones. The first education reformer we studied is John Dewey, who believed that school should be a continuation of the home culture, among other things.

But the philosophy that seems to return to haunt us repeatedly is called Perennialism, which says to teach a very narrow slice of cultural literacy that was formed by middle to upper class white, Judeo-Christian, mostly hetero men. For decades, it excluded women and minorities. It's coming back now as the Common Core. It's also the foundation of Paideia, another popular humanities-based curriculum.

The problem with policies is that they often seem to ignore research. For instance, Common Core says to study a few subjects more deeply. But speaking of NYT, just last week, someone wrote a nice piece about new brain research that says that smaller, frequent, repeated doses of knowledge and skills produces deeper learning. Well, Common Core seems to ignore that, from what I can tell.

I'm sure Tara knows much, much more about this than I do. But from what I can tell, and I surely am no expert, it seems that some of the early theorists I respect, like Vygotsky, really believe that a child's culture is very important, and if the culture is not reflected in the curriculum, the child will feel invisible and worthless.

I don't know what to make of that whole Riverdale Country School narrative. Anybody whose parents can pay $38k/year for them from preschool to hs is probably going to have some kind of successful life.




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 50, dh 50
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
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cy2
Joined: February 16th, 2006, 6:45 pm

September 21st, 2011, 12:11 am #4

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magaz ... f=magazine

What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?

It is interesting in light of the discussions below about praise etc.


The article is basically about a school that is looking to build character in their students, and discusses the importance of qualities such as social intelligence, determination, curiosity etc in a student finding success. (and something they called "grit"). There is this graduate student that developed a grit scale...

One interesting thing they found is that when they followed students out of a low income school they found that the likelihood of that student finishing a 4-year degree did not correlate with intelligence, suggesting other characteristics were at least as important if not more so.

I love the NYT magazine, it's the only reason I get the Sunday Times (which is so expensive!) I keep thinking about canceling it but I feel like I should support good newspapers...

Would love people's thoughts on it if they have read it...or even if they haven't!

jkl
this with some of my friends.

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Joined: August 21st, 2006, 3:29 pm

September 21st, 2011, 2:17 am #5

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magaz ... f=magazine

What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?

It is interesting in light of the discussions below about praise etc.


The article is basically about a school that is looking to build character in their students, and discusses the importance of qualities such as social intelligence, determination, curiosity etc in a student finding success. (and something they called "grit"). There is this graduate student that developed a grit scale...

One interesting thing they found is that when they followed students out of a low income school they found that the likelihood of that student finishing a 4-year degree did not correlate with intelligence, suggesting other characteristics were at least as important if not more so.

I love the NYT magazine, it's the only reason I get the Sunday Times (which is so expensive!) I keep thinking about canceling it but I feel like I should support good newspapers...

Would love people's thoughts on it if they have read it...or even if they haven't!

jkl
JKL,

Yeah, I too saw that and thought it was very interesting. As a (very) young adult I had this running argument with a mom who led a youth group that was part of a program I had been involved with as a kid and was again as a mentor. Basically kids had to test to pass from one level to another and she thought no kid should ever fail b/c the (adult) group leader should not let them try for a level until it was certain they could pass it, whereas I thought there was (sometimes) value in allowing kids to try and fail (I still do, and at the time, we went through a few kids failing and I think she sort of came around to my perspective). I think failing and learning to pick yourself up and try again can have a lot of value.

Thanks for posting the link!

Best wishes,
Alex
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Joined: August 21st, 2006, 3:29 pm

September 21st, 2011, 2:26 am #6

The graduate course I'm taking on curriculum and theory has monthly chat sessions. One of the ideas we discussed is that school is based on middle-class values, and if you don't know how to play that game, you're unlikely to be successful in school. And how it shapes what we teach, how we teach, policies like No Child Left Behind or the flavor of the month.

So the guys in this article are trying to figure out how to teach the rules of the game to the KIPP students. I'm not sure why Riverdale cares about the rules of the game since those kids have more advantages than most of us will ever see.

Teaching KIPP kids to play the school game isn't the only option, although maybe it's one of the more attainable ones. The first education reformer we studied is John Dewey, who believed that school should be a continuation of the home culture, among other things.

But the philosophy that seems to return to haunt us repeatedly is called Perennialism, which says to teach a very narrow slice of cultural literacy that was formed by middle to upper class white, Judeo-Christian, mostly hetero men. For decades, it excluded women and minorities. It's coming back now as the Common Core. It's also the foundation of Paideia, another popular humanities-based curriculum.

The problem with policies is that they often seem to ignore research. For instance, Common Core says to study a few subjects more deeply. But speaking of NYT, just last week, someone wrote a nice piece about new brain research that says that smaller, frequent, repeated doses of knowledge and skills produces deeper learning. Well, Common Core seems to ignore that, from what I can tell.

I'm sure Tara knows much, much more about this than I do. But from what I can tell, and I surely am no expert, it seems that some of the early theorists I respect, like Vygotsky, really believe that a child's culture is very important, and if the culture is not reflected in the curriculum, the child will feel invisible and worthless.

I don't know what to make of that whole Riverdale Country School narrative. Anybody whose parents can pay $38k/year for them from preschool to hs is probably going to have some kind of successful life.




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 50, dh 50
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
KM,

I didn't see this as being about "the rules of the game" (our society, or middle-class society). I read it as being about developing skills that will help "you" (the students) succeed in life.

So when you write, "I'm not sure why Riverdale cares about the rules of the game since those kids have more advantages than most of us will ever see," I'd refer to e.g. the film screening referenced in the article --

"One central figure in the movie is Madeline Levine, a psychologist in Marin County who is the author of a best-selling book, 'The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids.' In her book, Levine cites studies and surveys to back up her contention that children of affluent parents now exhibit 'unexpectedly high rates of emotional problems beginning in junior high school.'"

I want to get and read that book. My own sense is that plenty of very privileged kids "crash and burn" one or more times, perhaps in part because they don't learn the (general learnable, I'd argue) skills they need to cope with difficulties, failures, etc. Surely there exist plenty of middle- and upper-class U.S. kids who don't come close to achieving what one might reasonably hope they would and while I don't think there's an obvious across-the-board cause for (or solution to) that, I do think it's worth thinking about whether there are ways we are (often) falling short in preparing our kids for adulthood and whether there are skills we can teach them (e.g. persistence) that would better equip them to succeed -- not in the sense of being better than their peers academically but in the sense of finding a "place" (job, family, calling, whatever) and doing well within it.

Best wishes,
Alex
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Joined: December 15th, 2009, 8:50 pm

September 21st, 2011, 5:24 pm #7

I thought it was intriguing. I wanted to know more about how to actually encourage some of those characteristics though, from a parenting perspective.
That was my one frustration with the article, how is the school teaching these traits? Seems to me they were just talking about them, which can only take you so far.

jkl
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Joined: December 15th, 2009, 8:50 pm

September 21st, 2011, 5:41 pm #8

The graduate course I'm taking on curriculum and theory has monthly chat sessions. One of the ideas we discussed is that school is based on middle-class values, and if you don't know how to play that game, you're unlikely to be successful in school. And how it shapes what we teach, how we teach, policies like No Child Left Behind or the flavor of the month.

So the guys in this article are trying to figure out how to teach the rules of the game to the KIPP students. I'm not sure why Riverdale cares about the rules of the game since those kids have more advantages than most of us will ever see.

Teaching KIPP kids to play the school game isn't the only option, although maybe it's one of the more attainable ones. The first education reformer we studied is John Dewey, who believed that school should be a continuation of the home culture, among other things.

But the philosophy that seems to return to haunt us repeatedly is called Perennialism, which says to teach a very narrow slice of cultural literacy that was formed by middle to upper class white, Judeo-Christian, mostly hetero men. For decades, it excluded women and minorities. It's coming back now as the Common Core. It's also the foundation of Paideia, another popular humanities-based curriculum.

The problem with policies is that they often seem to ignore research. For instance, Common Core says to study a few subjects more deeply. But speaking of NYT, just last week, someone wrote a nice piece about new brain research that says that smaller, frequent, repeated doses of knowledge and skills produces deeper learning. Well, Common Core seems to ignore that, from what I can tell.

I'm sure Tara knows much, much more about this than I do. But from what I can tell, and I surely am no expert, it seems that some of the early theorists I respect, like Vygotsky, really believe that a child's culture is very important, and if the culture is not reflected in the curriculum, the child will feel invisible and worthless.

I don't know what to make of that whole Riverdale Country School narrative. Anybody whose parents can pay $38k/year for them from preschool to hs is probably going to have some kind of successful life.




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 50, dh 50
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
I don't know anything about education theory (although I'm becoming more interested in teaching methods as my dd gets older) but I think the gist of the article had to do with the fact that actually, because these kids are very privileged, that comes with its own set of obstacles, simply because the kids never really have to work at anything.

I do know some very wealthy people (people acutally in my family) whose kids never ended up doing anything meaningful (and went to good schools) so I think the problem is there and probably there are aspects of this problem that can be applied to upper/middle class kids.

Questions like: Should we intervene every time our kid is having a tough time? Are grades inflated to the point where kids are not giving good feedback on how they are really doing etc

Anyway, I wish they would have spoken more directly to how to develop things like grit.

jkl

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Joined: December 15th, 2009, 8:50 pm

September 21st, 2011, 5:50 pm #9

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magaz ... f=magazine

What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?

It is interesting in light of the discussions below about praise etc.


The article is basically about a school that is looking to build character in their students, and discusses the importance of qualities such as social intelligence, determination, curiosity etc in a student finding success. (and something they called "grit"). There is this graduate student that developed a grit scale...

One interesting thing they found is that when they followed students out of a low income school they found that the likelihood of that student finishing a 4-year degree did not correlate with intelligence, suggesting other characteristics were at least as important if not more so.

I love the NYT magazine, it's the only reason I get the Sunday Times (which is so expensive!) I keep thinking about canceling it but I feel like I should support good newspapers...

Would love people's thoughts on it if they have read it...or even if they haven't!

jkl
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magaz ... f=magazine


This is another article in the same issue in which a guy wrote about moving his family to Russia and having his kids enter a local Russian school (rather than an international school) knowing no Russian whatsoever.

At this Russian school they post the kids grades in the hallway.

It seemed definitely appropriate when talking about developing grit, but maybe a little extreme.

jkl

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Joined: December 15th, 2009, 8:50 pm

September 21st, 2011, 5:55 pm #10

JKL,

Yeah, I too saw that and thought it was very interesting. As a (very) young adult I had this running argument with a mom who led a youth group that was part of a program I had been involved with as a kid and was again as a mentor. Basically kids had to test to pass from one level to another and she thought no kid should ever fail b/c the (adult) group leader should not let them try for a level until it was certain they could pass it, whereas I thought there was (sometimes) value in allowing kids to try and fail (I still do, and at the time, we went through a few kids failing and I think she sort of came around to my perspective). I think failing and learning to pick yourself up and try again can have a lot of value.

Thanks for posting the link!

Best wishes,
Alex
Glad you liked it, also check out the article below, I found it particularly interesting in light of the other article.

jkl
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