Brain Research

Interesting in-service today on brain research. Not that we all hadn’t heard most of it before. But it was well presented. I’ve just always been leary of lab stuff being rushed “into print? so to speak to be applied to the classroom.

Nevertheless, she presented a lot of good stuff. But here’s what got me…..

She said we have to throw out things like:


all students on the same page

covering the material

expecting students to memorize

expecting students to learn things they have no background for…

Yes, I’ve been saying this on various lists for a long time, and lots of other people seem to agree, but the profession as a whole still is wedded to all this nonsense. AP, IB, CP and so on. I’ve seen kids who love to learn, who want to do well, who are enthusiastic, thrown out of a class because they couldn’t match what the other students were doing. So he was doomed to be put into an “appropriate? level, which meant boring routine, worksheets, a low-man-on-the-totem-pole teacher, and so on.

I know we have many defenders of this system. We have many gate keepers. We have elitists. And as long as we do, we will continue to fail to teach.

One teacher complained to me: we know all this, we got this in our course work, but when I said, yeah, I don’t give grades, like she says, her eyes got big and she asked how I got away with that. I said I just give out lots of As and since most of my fl students make As in the rest of their classes, no body gives me a hard time. I always tell my students they really have to work to get a C in my class or a D. Some do, but they really do work at it.

Most teachers, I think, just don’t have enough conviction to do something like that. they’re afraid of being accused of something. But I research and always keep portfolios I can spring on people, and so on. let’s face it, most administrators and parents are so impressed with fl work they just don’t bother to criticize what the teacher is doing. If kids come out of my class enjoying learning a fl, most people count that as a plus, expect for those who think learning should be painful.

I’m really bored with this stupid system. Read Alfie Kohn’s Punished By Rewards.

Pat Barrett

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