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Following the American Path?


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rainymike

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/us/states-listen-as-parents-give-rampant-testing-an-f.html?_r=1

 

This year, the school that we send our older kids to began a more ambitious testing and standards based approach to education. I was quite in support of that move. But over the past few months, I've become far less supportive.

 

Now while I do support rigorous standards, it seems to me that a lot of teaching and learning time is giving way to testing and the normal extra-curricular stuff. My kids seemed caught in a bind because the emphasis on testing has replaced an emphasis on teaching and learning. I'm not at all pleased with the results.

 

My partner and I try to make up the difference with our own instruction and selective use of tutors. But I'm not entirely pleased with the tutoring as they've also been forced to focus more on exam preparation. Just my opinion, but it seems that development of reading comprehension and thinking skills are being sacrificed.

 

Not bashing the system here. I was quite pleased with the school last year. Although I'm still in favor of assessment and standards, there seems to be a problem in how it's being carried out at present.

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From my experience, being married to a teacher, the emphasis is on test results as that is how the heads of schools/principles are rated.  

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Emphasis has never been (and will probably never be) on learning - it is passing that is crucial... :(

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goggleye

What I have seen as a teacher is teachers and students feel more pressure and have less fun learning  - and its all based on remembering facts  - What has made our US economy so strong and innovative has been problem solving and innovation - thats a different thing to teach than a  set of facts.

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Headshot

Mike, I am experiencing some of the same frustrations this year...although our daughter is only in nursery (3-years-old). At the start of the school year, the staff told us about their lofty goals for this year on what they expected from the children. It sounded pretty impressive and I wondered how they would accomplish it. Unfortunately, in practice, almost all actual teaching has been done at home, and they reserve school time for testing and coaching the children for the next school dance performance (which seem to occur on a monthly basis). It is mostly my wife (who is a certified elementary teacher herself) who is teaching our daughter the principles the school wants emphasized. I fill in when my wife loses patience or has other things to do (she has an online business).

 

From my experience, being married to a teacher, the emphasis is on test results as that is how the heads of schools/principals are rated.  

 

While that is true is public schools, it isn't really true in private schools (although private schools must score well to attract new students). How private schools are "rated" here is pretty fuzzy. It's almost impossible to even tie them down to a curriculum and lesson plan. Private schools here aren't required to advertise their actual test scores and rankings to the public, and it would be very difficult to find out anything more than they want you to know. You generally get minimal notice of what is expected (if you get any notice at all) before things are due. Basically, the way I see education here is home education with a minimal amount of guidance and support from the actual schools.

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Great to see you involved in your child's education.  Unfortunately the common goal of education here seems to be to just graduate high school so they can get the diploma and work at jollibee, for  months.  Those that aspire to anything more ...well they seem to be looking to go out of the country to use their education.  True this is not holding for all...but for the vast vast majority it seems this way.  When they take the politics out of education, which will NEVER happen here, get some companies with real jobs and get rid of that damned 6 month job thing, THEN education here will improve and THEN the country as a whole will begin to improve.  Until then....do what you always have done and you'll get what you've always gotten.....

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Monsoon

Anything that takes the focus away from singing and dancing performances and more towards academics is an improvement. 

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Outcome based education...

 

Here is the answer, now back into the answer.

 

Dumb-em down and tell-em how smart they are.

 

Yeah, I be edumacated, just ax me.

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I can't comment now, but as a Kiwi kid transplanted into a school in Colorado in 6th grade for a year - the emphasis was most definately on the testing and recording of grades.

 

Compared to the school system I had come from.

 

I basically took a year off school by going to school in the US, although Dad (a teacher) kept me up with homework :(

 

I think the main reason we went to school when we ere there was so we wouldn't annoy Mum during the day - I skied most of the winter though :)

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rainymike

Emphasis has never been (and will probably never be) on learning - it is passing that is crucial... :(

 

I pretty much agree with most of the sentiments expressed here. But since I plan to raise the kids here, I've hunted for workarounds. It's an ongoing process. But here is my assessment of what's happening with our third grader. And our strategies. 

 

Teaching: what teaching occurs in the classroom seems to be mostly verbal instruction followed with in-class exercises from the textbooks. Parents must regularly sign off on the student's progress in the textbook. In the past, there was a lot of homework exercises, but that seems to have been eliminated. Probably takes up too much time for grading. There is usually weekly assessments and then a big monthly assessment for each subject. What I suspect is happening is that verbal instruction/interaction and homework is being cut back to handle more in class exercises and assessments. 

 

The impact on our son is this. If he is paying attention in class he most likely will pick up what he's being taught and be able to do the in class assignment. If not, we see the negative results. But that's been the lesser of my concerns. I've noticed that his reading comprehension isn't keeping up with the lessons in the text. He is used to listening to a lecture and taking practice exams, but his ability to read the text, identify major ideas, and apply them to solving the problems seemed to be getting worse (although he has been mostly all A's). In previous years, there was more homework and self-study.

 

Our strategy is this: we bring in a tutor for the big exams only. I also do a lot of drill and practice with some quizzing software. That helps deal with the assessment. But what to do about his reading skills? I now make him sit down and review every subject that he's had on a given day. The review is reading his text. On the weekend, I give him a verbal test on the subjects. He has to write the answers. If there are errors he redoes the problems. I only give him a right or wrong. If wrong, he has to try to figure out why by reading the text. Doesn't take a lot of effort on my part. I know he is reading all his assignments. My open ended questions are intended to focus on key ideas which he struggles with. Will know if this approach works by end of the school year. He clearly does not like my method. LOL ... what do you mean I have to read the book and understand it and then write it down? (But believe me, I've seen lots of college level kids back home in the same boat as my kid). 

 

I have to use other strategies for my other kids.

 

Bottom line. The system is imperfect. But I'm not in a position to just accept it. There may be ways to take advantage of the system's strengths and shore up its weaknesses. Only time will tell. But yeah, I really have to stay on top of their education.

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smokey

Great to see you involved in your child's education.  Unfortunately the common goal of education here seems to be to just graduate high school so they can get the diploma and work at jollibee, for  months.  Those that aspire to anything more ...well they seem to be looking to go out of the country to use their education.  True this is not holding for all...but for the vast vast majority it seems this way.  When they take the politics out of education, which will NEVER happen here, get some companies with real jobs and get rid of that damned 6 month job thing, THEN education here will improve and THEN the country as a whole will begin to improve.  Until then....do what you always have done and you'll get what you've always gotten.....

i dont see a desire to change the country gets billions of dollars sent every year so there is a large consumer base ,,, same time these bread winners are not here to suck up government services of any type ,,, they dont pollute , they dont cause traffic and the power structure wants to keep prices high by keeping outsiders out of the pot of gold called the OFW ,, seems to be the whole reason for education is to get a job overseas so its geared to get the diploma more then get the education 

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rainymike

 

 

Mike, I am experiencing some of the same frustrations this year...although our daughter is only in nursery (3-years-old). At the start of the school year, the staff told us about their lofty goals for this year on what they expected from the children. It sounded pretty impressive and I wondered how they would accomplish it. Unfortunately, in practice, almost all actual teaching has been done at home, and they reserve school time for testing and coaching the children for the next school dance performance (which seem to occur on a monthly basis). It is mostly my wife (who is a certified elementary teacher herself) who is teaching our daughter the principles the school wants emphasized. I fill in when my wife loses patience or has other things to do (she has an online business).

 

As odd as it may seem, perhaps this is how education and the family should really be working in the first place. I know if I were back home, I'd be a lot less involved. But I am a retired guy, not sure how I'd approach this if I were still working.

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colemanlee

I guess to do this post correctly, first I need to give some background.  Ive been here since March 2011,  my wife and I have been together for almost three years.

 

I am presently sending two of our three kids (grammer school)  and three of her younger siblings (high school) to school.  They are in public school here In Tacloban as we had a bad experience witht he private school we had them in.  Both my wife and I are fairly well educated.   I try to stay on top of their education, even at a young age, one of my sons goal is to attend PMA.  In order to achieve those goals, he (they) will have to have a decent education.

 

Now for the rant, Just what the hell do they teach here?  I look at their homework and it seems that its the stuff as kids we did for fun, pasting pictures, drawing pictures,and other non-sencial junk.  None on the kids have any idea where anything is but the Philippines, have no idea of world history, have no idea of how the government works (except when election comes around money is given out for the vote )  really have no idea of whats going on in the rest of the world. 

 

I had occasion to help a student in college with some of the courses there and was amazed that what they were learning in college was about tenth grade level in the states, and the schools in the states are not that great.

 

The other night I was watching the latest Star Trek rerun on TV and the oldest of my wifes sibblings, when watching the Enterprise ask me "is that true" meaning is it real.  They were watching the series "The Vikings" with me and had no idea of where the vikings lived, or that they had lived.  Even their own country the Philippines they have no idea where anything outside of Manila and Tacloban is.  I had to buy a map of the Philippines and a globe of the world just to teach them where they lived in relation to the rest of the world.

 

The other day I went to the school to attend one of the so called programs they do, you know the ones where they dance around and sing, I met the English teacher, was looking forward to having a conversation with her, except she could not speak English!

 

My take on the whole education system here is that unless you can afford to pay for private schools, when your children graduate from high school, they will have whats probably (and I am being generous) maybe a grammer school education in a first world country.  If they go to college they might have a high school education in a first world country.

 

Its no wonder that if you go to Robinsons, most of the clerks there will have college degrees in something, or if you go to Shakeys your waiters will have a degree in hotel and resturant management...or if you go to MacDonalds your order taker will have a degree in something.  Dont believe me, just ask them.

 

The only way I can figure out how to overcome the education system here is to either home school or pay through the nose for a decent private school.

 

 

 

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SkyMan

 

 

My take on the whole education system here is that unless you can afford to pay for private schools, when your children graduate from high school, they will have whats probably (and I am being generous) maybe a grammer school education in a first world country.  If they go to college they might have a high school education in a first world country.
That's about right.
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One thing I do not understand with the ongoing  changes on our Educational System is the aim to be globally competetive giving birth to K-12, yet we have changed strategy for some grade levels using the mother toungue. Are we trying to make a balance or putting on a show again?

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