3 comments on “School, abstraction, and so-called requirements: part 2

  1. I love the approach, particularly the illustrations of how “giving answers” is a nebulous concern or obstacle.

    One of the additional challenges in situations like this, at least in my experience, is in the impact of what are often unrealistic expectations on self-esteem. If the clear expectation is not on grades but simply on the doing – and that position is not just yours but clearly messaged by the school – then self-esteem is less likely to be compromised; it’s less likely to send a message of failure or give the repeated experience of failure. That, in turn (from observation), tends to lead to much higher grades! After all, it’s easier to learn when stress and anxiety and feeling like you’re “bad” for how you’re wired aren’t filling your head.

    Thanks for sharing….

    • Exactly. Our expectation for social studies class, which Nick also takes via PLATO, was simply “pass.” Even he was surprised to find out he got an A! Taking the pressure off can have great results.

  2. I find it perplexing that teachers are less willing to give direct instruction in poetry or figurative language when in all other subjects…it is a given. So many of the students I work with have very little experience with poetry as entering 9th graders. Teaching a unit on common allusions, metaphors and abstract language in general while also giving strategies for remembering them, (visualize a pix of river + drawbridge (or, Legos) =connection) is helpful to ALL of the students in class. In elementary school when our team had to brainstorm how to concretely depict literary styles, our genius art teacher gave us two paintings of a horse, one of the paintings was done by Picasso….so it was very evident and VISUAL the differences in color, form, texture, representation. This exercise was an excellent scaffold to help our student understand the concept of “STYLE” in general.

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