edward long

Association of Old Crows


This conversation is closed.

Teachers should get tough.

In the recent WSJ Saturday Essay Joanne Lipman broaches a controversial idea for improving public education. To prompt you to read her essay here are her talking points: 1) A little pain is good for you. 2) Drill baby, drill. 3)Failure is an option. 4) Strict is better than nice. 5) Creativity can be learned. 6) Grit trumps talent. 7) Praise makes you weak. 8) Stress makes you strong.

  • W T

    • +2
    Oct 1 2013: Loved the article Ed.
    It brings out some wonderful points that many of us implement in our teaching.

    Here are my reflections.

    I think that really good teachers know that children need discipline.....and by discipline I mean a constant principled way of conducting the learning environment. Rules are needed. Your yes has to mean yes, your no means no. Kids can tell when a teacher doesn't expect anything from them, and they will act accordingly.

    I think like everything else in this materialistic opportunistic country (society), teachers have been the victims of commercialism. They have been caught up in the positive reinforcement trap. They are bombarded with all types of catalogs where they can order cutesy things with a "theme".......and they become decorators, and sticker dispensers and reward distributors, instead of really getting down to the business of TEACHING.

    I have always been a very strict teacher, my bottom line has always been to impart knowledge and ignite the fire of learning.......to instill a love of learning new things in my students. That is also what I have tried to do with my own kids.
    I think that is why I really loved the fact that they included a picture of Mr. K with his own daughter. Most teachers who love their career, treat their students like they treat their own kids........high expectations, and love.

    I will share this additional observation. The last picture in the article, where Mr. K sits and applauds, is very revealing.
    I have always been bothered when teachers do not applaud children's work in an auditorium setting. I cannot tell you the number of times I have attended a school assembly and seen my fellow educators stand talking among themselves without the slightest interest in what the children are performing. I take personal offense when I see this type of behavior.......it tells me quite a lot. To the child observing from stage, it must be devastating.

    And YES, tough is good....like Mr. K's tough!!
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2013: Your teaching style shows that toughness does not equal coldness or meanness. As always the definition of terms cannot be omitted in a debate. Each of the 8 issues mentioned in the essay seem to confirm that the student's best long-term interests are in mind. Thanks for contributing from your professional experience in the classroom. Stay tough.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2013: I admire your career respectfully. But I have come to the experience that people always consider themselves as the righteous and wise person. They believe they have performed correctly in most of the cases. Same applies to your own perception that you are always correct, other teach is always negligent or ignorant.

      Would you admit that in other teachers' eye, you are acting the most ridiculous parody, they act in the way that is perfect for a teacher in their own values.

      All those come to my contention, whether a performance is excellent,it is labelled by it consequence,not someone thinks this is excellent. A best educator is reflected by his/her students' improvement.
      • W T

        • 0
        Oct 1 2013: You have wonderful insights.

        Edward has been around TED long enough to know that I approach these conversations from an elementary teacher's point of view......that is my field.

        I get the feeling that you want to ask me a question.....but I don't know what it is you are trying to ask......care to elaborate a little, and if you have a question, do put a question mark (?) behind the sentence..........pretty please.....
        • Oct 2 2013: To Mary concerning your original comment, I wholeheartedly agree with most of your comment on love and encouragement in teaching. But I am a little hesitant to agree with your view that the teacher should applaud his students' performance every time after the performance. First of all, if the student has a really good performance, then there would be tremendous applause without the teacher's "endorsement".
          On the other hand if it is really not so good, the mere applause from the teacher (and the student's parents) isn't going to help much anyway.
          I really didn't mean that teachers shouldn't applaud for his/her students, but let it be the expression from the heart, rather than a courtesy reaction.
          Once upon a time, when my wife and I were sitting in the piano tutor's house to listen to my daughter' final review on her upcoming performance in a piano contest. (see my posting below). When my daughter (she was 14 at that time) finished a piece of piano concerto in about 18 minutes long, without a score sheet in front of her, and in my mere a music lover's ear, she performed almost flawlessly. I applauded spontaneously even though it's really not needed. You see, I certainly do not object to the applause by the teachers at the performance of the students, but I believe that it should be from the heart instead of by courtesy. Or better to refrain from it in any case.
        • thumb
          Oct 2 2013: Sorry Mary,my comment was really at a mess.

          I have no specific question,since you've invited me post a question,then it would be this:How do your fellow teachers comment on your teaching approach? Have you got any feedback from your students,and what is it?
      • W T

        • +1
        Oct 2 2013: No problem George.

        You know, I don't think many teachers really know my teaching style. They assume I am very nice, and lenient. The only ones who really are aware of my style are the kids and parents. And of course, the administration, because they observe us regularly.

        My kids start out the school year thinking......she's fun......then they realize that behind the fun is hard work.......and that I expect them to try hard. By October they realize I mean business. By January they are like a fine oiled machine. The following school year they come back and thank me because they realize that the skills I taught them were the essential ones to succeed in the following school year. And while their classmates all struggled, they glided through the following year.

        I look at my students as my letters of recommendation. They are the ones who really know what kind of teacher I was to them. I think by the time kids reach the age of 18 or 19 they realize who among all the teachers they had really worked hard to educate them.
        Just like I remember that out of all the teachers I ever had, the number one teacher was Mrs. Tangy, my fifth grade teacher. She loved us. And she went beyond the curriculum to instill a love of learning and curiosity for life. I remember that the rest of the kids at my school really feared Mrs. Tangy. But, we, her students, knew better. We knew she really loved to teach, and she disciplined us out of love and concern. When I finally realized the kind of teacher she was and I went back to try and find her and thank her, she had already died. I think of her each time I am asked to think of what makes a great teacher.

        Phew....I think I said too much!!
        • thumb
          Oct 2 2013: Thank you, Mary. I can feel it comes from your heart.

          'Disciplined us out of love and concern', I admire that kind of teacher too. The truth is it's hard to encounter such kind of teacher,isn't it? Teacher is a tough,responsible,and honorable job, you have the firsthand opportunity to influence kids, and shape their lives.

          One day,maybe that day has come,when your students appreciate you,cause they know you love them. when you put love into your teaching,the students will feel it sooner or later.
      • thumb
        Oct 2 2013: In my experience, students and parents almost always appreciate teachers who demand from students a high level of effort on meaningful work and who scaffold appropriately so students can succeed.. There is a right place to set the bar, and that varies among students. The few students in the class who do not rise to the occasion are the ones who can be bitter.

        Some students and their parents will push for them to be placed with the teacher who runs the more rigorous program.

        At schools where I have taught teachers with a rigorous approach hold students accountable but also show students they have confidence in them and love them. That they love their students shows easily through behaviors that an outsider might not understand.

        I think other teachers in the building typically are aware of the respect those teachers receive from students and parents.

        My experience as a teacher includes upper elementary, secondary, and post-secondary.
        • W T

          • 0
          Oct 2 2013: Thank you.
      • W T

        • 0
        Oct 2 2013: You're welcome George.
        I think love is one of the strongest motivators we can have in life.
        Teaching, to me, is a work of heart.
        I thoroughly love to impart knowledge and understanding to others.
        Thanks for the exchange of ideas and thoughts.
        Be Well.......
  • Oct 5 2013: Thanks for sharing the WSJ article. The author for the most part I agree with. Tough but fair is how any teacher, coach, mentor, or boss should be. They should always be challenging the student to rise to a higher level of achievement, performance, or greatness.

    I disagree with creativity can be taught. Our current education system seems to kill creativity in most students just by simple conformity to school "rules", peer pressure, or societal norms. What a teacher or mentor, et al. can do is to stimulate or draw creativity out of someone.

    Stress, or better challenge, is necessary to get anyone to a new plateau of the performance, desire or goals.

    As a nation (USA) we have become "fat & happy" while the rest of the world has caught up with us and surpassed us in some areas. Grit and determination is what made this country. We need a lot more of it. It seems our legislative bodies are confusing grit with ill-tempered actions of a 5 year old (both sides).
    • thumb
      Oct 5 2013: Good observations Spencer. Thanks for a fresh perspective about these qualities not being applicable to teachers only, but to everyone in authority. My take on the author's position on creativity being a learned trait is that so many young people are told that creativity is something some are born with and others are not. If you are in the latter group you cannot learn to be creative.That is just wrong. Creativity can be learned. Do you see that point-of-view?
      • Oct 5 2013: I think everyone has creativity, it just has to be coaxed out of them. Some fear to show it because they can't take the criticism (part of being tough and having grit). Others find it when they need it.

        Reply to Edward Long below: Yes all people have the capacity to be creative. Most just don't exercise it. Its like muscle if you don't use it , you lose it, it atrophies to where it is worthless.
        • thumb
          Oct 5 2013: So you are not saying creativity cannot be learned. You are saying creativity need not be learned because everyone has it. It follows then that you think it is wrong to teach children that some people have creativity and some don't and there is nothing that can be done to make a person who does not have it be creative. I think I understand your take on the matter. Every young person should be encouraged to be creative.
  • thumb
    Oct 1 2013: Creativity can be learned? For me it comes when there's no thinking; when there's space - a gap between thoughts.

    Stress makes you strong? Stress is one of the biggest killers of the human race; it ages you quickly and lowers your immune system.

    Praise makes you weak? Yes, that's true for those who focus on it too much and no longer see their flaws.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2013: Regarding creativity the point in the essay is that students are often taught that creativity is something some people are born with and others just don't have. That, of course, is not true. Creativity, even the "between thoughts" type you mention, is the result of knowledge gained by hard work. Kids should be taught that creativity is a result of learning, NOT a "lucky skill" with which some folks are born and some are not. Excess, unmanaged stress is definitely a negative as you point out. The essay advocates putting healthy pressure on students to motivate them. Without such pressure many, if not most, kids would plod along doing the least they can. Praise (such as "You are so smart Timmy") needs to be replaced. The object of praise should be work habits and accomplishments, not personal attributes. Proper praise is applied in response to demonstrations of hard work and perseverance. Praising a kid when they have done nothing is a fraudulent effort to build their self-esteem. Do you agree with those explanations? Thanks for your observations, I can see you have worked diligently on formulating and posting them. Good job.
    • thumb
      Oct 2 2013: I Agree you Simon and not bcoz Edward is wrong !

      Let me start it with an example. Suppose there are two persons having different nature, both starts some work together and after few years, they find, things getting worse. The system they made is not good and not solving the purpose.

      Now, the one person drops the idea and insists to stop further activities so that they can put their energy to develop new system. Why to face difficulties. Now we have found, this is not the right the good system as desired, we must stop this and go back for a fresh start with this new experience....

      But, second person apply patches to fix it, he is not in the favor of going back. He thinks difficulties makes us strong. Now its too late for us going back, we have made so effort to reach here. What if we face new difficulties in new work. At least these difficulties are known to us, we can solve this together as we were doing in past...

      Edward is an extrovert by nature. Edward is right in his aspect. He wants his coming generation more competitive. With the stress and no compliments, students will be more strong to compete each other. In his view one can not win a race if praised, coz by doing this the praised one may be over confident. According to Edward, being polite will make them weak. As we make Food nutrition chart for good health, same manner will be applied to give them managed stress and managed love.

      and you Simon, you are introvert. You can see what we humans have lost already. The values , the humanity, the love and emotions. You think coming generation will loose the ability of creativity, coz we are forcefully , stress fully teaching them to think creativity in a framework. You know the value of 'praise', a student may not complete his work when forced, but can if praised. you are not in the favor of making soldiers in the name of education. you prefer moral education. You think who are we to put them in stressful competition world! Let them choose and let us guide.
  • thumb
    Oct 1 2013: First I 'd like to say that teachers in nowadays are not easy. They have much pressure from the social educational systems and all the students' parents.
    When I was young I saw a lot of parents who looked very draconian to their kids on their study. Especially when I saw some very young kids in gymnastics trainings rapped by their coacher in front of the parents who weren't a bit angry with the coacher but scolded their kids loudly after the coacher's words instead. After the training I saw parents encourage and massage their kids carefully and thoughtfully. I saw kids smiling after their crying in the training. And I felt it very interesting.
    So after I finished reading the article, I think the teacher is just like the coacher in the gymnastics training. And he seemed to fail in well communicating with the children emotionally. He taught in a bossy way which brought him no popularity in his times. But from the result that later a number of his students succeeded in many different fields, I think the teacher in fact has his ability in helping the students improve their knowledge and skills. He should have explained and let the kids as well as their parents know his good intention of making the kids outperformed their peers. If there's someone (maybe parents) could communicate between the kids and the teachers to eliminate the misunderstanding and assist the teacher to respect the students,I think the situation would have been different.
    I'd like to say I agree with Mary, kids are very young, who haven't grown up totally mentally and physically. So teachers have the responsibility to instruct them. If you expect more from them in a proper way, they will act accordingly, and if they find they have made much improvement and been encouraged, they'll continue to following teacher's demands.The points in the article I think are good. Teachers should be strict with students with unyielding demands on their study as well as be their friends.( To be continued)
  • thumb
    Sep 30 2013: Most teachers know all about this. They know to challenge students, not to over-praise, not to pass everything, to convey what needs to be remembered, to make sure there is adequate practice, and so forth. There is nothing unconventional in this.

    For that matter, many well-loved teachers still do call kids names and so forth in a way that kids know is not meant badly. It is the teacher's style and students recognize it as such. What works for one teacher in this respect, though, will not work for another. Many highly successful teachers maintain high standards but relate to kids in a respectful and loving way.

    A teacher who subjects kids to loads of stress, is unfailingly harsh, relies entirely on lecture and drill, and adopts strategies to make her class mostly painful will not typically succeed for her students. Neither will a teacher who just stands there and smiles, gives kids work that is too easy, and praises them for doing things anyone can do easily.
    • thumb
      Sep 30 2013: You describe an ideal scenario Fritzie. Not to doubt you, but there is a common perception among us non-educators that the system has gone soft. Do you consider the essay to be not all that relevant?
      • thumb
        Sep 30 2013: I think the essay may be relevant to the non-educator in the sense that it could get parents to consider whether they want their kids to be held accountable for academic performance and effort at school or whether they don't. Teachers who dramatically inflate grades and do not help kids learn by acknowledging areas of unsatisfactory performance are more than likely doing this to avoid pressure from parents or wanting to avoid negative attention from parents.

        Many a serious teacher has faced an angry parent wondering why her child has always gotten As until now.

        But the essay overstates its case. There are plenty of destructive and ineffective teachers who could use the article to defend their over-harsh, drill-focused, and high stress classrooms that actually turn kids off to schooling forever. Much of the hatred for schooling still evident in many of today's adults derives from the out-sized influence of teachers they had of this type.
        • thumb
          Sep 30 2013: The tribute performance by former students of Mr. K seems to indicate something quite different from hatred for his toughness. I agree an underperforming, ineffective teacher could, and probably do, use toughness as a defense of their inadequacies. A tough, effective teacher like Mr. K is another matter. I cannot easily dismiss the perception that the problem addressed by the essay is a significant issue. Your personal experience as an educator in certain locations may rightly lead you to believe otherwise. But how about all the schools you have not experienced, might this be a problem for them?
      • thumb
        Sep 30 2013: There are tough teachers who are also highly competent who are well loved by generations of students. There are tough teachers who are not competent and effective and are not well loved.

        Just being tough doesn't solve many problems.

        There is no necessary connection between being tough in the sense of holding kids to high standards of performance or responsibility and being rude to kids. There is no connection between being tough and emphasizing lecture or drill.

        Teaching preparation often includes seeing the research on which sorts of classroom postures are most effective. I remember research comparing the lenient, coddling teacher with the authoritative teacher and with the authoritarian teacher. The lenient, coddling teacher gets the worst results. The authoritative teacher gets the best results. The authoritarian falls in between.

        Teachers are not taught to be lenient and anything-goes. Even in student teaching, teachers quickly see that shrinking back from their responsibilities to manage a classroom is not an effective survival strategy. Failure to manage the classroom is one of the major reasons for high attrition among beginning teachers.
        • thumb
          Oct 1 2013: I don't think the essay is suggesting a Marine drill instructor would make a good school teacher. I appreciate your knowledge gained from experience. You seem to be denying that the problems addressed in the essay constitute cause for concern. How can you be sure your experience accurately reflects conditions in other districts, counties, and states?
      • thumb
        Oct 1 2013: I think teachers with classroom experience working in buildings with other teachers are aware of more than people give them credit for. In their own schooling, their training, and their experience, they have encountered these different models of teaching. It is all around them.

        They are also used to, and in most cases quite tired of, the over-simplifications that appear in the media.

        I believe you asked whether this would be a useful read. I personally do not think it would be, given the ready availability of much higher quality work that is more likely to enlighten.

        It is only my opinion, and others will have theirs. Perhaps other experienced teachers will have and share a different perspective than mine.
        • thumb
          Oct 1 2013: I hope I have not given you any less credit than you deserve. It is just not clear to me how these ideas are oversimplifications. They seem like reasonable ideas worth more than a cursory glance. Thanks for the reminder that opinions are conditional and will vary greatly.
      • W T

        • 0
        Oct 1 2013: I am going to share with you one of my children's experience in grade school.
        There was one teacher who prided herself in being 'kind' to the kids.
        She was all about encouraging freedom of expression, and allowing the kids to be themselves.
        Candy was sold in the classroom by the children, manicures were administered during breaks, all kinds of hands on activities went on. My child bloomed in that environment.......in the sense that all the inhibitions that were there at the beginning of the school year, disappeared by the end. I ended up with a social butterfly......never mind that academically my child remained pretty much the same.

        Years have passed since then, and that teacher is still at her job......the good thing is, that not all teachers are like that. Perhaps she is there to balance out the toughness of the others.....maybe not......I just don't know.

        It was hard for me to endure those 10 months of school.......especially since while my child was in her class, I had her child in my class. (We taught at the same schools) And while my child had no homework from her on the weekends, her son was busy with homework from me. It was a rough year.

        I think that is why it's nice we no longer have the one room schoolhouse. Same teacher year after year.......that had to be tough!
        Each fall, we begin anew......Yippee!!!!!

        I think there have always been 'tough' teachers. I think it's a matter of style....like Fritzie says.
        And, no matter what is done by legislators and school districts, you cannot really reduce good teaching to techniques......good teaching comes from the integrity of the teacher. Teaching is a work of heart Ed. Well, you know how I feel from all the other times we have discussed education.

        I hope my little story helps you in some small way.
        • thumb
          Oct 1 2013: I tend to be simplistic. Thanks for the reminder that educating children is not simple. I suspect that somewhere between the wanton permissivness of Dr. Spock and the unbending precision of military discipline lies the best choice. I do persist in finding the 8 points of this essay to be of value, or, to put it differently, I do not see how the judicious application of them can be detrimental to teacher or student (I am not implying that you do).
  • thumb
    Sep 30 2013: The idea of learning by indulgence that is commonly promoted, would, without a doubt, produce dumb and intellectually impotent folks.
    I am not an advocate of an iron fist as far as school discipline is concerned. But DISCIPLINE is very important for anyone or nation or system that hopes to rise above mediocrity.
  • Oct 6 2013: edward long
    Mesa, AZ

    Edward, I must be chiming in on your conversation today, but hopefully without deletion.
    I will try to stay on topic.

    Joanne Lipman's article was well written by a successful writer and editor.

    In 1958 educators were far different people than we find today, but then so were students, and so
    were their parents.

    When I went to school, my parents told me to mind. By that they meant to do what the teacher said.
    Had I come home and told my parents that the teacher called me an idiot. they would have retorted,
    "What did you do?" Meaning "What did you do wrong?" How could I have ever thought of blaming
    the teacher? Teacher's were the Bosses. I've had more than a few yard-sticks broken over my butt.
    If a Parent came and complained to the Teacher, the Teacher and the Parent settled it. Of course,
    that seldom happened.

    "What did Mr. K do right?" He called them idiots, and poked them with pencils. He got their attention.
    He knew the Teacher's secret of getting results. From boy's who always overestimate their abilities, negative reinforcement, and from the girl's, who do not overestimate their abilities, more positive reinforcement.

    "What can we learn from a teacher whose methods fly in the face of everything we think we know about
    education today, but who was undeniably effective?" We can learn that Mr. K would be successful today,
    and that he would be an effective teacher. Success breeds success, as failure breeds failure.

    Coach Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers used to Fine the newbies that came to their first Team meeting on time.
    He told them, they were late. They quickly learned to set their watches 15 minutes fast. - Lombardi Time.-
    Most of Coach Lombardi's players were successful after leaving Football.
    • thumb
      Oct 6 2013: The lead-in for the article had a sub-heading that says something like, "To Fix Schools-- Look Back." I think the look was to Mr. K's day. Things have changed for sure, probably too much. Many folks in this debate are opposed to the idea of toughness. Many others believe toughness is an existing organic element in any good classroom management regimen. It seems to me the worst thing we can do to our young people is fail to teach them the meaning of subjection to authority. I don't share your optimism that Mr. K would be a success today. I think he would be fired and sued, or sued and fired. Thanks for chiming-in Frank.
      • Oct 7 2013: Edward, I believe you are right.
        Society today would penalize Mr. K, most harshly.
        I noticed changes happening in High Schools during the 1950s.

        4 examples of Teachers -- Who's to say which is the right way to educate students?

        1) I excelled in Algebra. My teacher was unable to control the classroom with 30 students.
        Three boys were the problem. He asked me if I would tutor the 3 of them. In return,
        I would get a grade of A, and they a C. I was a lot larger than they. So I threatened them.

        2) My chemistry teacher was loved by all his students. With Einstein-like hair, and
        never ending stories to help us to love chemistry. I never heard a harsh word from him.
        While he was well liked, I've always wondered how much of his teaching resulted in
        good education, since, you only had to finish a text-workbook, and submit it.

        3) French class, the teacher was a gray haired lady, who ran a tight ship. She expected
        the homework to be turned in on time. Classroom participation was both oral and written.
        Nothing got by her. Stern and effective. You did learn only French in her classroom.

        4) English Literature, I flunked. My teacher, a young pregnant lady, took my homework,
        and after a quick glance, let it drift from her hand to the wastepaper basket.
        That homework I had labored over the night before, was, to diagram one sentence.
        "Courage means to be afraid to do something, yet to go ahead and do it."
        Mid-term, I had an F for my grade. She left to have her baby, and was replaced by
        Mr. John Barry, I became the class poet, and got an A.

        "Spare the rod and spoil the child", might have today been replaced by a softer approach.
        But, I wonder? Teachers are different. They have the same goals. They just approach the
        problem of transmitting their knowledge to their students in a thousand different ways.
        Teaching is a "one way trip", and learning is the reward for both, teacher and student.
        • W T

          • +1
          Oct 7 2013: I love that you provided so many wonderful examples that painted a picture in my mind as to the diversity we find out in the schools..........I don't think things have changed much Barry.

          If you get the chance, read my comment below about my child's experience with her third grade teacher.

          I think you cannot reduce teaching to ONE technique....I think that we glean life lessons from all the people around us......including our teachers......it is important as parents to let our kids know that not all their teachers will be good. Some will be mediocre....some may be downright incompetent........but they will all teach us by example....sometimes the lesson will be............."don't follow my example".

          Thank you for sharing your life lessons with us.
          I truly enjoyed reading them.
  • Oct 4 2013: Hi, Ed.
    When I think about your suggested education philosophy, I couldn't resist to see the similarity of the character Sgt Snorkel in the comic strip named Beetle Baily. Please understand my comment here has absolutely no connection with the image of Sarge Snorkel and you, I am only compare your philosophy in education disciplinary approach with that of this fictitious Sarge Snorkel.
    For those of the readers here who have never seen this comic strip, here is a brief illustration of it. Beetle Bailey is a young army private who is generally decent with no ambitions to be either a military officer or a successful person in the private life when he is released from the army. But he is a little too happy-go-lucky and quite lazy on most of his assigned duty from the sarge. The sarge takes the view of how to "shape up " Beetle into a model soldier, by frequently beating him up and assigns additional duties or drilling him more heavily most of the time; in other words, to inflict a "little pain or stress" in order to make a good soldier out of him.
    Now, do I agree that the method used by the sarge could be successful? My answer is, probably the success rate would be below 50%. If we apply these methods to a group of young children, I don't think it would be more successful than when the methods are applied to grown young men. Because, the mind set of young children is more fragile and perhaps more creative, thus these young minds should not be suppressed by regimental force.
    I, like some other comments/opinion expressed in this thread, also don't believe that creativity can be taught, and talent can be created by grit or drills. As a matter of fact, my "short cut" methods are easier to be taught to at least a substantial portion of the motivated students. In conclusion, I believe that the desire of learning by the students should be induced by loving care within the confinement of proper discipline, rather than the imposition of stress and pain to ORDER THEM TO LEARN
    • thumb
      Oct 4 2013: Thanks for the trip down memory lane Bart. I hope you know the author of the essay is not advocating physical pain and unhealthy pressure, and since it is illegal neither am I. One reason teachers, good ones that is, are so hard to find is that they must balance motivation with compassion. They try to get optimum development of each kid's capabilities. They must constantly draw upon their own wisdom, experience, and compassion in the process. I am suggesting that the essay mentions methods which are sadly lacking in some, I think many, American teacher's bag of tricks. Do we really disagree on that?
  • Oct 3 2013: I think teachers should take teaching resposibility to teach students by teachers' selves behavior.If you want students study hard,teachers you study hard too.if you want students to have enthusiasm in studying.you should do so.if you want students to know success comes from failure,teachers you should remember and whenever you face difficulties you can be brave to face them too but withdraw...then all come naturally...
    • thumb
      Oct 3 2013: I agree that walking the talk is an essential ingredient of optimum role modeling. Do you think classroom policy toughness, as itemized in the essay, is lacking in today's American public schools?
      • Oct 4 2013: Hi Dear edward:)I appreciate'walking the talk',we two think alike:).schools classrooms around me all have classrom policy toughness as itemized in the essay to hang on the wall.I haven't been to America,I don't know what really have been going on there.

        Anyway policy is always a policy,I think it can remind students.But educators should know we can't rely on policies to guide students.It caused lots of problems in our education tho...
        • thumb
          Oct 4 2013: From other contributors here I get the impression that toughness is an essential part of classroom procedure for teachers in China. Thank you, and be well.
  • thumb
    Oct 3 2013: I don't think so.As an individual,we have our independent dignity,that is,we can learn by ourselves.It is unnecessary for teachers to strict call for us.We can control when and what to learn.
    • thumb
      Oct 3 2013: hehe....That's because our teachers' and parents' policies are already tough enough.
      • thumb
        Oct 3 2013: Maybe.But intelligent students don't need tough teacher.They can learn themselves.But for normal students,over-tough teachers will do hurt to them.It's a degree on it.
        • thumb
          Oct 3 2013: I suggest you are overlooking an important truth about public education. The intelligent, self-motivating students are not the only ones who must be educated. Give some thought to the problems associated with teaching young ones who have yet to develop independent dignity, who cannot, and do not want to, control when and what they learn. These kids need a teacher because the idea of learning for themselves is completely foreign to them. Do you see the needs those young people have and how they differ from the needs of the ones you described? This is reality in public education in the USA. Thanks.
        • thumb
          Oct 3 2013: Yes, intelligent people needn't teachers but parents like our great Albert.Einstein, he didn't get much knowledge in his middle school. :)
      • thumb
        Oct 3 2013: I agree with you,but what I said mean that teachers have to judge the degree of tough-teaching.Because students have their personal dignity,we should encourage them to defeat the failure,not defeating them in tough teaching.This is the reality all over the world.
        • thumb
          Oct 3 2013: Yes, I agree. It's the ball in their court.:)
  • Oct 3 2013: Let me analyze this topic in a different direction. Referring to one point in your reply to my previous post: "Rote repetition is a time-proven, often the only, way to learn", I have a slightly different interpretation. Rote repetition is sometime necessary, but the APPROACH TO MEMORIZE CAN BE MORE FLEXIBLE, THUS MORE EFFECTIVE.
    For example when I was a student in the 3rd grade, I was given a single digit multiplication table and told to memorize them. I took a look at, and read, them 3 times. Then I just apply the product from either my memory, or by a little calculation in my head, when I couldn't quite come up with the answer. For example, if the product of 8x6 is required, but I couldn't be sure what is the value of the product. I would quickly (not more than 5-10 seconds) arrive at the answer by remembering what is the value for 5x8 (5x8=5x2x4=10x4=40); which is easy, then just add an 8 to it and come up with the answer;48. Another example for 7x9, I would take 7x10=70, then subtract a 7 from 70 and arrived at the answer of 63. This kind of short-cut approach could save lot of repeated drills, and eventually I still memorized all the tabled answers anyway.
    There was an old saying; " when you teach a person how to eat/cook a fish, you give him one meal, but when you teach him how to fish, he will be fed all his life". A parallel in education would be that if you teach the student how to learn, he will be able to learn all the materials, instead of memorizing just one lesson.
    A reasonable assumption could be that 1/3 of the students in the class already know how to learn, another 1/3 could be taught how to learn and the rest probably have to learn by drills. I am not going to elaborate on how to compare the cost-benefit analysis of the 2 approaches, but it seems obvious the "learn how to learn" should be the winner. Furthermore, I can assure you that these "short-cuts" can be applied to classes in many other fields as well.
    • thumb
      Oct 3 2013: You have worked diligently to learn and to apply what you have learned in the most efficient, beneficial way. Good work bart. I have no qualms about adopting the most effective teaching methods. The complication comes when we endeavor to educate a majority of a nation's young people. Since the task is not identical to one-on-one tutoring the methods used must be a comprimise of effectiveness and wide-ranging applicability. Many, I'm guessing most, students would not readily grasp your clever short-cuts. Anyway, would you expect the 8 essay points to be well-adapted to helping students learn how to learn?
      • Oct 4 2013: Ed, Here is my final answer to you original posted discussion. This one will be short, because I think that I have already talked too much. I don't intend to comment on your 8 essay points because:
        1. I only have the experience and knowledge how my children and myself learned as self-motivated students.
        2. I only have the experience of a "teacher" by taught many graduates from the medical, nursing, pharmacy and dentistry schools for 30+ years, but have never been a teacher for K-12 students.
        So because I am really not qualified to discuss the teaching of the relatively less motivated students, I would cheerfully refer you to reread what was said by Mary, and also Fritzie. I do agree with their viewpoints.
        3. Finally, I want to raise one single point. Even if you decided that certain student should be put in regimental drilling work, would you prefer that they would obey your order enthusiastically instead of being strong-armed? If the former situation is accepted by the students, then pain and stress should not be involved, should it?
        • thumb
          Oct 4 2013: I understand you are not seeking further dialog so I will say thanks for your final answer and go quietly into the night to reason through them.
  • Oct 2 2013: Stress makes you strong but also can destroy your self-confidence,a student can't learn well without self-confidence .So a good teacher can't be too tough but give more praise and show great love to her students.
    • thumb
      Oct 2 2013: I agree SiYuan. Praise must be a response to legitimate accomplishment. Praise should not be meaningless ego stroking. Self-confidence must be built upon personal accomplishment. Teachers must demand (stress) and recognize (praise) a students hard work and perseverance. I doubt that love is a necessary component of a comprehensive, successful education process. Love won't hurt, but it is not essential in the classroom. Thank you for your observations.
  • Oct 2 2013: Edward,

    Thanks for pointing out the article. I agree with Fritzie that most good teachers do these points. Great teachers change them to fit the individual students. Bad teachers use these points to batter and to a degree abuse students.

    The good and great teachers need the support of parents and the administration especially when students do not perform and get low grades. 1 teacher that was good and another that might be great gave students low grades, in fact one student had to go to summer school to graduate and go immediately to college on a scholarship. In 2 cases the Administration changed the grades over the objection of the teacher. Both were forced into early retirement.
    • thumb
      Oct 2 2013: What a disfunctional system you describe Wayne. Where did we go wrong? Anyway, these 8 points are on the money as you (and Fritzie) see it. From poor to great all teachers have these points in their toolboxes. Thanks.
      • Oct 2 2013: Forgot to mention why I did not go with 9 - need to be careful - have seen high school students with ulcers due to stress.
        • thumb
          Oct 2 2013: Yes indeed. The assumption for all of these ideas is that they are used wisely so as to do no harm.
  • thumb
    Oct 1 2013: But the important point is teachers and parents should let the kids play and have their free time apart from the study, through which they can recover from the stress and develop their personalities and creativities. I think this is what our Chinese students lack badly.:)
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2013: Thank you for your thoughtful opinion. The problems inherent in public education vary with the style of government. I think China has devoted itself to raising productive workers. That probably does not allow much time for personality development or stress recovery. Here in the USA there is a persistent perception that we have alloted too much time to such matters. Toughness does not preclude compassion. The subject essay addresses a possible solution to the problem. Of course each of us speak from our own local experience. There is probably not one global pathway to optimum public education.
      • thumb
        Oct 1 2013: I think there must be something in common between your countriy's education and ours.So I commented.You are right, Chinese educational system should be changed for not only fostering productive workers but innovative leaders as well.And I think we're learning from you Americans and other countries today.If we could have the same level of progressive teaching appliances and tools as yours ,that will also benefit our students(I have read another thread where I found you have many tools in teachings and I haven't even heard of some of them).I think your system provides more chances to kids to release their stress and let them create, so I think being more strict with students in the way mentioned in the article could be a feasible plan.Thankyou.
  • thumb
    Oct 1 2013: I am totally for the idea, however, once the legislation is passed. It will probably start breaking down as soon as it begins.

    The writer has experienced, understood the reasons why it would be a good method, but that doesn't mean the other teachers, having the method forced down their throats, would understand why would this be recommended, or may fail to perform to an adequate level to bring out the essence of this method.

    The teacher is tasked to restraint themselves [Failure is an option] and push the students.

    Does every single teacher understand the applications for both, the stress and encouragement, and to bring both to a reasonable extent, where somehow all the students in the class is able to excel? i highly doubt so.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2013: Looking forward, with our eye on the prize (improved public education) these kinds of ideas seem attainable. Looking back, and remembering how the system typically works zaps all enthusiasm for betterment. Your words are true. What if we don't look back? What if we escape the confines of the box? Doesn't every employer have a right to dictate what methods will be used by employees in the company? Why should the business of education be any different? Of course teachers must have liberty in non-essentials, but such issues as are mentioned in the essay ought to be mandatory policy dictated by management and part of the core beliefs of the whole team. Anyone in violation should be subject to discipline. Tough goes all the way up.
      • thumb
        Oct 2 2013: Doesn't every employer have a right to dictate what methods will be used by employees in the company? Why should the business of education be any different?

        Because your employees are dealing with children. Some of the children need a more unique form of teaching. Every child born unique learns differently, How could just a mere few methods able to accommodate everyone.

        Of course teachers must have liberty in non-essentials, but such issues as are mentioned in the essay ought to be mandatory policy dictated by management and part of the core beliefs of the whole team. Anyone in violation should be subject to discipline. Tough goes all the way up.

        And the so called "Corruption" sets in. Tough can only get so far, before complacency, shortcuts gets a vip seat.

        I'm also interested in knowing how you might suggest to enforce the rules. Cheers!
        • thumb
          Oct 2 2013: You seem to be saying that teachers must have carte blanche to set their own policies and procedures because they deal with children. I absolutely reject that premise. Teachers must follow the rules like anyone else. You are correct that no mere few methods can suffice to operate a superior school. I doubt anyone is advocating these 8 rules as the sum total of education policy. Why do you say toughness inevitably leads to corruption in the form of complacency? I do not see the connection. Thanks for your insight. Can you clarify?
      • thumb
        Oct 4 2013: I object to both carte blanche & rules [other then 4&7]

        I apologize, my version of "corruption" is learned from "Elite Squad", a film. In that show, "Corruption" is not political or have a right or wrong. It is failure to perform according to the rules/regulation. [E.g A guy has a 5 mins break, He should take off his boots to air his feet, but too lazy to do so/seems pointless to him.]
        It is those minor things that could just snowball till it becomes a culture in the school.

        To me nothing is more important than the dedication and interest of the teachers themselves.
        i feel rules could never contest motivation, encouragement and Education for the teachers.

        I also just noticed, when reading other comments, We probably would never come to an agreement because we live in different countries. At my end [motivation, encouragement and Education for the teachers] is a big deal. it would probably help my country.
        I have never seen how USA's education system works.

        I'm from Singapore, and to me, the education here is just clockwork. Teachers are more about teaching then their are just humans beings. It feels like every other students are just another number.
        This metallic way to teaching is the form of "corruption" i tried to refer to.
        • thumb
          Oct 4 2013: Absolutely agreed Dusty. The dedication and interest of teachers is the key here. It is probably my imagination, but I remember a time when only dedicated and interested folks became teachers. They were motivated to lead children out of darkness into knowledge. They devoted themselves to that task. Today there are many teachers who are not in it for the kids. As for global agreement on this debate, it is not a global problem so you are most likely right that we will not reach unanimous agreement here, and that's OK.
  • Oct 1 2013: People like this quack fail to realise that different methods work for different people. This kind of report appeals to peoples frustrations and leads to a mob mentality that usually makes things worse.
    Having said that, I haven't read the article yet. But your discription of it rubbed me the wrong way. Here is how it went for me:
    1. "A little pain is good for." I wonder if that one holds up in court.
    2. "Drill baby, drill". Get the hell out of my face.
    3. "Failure is an option". Tell that to my boss.
    4. "Strict is better than nice". What an a.. hole.
    5. "Creativity can be learned". Straight from the mouth of advertisers and marketers.
    6. "Praise makes you weak". No wonder she is is so cold, noone gave her any praise.
    7. "Stress makes you strong". If this were the case, I would have shown the strength to ignore this report.
    • W T

      • +1
      Oct 1 2013: How can you comment without reading the article first?
      • Oct 1 2013: I was commenting on Edward Longs' description of the article. And if I understand correctly, the premise of the article is to be less nice to people. I don't need or want to read that.
        • W T

          • 0
          Oct 1 2013: Craig......do read the article.
          I think you will enjoy it.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2013: Have a go at reading the essay. I predict your response will be different afterwards. Please don't judge the author by my synopsis.
      • Oct 2 2013: I've read the article and it's interesting. I was being a little melodramatic earlier, but was also trying to be comical.
        I have a couple of thoughts regarding the article. There is mention of US students falling behind the rest of the world. Finland in recent years have performed particularly well. They have a very liberal educational system which is very effective and does not rely on the harsh methods described in the article.
        I'm not saying that these methods aren't effective, they obviously are, what I'm saying is that much more humane methods have been proven to work.
        Having said that, i don't see anything wrong if students choose to push themselves to reach their full potential using these methods. It's all about choice.
        • thumb
          Oct 2 2013: I find it interesting that you get "harsh" and "inhumane" from the article. I also disagree that students should be responsible for their own motivation to perform. It may be about choice now, I don't know. But what I do know is it should be about performing at or above prescribed standards, or failing to advance. Thanks craig.
  • Oct 1 2013: Certain non state sponsered schools have prided themselves on such models. This can be unfair, and I doubt the body politic finds this attractive.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2013: How is the application of some, or all, of the 8 ideas unfair? What exactly is the body politic?
      • Oct 2 2013: Good point but you can't find this in American Public schools. You will find a large number of special ed classes.
        • thumb
          Oct 2 2013: There is a wide spectrum of opinion on this. Several folks in the Education business in the USA have said these 8 points are an already existing part of it. You say the points cannot be found there. Chumps like me are left to wonder what's up. My personal impression, or perception, is that the essay is right-on. These need to be added, or revitalized, as part of American public schools. Thanks George.
      • Oct 3 2013: Maybe I'm missiong the point But this stuff is so political local at that that politics overwhelm best practices.
        • thumb
          Oct 3 2013: I suspect you are correct and the reason these, or other, remedies are needed is because political influence has trumped educator's influence. You are going to the probable root cause of the education crisis. My sights in this post are set, instead, on the essay itself. Thanks George.
  • thumb
    Oct 1 2013: Edward, In my work in the prison system I came to the conclusion that the "cure" would be to have designer prisons ... match the crime with the facility, counselors, needs, security level and so forth.

    The same could be said of the education system. I have often advocated the dual system for college bound and manual trades. This would eliminate part of the problem the article is addressing. Kids who do not want to be there. If the dual system were in effect then another phase could be addressed the trouble makers / anti school / etc ... By isolating them their individual issues could be addressed.

    In the mid 40s a man called Dr Spock came into vogue. All kids are good ... and so forth. Much of what we are seeing is a result of just a few things. 1) Fear of lawsuits ... 2) The Dr Spock effect .... 3) Door latch parents ... 4) The purchase of kids love through money / toys / electronics ... 5) The lack of meaningful consequences ... 6) The absence of respect for people or property .... 7) Lack of immediate access to role models .... I could go on but we could all point to problems.

    Much of the problem is how the federal government and the state governments have taken over education without input from the professionals. Schools are being rated by factors that are contrary to good teaching practices. If a teacher fails a student the rating system punishes the school in the ratings. The teachers are locked into a set schedule of presentation to cover items that will be tested. In fact they are "required" to teach the test.

    The prescription offered would doom the school and punish the teachers / administrators under current constraints. It can only get worse ... states / schools must comply as the federal government mandates or funding goes away. The first step in resolution would be to get the federal government out of the states business. However, just the opposite is occurring.

    Wish I had a better answer ... I don't.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2013: I agree Robert that the implementation of any changes to the current federal government controls will be accomplished politically and not on the classroom teacher level. But, here on the grassroots level we can take another look at Spock's philosophy and consider whether the move away from toughness was a wise one. Your final sentence could be a template for use in many debates and conversations: "The first step in resolution would be to get the federal government out of the states business."
  • Oct 1 2013: Renaissance's eventually recede......light gets dark...up goes down. Why fight it? Tough teachers cannot stop the tide from receding. Everything cycles.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2013: Dear Mr. Bell, thanks for applying for the job of motivational speaker. Unfortunately your qualifications do not match our requirements. You should quit searching and wait for the cycle to complete. Just kidding Scott. I must say I do hope you are wrong because our schools need work.
  • Oct 1 2013: First, let me describe what was my expectation in myself when I was a student, and as a matter of fact, also as a trainee or apprentice. I usually succeeded in what I try to learn and achieved a satisfactory(to myself) result at the end of my attempt. I have no strong desire to reach as the #1 in the entire school or the community or even in the world. In other words, I have no desire or the drive to be an offspring of a "tiger mom".
    With that in mind, I would suggest that a model good teacher should use only sparingly the tools of lavish praises, as well as applying penalty or too much pressure on the students. S/he should encourage self motivation and self reliance to learn necessary materials for them. At least for portion of the students, high pressure could result in strong resistance rather than obedience.
    Now, I really can't agree on the principle of "Drill baby, drill". For example, with the concertmaster in your reference, did he keep all the players in the group without too many voluntarily quit before he could mold a cohesive successful unit. Similarly, among the whole class of students, few of them simply do not need the repeated drills. Then, they may lose their interest and move out of the class. Even if they could not do so, the teacher is slowing down the learning of these students. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM UNDER THE CHAIN LOCK OF THE STANDARDIZED TESTING AND/OR UNDER THE MANDATE OF "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND." And in these cases, the students are even prevented from escaping from the public schools in New Orleans by a law suit from the DOJ. That's a sad story!
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2013: Rote repetition is a time-proven, often the only, way to learn. You are correct that a teacher who forces students who have demonstrated mastery of the material to continue drilling is being unwise. Common sense must accompany each of these suggestions. Do you oppose all 8 ideas no matter how judiciously they are utilized?
      • Oct 1 2013: Let me tell you about my wife and myself in assisting my daughter's education as the parents.
        When my daughter was 6 years old, she already started to learn the piano. And she also started to take private lessons in violin with a very famous teacher. We simply joyfully pay for the tuition and drive her around to the lessons as well as her area competitions/contests and she actually excelled in both of them. But we had never exert any pressure for her practice. When she was around 14-15, she was already following her string ensemble performing all over the U. S. and also in Mexico City, Costa Rica and the European countries. She was also being auditioned and chosen to be a member of the Texas All State Youth Symphony Orchestra as one of the second violinists. At the same time we also found a piano tutor who was a professor in the School of Music of Rice University. The tutor accepted her because he believed that she is musically talented and possesses the ability of "perfect pitch".
        My daughter and I had rarely had quarrels but perhaps one. When she was in 6th grade, her math teacher assigned a homework drill of calculating the multiplications of two 4-digit numbers. There were 12 such repetitions. I casually found out of such meaningless drills. Because there was simply no needs of such "exercises" in the real world since there would be calculators all over the professional environment, or even in home, to carry out such repetitive work. At that time, she still believed that her teacher was correct and I was wrong. I just explained the reason to her, but didn't insist that she stopped the exercises. Much later, when she was working on her PhD program in Biochemistry and Genetics, her professor referenced one of my publications in chemical laboratory sciences, then she realized that my knowledge and experience in the math sciences is probably better than her teacher at that time. But we never lay a strong arm on her, we believe the final decision should be hers.
        • thumb
          Oct 1 2013: Kudos for your success in guiding your daughter in attaining her dream. May it continue to be so for you all. If rote memorization makes no sense then it ought not be used. But if it is appropriate to have memorized things like the multiplication tables for 2 thru 9, or the postulates and axioms of geometry, or the correct spelling of a difficult word, then the method should be used. There are times, even today, when an electronic database may not be immediately available. It seems to me we should dedicate some our brain's memory to certain academic information. I find having the times tables memorized to be frequently helpful and would not care to be without the advantage. I think it is sometimes appropriate to drill-drill-drill students. I sense we disagree, but, hey, that's the essence of a debate.
        • W T

          • +1
          Oct 2 2013: Hi Bart, thank you for your reply to my above comment.
          Yes, I agree that applaud, or praise should be from the heart....and not just formality or courtesy.

          Perhaps the nuances of my comment were not perceived. I was trying to show how some educators are not even interested in the performance itself. Instead, they prefer to talk amongst themselves.
          Again, have in mind I am relaying information from an elementary teacher's perspective.
          Any time children perform in the elementary school, it is usually because the teacher has had to prepare the children to give the performance. It is the teacher's work up on stage....not just the child's own talents. Any time I have taken weeks and weeks to help my class prepare some sort of presentation, I just cannot imagine 'not' giving them my undivided attention while they perform, and applaud their effort. After all, they are little children, and are up there doing the best they can. That is my humble opinion of course.
          We all deserve a little attention and applause every once in a while. An applause can mean many things.........one may applaud the quality of a performance, and one may applaud a concerted effort.

          I applaud your hard work with your daughter. And thank you for this exchange of ideas and reflections.
  • thumb
    Oct 1 2013: Yeah, but....
    I am just a little suspicious if we just use these 8 controversial points, we can improve public education. If it was just this simple.
    • thumb
      Oct 1 2013: I think the author is offering these as 8 steps in a 100 step journey, not as a panacea. If you are correct that these suggestions are controversial then we really do have a problem in education. What is controversial about letting students fail and not advancing them to the next grade when they fail to meet the prescribed academic standards? Why is it controversial to suggest a teacher give students candid, constructive, even painful feedback regarding their performance? Why is it controversial to call for lifting the embargo against rote memorization as a learning method? Why is it controversial to advocate for the disciplined methods of explicit classroom instruction instead of collaborative learning and discussion? Why is it controversial to teach students that they can become creative by diligently studying and learning? What is controversial about teaching students that passion and perseverance for achieving long-term goals is the proven way to success? If such ideas are controversial then the existing system is truly decrepit
  • Sep 30 2013: "Education, indeed all of life, is like cooking in that the proper proportions must be observed."

    It appears to me that you, Edward, and Fritzie largely agree. Finding that proper proportion is very much an individual task; what works for one teacher could be disastrous for a teacher with a different personality, attitude or style. In a different conversation, I said that "should" is one of the words that presses my buttons. It is just for this reason; I completely disagree with the notion that human behavior can be standardized. Teachers "should" be held accountable for results, but not for their means. (I have no idea how to properly measure those results.)
    • thumb
      Sep 30 2013: As for the perceived trend of permissiveness and coddling in the classroom do you think the essay should be considered as a remedy, or, like Fritzie, do you think the essay is not appropriate for competent teachers? Also, regarding proper measurement of a teacher's methods, why not gauge it on whether the students have learned the planned lessons?
      • Sep 30 2013: I have not visited an active school class for decades, and have no impression of permissiveness and coddling, so I do not know whether there is a problem or not. I really do not know whether the essay would be helpful for all, most or some teachers. My point is that teachers are individuals, and that formulas are not applicable to many individuals. To expand on that, if 100 teachers read that essay, and you ask those teachers what they learned from it, you will get 100 different answers.

        Part of the problem with modern education is our limited notions of planned lessons. While learning the planned lessons, I hope that we are also teaching something about problem solving, ethics, creativity, discipline and focus, the value of combining lessons from different planned lessons. At this point in time, to the best of my knowledge, no one has even attempted to find a measure of some the most important consequences of a good education. Our ignorance regarding education is profound. When seen in the full context of this ignorance, our arguments about education would be laughable if the topic was not so important to our children.

        We have no consensus on what we expect of our schools. One thing that business has taught us over the last century or two is that we can control only what we can measure. We need specific measurable objectives for our schools, but we cannot even agree on whether that is desirable, much less on the objectives.

        The current state of our schools is exactly what you could expect from the history of education. Our schools have never really been considered as an object of process design, which would necessarily start by determining specific objectives. One of the profound effects of public education is that public schools are subject to politics. When parents wake up to the idea that educating their children should be the subject of rational thinking and problem solving, education will improve quickly and drastically.
  • Da Way

    • 0
    Sep 30 2013: I think these ideas are necessary and the points are definitely worth highlighting to teachers, but they sound a bit rigid.

    Rather than 'teachers should get tough', it should be 'teachers need to realise being tough is an option'.

    Similarly, 'Strict is better than nice' and 'praise makes you weak', well, you really need a bit of both. Carrots and sticks, as they say.

    Grit CAN trump talent.

    Stress CAN make you strong.

    I agree with most of those statements, they're just too absolute.
    • thumb
      Sep 30 2013: A proper mix is essential, I don't think the author is advocating draconian tactics, or sadistic methods. The main thought here is that teachers have been trained, and forced, to abandon many of the tried and true techniques of America's past. The modern classroom is perceived as an ICU for kids self-esteem. Do you think the 8 mentioned areas of focus, properly applied, might be a step in right corrective direction? Show me da way.
      • Da Way

        • 0
        Sep 30 2013: That's my precise point. I think they are all worth re-introducing into education, but in a balanced way. The idea is to raise the awareness of options available and not to supress or promote any in particular. The reason why tougher methods are being argued is because recently they've been supressed, but rather than focusing on them, why not lay out all the tools and let the users choose for themselves?

        ps thats just the way my name is pronounced, no double meaning intended, and certainly no arrogance in any way.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Sep 30 2013: Education, indeed all of life, is like cooking in that the proper proportions must be observed. Do you oppose the idea of teachers becoming conformed to the model put forth in the essay?