mark gould

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mark gould
Posted 5 months ago
One relatively simple and cheap change can be made to schooling to reduce opt out and drop out rates.
Hello Kepu Li, I have run these courses and it is not so hard. I design tasks for the students to do like 'design a mouse trap vehicle that can travel as far as possible' and student learn the physics tha goes with that then design, build and report on their car. Different students work at different stages and so it is not so difficult for me. Sometimes student can do different tasks of their own design, eg 1 student did a research project on 'becomin a midwife' because she was interested in that. She learned about biology and other things, while other students were working on diferent tasks. Each task can take from 4 to 8 weeks so I can sit with different groups at different times to help them. It is a little bit hard but not impossible. Most of each class actually ends up doing much the same thing with only a few doing different things. The main point is that as long as they engage in the work, they MUST improve, so they feel succesful, and the more they try the more successful they will be. Each student is always only competing with themselves to improve their position, not competing with anyone else.
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mark gould
Posted 5 months ago
'Drop-outs' vote against school - do they have a good reason?
What you say is a good description of the process of opting out by many students. I would not disagree with it. The problem for me as a long term passionate teacher, is that there is mostly no alternative environment for these opt out students. There is too little recognition of self education. Very few really become successful (by their own and society's definition). Mostly they become the bottom level of society, which isn't usually deserved nor fair, nor useful to society. Education systems need to provide a range of educational environments or be designed so that the environment is ultimately flexible, so that each gets what level of support to become successful they need and will use.
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mark gould
Posted 6 months ago
One relatively simple and cheap change can be made to schooling to reduce opt out and drop out rates.
This is a response to all 3 comments. In my 30 years of teaching and 20 years of being a head of svience in public high schools in Australia, I haven't seen many teachers who didn't want the best for their students. Teachers are positioned to do whatever they do by the system they work under. As far as getting better parents is concerned, this is irrelevant. The parents are the parents and it is no point blaming the children for the parents. Race us likewise irrelevant. An unskilled parent is unskilled in any colour or race. What we need is a system where the weaknesses of the parents are minimised by the system. At the moment the system exacerbates any weaknesses. NOTE that I do not advocate equal outcomes for all. This will never happen. What I am advocating is a system that gives all kids equal access to at least 15 years of quality education regardless of their background by not positioning them too early to think of themselves as failures at school.
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mark gould
Posted 6 months ago
One relatively simple and cheap change can be made to schooling to reduce opt out and drop out rates.
Bart, I have instituted this form of teaching and grading for a few years until politicians told me I had to stop. It can be done and you are cirrect that it becomes more like self guided learning. In practice what happens is that those who are very motivated drive their own learning quite well. Those who are not particularly motivated allow me to negotiate their learning based on their existing level (level 3, 4 etc). The main point is that some become very motivated, some progress more slowly but almost no-one opts out of the learning. In the system I used previously, a reasonably large proportion of students were opting out by 15 years of age. As far as testing goes, I was not testing much at all. I could make reasonable judgements based on the work they were doing for learning. An example of this would be to design and report on a vehicle powered by a mousetrap that could travel as far as possible. The learning was about physics, and their succes was judged by the discussions, the vehicle and the understandings shown in the report
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mark gould
Posted 6 months ago
One relatively simple and cheap change can be made to schooling to reduce opt out and drop out rates.
Hi Robert. The numbers aren't actually critical at all. The reason I use the numbers is to meet the exoectations of educational policy makers half way. The main point I want to make is to reduce competition in school so that we reduce the unnecessary sense of failure in young students. Numbers in this form meet the needs of politicians and bureaucrats without imposing a sense of shame on students. I know there has been much talk on the need for students to experience failure so i want to clarify what I mean clearly. There are too sorts of failure, one is good and one is bad for mental health. Failure that you meet while working towards something you want is good failure, as long as you have some successes along the way. They are usually more like small setbacks that with more work you can overcome. It is good for people to develop resilience to cope with this type of failure. The bad type of failure is where a student labels themselves as a complete failure because they never or rarely have success and they decide it isn't worth trying anymore. This type of failure needs to be avoided in schools at all costs because it leafs to opting out and dropping out of school in the long run.